HC Deb 01 April 1981 vol 2 cc302-21

'(1) No person being an employee of the Post Office or of British Telecommunications shall be guilty of an offence under any of the statutory provisions referred to in subsection (4) of this section if the conduct complained of takes place exclusively or primarily in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute with either the Post Office or British Telecommunications.

(2) No person shall be guilty of soliciting, inciting or procuring or attempting to solicit, incite or procure or aiding or abetting the commission by any employee of the Post Office or British Telecommunications of an offence under any of the statutory provisions referred to in subsection (4) (other than subsection (4) (c)) of this section unless it be established that one or more of the persons so solicited, incited or procured, or aided or abetted or in relation to them an attempt to solicit, incite or procure as aforesaid is alleged to have been made would not have been entitled to the immunity conferred by subsection (1) in the event of his or their being charged with the relevant substantive offence under any of the said provisions.

(3) Where in pursuance of any agreement the acts in question in relation to any of the offences referred to in subsection (4) hereof are to be done exclusively or primarily in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute with either the Post Office or British Telecommunications that offence or those offences are to be disregarded for the purposes of section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

(4) The statutory provisions referred to in this section are:—

  1. (a) section 55 of the Post Office Act 1953, as amended, insofar as that section makes it an offence for any person or, when required by an officer of the Post Office, to neglect or refuse to deliver up any postal packet in the circumstances there described;
  2. (b) section 58(1) of the Post Office Act 1953, as amended, insofar as that section makes it an offence fox' any officer of the Post Office, contrary to his duty, to wilfully detain or delay or procure or suffer to be detained or delayed any 303 postal packet in the course of transmission by post;
  3. (c) section 68 of the Post Office Act 1953;
  4. (d) section 45 of the Telegraph Act 1863, insofar as that section makes it an offence for any person employed by the Post Office wilfully to omit or delay to transmit or deliver any message or by any wilful act or omission to prevent or delay the transmission or delivery of any message; and
  5. (e) section 20 of the Telegraph Act 1868, as amended, insofar as that section makes it an offence for any person having official duties connected with the Post Office, or acting on behalf of the Postmaster General, contrary to his duty, to intercept the contents or any part of the contents of any telegraphic messages or any message entrusted to the Postmaster General for the purpose of transmission.

(5) In this section a reference to "trade dispute" has the same meaning as in the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.'.—[Mr. Charles R. Morris.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Charles R. Morris (Manchester, Openshaw)

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

As will be observed, the clause concerns itself with the rights, as employees, of 400,000 postal and telecommunications workers. I argue that those workers are largely a loyal and dedicated group of public servants. They are industrial moderates, and by no stretch of the imagination could one describe them as industrial militants.

I contend that it is unjust, discriminatory and unfair that postal and telecommunications workers, almost alone among Britain's 8 million trade unionists, face the possibility of legal challenge if they exercise what I believe to be a basic right that is enjoyed by every other group of organised workers—the right to withdraw their labour and participate in industrial action.

4.15 pm

The legal challenge to which I have referred stems from legal provisions that were never intended for that purpose. The clauses of the Post Office Act 1953 that expose postal and telecommunications staff to legal penalties go back to 1710, when the General Post Office was first established, during Queen Anne's reign. At that time the legal provisions were aimed primarily at footpads and highwaymen, but those same provisions have become a convenience for organisations such as the National Association for Freedom and individuals such as Mr. Gouriet to launch legal actions against the staff of the Post Office and telecommunications corporations exercising their rights as workers and trade unionists.

I believe that common justice demands that those legal impediments should be removed. In November 1976, when the postal workers boycotted mail to Grunwick Processing Laboratories, doubt arose whether postal workers could legally withdraw their labour. In order to stop the postal workers' boycott the NAFF took out an injunction alleging that postal workers were committing a criminal offence by being in breach of the Post Office Act 1953.

On the assurance that the company would agree to arbitration, the postal workers suspended their industrial action, but the issue was not put to the test until January 1977, when the NAFF asked the Attorney-General of the day to institute an injunction against the Union of Post Office Workers and the Post Office Engineering Union over plans to boycott post and telecommunications to South Africa.

The Attorney-General refused that application, but the NAFF obtained the support of the Appeal Court, presided over by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning. The court decided that the unions were violating the Post Office and Telegraph Acts and issued an injunction. Lord Denning stated that it was clearly an offence to wilfully delay or detain the mails to interfere with telephone calls, or to procure others to do so. Although the House of Lords decided in July 1977 that the Appeal Court had acted wrongly in granting the injunction, the issues at stake were not primarily about the right to strike. The Law Lords endorsed Lord Denning's view that it was a criminal offence to black mail or telephone calls. The issues before the Law Lords concerned the question whether the Attorney-General's discretion should be challenged by the courts and whether any citizen could bypass him and obtain an injunction against a trade union.

Therefore, the unions' victory in the House of Lords prevented postal workers from being the target only of civil injunctions. They remain to this day as vulnerable to criminal prosecution if they decide to withdraw their labour. As Lord Diplock put it: that such conduct by postal workers would constitute a criminal offence punishable upon indictment by imprisonment or a fine is plainly beyond argument. The object of the new clause is to remove the legal anomaly afflicting workers in the Post Office and British Telecommunications by ensuring that they cannot be subjected to criminal prosecution when engaged in industrial action. Existing provisions would remain in force to prevent strictly criminal interference with mail and telecommunications. The clause merely seeks to exempt industrial action from the type of legal provisions to which I referred.

