HC Deb 17 April 1980 vol 982 cc1483-619
'(1) Nothing in section 13 of the 1974 Act shall prevent an act from being actionable in tort on a ground specified in subsection (1)(a) or (b) of that section in any case where—
5 (a) the contract concerned is not a contract of employment, and
(b) one of the facts relied upon for the purpose of establishing liability is that there has been secondary action which is not action satisfying the requirements of subsection (3), (4) or (5) below.
10 (2) For the purposes of this section there is secondary action in relation to a trade dispute when, and only when, a person—
(a) induces another to break a contract of employment or interferes or induces another to interfere with its performance, or
(b) threatens that a contract of employment under which he or another is employed will be broken or its performance interfered with, or that he will induce another to break a contract of employment or to interfere with its performance,
if the employer under the contract of employment is not a party to the trade dispute.
15 (3) Secondary action satisfies the requirements of this subsection if—
20 (a) the purpose or principal purpose of the secondary action was directly to prevent or disrupt the supply during the dispute of goods or services between an employer who is a party to the dispute and the employer under the contract of employment to which the secondary action relates; and
(b) the secondary action (together with any corresponding action relating to other contracts of employment with the same employer) was likely to achieve that purpose.
25 (4) Secondary action satisfies the requirements of this subsection if—
(a) the purpose or principal purpose of the secondary action was directly to prevent or disrupt the supply during the dispute of goods or services to any person ("the recipient") by an associated employer of an employer who is a party to the dispute; and
30 (b) the goods or services are in substitution for goods or services which but for the dispute would have fallen to be supplied to the recipient by the employer who is a party to the dispute; and
(c) the employer under the contract of employment to which the secondary action relates is either the said associated employer or the recipient; and
35 (d) the secondary action (together with any corresponding action relating to other contracts of employment with the same employer) was likely to achieve the purpose referred to in paragraph (a) above.
(5) Secondary action satisfies the requirements of this subsection if it is done in the course of attendance declared lawful by section 15 of the 1974 Act—
40 (a) by a worker employed (or, in the case of a worker not in employment, last employed) by a party to the dispute, or
(b) by a trade union official whose attendance is lawful by virtue of subsection (1) (b) of that section.
(6) In subsections (3)(a) and (4)(a) above—
45 (a) references to the supply of goods or services between two persons are references to the supply of goods or services by one to the other in pursuance of a contract between them subsisting at the time of the secondary action, and
(b) references to directly preventing or disrupting the supply are references to preventing or disrupting it otherwise than by means of preventing or disrupting the supply of goods or services by or to any other person.
50 (7) Expressions used in this section and in the 1974 Act have the same meanings in this section as in that Act; and for the purposes of this section employers shall be taken to be parties to any trade dispute in which they are represented by an employers' association.
(8) Subsection (3) of section 13 of the 1974 Act shall cease to have effect.'.
—[Mr. Prior.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.59 pm
The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. James Prior)

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

I said at the outset of my Second Reading speech on 17 December that no subject was more central to our problems, and few more important in determining our future, than industrial relations. I stand by every word of that. Conflict at work has been a commonplace of our industrial life for far too long. It has plagued our industrial performance for a generation and has put increasing strains on the very fabric of our society.

The new clause deals with one of the most damaging areas of conflict, and one which engenders great bitterness among employers, workers and the general public. I refer to secondary industrial action. I hope that in this debate we can look at this problem in the wider context of what can be done about conflict at work and the damage it does.

Secondary action, whatever form it takes—whether a strike, blacking, picketing or a combination of any of those—means industrial action taken by employees who are not in dispute with their own employer. The objective of secondary action is, therefore, to further a dispute involving another employer. That is what distinguishes it from primary action. All too often in recent years, secondary action has been used deliberately to spread the disruptive effects of disputes to industry and the community at large. That is why it has led to such public concern and why we are debating this new clause today.

Without any doubt, the most damaging form of secondary action is secondary picketing. With secondary picketing, damage can be done to the business of a customer or supplier or, indeed, a company which has no connection at all with the employer in dispute. This damage can be done where there is not the slightest shred of sympathy amongst the work force or its trade union representatives for those involved in the original dispute. Lorries bringing in key goods or materials can be turned away and the workers intimidated not to go into work by the threat of the loss of their union card.

But great damage can also be done by indiscriminate blacking and blockading at customers and suppliers and at their customers and suppliers in turn. Employees in firms far removed from the dispute are called upon to stop handling or working on certain goods. As a result, the production schedules of their firms are upset, orders are lost and ultimately jobs are put at risk.

We are told that all this can be justified in terms of building up pressure on the employer in dispute or for the purpose of creating solidarity. But what sort of solidarity is it that forces other workers with no interest in the dispute to stop working and thereby to threaten their own jobs? What sort of pressure is it that causes hardship and injury to the public? More and more, at the end of the day it is the public which is caught in the crossfire of secondary action. The public gets hurt because it is the ultimate customer in any supply line, and sometimes it depends for life or limb on essential goods or services which are disrupted. That is what people have in mind when they speak of industrial action holding the country to ransom.

I believe this is the opposite of what those who fought for the rights of trade unions 75 or 100 years ago had in mind. Good trade unionists today—and there are many of them—know that when they pursue a dispute it is in their interests to retain the good will of their employers, suppliers and customers and of the public at large. There are two compelling reasons for this. In the first place, all disputes, however bitter and protracted, have to end some time, and there will be no work to go back to if the confidence of employers, customers and suppliers has been destroyed in the process. Secondly, the willingness of society to allow trade unionists to take industrial action with immunity from the normal civil law consequences is put at risk if this immunity is used recklessly and in a manner which offends or injures the general public.

We have already taken steps in what is now clause 15 of the Bill to deal with secondary picketing. We have done so by what I acknowledge to be a strict limitation of the immunity to picketing at each person's own place of work. I believe that this degree of restriction is justified because secondary picketing, unlike secondary blacking or strike action, can be imposed entirely from outside the firm or factory picketed. It does not need the assent of the work force at the firm affected. As a result, the employer who is faced with secondary picketing has no way of getting the picketing lifted and no industrial sanction with which to respond. He just has to wait until the dispute—over which he has no control—is settled. That justifies tougher restrictions on picketing than on other forms of secondary action.

When I dealt with the change in immunities made by clause 15 during the Second Reading debate, I made it clear that we were continuing to review the law on immunities and that in particular we were considering the implications of the House of Lords judgment in the case of Express Newspapers v. MacShane, which appeared in December last year between publication of the Bill and Second Reading. That judgment confirmed the view we on this side of the House have always held about the effect of the previous Government's legislation which greatly extended the immunity for calling industrial action.

In 1976, the immunity conferred by section 13 of the 1974 Act was extended to cover inducing breaches not only of contracts of employment—as the 1906 Act had provided—but of commercial contracts as well. As a result, the scope of the immunity was made uneccessarily and dangerously wide. It is, we believe, unneccessarily wide for trade union officials doing their job of protecting the interests of their members in a dispute, and it is dangerously wide for the rest of the community who have to bear the consequences of industrial disruption which is spread well beyond those involved in the original dispute.

In terms of the law, the full implications of the 1976 Act did not become clear until the House of Lords judgment in the MacShane case. Before that, in a series of cases in 1978 and 1979, the courts, particularly the Court of Appeal, had held that whether industrial action was "in furtherance" of a trade dispute depended on whether or not it satisfied certain tests. For a time it seemed that the immunity created by the 1976 Act might not apply if the action taken was too remote from the original dispute, or incapable of affecting it, or pursued for too extraneous a motive. As these tests were applied by the Court of Appeal, it seemed that the immunity could extend as far as secondary action involving first suppliers or customers of the employer in dispute, but not beyond that.

However, the House of Lords in the MacShane case found that, under existing statute law, the only test of whether action was in furtherance of a trade dispute was a subjective one. If the person calling the industrial action honestly believes that it will in some way further an imminent or existing trade dispute, that is enough to ensure that he has immunity. So long as he believes this, it does not matter how remote the industrial action is from the original dispute or that it involves people—both employees and employers—who have no means of influencing the outcome of that dispute. It does not matter even if the principal motive for calling the action has nothing to do with the original dispute, so long as the person who calls it believes that it will further the dispute in some way, however slight. In other words, our fears about the virtually unlimited immunity created by the 1976 Act were shown to be fully justified.

The MacShane judgment appears to affirm that statute law gives to trade unions virtually unlimited authority to damage whomsoever they choose, as much as they choose, without fear of penalty, if, in their judgment—which no court may question—such action seems to be in their interest. In effect, the law as it now stands is a licence to spread industrial action far and wide beyond the original dispute, putting at risk the jobs and businesses of people who are in no way connected with it. No responsible Government could allow the law to remain in that state, and I would suggest that that view must also apply to the Opposition.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

The Minister has referred yet again to the situation arising from the 1976 Act. Perhaps he will confirm that it was the Donovan Commission which said that the law then was the same as the law which now exists but that some judgments in the late 1960s had caused doubt about that and, therefore, the law ought to be clarified so that the existing law should be clearly set out.

Mr. Prior

But in the debate in another place on "In Place of Strife" Lord Donovan also pointed out that while the majority of us proposed that this extension of immunity should be confined to trade unionists and their officials because they could be accountable for its abuse"— mark the words "accountable for its abuse"— if unofficial elements and ephemeral combinations which are here today and gone tomorrow are to have the same licence, then a prospect is opened up which I find alarming. Yet this is apparently what is contemplated, and I find it all the more alarming because it is true, as the noble Lord, Lord Cooper, said, that there are those who have a vested interest not in industrial peace but in industrial unrest, and here we give them another opportunity for exploitation of a licence which they should never have."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 March 1969; Vol. 300, c. 852–3.] Lord Donovan said that about the measures that were sought. I am certain that this is the sort of situation that we have seen developing in certain aspects in the last few years, which would have confirmed everything that Lord Donovan said in 1969.

On 19 February we published a working paper setting out consultative proposals for limiting the immunity, so as to afford protection against secondary action in a number of ways. The new clause reflects the outcome of our concentrations on those proposals.

Before I turn to the detailed provisions of the new clause, perhaps I should say a few words about the role of secondary action in trade disputes. That will help to make clear the nature and purpose of the clause.

There is a deep-rooted trade union tradition of industrial action to prevent goods from being supplied to or from an employer in dispute. The Donovan Commission acknowledged that, as did the Court of Appeal in developing the test of remoteness. The new clause recognises this tradition where secondary action is employed because the primary action is only partially effective. However, it withdraws immunity from secondary action if it is used only as a vehicle for spreading the disruptive effects of industrial action beyond those who are actively supplying goods to or receiving goods from the employer in dispute during the dispute.

The principle underlying the clause is that secondary action is justifiable only to the extent that it is used to put direct pressure on the employer in dispute. If the secondary action does not affect cur- rent business between the employer in dispute and his supplier and customer, but damages only the supplier or customer himself, or his business with other employers, it should not have immunity. That is a clear and straightforward limitation which is related directly to the recognised purposes of secondary action as they stand at present. It recognises that the immunity for the union officials is given only at the cost of depriving other people, who are harmed by the action, of their common law rights to seek redress. The limitation of those rights should be strictly controlled.

I turn to the details of the new clause.

Mr. John Bruce-Gardyne (Knutsford)

Will my right hon. Friend confirm—it is important to get it clear—that the effect of the new clause will be to sanctify the right of disruption of the operations of a business which is in no way directly connected with the dispute in progress?

4.15 pm
Mr. Prior

No, it does not do anything of the kind. First, as I shall demonstrate, the action must relate to a first customer or supplier and be of direct importance to, or targeted directly to, the original dispute. Secondly, as I shall explain in my speech, the only other position that we could take would be to say that there will be no immunity for anything other than primary action. I do not believe, for reasons that I shall give, that that is either a practical or a reasonable position to take. We have sanctified that there should be no limitations on how far immunities stretch. We are seeking to reach a position which be believe is fair and which recognises the traditional rights of the trade union movement.

I should like to continue my speech, and when I reach a part of it on which I can carry my hon. Friend with me he may intervene if he wishes to do so.

I turn now to the details of the new clause. Subsection (1) says that a person who induces a breach of contract in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute—in other words, someone who calls industrial action—will no longer have immunity if the contract is a commercial contract, rather than a contract of employment, and its breach is brought about by unlawful secondary action as defined later in the clause.

Subsection (2) explains what is meant by secondary action. It is the inducement of a breach of a contract of employment with an employer not in dispute. The clause does not apply to primary action, and hence does not restrict it in any way. If the employees concerned are not employed by the employer in dispute, there is no immunity unless the secondary action meets the requirements set out in subsections (3), (4) or (5).

Subsection (3) explains that secondary action is lawful only if its principal purpose is directly to prevent or disrupt supplies between an employer in dispute and his supplier or customer, and if it is likely to achieve that purpose. The meaning of "directly" and of "supplier" and "customer" is explained in subsection (6).

Subsection (4) deals with the special circumstances of companies under common ownership. If work is diverted from one company to an associated company, there will be immunity for secondary action designed directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods or services which would otherwise have been provided by the employer in dispute. It would be lawful for this secondary action to be taken either at the associated company or at the company which is the recipient of the goods. Without such a provision it would, of course, be possible for a group of companies to nullify the effect of primary action at one company by diverting production to another company without there being any possibility of lawful secondary action.

Mr. Bruce Douglas-Mann (Mitcham and Morden)

To what extent does that apply when, directly or indirectly, the employers are the Government?

Mr. Prior

I should like to examine that point, but if the Government are in the position of employer, the same provisions would apply to them as to any other employer.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

If the employer who is in dispute has a small manufacturing unit and a dispute takes place at it, and if the employer is also part of a large conglomerate company with other manufacturing units, can secondary action be taken against the total company, or simply against the workshop where the dispute originated?

Mr. Prior

If a small part of a large company producing nuts and bolts is affected by a strike and the conglomerate says that it cannot produce nuts and bolts in that company because it is on strike, but that it will produce them at another company within the group instead, there will be rights to secondary action at the other company which will still carry immunity.

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Did I understand my right hon. Friend to say in reply to the hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) that, if the Government are in dispute with any part of the Civil Service, every civil servant is or could be involved in secondary action?

Mr. Prior

It depends who the employer is. For example, in the Health Service the Government are not the employer. The area health authority or, in some cases, the district health authority is the employer. How far this stretches depends on the definition of "employer". In many cases, although the Government are indirectly the employer, there is a specific employer—the person who pays out the money and with whom contracts of employment are taken out. If there is any difficulty on that point, we shall endeavour to give an answer during the debate. However, I should have thought that that was the way to look at it.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

My right hon. Friend said that it depends on the definition of "employer". There is an interpretation clause in the Bill—clause 18. However, it does not appear to define "employer". Certainly there is no statutory interpretation of what is meant by "associated employer". If I were looking at this as an Act of Parliament in my other professional capacity, I should expect to find some guidance in the language of the section. Perhaps my right hon. Friend would deal with that point.

Let my right hon. Friend not be too impatient with us whilst he is at the Dispatch Box. He has already said that we have a long time ahead of us. While I am on my feet, I should like to put another point to him. My right hon. Friend has been helpfully explaining at some length the matters arising under subsection (1)(b). Subsection (1)(a) states: the contract concerned is not a contract of employment". My right hon. Friend said that it is not a commercial contract. I am puzzled why it is necessary to include those words, as section 13 of the 1974 Act deals exclusively with contracts of employment.

Mr. Prior

In answer to the last point, section 13 of the 1974 Act was amended by the 1976 Act. My right hon. and learned Friend may remember that this was at the time of the famous Lever amendments. The law as it was left in 1974 was largely the result of passing some Lords amendments but not others and we left it in an unsatisfactory state.

"Associated employer" is defined in the 1974 Act. I shall have to check again on the position of the Crown. I understand that it is not a group. Departments are not associated employers. The Crown is the employer of all civil servants, but not in the National Health Service and so on.

Mr. Nick Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Prior

For the last time for a while, and then perhaps I can get on.

Mr. Budgen

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his example of the nuts and bolts manufacturing conglomerate. Will he explain the philosophy which extends the immunity to the second of the two manufacturing units? Looking at the first manufacturing unit, the striking work force is quite properly able to exert substantial pressures and losses upon the employer in the first unit. Why should the immunity be extended to the second unit? Will my right hon. Friend explain the philosophy that it is right that the immunity should be so extended?

Mr. Prior

It is not only the philosophy but the practicality. If company A, which is the unit on strike, stops making nuts and bolts and company B, which is part of the same group, takes on that order and no rights are given for the employees of company A to say to the employees of company B "You are now doing us out of a job because you are making the nuts and bolts that we should be making, but we are on strike", com- pany B will attract a primary dispute instead. I believe that we must have a number of safety valves. We are dealing with sensitive and difficult issues.

Mr. Budgen

On reflection, does my right hon. Friend agree that that argument would be relevant only if company B was working at 50 per cent. capacity?

Mr. Prior

No, I do not think that that argument would be relevant. It is a long tradition that if one group of people find that their work is taken away by their mates in another part of the same company, they take, and feel that they have a right to take, some sympathetic action. If we think that we can close up this matter to that extent by law, we shall find ourselves involved in a whole host of other problems and more industrial disputes.

I want to come back to this matter in another way, so I should like to get on. I am not quite certain how far I had got. I think that I had reached subsection (5). That deals with the relationship between this clause and clause 15 on picketing. It establishes that pickets who are in dispute with their own employer and who are picketing lawfully at their own place of work will continue to enjoy the immunity provided by section 15 of the 1974 Act, as amended. Without this they could be put at risk, under the definition of "secondary action", of losing immunity if they were, for example, to turn back some-one not employed by a supplier or customer of the employer in dispute.

Subsection (6) explains that the two employers referred to in subsection (3) are the employer in dispute and a supplier and customer who, at the time of the action, has a commercial contract with the employer in dispute. It is important to say "at the time of the action has a commercial contract with the employer in dispute."

This subsection also explains what is meant by the word "directly" in subsections (3) and (4). It means that secondary action will not be legitimate if it seeks to disrupt the supply of goods or services between the employer in dispute and his customer or supplier by the indirect means of disrupting supplies between the latter and other employers.

Finally, subsections (7) and (8) define the terms used in the clause and repeal section 13(3) of the 1974 Act. The repeal of section 13(3) is necessary to make it clear that an employer is not prevented from exercising his common law rights where there is unlawful secondary action. It does not affect the immunity for primary action, which will still be fully protected by the rest of section 13.

To summarise, the effect of the clause boils down to this. Primary action will continue to have the immunity that it has at present. Secondary action will continue to have immunity if it satisfies three main conditions: first, that it is taken by employees of first suppliers or customers of the employer in dispute; secondly, that its principal purpose is directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods or services between the employer in dispute and his supplier or customer during the dispute; and, thirdly, that it is likely to achieve that purpose. Secondary action will have to satisfy all three conditions to gain immunity.

4.30 pm

Some hon. Members may try to argue that this will put trade union officials in an impossible position, because they will not know when industrial action will have immunity and when it will not. No doubt we shall hear a bit about that today. I say this to them in advance. Nothing in the clause or the whole Bill touches primary action. Where his members are in dispute with their own employer, a trade union official will have his existing immunity under the law to organise industrial action at his members' own place of work. Only if the trade union official is considering going beyond primary action and calling on other employees who are not in dispute with their own employer to take action in furtherance of a dispute will he be affected by this clause. I do not believe that the organisers of secondary action are as innocent about commercial relationships as is sometimes suggested.

Why do they want to take secondary action unless they have a pretty shrewd idea of its effect? And if they are uncertain what the effects of secondary action are, why should they not have to exercise a little prudence and caution? Why should they not have to consider carefully the consequences of what they are doing? It is the jobs and businesses of other people they are dealing with. It is the general public and other trade unionists with no interest in the dispute who will suffer. If they are prepared to take indiscriminate action, they may well find themselves in court—and who is to say that that is wrong?

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Does the Secretary of State agree that where the boundary lines are so fine, as is apparent from what he said, as they are likely to be, it would be appropriate at least for there to be a limitation on the level of damages that can be awarded? Could not slight errors of judgment in the interpretation of the clauses, which caused differences between the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords in past decisions, result in catastrophic financial consequences for an individual involved in a trade dispute?

Mr. Prior

This is an important point. In my experience, and, I think, in that of most hon. Members—certainly in that of most of industry—those concerned are not really interested in damages. They are interested in stopping the action. That is the point. It is the injunction that counts. It is not the damages that count.

Every employer has a duty in these circumstances to try to mitigate his damage. He must seek to do that. I do not believe that it is necessary to take the kind of action that the hon. Gentleman suggests. There have not been many cases where the employer, in these circumstances, has gone for damages. In most cases, once the injunction has been granted and the action has been called off, the employer wants to get everyone back to work. The sooner he can do that, the better it is for his industrial relations, and he quickly forgets about taking any other action. I suspect that in most cases he would be wise to do so rather than raise the issue again.

I do not see why we should take that sanction away from an employer whose business is badly damaged. A trade union organiser should take that into account. If there is doubt about whether his action taken at a supplier or customer attracts immunity when contracts are broken, the trade union official should weigh up very carefully indeed whether he believes that it would have a direct effect on the original dispute. If there is any doubt about it, I do not believe that he should take that action.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

I should much prefer that the Bill did not contain this provision. However, as it does contain it, does the Secretary of State accept that there should be a clear provision in the legislation that the obligation is on the employer to apply for an injuction in the first place and not to hold in reserve the threat of a massive potiential claim for damages, which might run into hundreds of thousands of pounds?

Mr. Prior

I think that I had better wait for my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary to answer that. As I understand it, we must go for damages. That is the trigger for obtaining an injunction. There is no other way in which one can get round that. We shall come back to this. However, the position is reasonable in that case.

Mr. Marlow

Would the injunction, or pursuit of damages, be taken against a named individual, a group of individuals or the trade union concerned?

Mr. Prior

It would be against a named individual, just as in the same way, in Express Newspapers v. MacShane, it was against Mr. MacShane; and just as recently the Duport Steel case was against Mr. Sirs. The case is taken against an individual of the union.

This clause will provide an effective limitation on the abuse of secondary action.

Mr. Arthur Davidson (Accrington)

The right hon. Gentleman said that nothing in the clause affected primary action. Can he explain the effect of subsection (8), which repeals section 13(3) of the 1974 Act? The section gives immunity to all types of action, primary or otherwise. It may be that the Minister is coming to the point later, in which case I shall be happy for him to answer it then. It is an important point.

Mr. Prior

My hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State says that he will deal with that on a later amendment. I have taken the best possible advice on this. I am told that the position is that the proposal does not affect primary action in any way.

One of the underlying principles of the Bill is to restore a legal remedy to those who are hit by some of the most damaging abuses of the present law. That is why we are restoring the right for employees to claim unfair dismissal where they are sacked through the improper imposition or operation of closed shops. That is why we are removing immunity where unions use coercive recruitment tactics. That is why we are restoring the rights of employers to seek injunctions when secondary pickets arrive at their gates. This new clause is fully in keeping with that approach.

However, the clause does not attempt the easy way out—the simple, easily constructed position of removing immunity for all but primary disputes. No, the clause genuinely seeks a position which is balanced and reasonable. Simple repeal of the immunities for all secondary action would not be right. I know that some of my hon. Friends would query that remark. I shall try to tell them why.

I have said on a number of occasions from this Box that, just as it is not reasonable to leave trade unions with more power than they need in the vain hope that they will not misuse it, so also it would be unreasonable to weaken them to the extent that they are unable to defend their members against attack. Finding the right course calls for enormous effort and thought on the part of us all. It will not be achieved by reburnishing our prejudices.

Mr. Stan Crowther (Rotherham)


Mr. Prior

I shall not give way at the moment, as I have already given way a great deal. I gave way to the hon. Gentleman hundreds of times in Committee. However—

Mr. Crowther

I am extremely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. He has not yet said—I hope that he will make it clear—whether the new clause goes much further than the working paper in restricting immunity. He said that the purpose of the new clause was to bring the working paper's proposals into effect. Does not he agree that it goes much further in restricting the immunity in relation to first customers and suppliers?

The right hon. Gentleman said that action which damaged business with another employer would not have immunity. The working paper quite clearly provided immunity for action taken against a first supplier or first customer provided that the tests of capability and motive were met, in the sense that a union could slow down a firm and, therefore, necessarily damage business with a third party. It appears from the new clause that that will not be the case and that the immunity will be restricted to that small part of the business which relates to the firm in dispute. How any union or union official can pick out of thousands the workmen who are engaged directly in supplying the firm in dispute, I do not know.

Mr. Prior

The hon. Gentleman is not right in what he has said as to the effect of the new clause. The consultative document we published was criticised in a number of directions but chiefly because it left the judges so much in the driving seat. That was a common complaint chiefly because it incorporated the tests of extraneous motive and reasonable capability, and also because of the use of the word "substantial".

I believe that the new clause provides a clearer and more effective way of protecting innocent third parties than limiting secondary action to employees of a firm conducting a substantial part of the business, which is what the consultative document said. "Substantial" would have posed very difficult problems of definition and might well have penalised in particular the small firm which could be doing a substantial part of its business with a bigger firm which was engaged in the primary dispute. Therefore, I think it would have penalised the small firm. As for the tests of capability and motive, these are now incorporated in the new clause in a way that we think is simpler and more precise.

In answer to the hon. Gentleman's detailed question, may I say that the clause makes it perfectly plain that the action taken at a first customer or first supplier has to be principally directed towards the primary dispute, and, if it is not but is aimed at other people, whether they be sub-suppliers or other customers of the firm where the secondary action is being taken, it will not have immunity. So it has to be proved that it is principally directed towards the original dispute. That is some tightening up on what we said in the consultative paper.

What we need if we are to achieve success in creating stability is nothing less than a change in behaviour, a movement away from bad practices and everything that encourages them. In Disraeli's phrase, It is not so much to the action of laws as to the influence of manners that we must look. It is not possible to change habits just by changing the law, and nowhere is that more apparent than in industrial relations.

Mr. John Evans (Newton)


Mr. Prior

I have to give way to the Opposition Whip.

4.45 pm
Mr. Evans

I am extemely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. Is not the truth of the situation that, notwithstanding everything the right hon. Gentleman has said this afternoon about this clause making the issue more understandable, it will not be until the clause goes into the courts and the judges define what it means that we shall know exactly what the Government have done?

