HC Deb 08 June 1981 vol 6 cc123-53

(1) Corporal punishment of all pupils in primary schools and special schools and of female pupils will be illegal as from 1 August 1982. (2) Corporal punishment of all pupils will be illegal as from 1 August 1984. The Secretary of State will consult education authorities, the appropriate professional organisations and trade unions regarding alternative forms of punishment to replace corporal punishment from the aforementioned dates.".—[Mr. O'Neill.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

12 midnight

Mr. O'Neill

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

The new clause proposes a timetable to end corporal punishment in Scottish schools. In recent years there seem to have been interminable discussions between the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities and the teaching trade unions and professional associations about how and when corporal punishment should end and what should replace it. It is fair to say that few people in education are anxious to retain this barbaric form of chastisement.

We feel that there is a need to concentrate the mind by the introduction of some sensible timetable for the elimination of corporal punishment. In the new clause we are suggesting that by 1 August 1982, in all primary schools in Scotland, there will be no more corporal punishment for boys and girls up to the age of 12. Furthermore, we go on to say that in all special schools, that is to say schools providing for children with special educational needs, boys and girls of all ages would cease to be subject to corporal punishment and that all girls in all schools in Scotland by August of next year would no longer be targets for the Scottish taws. For boys in secondary schools it would probably take longer. We suggest that it could be eliminated by 1 August 1984.

Corporal punishment in Scotland usually means the use of the taws—the two or three-pronged leather belt, which was supplied by a drysalter in Lochgelly, who, I believe, has moved to another part of Scotland, but whose wares were regularly advertised in educational journals throughout Scotland. The taws was normally the first piece of educational equipment that a young teacher was forced to purchase. In a young student teacher's last weeks at a college of education he was advised to obtain a belt and to practise over the summer holidays to get the swing and measure of the implement.

Thankfully, those days are receding. Such punishment is no longer a major problem in Scottish education. Some of the Government's policies have replaced the question of corporal punishment with more pressing educational difficulties. However the incidence of corporal punishment in Scotland is probably greater than it is in most other parts of Western Europe, and the problem should be considered when we are examining Scottish education.

Teachers are using corporal punishment less and less, but for some it is still the first resort, although many authorities are seeking to phase it out. Teachers who do not use the belt may have great problems. They are often regarded by colleagues, and certainly by pupils, as a soft touch if they do not take advantage of the ultimate sanction. Teachers who decide not to use the belt can be at a disadvantage, and the situation should be put right. We talk of the professionalism and vocation of teaching. In the 1980s, to maintain the right to use corporal punishment harks back to the worst aspects of Victorianism.

It is suggested that there are no alternatives, but the argument that corporal punishment is the most effective means to check bad behaviour no longer holds the authority that it once did. With the encouragement of local authorities, teachers in some schools have stopped belting altogether and have introduced a variety of other sanctions. I shall mention one or two. The first is detention. Pupils can be kept in after school hours or during the lunch break, which creates problems of supervision, but if detention is used constructively it can help pupils to get on with their work.

Mr. Ian Lang (Galloway)

In view of the total lack of support for discussion of the Bill, as evidenced by the last vote, is it not time for the hon. Gentleman to bring his remarks to a conclusion and release the House from detention?

Mr. O'Neill

References to detention may alarm the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Lang), as he probably spent most of his school life detained in boarding schools. We are talking about the vast majority of young people who regard the period outside school as valuable, although I confess that this may sometimes be a reflection on what takes place in school. Detention, if used constructively, can be a real sanction and deterrent. If it is not just a method of keeping children in after school, but if records are kept, and if parents are informed of the frequency of the punishment and can be called to account, it can be used in an effective way.

With regard to other options, the Pack report mentioned the special units in which children with learning or behavioural difficulties may be given specific assistance. In many instances young people have benefited greatly. Interestingly, young people who go to such units tend to be helped in an atmosphere and environment in which corporal punishment is the last thing that would be considered as a means of encouraging them to attend school.

Clearly, there are other options. There is the old one of extra work, although one hopes that this would not take the form of lines or the ritual copying out of passages from books.