In Committee we were privileged to have the presence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General to give us the benefit of his knowledge and guidance in considering a similar new clause that I moved at that stage. With the greatest respect, I question whether the advice that we received from him helped either the Committee or the Post Office workers. The Attorney-General said: There is no fetter under the Post Office Act 1953 or the Telegraph Act 1863 upon Post Office workers … to withdraw their labour as such. Counsel's opinion obtained by the Union of Communication Workers in 1977 stated that in the event of an all-out strike the position was, at best, too uncertain for comfort and, at worst, made it illegal for Post Office or British Telecommunications workers to contemplate such action. Tom Jackson, the general secretary of the UCW, on 17 March 1981 sent a copy of that counsel's opinion to the Minister of State, and I am confident that the hon. Gentleman received it.

I hope that Ministers read that opinion carefully. Here we have two conflicting opinions on a serious issue. The implication is that if a prosecution were ever launched against postal or telecommunications workers, one judge might interpret the law as did the Attorney-General whereas another might agree with the counsel's opinion that has been submitted to the Minister of State. That would be an impossible situation, and I ask the Minister to accept the clause, which is modest in its scope and effect.

I stress that we have the benefit both of counsel's opinion in 1977 and the legal advice given by the Attorney-General in Committee. I can only repeat what I said previously, that the Attorney-General's opinion expressed in Committee did not satisfy either side of the argument.

Counsel also stated something that the Attorney-General and the Minister, in his letter to the general secretary of the UCW, conceded, namely, that anything less than a complete withdrawal of labour would be illegal. That position is intolerable. Why should postal and telecommunications workers be penalised for involving themselves in overtime bans, for working to rule, refusing to cross a picket line, or for short-term stoppages? What possible justification is there for imposing legal penalties in those circumstances of industrial difficulty?

In Committee the Attorney-General said: Some forms of industrial action which fall short of strike action, while such employees remain at work, may fall foul of the law … It is impossible to advise the Committee in firm terms which are also general terms, because every case must be looked at on its own facts, and industrial action which falls short of full withdrawal of labour may take a number of forms."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B,3 March 1981; c. 581–2.] The Attorney-General said that a ban on voluntary overtime could not attract legal proceedings. But what of postmen and postmen higher-grade who perform overtime as part of their normal duty arrangements which are agreed with management? If they engage in the withdrawal of labour, can it not be legally construed as breaking their contract of employment?

What a ludricrous position the Attorney-General and the Government are supporting. They are saying, in effect, that it is "all out or nothing". They suggest that postal and telecommunications workers should take 100 per cent. strike action or not bother at all, because lesser forms of industrial action might land them in court. What started as a discussion in Committee about the right to strike finished with almost an incentive to strike. Why should they bother to work to rule, which might make them liable to criminal prosecution, if they can go on all-out strike and suffer no such legal impediment? That is the logic of the argument that we heard in Committee.

I hope that the Government and the Minister will accept the clause, for one central reason—the views expressed on this issue not in Committee, not on Second Reading in December, but by the Conservative Opposition spokesman in 1978. The then hon. Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont), who is now a Minister, spoke for the Conservative Opposition during the Second Reading of a Private Member's Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr.Buchan), which sought to do precisely that which I am doing in the clause. He said that he supported the restricted right of industrial action against the employer and made this very telling point: We recognise that Post Office workers feel that they are in a unique position. They feel that whilst others, such as the electricity workers, have the right … the Post Office workers are in an anomalous position, and I should find it difficult to argue that Post Office workers are more like policemen than like power workers … When Post Office workers say that they are in the almost unique position of not having the right to strike, it should be pointed out that they are also in the privileged position of being a statutorily protected monopoly; and if it is right to reconsider the sanctions against strike action, it must be also right that the position of the monopoly should be reconsidered."—[Official Report, 17 February 1978; Vol. 944, c. 885–92.] The Bill takes steps to alter the Post Office and telecommunications monopoly. Let the Government accept the clause and restore the legal right of postal and telecommunications workers to exercise the right enjoyed by every other group of organised trade unionists. I ask that in the interests of fairness and justice.

4.30 pm
Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

The Attorney-General attended the Committee to give us free legal advice. I wish that we had paid our 7s 6d and received fuller advice. It was disturbing to listen to the Attorney-General, because he could not tell us whether industrial action or other action was legal. It is important for the Post Office and British Telecommunications trade unions to know whether it is legal to take action.

I was disturbed to hear that when the 7s 6d was paid for further advice, the advice put us in further uncertainty. That uncertainty should be removed by the Government accepting the new clause. The trade union movement regards the Bill without the new clause as totally hostile. Trade unionists believe that when they go to court they never have the benefit of the doubt. Because of the prejudices of judges, if there is an element of doubt in legislation the court will find against the trade union.

The Attorney-General is huffing and puffing on the Front Bench. I remind him that he is here to give an impartial opinion. The Government should accept the new clause so that Post Office and British Telecommunications workers are certain about their right to strike.

I did not add my name to the names of those who support the new clause; nor did Ito a similar amendment in Committee. The reason is clear. The Post Office Engineering Union does not believe that the clause goes far enough. It relates only to industrial matters. It does not give Post Office and British Telecommunications workers the right to strike on political grounds. That is not satisfactory. Post Office and British Telecommunications workers should have the same right to strike as have other workers. The right to strike should not be restricted in that way.

I appreciate that the drafting of the new clause includes workers in British Telecommunications and the Post Office and protects permanent and full-time officers of the trade unions. However, I wish that the new clause were stronger. I wish that it afforded a complete right to strike to British Telecommunications and Post Office workers. Because it is imperative that the right to strike is laid down in statute, I shall support my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris) in the Lobby.

Mr. Mikardo

I wish to make only three points in support of the new clause. The first is wide and general and applies to many Bills. The issue has been discussed in the House and in Committee many times. It is directly applicable to the Bill and the new clause. It is that the more the majesty of the law intervenes in industrial relations the worse industrial relations become and the more danger there is of severe industrial disruption.

