§ Mr. Orme
I beg to move amendment No. 18, in page 6, line 36, leave out clause 6.
I shall be brief, as I know that many of my hon. Friends want to speak—not least those with an interest in clauses 7 and 8.
I take it, Mr. Speaker, that it is possible in this debate to refer only to clause 6 and not to clauses 7 and 8. Will you advise me?
§ Mr. Speaker
This debate is confined to the leaving out of clause 6. The right hon. Gentleman will understand that I am as bound by the rules as he is.
§ Mr. Orme
I understand that, Mr. Speaker. I was trying to help some hon. Members who have other fish to fry.
I refer to clause 6. I wish to make it clear to the House that the purpose of the clause is entirely different from that of the other clauses in the Bill. This clause is not designed to save public expenditure. We are dealing with a small payment of benefit to strikers' families. The saving on a normal year would be about £1 million. However, the Secretary of State would probably say that in the 628 past year, with the number of industrial disputes, it could have been as high as £2 million or £3 million in public expenditure terms.
We are discussing an anti-trade union clause aimed at the trade union movement in a vindictive way. The Government believe that it is popular politically. I acknowledge that initially it will be popular with some sections of the community, until they realise what is involved.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
Did not the Minister make it clear in Committee that trade unionists and non-trade unionists will be treated in exactly the same way? Does my right hon. Friend agree that the clause is also vindictive towards a person who is not a member of a trade union but who happens to be caught up in a dispute?
§ Mr. Orme
I accept that. My hon. Friend will agree that although non-unionists sometimes take industrial action they are in the minority. The clause is aimed at organised workers.
The clause will affect lock-outs. Workers who are locked out will not be able to claim benefit for their families. The media will not carry the basic information about benefits for striker's families. The country should know that strikers, whether married or single, do not receive supplementary benefit when 629 they are on strike. Last year the total sum paid to strikers for extreme hardship was £6,000. The benefit is virtually non-existent. The clause is aimed at families and the children of people who are involved in industrial disputes.
I understand that the Under-Secretary of State for Employmet will intervene in the debate and that the Secretary of State for Social Services will address the House later. At least it is of some value to have the view of the Department of Employment, because the Secretary of State for Employment does not have any enthusiasm for the clause. That is because the clause is divisive, vindictive and aimed at a section of the community which will be treated worse than any other section of the community which claims supplementary benefit.
A convicted prisoner's family can claim supplementary benefit. We do not object to that, and we want no change in that arrangement. What we object to is that a striker is to be made worse off than a person convicted of a crime. The Secretary of State argues that people take strike action of their own free will and that it is their decision, but families do not take such a decision. They can suffer.
We live in a free society. People are entitled to withdraw their labour. Workers do not withdraw their labour lightly. I have been a shop steward and have led industrial disputes. I know how difficult it is to organise a strike unless the cause is justified. When people take part in an industrial dispute they make a sacrifice, and their families also make a sacrifice.
§ Mr. Ioan Evans (Aberdare)
Whether or not a person is a member of a trade union, his family suffers under the clause. If a person is a non-unionist, he will suffer. Even if a person votes against the strike, he will suffer. Every working-class family, whichever way they vote will suffer under the clause.
§ Mr. Orme
My hon. Friend is right. I have no doubt that Ministers will say that it is the responsibility of the trade unions. The vast majority of trade unions meet their responsibilities. We pay supplementary benefit to families because we live in a free and civilised society. There is virtually no democracy in the world that does not make arrangements, in one 630 form or another, for families who become destitute, or who face difficulties, because of industrial action.
§ Mr. Tony Durant (Reading, North)
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that trade unionists throughout the country provide in their contributions to cover the very position about which he is talking? That is something that trade unionists understand. They have given that contribution to help them in the very position that the right hon. Gentleman is describing.
§ Mr. Orme
The hon. Gentleman knows that trade union contributions that are levied—on a weekly basis in most cases, although not in all cases—are used to meet the administrative costs of the union and the payment of the salaries of officers. In consequence, the amount of money that is needed to finance strikes is not always available. I was a Minister at the time of the firemen's strike last winter, when Conservative Members came to see me in deputations. They deplored the fact that benefit was not being paid to single strikers. They said that they had come across such cases, and were astounded that the benefit was not being paid. [Hon. Members: "Who?"]. They were Conservative Members, who came to see me in deputations. I could give the House chapter and verse on that sort of thing.
The clause will affect industrial relations. It will alter the attitude of trade unions. The vast majority of industrial disputes are unofficial. It is to the benefit of the trade unions to get their members back to work without going through the formality of ballots, with all the difficulties that arise from that. If every unofficial dispute was made official we would find people in dispute for periods of three, four or five times longer than at present. When workers reach explosion point they walk out. That brings the management and the workers together. The trade unions help to oil the wheels, resolve the dispute, and get the workers back to work.
The Government's approach means that more money will be levied to create greater strike funds. There is a good example from the CBI. It established a large strike fund, created from money that had been earned by the workers in the factories.
§ Mr. Orme
It is true. Of course it is true. If the employers are beginning to batten down the hatches, and if the Government are telling the workers that they must batten down the hatches, it will create not fewer but more disputes.
The manner in which the trade union movement works for conciliation and the fact that trade unions do not want industrial disputes and go to great lengths to avoid them—that is what the Department of Employment and ACAS spend a considerable amount of time becoming involved in—are all indications that there is flexibility.
The Bill is another example of future legislation, such as the Employment Bill, that impinges directly on industrial relations. It is producing written law that in many instances will not help the industry. In my opinion it will gravely damage it.
§ Clause 6, which is vindictive and antitrade union, will do a great deal of harm to industrial relations. The Government seem to think that they have had some 632 field days. They have been crowing about the 14 May demonstration, British Ley-land and the steel industry. I warn the Government that they will not continue to have success on that scale. They think that they have had success.
§ Mr. Orme
Never mind what the hon. Lady says about the people. The Government have engineered the present position. Clause 6, like clauses 4 and 5, will eventually damage the Government. I accept that there are short-term political gains for the Government in the clause. They will ride in on it, but the gain will not last for ever.
The clause comes at the tail-end of the Bill. It is the final example that the Bill, from clause 1 to clause 6, is aimed at taking away, abolishing, or removing various benefits. Clause 6 is a vindictive provision against the trade union movement and I ask my hon. Friends to reject it.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Jim Lester)
I am pleased to take up the remarks of the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme). I immediately correct the impression that he has been trying to give, namely, that the clause is vindictive and anti-trade union. The right hon. Member used those terms frequently, as he did in Committee. The Opposition use those words because that is how they want it to be considered. They think that it is to their political advantage to give the impression that that is what the Government are about.
We are not making any great claims over 14 May. The Government have been careful not to do so. We are happy that the general public should draw their own conclusions on the result of 14 May. In Committee there were frequent examples of Opposition Members describing clause 6 as vindictive and anti-trade union. We were told that that would be what the people would be demonstrating against on 14 May. A great effort was made to make that the form of the demonstration.
Let us get the clause into perspective. It is not vindictive and it is not anti-trade union. We are trying to bring about a balance between the financial obligations of unions and managements to the community. It is an issue that has been widely debated over many years. Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend the women's Tory party conference heard the chairman celebrating the fiftieth anniversary and referring to a debate that took place 50 years ago on precisely this subject. No one can suggest that it has not been around for a considerable time.
We are trying to change a trend that became apparent in 1966 and to transfer part of the cost of strike action in the first place to a trade union and, in the second place, to the small number of non-unionists involved in industrial action, to require them to make their own provision for strike pay. As I said in Committee, this has never been an issue of principle for the trade union movement. On page 181 of a TUC report of 1970, it is stated:After considering the survey in detail, the General Council proceeded to draw up the following principles which unions were recommended to incorporate in their rules ".I shall not read the principles on strike 634 procedures, but on dispute benefit the recommendation is:To provide for strike benefit to be paid to members involved in an authorised strike and, if necessary, to establish funds to provide such benefits.So there is no question of principle. The principle has been established for a considerable time. The trade unions should be interested in the way in which we examine that principle as regards different unions and the different levels of benefits. We are trying to bring a sense of reason and responsibility into the question of those who pay strike benefits to members on strike and those who do not.
There is a great difference between the various unions. The Transport and General Workers Union pays £6 a week. The AEUW pays £9 a week, the General and Municipal Workers Union pays £10.50 a week, NALGO pays 55 per cent. gross of pay, NUPE pays £5 a week, ASTMS pays £15 a week, the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union pays £15 a week, and the NUT gives net pay to its members. So there is a great variation in benefits paid by unions to their members on strike. No one can argue that this provision is anti-trade union. It is an established practice, and it has varied between one union and another. During the recent steel strike, the General and Municipal Workers Union paid £10.50 a week to its members, whereas the ISTC paid nothing.
Our central proposal is to reduce the benefit paid to a person involved in a strike by £12 a week. This is designed to ensure that all unions face the financial responsibility of the action that they call. This practice is followed in almost every other country than Britain. We are not taking this action in isolation. We are trying to bring the law in Britain into line with that of other countries. The reason is simple. As I said earlier, we are trying to correct a trend which has happened almost by accident.