Mr. Prior

Up to a point that must be true and we cannot get away from it, any more than when the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) put through the 1974 and 1976 Acts, which he thought would keep the judges out of it for ever. He said time and again during the Committee stage "We have got rid of the judges ever having to deal with this matter again." But it still came back to the courts again, and we shall not be able to keep the courts and the judges out of it altogether, but we are making a much clearer definition than seemed likely from the consultative paper. But, of course, we cannot do this as completely as might be liked if it is not just a matter of getting rid of immunities for all action beyond primary disputes.

Having said that we cannot change habits just by changing the law, it is equally true to say that over the years and over the generations the shape of the law comes to influence the shape of behaviour. One question we have to ask ourselves when we consider how conflict in industry has become so deep-rooted is whether the present form of the law as it has stood for 70 or more years has contributed to that conflict.

Certainly the immunities approach has created two strong forces which continually pull against each other. I want to try to take my hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) with me here if I can, and for his benefit I shall repeat that sentence: the immunities approach has created two strong forces which continually pull against each other. On the one hand, the fundamental antipathy to the law and all its works of many in the trade union movement has been fed and nurtured by it. Since their right to exist and to operate has seemed to stem from their holding a position in many senses above the law—[Interruption.] The law has been specially framed to accommodate them, but in many senses they feel that they are above the law. They have tended to view the courts as interfering instruments of repression before which they should never be brought rather than as what the courts are—impartial institutions of justice. That has been the effect on the trade union side of the way in which we have framed immunities over the years.

On the other hand, immunities provoke intolerant responses of severe hostility to unions and trade unionism from much of the rest of the population. For the immunities approach demands maximum understanding and tolerance from those who are the most unfairly disadvantaged by it. The employer whose business is savagely sideswiped by secondary blacking and the customer who is deprived of essential goods and services are expected mildly to accept that their vulnerability is merely an unfortunate consequence of the immunities that trade unions demand. They do not understand and they do not accept.

There is, then, an element of conflict inherent in the immunities approach and it imposes strains on the very fabric of our society. So reconsideration of the immunities approach must be a subject for the Green Paper. Such a review is a necessary element in the wider task of trying to create better industrial relations.

What I have just said is of fundamental importance, because it seems to me that much of the problem that has built up in recent years of strife in industrial relations, where the unions are put against the rest of society and so on, is caused by the fact that as long ago as 1906 we created the concept of immunity. I am quite certain that if we were tackling that today—and that is why I want the Green Paper on it—we would not be going down the immunity route, although we might well be conferring positive rights.

Poor industrial relations are neither necessary nor an inevitable part of our industrial scene. There are many enterprises up and down the land that have never had a strike in living memory. Some of them have taken just as many difficult decisions as their strife-torn counterparts. There have been in the past prolonged periods of industrial peace, as recently as the 1950s and in the difficult circumstances of depression and war. What we have to do is to extend and revive the habits which encourage the avoidance of conflict at every level in our national life. This is an imperative which places a great responsibility on all of those involved in industry and the economy.

Too often, our industrial relations resemble that other feature of our industrial malaise—antiquated and overworked machinery, so that parts overheat through too much friction, leading to a reduced output and occasionally to total seizure and severe and lasting damage.

When a dispute breaks out—sometimes that is unavoidable—the extent of the disruption often seems to be out of all proportion to the grievance. Here the unions hold the responsibility. Is there ever justification for action which endangers life and limb? There are some occupations, particularly in the public services, where virtually any industrial action must carry a risk for the public. But surely it is not beyond those concerned to devise procedures for resolving grievances which can reduce the need for industrial action. Let us hear the TUC view on that. Could the TUC not give stronger guidance on what action it thinks is appropriate in different circumstances?

Employers, too, must discard prejudices about the right to manage and the role of consent. I believe that there are heartening signs that they recognise that fact. Recently we have had examples of work force ballots being held under which management has sought direct support for important decisions. That is surely an important development. In part it is a welcome sign of a new management confidence. But surely it is also an indication that management recognises the need to take employees with it in what it is trying to do.

More work and thought need to be given to how this could be developed. In what circumstances should major decisions be handled in this way? Is it right that ballots should be held only in a crisis? Which issues are appropriate for this sort of treatment? Most sensitive of all perhaps, how is its use to be related to the normal representative machinery of stewards and union officials? These are matters more appropriate to the debates we shall have on other new clauses next week, but once again they show the need for further wide public discussion, particularly where they impinge upon immunities.

I have said before, and I repeat, that I believe that this could well be our last chance to get industrial relations on to a better framework. If we miss that chance, a prize will be lost, the great prize of a better life for all our people.

Reform of industrial relations law is necessary but in itself it is not sufficient. Change is urgently necessary to give people more control over their own lives—to think and act for themselves free from some of the pressures to which they have been subjected for so long. That is the fundamental change we should be looking for in our society, and it could be within our grasp. So the solution is not to be sought only by changes in industrial relations law, important as they are.

The Bill, with this new clause, is an important start. The fundamental improvements in our industrial relations institutions, procedures, attitudes and working practices which we are all seeking will be the work of years, requiring patience and determination. We know in what direction we must go. There is no time to lose in getting started, and it is in that spirit that I commend the new clause to the House.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)

Before I call the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley), I remind the House that together with the proposed new clause we may consider the following amendments to it:

  1. (a), in line 1, after 'in', insert 'either section 14 or in'.
  2. (b), in line 6, after '(3)', insert'), (3A)'.
  3. (c), in line 6, after '(4)', insert ',(4A)'.
  4. (d), in line 16, leave out 'principal' and insert 'a substantial'.
  5. (e), in line 16, leave out 'directly'.
  6. (f), in line 17, after 'services', insert '(including the payment of money)'.
  7. (g), in line 17, leave out 'between' and insert 'to or from.'.
  8. (i), in line 19, after 'relates', insert
  9. (j), in line 21, leave out 'likely' and insert 'genuinely intended'.
  10. (k), in line 22, at end insert—
    1. (a) the employer under the contract of employment to which the secondary action relates is a person who has intervened in a trade dispute in direct support of a party to it; and
    2. (b) the secondary action (together with any corresponding action relating to other contracts of employment with the same employer) was genuinely intended to achieve the purpose of rendering aid or assistance to a party to the trade dispute.'.
  11. (l), in line 24, leave out 'principal' and insert 'a substantial'.
  12. (m), in line 24, leave out 'directly'.
  13. (n), in line 25, after 'services', insert
  14. (o), in line 27, after 'dispute', insert
  15. (p), in line 27, after 'dispute', insert
  16. (q), in line 30, after 'dispute', insert
  17. 1505
  18. (r), in line 32, leave out from 'relates' to 'and' and insert
  19. (s), in line 34, leave out 'likely' and insert 'genuinely intended'.
  20. (t), in line 35, at end insert:
    1. (a) the purpose or substantial purpose of the secondary action was directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods or services (including the payment of money) by or to the employer who was a party to the dispute to or by a person who was the employer under the contract of employment to which the secondary action relates and who is an insurer or an insured person under a scheme or policy of insurance in which the employer party to the dispute participated, directly or indirectly either as insurer or insured, whereby the employer or that person will or may recover all or part of loss caused to him by the trade dispute; and
    2. (b) the secondary action (together with any corresponding action relating to other contracts of employment with the same employer) was genuinely intended to achieve that purpose".'.
    3. (u), in line 36, after 'subsection', insert
      • '(notwithstanding anything in section 15(2) above).'
    4. (w), in line 41, at end insert:—
    5. '(c); or if it is done in the course of attendance at or near a place (other than a residence) in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute by ways of acts to which no criminal liability attaches (whether for obstruction or otherwise) and which are reasonably incidental to action which satisfies the requirements of subsections (3) or (4) above.'.
  21. (x), in line 46, leave out 'directly'.
  22. (y), in line 47, leave out from 'it' to end of line 48 and insert

(aa), in line 52, at end insert provided that a person may not rely upon the provisions of subsection (1) above by reason of an employer's being or not being so represented unless reasonable notice has been given of that fact to the person engaged in the secondary action.

(bb), in line 53, leave out subsection

(cc), in line 53, at end add— (9) No person shall rely upon a failure to satisfy the requirements of subsections (3) or (4) above unless at the time of the secondary action one or more notices, visible to persons attending on the highway near them and attached either to the vehicles or other means of supply or on the premises both of the employer party to the dispute and the person to whom the secondary action relates, stating:

  1. (a) that a trade dispute exists and that the employer named is a party; and
  2. (b) the names of the parties to and a description of the contract on which reliance is placed and which subsists within the meaning of this section, together with the name of any subcontractor; and
  3. (c) in the case of alleged failure to satisfy subsection (4) above:
  4. (i) that the relevant employer is not an associated employer; and
  5. (ii) that the goods or services are not being supplied in substitution within the meaning of paragraph (b) of that subsection; if reliance is placed on either or, as the case may be, both of those parts.".

(dd), in line 53, at end add— (10) No person may rely upon a failure to satisfy the requirements of subsection (5) above unless he has given reasonable notice to the person allegedly engaged upon secondary action that his attendance fails to satisfy the requirements of that subsection (giving the reason therefore); and in the section 'reasonable notice' means such time as may be necessary to enable that person to obtain advice, whether from a trade union or otherwise, concerning the accuracy of that notice.".

(ee), in line 53, at end add— '(11) In the case of an application falling within section 17 of the 1974 Act, a court shall not grant an injunction where the applicant relies upon the provisions of this section unless a reasonable opportunity has been given to the party against whom the injunction is sought to cross examine any person who gives evidence.'.

(ff), in line 53, at end add— '(13) No person may rely upon subsection (1) above unless he is the employer to whom the secondary action relates under subsections (3), (4) or (5), as the case may be.'.

(gg), in line 53, at end add— '(14) No person may rely upon subsection (1) above unless he is party to a contract (other than a contract of employment or a contract for services) of which a breach has occurred or is imminent and which he has the right to rescind by reason of that breach.'.

Government amendment No. 20.

Mr. Eric G. Varley (Chesterfield)

The Secretary of State's speech has demonstrated the complexity of this matter. Perhaps I shall be permitted in a moment or two to go further into that. When the right hon. Gentleman speaks in the House on industrial relations matters, I am amazed at the ambivalence that is shown from the Government side of the House at the love-hate relationship that exists. Invariably, the right hon. Gentleman gets a rough reception. He is always able to produce a speech that is sufficiently provocative and damaging to trade unions and minorities, but he never goes far enough to satisfy the uglier sentiments expressed by his hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen), for Knutsford (Mr. BruceGardyne) and for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), so he always gets the worst of all worlds.

I found it amazing, too, that when my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) asked the Secretary of State how the new clause would affect those who are employed by the Government—the largest employer in the country—the right hon. Gentleman said "I shall have to think about that; I have to get advice about it." That will not do. If we are to debate these matters seriously, it is not good enough that the right hon. Gentleman should not even refer to one of the most important issues and not know about it.

The clause represents a further instalment in the Government's anti-trade union legislation. I do not think that there is anyone on the Government side of the House—hawks, doves or anyone else—who would not say that what is being carried through is anti-trade union. At regular intervals over the past year we have seen a succession of working papers and consultative documents, and now they are all being translated into legislative form. The main aim of the legislation is to weaken trade union or individual workers' rights.

Mrs. Jill Knight (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

If what the right hon. Gentleman is saying is true, how is it that the legislation that is being put through the House, which was clearly set out in our election manifesto, received the backing of a large number of trade unionists?

Mr. Varley

It is stretching imagination very far if the hon. Lady claims that the clause as set out in all its complexities appeared in the Conservative manifesto.

It is clear that the intention of the legislation—I think that I carry the hon. Lady with me on this—is to reduce the bargaining power of the workers through their trade unions. What worries me—it should worry the whole House—is that members and supporters of the Government can sit back and wash their hands of the unparalleled decline that will take place in our economic and industrial fortunes over the next 12 months and concentrate so much of their legislative time and effort on this negative union-bashing.

The Secretary of State and his colleagues would serve the nation much more constructively if they were to devote their energy and drive to winning the support of the trade unions in tackling some of the real problems of the economy—problems of relatively low productivity, inadequate investment and getting the best out of adequate investment where it exists. But no, the reflex action of any new Conservative Government is always "How can we restrict the activities of the trade unions?"

The new clause will take us further down the road towards the type of policy that proved so disastrous for industrial relations when the Conservative Party was last in office, during the period 1970 to 1974. The comments that have been made by Conservative Back Benchers during the past few months were made in the first year of that Conservative Government, but a little later everybody said that that policy had proved disastrous and that there should never be a return to it. The director-general of the Confederation of British Industry said that it had soured and sullied industrial relations. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) should remember that. Exactly the same things were said then.

5 pm

Sir Derek Walker-Smith

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his characteristic courtesy in giving way. Will he spell out more precisely the ground for his belief that granting unlimited immunity down the line to those taking action against companies that are not involved in a dispute will serve the laudable end of promoting production and investment?

Mr. Varley

I should like to come to that in a moment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah!"] All right, I shall take it up now. A chunk of my speech attempts to deal with first customer, first supplier and all the difficulties concerned. It would be more orderly to deal with the subject in the way that I had wanted.

Mr. David Price (Eastleigh)


Mr. Varley

I should like to have a go at the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) before giving way to the hon. Gentleman.

The general philosophy is that if we accept the type of legislation put forward by the Government our economic performance will improve and there will be fewer industrial disputes. However, when the Conservative Party is in power more days are lost through industrial disputes than when the Labour Party is in power. Under the tender ministrations of the Secretary of State for Employment, a record number of working days have been lost. At the last count, about 26 million working days had been lost during the 11 months of this Administration. It is a fallacy to believe that by enacting legislation such as this industrial relations will improve. I give way to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Price).

Mr. David Price

I wish to revert to the right hon. Gentleman's conclusions on his history of the period 1970 to 1974. Surely he will remind the House that the previous Conservative Government failed because of their incomes policy. It was the failure of that incomes policy, not the Industrial Relations Act 1971, that led to the coal miners' strike.

Mr. Varley

I can give the hon. Gentleman the figures, chapter and verse, for the number of working days that were lost when the Conservative Party was in office between 1971 and 1973. I had not intended to do so, but I have been provoked. During that period of three years and eight months, 44.7 million working days were lost. During the four full years that the Labour Party was in office, from 1975 to 1978, 28.8 million working days were lost. During a longer period, half as many working days were lost.

When the Conservative Party was in power, the following major official strikes took place: a postal strike, a gas strike, an electricity strike and two coal miners' strikes. The first coal miners' strike was in 1972, after 46 years of relative industrial peace. There had never before been a nationwide strike.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bethnal Green and Bow)

After a ballot.

Mr. Varley

My hon. Friend is right. In addition, in January of this year we experienced the first national steel strike in the history of that industry. I shall not take the word of Conservative Members that the industrial relations record of the previous Labour Government was bad, because it can be compared with the disastrous record of the Conservative Government. The facts and figures speak for themselves.

The real economic problems of low productivity and of trying to get the best out of existing investment are important. The Government seem prepared to let the economy decline. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave evidence to that effect when he went before the Select Committee. The new clause is extremely complex. It is legalistic and represents a significant change in the proposals set out in February's working paper. The proposals are more stringent than those in the working paper. The repeal of section 13(3) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 will have a profound impact not only on "secondary action", but, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson) said, it may call into question the legality of some types of primary action. We shall be interested to hear the Under-Secretary's remarks on that subject.

The clause attempts to lay down a legal definition of "secondary industrial action". This is a potentially extremely dangerous development. New statutory tests of "motive" and of "objective capability"—which individual action would have to satisfy to attract immunity—would be increased. It is a narrow formula. I am advised that it has never before been tried in English law. As a result, the control of the legality of industrial action will be placed entirely in the hands of the courts and the judges.

There is a new dictum in our language, namely, whoever may lose under Tory industrial relations legislation, the lawyers will always win. I can see the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) licking his lips at the prospect of taking some of this stuff into the courts. No doubt he will make a second fortune. There will be great uncertainty about what action is lawful.

While considering the MacShane case in the House of Lords, Lord Justice Scarman said: It would be a strange and embarrassing task for a judge to be called upon to review the tactics of a party to a trade dispute and to determine whether in the view of the court the tactic employed was likely to further or advance that party's side of the dispute. And the difficulties which have beset the Court of Appeal in their attempt to formulate a test are a persuasive argument for keeping this act of judgment in the industrial arena and out of the judicial forum. It would need very clear statutory language to persuade me that Parliament intended to allow the courts to act as some sort of backseat driver in trade disputes. The language of the new clause is unclear. It puts industrial realtions into the judicial forum. It makes the court some type of back-seat driver, and it will put judges into the driving seat in many industrial disputes. That is indisputable, and the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary will not disagree. By presenting this clause the Secretary of State has totally ignored those facts.

I have already mentioned the repeal of section 13(3) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. No mention was made of that Act in the February working paper. Another major change has been made, namely, the preservation of immunity envisaged by the working paper for inducing a breach of commercial contracts in the event of industrial action by employees of those first suppliers or customers of the employer in dispute who regularly conduct a substantial part of their business with such a party.

That situation has been altered significantly. Although the concept of first supplier or customer has been retained in the new clause, in that action directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods and services must be directed against supplies based on a current contract, the concept of substantial and regular business has been removed. Therefore, secondary action to attract immunity must be aimed at, and likely to achieve, the prevention or disruption of supplies to or from the employer in dispute, or from an associated employer, if acting as an alternative source of supply.

A no less stringent limitation on the nature of industrial action was contained in the working paper. The changes that I have highlighted further demonstrate the steady drift that will make trade union activity much more difficult.

The last major departure from the February working paper that is of tremendous importance to the trade union movement is the Secretary of State's intention to repeal section 13(3) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. Our amendment seeks to delete from the new clause the subsection that proposes that change.

Section 13(3) was inserted to meet a need created by judicial decisions between 1906 and 1974, mentioned in the Donovan report. The problems were these: under section 3 of the Trade Disputes Act 1906, inducing breach of employment contracts in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute was protected, but inducing breach of commercial contracts was not. After Thomson v. Deakin in 1952 it became clear that even "indirect" inducement of breach of commercial contract was a tort if the "means" used to effect that breach was unlawful; for example, inducing breach of employment contracts.

If, however, the inducement of breach of employment contracts was protected under section 3 of the 1906 Act, was it still "unlawful means" for the purpose of indirect inducement of breach of commercial contract, for example, calling out lorry drivers in a trade dispute to prevent supplies reaching an employer contractually entitled to receive them? Before 1974 the judges were divided. Some said "Yes" and others "No". By 1970 the legal position was obscure. In 1974 one judge said that under the 1906 Act the majority view was that there was liability.

There was a further question. Was the breach of employment contract by each worker, for example, lorry drivers, "unlawful means", quite apart from the inducement of that breach by the union official? That point was little discussed, but certain remarks made by judges in cases between 1950 and 1970 raised doubt and a distinct possibility that such a breach might, in the eyes of some judges, render illegal the organisation of industrial action that interfered with commercial contracts.

That was why my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot), as Secretary of State for Employment, included subsection 13(3) in the 1974 Act and strengthened that subsection in 1976. The repeal of the subsection might open up new liabilities for trade union officials and members. It may be a time bomb and bring within the consideration of the court primary industrial action. I hope that the Minister will tell us whether that is so.

5.15 pm

In trade disputes such as those we are discussing, employers may move to obtain an injunction, which is theoretically an interim proceeding before a court. The Government, the trade union and those seeking the injunction know that a full trial rarely takes place. The complainant wants only the interim injunction. An important feature of such proceedings is that they are dealt with speedily by the courts. However, judges have regard not only to the factors that I have mentioned but to the "balance of convenience". That is a crucial decision in the discretion of the courts whether to grant the injunction. The "balance of convenience" nearly always goes against the trade union. Under the new clause, it will be easier for employers to obtain injunctions against working people involved in industrial action.

Failure to obey an injection is a contempt of court, for which the normal sanction is imprisonment, a fine or both. As far as I can remember, over the past few years all the injunctions have been obeyed by trade union leaders, and I expect that that will be so in future. However, if they are not obeyed, the sanction could be imprisonment, a fine or both. I hope that the services of that obscure functionary, the Official Solicitor, will not be required when the Bill becomes law.

We have tabled amendment (ee) because of our concern about interim injunctions. If the Bill becomes law, it will be far easier for employers to proceed to obtain injunctions to restrain workers or their representatives from organising or conducting certain forms of industrial action. The granting of injunctions is intended to maintain the status quo, pending a full trial. However, as I said, few cases at present proceed that far.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith

What evidence does the right hon. Gentleman have for his assertion that the balance of convenience test that the courts use with regard to granting an interlocutory injunction tends to operate against trade unions? The right hon. Gentleman cited MacShane, where precisely the reverse applied. Mr. Justice Lawson granted the plaintiffs an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, members of the NUJ. Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that it will necessarily go against the trade unions when it is a test that courts apply not only in these matters but in any application for an injunction?

Mr. Varley

I do not have chapter and verse for all the cases that have been before the courts. One tends to think of the more important cases. In the first instance injunctions were refused in MacShane and in Duport v. Sirs, but those decisions were reversed in the Court of Appeal. Fortunately, Duport v. Sirs was heard quickly by the House of Lords.

The Secretary of State is trying to make the law into what the Court of Appeal believed it was. People are scathing about section 13(3) of the 1974 Act, but there has been no ambiguity. When cases have gone to the House of Lords, it has always supported my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale. It can be argued that the House of Commons has a perfect right to try to draw up the law in the way that it wants. However, it is foolish to suggest that my right hon. Friend has been wrong all along. His intention has always been perfectly clear and has been supported by the highest court in the land.

Mr. Prior: The right hon. Gentleman is missing the point. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) would be the first to admit that he was seeking to remove any impediment whatever to immunities, however far they stretched. That was the intention of Parliament at the time. In fact, despite that intention there were still a number of cases coming to the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The House of Lords, in its judgment, said that it was a purely subjective test—that whatever a trade union leader might think, and however remote it might he from the original dispute, it was just a matter of whether he honestly believed that it would have some effect on the dispute. That is an easy position. There are two easy positions—the one adopted by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale in the 1974 Act and the second one, which is to restrict immunities to primary action. However, when one tries to be balanced and fair between those two positions, one gets into difficulties.

Mr. Varley

I understand the point that the Secretary of State makes, but with the position that he has now reached it is more likely that cases will go before the courts and, as Lord Justice Scarman said, the judges will then be in the driving seat. I do not know whether the House of Commons really wants that. Certainly I do not want it, nor do my hon. Friends. The Conservatives might want it, but the result could be as I have described.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

I take up the point raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), who asked what grounds there were for supposing that the balance of convenience would normally lie against trade unions. Obviously, it is the practice of the courts to preserve the status quo, and the easiest course is to say "Stop the strike and stop the picketing until the issue has been resolved." But the point about picketing is that employers will be liable to pursue the action for damages, and we shall return to the Taff Vale situation in which an employer has an incentive to go against the trade union official and sue him for hundreds of thousands of pounds—sometimes millions—by way of damages for losses caused by holding up the production of one company for a relatively short time. Therefore, a union will have to indemnify its employees, thereby bankrupting itself. That is the danger inherent in the Bill. I do not believe that the Government seriously intend that to happen, but that is what the Bill provides.

Mr. Varley

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that explanation. I cannot put it as well as he can with his legal mind and approach. That is what I feel in my bones. I feel that that is the way in which we will drift—cases will come before the courts and industrial relations will not be assisted; they will be damaged.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

May I suggest that it is at least conceivable that precisely the opposite argument could be advanced? There are some of us who are concerned that the legislation, far from leading to actions for damages, will lead to injunctions which might not be observed and which will have the consequence of putting people in prison. There may well be a much better argument for proceeding by way of actions for damages against union funds, which, as the latest figures show, are spent mainly on administration and not for the benefit of members at all. I believe that 70 per cent. of these funds go on administration.

Mr. Varley

I understand the hon. Member's first point, and I fear that, too. I am afraid that someone will finish up in gaol as a result of this legislation. That will not assist industrial relations; it will sour them all over again. In that way we shall miss all the industrial and economic objectives that even the Government want to achieve.

I am told that the granting of injunctions will bring about this balance of convenience to preserve the status quo—

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Varley

I shall give way first to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Accrington and later to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.

Mr. Arthur Davidson

Before leaving the question of "balance of convenience", may I suggest that the danger is that when a judge decides whether to grant an interim injunction it will be very easy to see the disadvantages to the plaintiff—or the employer—because they are tangible? On the other hand, the advantages, or disadvantages, to the union are intangible, and therefore to some extent the tendency of judges will be to grant the injunction for those reasons. Once an interim injunction has been granted, that is all that is needed—the strike is effectively stopped.

Mr. Varley

That was what I meant by saying that this would work against the trade unions.

Mr. Budgen

I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would expand a little further on his preference for the injunction rather than the action for damages. In the past, at the time of the Taff Vale judgment, the unions were weak and poor. Today they are strong and rich. Would it not be preferable if a firm, which would suffer substantial financial loss, were able to take action against union funds so that there should be some mutuality in the damage suffered by the two sides to the dispute?

Mr. Varley

The hon. Member has anticipated my next argument. I know that his argument has been used before, namely, that the purpose of this legislation is to shift the balance of power.

I return to the balance of convenience and preservation of the status quo. At present, that means that very few cases proceed to trial. The procedure is quick and it works against the trade unions. They are taken to court at extremely short notice, having had very little time to prepare their evidence, and they are always at a disadvantage when this kind of judicial control is exercised. The balance of convenience in labour injunctions effectively means giving the employer the benefit of the doubt.

The purpose of our amendment (ee) is to place a duty on the court to ensure that a reasonable opportunity is given to a party against whom an injunction is sought to cross-examine any person who gives evidence when seeking an injunction.

The next amendment to which I refer is our amendment (cc). The purpose of the new clause is to try to draw the line between industrial action taken in an industrial dispute by workers of suppliers and customers who have contracts with the employer involved in the primary dispute, and employees who work for a firm and who do not have a current contract with the firm where the primary dispute exists.