People should think back. They should remember Ernest Bevin's attempt to use the law against the Kent miners, in the delicate period towards the end of and immediately after the war. If ever there were a time when the law could have been used against people who were thought to lessen the war effort by absenting themselves from work, that was the time. Ernest Bevin invoked the law against the Kent miners.

What was the upshot? A few miners were proceeded against under the law. A few went to prison. That was all very fine, except that nobody dug any coal. One can do many things with the law but one cannot dig coal with it. Lawyers can do many things, but they cannot dig coal. Ministers who feel that they are tough guys because they have the power of the law behind them can do many things, but they cannot dig coal. They cannot deliver letters. They cannot connect telephone circuits. History, starting with Ernest Bevin, shows that if work is not being done because of an industrial dispute one cannot get it done merely by invoking the law.

There was only one way to get the coal out of the Kent coalfields, and that was to get the Kent miners out of prison. The only way to get them out of prison was for the fines to be paid. But it was the non-payment of the fines that resulted in their going to prison. The miners refused to pay the fines. The then permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labour recounts, in a brilliant document printed as an annex to the Donovan report, how he went to the prison to beg the miners' leaders to come out. They did not want to come out.

If the law were invoked today I am sure that the present Minister would find himself in exactly the same position. It is no good arguing about the difference between criminal and civil law, because in the end sanctions have to be applied and chaps will not pay fines. In the end the Government have to do something.

The same applied to the "Pentonville Five". Hon. Members whose memories do not go back as far as the Kent miners might remember the Pentonville Five. The law that operated then was brilliant—much better than that contained in the Bill. The Act under which the Industrial Relations Court was set up, and its powers, were carefully thought out and perfectly drawn. They gave the Administration total power to deal with chaps who went on strike. The power was exercised and five dockers found themselves in court. Then they found themselves in Pentonville.

I do not know how they reacted to that—perhaps they were not worried about it—but the Government reacted with enthusiasm. They thought, "This is it. We have solved all the problems." They had solved the problems except for one small difficulty—that as long as those five fellows were in Pentonville no cargo was being loaded or unloaded at the docks. Apart from that small difference, everything in the garden was lovely. The law had come down in all its majesty on these wicked sinners and shown them where to get off. Over and over again exactly the same thing happens.

When we discussed this matter in Standing Committee my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Dean) said that there had been a situation similar to that of the Pentonville Five in Australia. I reminded him that if we were crossing the waters we did not have to go as far as that, because a few years ago electricity workers in the Republic of Ireland came out on strike and their leaders were put into gaol; the Irish Government had copied the powers that we had and they put the strikers into gaol. That was fine, except that there was no electricity.

The Irish Government had another problem which Her Majesty's Government did not have—they did not have an Official Solicitor. In the case of the Pentonville Five, somebody in the Government—I dare say it was one of the predecessors of the Attorney-General—discovered in some dusty archive a reference to the Official Solicitor, a being that nobody knew existed, but who had powers, apparently, to do almost anything. So they dug up the Official Solicitor from the recesses of the cave in which he had doubtless been immured and sent him to the Industrial Relations Court to get the Pentonville Five out. But the poor old Irish Government did not have an official solicitor so how were they to get those electrical union leaders out of gaol?

The Irish Government knew that the minute the leaders were out of gaol, or the following day, there would be some electricity. So what happened was that a high-level ministerial deputation went to Mountjoy gaol to see those criminals, those convicts, and to beg them on their bended knees to walk out of the prison. They said that, the Governor had been given a chit which said that he could let them out.

The leader of the electrical workers looked at his watch and said, "We can't go out now; the buses have stopped; it is too late and we would have to walk all the way home." The leader of the ministerial delegation said, "Don't worry about that. We will get you some taxis to take you home" whereupon the leader of the electrical trade union said, "We can't have that; that would be a terrible waste of taxpayers' money. We had better stay in the jug until tomorrow morning." And they stayed in the calaboose until the following morning, so the absence of electricity continued for several hours longer than it otherwise would have.

That is the sort of idiotic situation which we get into when we try to use legal prohibitions to replace the skills of man management in industry which should create good relations between management and workers. That is the sort of mess that we have always got into, and that is the sort of mess that we will get into again, without these proposals.

That is the first general ground on which I support the new clause. I come now to the second general point.

Whenever we discuss this matter, people say, "Yes, the right to strike, the right to withdraw labour, as a last resort, must be permitted in a free society." After all, the row in Poland is about exactly that. All that my right hon Friend is asking for is the same rights for members of his union as Mr. Lech Walesa is demanding for members of his union in Poland, to the great plaudits of all the British press and everybody else in this country—not least members of the Conservative Party.

That is all we are asking for; that is all my right hon. Friend is asking for. It seems that all right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are in favour of a worker having the right to strike in the last resort—as long as he is a Polish worker and not a worker in the British Post Office. If that is not the case, I shall be grateful if the Minister will explain the difference.

4.45 pm

Solidarity in Poland has achieved recognition of the right of workers in the Polish postal service to strike. They have that right, but it is being denied to workers in Great Britain, and Conservative Members will make weekend speeches saying what a lovely free country ours is compared with a wicked Communist country like Poland. It bears thinking about, does it not, even by right hon. and hon. Members opposite?

At one time, when work was less specialised than it is today, a case could have been made for saying that there were certain essential services from whose workers this general right should be withheld because they were vital to the maintenance of the realm. But the situation in industry has changed—not because the workers have changed it but because the employers have changed it, and for a good reason. It has changed largely because of the great advances in technology and because in using those advances we have carried the economic division of labour further and further in our industrial and service processes. More and more, industry is being carried on by a larger and larger number of smaller and smaller processes. A single break in the chain, which may involve a single process and only a small number of workers, can often bring the whole lot to a standstill.