I quoted John Gennard in Committee. John Gennard has made it clear that when the supplementary benefits legislation was introduced in 1966,It was certainly not the intention of the legislators that the Act should deliberately 635 assist the dependants of those involved in industrial disputes. The amounts paid to strikers' dependants have been a by-product of the system of humanising assistance to those in dire need.
§ Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones (Watford)
Will my hon. Friend confirm that John Gennard also makes the point in his book that trade union members in the rest of Europe tend not to have to fall back on State benefits, because the benefits provided by their trade unions are sufficient?
§ Mr. Lester
I am pleased to confirm that. I quoted that passage also in Committee, but I did not wish to take up the time of the House by quoting it tonight.
§ Mr. Orme
If we quote John Gennard, we should quote him correctly. When he referred to the benefits being paid, he said that he was in favour of the Government making such payments. He said that that was civilised. He also said that in other European countries arrangements were made when families were in need of such payments. Is that not a fact?
§ Mr. Lester
That is also true, but the salient sentence from Gennard, which I quoted in Committee, is that in other countries those on official strikeare often receiving financial support from their trade unions at a level which excludes them from public assistance programmes."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 12 May 1980; col. 1029–30.]That is one of the key points. Another key point is that from 1966 onwards this benefit has been paid almost by accident, and it should not necessarily be seen as of right. As a result of that, the trend has changed. Before the 1966 Act, the National Assistance Board paid out about £75,000 to strikers' families in 1960. In 1967, immediately after the passage of that Act, the figure rose to £337,000. In 1969 the figure was £748,000, and in the 1970s many different amounts were paid out, depending on the action.
In 1971, during the post office workers' strike, the figure reached a peak of £3 million. In 1972, during the miners' strike, the figure was £5½ million. During the miners' strike in 1974 the figure was £4 million and during the recent steel strike the figure was £9 million. A total of £38 636 million was paid out in benefits from the beginning of the 1970s up until the last strike of steel workers, so one cannot say that this is just a minor matter of a small amount of money. It has involved £38 million, abount half of which would not have been paid if the Bill had been in operation. That is quite a considerable saving.
However, it is not just a question of reversing the financial trend. What we have also seen in the 1970s is the changing nature of strike action. That is why I think we have such wide public support for this measure. What we have seen ½ strike action becoming increasingly a first resort and not a last resort. We have seen strikes actually aimed at the general public. We have seen strikes that have gone on for longer during the 1970s, and 85 per cent. of them have been about pay. Very often the people who have been on strike have been people who were very highly paid anyway and who were striking for more.
This has created a genuine sense of public resentment about taxpayers' money being used to finance strike action that is directly seen to be against their own interests. I think that this is why, in the Gallup poll after the Chancellor's Budget speech, over 69 per cent. of the people were shown to be in favour of this measure. What we are after here is financial responsibility on the part of those who call industrial action.
The right hon. Member for Salford, West suggested that this was the beginning of a confrontation, of people battening down the hatches, of conflict. That is the last thing that we on the Government side of the House want to see. Certainly it is the last thing that my Department wants to see. We want to see employers working together with trade unions. We want to follow the pattern suggested only recently by Sir Michael Edwardes—the pattern of building bridges, of profitable jobs and profitable industry. That is what we seek.
We think that the combination of financial responsibility being transferred back to trade unions and the proper balloting procedures that we hope many unions will adopt in making changes in their rule books—those unions that do not have them already—will mean that the average chap who is involved and is 637 called upon to strike will have the opportunity to think carefully both of the financial consequences and of the overall consequences of his action. By balloting, we should see a different trend in the 1980s from that which we have seen in the 1970s. That is our earnest hope, and it is the purpose behind what we are trying to do here.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker
Does my hon. Friend also agree that one of the effects of the clause when the Bill is operative will be that, by putting an onus on trade unions to finance their members, the trade unions and their association with their members will be strengthened? Is that not in the interests of good industrial relations?
§ Mr. Lester
I hope to come to that matter shortly.
It has been said by both Opposition speakers that this matter involves non-unionists. That is true. I think that the reason for that is that those who are not in unions and who are involved in strike action, whose numbers are very low—only 1 per cent. of days lost, according to our survey of strikes, involved people who were not in unions—do not pay any subscription to a union. Therefore, I do not think it unreasonable that they should make provision for themselves in the event of being involved in strike action.
The same applies to lock-outs and layoffs, where, since 1911, the disqualification rules have covered all employees. In practice, we know that it is very often difficult to discover who is responsible for a lock-out or a lay-off. In any case, the question is almost academic, because only 0.015 per cent. of all workers in the period from 1966 to 1973 were involved in lock-outs.
Therefore, the Government have wisely decided to leave the peripheral questions and make it perfectly straightforward in terms of the involvement of the DHSS.
I am pleased to say that, in spite of what the right hon. Member for Salford, West said, there is some sign of success, because today's edition of The Guardian suggests that at the General and Municipal Workers Union conference it will almost certainly be decided to raise strike pay from £10.50 a week to £16 a week. That is a very encouraging sign, before the Bill is even on the statute book. I 638 gather from the same article that next month the Transport and General Workers Union will also consider plans to double its strike benefits, from £6 to £12 a week.
§ Mr. Ioan Evans
The Minister wants the trade union movement to take on the burden of paying an amount towards the family of a striker when he is on strike. Will not this be a real rallying cry for any non-unionist to get into the trade union? The non-unionists will be penalised under this legislation. There is no provision in it for them, but the Government are expecting trade unionists to make provision for their families.
§ Mr. Lester
If the hon. Gentleman believes that, he should thank the Government and not criticise them. The moral argument is clear. It is reasonable to expect the trade unions that have called a strike to take a greater proportion of the financial burden. The issue has been widely debated for many years. We made a commitment in our manifesto. There are already signs that the provisions will work. Contrary to the final words of the right hon. Member for Salford, West, we hope that the Bill will create a new trend in the 1980s and that there will be fewer strikes, fewer industrial disputes and a greater and more productive economy.
§ Mr. David Stoddart (Swindon)
The Under-Secretary of State said that the clause was not vindictive. He could have fooled me. The Bill is vicious. It should be torn up. It should not be put on the statute book. It is part of the Tory Party's declared strategy to shift the balance of power in favour of employers. The Bill will also shift the balance away from justice and in favour of injustice. The Government have selected one group of people—those who go on strike—and have told them that they will be treated differently. No other section of the population will be excluded from receiving a benefit that can keep a family in food, clothing and shelter.
§ Mr Tony Marlow (Northampton, North) rose— —
§ Mr. Marlow
The hon. Gentleman spoke of injustice. Is he aware that many people, particularly trade unionists, feel that an injustice is done when a trade 639 union goes on strike and causes great public inconvenience? The families of those on strike receive social security benefits out of taxes paid by the very trade unionists who are being inconvenienced. We have put up with that feeling of injustice since 1966.
§ Mr. Stoddart
There are many different types of injustice. Conservative Members presume automatically that it is a striker's fault if he goes on strike and that the strike has nothing to do with the employer. Those who criticise strikers conveniently forget that strikers also pay taxes and national insurance contributions. They are entitled to receive the same benefits as everybody else.
The clause creates an injustice. It applies only to one section of the community. That is a new and abhorrent aspect of social security legislation.
§ Mr. Mark Wolfson (Sevenoaks)
Is it not true that benefits help those who are disadvantaged in some way? All hon. Members will agree that they require such benefits. Is the hon. Gentleman arguing that only strikers are disadvantaged?
§ Mr. Stoddart
I do not know how long the hon. Gentleman has been in the House or how long he has been associated with politics and social security. If he had taken any interest in the subject, he would have known that strikers do not receive any benefits. They are not entitled to benefits. In the clause we are discussing the families of strikers. They are the people who are disadvantaged and penalised by the clause. I hope that the hon. Member has learnt something from his intervention.
§ Mr. Field
Before my hon. Friend leaves the question of injustice, will he address himself to the Minister's argument that he cannot understand the Opposition's reaction that the clause is an attack on the trade unions? If the Government are genuine, why did they not accept an Opposition amendment in Committee, to bring in the clause after a time lag? Because of the level of their dues, some trade unions do not have strike funds for this year, next year or the year after. They will need time to build up strike funds. If the Government really 640 want trade unions to finance their own activities, would not their argument be strengthened by bringing in this proposal after a time lag instead of introducing it this year?
§ Mr. Stoddart
I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. I did not have the good fortune to be a member of the Standing Committee and I did not hear all the arguments. Certainly, if the Government were genuine they would have accepted that amendment. I would have thought that at least they would put a little gloss on the clause which would have enabled them to justify it to a greater degree than they have been able to do so far.
§ Mr. Stoddart
The Secretary of State has the advantage of me. However, I understand that the amendment was affected by the guillotine. If so, there was nothing to stop the Secretary of State from accepting the amendment if he thought it was good. Since he did not support it, it is obvious that he wants to bring in legislation as quickly as possible in order to bash the unions before next winter, which he and his right hon. Friends expect to be a long winter of discontent.
The clause is very one-sided. There is no proposal from the Government to penalise the employer who has clearly caused or provoked a strike, either by bad management or, even worse, because it would advantage his business to do so. If the Secretary of State does not believe that that sort of thing occurs, he should move around industry a little more. Undoubtedly, there are some very good managements in industry throughout the country, but there are also some very bad ones. Bad management forces people out on strike in order to get better pay, conditions and safety measures.