Industrial action often takes place in a highly charged atmosphere. It is traditional that workers in a dispute should look to workers in other factories for help and solidarity. Labour relations at a firm may have been good for decades. Indeed, there are cases of workers who have never been on strike in their lives. That was the case with the miners in 1972 and the steel workers before January of this year. Over the decades there has been industrial peace in large sections of British industry.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have never been on strike in their lives. At the same time, they may come into a strike situation. Hundreds of thousands of customers and suppliers may be involved. How are the people in the dispute to know which firm has a contract with a supplier or a customer? Our amendment (cc) says that notices giving this information should be posted on vehicles or premises stating clearly the description of the contract and the name of the subcontractor. That is the least that can be done, and I hope that the Minister will accept the amendment.

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I have highlighted only a few of what I believe are the far-reaching implications of the new clause and its damaging impact on industrial relations. The right to strike and to take other forms of industrial action is a fundamental right in our society. But the exercising of this right should be regarded as a measure of last resort and used responsibly. No one should imagine that workers do not suffer hardship—I come to the point mentioned by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West—when industrial action is taken. Strikes result in a loss of earnings and a dramatic drop in workers' living standards.

The earnings lost in a prolonged strike may take months or years to recover, even if the strike is successful. A misleading and erroneous notion has grown up, perpetuated by the Tory press, that the dominant power is with the trade unions. But the power of employers grows every day. It is represented in complex financial, commercial and associated company agreements. Employers will look at this new clause to see how they can draw up these financial, commercial and associated company agreements in order to exploit the Bill. Anyone with experience as a Minister knows the difficulty even for Governments to have any impact on multinational companies. Some multinational companies are more powerful than Governments.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

Not yet.

Mr. Varley

I am not so sure. The task of some trade unions in making an impact in that situation is enormous. The proposal that we are discussing today marks a further defeat, in my judgment, for the approach with which the Secretary of State originally started out. The right hon. Gentleman has had tremendous battles in the Cabinet to try to avoid a confrontation with the trade union movement.

The Secretary of State is fighting and trying to put up a spirited defence against some of the tactics of his colleagues in the Government and some of his hon. Friends sitting on the Conservative Benches. He is fighting a rearguard action, even if it is a devious rearguard action, against the Prime Minister. While the right hon. Lady publicly insults the right hon. Gentleman, the right hon. Gentleman briefs selected journalists, privately, against her. While the Prime Minister makes speeches demonstrating how little confidence she has in the proposals that the right hon. Gentleman lays before the House, he marshals support for himself by seeking to prove that the Employment Bill is much tougher than his Conservative critics claim.

Reading the press these days in an effort to interpret the Prime Minister's moves and the Secretary of State's counter-moves requires all the skills of a Kremlinologist. When The Daily Telegraph attacks the Secretary of State for being a push-over for the unions, the counter-move is a letter in The Times by a senior Conservative Back Bencher defending the Secretary of State on secondary action by saying that the proposals are "by no means lenient." Such a letter appeared on 8 April. The signature was that of the hon. Member for Howden (Sir P. Bryan), but the language bears all the hallmarks of a Department of Employment draft. I cannot believe that the hon. Member for Howden would go into this kind of complexity or even take the trouble.

When last month, at the Tory Party central council in Bournemouth, the Prime Minister indulged in some of her instant policy making on trade union matters, the Secretary of State demonstrated his disapproval in two ways. First, as reported in a number of newspapers, he ostentatiously refrained from applauding. Next he called in some of his journalistic friends and gave them a piece of his mind. It is easy to imagine that his conversation with Mr. James Wightman, political correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, led that journalist to write: It is an indication of the shortage of empathy between Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Prior on union reforms that he did not know what she was going to say on the subject and was not sure what she meant when she had said it. That is true. The kind of speech that the Prime Minister made at Bournemouth is a stab in the back for the Secretary of State. It is the sort of disloyalty to a senior colleague that inspires Tory Back Benchers such as the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn), who I do not see in his place, the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne), the hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend) and the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Colvin) to put down new clauses that are highly embarrassing to the Secretary of State for Employment. We shall presumably debate these new clauses next Tuesday. The right hon. Gentleman knows that he will have to argue against them. What a task that represents, when the Prime Minister is actually using her own Back Benchers against the Secretary of State for Employment. I give the right hon. Gentleman an assurance that if the hon. Member for Winchester wishes to pursue his new clause on Tuesday and the payroll vote is not sufficient to vote it down, I may be able to pursuade one or two of my hon. Friends to support him.

Mr. Prior

Generally when I reply to remarks of that sort by the right hon. Gentleman I get into more trouble than when I keep my seat, but on this occasion I thank him very much. He is being a great help to me.

Mr. Varley

That was my intention. I should much prefer the Conservative Government to go, but if the right hon. Gentleman, at some stage, is to take over from the Prime Minister, I do not mind one bit. We shall get the right hon. Gentleman in time at the next general election, but I shall give him all the support that I can on matters of this kind. I wish, however, that he would deplore the stabs in the back that he gets from the Prime Minister that make life much more difficult for him among his Back Benchers.

The tactics of the Secretary of State for Employment are worthy of R. A. Butler at his most oblique. We know what happened to R. A. Butler. When it came to the crunch, he always gave way. The Secretary of State is constantly giving way to the confronters in the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman cannot defeat them by planted letters in The Times. He cannot defeat them by planted stories in The Daily Telegraph. His only hope of beating them and winning a victory for common sense is by fighting and winning battles where they count, in the Cabinet.

The proposal that we are debating marks a further defeat for the Secretary of State in the Cabinet. By voting against the new clause and voting for our amendments, we shall support the Secretary of State in what he wants to do. I believe that he still wants common sense in industrial relations. However, there is a danger that he is drifting into a situation in which he will receive the unremitting hostility of the trade unions, in which the unions will break all links and in which industrial relations will be entirely sour. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will start to fight in the Cabinet and ensure that he does not have to put up with the sort of insults that he has accepted this afternoon.

Mr. Michael Shaw (Scarborough)

I trust that you will excuse me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I return to speaking about the new clause which is the subject of the debate. Let us put away any wooden spoons with which we may wish to stir the pot.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) in describing the new clause as complicated. I should have welcomed a general Second Reading discussion on the clause. That would have enabled us to hear the views, interpretations and reasons of my right hon. Friend and given us an opportunity to reflect before deciding whether amendments were called for. The new clause covers a wide and important area.

I acknowledge the tremendous work that my right hon. Friend has done on trade union affairs and in leading the Bill. I am the more sorry that I cannot agree with him entirely or accept the speed at which he is moving. Contrary to what the right hon. Member for Chesterfield has said, I believe that my right hon. and hon. Friends are all seeking to go in the same direction. Surely it is significant that my right hon. Friend admitted that we are dealing with a complicated subject. It is significant that he felt it right to produce a working paper and to seek the views of everyone on that paper. What is the point of seeking views on working papers if those views are not taken into account?

Some of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield were nonsense. They appeared to be designed purely to try, in a rather puerile way, to stir up things among my right hon. and hon. Friends. There is little danger of that happening. I take up a comment made by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight), who is not in her place. At the general election, countless numbers of trade unionists supported the Conservative Party in what it was seeking to do. They believed in what our policy was stated to be on picketing and on other such action in the manifesto. They still believe in that policy. The difficulty is that in talking about picketing, especially secondary picketing, there is no doubt that the term has been used loosely. I have found that those who talk about secondary picketing are often talking about secondary action of all sorts.

There is considerable substance in that approach. In principle, the various secondary actions should be taken in the same way, although the practical details must allow for variations. I should like the principle that has been adopted on secondary picketing on clause 15 to apply to all secondary action. I should like to see the same treatment throughout, although I recognise that a specific exception could be made of associated companies.

I welcomed the working paper. I did not seek to make any secrecy of my views. I raised the issue with my right hon. Friend. I told him bluntly that I felt that the main conclusions would, if implemented, cause many innocent parties to a dispute to be injured without redress. Many others seemed to arrive at that conclusion. They stated their view firmly.

5.45 pm

I admire my right hon. Friend for taking into account the various representations. As a result he has produced a new clause. He rightly said in the press release of 3 April that its purose was to draw back immunity to a reasonable and satisfactory line. Obviously, I regard the new clause as being an improvement on the suggestions and proposals made in paragraphs 17 and 18 of the working paper. However, I do not consider the clause to be the final answer. I am more than ever convinced that by seeking to apply different principles between secondary picketing and other secondary action we are creating the very problems that we are seeking to resolve.

In my judgment, the clause as it stands will not protect all innocent third parties. It will leave the law on this subject far from clear. I took with a pinch of salt noises from behind me to the effect that it is quite normal to have unclear law and that that is why we have lawyers. Perhaps that is what lawyers are for, but we do not want to encourage them. Let us get it right if we can.

As I understand it, any firm that has a contract to supply or to receive goods or services to or from another firm that is in dispute with its employees runs the risk of its own employees being forced to take industrial action that will damage trade not only with the firm in dispute but with other third party firms, as well as causing damage to its own trading position. However, that firm may have no quarrel with its employees. Its employees may be reluctant to take action but may be urged by strong means to do so. Under the clause, such a firm would have no redress.

Mr. Prior

My hon. Friend cannot say that.

Mr. Shaw

I honestly believe that to be the case. My right hon. Friend stated on the second page of his press statement: The subject of immunities is a complicated issue and one that much public discussion shows to be widely misunderstood at present. The Green Paper that we are to publish later in the year can have an important part to play in improving understanding and in providing the basis for an informed public debate, in which I hope that many people and organisations will take part. It is clear from my right hon. Friend's words that the discussion is to continue. It is clear that on that basis the new clause may be regarded as an improvement on the old working paper proposals.

I should like to ask my right hon. Friend three questions. Does he accept that, because of the complicated nature of the secondary action that he has described, the new clause should not be regarded as a final, unalterable position? Secondly, after the informed debate that my right hon. Friend has referred to, will he feel free to bring forward furthur changes in the law if he feels that they are necessary? Thirdly, does he still accept, as a basis for such informed public debate, the clear and entirely reasonable assurance given in our manifesto that we shall ensure that the protection of the law is available to those not concerned in a dispute who at present can suffer severely from secondary action?

My right hon. Friend said in his opening speech that we must not reburnish our prejudices. I agree. Whatever may be alleged by the Opposition, we are not seeking to reburnish our prejudices. I regard the trade union movement as one of the great powers of the land, but, like other great powers, trade unions are subject to the law and it is right that from time to time the law should be looked at and changed in the light of changing circumstances.

It cannot be right to regard trade unions as outwith the law.

Mr. John Evans

They are not outwith the law. They never have been.

Mr. Shaw

They are regarded as being exceptions in many cases. We still accept them as they were—weak and needing help, which is how they started. Now, they are strong and at least equal to all the other forces in the country. They must be treated as equal and as important parts of our constitution. Their constitutions and the law relating to them must be subject to the same sort of review that we give to other institutions. It is on that basis that I judge the new clause and the Bill.

Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)

I hope that the hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Shaw) will forgive me if I do not pursue his line of argument, though I was intrigued by his plea to the Secretary of State to introduce immediately another Bill to strengthen the provisions of the Bill before us, which is one of many instalments in the attempt to restore the industrial climate to that which existed at the time of the Industrial Relations Act 1971.

The purpose of the new clause is to restrict the rights of trade unions to picket. They have had those rights since the 1875 Act and the restrictions will bring the law into disrepute. In 1875 the unions had the right to appoint pickets to interview individuals outside their workplace for the purpose of giving information about the dispute in question. That right was continued in the 1906 Act and has been continued ever since.

We should like to hear from the Secretary of State some justification for changing a law that has worked well for more than 100 years. We are told that there is a public demand for the introduction of the Bill and for measures to restrict secondary picketing. Of course, that argument was used in debates on the 1971 Act. The Government spokesman, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that there was a public demand for trade union power to be restricted, and that was why he was introducing the Bill.

The revulsion of trade unionists against that Act was so great that the Tories were swept from office in 1974 and they gave a solemn pledge that they would never reintroduce the 1971 Act, which, incidentally, contained no references to picketing. Apparently there was no problem in 1971.

Instead of sudden death, the trade union movement is now facing death by a thousand cuts. The Bill is a further instalment of the restriction of the rights of trade unionists to take action and to picket not only their place of employment but places involved indirectly in industrial disputes. Those rights were established 100 years ago.

The new clause is so complicated that it should have been debated in Committee and not on the Floor of the House. We all know what happened. There was a dispute in the Cabinet between the wets and the hawks on how far the Bill should go. At first, the clause was left out and we spent many weary hours in Committee discussing a phantom clause. It has been dragged in at this stage, but it is one of the cardinal features of this repressive legislation.

I was interested to hear the Secretary of State quote Lord Donovan in support of his view that secondary picketing needed to be curbed. I should like to quote the Donovan Commission on this issue. Its report said: Where a strike occurs it is obviously in the interests of the strikers to dissuade, if they can, other workmen from replacing them and customers of the employer from dealing with him while the strike continues. This involves that such other workmen and such customers must know that a strike is taking place and the men's side of the case. The report also said, on secondary picketing, acknowledging the frequency of persuasion of customers: "most persons … regard it as legitimate. In our opinion"— the law— should be amplified so as to make such peaceful persuasion lawful. Lord Donovan meant that pickets should have the right to stop lorries, interview drivers and acquaint them with the nature of a dispute before the vehicles went into a factory. The Donovan Commission came down on the side of giving further immunities to those engaged in industrial disputes and not of restricting their immunities. It was disgraceful for the Secretary of State to quote—out of context, I am sure—a speech made by Lord Donovan in another place. Lord Donovan's view is plainly set out in his report.

There is bound to be confusion in the minds of pickets and trade union leaders about what the law says. It is so complicated that it is bound to lead to aggravation and confrontation and to matters being referred to the courts.

6 pm

The purpose of the Bill is to make trade union law a perquisite not of the House but of the judiciary, which will define the law as it has done in the past. When Parliament has passed legislation, the judiciary has attempted to get its teeth into that legislation and to alter it. Consequently, the law is changed without Parliament being consulted.

I was interested to read recently that Winston Churchill, when Home Secretary, once remarked: It is not good for trade unions that they should be brought into contact with the courts, and it is not good for the courts. Where class issues are involved, it is impossible to pretend that the courts command the same degree of general confidence. There is no doubt that trade unions will confront authority because of their ignorance of this complicated law. The Bill, and especially the new clause, will help to bring the law into disrepute. I noted that the Secretary of State said that it was not merely a question of penalising individuals or trade unions financially, and that if an injunction were granted it would bring a strike to an end. Will it? Our experience leads us to believe that that will not happen.

We all know the history of the Industrial Relations Act 1971. We have all heard of the five dockers who disobeyed the order of the court and were imprisoned. The TUC then threatened a general strike. Hastily, the Official Solicitor was found, whose main job is to deal with lunatics and people who are insane. He was brought to the prison and the five dockers were released. I hope that the Secretary of State has the telephone number of the Official Solicitor on his desk, because the Government have to go some way to find a way out of this dilemma.

If the courts decide to confront the trade union movement, not only to embarrass it but to interfere fundamentally with trade union activities, there is bound to be difficulty. The law will be brought into disrepute because the Conservative Government are introducing new procedures into a law that has worked perfectly smoothly for the past 100 years.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fletcher) speaks with much knowledge and sincerity on this matter, but may I ask him two short questions? First, when he speaks of the courts confronting trade unions, is not the truth of the matter that the British Parliament will have arrived at a conclusion and the courts will merely be applying the conclusion? It is surely a matter of others—in this case perhaps some trade unionists—confronting the law and the courts having to take a decision. I am sure that that would be the hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the facts, knowing his experience.

Secondly, what are the hon. Gentleman's views? However much he may regret this legislation, I hope that he is not placing his experience and authority behind the proposition that it is right for trade unionists to disobey the law if they disagree with it.

Mr. Fletcher

I do not agree with the first proposition of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths). I can give a personal illustration. It may be recalled that I sought to introduce a Private Member's Bill to amend the Employment Protection Act to bring the law into what was the original intention of Parliament. Judges unfortunately do not read the speeches of Ministers. They put their own interpretations on the law, which in my view are politically prejudiced. Consequently, there is much contempt for judges' rules, which often override the opinions expressed by Members of Parliament.

Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

Is not my hon. Friend understating the position? Does he recall that Lord Denning, in order to reach a judgment, insisted on reading into the Employment Protection Act words that the House had debated, voted upon and specifically left out of the Act?

Mr. Fletcher

I thank my right hon. Friend for that interpretation, which is relevant to my point. The other question that the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds asked was what would be my position with regard to the law. If I had been alive at the time of the Tolpuddle martyrs, I would have been on their side and against the law. It depends on the circumstances. Law reform has been achieved only by agitators who have defied the law. I do not agree that an unjust law should be upheld whatever the circumstances. As a parliamentarian, I would do my best to amend the law to bring it into line with what I thought it should be.

The idea of the clause is based on a misreading of the present political climate. The Conservative manifesto said that there was an increasing use of intimidation on picket lines, whether directly through the threat of physical violence or indirectly through the threat of loss of union membership, and as a consequence, of jobs. That is absolutely untrue. There has not been an increase in violence on the picket lines. When violence has occurred the criminal law has been found adequate to deal with it, whether it be on the picket lines or anywhere else. There has not been a radical change since the passing of the Industrial Relations Act 1971, a comprehensive measure that left picket law undisturbed.

I have here a quotation from a book that was published in 1890, called "Conflicts of Capital and Labour", written by Mr. Cornforth, a Right-wing trade union leader, at a time when Tom Mann and other militants were leading the trade union movement. Mr. Cornforth was a Liberal, and this is what he wrote: Hundreds of strikes, with the usual practice of picketing, occur, to which public attention is never drawn; they are not of sufficient importance to attract a crowd of reporters anxious to chronicle every fact which tells against the workmen. Such strikes sometimes result in favour of the men, other times in favour of the masters; picketing is resorted to in most cases, but the public hear nothing about the alleged evils of the system, Why? Because they seldom take place. But let one single instance of coercion or undue influence be resorted to, and the entire newspaper press will record the fact, not infrequently colouring it so as to distort its real nature and significance. That was written in 1890 and it is still applicable. The press is biased towards trade unions and every tiny incident is magnified, and sometimes invented, to discredit the trade union movement.

I do not suggest for one moment that violence does not occur when tempers are lost on the picket line, but the criminal law is adequate and can deal with it—indeed, it deals very viciously with trade unionists. I can remember the Shrewsbury pickets, for example, one of whom was given three years on a charge of conspiracy for a punch-up which, had it happened outside a public house on a Saturday night, might have resulted in the offender receiving 28 days. But that man was a trade unionist and he was sent down for three years. So let us not imagine that the law does not intervene when violence is used on the picket lines.

Violence is the excuse for introducing this clause on secondary picketing. The Government are telling the trade unions that they will be allowed to strike and to picket provided that the strikes and the picket lines are not effective. That is the effect of the clause.

I predict that the Bill will end up in the dustbin of history, just as the 1971 Act did. It will cause much acrimony and unpleasantness in the meantime. It is no good appealing to the Government to withdraw the Bill. They must learn the lesson the hard way, as they did in 1974.

Mr. David Madel (Bedfordshire, South)

I am pleased to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fletcher) since we sat for many hours in Committee. However, I do not agree that this carefully thought-out Bill will go into the dustbin of history. It is nothing like as controversial as the 1971 Act. Much more time has been spent on consultation. The hon. Member gives a false impression of what the trade unionists think of the various provisions, including those contained in the new clause, when he says that it is doomed before the ink is dry.

I welcome the new clause. Much consultation took place with industry before it was drafted. On the whole, industry has made a helpful and thoughtful response. The clause should not come as any surprise, because in 1974 and 1976 we said that the way in which the current legislation was drafted made the immunities too wide, that it resulted in some industrial disputes becoming out of control and that it brought in people who were not parties to them.

The clause is a response to those who have been affected and who feel that they might be affected if the Bill is left without the new clause. I accept that the right to strike remains. That is a fundamental right in any democracy. I accept that once a strike takes place it causes hardship and that it takes time to repair the damage. That should act as a constant incentive to management and unions to ensure that such disputes do not occur again.

When the Bill is passed, there will be an enhanced role for codes of practice. I look to both the Secretary of State and ACAS to produce codes of practice on how strikes and other industrial action should be conducted. They are able to hear representations from both sides of industry before drawing up codes of practice. The idea that we are proposing something which is rigid and permanent is wrong. People will have endless opportunities to make suggestions about how the new clause and the Bill might be amended.

The question of employers being part of a group and, therefore, subject to immunity when there is secondary action must be discussed. The provision involves not only firms in this country but subsidiaries and wholly- or partly-owned firms operating in Europe. Immunity is granted for secondary action to a firm owned by a company involved in a dispute. That means that there can be blacking or a refusal to unload goods at a port or nearby if a firm seeks to import goods from a subsidiary on the Continent. That position should be clarified, because in the last four or five years many firms have invested in Europe. A whole chunk of British industry is interdependent on Continental firms.

6.15 pm

Subsection (5)(b) of the new clause states that there is immunity for a trade union official whose attendance is lawful by virtue of subsection (1)(b)"— of the 1974 Act. The question of the president of a trade union being able to attend was raised in Committee. I understand that that is fully covered in the new clause. I am glad that it is specified that a trade union official will be immune from injunction or damages from secondary action under the clause. That proves that we are not conferring a right but restricting immunity—but not so that trade union officials or presidents of unions cannot attend in order to take part in a secondary action.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) asked whether we were satisfied about what we mean by a person being party to a dispute. Whether an employer is party to a trade dispute is central in determining whether the industrial action is secondary but covered by the immunity, or is secondary and is not covered by the limits of the new clause. The determination of whether an employer is party to a dispute also determines whether the industrial action itself is primary. In present law we do not fully define a party to a dispute. I am not sure whether we need to.

Subsection (3)(b) of the new clause refers to "corresponding action". The new clause states: the secondary action (together with any corresponding action relating to other contracts of employment with the same employer) was likely to achieve that purpose. I am not sure what is meant by "corresponding action". I take it that secondary action includes blacking, working to rule and going slow. The words "corresponding action" stand out. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend the Minister will deal with this.

Subsection (7) of the new clause refers to employers who are represented by an employers' association. What happens if a dispute occurs between employers and employees when only some of the employers covered by an employers' association get involved in a dispute? What happens if industrial action is encouraged by employees involved in the dispute who try to widen it to employees whose employers are not involved in the dispute although they are all covered by the same association? I am sure that that issue is clear to the Government, but it is not clear to firms which are covered by employers' organisations and which seek guidance on whether this kind of secondary action is covered by immunity.

Amendment (cc) was referred to by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley). It requires that people involved in secondary action should display on vehicles to persons attending on the highway that a dispute exists, the names and parties to the dispute and a description of goods. It is a helpful and genuine attempt to be more specific, but I am not sure whether it should be put into law. The suggestion is an obvious candidate for inclusion in a code of practice drawn up by the Secretary of State or ACAS on the conduct of industrial disputes and the way in which industrial action should be taken.

I have raised only three or four points of detail. I, together with all my hon. Friends who are laymen, find the new clause complicated. Certainly, the right hon. Member for Chesterfield found it so. He spent much of his speech talking about such matters as investment and planning rather than directing himself to the 53 lines of the new clause.

It is impossible for any Government permanently to legislate on industrial relations. We may not have the new clause absolutely right. But, as I see it, it is not a threat or an attack on the trade unions. There is a choice between total immunity or immunity restricted to primary action. If one chooses either of those, one is paving the way for a big destabilisation of industrial relations. The evidence that has come from firms, especially small firms, and from trade unions is that the Government should strive for the middle way and achieve a balance between what is secondary action that should be covered by immunity, and what is not.

If Parliament exists for no other reason, it must surely exist as a corrective mechanism. It is obvious from legislation passed in 1974 and 1976 that the immunities were drawn too wide.

I welcome the statement of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that there will be a Green Paper on the future of immunities. That will take some time. It may be about two years before we could move beyond a Green Paper to legislation. Meanwhile, the existing law and the clauses of the Bill give ACAS and the Secretary of State the power to bring forward codes of practice on the conduct of industrial disputes.

I have mentioned amendment (cc) and how I think that that is a candidate for a code of practice. There are other lines in subsections of the new clause that would benefit also from codes of practice. The balance of the clause is about right. I do not think that we shall improve industrial relations matters either to have total immunity or to have immunity only for primary action. The clause is a brave and honest attempt to strike the right balance. I hope that the House will pass the clause.

Mr. Crowther

I am afraid that the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Madel), whose moderation in these matters is well known, is taking far too optimistic a view. I think that his confidence will turn out to be grossly misplaced. Without any doubt, very serious damage will be caused to industrial relations in the future not only by the clause but by the whole Bill. It is a thoroughly bad new clause, which is being inserted into an extremely bad Bill.

The working paper produced in February was bad enough. The Secretary of State, under some pressure, I thought, finally agreed that his new clause was a great deal more restrictive, in terms of immunities, than was his working paper. I go further than that. I say that it does not merely produce a change in the degree of restriction; it changes the whole complexion of the proposals in the working paper, for a reason that I shall try to explain. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman tried to play down the difference. We should not do that. There is a major difference if his interpretation of the new clause is correct.

The right hon. Gentleman said that action that disrupts or prevents business with a third party will not be subject to immunity. That is the vital point. I took a note of the right hon. Gentleman's comment at that stage. Under the terms of the working paper, it is clear that that sort of action would have retained its immunity if it were incidental to action which was ipso facto immune, if that is the right expression, in the sense that it was directly preventing the supply of goods to a firm in dispute. It is almost impossible for a trade union or a group of workers to engage in secondary action without some incidental damage to business with a third party.

If we are to accept the view that that sort of damage will not be immune, it is making it almost impossible for trade unions to take the traditional action for workers in dispute, namely, to try to cut off supplies to their employer. There is nothing immoral about that. The Government appear to be saying that it is not immoral but is a quite acceptable practice. However, half of the Government Back Benchers do not agree with them on that point.

We need to clarify the matter, if it is possible to do so. Perhaps at a later stage we shall hear the views of the Under-Secretary on it. Otherwise, we shall leavë yet another matter to be decided by the courts. The whole story of the Committee stage of the Bill consisted of the Opposition being told over and over again by the Government "Well, that is a matter that will have to be decided by the courts." At every stage we were told that they did not know what things meant and that the courts would have to decide the matter in due course.