I will take a simple trade to illustrate that point. The older ones among us can recall the days when tailoring was done—I remember when I first went to the East End of London—by a chap sitting on his haunches on a table. He measured the customer, marked out the cloth, cut the cloth, felled it together for a try-on, sewed it, finished it and then pressed it. He did everything, all the way through, perhaps with the help of his wife or his daughter. Nowadays, in a modern clothing factory, it takes 148 separate processes to make an ordinary two-piece suit.

In the more technologically advanced industries—the metal-working industries, the industries in which shop progress and control are carried out automatically and electronically by computers—that tailoring analogy is carried to the nth degree.

There is now not one manufacturing industry in this country in which a major process, perhaps involving thousands of people, cannot be stopped by half a dozen people. Are they essential workers or are they not? For example, if I were organising workers in the engineering industry I would never call out on strike an engineering factory with perhaps 5,000, 6,000 or 7,000 people in it. I would call out the 8 or 10 tool grinders. All the rest could go to work and they would be working away cheerfully until all their tools got blunt and there was nobody to regrind them; then the place would stop. Those are clearly essential workers. No one is demanding that the right to strike should be withdrawn from them, because no one can define them. It is not possible to form a clear enough definition to make them the subject of statutory action.

It is true that soldiers, sailors and airmen cannot strike, but half a dozen computer operators in the Ministry of Defence could make all our soldiers, sailors and airmen idle. Those computer operators have the right to strike and some of them are striking now. No one is taking any disciplinary action against them—let alone any civil or criminal action in the courts.

Post Office engineers are essential workers. We should suffer great loss and inconvenience without a telephone service or a postal service, but what would happen if sewerage men came out on strike? Those workers have the right to strike. They have recently obtained a wage increase by threatening to strike. If they came out on strike the result would be not loss or inconvenience but an epidemic. Are sewerage workers less essential than postmen or telecommunications engineers?

A relatively small work force is employed in our public health laboratories. They protect millions from epidemics. They have the right to strike. How does the Minister justify those workers having that right when postmen are not to be given it? That is a simple question and I hope that the Minister will answer it.

The Minister may say, "We are concerned that postal and telecommunications workers could bring the machinery of government to a halt if they went on strike." The machinery of government could be brought to a halt in the next few weeks, with all the postmen and telecommunication engineers working, by the Government going skint, running out of money. I have read that 80 senior tax bods have gone out on strike and that those few workers have reduced the Government's revenue by £300 million a week. Are they essential workers? Are they doing less damage to the running of the country than would be done by postal workers at the East London district sorting office, in my constituency, deciding to go on strike? Who decides who is an essential worker and who is not? I have given some examples but anyone in the Chamber could list 30, 40 or 50 classifications of workers from whom, the right to strike could be withdrawn on the same basis as from postal and telecommunications workers. Why is there such discrimination? Why are the postal and telecommunications men getting it in the neck?

Not all postal workers are being denied the right to strike. It is only the employees of the Post Office who are being so deprived. Under the Bill the monopoly is being broken. There will be private postal services as well as companies operating the private postal services as well as services provided by the Post Office. Employees of the companies operating the private postal services will have the right to strike. Is the Minister saying that they will have the right to strike because their work is less essential than the work of the postmen who will be working for the Post Office?

I imagine that the first development of private postal services is likely to be in the City of London. The City of London could be brought to a halt by "postmen"—they will not be called that, but they will be de facto postmen—working for private postal delivery companies. Those chaps could feel aggrieved with their lot at the same time as the postmen working for the Post Office feel aggrieved with their lot. One lot would have the right to strike and the other lot would not. How could such a situation be jusified?

The very provision which is being made for breaking the monopoly ought as a logical consequence to lead to the conclusion that as we cannot deny the right to strike to a certain class of worker working for one employer we cannot deny that right to an identical class of worker working for a different employer. We know that the Government will break their necks to favour the private sector against the public sector on all counts. However, even they must baulk at such outrageous discrimination.

Those are the three grounds on which I hope that the House will give full support to the clause.

Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

I rise briefly to support the remarks of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikado), which were particularly well said. I support the new clause moved by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris), as I did in Committee. I do so because we are confronted once again by an example of double standards, namely, some groups of workers being treated differently from others. We are dealing with one of the last vestiges of the relationship that the Government believe managements should have with their employees, one that is not dissimilar from the relationship enjoyed by the barons when dealing with serfs in medieval times. It is about time that we ridded ourselves of these last vestiges and accepted that postal workers should have the same rights as any other group of workers in terms of industrial relations.

It seems that the Government believe that postal workers will be irresponsible, will exercise no discretion and will rush into endless strikes, thus sabotaging the nation's affairs. That I dispute. In Committee many hon. Members, including Conservative Members, said frequently that they accepted postal workers as being responsible members of the community who make a great contribution to the nation's affairs. If they believe that, why do they seek to deny postal workers the rights that have been given to others? In discussing the new clause we are talking about confidence in postal workers as well as the basic principle of the right to strike.

Strike action is not the most desirable way of settling an industrial dispute. In Committee we had a memorable debate on workers having a say in the running of their own affairs, worker participation and the need to involve the work force to a greater extent. If the Government meant what they said and if they did not merely mouth pious platitudes, this is an opportunity to put their theories into practice. I do not believe that the use of bully-boy tactics or industrial muscle is normally associated with postal workers. In the main they have always shown respect, integrity and great discipline in the running of their affairs.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

The hon. Gentleman is in some danger of equating strike action with bully-boy tactics. If he is seeking to equate the two, he should not use such language.

Mr. Alton

I am glad that the hon. Member made that point.