Perhaps most important of all, there is the involvement of parents so that they are made aware of the young person's misdemeanours. As a teacher, I certainly found that one of the most effective ways of ensuring that pupils did not swear in class was to inform the parents of the obscenities used by their children and to require them to sign a letter saying whether this was the common currency of language used in the home. Normally, that resulted in the parents assuming their responsibilities for the good behaviour of their children.

With more staff and more flexible timetabling, we could look forward to the better use of the guidance and pastoral systems that exist in most comprehensive schools. In these systems, house teachers can look after young people's needs and anticipate difficulties. If there are adequate opportunities for staff to get together, there may also be group discussions on the particular difficulties of individuals or classes.

All of those options are at present in use, either individually or collectively, in many Scottish schools, in preference to a system of corporal punishment that is probably the most extreme of its kind in Europe and is certainly not effective, because for as long as it has existed in any concentrated form it has not resulted in a marked improvement in the institutions in which it has been commonplace.

The purpose of the new clause is to require the Secretary of State to take a lead. We believe that if he is genuinely concerned—[Interruption.] It appears that for those Conservative hon. Members who derived benefit from corporal punishment it finished when they left school. The Opposition wish to see the end of corporal punishment. The Secretary of State should take the lead and not move at the speed of the slowest.

Mr. Carmichael

I hope that I shall not speak for too long on this matter, but I am pleased to have the opportunity to do so, because one of the first Bills that I considered in a Scottish Committee was on education. I remember asking the then Under-Secretary of State, the late Lady Tweedsmuir, about corporal punishment, which I always regarded as a barbaric and futile method of trying to control a class. I asked her to publish the regulations on corporal punishment. I do not know whether they are published now, but at that time I was staggered to discover that they were not. Moreover, there was great reluctance on the part of the authorities—I do not say whether they were Labour or Tory-controlled—to allow the regulations to be published.

The regulations were not available for parents, pupils or the public in general to know the basis on which children should be punished corporally. At that time there was no official register. That was introduced much later. I was always amazed that methods in England seemed to be much more civilized than in Scotland. Indeed, the whole attitude to education in England was quite different. That must be part of our heritage.

12.15 am

My hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. O'Neill) spoke about the "Lochgelly". I have one at home that was given to me by a journalist friend who undertook a thorough study of corporal punishment in Scottish schools. It is a fearsome weapon. I got the other end of it often enough when I was at school—some may say not often enough—and it is a fiendish piece of leather. It is hard, well-tanned leather with a Glasgow corporation education department stamp on it. It is interesting to note that when it is shown to people from other parts of the world they can hardly believe that these things were issued officially as part of the tools of the trade in Scottish schools.

One oft-used argument is that boys would rather have the belt than lines. That argument is unfair. Like most Labour Members, I went to a coeducational school. No self-respecting boy of 15, 16 or 17 could opt for lines as against the belt. It would be quite unmanly to think of anything other than taking the belt.

I discussed this matter, as one does, with friends when we left school. I can tell the House that it was sore and that there was nothing heroic about getting the belt.

Mr. Maxton

Even if there is truth in the argument that boys would prefer the belt to lines, surely that proves that it was not an effective form of punishment.

Mr. Carmichael

I am not sure how long it lasted. In addition, because it was so easy to use the belt in the Scottish environment, I do not think that teachers used as much diplomacy as they could have done. I do not think that they thought sufficiently well about the matter. As a result, the belt was frequently used irrationally and the pupils did not know what they were being punished for. Often what they were punished for one day was much less serious than something they had done the day before. It had little effect in controlling the classroom. Some lads got the belt daily, but I do not believe that that did them any good.

I mentioned my journalist friend who had undertaken the survey of the use of the taws. There was quite a good export of the taws to other parts of the world. However, that export was to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Malawi and places where Scots had gone before. In other words, the Scottish missionaries seemed to take the belt with them wherever they went.

The Labour Party was not enthusiastic about this matter when I raised it with Lady Tweedsmuir long ago. I am happy that we now have a chance to vote on it. Whether or not the Government accept the new clause, I hope that the debate will have reinforced the view of a growing number of Scottish teachers who are beginning to realise that this is the wrong way to control a class.