In my constituency there is a famous firm where I have seen people pushed out on strike by the management's failure to put in the most elementary safety measures for the protection of the workers' lives and limbs. Had the Government wanted to be even-handed and just, they would have found a means to ensure that workers who went on strike 641 in such circumstances, and their families, were not penalised.
§ Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)
The hon. Gentleman suggests that workers may be forced to strike in his constituency because of inadequate safety precautions. Were those precautions inadequate under the previous Labour Government? What did they do? Are safety regulations not being enforced in the hon. Gentleman's constituency?
§ Mr. Stoddart
The hon. Gentleman's remarks are irrelevant. The issue is not a party political one. There are bad employers under Labour and Conservative Governments. I would not dream of blaming the right hon. Gentleman or the right hon. Lady the Prime Minister for all the bad management in the country. On reflection, the hon. Gentleman may wish that he had not intervened.
We should consider certain figures.
§ Mr. Roger Moate (Faversham)
Is the hon. Gentleman not missing the point? Will he address himself to the principle? No one would suggest that there are no bad employers or that certain strikes are not justified. However, trade unions and their funds are there to protect their members. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that those funds should be used to help their members if their families are in difficulty in such circumstances?
§ Mr. Stoddart
I was coming on to that point. The hon. Gentleman assumes that everyone belongs to a trade union, but of 25 million employees in this country only 12 million are in trade unions. About 13 million are not covered. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Conservative Benches may want to deal with that.
When the minus-£12 clause comes into operation, a striker with a wife and two children will receive £13 05 plus rent. That is to support a family of four. At present, the average sum spent on food is £6 per person per week. That family will be utterly poverty-striken. Is not the right hon. Gentleman ashamed when he contemplates families living at that level? The Secretary of State for Industry, speaking to the Conservative Party conference in 1973, advised it not to contemplate the public reaction if starving children appeared on television because their families were not receiving adequate supplementary benefit when the wage earner 642 was on strike. In the recent steel strike, steel workers and their families suffered extreme hardship. Some had to sell their belongings. I understand that one worker committed suicide. Even under the present system there is hardship. That hardship will be greatly exacerbated by the Bill.
The Bill will hit hardest the poorest. The low paid will be especially badly hurt. They are unlikely to have savings. They will have no access to other income. As they will have paid little income tax, they will have no tax rebate. The lower paid are least likely to be in a trade union. Otherwise, they would not be low paid. They will not receive benefit from a trade union. This situation applies particularly in the South-West and in parts of the South-East.
Low-paid workers are often frightened off joining trade unions by employers. That situation still exists. Conservative Members should get around and see what happens. Although the law is against them, there are still employers who threaten their workers with dismissal, by one means or another, if they join trade unions.
These low-paid workers are likely to be hardest hit by the clause. I hope that when the House votes Conservative Members will reconsider their position. This is an unjust clause, a bad clause and a vicious clause. I sincerely hope that the House will throw it out.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)
There are few countries that pay strikers' families. I am glad that the Government pay social security to strikers' families. I am amazed, however, to hear speeches by Opposition Members indicating that they are not anxious that trade unions should contribute to payments to strikers' families. That seems an extraordinary expression of non-comradely activity by Opposition Members. The right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) made clear what he thought. He believed that the Government should pay. His approach was that the Tory Government were taking money away from strikers' families.
The Government do not have any money to make these payments. As my hon. Friends pointed out in their interventions, those who pay strikers' families are often those affected by the strikes. 643 They pay out of their taxes and pay also through the extra expense in which, because of the strike, they are sometimes involved in getting to work. I am a moderate in these matters. I believe, however, that the clause is long overdue. It is about time some unions matched up to their rule books. Some rule books state that the union should pay strike pay, but the rule books are disregarded. I recall talking to one trade union leader a year or two ago about the welfare benefits that trade unions paid in the past to their members. I asked why those benefits were not now paid. He replied that there was no point in paying welfare benefits when the State did so.
I believe that trade unions should pay welfare benefits, although I do not press the issue. Any welfare payments made should be over and above what the State provides. I am glad that we have a Welfare State, but the expression of view to which I have referred, about not making welfare payments because the State would do so, is now in danger of being taken further. Some trade union leaders are asking why their unions should pay strike benefit when the State will meet the bill. The country as a whole, including many trade union members, desires that unions should pay their members who go on strike. It may be that individual unions wish the State to pay when they go on strike, but when other unions strike and affect them they ask why the State should always have to pay.
The right hon. Member for Salford, West brought out the corny argument of prisoners' families who receive full social security. Of course, the family of a prisoner can do nothing about getting him back to work, but the family of a striker can persuade him to return to work. There is nothing to prevent a striker from going back to work, except the trade union that says that he must stay out.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the family of a striker involved in a bitter three or four-week strike should not get the benefit but that if that striker goes on a picket line, gets into a fight with a policeman and is sent to prison his family 644 should qualify for the benefit Where is the logic in that?
§ Mr. Burden
I have received a letter from my constituency stating that a union official went to a company and asked the workers to come out on strike. I have confirmed the details. The workers were almost overwhelmingly against striking, but the official drew from his pocket a letter that he said was a union instruction that unless they stopped work they could be fined or could lose their union cards. If that is not coercion, I do not know what is.
§ Mr. Ioan Evans
The hon. Gentleman said that it was right that in the case of someone who had committed murder, fraud, larceny or some other serious crime the sins of the father should not be visited on the family, which should receive social security benefit. Does he believe that the family of a non-unionist or a trade unionist who voted against a strike that took place should be penalised and lose £12 a week, while the family of someone who has committed the worst possible crimes should be treated justly?
§ Mr. Lewis
Society must look after people who are affected by the sins of the fathers or whoever has had to be locked up. A striker is in a different situation. There is no trade union of prisoners to pay any money.
Hon. Gentlemen ask me about those who do not belong to a trade union. Strikes are caused by organisation, and it is not easy to organise when one is not a member of a trade union. It seldom happens that people who are not union members go on strike, but it does happen.
However, I think that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment got it right when he said that non-union workers did not pay union 645 dues week by week. Therefore, if they go on strike—they seldom do, and then not for very long—they will have that much more money saved up because they have not been paying trade union dues.
In order to deal with this situation and force the unions to pay £12 a week strike benefit to their members, the Minister was right to include those who do not belong to a union. If that encourages people to join unions, so be it. None of my hon. Friends has ever said that there should not be responsible union membership. We support responsible trade union membership.
I think that when Opposition Members examine their comments tomorrow in the cold light of day they will wonder whether their arguments were meaningful. The truth is that the trade unions are divided into those that pay strike benefit—because it is in the rule book—and those that do not. It is time that they all paid strike benefit, and it is time that those who pay taxes were absolved from subsidising those who go on strike and cause turmoil.
§ Mr. Race
The arguments that we have heard from Conservative Members have been particularly obnoxious. It is gratifying that this debate is taking place at this time of night, because I notice that the rather inadequate attention given to the Bill by the press during its earlier stages has now almost entirely disappeared. Perhaps the headlines in the press tomorrow morning will not describe the Bill as the Bill about benefits for the families of strikers. Perhaps we shall see a proper description of the Bill. The Opposition hope so.
I address my remarks to comments made by the Under-Secretary of State for Employment, who said that since the middle 1960s strikes have become longer and are now waged against the community. These points were advanced as arguments in favour of the State's taking a different view about the payment of benefit to the families of strikers. My argument against that is that it is inevitable that strikes in the 1980s will, in many respects, be strikes against the Government. That is because of the economic situation in which we find ourselves.
This Government now talk about the implementation of a tough wages policy. If they believe that somehow they will 646 be exempt from industrial action simply because a Conservative Government take that view, they have another think coming. If they try to impose wage settlements around the monetary targets of between 7 per cent. and 11 per cent., with inflation running at 21 per cent. they need hardly be surprised if people resist a wage cut of nearly 10 per cent. I have no doubt that in the next pay round there will be industrial disputes against the Government's wages policy. Indeed, such action was taken against the Labour Government's 5 per cent. pay policy—and quite rightly, too.
My argument is that industrial disputes have not been caused by the so-called largesse of the State to strikers' families. Industrial disputes arise from the objective economic and political situation. They do not arise from the chicken feed——
§ Mr. Race
In a moment, when I have advanced my argument. Industrial disputes do not arise from the chicken-feed that is given by way of benefits to strikers' families. Therefore, it is erroneous for the Under-Secretary of State for Employment to try to persude Government Back-Bench Members that this measure will reduce the number of industrial disputes. That will not be so. The number of industrial disputes relate to the economic logic of our society and the way in which the bosses' party operates
§ Mr. Marlow
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, particularly when he is building up steam about his class prejudice argument. He said that strikes take place because people take an objective look at the economic situation. If strike payment is deemed from the unions and is not available from the taxpayer, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Lewis) said, that will be another objective factor at which they can look in the economic situation. Does the hon. Gentleman feel that with the Bill bringing about the changes proposed there would be more and longer strikes, or that the unions and their supporters would consider the situation and say "We do not want to waste our money on a political strike against the duly elected Government"?