I am afraid that we are running into the same problem with the new clause. No doubt we shall cause more dismay to Lord Scarman, who, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) said, made a sensible comment on the matter when he expressed his concern. Quite clearly, we shall push more and more decision making in industrial relations into the area of the courts. I do not think that we shall serve any useful purpose by doing that.

I shall give the House an example. The words directly to prevent or disrupt the supply appear in the new clause. How directly is "directly"? The words "principal purpose" appear also. How principal is a "principal purpose"? When trade union workers take action that prevents or disrupts the supply of goods to a firm with which they are in dispute, or with which their trade union colleagues are in dispute, if the supply is prevented, it is prevented. There is no such thing as directly prevented, is there? It is either prevented or it is not prevented. However, the clause states that if the secondary action was directly to prevent the supply, that would be all right.

If the direct preventing were part of an action which directly prevented something else at the same time, would that still be immune, or would it no longer be immune? There is clearly a difference between "directly" and "exclusively"—and it certainly does not say "exclusively" in the clause. That is a matter that will need to be clarified.

I am concerned that we are pushing more and more of the decision-making into the hands of learned judges who are not, after all, experienced in industrial relations. It would be far more sensible if we were to reverse the course upon which the Government have embarked and try to return to a position where decisions in these matters are made by people sitting around a table, namely, experienced trade unionists and experienced employer representatives who, in the end, usually manage to work out a more sensible solution than any that has yet emerged from the Court of Appeal in any one case.

I do not wish to take up a great deal of time. I am grateful for the opportunity to comment briefly on the new clause. Together with my right hon. and hon. Friends, I have spent almost 100 hours in Committee fighting the Bill. Let there be no doubt that we are utterly opposed to the whole of the Bill. We are strongly opposed to a new clause that, as I have said, makes a bad Bill even worse.

Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)

I am sorry to have to say that my support for the new clause is half-hearted, because I think that it goes only half as far as it should do. That does not mean to say that I shall not support it in the Lobby this evening. I hope that in return my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will concede to me amendment (a), to which I shall refer in a moment. Perhaps he is as optimistic about the Bill and its effects as I am about the possibility of his accepting my amendment.

Be that as it may, I wish to state my objection to the new clause that we are considering. First, I believe that it is too permissive. Industrial disruption should be limited to matters that affect only an employer and his employees. If there is an argument between a husband and wife, I believe that their dispute should not involve the neighbours, the passers-by, the village or the whole community in which that village is situated. It is a matter that should be restricted to husband and wife and should not extend to neighbours and others. In exactly the same way, we should restrict the immunities and activities of trade unions to those who are directly and primarily involved. That is why I believe that the new clause is deficient.

6.30 pm

It does not ban secondary disruption, whereas it should do. As I said on Second Reading, I do not understand why the national interest or innocent bystanders should be injured simply because someone else is engaged in a dispute that affects, and ought to affect, only him. Therefore, I believe that the immunity should be primary only.

Secondly, I believe that the immunity that, under the new clause, is to be lifted is itself too restricted. The constitutional objection to the existence of trade union immunity can be put in the following way: it is axiomatic that individuals need to be protected by society from the menace of anarchy. For that purpose, it is equally generally accepted that a citizen surrenders certain rights, provided that other citizens do the same. In return, they all expect to receive some benefit all round.

Immunities from action in tort undermine that concept. When there are immunities such as those which trade unions enjoy, some groups may indeed be able to obtain by certain methods what is denied to other people. I believe that that system is profoundly—I might say, almost revolutionarily—unconstitutional. For an agreed predictable, certain procedure, namely, the common law, there is now substituted—and there has been for many years—as a method of solving disputes, the law of the jungle or, to put it in another way, the use of naked power. Therefore, immunities which are possessed by unions first create the impression and, secondly, give substance to the reality that a union is more important than the interests of the nation itself.

Having said that as my general objection to what is proposed in the new clause, and granted that the House will probably give it its support, I believe that the new clause must nevertheless be changed, if not in the way that I desire, in terms of principle, at least in detail. The mechanism for dealing with any breach in the law that may arise under the new clause is inadequate. The immunity that is to be taken away will not be adequate to police the operation of the new clause.

Actions will not always be individually implemented or inspired. Very often, actions will be collectively organised, and if they are unlawful they must be limited by means that strike at what matters to collectivists. An injunction against one named individual will not be terribly interesting or important to a whole collective group of people, which we might call a trade union.

It is for that reason that I believe that my amendment (a), which seeks to repeal section 14 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974—which will, therefore, remove the immunity of a trade union, first from an injunction being taken out and, secondly, from the consequences if that injunction is not obeyed—is essential if the new clause is to work. If my right hon. Friend were to concede that point now, my half-hearted support would be translated into fulsome support.

As things stand at present, an injunction taken out against an individual, if it is ignored, might well in due course be further ignored. Indeed, the Select Committee on employment heard Mr. Arthur Scargill make it perfectly clear that while fines and prison were not exactly what he was yearning for, they were certainly what he was prepared to accept. Prison does not matter to a militant, be he a trade unionist or something else.

To the militant, prison is what heaven is to the saint. It is a harbour, a glorification and an uplifting experience, which when he gets home will be put down in the annals as a heroic event. There will be no stigma but, rather, all credit to him for having gone through that experience. Looking back a few years, in contrast to the outrage that was expressed by the trade union movement over the imprisonment of the dockers, I should have thought that most trade unionists seem totally indifferent to union funds being sequestered.

I draw the attention of the House to an article that appeared in the press only today under the signature of Sir Leonard Neal, in which he observes that Heaton's, the Liverpool container firm, took out an injunction against the Transport and General Workers Union. It found that Mr. Jack Jones, although he did not mind £5,000 being awarded against him, certainly took note of £50,000. It is worth quoting what Sir Leonard Neal said: Faced by this attack upon his union funds, Mr. Jones then discovered, suddenly and amazingly, that he could after all call a halt—and the blacking ceased. Sir Leonard pointed out: Heaton's demonstrated that industrial order can more effectively be pursued by putting union funds at risk than by pursuing individual activists, who may be hard to identify, eager to become martyrs, and be quickly replaceable by others. That is the burden of what my amendment seeks to do. It is to put trade union funds at risk.

The removal of section 14 immunity is not intended to destroy a union. It would be a valid defence for a trade union to demonstrate that a member had been expelled for unconstitutional conduct. Therefore, any sincere condemnation of its mavericks or its unofficial activists would certainly lead to a trade union not incurring any loss of funds.

Mr. Budgen

Will my hon. Friend comment on the changed situation that will arise as a result of making the provision under the Social Security (No. 2) Bill

Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham, North-West)

Address the Chair.

Mr. Budgen

I apologise, Mr. Speaker, I spoke too slowly and too quietly. I shall speak up. I wonder whether my hon. Friend will comment on the new situation by which a striker is now assumed to receive a contribution of £12 per week when he goes on strike. Is not that likely to make all union members more inclined to be concerned about the funds that their unions possess at any time and thus to strengthen my hon. Friend's argument that we should attack the funds of the union if necessary, rather than seek injunctions against individual trade unionists?

Mr. Gorst

I take my hon. Friend's point, and I agree with him.

Another point needs to be made in that connection. There are other countries—for example, Australia—in which for many years it has been possible to take out an injunction against a trade union. I am told by people whom I have met in Australia that they do not know of any occasions on which anyone has been the subject of action for damages as a result of a union refusing to obey an injunction. That procedure is generally accepted in Australia, which does not have a particularly proud industrial relations record. As far as I am aware, there is no known case in which Australian trade unions have refused to accept the injunctions of the courts. I see no reason why the position should not be the same in Britain in due course.

The justification for that is not only that it will force trade unions to act responsibly but that it will also force them to discipline their members—if necessary, by explusion. If they discipline their members in that way, it is then up to management to deal with non-members of unions, and to deal effectively with unofficial action.

The new clause is too permissive, because it concedes in the twentieth century what might have been arguable in the nineteenth century, but it is certainly anomalous in the conditions of today. It penalises individuals.

Mr. Ron Leighton (Newham, North-East)

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that I have understood him correctly? He is calling for collusion between the trade unions and the management. He wants the unions to expel their members, and then he wants the management, as part of the deal, to sack the workers. Have I understood him correctly?

Mr. Gorst

The hon. Gentleman used a slightly emotive word when he talked about "collusion". If by that intervention he is suggesting that there should be co-operation between management and trade unions, yes, there should certainly be co-operation in order to avoid disruption by unrepresentative and troublesome militants. If that is the burden of what the hon. Gentleman said, I agree with him.

It should be borne in mind that the new clause will penalise individuals. It is a profoundly wrong view—at least, from Conservative Members—that we should hold individuals responsible, and make scapegoats of them, for matters that one would find were probably ordained on a collective basis if one were to discover what lay behind them. To Tories, individuals matter—or, at least, they should—especially in regard to the apportionment of the blame for disruption and the apportionment of any penalties that must arise.

The difference between my way of doing things and that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is that his way—the safer way, I think he would say—will ultimately ensnare him with the criminal law, at least if Mr. Arthur Scargill and those who think like him are to be believed. My way—the Secretary of State seems to think that it would be the unsafe way—would be the way most likely not to get him involved in the criminal law. If he wishes to know why I say that, it is because the unions will not behave like the Mr. Scargills of the world—the militants and the extremists. I think that we are all agreed that in Britain the trade unions are not to be identified with the Arthur Scargills. I would prefer to identify the National Union of Mineworkers more with Mr. Joe Gormley than with Mr. Arthur Scargill.

Mr. Prior

My hon. Friend is now suggesting that the union would disown Mr. Scargill in cases of this nature. Mr. Scargill would then still take the action, it would therefore be unofficial action, and it would be necessary to proceed against him. If, on the other hand, the union does not disown Mr. Scargill in a dispute in which it feels that he is wrong, a power is put into the hands of the extremists of the union to obtain union funds and do what they like with them. That would drive many moderates into thinking that they were being discriminated against at the expense of the extremists.

6.45 pm
Mr. Gorst

I do not agree with my right hon. Friend. If Mr. Scargill were to be taken to court as the president of the Yorkshire branch of the National Union of Mineworkers, whose funds would be put at risk, it is possible that someone in the union would say "We do not want our funds to be put at risk. Arthur, you are on your own." Once he was on his own, he would be a much easier entity with which to deal than with union funds implicitly behind him. That is the reason why I believe that the Government should be armed not only with the removal of the immunity under section 13 of the 1974 Act but also with the removal of coverage from immunity under section 14.

Mr. Crowther

I listened with interest to the hon. Gentleman's comments on Mr. Arthur Scargill. I wonder whether he realises that every action that Mr. Scargill takes on behalf of the National Union of Mineworkers is as a result of a ballot. That union does not take industrial action without a ballot. Is the hon. Gentleman now suggesting that Mr. Scargill should be separated in some way from the NUM and identified separately? If so, should there be a ballot on that, too?

Mr. Gorst

That is obviously a red herring. Not only did Mr. Scargill have no mandate to go to Hadfields; I cannot recall that he had a mandate to go to Grunwick. He certainly had no mandate to obstruct the police and, by his own admission, to be convicted for it. I do not think there is any support for that point.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will give careful consideration to what I have said and that he will accept my amendment to the new clause.

Mr. John Evans

Since I became a Member of Parliament in 1974, following the disastrous election—for the Tory Party—in February of that year, I have taken part in all the debates on employment legislation. I participated in the debates on the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill 1974, the Employment Protection Bill 1975, and the misnamed Employment Bill that we are presently discussing. Its true title should be the Industrial Relations (Mark 2) Bill.

Mr. Harold Walker

It should be called the Employers Bill.

Mr. Evans

My right hon. Friend suggests that it should be called the Employers Bill, but I prefer to refer to it as the Industrial Relations (Mark 2) Bill. Of all the debates in which I have participated on employment legislation, this has been by far the most fascinating, and I am privileged to be able to take part in it.

For the first time, the main argument is not between the two parties. The major battle is being fought on the Conservative Benches between the "wets", led by the Secretary of State, and the hawkish supporters of the Prime Minister, as exemplified by the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst). I listened with fascination to the Secretary of State as he attempted to take us through this appallingly long and complex clause. It struck me that he could be best described as a man trudging a tightrope with heavy boots. It was also significant that he sat down to less than deafening applause. There was more applause from Labour Members than from his hon. Friends.

The Secretary of State can rely on our support throughout the remaining stages of the Bill whenever we feel that the hawks are going to do him down and outnumber him. If necessary, we shall support him in the Lobby. We shall watch carefully to see what happens to amendment (a) and, if necessary, we shall support the Secretary of State in voting it down. It would appear that the right hon. Gentleman needs some help.

I am delighted to follow in the debate the Member for Hendon, North yet again. I followed him once or twice in Committee. I do not think that he would object to a description of him as being somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun on industrial relations. He is on the far Right of the Conservative Party in this respect.

The hon. Gentleman, when referring to industrial relations, drew the analogy of disputes between husband and wife. The suggestion was that it was wrong to bring in the whole of the village and the neighbours. I suspect that his answer to a dispute between the mythological husband and wife would be to bring in the mother-in-law to solve it. No doubt the hon. Gentleman would like to see the reintroduction of a transportation to the colonies clause for trade union activities.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the attack on trade union funds. I remind him that the Conservative Party has tried that in the past. Through the medium of the Industrial Relations Court, there was an attack on the funds of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers. I was the leader of the Hebburn urban district council when the industrial relations court sequestered £100,000 of the AUEW's money. But that did not change the AUEW's attitude to the industrial issue and the Industrial Relations Court.

I have always declared at the outset of any debate on industrial relations that I am a sponsored member of the AUEW engineering section. I hope that all who participate in the debate will declare their interest so that we can see on which side of the fence they stand. I am extremely proud to be a member of the AUEW. It is one of the most democratic organisations not only in the United Kingdom but in the world. Indeed, many aspects in the Bill form part of the constitution of the AUEW. But no one should lose sight of the fact that, as and when necessary, the AUEW can be one of the most militant trade unions in defending the interests of its members.

The description "complex and obnoxious" applies not only to this clause but to the rest of the Bill. It is in the longstanding Tory tradition of attacking the trade unions and blaming the country's problems on working people. I was pleased that the hon. Member for Hendon, North gave way to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) because, for the first time, he dragged in the Social Security (No. 2) Bill. That is also part of the attack on the trade union movement. If Conservative Members think that the introduction of the Social Security (No. 2) Bill will have any great impact on trade union attitudes and militancy, they are wrong.

Mr. Budgen

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, whatever faults the present Tory Administration have, they have never attacked the trade union movement for having created inflation or the major difficulties in our economy? Much of the misunderstanding between the Tory Party and the trade union movement arises from past attacks on trade unions for things which they never did, such as the creation of inflation.

Mr. Evans

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman should start to pay more attention to Question Time and the statements made by the Secretary of State for Industry, because he never hesitates to lay the blame for almost all this country's ills at the door of the trade union movement and of working people. If the hon. Gentleman doubts my word, I suggest that he reads back numbers of Hansard, from which he will get the answer for himself.

It is important that Conservative Members should recognise that neither this Bill nor the Social Security (No. 2) Bill or any other legislation that the Secretary of State wants to throw at the trade union movement will have much impact. I suspect that the Secretary of State's repeated references to the Green Paper and the consideration of further legislation, if necessary, can best be described as jam tomorrow for his Right wing. His statement that he wishes to consider the matter and, if necessary, to bring forward further legislation is an attempt to buy them off. Many of us suspect that this Bill has been foisted on the Secretary of State by the hawks in the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, and that the last thing he wants to do is to put much of this legislation on the statute book. I can say with truth that the Secretary of State has for a long time served in this area and has tremendous knowledge of the working of industrial relations, in so far as anyone in the Tory Party can have such knowledge.

I suggest that this legislation will have little impact on trade union activities or on lessening the numbers of disputes. I recognise that we have far too many disputes. However, I should like to put on record that, during the lifetime of the Labour Government from 1974 to 1979, 81 per cent. of all industrial disputes, official and unofficial, were settled within 12 working days and that no social security payments or payments from trade union funds were involved in those strikes.

I use those figures—I suspect that they will not have much impact on many Conservative Members—to illustrate that the overwhelming majority of industrial disputes in this country are settled very quickly. The recent steel strike, the lorry drivers' strike during the lifetime of the Labour Government and the miners' strike during the previous Conservative Government's administration ran on because workers rightly believed that they were taking on not only their employers but the Government of the day. A great deal of bitterness and hard feeling was generated in those disputes. That is why we witnessed problems on the mass picket lines. But in the vast majority of cases—I assure Conservative Members that during my service in the shipbuilding and ship repairing industry I was involved in more disputes than any other Member of Parliament—there were no violence, no trouble and no secondary picketing because we were seeking to end them quickly.

The House should recognise that workers do not want to go on strike. They do not walk out of the gates because they fancy a holiday. They do not go on secondary or primary picketing because they fancy having a day off work. They want to return to work as quickly as possible. Strikes are often created by appalling management taking arbitrary decisions.

It was interesting to note the exchange between lawyers during the Front Bench speeches. The barristers made it clear that, as regards injunctions, the courts always seek to maintain the status quo. One issue which often causes disputes is when employers seek to remove the status quo arbitrarily without proper reference to the work force or any form of consultation. I suspect that, if the Secretary of State were to turn up the figures, he would find that more strikes were caused by those matters than by wages. However, that is merely one aspect of the problem.

I shall not repeat what my right hon. Friend said when he referred to Lord Justice Scarman, but it is important to recall the last sentence of his judgment in Express Newspapers v. MacShane: It would need very clear statutory language to persuade me that Parliament intended to allow the courts to act as some sort of backseat driver in trade disputes. This is what is happening in this case. I asked the Secretary of State whether he would acknowledge that the clause would be finally resolved only when it came before the judges. He gleefully reminded me that the Labour Government, throughout the passage of their legislation, maintained that they were finally removing the judges and lawyers from industrial relations legislation. We thought that we were removing the remit of the judges and barristers in industrial relations. In this case the Secretary of State frankly admitted that there was little knowledge in Parliament of what the complex clause actually meant. We must all sit back and wait and go through goodness knows how many industrial disputes before the judges finally determine what the clause means. I suggest that the House—the judges would expect this of us—spends time trying to get the proper words into what will be an Act of Parliament.

7 pm

It is a tragedy that, in spite of nearly 100 hours in Committee going through the Bill, we did not spend one minute going through this new clause. If any clause should have been analysed at length in Committee, it was the new clause. However, here we are having to take it in the form of a Second Reading debate when I suspect that only two Members of Parliament have some degree of knowledge in this area. They may be able to enlighten us later. I refer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) and the Under-Secretary of State, who is a distinguished barrister in industrial relations matters.

I want to impress this upon hon. Members. I ask them to realise and appreciate, when they consider the new clause, that it is not barristers, Members of Parliament, managing directors or trade union general secretaries who must try to live and deal with it. The shop stewards and the ordinary men and women on the factory floor must work out what the new clause means. Let the House be quite clear. The workers do not have the ability or the educational standards to understand what it means. It must go to the courts. In that situation, we shall be in danger of bringing the law into further contempt.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I studied the clause and accepted that it was complicated. May I say that I think I know what it signifies. It is nowhere near as complicated and difficult as the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans) and others seek to make out. Be that as it may, may I put this to him, with his considerable background in this matter? During the lorry drivers' strike a number of firms in my constituency, which had union shops, freely negotiated with the AUEW, which, as the hon. Gentleman said, is a responsible union. Those firms found themselves unable to work. Very often their managing directors had to queue up at kinds of tribunals run by the TGWU, which decided which firms could and which could not have materials so that their lorry drivers could go to work.

Surely the hon. Gentleman accepts, on behalf of the members of the AUEW, that something must be done to enable them to go to work and that the clause will go some way at least to assist them in doing their job and earning wages when others with whom they have no dispute are actually stopping them from doing their job.

Mr. Evans

I am in some difficulty. Time is getting on, and a substantial number of hon. Members wish to speak. However, a specific issue has been raised.

For two years I was chairman of the regional policy and transport committee of the European Parliament. I dealt at great length with the regulations governing drivers' hours and all the legislation that flowed from them in the European Parliament and in this House. If the hon. Gentleman cares to look back at the reports of those debates, he will find that I tried to warn the House of Commons that this legislation, which was being brought in at the behest of the European Commission, would cause a great deal of industrial unrest in the United Kingdom.

I also pointed out that this was probably one of the first cases in the history of British industrial legislation where we were taking steps to limit the number of hours that individuals could work. I said that there would flow from that a demand by workers that their incomes be regulated accordingly.

The lorry drivers found themselves caught under the terms of the Labour Government's incomes policy. The primary problem caused then resulted from the EEC legislation. If the Secretary of State is right in his interpretation of the Bill, in any future dispute the lorry drivers will be perfectly free to stand outside their wagon compounds, where absolutely nothing else is happening, but other lorries will be able to run up and down the country, and the drivers involved in the dispute will be on strike for ever more. If Government supporters think that that situation will be accepted by the workers involved, they live in dreamland. I was seeking to make that point. The matter was referred to earlier by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley), who said that there would be a great introduction of the use of injunctions against workers.

Time after time workers have believed that their dispute was legitimate. We may argue whether every strike situation is legitimate. Workers take action, believing that their case is right. Under this proposal someone will tell them that an injunction has been taken out and that they must return to work until such time as the case comes to court. Every hon. Member knows that that could be in 12 or 18 months or two years. The dispute must fester on until such time as the case comes to court. Does any hon. Member believe that groups of workers will live with that situation? Do they think that time after time, when injunctions are taken out, the workers will simply go back to work and say "We shall just have to wait until justice works itself through the courts"? I know that trade unionists and working people are different from that. They will walk out of the gate and strike, and involve themselves in secondary action.

In that context I give this warning. This proposed legislation will bring the law into contempt. Nothing makes me angrier than when I hear Government supporters suggest that the trade union movement is above the law. It is not, and never has been, above the law. It is part and parcel of the law and the institutions of this country. Trade unions have always obeyed the law. Trouble is invariably created when Parliament tries to lay down new laws, alter the law or bring in retrospective law. In this context the Bill will add to that situation.

The new clause must be read in conjunction with clause 15. The Secretary of State knows the long and involved arguments that we had in Committee trying to make some sense of clause 15. We pointed out many of the impossible situations that would be created as a result of clause 15. If we consider clause 15, on picketing, in the context of the new clause, on secondary action, and put the two together, we have a recipe for disaster in industrial relations.

It is sad, at a time when Britain is going through a period of de-industrialisation, when hundreds of thousands of jobs are fast disappearing, when there is a case for the House of Commons to speak out on industrial relations and try to bring the two sides together, that we concern ourselves with this miserable and destructive Bill, which will cause nothing but trouble throughout our society.

In amendments (p), (q) and (r), my right hon. and hon. Friends and I are trying to define the areas in which secondary picketing will be adjudged legal. We are not deliberately trying to widen the area. We are trying to lay down probing amendments. We have had no indication from the Secretary of State whether he accepts or rejects any of our amendments. I presume we shall now have to wait until the Minister of State replies.

What we are seeking to do at this stage is work that we should have done and would like to have done in Committee. Even at this stage we are putting forward probing and helpful amendments to try to bring some order out of the chaos that will be created by the new clause. I do not want any right hon. or hon. Gentleman to think that we support the clause in any way whatsoever through our amendments. We are utterly and totally opposed to the clause and we should like it to disappear with the rest of the Bill, as it certainly will when we are returned to office. We are trying to put down helpful amendments which will define some of the ill-defined areas and bring some common sense into the clause.

I suspect that if there were any intelligence left among members of the Cabinet they would be only too happy to accept our amendments, but unfortunately all the experience we have had over the past 10 months is that intelligence is at a premium in the Cabinet, and even if the Secretary of State wanted to accept our amendments, probably at the risk of his job, he dare not do so.

I believe that, either with this Secretary of State or, if he gets the sack once this Bill goes on to the statute book, with a subsequent Secretary of State, we shall, through the remaining, we hope short, period of this Government's tenure of office, see an attempt to move further and further towards reinstalling the Industrial Relations Act on the statute book. Let the Government be warned now. The trade union movement is made up of millions of men and women, not just a handful of general secretaries sitting in the TUC, and those millions of men and women will resist this Bill with everything that they have and eventually they will do to this Bill what they did to the Industrial Relations Act—dump it in the dutsbin of history.

Mr. Richard Needham (Chippenham)

I shall try to confine what I am going to say to a general discussion on the new clause. I do not intend to spend a large part of my speech giving a detailed analysis of the internal workings of the Conservative Party as the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) did. It is a pity, perhaps, that he did not spend a little more time on a detailed analysis of industrial relations problems. Of course, he is very lucky in having beside him the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker), whose experience and expertise in these affairs will, I am sure, bring much more detailed analysis, criticism and understanding than we have been able to get from the right hon. Member for Chesterfield.

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

My hon. Friend will recall that the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) promised us at the beginning of his speech an explanation of how secondary, tertiary, quadruple and every other form of action would have discouraged strikes and encouraged productivity. He told us that explanation was coming, but it never did. I waited with growing anxiety, and in the end, when I rose to ask him about it, he sat down. So it appears that he could have done more useful things than he did during the course of his speech.

Mr. Needham

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend, but I am sure that the right hon. Member for Chesterfield is wise enough to leave it to his right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, who certainly is more likely to give us an answer.

I do not think that anyone would argue that secondary action of all types has not increased dramatically over the last 10 or 15 years. Employers and employees have been involved in disputes that they were never involved in years ago. I am not suggesting that the unions are in any way to blame for that. They have operated within the law. They have merely found through experience and through extending what they have done in the past that there are other courses of action open to them in undertaking disputes—courses of action that they had not used previously. I think that if there is a criticism to be made of the trade unions in this matter it concerns the slightly tactless and unfortunate way in which they handled themselves last year, which is, of course, one of the reasons why we are sitting on the Government Benches and right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are sitting on the Opposition Benches.

7.15 pm

I believe that there must be some common ground in agreeing that there has to be a limit to the action that one set of people may take against the interests of another set of people. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) made this point on 16 January 1979, when he said: First, we cannot deny the right of men and women to withdraw their labour and still call ourselves a free society. That to me is fundamental. The second principle that I assert is that the community has an overriding right against all sectional interests. These principles must be reconciled.—[Official Report, 16 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 1547.] The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East nearly got it right, but there has to be more than that; there has to be some regulation between sectional interests as well as between sectional interests and the community. We cannot have one section of the community overriding at will the interests of any other section.