There are occasions when strike action is misused. We have all seen examples of its being used wrongly by workers as a first resort rather than a last resort. That is often unofficial strike action, wildcat strikes, and so on, for which I have no time. Official union action, when it is seen as the way in which to bring an industrial dispute to a reasonable conclusion, has been fought for for over 100 years. We must maintain that. Over that time, trade unions have improved working conditions and have obtained better remuneration for their workers. They must be proud of that. Sometimes strike action has been the only legitimate way to achieve that. That is why people should have that right. It is not a right which is lightly used by trade unions. I do not want to give that impression. That right is usually used by most responsible trade unions in a discreet way when no other action can be taken.

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The clause is about our attitude towards our workers. The Secretary of State normally talks about confrontation in industry. If anyone knows anything about that it is the Secretary of State, because he seems to believe in sending a gunboat on every possible occasion. He abides by the principle that if two wrongs do not make a right, try a third. He constantly resorts to confrontation rather than co-operation.

This is an opportunity for the Minister to tell his right hon. Friend that in this matter he can show some respect for postal workers and people in whom the country has had utmost confidence in the past. The Secretary of State can show that we accept that postal workers are responsible people who would not use the right to strike irresponsibly and that we accept that they would use that right only as a last resort, as any other worker or striker would be able to do. Therefore, we should not have double standards among different groups of workers.

Mr. John McWilliam (Blaydon)

I listened carefully to the Minister and to the Attorney-General in Committee, when the Minister defended his opposition to the new clause tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris). It became clear in Committee that there was some doubt about the exact status of the law in this area. It reminded me of all those occasions when there has been some doubt about the law on industrial relations.

In almost every case of industrial action, a judge in a court has made a decision. That decision, which may have been legally right, has resulted in problems for the industry concerned, for its workers, for the law and problems concerning respect for the law. The history of industrial law has been bedevilled by judges who, sometimes deliberately but more often because of the obscurity of the law, have proceeded on the basis that the workers must be wrong.

It takes two to make an argument. It is not necessarily the case that the fault is on one side or the other. All that we are asking for in the new clause is that Post Office workers should have the same rights as every other worker in this country and the same rights as every other worker in any country which calls itself democratic. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) said, they should be the same rights as those possessed even by workers in a Communist country such as Poland. That is all we ask—nothing more.

If the Minister is to support his contention that the new clause should be voted down, I invite him at the same time to state clearly the intentions of the Government on industrial relations law relating to every other section of workers. Is he saying that the Government's attitude to the clause represents Government policy on industrial relations in general? Will all employees be subjected to the Government pushing through a draconian law which will prevent them from exercising their legal and democratic right in a democratic society to say to an employer that they will not work for him on the terms offered by him, that they are not prepared to accept his edict, that they want to talk about it and, if he will not do so, they will not work? We are confronted by that situation today. It is a question not only of the rights of postal workers but of the Government's attitude to the rights of all employees in this society. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to answer that point.

If the Minister is saying that he is picking on the Post Office workers as a group particularly prone to industrial action, he has picked on the wrong group. The industrial history of the Post Office has been one of the best, not just in this country, but in any country. Industrial action in the Post Office has occurred only in the face of the most blatant provocation. Is this law a precursor for other draconian laws on industrial relations? Has the Minister a specific problem with the Post Office? If he has such a problem, what is it?

Mr. Kenneth Baker

As I am not a lawyer, I approach with great humility any debate on the law relating to industrial relations because it is a complex area of law. I appreciate that the Labour Party feels that the law should intervene as little as possible in that area. I have not counted the number of pages of industrial relations legislation in the statute book, but I dare say that more has been put on the statute book by the Labour Party than by the Conservative Party. I am only too well aware that the changes over the years often make complicated positions more complicated because the circumstances of each dispute are often so different and complicated.

I appreciate the moderate and sensibe way in which the right hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris) spoke to the clause. I do not want to be associated with the allegations that Post Office workers are irresponsible and militant, because they are not. They have served the country well under successive Governments for years.

As hon. Members are aware, this matter was discussed at considerable length in Committee. On that occasion, the Opposition expressed their deep concern that if Post Office and British Telecom workers were to take industrial action in furtherance of a trade dispute with their employer they could be held to be committing an offence under one of several provisions of the Post Office Act 1953 and the Telegraph Act 1863. Effectively, therefore, they argued that Post Office workers did not have the right to strike. That point was argued by the hon. Members for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) and for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton).

We were fortunate to have the attendance in Committee of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, who took great pains to give the Committee his impartial interpretation of the legal position.

He said that in his view, There is no fetter under the Post Office Act 1953 or the Telegraph Act 1863 upon Post Office workers, or whatever they will become when the Bill is enacted, to withdraw teir labour as such."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 3 March 1981; c. 581.] That disposes of the argument that there is a double standard.

However, my right hon. and learned Friend went on to say that some forms of industrial action falling short of strike action while such employees remained at work may—I emphasise the word "may"—fall foul of the law. Expanding on that remark, he said that although each case of industrial action short of total withdrawal of labour would have to be considered on the facts, he did not consider that a conviction would be possible under any of the provisions in question where it could not be proved that the employee was in breach of his contractual obligations.

Several examples were raised in Committee. For example, withdrawal of voluntary overtime and genuine working to rule do not, in my right hon. and learned Friend's opinion, amount to an offence. However, he considered that discriminatory action against particular individuals or countries would justify prosecution, although none had been launched to date. Indeed, no prosecutions under a wider area than that have been launched in the history of this legislation.

My right hon. and learned Friend suggested that the Committee might not welcome legislation to create an immunity for such activities. That is certainly the Government's view. In sum, the Attorney-General felt that there was no need to clarify the legal position, as he had no doubt that Post Office workers had the right to strike. I emphasise that.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

Does the Minister agree that the right hon. and learned Gentleman argued that this all turned on what was meant by "wilful delay"? On a number of occasions he emphasised that this issue turned on the interpretation and construction placed on the word "wilful".