When one of the best teachers that I ever knew entered a new classroom, the first thing that he did was to get the belt, wave it around his head and say "I defy any of you pupils to get me to use this in the next year." By sheer hard work and dint of his personality, he never used the belt. That man became a very well known headmaster in the West of Scotland. That is the sort of example that should be given to all teachers.

I hope that this little debate will push forward and reinforce the idea among those in the educational world—including pupils, because some of them are beginning to take the view that the belt is not the best way forward—that the system should be changed. In a school near me, some of the senior boys did a survey a few years ago of all pupils who had been belted, and then they asked other pupils in the class for their reactions. They asked whether it was fair that a boy had been belted, whether they thought that the punishment fitted the crime and whether they thought that it would improve the behaviour of the boy after he had been belted. It was an exhaustive survey, carried out by very bright boys. I am sure that I could make it available to the Minister if he wished.

I hope that this debate will reinforce and encourage the bright kids to look for other ways, and will help the teaching profession to look for other ways, in which to control classes than the barbaric method that has been used and has been all too easily to hand until now in Scottish schools.

Mr. Robert Hughes

This is a most welcome new clause. There can be no doubt that corporal punishment, which still goes on in our schools today, is a remnant of barbarism and ought to be stopped as soon as possible. The climate of opinion in which we discuss corporal punishment in schools has radically changed, not only from the days when I was at school, but even from the period of 15 to 18 years ago, when I was arguing within the education committee of the then city of Aberdeen council that corporal punishment in schools should be abandoned.

I remember vividly friends of mine at school and myself being belted and, as a result, having great weals right up our wrists, which were swollen so hard with the thong marks that one could hardly hold a pen for a couple of days. I have sometimes even seen blood drawn by the use of the belt. If it is used in the same way today as it was in those days, such marks will still be appearing.

The kind of offence for which the belt was used in the early days was speaking in class or spelling errors. Sometimes if one was blamed for doing something wrong and one said "It was not me, Sir", the teacher said "If it was not you, who was it?", and if one refused to tell—the expression that we use in Aberdeen is "If one was not a crype"—one got the belt for not informing on one's friends. That is the kind of thing that happened, not only to boys but—though to a much lesser extent—to girls.

The climate has changed radically. I have heard of children making their faltering way to school for the first time, some going with a sense of adventure, school being something to which they had been looking forward, and some going with some apprehension as to what might await them. They would be met by the teacher taking the belt, the taws or the "Lochgelly", whatever one cares to call it, out of the desk and hanging it over the front and saying "If you misbehave, this gets used on you." That is what used to happen to our children in primary schools not so very long ago.

I say that the climate has changed. I claim no credit as an individual for having raised the issue of corporal punishment when I was an education committee member as a councillor in Aberdeen. It was not I who did all the good and someone else who did all the bad, as the saying or the parody song goes. Many parents, even teachers' representatives, on the education committee and councillors fought the battle against corporal punishment in a climate much more conducive to corporal punishment than it is now. They came in for great abuse for daring to suggest that corporal punishment in schools should be stopped. I pay great credit to those who argued the case. Often they were a lone voice. I was fortunate, because I was not a lone voice but was supported by people who had initiated debates.

When we discussed corporal punishment in schools 15 to 18 years ago, it was not a question of corporal punishment or something to replace it. We were told solemnly time and again by teachers' representatives, members of the education department and assistant directors of education, that there was no alternative: there must be corporal punishment in schools to main discipline and to ensure that everything was right in the schools. The climate has changed so dramatically that many people have said, and it is the view of the EIS, that they would like to see corporal punishment go from schools, but they are not satisfied that there is something adequate to take its place. It is an advance that people are willing to accept that corporal punishment still exists because there is nothing else to replace it, but there is not sufficient imagination to take care of it.

The use of the belt in schools did nothing for the so-called hard men of the schools. The phrase used nowadays is that it is part of the "macho" feeling to show that one has been belted and that one was a hard man able to stand up to the teachers. The kind of people that the belt is sometimes used for are people in whom it sometimes ingrains violence.