§ Mr. Race
Inevitably, trade unionists will have to take action against employers or Governments on wages, unemployment or whatever. Trade unionists will no doubt take into account the fact that the State has taken these benefits away. It may mean that more industrial disputes will be official disputes from the word "go". Many trade unions, including my own, do not make disputes official until at least the third day of industrial action. Some trade unions may change their rule books to bring official sanction forward to the first day of industrial action. Some union executives may take the view that their rule books should be changed to make every strike official, no matter what the circumstances. That is already the position in one organisation. Therefore, the impact of the clause may be to sanction more official industrial action. I support the points made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sal-ford, West (Mr. Orme) on this matter.
If official industrial action is called, it is usually more difficult to get people back to work, because the disputes procedures have to be followed and official channels have to be gone through. Sometimes it is easier to deal with unofficial action.
§ Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)
Is it not a fact that when people come out on strike they cannot claim anything for two weeks, because often they have two weeks' pay? They draw a week's pay on the Friday before and they have a week in hand to draw the second week. Until a strike has lasted for two weeks, they cannot claim a penny from anywhere. As the majority of strikes do not last two weeks, only one family in eight gets anything out of the benefit. Will not that lead to shorter, more frequent strikes? For example, instead of having a national railway strike, we may have strikes at different stations on different days, probably causing more damage than a national strike.
§ Mr. Race
That may well be so. The benefits affected by the clause are not automatically given to people. They can be claimed only on the basis of proof of need. That is the point. They are not given to vast numbers of people at the drop of a hat.
648 One of the arguments that I advanced in Committee about the illogicality of the Government's position was one that Government supporters put forward and that Ministers have stated publicly—that industrial conflict is somehow an outdated form of action. I do not believe that that is so.
I have already referred to the kinds of problem that the Government will run into in the wages round next winter. I do not believe that the Government will be able to get away from that position. They must accept and plan for industrial conflict. The purpose of the clause is to make it less possible for trade unions to take industrial action. Whether it works out in practice is another matter.
Government supporters say that £12 is not very much, but the combined assets of the trade unions—even if they sold their offices, sacked everybody and pooled all their assets—would not finance a national strike of all their members for more than a couple of days. Therefore, the purpose of the deeming clause is to undermine the overall assets of the trade union movement and make it less possible for trade unions to take effective national industrial action on a justified basis.
It is important to contrast the way in which the Government are treating trade unionists with their total lack of concern about irresponsible people. Let us compare the action of someone who is striking for a fair wage for his endeavours with that of someone who wants to push up the interest rates—like those people in the City of London who, in 1976, refused to buy Government gilt-edged stock. Where are the Government proposals to deal with those people and the rip-off that they perpetrate on society?
§ Mr. Race
This is not fairyland. The hon. Gentleman may believe it to be so. These are the comparisons that people make. People will read the Bill and say that strikers who are striking for a fair day's wage are being penalised while Conservative Party supporters in the City of London, who export capital and deliberately push up the rate of interest, are given millions of pounds because that is the operation of the free market. The operation of the free market must be restricted—but Conservative Party supporters will not be affected.
649 The clause is part of the Government's overall objective to change the balance of power between labour and capital, which is still grossly unequal. Shop stewards and trade union officials do not have decision-making powers about companies' investments, pricing policies or investment rates. They do not have the power to sack boards or managing directors.
Conservative Members argue that the measures are required to change the balance of power between labour and capital. That is absolute moonshine. It is a political gimmick to try to blame trade unionists and their families for the problems of our society. It is absolute political nonsense. Many hon. Members, including the hon. Members for Portsmouth, North (Mr. Griffiths), understood that when the Bill was in Committee.
Some Conservative Members know the purpose of the clause and, no doubt, they are pleased with the Government for introducing it. The Government must accept that trade unionists also understand the objectives behind the clause, and they must be prepared to take the consequences next winter.
Earlier in the debate I intervened in the speech of the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme). I asked him what happened to the funds subscribed by union members. He said that they were used to pay the overheads of the unions. That worries me considerably. If we study the facts and figures about what happens to the money and the investments of trade unions, we find an appalling story. Many unions have invested their money in property in various parts of London. I am not opposed to that. The hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) talked about the City, and all the ramifications of some sinister plot. The trade unions themselves are major investors in property and also in all the other aspects of the private enterprise market. I do not decry that. It is right for them to do so. But do not let us hear any suggestion that they have put their money into some other area that is specially shielded for their trade union members.
Most ordinary trade unionists have subscribed their money with due faith, week after week, in the honest belief that they will be helped when there is a strike. 650 They have always believed that. It may be welfare, help for their families or help in some other area, but they have always believed that that was the purpose of their contributions.
Many trade union leaders have had nice holidays in various parts of the country. [Interruption.] I had my holiday in a holiday camp in South Wales, at my own expense. Let us not have any hoo-ha about where we have holidays. Nobody subsidised me. The ordinary trade unionist subscribes his money in the honest belief that his trade union leaders will look after him when the chips are down. I do not blame him for that; it is honest and decent.
The right hon. Member for Salford, West said that the trade unions could not operate in the way suggested in the Bill because of their overheads and other costs. I must make it clear that the money is subscribed by ordinary members. We have heard a fair amount of sanctimonious talk from Opposition Members about trade unionists. Ordinary trade unionists in Britain pay their dues in the belief that their trade union officials will take an interest in them.
I shall tell the House of my experience as an ordinary Member of Parliament. Whenever I have written to a trade union on behalf of an ordinary individual member, I have got nowhere. If I have written on behalf of 200 members, there has been tremendous action. If that is the background, everyone rushes round to see me. However, if I write, for example, to NALGO or the AUEW on behalf of one member, I have no success. The unions are not interested in the individual member. I am a Conservative because I believe in the individual, not in the block vote or whatever the system may be.
The hon. Member for Wood Green made great play about trade union membership and political strikes. The day of action was a day of inaction, and the reason was simple. It was not a trade union strike; it was a political strike. Ordinary trade union members in my constituency did not participate, because they recognised it as a political strike.
§ Mr. Allen McKay (Penistone)
The hon. Gentleman says that the demonstration on 14 May was a political strike. The people took to the streets because 651 the media did not recognise the problems of the trade unions and because the causes were the Government's policies. Had it not been for those policies, the events of 14 May would never have taken place.
§ Mr. Durant
—so that his interests will be looked after within the works environment. It is between him and his employer. He is not very interested in the Government. He will decide at the general election whether he favours the previous Government, but he pays his dues with a view to the union looking after him if he finds himself in conflict with his employer. That is what it is about. I accept that my experience is limited, but in my constituency workers pay their union dues so that they will be looked after in any dispute with their employer. Those who take strike action expect their union to help them. In all my experience —and it is limited——
§ Mr. Durant
—I have found that unions are interested in political power and not so much in their members. There lies half the trouble facing Britain.
§ Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, Central)
The speech of the hon. Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant) reveals the basic Conservative hostility to trade unions. From a time well before the election and ever since, the Conservatives have scarcely been able to contain that hostility. They think that the mass of the public is against the trade unions, and they may be right.
The reason why the clause is in the Bill is different from the reason for the inclusion of the other clauses. It is not designed to cut public expenditure. Clauses 4 and 5 were designed to save £385 million. We are to clobber the sick, the unemployed, the old folk and the disabled to save £385 million. Clause 6, according to the Government's estimates, will save £1 million. It is a reflection on the media that whenever they have referred to the Bill in general they have almost invariably referred to it as the Bill that is seeking to impose penalties 652 on the wives and families of strikers. All the other clauses have been ignored.
Labour Members have tabled an early-day motion congratulating The Guardian on its editorial today. Almost for the first time, a responsible newspaper has put the Bill in perspective.
§ Mr. Hamilton
No, I must get on.
At best, the clause is not worth a candle. In Committee, the Secretary of State admitted that it would not affect the vast majority of strikes one way or the other. In any case, most strikes are of short duration. Only long strikes will be affected. The Minister for Social Security nods assent. Let me put a scenario to him. I come from a mining community, and strikes in mines are frequent. There are all sorts of local problems in pits. There could be a wet or gassy seam. The men could down tools and stop work for a day or two, but the strike could last longer, and it might eventually be declared official by the union.
As a consequence—I am thinking particularly of Fife, where much of the coal from the Fife mines goes directly to the Longannet power station—the workers at the power station could be laid off though completely innocent. But according to the rough edges of the Bill— I use the Minister's words—the wives and children of those power station workers will have £12——
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I hope that the Secretary of State will clarify that, because lock-outs are covered by the Bill. The Secretary of State said that in such cases wives and families of workers would be penalised. If he is now saying that the wives and children of those power station workers will not be affected, will he say where that is stated in the clause? If wives and children of the power station workers were penalised, the strike would spread like wildfire. Long strikes would ruin the trade unions, and the unions believe that that is the main purpose of the clause.
One of the constant features of the Conservatives' election campaign was designed—legitimately, from their point of 653 view—to exploit the irritation and anger of the public that was caused by last winter's strikes. They cashed in on and exploited the unpopularity of the trade unions at that time, and they have been doing so ever since. The Prime Minister can scarcely contain her venom. Whenever she speaks about the trade unions, she can scarcely contain it. She could not do so today at the Conservative women's conference. She and her Right-wing cohorts are behind the thinking on the clause.