Mr. Baker

"Wilful and negligent", in fact. However, that has been the position since the Telegraph Act 1863. If this matter is of such vital concern to Labour Members, I remind them that between 1974 and 1979 they had plenty of opportunity to introduce legislation along these lines. After all, a great amount of industrial legislation went through the House at that time.

Mr. Orme

This issue did not arise until the Grunwick dispute, when legal action was threatened against the postal workers for delaying mail and not delivering it to that firm. It then became evident that a flaw existed.

Mr. Baker

I need not remind the right hon. Gentleman that that dispute took place in 1977 and that there was not a general election until 1979. Therefore, there was plenty of opportunity to do something under the Lib-Lab pact. After all, the Liberal Party has thrown its support behind the Oppositon today. It is no good saying that the Labour Party was in a minority. If Labour Members felt so strongly, they had two years to do something about it, but they did nothing. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Cabinet. Is he telling us that he put forward proposals for the new clause and the thinking behind it?

Mr. Orme

Despite what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) said, the Liberal Party was not prepared to support trade union legislation. We had great difficulty in carrying the Liberal Party with us on a series of issues. That ought to be made known to the House.

Mr. Baker

We do not even have to await the right hon. Gentleman's memoirs on this interesting period of the Lib-Lab pact I never imagined that we would get a cameo of what happened during that time. At present, the stock in trade of the leader of the Liberal Party is to say that those two years were the glorious Utopia of post-war British politics. Yet on the authority of a former senior Cabinet Minister we are told that the Liberal Party was not prepared to support the proposals which have been advocated this afternoon.

Mr. Alton

The Minister will appreciate that I was not a Member of the House during the period of the Lib-Lab pact. I have checked with the Liberal Chief Whip, and I can assure the House that at that time the Government never made proposals to repeal the law along those lines. We would be reluctant to see the introduction of the kind of trade union legislation which some members of Labour's Left wing would like to see, and we would of course exercise a restraining influence in such circumstances.

Mr. Baker

We now have volume 2 of the memoirs. The hon. Gentleman cannot hide behind the argument that he was not a Member of the House, because he was fighting to get into the House.

I do not know whether members of the Social Democratic Party have any views. Two of them are in the Chamber, and it would be interesting to know whether they have any views about the necessity for this piece of legislation.

The antecedents and credibility of the Opposition are suspect, because they had the opportunity to do something about this matter.

5.15 pm
Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)

I remind my hon. Friend that during the period to which he referred a Private Member's Bill was introduced to give effect to this proposal. It was widely supported in the Lobby by everyone, from Cabinet Ministers downwards, but it never had the imprimatur of Government approval.

Mr. Baker

I shall refer to that Bill in a moment, I confirm my hon. Friend's recollection.

Since our debate in Committee I have had correspondence with Mr. Tom Jackson, who courteously sent me the legal opinion that he received. I thank him for it. I studied it carefully and sent it to my right hon. and learned Friend. We have discussed it together. After careful consideration of that opinion, he saw nothing in it which led him to change his view.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Who will determine whether the Attorney-General is right or whether the legal opinion given to the Union of Communication Workers is right?

Mr. Baker

The courts would ultimately do that. That position has prevailed in the country over the centuries. We are not advocating anything new.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)


Mr. Hughes


Mr. Baker

I give way, to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes).

Mr. Hughes

I am grateful to the Minister for again giving way, because I should like to follow up this point. He must understand that the whole purpose of new clause 6 is to avoid the courts being brought into arbitration, where they can only do harm. Surely it would be far better to clarify the law for the avoidance of doubt, which I gather is a famous legal phrase.

Mr. Baker

I shall reply to the hon. Gentleman in a moment, when I discuss whether the new clause will clarify the position in the way in which the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. friend think. I shall try to show that it will not.

This is a complex issue, for which it is difficult to draft legislation. This was clearly demonstrated in 1978, when a Private Member's Bill was considered by the House, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) reminded us. The new clause as drafted—I am not making pettifogging points—contains one or two important loopholes.

Under subsection (1), it seems that employees of the Post Office could take industrial action in furtherance of a trade dispute with British Telecommunications and vice versa. I do not believe that that is the intention of those who drafted the new clause, but that is its effect.

Subsection (1) refers to conduct taking place exclusively or primarily in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". What exactly does that mean? Those words appear to plant further mines in an area which is already a notorious legal minefield. Then again, I have already said that I do not believe that it would be desirable for discriminatory action such as I have already described to be exempt from the offences listed in subsection (4) of the new clause.

That is certainly the view of Conservative Members, and I hope that it would be the view of the Liberal Party as well. There is no mention of this anywhere in the new clause. This is surely an important point which should he clearly provided for. Thus, although I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman's aim is that the clause should be narrowly drawn, I think that it is faulty in those respects.

In Committee, the right hon. Member for Openshaw quoted my hon. Friends who had spoken in support of the Private Member's Bill back in 1978. I must chide him for quoting somewhat selectively from that debate. Selective quotation is a bad habit, which he must have picked up when he was a Minister. My hon. Friends the Members for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Lamont) and Surrey, North-West (Mr. Grylls) both spoke at that time in favour of Post Office workers having the right to strike. I would not argue with that principle and, for the reasons that I gave earlier, I do not believe that that is under debate today. What is under debate is the question whether it is necessary to lay down in statute a provision saying that this is the case. To quote my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames, there is all the difference in the world between the right to strike in a dispute with the Post Office and the right to take discriminatory action against particular users.

I come back to the legal advice given to the Committee and the House by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. He has given his opinion that Post Office and—after the separation of the business—British Telecom workers have the right to strike already and that they would not be committing an offence by withdrawing their labour.