The sooner we assert three basic principles on discipline in schools the better. First, one cannot beat knowledge into a child. It is impossible to force-feed children by belting them if they do something wrong. Secondly, one cannot coerce discipline into pupils. The thought that the only way in which discipline can be imposed is by violence can, in the circumstances of some of our city areas, reinforce violence outside the schools. When the infliction of pain is a norm that is acceptable, when it is proper for an adult to beat a child with a belt or to leather a young adult up to 16, 17 or 18 years because he has done something wrong, and when violence is part of family and school life, how can we expect people not to behave badly outside? That should be taken into account.

Thirdly, we should make it clear that the only way to achieve discipline in schools and society is to make people understand that they must co-operate and work with one another to provide the discipline that is necessary for good education. When people speak about discipline, they think of the imposition of punishment. It is necessary for people to co-operate, to listen to what is going on and to benefit from education. The truth is that too often the belt has been used as an excuse for the inadequacies of teachers.

12.30 am

My mother-in-law, a teacher of many years' standing, now retired, taught in some of the toughest areas in the city of Aberdeen and some of the tougher areas in central Scotland, as a very young teacher. She never used the belt; she never found any need to. She told me that if she ever saw a teacher who had recourse to corporal punishment she knew that that teacher was inadequate and was not doing a proper job.

I hope that Conservative Members will accept that the use of corporal punishment is a serious matter. I hope too, that,, whatever else they say, none of them will tell me that they believe that the use of corporal punishment should be the norm in the schools. I hope that at the very least those of them who are the most unsympathetic to the clause will say that corporal punishment should be the last resort. I do not accept that it should be used even then, but I hope that even they are willing to go that far.

I very much like the phraseology of the new clause. It says, first, that corporal punishment will be illegal for primary and special schools from 1 August 1982, and then that it will be illegal from 1 August 1984 for all pupils. That phasing deals with one of the arguments used against us. Aberdeen was one of the early authorities to end corporal punishment for girls and primary school pupils. Much of the indiscipline that is experienced in the secondary schools arises from the primary school. If in the primary school the only or main method of discipline is the application of the taws, that will carry on into the secondary schools. Once people become used to the environment of the school and know that that is how things are done, they may well react adversely if suddenly this threat is taker away in secondary schools. Therefore, it is important that it be done initially in the primary schools.

As an education authority we were told that we could make recommendations and advise that certain things should not be done, but that no education authority had the legal right to remove from a teacher recourse to corporal punishment. Neither my knowledge of the law nor my knowledge of Latin is deep. We were advised by the then town clerk that during school hours the teacher was in loco parentis and was in the same position in law as the parent. As a result, the teacher had the same rights to carry out reasonable chastisement as a parent had. We were told that that common law right could not be taken away from teachers by an education committee, that the only body that could take it away was Parliament in its legislative capacity. That is precisely what the new clause does.

I dare say that the legal position remains the same, but what would society say if a youngster went to school black and blue and when teachers and social workers asked why the child said "When I went home my father took his belt off and leathered me". That was a common practice in Victorian days, but it is no longer so.

It is a measure of how things have changed that it is a minority of teachers who now use the belt. If a parent belted a child every day when he came home from school, in the way that some teachers belt a child every day, the parent would land up in court charged with assault. The use of the law in terms of what is violence against an individual changes. It was accepted in the old days that parents hit their children regularly. That is no longer the case. We have gone to great lengths and trouble to set up advance warring systems to protect children against violence in the home, yet some people are still prepared to tolerate and perhaps even to encourage the use of violence in schools by teachers. That is wrong.

Education cannot be regarded purely and simply as dealing with the three Rs or the subject matter of the curriculum. A school should try to help children to adapt to their environment and to change their environment. The abolition of corporal punishment can do more than simply humanise the schools. It can humanise the teachers and give them a new perspective. Above all, it can give children a new perspective of a world in which violence plays no part. Such an achievement will do more than help what happens in the schools; it will help what happens in society and perhaps lead to a better society in some areas.