One of the most reprehensible features of the clause is that it is assumed that in all cases trade unions are responsible for strikes. Hon. Members on both sides of the House must know that that is not true. In many cases the employer is responsible. I give one typical example, which was quoted in the press today. The nurses are incensed by the Government's agreement to award doctors a 32 per cent. increase in salary. The Minister for Health got a roasting by that most gentle organisation, the Royal College of Nursing, which has written into its rules the rule that nurses shall not come out on strike but is now balloting its members for strike action. If that ballot is in favour of strike action, who will be to blame for the strike—the Government or the nurses? [Interruption.] It has very much to do with the amendment. Let me continue the argument.
The great majority of members of the Royal College of Nursing are women. A considerable number are married nurses, with men at home. If such nurses strike and their families claim supplementary benefit, will those nurses have £12 a week deducted from their supplementary benefit under the clause? If so, what will be the result on their morale, and what will be the public's opinion and response towards that situation?
I pose that as a serious possibility. The Royal College of Nursing is not a militant trade union. It is not a trade union at all. The unions are NUPE and COHSE. If the Royal College of Nursing comes out on strike, we may be sure that NUPE and COHSE—I am a sponsored Member of Parliament of COHSE, and there is not a more moderate trade union in the country—will come out on strike for sure if they do not get equality of treatment with the doctors. 654 If the doctors are worth a 32 per cent, rise, the nurses are worth 32 per cent. If the Govenment then insist on the imposition of the clause, we can imagine what will happen in the NHS throughout.
The hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Lewis) talked about men going to prison being different from men who were on strike. Let me pose another scenario. The House will remember that as a result of the Industrial Relations Act of the previous Tory Government, five dockers were sent to prison. If this Bill had been in force then, their families would have had the £12 deducted whilst they were out of prison, but as soon as they went into prison their wives would have got the full supplementary benefit payment. When the Official Solicitor got to work and got them out, the £12 would immediately have been deducted again.
What a lot of nonsense. What a contemptible act. It is simply not worth the candle. But it is the price that the country will have to pay for the venomous attitude of the Tory Party towards the trade union movement.
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
The Opposition speeches have so far been rather exaggerated and bogus. The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) has just waxed eloquently in indignation at this measure, but I wonder why he did not wax indignant about similar matters in the early years of his membership of this House, when no social security benefit was ever given to strikers' families. Where were Opposition Members then in pursuit of this great fundamental principle of social justice, before it was discovered in the middle 1960s that the relevant sections of the social security legislation could be used to give, for the first time, some sort of social security benefit to strikers' families? One would think that this had been a principle of trade unionism and social security since the inception of those institutions. The fact is that only recently have trade unions thought such benefits necessary. It is to their advantage to exploit the taxpayer instead of paying out of their dues.
One would have thought, from all the venom, that we were taking away all social security benefits. One would have 655 thought that the poor, weak and feeble were being left to suffer. In other countries, where such provision has never been made, strikers' families suffer. Many people in Britain do not want such social security payments to be made. Understandably, they believe that if social security benefits are given to strikers' families, it will encourage those—[Interruption]—in the trade union movement who act irresponsibly, and who strike without any cause.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)
Order. It is not right that hon. Members should continually shout from seated positions. They should try their luck at intervening.
§ Mr. Lawrence
If Opposition Members try to intervene, they will find that their luck is out. The public will be aware that the arguments of those Opposition Members who are seated below the Gangway are at their best ventilated from a sedentary position in their usual "yah boo" way.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley) rose——
§ Mr. Cryer rose——
§ Mr. Lawrence
If I give way, I would deprive other hon. Members—who may have reasoned and sensible arguments—
§ Mr. Cryer rose——
§ Mr. Lawrence
—encourage their trade unions to act responsibly and make payments to strikers' families, those families will not be disadvantaged. If a proper use is made of trade union funds—collected for the purpose of providing benefits to strikers' families—it will be seen that the Opposition's absurd and ridiculous exaggerations were in vain. Opposition Members must act responsibly if trade unions—for which they are spokesmen—are to follow their good example.
656 It has been said that this measure is vicious, and that it is anti-trade union. The proponents of that argument—including the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart)—then went on to complain that no benefit would go to non trade unionists. Opposition Members cannot have it both ways. Either this is an anti-trade union measure, or it is not. The truth is that it is a pro-trade union measure. If non-trade unionists are not going to receive payments of up to £12, many may be encouraged to join a trade union.
§ Mr. Stoddart rose——
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am sorry. I must apply the same treatment to the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart), to whose speech I listened with interest and amazement, as I applied to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer).
If those who do not receive £12 suffer, they may be tempted to join trade unions. The more who join trade unions and the more who take part in the sensible, responsible and moderating influence of the mass of the working people, the happier all hon. Members will be. This clause is also pro-trade union in this sense; there are people who disobey the rules of their unions. When the leadership says that a certain matter is not a strike issue, these people go out on strike in defiance of their leaders. Through their militant extremism they go against their leaders democratically expressed wishes.
If only we could provide some means for the central, democratically-elected organisation of the trade unions to exercise some control over these wildcats we would help to solve some of our industrial relations problems. It seems perfectly reasonable that a Moss Evans should turn to one of the wildcats, tell him that the union is not striking on a particular issue and that if that wildcat goes against the wishes of the union, he will lose his union card, under the closed shop arrangements which this Government, in their generosity are still maintaining. If that is so, the wildcat striker, without his union card, will have to consider seriously whether it is in the interests of his wife and family to lose the first £12 of social security benefit. It may be that if a glimmer of responsibility were ever to return to that wildcat striker, he would go back to the fold of the union, obey the 657 commands of his leaders, and a strike that would otherwise be utterly disruptive of Britisht industry would not take place. That is substantially why the British people are so much in favour of this legislation.
§ Mr. Durant
Does my hon. Friend know that the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton), who mentioned the nurses, made a speech when his party was in power urging his own Government to pay the nurses an extra £1 a week because they were not prepared to go on strike? He is now inflaming them and urging them to go on strike. It seems as if he has got it all wrong.
§ Mr. Lawrence
With great respect, I do not think that the hon. Member for Fife, Central will be inflaming too many nurses in this Chamber, and, with any luck, not many nurses will listen to or bother to read what he has said. Of course, that risk always exists, and it is very important that we should recognise that we are the primary organisation in the country for giving an example of responsibility to the unions.
There are two reasons why people go on strike. People voluntarily strike because they have some sort of objective which is a matter of principle, and therefore very important. I have no objection to people striking for their principles. I have no objection to their making sacrifices for their principles. But is it ever right for those people to expect others to make the sacrifices for them? Why should I make a sacrifice for the principle of a man who is about to strike? I have no wish to make a sacrifice for him. If he is true to his principles he must be true to his desire to make the sacrifice himself. Therefore, people who wish to adhere to their principles should be responsible enough to make their own sacrifices. Therefore, it follows that if strikers with the support of their union strike on principle, the trade unions should be prepared to make part of the sacrifice for them. I would go further, and say that they should make the whole sacrifice, but I appreciate that the Government are moderate, sensible, balanced and restrained. Therefore I shall support them.
The other alternative is when people do not strike voluntarily. Some people are forced to strike. Some workers tell 658 even Conservative Members of Parliament that, although they have been trade unionists all their lives, they do not like what is happening. They are being forced to strike against their wishes. When the trade unions decided that there should be a voluntary show of feeling against the Government, they organised a day of action. A leading trade unionist in my constituency said that the response on 14 May would be so overwhelming that he would not know where to put all the people. On 14 May no one turned up at Burton town hall at 10 am to join the march. Trade union leaders claim a great understanding of and close relationship with the people who they represent. I question whether that is always so.
A bus driver in my constituency asked me on the telephone what he should do, as he wanted to work on 14 May, as did other drivers. He told me that the Transport and General Workers Union representative at the bus depot had said that, if anybody turned up for work, they would lose their union card and job. I hazard a guess that many who joined the day of action were forced to do so by threats to their livelihood.
§ Mr. Lawrence
This matter will not be allowed to rest in my constituency. People will be named in the appropriate quarters. I shall be naming them to people more influential and useful than the hon. Gentleman is likely to be in this matter.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman is filibustering, but I was hoping that he would come to the question whether strikers should be paid. That is what we are debating. I remind the House that the Front Bench is hoping to start winding up at 11.40 pm, which leaves only 15 minutes. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is coming to a conclusion.
§ Mr. Burden
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Perhaps we 659 would proceed more quickly if the hon. Members for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) and Keighley (Mr. Cryer) did not constantly and loudly interrupt.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am flattered that the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), who is leading for the Opposition, thinks so much of my argument that he finds it necessary to take a point of order against me.
Where people are forced by their union to strike against their wishes, is it not eminently just that the union should pay for at any rate some part, of the consequences of that strike? I believe that the overwhelming majority in this country believes that the trade unions should in those circumstances pay at least £12 towards the social security benefit that would otherwise be available.
Apart from the blatant fairness of making the trade unions pay something, there is good constructive sense in the measure. First, if we increase the responsibility of trade unions by making them have some obligation to pay some money out of their funds, obviously they will think twice about striking. Not all strikes are sensible. That is accepted even by strikers at the end of some of these long, unfortunate strikes. Even the strikers' leaders say that, perhaps, it would have been more sensible if they had not gone on strike. Anything which causes trade unions to think twice before they engage upon a prolonged strike is to the benefit of society.