Mr. Leighton

The hon. Gentleman said that he had observed an increase in secondary action and referred to the events of last winter. I think that he probably meant the winter before. Does he not agree with me that most of the events of the winter before last were primary action, not secondary action?

Mr. Needham

There was a very wide range of action and it has got broader over the years, both primary and secondary action. I think that this is accepted within the trade union movement and certainly on the employers' side. And this, I repeat, comes about because action which previously had not been thought about has now been thought about. Saltley was perhaps a good example. It happens because of the ability of people to move around more and to go from one area of the country to another. Its use has increased dramatically. I am not saying that the trade unions should be blamed, because it is within the law.

The question really that has to be asked is what effect it has had on the community. And, as the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said, there is a community interest which must be paramount over a sectional interest. Equally, I am saying, one section of the community must also have rights against another section of the community. I hope there can be a general measure of agreement at least on the principle of orderly behaviour in the conduct of these affairs, and particularly of industrial disputes. I think that the disagreement that exists is probably on the method by which this should come about.

Hon. Members opposite say that we should rely on the TUC and that the guidelines put forward by the TUC are the ones that we should take account of because it is much better for the TUC to regulate the affairs of its constituent unions than for the law to do the job for them. That is an attractive and in many ways a very sensible proposition, but the difficulty is that although we can say that union discipline is certainly strong in one direction—that of making sure people come out in sympathy with one another so that strikes actually bite—I am afraid that it is not so strong in the other direction, the control of its members, and particularly of its members who take unofficial action. We need only consider that 95 per cent. of the action taken is unofficial to see that union discipline works more effectively one way than the other.

What are hon. Members opposite really suggesting, therefore? It has been shown repeatedly over many years that neither the TUC nor its constituent unions have been able adequately to control the action of their own members. What should happen in these circumstances? Should companies therefore go to the wall? Should all their workers therefore lose their jobs? If that is the argument, perhaps there should be a new pseudonym for the unemployed: they should be called "Labour's lemmings".

What are the Government suggesting that is so awful? They are suggesting that there should be a reasonable code of conduct beyond which individuals could lose their immunity. What is so dreadful with that? They lose their immunity only if and when they are taken to court by aggrieved employers.

It is absurd to think that large numbers of employers will make use of this new law. No company will want to be in total disharmony with its work force. No employer will use a law which will make his industrial relations worse. So how will the clause work?

If one of the conveners in a company tries to encourage secondary action in support of workmates down the road, whether in a company that is associated or not associated, what will the company do? The company is unlikely to take action against the convener or the individuals concerned if they have the support of the work force. It will only make the company's position worse.

But if an outsider who previously has had nothing to do with the situation comes along—there having been no ballot and no discussion—perhaps with a few implied threats about withdrawing union cards, and says "Everyone must go out", and if the employer and the employees do not want to have anything to do with that and feel that they are being used in a dispute in which they have no interest and over which they have no control, why should not the employer be able to use a law to protect both his interests and those of his work force?

What is the alternative? Do we do nothing, and hope that the TUC will do something? Even if the TUC wishes to do something it cannot do anything, because it has so little power—it always has had little power—over its constituent unions; the constituent unions have very little power over their members; and that is what the unions have said they want. They want it because they believe, and have believed since Donovan, that power should be delegated down to the factory floor. Surely, in those circumstances there must be some boundaries within which chaos can be averted. There must be some way in which employers, together with their employees, can stop the wrecking of their companies and their livelihood.

This clause, with clause 15, tries to set a sensible and achievable limit to the extreme action that has become more and more obvious over the past few years.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Thanet, West:

I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend says about the TUC and the necessity for action. The difficulty arises when we come to the parameters. The clause is an individualist clause. It takes the capacity of an injunction against an individual, and an individual can be sued. Surely, the parameter must provide for the protection of the employee and the employer. We must widen the parameter to ensure that there is both an injunction and a claim for damages against the trade union if the trade union is responsible for the persons concerned. Unless we take that parameter, we shall never have effective control. As Mr. Jackson, one of the trade union leaders, pointed out, if action is taken against one individual another individual can be set up, and so on down the line. Unless we widen the clause to give it some teeth, we shall not be able to achieve the purpose we all want.

Mr. Needham

I will answer that by referring to the steel strike. For example, the workers at Hadfields, members of the ISTC, did not want to be involved in the secondary action they were asked to be involved in by their union. Together with the employer, they wanted to act against the individuals who were trying to drag them in, the executive of the ISTC.

The difficulty with the argument put forward by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Thanet, West (Mr. Rees-Davies) is that if the workpeople were to go against the union they would be going for the funds of their own union. I can think of nothing more foolish than trying to get them to do that. That would make the position much worse. What they want to do is to stop people organising others in such a way as to stop them working. That is what the new clause and clause 15 set out to do. We cannot expect working people to penalise themselves by going for their own union.

Mr. Budgen

Does not my hon. Friend agree that if, for example, Hadfields and all the men working there disagree with the policy of the union, because of the closed shop they cannot leave their union? Until we do something much more fundamental about the closed shop, we shall never be able to deal with that problem.

Mr. Needham

My hon. Friend makes a perfectly valid point. I promised to stick closely to the new clause in the discussion, many other hon. Members wish to speak and I do not wish to get into an argument about the closed shop.

Mr. Harold Walker

Are not the hon. Members for Chippenham (Mr. Needham) and for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) overlooking the fact that in the case of Hadfields an injunction was sought, obtained and obeyed instantly within the law as it stands without any need for change? The hon. Member for Chippenham several times suggested that in recent years, since the 1976 Act, there had been a dramatic increase in secondary action of a kind that the Secretary of State is tilting at. Will he tell us what evidence there is for that statement?

Mr. Needham

I do not have the full details with me of every case. I think it is common knowledge, and the right hon. Member for Doncaster, whose experience and expertise I respect, is well aware of what has gone on in the industrial scene over many years. He knows that there has been much broader and wider acceptance of this type of action than there was previously.

I commend the clause to the House. It is sensible that parameters should finally be set within which people know that there is a law that they can use. The advantage of this law is that it works and will be used by an employer together with his work force against those who have nothing to do with him, and that must be right.

Mr. Giles Radice (Chester-le-Street)

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Evans), I am a sponsored Member, in my case of the General and Municipal Workers Union. Like the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham) and several others that I can see in the House, I am a battle-hardened veteran of 100 hours spent in the Standing Committee on the Bill.

The House must accept that there is nothing new in secondary action. There is no evidence that it has increased substantially. I have never heard any evidence from, or seen any surveys undertaken by, the Department of Employment on this subject. Had there been any, we would have heard about them. There will always be secondary action so long as companies have suppliers and customers and so long as trade unionists continue to have solidarity.

As the press release said, the clause is trying to limit secondary action by drawing it back to a reasonable and sensible line. The question that we have to ask is: what is a reasonable and sensible line? The Opposition believe that the clause is far too tough and far too restrictive because it will make a whole host of secondary action illegal. As my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther) said, it is tighter than the consultative document.

My understanding, and that of several legal experts, is that the following examples of secondary action will become illegal if the clause is enacted: when secondary action is taken by those who are not currently suppliers or customers when no business is being conducted between employer and supplier, and when the purpose is to spread the action. I hope that the hon. and learned Member for Thanet, West (Mr. Rees-Davies), whose knowledge I greatly respect, is listening, because I should like to have these points confirmed.

In addition, secondary action will become illegal when sympathetic action is taken, when the action indirectly disrupts the supply of goods and services and when there is no current commercial agreement. This clause is restrictive and tough. Some Conservative Members have recently come into the Chamber and complained that it does not contain any provisions for tough action. I do not think that they understand the clause.

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I strongly oppose the fact that the repeal of section 13(3)—hardly mentioned by the Secretary of State—has been slipped in under the counter. If one wishes to restrict secondary action, it is unecessary to repeal that section of the Employment Protection Act 1975. Disputes over what constitutes unlawful means will widen the area of judicial intervention. The legality not only of secondary action but of some forms of primary action might be attacked.

The clause is obscure and difficult to interpret. One needs to be a lawyer to do so. I hope that we shall hear from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson). The press release points out that the subject of immunities is complicated. It certainly is complicated, and so is this clause. How does one define a "principal purpose"? As the hon. and learned Member for Thanet, West no doubt knows, motives are always extremely difficult to define. How does one define "directness" when talking about suppliers and customers? How can one define "capability"? Those are difficult questions, and I am not satisfied that the definition contained in the clause is satisfactory. The whole issue will end up in the courts. As a result, judges will become involved in industrial relations.

We oppose the clause, not because we believe that trade unions should be, or are, above the law. They are not. Conservative Members often say that they are, and that shows that they do not understand the law as it affects industrial relations. We have a system of rights that operate not by legal enactment but by legal immunity. However, that does not mean that trade unions are above the law. I wish that Conservative Members would get that into their noddles, and I hope that we shall not hear such remarks again. We oppose the clause because judges will become involved in industrial relations. Lord Scarman has already been quoted, when he referred to the problem of courts becoming back-seat drivers. We do not and should not wish that to happen.

The issue of damages has already been dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann). However, the Secretary of State said that as a result of the clause injunctions would usually be taken out. He does not realise that injunctions may lead to a direct clash between the courts and workers. It is no good Conservative Members saying that it is better to involve trade unions than individuals. The history of the Industrial Relations Act shows that if trade unions are involved one gets a clash with the courts, such as occurred with the Transport and General Workers Union and with the AUEW. That argument cannot be used by the Conservative rebels and hawks.

The test of the clause is not what we think but how it works at the factory level. I am afraid that it is a recipe for renewed conflict. The Secretary of State said that it would curtail the disruptive effects of action, but I believe that injunctions will spread those effects. If one adds this clause to clause 15, which concerns secondary picketing, one may become very worried. Indeed, in Committee we discovered how tight and restrictive are the provisions contained in clause 15. At the same time, one should remember that the Secretary of State promised—in order to appease his Back Benchers and to get them behind him in the Lobby—to produce a paper on immunities. It is therefore not surprising that we shall strongly oppose the clause and the Government's policy.

I warn the Government that this clause will sour the atmosphere of industrial relations. It will also be ineffective. When we return to power, I hope that we shall adopt a different approach based on participation in industrial democracy, not on restriction and injunction.

Mr. Peter Lloyd (Fareham)

I am happy to follow the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice), because for a couple of months I have enjoyed listening to him in Committee. In Committee, the opportunity to speak after him from this side was more limited.

The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fletcher) was also a member of the Committee, and during an interesting review of trade union history he claimed that this clause overturned the clearly established traditional rights of employees. If so, that tradition dates from 1976, not 1906. The law on secondary action has never been clear. The law has been changed by statute and by the decisions of courts. The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) made similar observations.

Mr. Leighton

Can the hon. Member specify any statute that has included the words "secondary action"?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot, but I believe that some laws have altered it. For example, in 1927 opinion as to the legality of secondary action was greatly affected. One could be sure that there were limits to secondary action, even if no one was sure what those limits were. Recent decisions have changed that situation and no limits remain. Every dispute now has the potential of being converted into a mini general strike.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham) is absolutely right when he says that the object of the new clause is to restore the limits and parameters. My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough (Mr. Shaw), the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther) and others have argued that the clause is peculiarly unclear. I have been a Member of the House only since last May, and I find it no more and no less clear than most clauses in most Bills. If one reads it carefully, it is much clearer than the law as it exists, with even judges at various levels interpreting it differently.

The new clause will restrict the options open to those taking secondary action. Some hon. Gentlemen fear, and some of my hon. Friends hope, that it will shift the balance of power away from employees towards employers when face to face in a dispute. That is not so. Employees will still be able to withdraw their labour and call for assistance from employees of suppliers and customers. They will be still quite capable of destroying their employers' business and their own livelihood if they have a mind. Indeed, employees have an even stronger sanction against an employer in a competitive situation, when it is only his business that has been brought to a halt. He will have to consider that he is rapidly losing his share of the market to his competitors, which is one fear he does not have when a whole industry is brought to a stop.

The new clause is meant to weaken one kind of industrial action—indirect action that relies on hitting uninvolved third parties. My hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham gave some examples, and over the past couple of years we have frequently seen industrial action degenerating into industrial mugging of bystanders. The object has been to provoke public opinion, and particularly the Government, to exert pressure on the employer to settle. It is especially tempting for those organising industrial action when there is the possibility of getting taxpayers' money from the Government to achieve a settlement that the employer is not in a position to pay.

It is a good rule, and one that has received lip service from both sides of the House, that it is much better to leave employers and employees to work out their own disputes without outside interference. The corollary is that those in dispute should leave the rest of us alone. The Government have a duty, which my right hon. Friend has taken up, to enable those uninvolved in industrial disputes, employers and employees alike, to carry on their business without interference. Public opinion polls demonstrate that that is the commonly held view, and I echo the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham when I say it is less likely that I should be speaking from these Benches if that were not so.

Labour Members, particularly the hon. Members for Newton (Mr. Evans) and for Chester-le-Street, have argued that the proposals will not work. Mr. Len Murray has predicted that they will founder on the realities of the industrial scene. However, I do not believe that he will be proved a reliable prophet in that respect.

A mistake sometimes made by my colleagues is to assume that the law will work because it is the law, or, because the public support the general idea, that they will back its application when the going gets rough. That is an even more dangerous assumption.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on constructing a clause that gets the balance right. It is a workable proposal that will endure in the circumstances in which it will be applied. My right hon. Friend has had the good sense to allow immunities for employees of customers and suppliers. Those employees may often feel a special connection, loyalty or common interest with those taking action. What is more, they will have a unique opportunity to intervene.

Some of my hon. Friends would like to end all secondary action, but I believe that there should still be some immunities. Parallels have been drawn between stricter controls on picketing and secondary action and blacking, but the two are very different, although they are bracketed together, particularly with regard to enforcement. Picketing is to stop someone going somewhere positively to do something, by peaceful communication or persuasion or legal intimidation, whichever definition one chooses.

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To stop blacking, people will have to be encouraged to carry on normally, which is an infinitely more difficult task. It is much more difficult to get people to do something that they do not want to do than to prevent them doing something that they want to do. That is an important and practical consideration for workers with suppliers or customers who feel that they have a special justification to intervene.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) does not like to live by bread alone, and these practical points yield the general principle that he was calling for earlier. I hope that he will be satisfied that the principle is coherent, even though he may not agree with it. In the clause the im- munity applies to action that directly elects the business of the employer in dispute. The only people who can take such action are the employer's own employees and those of his customers or suppliers.

I leave one further thought with my hon. Friend. The employees of suppliers and customers will not be of much use to the employees in dispute if those in dispute have successfully closed down the business. Where the strike is fully operational, that particular immunity is not quite as important as one may think.

I believe that the clause will be successful in achieving its aims and will command the general support that all legislation needs in order to work properly. It is the fervent hope of the mass of employers and employees not involved in a dispute to be left alone by those who are. I believe that the clause will therefore be welcomed with relief and its provisions duly observed.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

I shall be brief, as most of what can be said has been said and there is no point in repeating it. But I felt that I should put on record the views of my right hon. and hon. Friends.

Some of the speeches have illustrated clearly what is wrong with industrial relations. There have been threats from the Labour Benches that the Act will be repealed as soon as the Labour Party is in government. There have been allegations of union bashing. In Committee, it was constantly said that no one on the Government Benches knew anything about industrial relations because no Conservative Member had belonged to a trade union. That has been repeated today. Such nonsense appears to be the hallmark of industrial relations and debates on industrial relations. There has been little movement, compromise or attempt to reach a solution acceptable to all who are clearly concerned and have a deep desire to improve the industrial situation.

I do not subscribe to the view expressed by one Conservative Member that militant trade unionists desire to go to prison because it is a great experience. However, it gives me the opportunity to make a point. If by the remotest chance that view were held, such people should travel by British Rail and try the new British Rail breakfast. If they experienced the joy of queuing for 25 minutes to have two fried eggs served with a piece of bacon on a little plastic tray with a plastic knife and fork, they would not be so enthusiastic about experiencing prison.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

I do not know whether the hon. Member has ever been in prison. I have, on many occasions, as a member of the Estimates Committee. The hon. Member would be surprised how well prisoners are looked after. They get better food than on British Rail, and it is better served. Indeed, the hon. Member and I pay £185 a week to look after them.

Mr. Smith

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his intervention. It was right that I should allow him to intervene, because he and I are the two hon. Members who are best qualified to speak on the subject of food.

Perhaps we are overlooking some of the practical reasons that have given rise to the need for the Government to consider a clause of this kind. We have tended to whitewash some of those reasons and experiences. Reference was made to the winter of 1978–79. This reference was not pursued at any great length, and I have no desire to start washing all the linen again. However, we should never forget the experience of that period, because some of that experience is relevant to the clause that is before the House today.

Reference has been made to people going on to the docks and asking permission to move goods. My constituency textile workers, led by the union president and secretary, went to the Salford docks to plead with the lorry drivers and dockers to release cotton so that they could go to work. These were not employers pleading for the cotton to be released: they were members of trade unions with their membership cards, led by their full-time trade union officials. They were refused the right to move cotton so that they could continue to work.

Although it is not strictly relevant to this debate, I remind the House of the occasion when miners were injured in a pit disaster in the North-West and they were refused treatment by fellow workers in hospital. Their fellow workers picketed the hospital and tried to prevent goods from entering the hospital so that the injured miners could be treated. Also I think of the story of the cancer patients who stood outside hospital pleading for supplies to be allowed in so that their serious condition could be treated.

I am prepared to accept that there are not many statistics to back up this argument, but the fact remains that those are the pictures that the British public saw. I am a little sick of listening to Labour Members who complain that the Government are always legislating against the trade union movement or for the employers. The duty of this House is to legislate for the people of this country, and the people of this country have the right to work and the right to go to work in peace. That is what this clause and this Bill are about. They are about the fact that the rights of people to go to work have been challenged over the last few years. Because they have been challenged successfully and effectively, a Government who legislate on behalf of the people are bound to take action. That is the reason for the present Bill and the new clause that is now being discussed.

I must say that I doubt the effectiveness of the new clause, just as I doubt the effectiveness of the clause on picketing. But if the Government in their wisdom, with all the expert advice at their fingertips, arrive at the view that this is the best method of dealing with the situation, they are entitled, having been elected by a majority of voters—I could argue about that as a Liberal, but I will not—to have a go at trying to right some of the wrongs that resulted in their being elected.

It seems that the Government have every justification, reason and right to introduce a Bill of this kind and to move a clause of this kind, particularly in the light of the House of Lords ruling just be-for Christmas. I make no secret of the fact that I intend to vote for the new clause. I imagine that my right hon. and hon. Friends will do the same. We shall vote for it not because we necessarily believe that it is the right answer but because we believe that something must be done about the situation that has faced the people of this country for the last two or three years. Something had to be done about that, and if this is what the Government propose, we should give it the opportunity to work.

I agree with the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice) that much more should be done about industrial relations in this country. I was intrigued when he said that he thought that this Government should do something about worker participation. If I might say so, his Government did not do much about it, either.

Mr. Harold Walker

We were torpedoed by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) and his colleagues in the Liberal Party.

Mr. Smith

That is not true. My colleagues and I agreed that we would support a Bill for employee participation but that we would not support a Bill for trade union participation. The two are not the same at all. Because the last Government were unable to persuade the TUC that worker participation was to be encouraged, as opposed to trade union participation, they would not proceed with the Bill. On the one hand, they could not pro- ceed because the Liberals would not support them, and, on the other hand, they could not proceed because their paymasters, the TUC, would not allow them to proceed in the only way that they could get the measure through the House of Commons. That is the story of the last Government. They did nothing about employee participation, and it is no good their pretending that they were willing to do a great deal. The conversion of some of them since the last election, particularly that of the present Leader of the Opposition, has been quite remarkable, though none the less welcome.

I would be delighted to see the official Opposition committed to the principle of profit sharing. We had a minor concession from them in the 1978 Budget, and I am glad that the present Government have continued that, but basically we believe that matters such as worker participation, profit sharing and the encouragement and even legalisation of works councils form the basis of the proper way to improve industrial relations. Meanwhile, we must deal with the situation as it is and not as we would like it to be. The present situation is not a pretty one, and therefore the Government are to be commended, encouraged and supported in their attempt to do something about it.

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Mr. Jocelyn Cadbury (Birmingham, Northfield)

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith). He is the only hon. Member on the Opposition Benches with whom I can agree today. I agree with all that he said, as I agreed with almost everything that he said in Committee.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a strong case for the new clause, and I should like to make a few brief points in support of what he said. The House of Lords judgment in Express Newspapers v. MacShane means, as my right hon. Friend said, that there is no limit to the extent to which secondary action can be pursued.

In a last effort to persuade Opposition Members of the need for this Clause, I should like to remind the House of the case of Associated Newspapers v. Wade. In March 1978 the National Graphical Association was in dispute with the Nottingham Evening Post over its refusal to recognise the union. However, the employees of the Nottingham Evening Post continued to work normally, and the newspaper continued to be published. The union, unable to force the management into submitting by primary action, wrote to all those who advertised regularly in the newspaer instructing them no longer to advertise. These organisations, which included Boots the chemists and the local health authority, refused to submit to that ultimatum.

The NGA and SLADE then proceeded to black any advertising material submitted anywhere in the country by these organisations. That had the effect, for example, that what would have been a Boots advertisement in The Birmingham Post appeared as a blank space. The incredible position had been reached that while employees of the Nottingham Evening Post continued to work normally, companies such as Boots, which had nothing to do with the printing industry, were prevented from advertising in newspapers which themselves had no connection with the dispute.

I cite that case not merely to show the absurd ramifications to which secondary action can lead, but because the final outcome demonstrates that injunctions are usually effective in curbing such actions, as the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) said. The organisations that took out injunctions—there were 26 of them—against Mr. Wade, the NGA general secretary, were successful and the blacking was removed.

The injunctions were granted on the basis that the union's action was too remote to be genuinely in furtherance of the dispute at the Nottingham Evening Post. This new clause will give clearly defined right to companies such as Boots and to The Birmingham Post, in the example that I have given, to defend themselves against involvement in such bizarre and Kafkaesque abuses of secondary action.

I turn briefly to whether the clause goes far enough. There are some in industry, and some of my hon. Friends, who argue that secondary action of any kind should be made unlawful. Like my right hon. Friend, I do not believe that industrial relations can be reformed overnight. I strongly support the philosophy of gradualism enshrined in the Employment Bill as a whole, and which I believe this clause follows consistently. We should try to concentrate on reforming the worst abuses of union power.

I agree with the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice) that the Bill is much tougher than some of my hon. Friends realise or maintain. I give certain examples. The clause should be considered within the perspective of the Bill as a whole. In the recent dispute at Hadfields, secondary picketing was used by British Steel Corporation employees to induce sympathetic strikes by unwilling private sector steel workers. I am sure that if the workers at Hadfields had not been faced with an aggressive mob, as they were, and if the sympathetic action had been unlawful, as it would have been if the clause had been in operation, the workers would have been willing to continue working. The combination of secondary picketing and the fact that sympathetic action was lawful meant that they were intimidated into going on strike. With the addition of the new clause, the Bill will deal with both secondary picketing and sympathetic action. It will deal with the situation that existed at Hadfields.

There are other situations that arose in the steel strike with which I believe this clause will deal. For example, steel that had been purchased from the British Steel Corporation by a stockholder could not have been blacked with immunity by employees of the stockholder if the clause had been in operation. That is because the blacking would have affected only the stockholder's contracts with other parties. Secondly, imported steel, or private sector steel, could not have been blacked because there would have been no contractual link with the British Steel Corporation. Dockers and railwaymen would not have been able to black non-British Steel Corporation steel because there would have been no contract with the British Steel Corporation.

I believe that the clause will prove effective and that it will not be confined to the dustbin of history. Not only is public opinion strongly in favour of dealing with the abuses of secondary action, but there is a much greater reluctance among trade union members themselves to become involved in disputes with which they have nothing to do and with which their own firms have nothing to do. This was shown clearly by the decision of the Welsh miners overwhelmingly to reject the idea of coming out on strike in sympathy with the steelmen in the recent dispute.

The abuse of secondary action, against which the clause is directed, is one of the major handicaps faced by both workers and managers, who genuinely want to see a revival of British industrial strength. This is a handicap that we can do without. That is why I regard the clause as an essential addition to the Bill.

Mr. Arthur Davidson

It is remarkable how certain phrases, by constant repetition, become part of popular folklore. One such phrase is that trade unions are above the law. That is totally untrue. They are not above the law. They never have been above the law. The law books are littered with cases showing that trade unions have been unsuccessful parties to actions and sometimes successful parties to actions.

Mr. Needham

If trade unions are not above the law, as has been stated several times, how can they take advantage of having immunities from the law? If immunities from the law exist and are put into effect, the trade unions are above the law; the law does not apply to them.

Mr. Davidson

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The trade unions obey the law. If judgment is given against them, they observe the judgment, as any other citizen rightly does. It is, therefore, not right to say that trade unions are above the law. One of the reasons—I am sorry to have to say this—that the myth has become part of folklore is that Conservative Members, although I am not saying all of them, have nurtured and propagated it, frequently for base motives of short-term political gain. It is time that they stopped using that phrase.

A second phrase that has become very popular recently is "secondary action". It has become a fad, like skateboarding. It will come and go. I did not hear the phrase used very often before that famous winter. The phrase was used during that winter to describe actions that were primary actions and not secondary actions at all. I have a feeling that secondary action, whatever it was, would have come and gone as quickly as skateboarding and the hula-hoop. But the phrase was used repeatedly to describe not what was truly secondary action but scenes of violence that could have occurred in the course of primary picketing, secondary picketing or tertiary picketing.

It is important to realise that all secondary action is not wrong or should be made unlawful. Frequently, secondary picketing is necessary. I talk of picketing that is peaceful and legitimate. The new clause is designed not to make secondary picketing unlawful but to make certain forms of secondary picketing unlawful. It creates distinctions. It is the distinctions that will create the problems for trade unionists. The interpretations of the distinctions will benefit greatly my profession. There will be many different legal interpretations of what constitutes lawful and unlawful secondary blacking.

The second difficulty is that the concept of motivation is left to the judiciary. It will be the judiciary which has to decide whether the proposed action is likely to achieve its purpose. I am not saying that the judges are incapable of making that decision. I am merely saying that they are not the most suitable people to make that decision.