For reasons that I have described, I cannot accept the new clause as drafted because I believe that it contains several undesirable features, but in any case feel, in the light of the legal advice, I do not feel that it is necessary. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will agree and seek

Mr. Orme

I support the new clause and hope that the Opposition will shortly be voting for it. The Ministers remarks have been completely unsatisfactory. He says that the right to strike exists and that both unions can take that action—the Post Office workers' strike lasted for about seven weeks—but that if they try to take any other form of industrial action they are up against the courts and are prevented from taking it. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) said, those are double standards. It was the Grunwick case which brought this to the attention of the country and the House. If the new clause is imperfect, or if, as the Minister says, it is contradictory in some ways and could be improved, let the Government improve it by giving a guarantee to the House that they will put it right in another place. The Minister is not prepared to do that.

Mr. Cryer

Will my right hon. Friend comment on an even grosser example of double standards that the Government have exhibited? They find all kinds of grave legal difficulties with the clause and they talk about leaving matters to the courts when trade unionists and the right to strike action are involved, but the Attorney-General and the Government had no scruples whatever when people in high places, some of them titled, were in breach of sanctions against Rhodesia. On that occasion the Attorney-General rushed to the House to make it clear beyond peradventure that there was clear immunity for those who had undertaken criminal actions—in all probability because they were close to some of those high-sounding people in the Tory Party. That certainly shows double standards.

Mr. Orme

I accept what my hon. Friend says. If the Post Office workers had continued their action against Grunwick and been prosecuted, would the Attorney-General have asked the House for immunity? Would he do so in a similar case now? I believe that he would not. The Minister of State is correct to say that we are not in favour of legislation on the right to strike. The right to strike or to take industrial action should exist automatically. It should not depend upon Acts of 1710 or 1863. These matters go back as far as that—to such things as the interception of mail by footpads or riotous behaviour during the delivery of mail, which are now linked to modern industrial action in modern society.

We are therefore debating the important principle that people should have the right to withdraw their labour and to take secondary industrial action if necessary, which, in a sense, may not go as far as the right to strike. The Minister is clearly saying that if workers have a grievance they should go on strike, because if they attempt to take any other form of action it could be termed illegal—that anything short of complete withdrawal is illegal.

The Attorney-General (Sir Michael Havers)

The right hon. Gentleman cannot have read what I said to the Committee. I set out in detail a whole range of other occasions, of which he has completely forgotten to remind the House and on which I said that no criminal proceedings would follow. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be more accurate in the remainder of his speech.

Mr. Orme

I have read the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, but if the matter is as clear-cut as he says, why will the Government not accept the new clause, which makes the position clear, or table a suitable amendment of their own to clarify the situation?

Mr. Mikardo

The Attorney-General cannot get away from the fact that in terms of secondary action postal workers have placed upon them certain inhibitions which are not placed upon other workers. That is the double standard. Those inhibitions will be placed upon postal workers employed by the Post Office but not upon those employed by private companies. The right hon. and learned Gentleman cannot get away from that.

Mr. Orme

I agree with my hon. Friend. What the Attorney-General talked about in the Committee was wilful and negligent delay which could lead to legal proceedings. We have given examples of what such wilful and negligent delay could amount to.

The Post Office unions are incensed at the situation. Those unions do not lightly strike or take industrial action. They therefore cannot see why they should be treated differently from other unions in the public service.

On that basis, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the clause.

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

The House divided: Ayes 231, Noes 287.