Secondly, the clause is constructive because it strengthens trade unionism. More people will join the unions and will want to centralise the democratic power and control upon the correct leaders. [Interruption.] I am sorry that this sensible, balanced, wise and restrained measure should strike this Pavo-lovian response in hon. Gentlemen. If they rage without reason, if they bellow from the Bench below the Gangway opposite or rise to a point of order merely to interrupt a speech, anyone who reads the debate will know that there is something that they feel in conscience is wrong with their argument. A nerve has been touched at the point at which it causes pain, and that helps to show, as it ought to, the arguments presented by the Government in a moderate and sensible light.
660 At a time when we should all be agreeing, in the House and in industry, about the methods of getting the country back on its feet it is saddening to see hon. Gentlemen raging with righteous indignation about a matter which is as relatively harmless and as sensible as this one. If we want to get rid of this attitude of confrontation and unreasonableness shown by hon. Gentlemen, this is a good opportunity for them to think, in quietness and with a certain amount of restraint, of the positive, constructive, sensible and just measure which we are asking the House to pass.
§ Mr. Eastham
I appreciate the opportunity to speak, after waiting for so many hours. After listening to the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), I am lost for words to describe his contribution. He would certainly never serve me in the courts if that is the kind of contribution he would make. It is noticeable that this clause has created such gusto and enthusiasm among the Conservative Benches, as it did in Committee.
Hon. Members may be interested to know that we debated, for about 80 hours, the various clauses in the Bill. It was only on the final clause that Conservative Members came to life. Obviously, this clause is an act of vengeance, not against the strikers, but against their wives and children. The strikers are exercising their democratic right. The Conservative Party realised that it could not suppress the strikers and decided to take it out of the children.
§ Mr. A. W. Stallard (St. Pancras, North)
Will my hon. Friend accept that one reason why the hon. Gentleman to whom he refers is never seen in Committee is that he is too busy in the mornings making money in his other profession?
§ Mr. Eastham
No reference seems to be made by the Conservatives to bad employers. I have posed the question several times in Committee about penalties for bad employers.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. It is clear that the hon. Gentleman is not giving way. Time is being wasted.
§ Mr. Eastham
It is often bad employers who create strikes. They pay no penalties but cause expense when families have to claim social security. I asked the Minister what he proposed to do about this situation but he chose to ignore the point. I repeat it now. The right hon. Gentleman will recall that I quoted the experience in the engineering industry in the Manchester area in 1972 when no less than 36,000 workers were locked out by the employers. The employers were not honouring a national agreement. One would have thought that, in a Bill dealing with strikers, the Government would also have taken the opportunity to attend to employers.
§ Mr. Eastham
It is well known that the CBI has been seeking the measures contained in the Bill since 1965. It wants this kind of legislation to suppress strikers. Conservative Members stated in Committee that they were not opposed to trade unions. One hon. Member stated that he did not believe that the unions had too much power. When the Conservative Party conference is shown on television, Conservatives are seen yelling and calling for blood and demanding that organised labour should be smashed.
I am confident that the trade unions, regardless of the measures that the Conservative Government introduce, will cops with the Government. The Government, in the end, will need the co-operation of the trade unions. It was interesting to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that he is ready at any time to have talks with the unions. There was no consultation on this legislation. That has been a constant theme during consideration on the Bill.
§ Mr. Eastham
It is well known that good employers do not seek this legislation. They do not seek to use the stick. I say now to the Government that there is still time for them to reconsider this matter if they want to avoid a bloody confrontation with the unions.
§ Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Scunthorpe)
I shall try to be brief, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have a reputation in the House for trying to confine my remarks 662 to 10 minutes. I am aware that the Front Bench spokesmen are due to rise shortly.
I intervene because this matter was discussed at considerable length in my constituency earlier this year, when many thousands of my constituents—members of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation—were on strike, the overwhelming majority of them against their will. Their will was never tested, although many individual members of the union asked for their will to be tested.
Be that as it may, the strike started on 2 January and lasted until the beginning of April. Labour Members made the point earlier—they almost challenged my hon. Friends on it—that the reason why we are putting forward this proposal to deem strikers' benefit is that we want to bring strikes to a conclusion more quickly. All right—let me deal with that argument head on. I ask the House to consider the situation which obtained round about the middle of February when a clear offer was on the table from the British Steel Corporation which amounted to about 14.4 per cent. If the union had been responsible for paying its members, it would have thought very long and hard about keeping its members out on strike from the middle of February until the beginning of April for an extra 1 per cent. The hardship that was inflicted as a result of the prolonging of that strike was considerable, notwithstanding the fact that at that time benefits for strikers' families were being paid.—[interruption,] An hon. Member alleges that I know nothing about this subject. I doubt whether he would have liked to deal with the literally hundreds of strikers who came to my surgery during that period. They were on strike against their will. They pressed me——
§ Mr. Marlow
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way when I had not asked him to give way. Does he agree that if social security benefit had not been payable to the families of strikers the strike would not have lasted anything like as long and the loss to the nation would have been nothing like as great?
§ Mr. Brown
My hon. Friend has made the crucial point which we have been trying to make and have made successfully from these Benches. As he has 663 rightly stated, the steel strike would have ended far more quickly and the steel workers would have lost far less money. Heaven knows, the nation lost about £1,500 million during the steel strike.—[Interruption.] My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) has some excellent views on this matter.
The crucial point about the clause is the need to ensure that strikes do not go on for an undue time and cause unnecessary hardship to strikers and their families. There is no doubt that the view of the overwhelming majority of people in the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation who were on strike against their will was that, if their union had been responsible for paying them a sum of money, the strike would have ended much sooner. The Transport and General Workers Union paid strike benefit to its members. The General and Municipal Workers Union made, in my view, a very fair contribution to its members. The hard feelings that existed within the unions involved in the steel strike in my constituency were engendered because the ISTC was bailed out by the Exchequer. Some unions made payments to their members in good faith, yet they find that they are at a disadvantage.—[Interruption.] I have to raise my voice to make it carry over the noise being caused by Labour Members.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Hon. Members are not being fair. Some hon. Members have been trying for hours to take part in the debate, and others have come in and are not allowing them to speak. It is very unfair.
§ Mr. Brown
I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I know that if my constituents hear of how the debate has been conducted in the past few minutes they will realise that Labour Members and their party have been unfair to trade unionists who have been on strike against their will.
The crux of the debate is that the head of the household should be responsible for the consequences to his family of his actions. Labour Members have challenged that premise. Surely the head of a household should be responsible for his family and for paying fot the hardship that is caused by his union.
664 As ever, time is against me and I fear that enemy far more than I fear Labour Members. I am anxious to hear my right hon. Friend's reply. I fully support the clause. It is crucial to the Government's strategy to reduce the number of industrial disputes and I believe that it has the support of the overwhelming majority of trade unionists.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
It falls to me to reply in the few remaining minutes to the points that have been raised since my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment spelt out clearly and quietly the case for clause 6.
The hon. Members for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart) and Birkenhead (Mr. Field) suggested that, even if it was right to expect unions to bear a larger share of the support of strikers and their families, it would be fair to give longer notice to the unions so that they could build up their funds and be enabled to bear the burden.
It is fair to point out that the Government's intentions were signalled clearly in the manifesto on which we fought the election last year. We made clear that we would be reviewing the entitlement of strikers to benefits for their families, with the intention that unions should bear a larger share of supporting them. The clause will not come into effect until much later this year and unions will have not less than 18 months in which to build up funds to take on the additional responsibility which, as many of my hon. Friends have said, the public expect them to take on.
What will be the effect of the clause? My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Lewis) stated clearly that disputes often hit at the public, yet the public have been expected—
§ Mr. Marlow
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I appreciate that the Liberal Party has no interest in the debate, but is it in order for the hon. Member for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) to read the paper to find out the racing results? If he has the results, perhaps he could tell the House.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
That is not a point of order. I did not see the hon. Member for Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) reading a newspaper.
§ Mr. Jenkin
My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford made the point that, increasingly, many of the strikes are aimed at the public. It is that which causes the public such indignation when they find that, through the social security system, they are supporting strikers and their families.
I do not think it fair to draw the rigid distinction drawn by the right hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) between the support given to strikers and that given to their families. Of course benefit is paid for the family, but it is idle to pretend that the striker does not derive some benefit from that payment. It helps to keep him going during a strike.
§ Mr. Stallard
I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. Does he accept that the total savings effected by this Bill and the previous Bill amount to about £560 million a year? How much do the Government expect to save by this measure on benefits to strikers?
§ Mr. Jenkin
That is a difficult question to answer. The amount that was paid out in the steel strike, for instance, was over £9 million. It is estimated that if this clause had been in operation the amount paid out to the steel strikers would have been about £4½ million. The point is that savings are not the primary objective here. The primary objective is to achieve better balance and a sharing of the responsibility among the trade unions, the public and the individuals concerned.
The hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) suggested that the effect of this provision would be to make more strikes official because many strikes at present are unofficial. That view is not shared by the expert labour reporter of The Guardian, Keith Harper, who in an article yesterday said this of the Transport and General Workers Union:The union is keeping a close watch on how strikes occur. In future, it may adopt a more cautious attitude towards giving official backing to strikes although unofficial action would not prevent the Department of Health and Social Security from docking £12 from strikers' families.That union clearly takes the view that the fact that it will have to pay more—and the extent of plans to improve strike pay has been mentioned—will lead the union to have fewer official strikes. In 666 those circumstances the judgment of the hon. Member for Wood Green is not borne out by the facts.