We should all be concerned that trade unionists as well as other citizens have faith and respect for the law. It is important that they should feel that the law does not act unfairly against them. It is not true that all citizens who come before the courts have a high opinion of the judgment of the courts. Many who come before the courts feel that they have a legitimate action and that their cause is right. However, when their case is heard the decision goes against them. For understandable reasons, they harbour a grievance. They go to higher courts and higher courts still. The courts have made many people bankrupt because of their obsession that the courts have done them down. It is important that the trade unions should not be singled out as the only group that feels that the courts sometimes do not give it a fair deal.

The more that the courts and the law are brought into this difficult area, the more there will be a sense of detachment and resentment by the trade unions, or by some trade unions, against the courts. They will take that view not because they think that the courts are being unfair to them deliberately but because they think that decision after decision has not been the right decision and that their case has not been properly understood.

I ask the Secretary of State why subsection (8) is included in the new clause. The subsection to which my hon. Friend the Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice) referred appears to repeal section 13(3) of the the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, that subsection was inserted to meet the uncertainties and ambiguities created by various judicial decisions and judicial dicta between 1906 and 1974, especially the doubt among judges whether the inducement of a breach of employment contract was an unlawful means in the course of bringing about the indirect breach of a commercial contract.

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Immunities were included to meet the ambiguities. Immunities apply to primary picketing and primary action as they do to secondary action. There may be good reason why the subsection has been included. It may be that I do not understand the clause properly. I am sure that I am not alone in that respect, and I do not feel ashamed to say it. There may be a good reason and it may be that the subsection applies only to secondary action. However, it is of great importance. It goes to the root of trade union immunity. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman should give the House a full explanation. If there is a reasonable reason for its inclusion, I shall be happy to accept it.

Mr. Prior

I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for putting his case with his usual moderation. My hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State will deal with this issue when he replies. However, it is our firm belief, from all the advice that we have had, that the subsection in no way affects primary action. In other words, it in no way affects breaches of contract of employment, which can lead to a breach of a commercial contract, where that breach of contract of employment is as a result of a primary dispute. I shall leave this issue to my hon. and learned Friend because I know that he will deal with it in some detail.

Mr. Davidson

I am happy to have it left to the Under-Secretary of State, who performed admirably in Committee. It is an erudite legal point but one of considerable importance, as the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to admit.

The clause will give great importance to the interim injunction procedure. It has been said repeatedly and correctly that all that an employer, supplier or customer needs is an interim injunction. The injunction will be to all intents and purposes effective in stopping the particular form of industrial action that it is wished to prevent. As the interim injunction is so important in the peculiar position of industrial action, it is my view—I do not think that I am alone—that different considerations should apply to the granting of the injunction. Before such an important injunction is granted, there should be an opportunity for the defendant or trade union to have an opportunity of examining the evidence upon which the injunction is based. I ask the Under-Secretary of State, through the Secretary of State, to reply to that point.

I agree with the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) that at this time of night there is not a great deal more that can be said. I was fascinated to hear him talking about British Rail breakfasts. I warn him that he may be in considerable difficulty under the new clause if he seeks to take action against the suppliers of the dreadful plastic trays that he finds so offensive.

The new clause will contribute nothing to good industrial relations. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Cadbury) mentioned some infamous secondary action, but added that the employers had obtained an injunction which resulted in industrial action being called off. I wonder why the hon. Gentleman feels that further action is necessary.

The new clause may not end up in the dustbin of history, but it will be ineffective and an irritant. It has been included solely in order to satisfy the extravagant claims made during the general election campaign and should be treated as no more than a piece of expediency.

Mr. Raymond Whitney (Wycombe)

The fact that the hon. and learned Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson) feels that the new clause will be ineffective and an irritant gives me cause for greater concern than I had previously. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary, who is to reply, will be able to set at rest my concerns.

I am not a slave to manifestos, which is a blessing shared by most of my hon. Friends, but one important aspect of the Conservative manifesto in last year's general election was the promise to do something about the tremendous problems on our industrial relations scene, such as were revealed in the winter of 1978–79.

That was a clear commitment, which was clearly understood. The new clause is complicated and is understood by perhaps only few hon. Members and almost no one else in the country. Our commitment to the British people was that we should ensure that the protection of the law is available to those not concerned in the dispute but who at present can suffer severely from secondary action". I should like my hon. and learned Friend to assure me that that is, in effect, what the new clause will achieve. I have my doubts, because subsection (3)(a) is widely drawn and I wonder whether the misgivings of Labour Members about a bonanza for lawyers and hard work for judges are not justified.

I am not a lawyer, but I suspect and fear that one or two rulings will be so clear that they will open a door through which a coach and horses can be driven and that subsequently employers will not be disposed to go to court.

The supply of goods and services is the natural area where secondary action will be taken—unless we are talking about a general strike—and that area is granted immunity. Are the Government not creating, in the teeth of the opposition from the Labour Party—which has not been as fierce as I had expected—conditions that may almost oblige moderates down the line from the initial dispute to take action?

It may be that a moderate trade union is doing nothing much about an action in a factory. Are we not making it likely that a more extreme union leader will tap him on the shoulder and say "We have immunity enshrined by Conservative legislation to help the dispute in the factory"?

I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State say that he intended to look at the whole question of immunities in the Green Paper. Clearly that is where the problems arise. Sadly, our debate would have taken place in hardly any other industrialised country. There are lots of good things about Britain and British workers and managements. The albatross that they have to carry is our labour legislation.

I should like to quote the words of a former Conservative leader: I say that undoubtedly trades disputes in this country have been carried on with a wisdom and a moderation on both sides which cannot be paralleled in any other industrialised community. That was said by Mr. A. J. Balfour on 25 April 1906—before the Trades Disputes Act of that year became law.

I am a realist and I am not suggesting that we go back to 1906, but we should remind ourselves that the present climate has been created by us and our predecessors in the House. We must move forward to a different climate. I hope that the Green Paper will offer us hope to get us out of the morass that we have been in for 74 years.

Mr. Leighton

I am reluctant to intervene in the internecine, fratricidal strife and discord on the Conservative Benches. I do not want to interrupt the family row between the faction that is apparently led by the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst), who acted almost as a public relations officer for Arthur Scargill, and the faction led by the Secretary of State.

One lot seems to want to clobber the trade unions by injunctions, which could lead to the imprisonment of trade unionists, and the other faction wants to award large damages against trade unions. I do not know how they are to decide the issue among themselves. Perhaps they should have a secret ballot, paid for from State funds.

I oppose both views. Both would make militants out of moderates, bring the law into disrepute, and alienate British workers and turn them into enemies of the Government.

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New Conservative Governments always seem to return to the subject of industrial relations, and the Conservative Party often seems at its least attractive at those times. I absolve some Government Members. But one had only to hear the waves of agricultural noises that welled up during parts of the Secretary of State's speech to know that, when the Conservative Party considers trade unions, its unacceptable and ugly face becomes clear. The myths and prejudices—and at Tory Party conferences one would almost say the hatreds—that simmer beneath the surface tend to come to the top, and the animus and hostility that the Conservatives have for the trade unions and that have not been so evident since the 1930s come to the fore. In Committee, we constantly learnt from the newspapers about the arguments in the Cabinet, how a strong case should be made against the trades unions, that the Bill should be rushed through, and so on.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) is being unfair and uncharitable if he is castigating all Government Members. He, above all others, should be aware that there is one Member of the Government who I believe is still a trade unionist and who knows that he owes his whole political career to the fact that he drew money out of trade union funds, was sponsored by a trade union, and then reneged on that union because he was given a job on the Government Front Bench. I am talking about my hon. Friend's predecessor, who owes a lot to the trade union movement.

Mr. Leighton

I did say that I absolved a number of Government Members. My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) seems to be talking about Newham's gift to Daventry.

It is a central part of the strategy of this Government to weaken and attack the trade union movement. The Financial Statement and Budget Report states in a paragraph headed "Market economy": The Government have taken steps to free the workings of market forces. Exchange control was related in the Budget…Dividend controls were allowed to lapse and price controls removed. Responsibility for pay bargaining has been restored to management and union negotiators. Then there is the following sentence: The Government has also put forward proposals for reforming certain parts of industrial relations legislation. Therefore the Government, it seems to me, take the view that none of their policies can work. The policy of extreme monetarism—known outside as "Thatcherism"—cannot work with the present strong position of the trade unions because workers will look to their trade unions to defend them against Government policies. The Government know that they cannot succeed unless they manage to weaken and shackle the trade unions. It will be very difficult for the Government, because they cannot transport workers to Australia. The wages in Botany Bay are higher than they are here.

Let us consider the recent steel dispute. I believe that the dispute was engineered and that the steel workers were set up quite deliberately. The Government precipitated the strike. They thought to themselves "Here is a group of workers we can take on", and they put the news around and told manufacturers to stock up. The union gave three weeks' notice, and the Government thought that they could allow the workers to stay out for nine, 10 or 11 weeks and become demoralised, which would perhaps affect the rest of the labour movement. As we all know, it did not work out that way.

The right to strike is a basic right. Surely that is something which we all agree. It is a sign of a free society. It is the way one distinguishes between a free society and a totalitarian society. This leads me to consider immunities. The fact is that in this country there is no statutory right to strike. We do not have, like some other countries, a constitution in which it is laid down that the citizen shall have the right to strike. We go about it another way and say that some actions which would be unlawful if done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute will be immune. That does not put the unions above the law. They derive their rights by statute. So it is absurd to talk about unions being above the law.

We have heard about the Green Paper. It looks as though, instead of immunities, we will have laws that will tell us what our rights are. We look forward to the Green Paper with some interest. I hope that it will not be threatening, but the immunities are being diminished and restricted. Some people believe that they are in danger of being obliterated. The opportunity is available for the judges to interpret them ever more narrowly.

When people go on strike, they will have one arm tied behind their backs. The Government are trying to ensure that strikes will not be successful. For example, if there is a strike involving a publication and the employer publishes it round the corner in another factory, a worker is not allowed to picket because that is not his place of work. His job is involved, but he is not allowed to picket in defence of that job.

We are told that one is allowed to inform. It is possible for a worker to go to the factory and inform the workers there that they are working on a publication which is considered to be black. The worker is not allowed to persuade or induce, because that is unlawful. If a worker informs unsuccessfully, that is OK, but if he informs successfully that is unlawful.

Let us suppose that a publication is moved abroad, as was The Times. There was a lock-out at The Times. A lock-out has secondary consequences. Nobody has said that that is to become illegal. When The Times locked its men out, secondary consequences occurred in the paper mills, the suppliers of ink, and the firm in Watford that supplied the colour supplement.

At one stage The Times tried to print the paper in Germany. The trade union fraternity is international. The German trade unions prevented The Times from being printed in Germany. Let us suppose that a German paper tried to print here and our trade unionists said that they would stand by their German colleagues. I suspect that that would be regarded as secondary action and therefore illegal. The word "secondary" has never existed in British law. We have referred to sympathetic action or solidarity.

The legislation is a result of pledges in the Conservative manifesto. The manifesto concentrated on secondary action because of public concern arising out of events in the winter of 1978–79. Many events of that time were unpalatable, and aroused anxiety. The Health Service was affected, and the press was full of abuse and insults about trade unionists. There was a wave of hysteria. However, almost all the disputes involved primary actions. The people who picketed the hospitals worked in the hospitals. The legislation would have had no effect on that.

Why do trade unions resort to secondary action? Only by helping each other can workers counter the power of many employers. Some firms are now so large and powerful that not even Governments can deal with them. That is why the unions have had to use sympathetic action and exercise solidarity.

The Government want to make solidarity illegal. That is impossible. I do not believe that it can be done by law. If one tries to make the law do something which it cannot do, it is brought into disrepute. In our advanced industrial society it is extremely dangerous to pass laws that do not have the consent of those to whom they apply and that will bring the law into disrepute. I would not like to think that Conservative Members thought that solidarity was something ignorable, and that helping one's workmates was something wicked.

Mrs. Knight

Will not the hon. Gentleman take on board the fact that many trade unionists did not wish to take part in the strike? Although I would strongly support—as would my hon. Friends—a man's right to strike, we defend also his right not to strike, if that is what he wishes. The solidarity cannot be certain unless there has been a balloted decision to take action.

Mr. Leighton

I am not suggesting that people should be forced into sympathetic action. I shall give the House a few examples of where we do not seem to consider it wicked or ignoble to help our friends. Let us consider our actions in relation to the Olympics. We have some sympathy for the people of Afghanistan. Britain is not directly involved, but the British Government are conducting secondary blacking of the Olympics. The Prime Minister is picketing Sir Dennis Follows. I do not know whether we should have a vote of the athletes. No one seems to think that our action is wrong, yet it is secondary action.

Let us consider another example. Our friend the United States is having certain disagreements with Iran. We have no argument or dispute with Iran. Yet, because the Americans are our allies, at their request we are discussing the concerting of secondary action against Iran. I do not hear anyone saying that that is wicked or ignoble. If that is right and proper, why is it wrong for trade unionists to want to help their workmates in their own industry if they are embroiled in a dispute with a large conglomerate?

It is fair to say that the clause reinstates the Lord Denning judgment in the case of Express Newspapers v. MacShane. I can envisage great difficulty. We know that there is a concentration of ownership in industry, with vast conglomerates. It will be difficult to decide what is primary action and what is secondary action, and what is legitimate secondary action and what is illegitimate secondary action. We shall have the courts sitting on our shoulders. It will be difficult for many judges to decide "capability" and "motive". We know that Lord Scarman said that he did not want to have to make that sort of decision.

British Leyland has a number of factories. In which factories would action be primary action and in which would it be secondary action? There are newspapers which are printed in different towns. If action were taken in Manchester because of a dispute in London, would that be secondary or primary action? I can envisage a number of problems. There will be encouragement for unofficial action if the union leaders are bombarded by injunctions and held back by legal action. Many workers may say "We shall have to do this unofficially." I can envisage union leaders even telling their members "We cannot do anything officially. If you want to do something, that is up to you."

Let us consider the case of Beaverbrook v. Keys, when there was a dispute on the Daily Mirror. The Society of Graphical and Allied Trades instructed its members on the Daily Express not to print extra copies because that would have damaged the Daily Mirror. An injunction was taken out against SOGAT. That instruction constituted secondary action, because there was no dispute at the Daily Express. What would be the position in future? It would be necessary for the union to arrange a dispute with the Daily Express, which would then be a primary action. Therefore, instead of secondary action, a competent trade union official will ensure that each time he orders an action it will be primary action. I believe that this legislation—

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Mr. Arthur Lewis

My hon. Friend is well aware of the fact that Chobham farm is in my constituency. Does he recollect the arrest of the dockers, who went to gaol, with the Government falling over themselves to dig up an unheard of Official Solicitor? No one had ever heard of him before then, and no one has heard of him since. He was used to get the Government off the hook. When the dockers were let out, they became heroes. We shall have a lot of Chobham farms if this legislation goes through.

Mr. Leighton

I am pleased that my hon. Friend raised that point. Quite often, with a meal, I leave the sweetest cherry to the end, and I have done so on this occasion. What my hon. Friend said proves the case. The Secretary of State wisely quoted Disraeli. In effect, he said that industrial relations problems cannot be solved by law. One cannot make men good by passing legislation. The best example of all was precisely the case of the five dockers, against whom an injunction was served. They did not obey it. They were then sent to prison, as a result of which there was almost a general strike, and the creature of whom I had never head—the Official Solicitor—appeared on the scene. I just hope that he is still available, and that his office is functioning well, because I think that he will be needed again.

During Committee, reference was made to the case of the Kent miners. My hon. Friend may recollect that case. The union officials were sent to prison, but the strike continued and the Minister responsible for mines had to visit the prison to negotiate an end to the dispute, because the only people with whom he could negotiate were in prison. About 1,000 people were fined, only nine of whom paid their fines. None of the others paid any fines at all.

Mr. William Wilson (Coventry, South-East)

Of course, the most extraordinary thing about that case was that the miners did not go to court as shame-faced criminals, but with banners flying and bands playing in great numbers.

Mr. Leighton That is true. If any hon. Member wants to read the whole story, it can be found in an appendix to the Donovan report. The incident took place during war time when there was petrol rationing. The officer responsible for issuing petrol coupons made extra coupons available so that coachloads of miners' wives and children, accompanied by colliery bands, could attend. They held a large picnic outside the court, even though it was only a little court in Canterbury. Had the miners pleaded not guilty it would have taken a month of Sundays for the case to have been dealt with. It was only because the union agreed to four test cases, and to abide by the result, that the problem was solved.

That case brought the law into disrepute. It was a complete farce. I believe that this legislation will end up in the same way.

In the interim, the unions will dislike this legislation. They will be antagonised, with little benefit. That is extemely foolish, especially when the Government need all the support they can get. From my contacts with the unions recently, I know that they are sanguine about the whole matter. They take the view "OK, we are in for a rough ride which may be a bit bloody"—I do not mean in a literal sense—"but we will survive. We even survived the Combination Acts and the 1971 Act. We shall come through this. We shall remain. We are an essential part of British life. We are half the nation, and no one will put us down."

I do not know about the dustbin of history, or where Acts go to when they are repealed, but wherever that is, that is where this Bill will end up.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant God-man Irvine)

There are four hon. Gentlemen who have indicated that they would like to catch my eye, and the Front Bench speeches will start at 9.10 pm.

Mr. Nicholas Lyell (Hemel Hempstead)

I am grateful to be called and to have the opportunity of following in debate the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton). About a year ago, I almost did not have the opportunity of following him because his speech was eight minutes too long. I point out to the hon. Gentleman that in the Kent miners' case strikes were made illegal. No one is suggesting that under this Bill strikes should be made illegal. We are seeking to achieve a fair balance between the privileges, rights and powers of trade unions and trade unionists and the rest of the country.

The trade union movement stands in a uniquely privileged position. It is right that it is not above the law, and it has an admirable record of obeying the law. But it has privileges which grant it im- munities from the process of law which are given to no other body in Britain. It is because of what it can do with the benefits of those immunities that many of the strikes and secondary, tertiary and even more remote forms of action which came to a head last winter have arisen.

That immunity is not ancient, but the immunity for striking by primary action is ancient. Immunity for some secondary action goes back to 1906, if not before. But the extension of immunity was granted between 1974 and 1976. The two most well known extensions were the widening of the meaning of "trade dispute" in 1975, and the widening of immunities not only for inducing breaches of contracts of employment but for every type of contract, in 1976. When Lord Wedderburn refers to the golden formula going back to 1906, and to a great and ancient rule, he is seeking to protect privileges which in many forms go back only about five years.

I welcome the clause, and I welcome the Bill because it seeks to tackle those problems in a calm manner; it aims to find objectively a reasonable balance. As time is short, I shall concentrate specifically on the new clause. The choices that were open were between making primary action only immune, or leaving the position as it is at present, where any type of secondary action, no matter how remote, gains immunity and, however damaging, cannot be restrained before the courts.

I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson) is not present, because I should like to comment on one of his remarks. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Cadbury) recited the Associated Newspapers v. Wade case. Because SLADE and the NGA had a dispute with the Nottingham Evening Post, they decided to stop anyone who continued to advertise in the Nottingham Evening Post from advertising in any other journal in Britain. They blacked a well known pharmaceutical firm, a well known hotel group, local estate agents, the local water board and the local health authority. There were blank spaces in every newspaper in the country—every national newspaper, every provincial newspaper, Woman's Own, and every magazine.

The hon. and learned Member for Accrington said, if we obtained an injunction in that case, why not leave it there? However, that injunction was given in the winter of 1978–79 before the MacShane decision in the House of Lords. As a result of that decision and the other decisions that were made that year, Lord Denning's actions were declared to be wrong. The trade unions were declared to have complete immunity for that kind of action, however far it stretched, provided only that the union leader or the person calling the secondary action could believe in good faith that it might further his cause. That is taking the balance too far in the opposite direction. The new clause rightly seeks to bring it back in a way which can be understood.

This problem is not new. It may be interesting to hon. Members who have the Donovan report beside them to notice that it is exactly 15 years ago this month that the Donovan Commission was appointed. The Donovan Commission made proposals for trade union regulation and a framework which were first brought forward in "In Place of Strife", and we know where that went. That was largely followed in the Industrial Relations Act, and we know where that went—into the so-called dustbin of history about which we have heard today. We are now looking at it again, and I cannot support too strongly the calm and balanced way in which the Secretary of State approaches these problems.

The clause seeks to draw a reasonable ring fence round the kind of secondary action which can remain immune and to put beyond the pale varieties of secondary action which go far beyond what is necessary to leave the unions with reasonable bargaining power and to give them immunities in areas where they can do immense damage, and are tempted to do immense damage, which moderate and reasonable men, which most trade unionists are, would not wish to do.

Focusing on the new clause, as Donovan indicated, there is a tradition of sympathetic action; there is a tradition of some solidarity. One understands what the hon. Member for Newham, North-East was saying about that and one respects him and much of his common sense, having sat with him in Com- mittee for 100 hours. But it seems reasonable to restrict sympathetic action to the first customer and first supplier—those who are in a direct relationship with the party with whom workers are in dispute—and to say that if people take the ambit of their action beyond that to coerce in the legion of ways which are so well illustrated by the Associated Newspapers case and have been illustrated in a number of other ways in the debate, they are doing something for which they should not have immunity.

I greatly welcome that there is to be a Green Paper on the subject of immunities. Although the Donovan report looked with great skill at the framework of trade unions, it did not concentrate on the question of immunities. It sought to set up a different type of framework—the "In Place of Strife" and Industrial Relations Act type of framework. Therefore, it did not look at the question of immunities. I do not think that it anticipated that there would be that tremendous extension of union powers which has taken place since the 1974, 1975 and 1976 Acts.

As Lord Donovan said in the speech which my right hon. Friend quoted in his opening speech, if there is to be that kind of licence, it must be limited to those who are official trade unionists, because, if it gets into the hands of everybody, it goes too far. That is what we have seen. But we did not follow the "In Place of Strife" approach, which is a pity. I am sure that many Labour Members would agree that it is a great pity that we cannot get back to that approach. Therefore, we are now looking for a new and sensible way.

A Green Paper on immunities, which have never really been studied, is much to be welcomed, especially in the context of the clause. Although the clause does a good, simple, and understandable job in creating a ring fence, as a lawyer I can see the way that the birds of various legal types may descend upon some of the details of the clause. We may find on reflection that there are better ways yet of doing it.

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As I am sure my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State appreciates, we must deal with the whole ambit of business relationships and not simply the contractual ambit. I am sure that all our minds are focused on that so as to achieve a moderate and sensible compromise.

Much has been said about injunctions. The injunction is the remedy which the employer needs—not damages against trade unions.

Mr. Budgen

Why should we not have damages as well?

Mr. Lyell

My hon. Friend asks why we should not have damages as well. If he is so minded, he can go for damages against the individual. However, I should not encourage that.

This is the reason why an injunction is needed. We want to get people back to work. We are all in the business of getting the country working again. There is a common interest there between both sides of industry. The injunction gives time for reflection between the moment when we know that we are going to the court, while the case is heard and the facts are found out, and the judgment being given. Often an injunction is then granted. People breathe a sigh of relief. They say "Thank goodness the courts have got us off the hook and we can go back to work." It is possible that people will insist on being martyrs. If people disobey the injunctions, there is time for reflection again by the trade union leaders and the country as to where we are going. Do we want people to disobey the orders of our courts and the laws created by Parliament? People will ask "Where is X or Y leading this country?"

The guilty party may come back to the court and be fined. I hope that fines will be used at first. That gives another chance for reflection before we get to the emotive position of imprisonment. At each of those stages there is a chance for people to think about what they want.

In the end, government comes by consent. The question of trade unions and how we run our industrial relations must come back, as far as possible, to consent. Therefore, opportunity for reflection, for thinking about what we want and what we are trying to achieve, is given by the injunction process. If we go on to damages, we give an opportunity to be vindictive. It would be difficult for a vindictive employer to go against a single trade unionist and make him bankrupt. The country would not like that, although it might tolerate a vindictive employer going for union funds. Everybody would back up in defence of the union and not concentrate on the real issue, which is getting back to work and getting the country moving.

I am right behind the Secretary of State's approach. I give my fullest support to the new clause and the Bill.

Mr. Richard Page (Hertfordshire, South-West)

Tonight, not surprisingly, I am very much behind the Secretary of State and the new clause. I say that because the clause is very much in line with the spirit that permeated the consideration of the Bill in Committee. The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) illustrated that spirit with his knock-about speech earlier today. The Opposition attach so much importance to the mildness of the Bill that they are unable to keep the debate going from their side of the House. Government supporters are carrying it on and putting much emphasis on the question of industrial relations.

If I may digress slightly from the new clause and the shoal of amendments, I should like to say that I regard the Bill very much as a main frame, a skeleton, to which amendments and codes of practice may be added or subtracted in time as they are found either necessary or wanting in practice, without disturbing the essential principle that runs underneath. That is the way in which I have considered the Bill: is it morally right for the individual, the trade union and the employer, without any loading of legal dice for one party or the other?

I believe that that underlying theme is carried through in new clause 1, although I have a personal wish, which I think is shared by at least some hon. Members. It is that the Parliamentary draftsman who drafted the clause—and it has been referred to in the Law Society's Gazette, published yesterday, as having been drafted in a mood of complexity—could have couched it in terms that could have been more readily understood by the people outside. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans), that it is the shop stewards and the people on the shop floor who have to understand this clause and see how it will operate in practice.

I think it would be wrong not to glance a little more closely at the situation that faces us and decide whether it can he considered to be correct and fair. In the strictly legal sense, of course, it is fair and correct, and it has been reinforced in various court cases and appeals over the years. But is it right that a union or individuals in dispute should be allowed to threaten the activities of third parties by secondary industrial action even if the requirement of genuine honest belief in the furtherance of a trade dispute is satisfied? I believe that that is an entirely different matter, and I do not apologise for bringing it up again, because I believe that, fundamentally, the law is morally wrong as regards the individuals affected by legislation.

To my mind, there are two fundamental reasons for objecting to the continuance of the present situation. The first is that if the actions that can be taken under the law are extended logically—and my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) made this point—they could go as far as a mini national strike. The question still remains whether it is right or correct that the extension of a dispute in a firm, whatever the rights or wrongs of the dispute, should produce disruption, inconvenience or even a lowering of the living standards of completely unconnected parties. I am sure that every hon. Member on this side of the House believes that the answer to that question must be "No", and I believe that the clause goes a very long way, although it is not the complete answer, towards rectifying that position.