Division No. 132] [5.30 pm
Abse, Leo Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Adams, Allen Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Allaun, Frank Ford, Ben
Alton, David Forrester, John
Anderson, Donald Foster, Derek
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Foulkes, George
Ashton, Joe Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Freud, Clement
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Beith, A. J. Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Benn, Rt Hon A. Wedgwood George, Bruce
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bidwell, Sydney Ginsburg, David
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Golding, John
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Gourlay, Harry
Bottomley, Rt Hon A. (M'b'ro) Graham, Ted
Bradley, Tom Grant, George (Morpeth)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Grant, John (Islington C)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Hardy, Peter
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. Haynes, Frank
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)
Campbell, Ian Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Home Robertson, John
Cant, R. B. Homewood, William
Carmichael, Neil Hooley, Frank
Cartwright, John Horam, John
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Huckfield, Les
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Hudson Davies, Gwilym E.
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Cook, Robin F. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cowans, Harry Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Cox, T. (W'dsw'th, Toot'g) Janner, Hon Greville
Crawshaw, Richard Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Crowther, J. S. John, Brynmor
Cryer, Bob Johnson, James (Hull West)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Dalyell, Tam Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davidson, Arthur Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Lamond, James
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Leadbitter, Ted
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd) Leighton, Ronald
Deakins, Eric Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Dempsey, James Litherland, Robert
Dewar, Donald Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dixon, Donald Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)
Dobson, Frank Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson
Dormand, Jack McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Douglas, Dick McElhone, Frank
Douglas-Mann, Bruce McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Dubs, Alfred McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Duffy, A. E. P. McKelvey, William
Dunnett, Jack MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Maclennan, Robert
Eadie, Alex McNally, Thomas
Eastham, Ken McNamara, Kevin
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E) McTaggart, Robert
Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're) McWilliam, John
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Magee, Bryan
English, Michael Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Ennals, Rt Hon David Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Martin, M (G'gow S'burn)
Evans, John (Newton) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Field, Frank Maxton, John
Fitt, Gerard Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Flannery, Martin Mikardo, Ian
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw) Stoddart, David
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Stott, Roger
Morton, George Strang, Gavin
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Straw, Jack
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ogden, Eric Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
O'Halloran, Michael Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
O'Neill, Martin Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Parker, John Thomas, Dr R.(Carmarthen)
Pavitt, Laurie Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Pendry, Tom Tilley, John
Penhaligon, David Tinn, James
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Prescott, John Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Wainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Race, Reg Wainwright, R.(Colne V)
Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S) Walker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)
Richardson, Jo Watkins, David
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Weetch, Ken
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Welsh, Michael
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N) White, Frank R.
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Robertson, George Whitehead, Phillip
Rooker, J. W. Whitlock, William
Roper, John Wigley, Dafydd
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Rowlands, Ted Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)
Ryman, John Williams, Sir T.(W'ton)
Sandelson, Neville Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Sheerman, Barry Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H.(H'ton)
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Winnick, David
Short, Mrs Renée Woodall, Alec
Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford) Woolmer, Kenneth
Silverman, Julius Wrigglesworth, Ian
Skinner, Dennis Wright, Sheila
Snape, Peter Young, David (Bolton E)
Soley, Clive
Spearing, Nigel Tellers for the Ayes:
Spriggs, Leslie Mr. James Hamilton and Mr. Hugh McCartney.
Stallard, A. W.
Steel, Rt Hon David
Adley, Robert Brooke, Hon Peter
Aitken, Jonathan Brotherton, Michael
Alexander, Richard Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'n)
Alison, Michael Browne, John (Winchester)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Bruce-Gardyne, John
Ancram, Michael Bryan, Sir Paul
Arnold, Tom Buck, Antony
Aspinwall, Jack Budgen, Nick
Atkins, Rt Hon H.(S'thorne) Bulmer, Esmond
Atkins, Robert(Preston N) Burden, Sir Frederick
Atkinson, David (B'm'th. E) Butcher, John
Baker, Kenneth (St. M'bone) Cadbury, Jocelyn
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Carlisle, John (Luton West)
Banks, Robert Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Chalker, Mrs. Lynda
Bell, Sir Ronald Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul
Bendall, Vivian Chapman, Sydney
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Churchill, W. S.
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Best, Keith Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Bevan, David Gilroy Clegg, Sir Walter
Biffen, Rt Hon John Cockeram, Eric
Biggs-Davison, John Cope, John
Blackburn, John Corrie, John
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Costain, Sir Albert
Boscawen, Hon Robert Cranborne, Viscount
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Critchley, Julian
Bowden, Andrew Crouch, David
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Dean, Paul (North Somerset)
Bradford, Rev R. Dorrell, Stephen
Braine, Sir Bernard Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Bright, Graham du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Brittan, Leon Dunn, Robert (Dartford)
Durant, Tony Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Dykes, Hugh Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Eggar, Tim Loveridge, John
Eyre, Reginald Luce, Richard
Fairbairn, Nicholas McCrindle, Robert
Faith, Mrs Sheila McCusker, H.
Farr, John Macfarlane, Neil
Fenner, Mrs Peggy MacGregor, John
Finsberg, Geoffrey MacKay, John (Argyll)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Fookes, Miss Janet McQuarrie, Albert
Forman, Nigel Madel, David
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Major, John
Fox, Marcus Marland, Paul
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Marlow, Tony
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Fry, Peter Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mates, Michael
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Garel-Jones, Tristan Mawby, Ray
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Glyn, Dr Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Goodlad, Alastair Mayhew, Patrick
Gorst, John Mellor, David
Gower, Sir Raymond Meyer, Sir Anthony
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Gray, Hamish Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Greenway, Harry Mills, Peter (West Devon)
Grieve, Percy Moate, Roger
Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds) Monro, Hector
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Montgomery, Fergus
Grist, Ian Moore, John
Grylls, Michael Morgan, Geraint
Gummer, John Selwyn Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Hamilton, Hon A. Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Hampson, Dr Keith Mudd, David
Hannam, John Murphy, Christopher
Haselhurst, Alan Neale, Gerrard
Hastings, Stephen Needham, Richard
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Nelson, Anthony
Hawkins, Paul Neubert, Michael
Hawksley, Warren Newton, Tony
Hayhoe, Barney Onslow, Cranley
Heddle, John Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.
Henderson, Barry Osborn, John
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Hicks, Robert Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Hill, James Parkinson, Cecil
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Parris, Matthew
Holland, Philip (Carlton) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Hooson, Tom Pawsey, James
Hordern, Peter Percival, Sir Ian
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Pink, R. Bonner
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd) Pollock, Alexander
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk) Porter, Barry
Hunt, David (Wirral) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Prior, Rt Hon James
Jessel, Toby Proctor, K. Harvey
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Raison, Timothy
Kaberry, Sir Donald Rathbone, Tim
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Kershaw, Anthony Rees-Davies, W. R.
Kimball, Marcus Renton, Tim
King, Rt Hon Tom Rhodes James, Robert
Knight, Mrs Jill Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Knox, David Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Lamont, Norman Rifkind, Malcolm
Lang, Ian Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rost, Peter
Latham, Michael Royle, Sir Anthony
Lawrence, Ivan Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Lee, John Scott, Nicholas
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shelton, William (Streatham) Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Trippier, David
Shepherd, Richard Trotter, Neville
Shersby, Michael van Straubenzee, W. R.
Silvester, Fred Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Sims, Roger Viggers, Peter
Skeet, T. H. H. Waddington, David
Smith, Dudley Wakeham, John
Speed, Keith Waldegrave, Hon William
Speller, Tony Walker, B. (Perth)
Spicer, Jim (West Dorset) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Waller, Gary
Sproat, Iain Ward, John
Squire, Robin Warren, Kenneth
Stainton, Keith Watson, John
Stanbrook, Ivor Wells, Bowen
Stanley, John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Steen, Anthony Whitney, Raymond
Stevens, Martin Wickenden, Keith
Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Wiggin, Jerry
Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire) Wilkinson, John
Stokes, John Williams, D.(Montgomery)
Stradling Thomas, J. Winterton, Nicholas
Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW) Wolfson, Mark
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Tebbit, Norman Younger, Rt Hon George
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Thompson, Donald Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and Mr. Carol Mather.
Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Thornton, Malcolm

uestion accordingly negatived.

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