The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) gave the example of the miners in his constituency who might be on strike with that strike eventually leading to the laying off of power workers at the Longannet power station. The rules that will be applied in these circumstances are exactly the same as those that entitle people to unemployment benefit. In those circumstances the power workers would be entitled to unemployment benefit because they would not have an interest in the outcome of the miners strike. They would have been laid off because of a strike in the outcome of which they had no interest and would be entitled to unemployment benefit. The question of supplementary benefit would not arise.
Hon Gentlemen mentioned the nurses. I invite them to study the amendment which has been tabled to the early-day motion which will appear on the Order Paper tomorrow. That makes it clear that, in relation to the doctors' settlement, if we look at the two-year catching-up period which both doctors and nurses have enjoyed—and rightly so—the percentage increase for them is almost identical, assuming that the nurses settle at 14 per cent. The argument that the nurses are being grossly discriminated against does not stand up. There would be no question of their having to go on strike under this clause.
My hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) made the sound point that claims for supplementary benefit before 1966 were almost negligible. The change in the law in that year unintentionally brought about the result that, increasingly, trade unions found that their members were entitled to supplementary benefit. My hon. Friend asked: where was the pressure before that to get the benefit? The answer is that there was none. Therefore, the argument that it is an inalienable right that strikers' families should be entitled to supplementary benefit is bunkum. That was not intended by Parliament when the 1966 Act was passed. It has grown up largely inadvertently and unintentionally and it is time that it was changed.
667 All the surveys show that public opinion is overwhelmingly behind this change by two or three to one. Indeed, the public take the view that this change is long overdue. Therefore, I have no hesitation in asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to throw out the amendment and to support clause 6 when the Division is called.
|Division No. 323]||AYES||[11.51 pm|
|Abse, Leo||Ewing, Harry||McElhone, Frank|
|Adams, Allen||Faulds, Andrew||McGuire, Michael (Ince)|
|Allaun, Frank||Field, Frank||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Alton, David||Fitch, Alan||McKelvey, William|
|Anderson, Donald||Fitt, Gerard||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Flannery, Martin||Maclennan, Robert|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McNamara, Kevin|
|Ashton, Joe||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||McWilliam, John|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Ford, Ben||Magee, Bryan|
|Bagler, Gordon A. T.||Forrester, John||Marks, Kenneth|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)||Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettlts'n)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)|
|Beith, A. J.||Freud, Crement||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Maxton, John|
|Bldwell, Sydney||George, Bruce||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Ginsburg, David||Meacher, Michael|
|Bradford, Rev. R.||Graham, Ted||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Bradley, Tom||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Grant, John (Islington C)||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)|
|Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Hardy, Peter||Molyneaux, James|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wylhenshawe)|
|Buchan, Norman||Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openehaw)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland|
|Campbell, Ian||Haynes, Frank||Newens, Stanley|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Canavan, Dennis||Heffer, Eric S.||Ogden, Eric|
|Cant, R. B.||Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Carmichael, Neil||Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||O'Neill, Martin|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Home Robertson, John||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Cartwright, John||Homewood, William||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Hooley, Frank||Palmer, Arthur|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Horam, John||Park, George|
|Cohen, Stanley||Howell, Rt hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Pendry, Tom|
|Coleman, Donald||Howells, Geraint||Penhallgon, David|
|Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.||Huckfield, Les||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)|
|Conland, Bernard||Hudson, Davies, Gwilym Ednyfed||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Cook, Robin F.||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Prescott, John|
|Cowans, Harry||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)|
|Cralgen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Race, Reg|
|Cryer, Bob||Janner, Hon Greville||Radice, Giles|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Richardson, Jo|
|Cunningham, George (Islington S)||John, Brynmor||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Johnson, Walter (Derby South)||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)|
|Davles, lfor (Gower)||Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Robertson, George|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Rodgers, Rt Hon William|
|Davles, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Rooker, J. W.|
|Deakins, Eric||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Rowlands, Ted|
|Dempsey, James||Lambie, David||Ryman, John|
|Dewar, Donald||Lamborn, Harry||Sandelson, Neville|
|Dobson, Frank||Lamond, James||Sever, John|
|Dormand, Jack||Leadbltter, Ted||Sheerman, Barry|
|Douglas, Dick||Leighton, Ronald||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)|
|Dubs, Alfred||Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)||Litherland, Robert||Silverman, Julius|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Skinner, Dermis|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Lyon, Alexander (York)||Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)|
|Eastham, Ken||Lyons, Edward (Bradford West)||Snape, Peter|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Soley, Clive|
|English, Michael||McCartney, Hugh||Spearing, Nigel|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||McCusker, H.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Evans, loan (Abordare)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Stallard, A. W.|
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 239, Noes 290.
|Steel, Rt Hon David||Urwin, Rt Hon Tom||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)|
|Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.||Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)|
|Stoddart, David||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Strang, Gavin||Watkins, David||Winnick, David|
|Straw, Jack||Weetch, Ken||Woodall, Alec|
|Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley||Wellbeloved, James||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)||Welsh, Michael||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)||Wright, Sheila|
|Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Whitehead, Phillip||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)||Whitlock, William|
|Tilley, John||Wigley, Dafydd||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Tinn, James||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Torney, Tom||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)||Mr. George Morton.|
|Adley, Robert||Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Altken, Jonathan||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Latham, Michael|
|Alexander, Richard||Eggar, Timothy||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Allson, Michael||Elliott, Sir William||Lee, John|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Fairgrieve, Russell||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Ancram, Michael||Faith, Mrs Sheila||Lester, Jim (Beeston)|
|Arnold, Tom||Farr, John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Fell, Anthony||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Finsberg, Geoffrey||Loveridge, John|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Luce, Richard|
|Banks, Robert||Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||Lyell, Nicholas|
|Bell, Sir Ronald||Fletcher-Cook, Charles||McCrindle, Robert|
|Bendall, Vivian||Fookes, Miss Janet||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Forman, Nigel||MacGregor, John|
|Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||MacKay, John (Argyll)|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Fox, Marcus||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)|
|Best, Kelth||Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)||McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)|
|Bevan, David Gllroy||Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Fry, Peter||McQuarrie, Albert|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Madel, David|
|Blackburn, John||Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)||Major, John|
|Blaker, Peter||Garel-Jones, Tristan||Marland, Paul|
|Body, Richard||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Marlow, Tony|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Goodhew, Victor||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Goodlad, Alastair||Marten, Neil (Banbury)|
|Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)||Gorst, John||Mates, Michael|
|Bowden, Andrew||Gow, Ian||Mather, Carol|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Gower, Sir Raymond||Maude, Rt Hon Angus|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Mawby, Ray|
|Bright, Graham||Gray, Hamish||Mawhlnney, Dr Brian|
|Brinton, Tim||Greenway, Harry||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Grieve, Percy||Mellor, David|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Brotherton, Michael||Grist, Ian||Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Grylls, Michael||Mills, lain (Meriden)|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Gummer, John Selwyn||Mlscampbell, Norman|
|Bruce-Gardyne, John||Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Moate, Roger|
|Buck, Antony||Hampson, Dr Keith||Monro, Hector|
|Budgen, Nick||Hannam, John||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Kaselhurst, Alan||Moore, John|
|Burden, F. A.||Hastings, Stephen||Morgan, Geraint|
|Butcher, John||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)|
|Buller, Hon Adam||Hawksley, Warren||Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)|
|Cadbury, Jocelyn||Heddle, John||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)|
|Carlisle, John (Luton West)||Henderson, Barry||Mudd, David|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Murphy, Christopher|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Myles, David|
|Channon, Paul||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)||Needham, Richard|
|Chapman, Sydney||Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Nelson, Anthony|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hooson, Tom||Neubert, Michael|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Hordern, Peter||Newton, Tony|
|Clark, Sir William (Croydon South)||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Nott, Rt Hon John|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Clegg, Sir Welter||Hunt, David (Wirral)||Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally|
|Cope, John||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Osborn, John|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hurd, Hon Douglas||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Corrie, John||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham|
|Costain, A. P.||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)|
|Critchley, Julian||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Parris, Matthew|
|Crouch, David||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Patten, John (Oxford)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Kimball, Marcus||Patlle, Geoffrey|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Kitson, Sir Timothy||Pawsey, James|
|Dover, Denshore||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Percival, Sir Ian|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Knox, David||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Lamont, Norman||Pollock, Alexander|
|Durant, Tony||Lang, Ian||Porter, George|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Skeet, T. H. H.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)||Veughan, Dr Gerard|
|Prior, Rt Hon James||Speed, Keith||Viggers, Peter|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Speller, Tony||Waddington, David|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Spence, John||Wakeham, John|
|Raison, Timothy||Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Rathbone, Tim||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)||Walker, Rt Hon Peter (Worcester)|
|Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)||Sproat, lain||Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)|
|Renton, Tim||Squire, Robin||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Stainton, Keith||Waller, Gary|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Stanbrook, Ivor||Walters, Dennis|
|Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Stanley, John||Ward, John|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Steen, Anthony||Warren, Kenneth|
|Rifkind, Malcolm||Stevens, Martin||Watson, John|
|Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)||Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Stokes, John||Wheeler, John|
|Rossi, Hugh||Stradling Thomas, J.||Whitney, Raymond|
|Rost, Peter||Tapsell, Peter||Wickenden, Keith|
|Royle, Sir Anthony||Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)||Wilkinson, John|
|St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman||Tebbit, Norman||Williams, Deiwyn (Montgomery)|
|Scott, Nicholas||Temple-Morris, Peter||Wolfson, Mark|
|Shelton, William (Streatham)||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Shersby, Michael||Townend, John (Bridlington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Silvester, Fred||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)||Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and|
|Sims, Roger||Trotter, Neville||Mr. Anthony Berry.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ It being after midnight, Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded, pursuant to the Order [6 May] and the Resolution this day, to put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.