The second question that has been raised concerns the image that is projected by the trade union movement. This "have picket will travel" approach by some trade unions brings the movement into disrepute and does its image far more harm than is warranted by any of the short-term transitory gains. I think that it is necessary only to remind the House of the scenes outside Hadfields, especially when Arthur Scargill and his mob arrived, to illustrate that point. All that it does is to imprint on the public consciousness an image of the trade union movement which I believe is wrong, because that image of the trade union movement is caused basically by a few politically motivated hotheads. I think that the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) put that point tar more effectively than I have done.

As regards the clause itself, the theory is simple and logical. The ring and wall analogy has already been used, but one further test has to be applied, and that is the test of practicality. Will it work in practice? Will it work in the emotional situation that often exists at the time of industrial conflict?

It is about that, naturally, that all hon. Members, and especially those on this side of the House, are most concerned, but in saying that we must not allow it to become an excuse for listening to the siren voices of Labour Members, who say that everything in the garden is rosy and that we should take no action at all. I believe that that is wrong. Whatever the difficulties and the problems, we cannot, and must not, accept the situation that exists, which is so obviously morally wrong.

To return to the practicality of the operation, one of the difficulties that I see is that it will require far more knowledgeable and sophisticated picketing, particularly when dealing with activities outside the supplier. In working—if it does work—it will, I think, negate the senseless crowd approach that is so frightening to those who wish to go about their lawful business. In the last Parliament the shameful phrase "legal intimidation" was coined, and in that phrase Parliament abrogated its responsibility to defend the right of the individual to go about his daily business.

With the satisfactory operation of the clause there will inevitably be intertwined the code of practice that has yet to be produced on picketing. That code of practice, in the reality of the factory gate, could be even more important than this clause. The two working together will reinforce each other and become a practical code of conduct on strikes throughout the country.

The more knowledgeable and sophisticated pickets will have to know what passage of goods will take place and the supplier to which those goods are detailed. It is essential that the management of the firm should co-operate with the pickets in informing them which goods are destined for which firms. When goods are not destined for the firm in dispute, I hope that the pickets will co-operate and allow them to go on their way. In turn, I hope that when the goods are needed for the plant that is in dispute management will recognise that and say "No, we shall not take part".

Mr. Leighton

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that each picket should be a solicitor?

Mr. Page

More confusion would probably be caused if more legal gentlemen got together. I believe that we should take the lawyers to one side and allow the Bill to work in practice. I see this as a twofold interaction; the necessary requirement to make the clause work in practice, and so to make these ugly mob scenes illegal and unnecessary.

I should have liked to raise a whole host of other matters, but I know that my hon. Friends are itching to make their contribution and, as the Opposition have run out of steam, I shall not continue for too long.

I should like to think that the trade union movement and the individual unions involved will recognise the essential mildness behind the clause and cooperate in making it work in practice. Let it be clearly understood that there is a groundswell of opinion that the present state of affairs cannot continue. The scenes that we have seen on television amply illustrate that point. I ask the House to approve the clause and to support the Bill. By allowing it to come into practice, together we shall contribute to happier and more sane industrial relations.

Mr. Harold Walker

I have been—

Mr. Budgen

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is this not a Report stage in which all hon. Members who stand up are likely to catch your eye?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is absolutely correct. A right hon. Gentleman did stand up and he has caught my eye.

Mr. Walker

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for asserting that Front Benchers—

Mr. Budgen

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is an hon. Member likely to catch your eye after the Front Bench speakers have spoken?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

We must wait until that situation arises.

Mr. Walker

I have been under the firm impression during the debate that there has been an understanding through the usual channels, as is normal on Report, about how the debate should be handled and at about what time we may reasonably hope to conclude our business. I am hopeful that we shall be able to adhere to that understanding.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther) said that this was a bad clause being added to a bad Bill. I agree with him. My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) said that it was "obnoxious." Hon. Members from all parties have frequently said that the new clause is "complex" and "obscure," both in its drafting and in its application. It is antiunion and will harm industrial relations. Indeed, the new clause is more harmful than the rest of the Bill put together. I am afraid that I shall disappoint the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham), because I do not pretend to have the ability to analyse the clause and its application. One consolation of being in opposition is that Opposition Members can ask questions instead of trying to answer them.

9.15 pm

The Secretary of State began his speech by trying to justify the new measure and by speaking of the harm done to other workers by secondary action. However, his concern might have sounded a little more convincing if he had shown the slightest concern, during the long hours of the Committee stage or on the Floor of the House for those who have been deprived of jobs as a result of the Government's cuts. He has never shown the slightest concern for those from whom he has withdrawn the right to complain when they are unfairly dismissed. Nor has he shown concern for the pregnant women who, have been cheated of their right to employment. He did not mention any of those subjects when he went through his highly selective checklist.

We were all interested by the Secretary of State's condemnation of the immunities approach. He hinted heavily that the Green Paper will contain a different approach, based on a further reduction—perhaps removal—of existing immunities, including those that will remain after the Bill has been enacted. I hope that the Under-Secretary will lift the veil a little further and reveal what is being threatened.

Given the sheer legal complexity and abstruseness of the new clause, hon. Members should bear in mind that if we cannot understand this legislation—as manifestly the majority of hon. Members cannot—how much more difficult, if not impossible, will it be for those who have to work with that law? The Secretary of State has said on more than one occasion that his hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary will deal with questions. However, shop stewards deal with the reality of industrial relations and they cannot say that an hon. and learned Friend will deal with a question. They will not have lawyers or a group of highly qualified officials sitting by their sides, yet it is they who will have to live with the law.

The hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Madel) made an interesting speech. I am sure that he will not mind if I say that it echoed the useful paper that can be found in the economic affairs section of the Library. That paper begins: There has been no press comment on this clause either in newspapers or specialist journals. Curiously enough, that is true. I recently spoke to a very distinguished industrial correspondent who had had the benefit of being taken through this subject by the Secretary of State, with his wall chart and pointer. I do not know whether he will send copies of the wall chart to every union affiliated to the TUC. He certainly has not brought those charts to the House. The journalist had had the benefit of being taken step by step through the Bill, but when I asked him why he had not written an article, he replied bluntly and honestly that he did not understand it. I am sure that that applies to other correspondents, and that that is why they have not written about it.

I hope that the Secretary of State has read the document in the Library. The author says: the Clause appears to me to be unclear on the following points. The author then lists those points, just as the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South did. The author pointed out that she was not legally qualified and that these were the comments of a layman. Are not we all laymen? I shall not go through that document because I wish the Under-Secretary to have as much time as possible to answer our points.

However, I must put one specific matter to the Minister yet again. Many of our amendments were tabled in an attempt to have some light flashed into dark corners and have some of these grey areas illuminated. The prime purpose in putting them down was to give the Under-Secretary a chance to try to explain such areas.

The only amendment that I wish to emphasise again is that which arises from subsection (8) of the new clause proposing the repeal of section 13(3) of the 1974 Act. I emphasise what I am sure the TUC has already put to the Government. We all know that the TUC has highly skilled, expert advice in these legal matters, and the TUC is not so sanguine. It does not share the Government's view.

It is not good enough for the Secretary of State blandly to give us assurances. I have had the experience as a Minister of being advised that a measure will or will not have a certain effect, yet when the matter comes before the courts, and particularly before judicial luminaries such as Lord Denning, it is discovered that what we thought it would not do it does do. All sorts of perverse consequences result from what we have been advised is a perfectly safe and proper procedure.

The TUC says about the repeal of section 13(3): Though a highly complex legal issue, unlawful means, if left uncovered by the statute as the Government intends, could he exploited by the judges to make further inroads into the severely limited trade union 'immunities' that will remain after the enactment of the Employment Bill. Moreover, this repeal of section 13 (3) is particularly significant given the new clause's restriction of 'immunity' to direct interference only. And it goes much wider than sympathy action and could be used to attack the legality of some kinds of 'primary' action. I hope that the Under-Secretary will accept that we are deeply concerned about that aspect of the matter. We shall be grateful for further categorical assurances, if such can be given.

In an interesting intervention, the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) triggered off my recollection of what I said in Committee about the role of law in these matters. I assert again, as I did in Committee, that we as parliamentarians should expect that those for whom we are legislating will respect the laws that we pass, and we are equally entitled to expect that of the courts.

I mentioned the perverse behaviour of the Master of the Rolls in reading into a statute words that were specifically and deliberately omitted by vote of the House of Commons. The Government, too, should observe the law and behave accordingly. However, the Government are in the privileged position that, the moment they do not like the law, they can change it, which is precisely what they are doing now. Because of judgments and rulings in the House of Lords, the Government have suddenly decided that they do not like the law and will not observe it. They will change it. They are in the happy position of being able to do so. The instant that they do not like the law, they can change it.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

That is democracy.

Mr. Walker

I wish briefly to consider the role of law in such a situation. I quoted in Committee, and make no apology for quoting again, two interesting observations. The first was by the hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman), who was in the Chamber earlier, and I hope that he is present now. In a letter to The Times on 12 February, among other things the hon. Gentleman said—and I hope that the hon. Gentleman and the House will not mind if I quote selectively, not in any attempt to be unfair to him: Surely our experience with the ill-fated 1971 Industrial Relations Act should have told us that legislative changes designed to bring about a more equal balance between employers and employees will only last in this country if they are made on the basis of full consultation and at least the tacit consent of those most directly affected. This was echoed a few days later by the hon. Member for Chippenham, who made a sensible contribution in a letter to The Times. He said, among other things: Let us look for a moment at some of the extreme proposals being put forward. First, there is the demand for an end to secondary picketing with the unions being held financially responsible for the actions of their members, whether the dispute is official or unofficial. Second, it is proposed to stop all secondary actions such as blacking or sympathy strikes, again with the unions held responsible. Third, there should be mandatory strike ballots and cooling-off periods. Fourth, supplementary benefits for strikers' families should be stopped and tax rebates should not be paid to those on strike. Fifth, primary picketing should only be allowed by those involved in the dispute and the number should be strictly controlled. The hon. Member wrote that in February. If we look at what has happened between February and now, we see that we are moving at the speed of light towards precisely those lunatic proposals that he said we should not be prepared to accept.

The hon. Member for Chippenham went on to say: If all these proposals were enforced not only would there be no strikes, not only would the law be back before 1850 rather than 1906, but one of the fundamental democratic rights of the British people, the right to withdraw one's labour, would have been rendered virtually unusable. The law would be flouted on a massive scale and its enforcability would become even more impossible. Yet today some of the things against which the hon. Member warned us are being done, and those which are not being done are being clamoured for by some Conservatives. The hon. Member went on: The principle behind Mr. Prior's strategy is, therefore, that the law must have the backing of those to whom it applies. Conservative attempts to introduce such legislation in the past have failed because they had not had that backing. Will Mr. Prior get it this time? I ask the hon. Member and the House, do we really think that this Bill has the backing of those to whom it will apply? The hon. Member knows the answer as well as everyone else.

The approach that I share is that if the law is to be effective it must at least command the tacit support of those to whom it applies. If there is one part of the Secretary of State's remarks with which I agree entirely it is the wise words that have been quoted in this House so often—those of Viscount Blakenham when he was Mr. John Hare, the then Conservative Minister for Labour when he was addressing the Conservative Party conference in 1961. He said—and perhaps he was echoing Disraeli: "There are those who look, when confronted with problems in this field, for the remedy to be provided by this House by passing an Act of Parliament. Acts of Parliament seldom make men good. It is a mistaken belief that we can reform human behaviour by reforming law."

I think it was Oliver Goldsmith who said: How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or Kings can cause or cure. The hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) let the cat out of the bag when he pointed out that injunctions may be defied. My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East referred to Chobham Farm in his constituency and how the dockers' action almost led to a national dock strike. That was averted only by the intervention of the Official Solicitor who was armed with 50,000 quid. We know not from where that came, and we have not found out to this day. I only hope that the Department of Employment has plenty of cash in the safe for the future. The hon. Member for Knutsford pointed out that the consequence of defying injunctions is the gaoling of working people.

What, then, are the justifications for these new proposals? How widespread are the practices that have been referred to and condemned by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends? The hon. Member for Chippenham said that there had been a dramatic increase in secondary picketing in recent years, yet when challenged he could not produce a scrap of evidence to support that assertion. What incidents have there been since the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Act 1976, because that is the date that the right hon. Gentleman has chosen as the starting point? Is he quoting Hadfields? What happened there occurred without any change in the law. An injunction was obtained and was observed immediately by the unions. Therefore, we do not need a change in the law to get an injunction.

What about the case of United Biscuits, in the road haulage dispute? An injunction was sought, obtained and observed immediately. There has been reference to Express Newspapers v. MacShane. That was an obscure one-off case, almost a freak. It is extremely unlikely ever to happen again. What does that leave? There was mention of the situation concerning the Nottingham Evening Post. But it was agreed that once an injunction was obtained the unions concerned, the NGA and SLADE, instantly called off action. That shows that there is no need for a change in the law. I do not know what remains. Hon. Members may quote the Grunwick situation. Are we to have far-reaching changes in the law because of one or two one-off situations that occur infrequently?

9.30 pm

The Secretary of State does not need me to remind him that Governments have sought, all too often, to legislate because of one or two situations about which concern has been expressed. After legislation is enacted, it is discovered that the legislation has unforeseen consequences in other areas. In trying to correct one problem, a dozen, perhaps even more severe, have been created.

I agree with the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) that, rather than trying to diminish the strength of the unions and to restrict the rights of working people and to cut down present immunities, it would be better to try to create a climate where disputes become less likely or to take such steps as are available to get strikes settled quickly. The Government have a responsibility, in many situations, to become involved in industrial relations.

Such a situation was the steel strike. What was the Government's approach? In a strike that went on week after week, with the most damaging consequences for output and exports, did the Government stir a finger to try to bring the dispute to a more speedy end? Were they concerned about the workers who had been laid off? Not at all. Instead, they allowed the strike to drag on. They now intend, in similar situations, that the remedy should be to diminish the strength of the unions to pursue the interests of their members or to punish their members in seeking to preserve their interests.

The new clause cannot be seen and judged in isolation. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Cadbury) said that the new clause has to be seen in the context of the Bill as a whole. The Bill already threatens to inflict serious damage on industrial relations. It is not only aimed at weakening trade unions but is intended to strip millions of workers of hard-won statutory protections. It will do more harm to industrial relations if the new provisions are added.

The new clause is part of a sustained and continuing attack by the Government on the rights and protections of individual workers and the organisations that work on their behalf. What the Government describe as their step-by-step approach to industrial relations—the salami approach of cutting down the unions slice by slice—is an attack that started last summer with orders cutting the protection for redundant workers and removing safeguards against unfair dismissal. The attack gathered momentum with the publication of this Bill. It is now being stepped up by cutting the social security rights of wives and children of men in dispute with their employers.

We know that there is more to come. More assaults on the organised working class are threatened in a Green Paper to be published shortly. The Under-Secretary of State has warned of changes in the arrangements for procedures of industrial tribunals that will inevitably prejudice the interests of claimants. The new clause has to be seen not only in the context of the Bill and not only in the wider context of the Government's approach to industrial relations generally but in the light of the whole range of Government economic and social policy and the cumulative impact on workers' attitudes and behaviour.

I echo what was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley), namely, that the Government are moving back inexorably to 1972. As a consequence of the first full year of the Industrial Relations Act 1971, we lost, directly and indirectly, 24 million working days in industrial disputes. Future historians will surely find it incredible that at this time any Government should have been doing anything other than trying to win whatever good will and support were forthcoming from organised labour. However, the Government seem intent on deliberately fostering ill will and resentment.

The Government seem determined to alienate themselves from the trade union movement and to embark on policies that seem to be destined for confrontation, and it may be that nothing is further from the Secretary of State's thoughts and intentions.

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Bedford)

indicated dissent.

Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman does no good by coming to the Chamber and sneering when he has not listened to the debate. He should stand back and consider the facts. The Government are travelling fast down the road that the previous Conservative Government took with the Industrial Relations Act 1971. As I have said, nothing may be further from the Secretary of State's thoughts and intentions.

I understand that the right hon. Gentleman does not share the views expressed by some of his right hon. and hon. Friends. However, in trying to observe the pattern of play from a position on the terraces, he seems gradually to be retreating down the road that I have described under the pressure that is being imposed on him by the irresponsible extremists in the Conservative Party, both inside and outside Parliament. I refer to the Tory bully boys in Smith Square and in Fleet Street who seem to be more determined to pursue a vendetta against the unions than to foster good industrial relations. Unhappily for him, for us, for the unions and for Britain, the bully boys seem to be winning. The price that we shall all pay is bitterness, resentment and bad industrial relations. We shall vote against paying that price.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)

Until the last few moments we had had a serious and good debate about one of the most difficult areas of our law and one of the most difficult issues of our time. I know that many of my hon. Friends wanted to contribute to the debate. I am grateful to my hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) and Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken), who have remained in the Chamber and who particularly wanted to speak.

It was a remarkable feature of the speech of the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) when he asked where the examples of excess and abuse of union power, about which so much has been heard in support of the clause, are to be found. The right hon. Gentleman carefully avoided the steel strike, which has recently come to an end, when there was blacking by railway men, dockers and transport workers, and a secondary strike in the private steel companies, all of which the clause would have had a bearing upon.

For about 75 years, successive Governments have been confronted with a legal difficulty. Common law rightly states that if a person enters into a contract with someone else it is wrong for a third party to try to break it. If that happens, the courts will provide a remedy. That is the common law of our land. On the other hand, the law has to cater realistically and fairly for the proper needs of trade unions. These interests conflict. The two purposes are not easy to resolve.

How do the Government, or how does the nation, resolve those conflicting interests? How can they be reasonably fairly balanced? The difficulty of the legal question comes from the fact that the nature of our law on trade union action is not to confer, as most other countries do, legal rights, but to base the approach upon the concept of immunities; namely, to give to those who take action in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute immunity from civil action in tort.

I sympathise greatly with those who have winced at the complexity of the clause As pants the hart for cooling streams so we crave for simplicity in legislation in this place. There is nothing simple about the concept of immunity from civil action for tort when it is applied to industrial action. As long as we remain locked into the concept of immunities we shall suffer from complexity when making any adjustment in the law.

The Law Reports from 1907 onwards show the difficulty of that concept when no bounds to its application are spelt out in statutes. And as yet, they have not been spelt out. Over the years Parliament has attempted to change the law—in 1927, 1965, 1971, 1974 and 1976. The case for the new clause is that under the law most recently made, by the previous Labour Government in 1974 and 1976, that conflict of interests is most unfairly resolved.

The reason is that the ambit of immunity from civil action for tort was derestricted in 1976. All contracts, not just employment contracts, were put at risk and no limit was placed, whether by a test of remoteness, practicality capability or any other test, upon the extent to which that privilege could be exercised at the expense of those who were not party to any dispute. We repeatedly warned against that when we were in opposition.

The consequence was made clear in the MacShane case, which was decided, it should not be forgotten, in favour of the union after the Bill was published. It was vividly described in that case by Lord Diplock, who said: If the party who does the act honestly thinks at the time he does it that it may help one of the parties to the trade dispute to achieve their objectives, and he does it for that reason, he is protected by the section. Lord Diplock went on: The doer of the act may know full well that it cannot have more than a minor effect in bringing the trade dispute to the successful outcome that he favours, but nevertheless is bound to cause disastrous loss to the victim, who may be a stranger to the dispute and with no interest in its outcome. The act is nonetheless entitled to immunity under the section". That does not accord with the Government's ideas of what is reasonable, or with the ideas of most people in this country, including, I say confidently, most trade union members, of what is reasonable. It is trade union members who, in the majority of cases, stand to lose their livelihood and jobs through the exercise of that untrammelled immunity. That is why we believe it to be essential that reasonable bounds should be set to that privilege and that the new clause should be added to the Bill so that at this earliest opportunity, and before our general review of the whole question of immunities is completed, the unfairness deriving from that legislation can be mitigated.

The new clause does that. It leaves untouched the immunity protecting an employee who works for the employer in dispute and the breaking of any contract of employment that does not lead to the breaking of a commercial contract. But in the case of employees who work for an employer who is not involved in the dispute there will be no immunity unless the secondary action falls within the bounds imposed for the first time and set out in subsections (3), (4) and (5) of the new clause. The key to the new clause is that, for the first time, it sets bounds to the immunities conferred by section 13 of the 1974 Act, amended by the 1976 Act.

In order to be legitimate, the purpose of the secondary action must be directly, during the course of a dispute, to prevent or disrupt supplies between an employer in dispute and his supplier or customer, and it must be likely to achieve that purpose. To any fair-minded person that will hardly seem a dire and swingeing attack upon the proper needs of trade unions for special treatment under the law.

The word "directly" means that action taken by those who work for the customer or supplier has to be targeted inwards towards the employer in dispute, and not outwards to other suppliers or businesses, even with the intention of hurting the employer in dispute indirectly. We think that to draw bounds there reflects industrial expectations and reality. As several of my hon. Friends have said, notably my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell), to draw the line at the customer and the first supplier of the employer who is in dispute accords with industrial expectations and reality.

9.45 pm

In 1969 the Donovan Commission reported in these words: At the present time, however, it is a familiar aspect of trade disputes that trade unions not only call out their members on strike but also endeavour to exert additional economic pressure on the employer in dispute by sealing off his sources of supply of materials or his outlet for sales, or both: and unless unlawful means are used to secure these ends, such action is permissible. That is why I say that this clause accords with industrial expectations and realities.

However, we do not believe that those bounds should be set wider, and that is where I part company from and quarrel with virtually all the speeches that we have heard from the Opposition today, and certainly with the amendments to which I have been asked to speak.

Mr. James Tinn (Redcar)

Does the Minister accept that in the steel dispute the Government deliberately provoked a strike by moderate unions, based on a careful calculation that the impact of a strike in that industry would have little direct effect on the ordinary person and therefore could be faced and the unions could be taken on? Surely unions that are reluctantly forced to strike are entitled to call upon their comrades in other unions to support them. That is what secondary picketing is all about.

Mr. Mayhew

I had been feeling sorry that the hon. Gentleman had not been able to be with us throughout the debate, but in view of that contribution I shall bear his next absence more philosophically.

The speech of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) was flawed by his condemnation of the new clause as anti-trade union legislation. How can it be argued that a party that was elected by almost 5 million trade union votes should then embark upon anti-trade union legislation? I agree with my hon. Friends who have made the point that it is the exercise of untrammelled privilege under the existing law that brings the trade union movement into disrepute. We want the trade union movement to be well regarded and to deserve high regard, and we believe that the existing state of the law is an obstacle to the trade unions.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield asked me to deal with section 13(3). Although it is the subject of an amendment to which I shall come later, I will deal with it now. The repeal of section 13(3) of the 1974 Act does not affect the immunities for primary action—that is the organising of industrial action by employees of the employer in dispute. Subsections (1), (2) and (4) of section 13, as amended, provide full protection for primary action, and they are untouched by this clause.

Section 13 (1) provides immunity for anyone who, in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, induces or threatens to induce a breach of contract, whether a contract of employment directly, or indirectly, of a of a commercial contract. It also protects anyone who interferes with a contract or threatens to do so, or induces someone else to interfere with a contract or who threatens that a contract, whether one to which he is a party or not, will be broken. Section 13(2) provides further immunity, as does section 13 (4).

Section 13 will continue to protect the acts specified therein, which are the acts that workers and their trade union officials are likely to commit in pursuit of a trade dispute with their own employer.

The new clause is not easy to understand. The hon. and learned Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson) referred to it being necessary, in the context of the proposals, to make some change to section 13(3) to ensure that secondary action outside the purposes set out in the new clause is clearly unlawful. If section 13(3) were retained in its present form there could remain some doubt about whether inducing a breach of a commercial contract by secondary action, which involves inducing breaches of contracts of employment, and which is outside the provisions of the clause, is lawful. If section 13 remains, it might seem to conflict with the main objective of the clause and cause uncertainty.

At first we thought that it might be possible to reverse the provisions of section 13(3), but only in respect of secondary action that is unlawful under the clause. However, we decided not only that that was unnecessary, but that it would involve a complex provision which might remove the immunity from some primary action. We concluded that we could achieve our purpose more simply by repealing section 13(3).

We are advised that there is no risk of limiting the immunity for primary action because section 13 (1) already provides all the immunity necessary for primary action which induces a breach of contract. I hope that that deals with the questions raised on that topic.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield, during his prolonged remarks about the undesirability of judges having some surveillance over legislation, dwelt on Lord Scarman's remarks in Express Newspapers v. MacShane. Lord Scarman said that he did not wish to shoulder the burden of deciding whether an action was likely to further a trade dispute or likely to help someone win a trade dispute. We understand that.

It is important to bear in mind that under the clause the judges will not have to consider such an abstract and intangible concept. They will have to consider whether the action in question is likely to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods and services between an employer who is a party to the dispute and an employer who is the victim of secondary action. That is an easier task.

My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough (Mr. Shaw) asked several questions. He asked whether, because of its complicated nature the clause would be regarded as final. I assure him that the clause is not necessarily final. I acknowledge that it is complicated. My hon. Friend also asked whether my right hon. Friend would feel free to introduce further changes after the Green Paper. My right hon. Friend has no plans to introduce further changes, but of course he will be free to do so if he feels that that is desirable after the consultations on the Green Paper.

Much criticism has been made because the working paper published in February contains some different suggestions from those in the clause. What on earth is the purpose of a working paper and consultations if the Government are regarded as weak if they depart from the suggestions in the working paper? My hon. Friend asked whether the Government adhere to the declaration in the manifesto to give the protection of the law to those who suffer from such action. Indeed, we do. That matter was also referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Whitney). I was unfortunate to miss his speech. The manifesto did not say that we should confine immunity to primary action.

I should have liked to deal with many other speeches. I must answer the questions asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr Madel), who made a characteristically thoughtful and well-informed speech. The Opposition arrogate to themselves a monopoly of knowledge of all matters connected with trade unions. I do not know when any Opposition Front Bench Member last turned a hand on the shop floor, but there are many of my hon. Friends who bring a degree of practical experience to these matters which, if it were matched by Opposition Members, would lead to far better quality speeches in these debates.

Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Ealing, Southall)

Does the Under-Secretary believe that as a result of the new clause the trade union movement will grow or diminish?

Mr. Mayhew

I think that the trade union movement will grow in public esteem. If my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South will allow me, I shall deal with his questions by correspondence. I must now turn to the other amendments.

I wish to deal with amendment (a), tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst). It seeks to enable us to get at union funds. I do not wish to disappoint him unnecessarily, but I am sorry to say—it will come as no surprise to him—that we cannot do that. There are many reasons for that, but the principal reason is that the vast majority of industrial action is unofficial, We cannot get at trade union funds unless we can show somebody who, on behalf of the trade union, has actually perpetrated a wrong. If in 95 per cent. of the cases we cannot show that, we shall not be able to make union funds available for compensation. We have to show vicarious liability.

Mr. Gorst

My hon. and learned Friend's answer is unsatisfactory. What he has really said is that he has had to reconcile expediency with principle. He prefers to come down in favour of expediency rather than principle.

Mr. Mayhew

If it were possible to view in isolation the interests of any party to a trade dispute, or anybody affected by it, life would be very much simpler. But it is not possible to do that if we are to end up with a wise solution. The amendment is unneces-

sary, because it is the injunction rather than the damages that people are seeking. The injunction is valuable, not the damages. Therefore, I must disappoint my hon. Friend.

I am afraid that I am not able to accept any of the other amendments. However, I shall give an undertaking in respect of amendments (p), (q) and (r), mentioned by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans). I understand the thinking behind the amendments, and I undertake to consider the matter further—although I cannot give any commitment.

When I consider the crudity and the violence of the way in which the legislation of the previous Labour Administration makes tremendous inroads into the rights of people who are not affected by a trade dispute, who have no means of controlling its outcome, no means of protecting themselves, and who may be injured by it to an extent grossly disproportionate to the value that that industrial action may bring to the conduct of a trade dispute, and when I consider the scope of that legislation and the violence and crudity with which the rights of those people have been virtually extinguished, I marvel at what has been said by Opposition Members about the nature of the clause.

The clause is a moderate, a sensitive and an urgently needed measure. It is not to be condemned as though we are repealing the Magna Carta. I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 223.

Division No. 256] AYES [10 pm
Adley, Robert Blackburn, John Butcher, John
Aitken, Jonathan Blaker, Peter Butler, Hon Adam
Alexander, Richard Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Cadbury, Jocelyn
Ancram, Michael Boscawen, Hon Robert Carlisle, John (Luton West)
Arnold, Tom Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Aspinwall, Jack Bowden, Andrew Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Boyson, Dr Rhodes Channon, Paul
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Bright, Graham Churchill, W. S.
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Brinton, Tim Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Brittan, Leon Clegg, Sir Walter
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Cockeram, Eric
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Brooke, Hon Peter Colvin, Michael
Beith, A. J. Brotherton, Michael Cope, John
Bendall, Vivian Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Cormack, Patrick
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Browne, John (Winchester) Corrie, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Bryan, Sir Paul Costain, A. P.
Best, Keith Buck, Antony Cranborne, Viscount
Bevan, David Gilroy Budgen, Nick Critchley, Julian
Biffen, Rt Hon John Bulmer, Esmond Crouch, David
Biggs-Davison, John Burden, F. A. Dickens, Geoffrey
Dorrell, Stephen Kitson, Sir Timothy Rathbone, Tim
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knight, Mrs Jill Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Dover, Denshore Knox, David Rees-Davies, W. R.
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lamont, Norman Renton, Tim
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Lang, Ian Rhodes James, Robert
Durant, Tony Langford-Holt, Sir John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Dykes, Hugh Latham, Michael Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lawrence, Ivan Rifkind, Malcolm
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Lawson, Nigel Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Eggar, Timothy Lee, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Emery, Peter Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Rossi, Hugh
Eyre, Reginald Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rost, Peter
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo) Royle, Sir Anthony
Fairgrieve, Russell Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Faith, Mrs Shella Loveridge, John St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Farr, John Luce, Richard Scott, Nicholas
Fell, Anthony Lyell, Nicholas Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Macfarlane, Neil Shelton, William (Streatham)
Finsberg, Geoffrey MacGregor, John Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Fisher, Sir Nigel MacKay, John (Argyll) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br-hills)
Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Shersby, Michael
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury) Silvester, Fred
Fookes, Miss Janet McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Sims, Roger
Forman, Nigel McQuarrie, Albert Skeet, T. H. H.
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Madel, David Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Fox, Marcus Major, John Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Marland, Paul Speed, Keith
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Marlow, Tony Speller Tony
Freud, Clement Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Fry, Peter Marten, Neil (Banbury) Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mates, Michael Sproat, Iain
Gardner, Edward (South Fylde) Mather, Carol Squire, Robin
Garel-Jones, Tristan Maude, Rt Hon Angus Stainton, Keith
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Mawby, Ray Stanbrook, Ivor
Glyn, Dr Alan Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stanley, John
Goodhart, Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Steen, Anthony
Gorst, John Mayhew, Patrick Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Gow, Ian Mellor, David Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Gower, Sir Raymond Meyer, Sir Anthony Stokes, John
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch) Stradling Thomas, J.
Gray, Hamish Mills, Iain (Meriden) Tapsell, Peter
Grieve, Percy Mills, Peter (West Devon) Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) Miscampbell, Norman Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Tebbit, Norman
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Moate, Roger Temple-Morris, Peter
Grist, Ian Monro Hector Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Grylls, Michael Montgomery, Fergus Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Gummer, John Selwyn Moore, John Thompson, Donald
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Morgan, Geraint Thornton, Malcolm
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Hampson, Dr Keith Morrison Hon Charles (Devizes) Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Hannam, John Trippier, David
Haselhurst, Alan
Haselhurst, Alan Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Trotter, Neville
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Mudd, David van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hawkins, Paul Murphy, Christopher Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Hawksley, Warren Myles, David Viggers, Peter
Hayhoe, Barney Neale, Gerrard Waddington, David
Heddle, John Needham, Richard Wakeham, John
Henderson, Barry Nelson, Anthony Waldegrave, Hon William
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Neubert, Michael Walker, Rt Hon. Peter (Worcester)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Newton, Tony Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Hill, James Nott, Rt Hon John Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Holland, Philip (Carlton) Onslow, Cranley Waller, Gary
Hooson, Tom Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally Ward, John
Hordern, Peter Osborn, John Warren, Kenneth
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Page, John (Harrow, West) Watson, John
Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford) Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham Wells, John (Maidstone)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Howells, Geraint Parris, Matthew Wheeler, John
Hunt, David (Wirral) Patten, Christopher (Bath) Whitney, Raymond
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Patten, John (Oxford) Wickenden, Keith
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pawsey, James Wiggin, Jerry
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Peyton, Rt Hon John Wilkinson, John
Jessel, Toby Pink, R. Bonner Winterton, Nicholas
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pollock, Alexander Wolfson, Mark
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Porter, George Young, Sir George (Acton)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Younger, Rt Hon George
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Price, David (Eastleigh)
Kershaw, Anthony Prior, Rt Hon James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kilfedder, James A. Proctor, K. Harvey Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt Hon Francis Mr. Anthony Berry.
King, Rt Hon Tom Raison, Timothy
Adams, Allen Foot, Rt Hon Michael Morton, George
Allaun, Frank Forrester, John Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Anderson, Donald Foster, Derek Newens, Stanley
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Foulkes, George Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) Ogden, Eric
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald O'Halloran, Michael
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Garrett, John (Norwich S) O'Neill, Martin
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) George, Bruce Palmer, Arthur
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Parker, John
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Ginsburg, David Parry, Robert
Bidwell, Sydney Golding, John Pendry, Tom
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Graham, Ted Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Grant, George (Morpeth) Prescott, John
Bradley, Tom Grant, John (Islington C) Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Race, Reg
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Hardy, Peter Radice, Giles
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S) Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Brown, Ron(Edinburgh, Leith) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Buchan, Norman Haynes, Frank Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Heffer, Eric S. Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Robertson, George
Campbell, Ian Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Rodgers, Rt Hon William
Campbell-Savours, Dale Homewood, William Rooker, J. W.
Canavan, Dennis Hooley, Frank Roper, John
Cant, R. B., Horam, John Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Carmichael, Neil Huckfield, Lea Ryman, John
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hudson Davies, Gwilym Ednyfed Sandelson, Neville
Cartwright, John Hughes, Roy (Newport) Sever, John
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Janner, Hon Greville Sheerman, Barry
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Cohen, Stanley John, Brynmor Short, Mrs Renée
Coleman, Donald Johnson, James (Hull West) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) Silkin, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich)
Conlan, Bernard Jones, Barry (East Flint) Silverman, Julius
Cook, Robin F. Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)
Cowans, Harry Kerr, Russell Snape, Peter
Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Soley, Clive
Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill) Kinnock, Neil Spearing, Nigel
Crowther, J. S. Lamborn, Harry Spriggs, Leslie
Cryer, Bob Lamond, James Stallard, A. W.
Cunliffe, Lawrence Leighton, Ronald Stewart Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Cunningham, George (Islington S) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Stoddart, David
Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West) Strang, Gavin
Davidson, Arthur Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Straw, Jack
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Litherland, Robert Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lofthouse, Geoffrey Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Lyon, Alexander (York) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Lyons, Edward (Bradford West) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Deakins, Eric McCartney, Hugh Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Dempsey, James McElhone, Frank Tilley, John
Dewar, Donald McGuire, Michael (Ince) Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Dixon, Donald McKay, Allen (Penistone) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Dobson, Frank McKelvey, William Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Dormand, Jack MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Douglas, Dick Maclennan, Robert Watkins, David
Douglas-Mann, Bruce McNamara, Kevin Wellbeloved, James
Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) McWilliam, John Welsh, Michael
Dunnett, Jack Marks, Kenneth White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n) Whitehead, Phillip
Eadie, Alex Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Whitlock, William
Eastham, Ken Marshall, Jim (Leicester South) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire) Maxton, John Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Meacher, Michael Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
English, Michael Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Ennals, Rt Hon David Mikardo, Ian Woodall, Alec
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Woolmer, Kenneth
Evans, John (Newton) Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Ewing, Harry Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Wright, Shella
Field, Frank Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Flannery, Martin Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw) Mr. James Tinn and
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Mr. James Hamilton.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That, at this day's sitting the Employment Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. MacGregor.]

Bill as amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered.

Amendment proposed to the proposed new clause: (a), in line 1,after 'in', insert 'either section 14 or in'.— [Mr. Gorst.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 35, Noes 475.

Division No. 257] AYES 10.13 pm
Alexander, Richard Fry, Peter Murphy, Christopher
Bendall, Vivian Gorst, John Myles, David
Bevan, David Gilroy Grylls, Michael Neale, Gerrard
Blackburn, John Hawksley, Warren Rees-Davies, W. R.
Brotherton, Michael Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rost, Peter
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Skeet, T. H. H.
Bruce-Gardyne, John Knight, Mrs Jill Stanbrook, Ivor
Budgen, Nick Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo) Ward, John
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Loveridge, John Winterton, Nicholas
Churchill, W. S. Marland, Paul
Colvin, Michael Marlow, Tony TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Dover, Denshore Montgomery, Fergus Mr. George Gardiner and
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Morgan, Geraint Mr. John Townend.
Adams, Allen Burden, F. A. Douglas, Dick
Adley, Robert Butcher, John Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Aitken, Jonathan Butler, Hon Adam Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Allaun, Frank Cadbury, Jocelyn du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Ancram, Michael Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
Anderson, Donald Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunnett, Jack
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Campbell, Ian Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Campbell-Savours, Dale Durant, Tony
Arnold, Tom Canavan, Dennis Dykes, Hugh
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Cant, R. B. Eadie. Alex
Aspinwall, Jack Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Eastham, Ken
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn) Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Carmichael, Neil Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Carter-Jones, Lewis Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Cartwright, John Eggar, Timothy
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Channon, Paul Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Emery, Peter
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Clegg, Sir Walter Ennals, Rt Hon David
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Cockeram, Eric Evans, loan (Aberdare)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Evans, John (Newton)
Beith, A. J. Cohen, Stanley Ewing Harry
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Coleman, Donald Eyre, Reginald
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Fairbairn, Nicholas
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Conlan, Bernard
Berry, Hon Anthony Cook, Robin F. Fairgrieve, Russell
Best, Keith Cormack, Patrick Faith, Mrs Sheila
Bidwell, Sydney Corrie, John Farr, John
Biffen, Rt Hon John Costain, A. P. Fell, Anthony
Biggs-Davison, John Cowans, Harry Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Blaker, Peter Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting) Field, Frank
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill) Finsberg, Geoffrey
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Cranborne, Viscount Fisher, Sir Nigel
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Critchley, Julian Flannery, Martin
Boscawen, Hon Robert Crouch, David Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Crowther, J. S. Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)
Bowden, Andrew Cryer, Bob Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Cunliffe, Lawrence Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bradley, Tom Cunningham, George (Islington S) Fookes, Miss Janet
Bray, Dr Jeremy Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bright, Graham Davidson, Arthur Forman, Nigel
Brinton, Tim Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Lianelli) Forrester, John
Brittan, Leon Davies, Ifor (Gower) Foster, Derek
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Foulkes, George
Brooke, Hon Peter Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Deakins, Eric Fox, Marcus
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S) Dempsey, James Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)
Brown, Ron(Edinburgh, Leith) Dewar, Donald Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Browne, John (Winchester) Dickens, Geoffrey Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Bryan, Sir Paul Dixon, Donald Freud, Clement
Buchan, Norman Dobson, Frank Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)
Buck, Antony Dormand, Jack Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bulmer, Esmond Dorrell, Stephen Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Parker, John
George, Bruce Lester, Jim (Beeston) Parris, Matthew
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Parry, Robert
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Ginsburg, David Litherland, Robert Patten, John (Oxford)
Glyn, Dr Alan Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Pawsey, James
Golding, John Lofthouse, Geoffrey Pendry, Tom
Goodhart, Philip Luce, Richard Peyton, Rt Hon John
Gow, Ian Lyell, Nicholas Pink, R. Bonner
Gower, Sir Raymond Lyon, Alexander (York) Pollock, Alexander
Graham, Ted Lyons, Edward (Bradford West) Porter, George
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) McCartney, Hugh Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Grant, George (Morpeth) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Grant, John (Islington C) McElhone, Frank Prescott, John
Gray, Hamish Macfarlane, Neil Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)
Grieve, Percy MacGregor, John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Prior, Rt Hon James
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) McKay, Allen (Penistone) Proctor, K. Harvey
Grist, Ian MacKay, John (Argyll) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Gummer, John Selwyn McKelvey, William Race, Reg
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Radice, Giles
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Maclennan, Robert Raison, Timothy
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury) Rathbone, Tim
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)
Hampson, Dr Keith McNamara, Kevin Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Hannam, John McQuarrie, Albert
Hardy, Peter McWilliam, John Renton, Tim
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Madel, David Rhodes James, Robert
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Major John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Haselhurst, Alan Marks, Kenneth Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n) Rifkind, Malcolm
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hawkins, Paul Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Hayhoe, Barney Martin, Nell (Banbury) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Haynes, Frank Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Heddle, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Heffer, Eric S. Mates, Michael Robertson, George
Henderson, Barry Maude, Rt Hon Angus Rooker, J. W.
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Mawby, Ray Roper, John
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Mawhinney, Dr Brian Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Maxton, John Rossi, Hugh
Holland, Philip (Carlton) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Royle, Sir Anthony
Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Mayhew, Patrick Ryman, John
Homewood, William Meacher, Michael Salisbury, Hon Timothy
Hooley, Frank Mellish, Rt Hon Robert St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Hooson, Tom Mellor, David Sandelson, Neville
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Meyer, Sir Anthony Scott, Nicholas
Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford) Mikardo, Ian Sever, John
Howells, Geraint Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Huckfield, Les Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch) Sheerman, Barry
Hudson Davies, Gwilym Ednyfed Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mills, Iain (Meriden) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Hunt, David (Wirral) Mills, Peter (West Devon) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Miscampbell, Norman Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br-hills)
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Shersby, Michael
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Janner, Hon Greville Mitchell David (Basingstoke) Short, Mrs Renée
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Moate, Roger Silkin, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich)
Jessel, Toby Monro, Hector Silverman, Julius
John, Brynmor Moore, John Silvester, Fred
Johnson, James (Hull West) Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe) Sims, Roger
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth) Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes) Snape, Peter
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Soley, Clive
Kerr, Russell Morton, George Spearing, Nigel
Kershaw, Anthony Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Speed, Keith
Kilfedder, James A. Mudd, David Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Needham, Richard Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Kimball, Marcus Nelson, Anthony Spriggs, Leslie
King, Rt Hon Tom Neubert, Michael Sproat, Iain
Kinnock, Neil Newens, Stanley Squire, Robin
Kitson, Sir Timothy Newton, Tony Stainton, Keith
Knox, David Nott, Rt Hon John Stallard, A. W.
Lamborn, Harry Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Stanley, John
Lamond, James Ogden, Eric Steen, Anthony
Lamont, Norman O'Halloran, Michael Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Lang, Ian O'Neill, Martin Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Onslow, Cranley Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Latham, Michael Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally Stoddart, David
Lawrence, Ivan Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Stradling Thomas, J.
Lawson, Nigel Osborn, John Strang, Gavin
Lee, John Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham Straw, Jack
Leighton, Ronald Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Le Marchant, Spencer Palmer, Arthur Tapsell, Peter
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West) Viggers, Peter Whitney, Raymond
Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW) Waddington, David Wickenden, Keith
Tebbit, Norman Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley) Wiggin, Jerry
Temple-Morris, Peter Wakeham, John Wilkinson, John
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Waldegrave, Hon William Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Walker, Rt Hon. Peter (Worcester) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S) Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Thompson, Donald Waller, Gary Wolfson, Mark
Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Warren, Kenneth Woodall, Alec
Thornton, Malcolm Watkins, David Woolmer, Kenneth
Tilley, John Watson, John Wrigglesworth, Ian
Tinn, James Wellbeloved, James Wright, Shella
Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath) Wells, John (Maidstone) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Trippier, David Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage) Younger, Rt Hon George
Trotter, Neville Welsh, Michael
Urwin, Rt Hon Tom Wheeler, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
van Straubenzee, W. R White, James (Glasgow, Pollok) Mr. Carol Mather and
Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. Whitehead, Phillip Mr. John Cope.
Vaughan, Dr Gerard Whitlock, William

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed to the proposed clause: (bb), in line 53, leave out subsection (8).—[Mr. Varley.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 224, Noes 296.

Division No. 258] AYES [10.28 pm
Adams, Allen Dobson, Frank Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Allaun, Frank Dormand, Jack John, Brynmor
Anderson, Donald Douglas, Dick Johnson, James (Hull West)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dunnett, Jack Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Kerr, Russell
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Eadie, Alex Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Eastham, Ken Kinnock, Neil
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lamborn, Harry
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire) Lamond, James
Bidwell, Sydney Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Leighton, Ronald
Booth, Rt Hon Albert English, Michael Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Ennals, Rt Hon David Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)
Bradley, Tom Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Evans, John (Newton) Litherland, Robert
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Ewing, Harry Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Field, Frank Lyon, Alexander (York)
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S) Flannery, Martin Lyons, Edward (Bradford West)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith) Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) McCartney, Hugh
Buchan, Norman Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Foot, Rt Hon Michael McElhone, Frank
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Ford, Ben McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Campbell, Ian Forrester, John McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Foster, Derek McKelvey, William
Canavan, Dennis Foulkes, George MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Cant, R. B. Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) Maclennan, Robert
Carmichael, Neil Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald McNamara, Kevin
Carter-Jones, Lewis Garrett, John (Norwich S) McWilliam, John
Cartwright, John Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Marks, Kenneth
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) George, Bruce Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Cohen, Stanley Ginsburg, David Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)
Coleman, Donald Golding, John Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Graham, Ted Maxton, John
Conlan, Bernard Grant, George (Morpeth) Meacher, Michael
Cook, Robin F. Grant, John (Islington C) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Cowans, Harry Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mikardo, Ian
Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill) Hardy, Peter Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)
Crowther, J. S. Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)
Cryer, Bob Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cunningham, George (Islington S) Haynes, Frank Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)
Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Davidson, Arthur Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelll) Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Newens, Stanley
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Homewood, William Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Hooley, Frank Ogden, Eric
Deakins, Eric Horam, John O'Halloran, Michael
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Huckfield, Les O'Neill, Martin
Dempsey, James Hudson Davies, Gwilym Ednyfed Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dewar, Donald Hughes, Roy (Newport) Palmer, Arthur
Dixon, Donald Janner, Hon Greville Parker, John
Parry, Robert Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Pendry, Tom Silkin, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Silverman, Julius Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Prescott, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire) Watkins, David
Price, Christopher (Lewisham West) Snape, Peter Wellbeloved, James
Race, Reg Soley, Clive Welsh, Michael
Radice, Giles Spearing, Nigel White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South) Spriggs, Leslie Whitehead, Phillip
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stallard, A. W. Whitlock, William
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Steward Rt Hon Donald (W Isles) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North) Stoddart, David Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Strang, Gavin Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Robertson, George Straw, Jack Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Rodgers, Rt Hon William Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Rooker, J. W. Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West) Woodall, Alec
Roper, John Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Woolmer, Kenneth
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Ryman, John Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen) Wright, Sheila
Sever, John Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Sheerman, Barry Tilley, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L) Tinn, James Mr. Terry Davis and
Short, Mrs Renée Urwin, Rt Hon Tom Mr. George Morton.
Adley, Robert Dover, Denshore Hordern, Peter
Aitken, Jonathan du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)
Alexander, Richard Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Ancram, Michael Durant, Tony Howells, Geraint
Arnold, Tom Dykes, Hugh Hunt, David (Wirral)
Aspinwall, Jack Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Eggar, Timothy Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Emery, Peter Jessel, Toby
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Eyre, Reginald Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Fairbairn, Nicholas Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Fairgrieve, Russell Kaberry, Sir Donald
Beith, A. J. Faith, Mrs Sheila Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Bendall, Vivian Farr, John Kershaw, Anthony
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Fell, Anthony Kilfedder, James A.
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Fenner, Mrs Peggy Kimball, Marcus
Berry, Hon Anthony Finsberg, Geoffrey King, Rt Hon Tom
Best, Keith Fisher, Sir Nigel Kitson, Sir Timothy
Bevan, David Gilroy Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) Knight, Mrs Jill
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Knox, David
Biggs-Davison, John Fookes, Miss Janet Lamont, Norman
Blackburn, John Forman, Nigel Lang, Ian
Blaker, Peter Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Langford-Holt, Sir John
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fox, Marcus Latham, Michael
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich Weal) Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Lawson, Nigel
Bowden, Andrew Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Lee, John
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Freud, Clement Le Merchant, Spencer
Bright, Graham Fry, Peter Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Brinton, Tim Gardiner, George (Reigate) Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Brittan, Leon Gardner, Edward (South Fylde) Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Garel-Jones, Tristan Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Brooke, Hon Peter Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Loveridge, John
Brotherton, Michael Glyn, Dr Alan Luce, Richard
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Goodhart, Philip Lyell, Nicholas
Browne, John (Winchester) Gorst, John Macfarlane, Neil
Bruce-Gardyne, John Gow, Ian MacGregor, John
Bryan, Sir Paul Gower, Sir Raymond MacKay, John (Argyll)
Buck, Antony Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Budgen, Nick Gray, Hamish McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Bulmer, Esmond Grieve, Percy McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Burden, F. A. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) McQuarrie, Albert
Butcher, John Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Madel, David
Butler, Hon Adam Grist, Ian Major, John
Cadbury, Jocelyn Grylls, Michael Marland, Paul
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Gummer, John Selwyn Marlow, Tony
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Channon, Paul Hampson, Dr Keith Mates, Michael
Churchill, W. S. Hannam, John Mather, Carol
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Haselhurst, Alan Maude, Rt Hon Angus
Clegg, Sir Walter Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Mawby, Ray
Cockeram, Eric Hawkins, Paul Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Colvin, Michael Hawksley, Warren Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Cormack, Patrick Hayhoe, Barney Mayhew, Patrick
Corrie, John Heddle, John Mellor, David
Costain, A. P. Henderson, Barry Meyer, Sir Anthony
Critchley, Julian Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)
Crouch, David Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Dickens, Geoffrey Hill, James Mills, Peter (West Devon)
Dorrell, Stephen Holland, Philip (Carlton) Miscampbell, Norman
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hooson, Tom Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Moate, Roger Rees-Davies, W. R. Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Monro, Hector Renton, Tim Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Montgomery, Fergus Rhodes James, Robert Tebbit, Norman
Moore, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Temple-Morris, Peter
Morgan, Geraint Ridley, Hon Nicholas Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth) Rifkind, Malcolm Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes) Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Thompson, Donald
Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Thornton, Malcolm
Mudd, David Rossi, Hugh Townend, John (Bridlington)
Murphy, Christopher Rost, Peter Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Myles, David Royle, Sir Anthony Trippier, David
Neale, Gerrard Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Trotter, Neville
Needham, Richard St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman van Straubenzee, W. R.
Nelson, Anthony Scott, Nicholas Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Neubert, Michael Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Viggers, Peter
Newton, Tony Shelton, William (Streatham) Waddington, David
Nott, Rt Hon John Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wakeham, John
Onslow, Cranley Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br-hills) Waldegrave, Hon William
Shersby, Michael Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally Silvester, Fred Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Osborn, John Sims, Roger Waller, Gary
Page, John (Harrow, West) Skeet, T. H. H. Ward, John
Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham Smith, Cyril (Rochdale) Warren, Kenneth
Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton) Watson, John
Parris, Matthew Speed, Keith Wells, John (Maidstone)
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Speller Tony Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Patten, John (Oxford) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset) Wheeler, John
Pawsey, James Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire) Whitney, Raymond
Peyton, Rt Hon John Sproat, Iain Wickenden, Keith
Pink, R. Bonner Squire, Robin Wiggin, Jerry
Pollock, Alexander Stainton, Keith Wilkinson, John
Porter, George Stanbrook, Ivor Winterton, Nicholas
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Stanley, John Wolfson, Mark
Price, David (Eastleigh) Steen, Anthony Young, Sir George (Acton)
Prior, Rt Hon James Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Younger, Rt Hon George
Proctor, K. Harvey Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Pym, Rt Hon Francis Stokes, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Raison, Timothy Stradling Thomas, J. Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Rathbone, Tim Tapsell, Peter Mr. John Cope.
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause added to the Bill.

Further consideration of the Bill adjourned.—[Mr. MacGregor.]

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered tomorrow.