|Division No. 324||AYES||[12.03 am|
|Adley, Robert||Butcher, John||Fox, Marcus|
|Altken, Jonathan||Buller, Hon Adam||Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford a St)|
|Alexander, Richard||Cadbury, Jocelyn||Fraser, Peter (South Angus)|
|Allson, Michael||Carlisle, John (Luton West)||Fry, Peter|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Ancram, Michael||Chalker, Mrs. Lynda||Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)|
|Arnold, Tom||Channon, Paul||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Aspinwal!, Jack||Chapman, Sydney||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Churchill, W. S.||Goodhew, Victor|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Clark, Sir William (Croydon South)||Gorst, John|
|Banks, Robert||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Gow, Ian|
|Bell, Sir Ronald||Clegg, Sir Watter||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Bendall, Vivian||Colvin, Michael||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Cope, John||Gray, Hamish|
|Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)||Cormack, Patrick||Greenway, Harry|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Corrie, John||Grieve, Fercy|
|Best, Kelth||Coslain, A. P.||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Critchley, Julian||Grist, Ian|
|Bitten, Rt Hon John||Crouch, David||Grylls, Michael|
|Bigge-Devison, John||Dickens, Geoffrey||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Blackburn, John||Dorrell, Stephen||Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)|
|Blaker, Peter||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Body. Richard||Dover, Denshore||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Hannam, John|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Bright, Graham||Elliott, Sir William||Heddie, John|
|Fairgrleve, Russell||Brlnton, Tim||Henderson, Barry|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Faith, Mrs Sheila||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Farr, John||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Brotherton, Michael||Fell, Anthony||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Holland, Philip (Carlton)|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Finsberg, Geoffrey||Hooson, Tom|
|Sruce-Gardyne, John||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Hordern, Peter|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Buck, Antony||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Budgen, Nick||Fookes, Miss Janet||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Sutmer, Esmond||Forman, Nigel||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Burden, F. A.||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Hurd, Hon Douglas|
§ Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 239.
|Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)||Speed, Keith|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Mudd, David||Speller, Tony|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Murphy, Christopher||Spence, John|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Myles, David||Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)|
|Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Needham, Richard||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Nelson, Anthony||Sproat, lain|
|Kilson, Sir Timothy||Neubert, Michael||Squire, Robin|
|Knight, Mrs Jill||Newton, Tony||Stalnton, Keith|
|Lamont, Norman||Nott, Rt Hon John||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Lang, lan||Onslow, Cranley||Stanley, John|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Oppenheim, RI Hon Mrs Sally||Steen, Anthony|
|Latham, Michael||Osborn, John||Stevens, Martin|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Stewart, lan (Hitchin)|
|Lawson, Nigel||Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham||Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)|
|Lee, John||Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)||Stokes, John|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Parris, Matthew||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Patton, John (Oxford)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)|
|Lloyd, lan (Havant & Waterloo)||Pattie, Geoffrey||Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Pawsey, James||Tebblt, Norman|
|Loveridge, John||Percival, Sir lan||Temple-Morris, Peler|
|Luce, Richard||Pink, R. Bonner||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Pollock, Alexander||Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)|
|McCrindle, Robert||Porter, George||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)|
|MacGregor, John||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Trotter, Neville|
|MacKay, John (Argyll)||Prior, Rt Hon James||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Macmiilan Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Proctor, K. Harvey||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)||Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Vlggers, Peter|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Raison, Timothy||Waddington, David|
|McQuarrie, Albert||Rathbone, Tim||Wakeham, John|
|Madel, David||Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Major, John||Renton, Tim||Walker, Rt Hon Peter (Worcester)|
|Marland, Paul||Rhodes James, Robert||Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)|
|Marlow, Tony||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Waller, Gary|
|Marten, Neil (Banbury)||Ridsdale, Julian||Walters, Dennis|
|Mates, Michael||Rifkind, Malcolm||Ward, John|
|Mather, Carol||Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Warren, Kenneth|
|Maude, Rt Hon Angus||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Watson, John|
|Mawby, Ray||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Weils, John (Maidstone)|
|Mawhlrmey, Dr Brian||Rossi, Hugh||Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Mayhew, Patrick||Rost, Peter||Wheeler, John|
|Manor, David||Royle, Sir Anthony||Whitney, Raymond|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Wickenden, Keith|
|Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Mills, lain (Meriden)||Scott, Nicholas||Wilkinson, John|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Shelton, William (Streatham)||Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Moate, Roger||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Monro, Heclor||Shersby, Michael||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Silvester, Fred|
|Moore, John||Sims, Roger||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)||Skeet, T. H. H.||Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and|
|Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)||Mr. Anthony Berry.|
|Abse, Leo||Canavan, Dennis||Dobson, Frank|
|Adams, Allen||Cant, R. B.||Dormand, Jack|
|Allaun, Frank||Carmichael, Neil||Douglas, Dick|
|Alton, David||Carter-Jones, Lewis||Douglas-Mann, Bruce|
|Anderson, Donald||Cartwright, John||Dubs, Alfred|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)|
|Ashton, Joe||Cohen, Stanley||Dunnett, Jack|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Coleman, Donald||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Bagler, Gordon A. T.||Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.||Eastham, Ken|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Conlan, Bernard||Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Cook, Robin F.||English, Michael|
|Belth, A. J.||Cowans, Harry||Ennals, Rt Hon David|
|Benn. Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill)||Evans, loan (Aberdare)|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Cryer, Bob||Ewing, Harry|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Cunliffe, Lawrence||Faulds, Andrew|
|Sooth, Ri Hon Albert||Cunningham, George (Islington S)||Field, Frank|
|Bradford, Rev. R||Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)||Fitch, Alan|
|Bradley, Tom||Dalyell, Tam||Fit!, Gerard|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Davidson, Arthur||Flannery, Martin|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Davles, Ifor (Gower)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Ford, Ben|
|Buchan, Norman||Denkins, Eric||Forrester, John|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)|
|Campbell, lan||Dempsey, James||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Dewar, Donald||Freud, Clement|
|Garrett, John (Norwich S)||McDonald, Or Oonagh||Ryman, John|
|Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Mcohone Frank||Sandelson, Neville|
|George, Bruce||McGuIr", Michael (Ince)||Sever, John|
|Ginsburg, David||McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||McKelvey, William||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)|
|Grant, John (Islington C)||Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Maclennan, Robert||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||McNamara, Kevin||Sllkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Hardy, Peter||McWilllam, John||Silverman, Julius|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Magee, Bryan||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Marks, Kenneth||Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Marshall, David (Gl'sgow. Shettles'n)||Snape, Peter|
|Haynes, Frank||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)||Soley, Clive|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Heller, Eric S.||Mason, Rt Hon Roy||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||Maxton, John||Stallard, A. W.|
|Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||Maynard, Mita Joan||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Home Robertson, John||Meacher, Michael||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)|
|Homewood, William||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Stoddard, David|
|Hooley, Frank||Millan. Rt Hon Bruce||Strang, Gavin|
|Horam, John||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)||Straw, Jack|
|Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)||Summerskill, Hon Or Shirley|
|Howells, Geraint||Molyneaux, James||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Huckfield, Lea||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Hudson Davles, Gwilym Ednyled||Morris, Rt Hon Charlea (Openshaw)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Morton, George||Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Moyie. Rt Hon Roland||Tilley, John|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Newens, Stanley||Torney, Tom|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Urwin, Rt Hon Tom|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Ogden, Eric||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|John, Brynmor||O'Neill, Martin||Walnwrlght, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Johnson, James (Hull West)||O'Neill, Martin||Watkins, David|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby South)||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Weetch, Ken|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Wellbeloved, James|
|Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Palmer, Arthur||Welsh, Michael|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Park, George||White, Frank R. (Bury £ Redcliffe)|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pendry, Tom||Whitehead, Phillips|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Penhaiigon, David||Whitelock, William|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Lambie, David||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)||Willams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Lamborn, Harry||Prescott, John||Willams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Lamond, James||Lewis, Arthur (Newham Norh West)||Willson, Gordon (Durdee East)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Race, Reg||Willson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huoton)|
|Leighton, Ronald||Radice, Giles||Willson, Willam (Coventry E)|
|Leator, Miss Joan (Eton £ Slough)||Richardson, Jo||Winnick, David|
|Lewis, Arthur (Newham Norh West)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Roberts||Woodall Alec|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)||Wrigglesworth, lan|
|Litherland, Robert||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Wright, Sheila|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Robertson, George||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Lyon, Alexander (York)||Rodgers, Rt Hon William|
|Lyons, Edwerd (Bradford West)||Rooker, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)||Mr. James Tinn and|
|McCartney, Hugh||Rowlands, Ted||Mr. Ted Graham.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time and passed.