Mr. Maxton

If the Under-Secretary of State says "Bore, bore", I must inform him that there is more "Bore, bore" to come. I am grateful for the chance to debate this important subject. It is not necessarily the most important subject that we shall discuss on Report. Some people involved in the campaign against corporal punishment place too much emphasis on the issue. There are more necessary educational reforms.

When hon. Members, particularly Lord Shaftsbury, introduced Bills for factory reform, the opposition came from the owners of factories and also from the children employed in the factories and the parents of those children. The Bills were designed to stop children aged between five and nine working for 15 and 16 hours a day in mills, down mines and in other factories. Although the opposition at that time was tremendous, no one today would consider that the action of the children was acceptable. It took the lead of a courageous man and the support of the House to achieve legislation.

If Lord Shaftesbury had decided that he would consult the owners and representatives of the children and their parents, the reforms would have taken considerably longer. Conservative Members who laugh would still have five-year-olds working in factories if they had their way. [HON. MEMBERS: "It was a Tory Act.") I accept that some Tories in the nineteenth century appear to have been more liberal than Tories today. However, one might want to look more carefully at other aspects of Lord Shaftesbury's reforms. I shall not give a history lesson, Mr. Deputy Speaker, as I am sure that you would rule me out of order. On occasions, the House must give moral leadership. It did so when it accepted the Factories Acts, and it did so when it abolished corporal punishment as part of our legal system.

If the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) had his way, he would reinstate corporal punishment. During the Committee stage of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill [Lords] the hon. Gentleman introduced an amendment. Like other hon. Members, he and I have served on both Committees. However, he was the only Conservative Member to vote in favour of it. Some of those who sit behind the hon. Gentleman served on that Committee, and therefore we must assume that they do not believe in corporal punishment as part of our legal system. It is difficult to believe that they will not vote for the abolition of corporal punishment in our schools. If they do not believe in corporal punishment for adults, they cannot believe that it should be imposed on 5, 6 or 7-year old children. Some Conservative Members still believe in capital punishment.

Mr. Bill Walker

Not in schools.

Mr. Maxton

I agree. Preferably, capital punishment should not be used in schools. Perhaps it should be used for Front Bench spokesmen.

The House has often had to give a lead on such issues. Perhaps the House should give a lead now. We should not wait until we have the opinions and agreement of everyone or until we have worked out all the systems. Sometimes our lead is needed as a spur to get people to do something.

Mr. John MacKay

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give us guidance. Will it be illegal for his ex-colleagues in the Glasgow academy to use corporal punishment?

Mr. Maxton

The new clause refers to primary and special schools. The private sector might have to be left. However, one would hope that there would be a ban on corporal punishment in the private sector.

Mr. O'Neill


Mr. Maxton

I shall give way to my hon. Friend, as I am happy to keep the debate going.

Mr. O'Neill

It is intended that the new clause should cover all pupils in Scotland, including those whom my hon. Friend had the privilege to teach.

Mr. Maxton

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that clarification. I was not a signatory to the new clause, and I accept my hon. Friend's interpretation.

Although Strathclyde region has banned the use of the strap in infants' schools, under the law 5-year-old children can, in theory, be belted when they first go to school. In terms of section 88—I refer to the case mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes)—an infants' teacher who used the belt might claim a legal sanction for that action. If the teacher, in loco parentis, used the strap against the wishes of the local authority, it might find it difficult to take action against him. Arguably, it is still the law in terms of infants in their first years at school.

12.45 am

I have children in an infants' department and I would be shocked if the belt were ever used upon one of them. Increasingly, many parents do not use corporal punishment in disciplining their children. If they do not, why should teachers, who claim to be in loco parentis? Such an argument must back up the case for the eventual abolition of this practice. The new clause gives the Secretary of State the opportunity to do something.

I end by expressing one reservation. At a time when teachers are finding that they do not have the books and the teaching materials that they need to teach children, especially those in secondary schools—who are facing the prospect of the dole queue—it is possible that we should ask whether this is the correct time to introduce such a measure. The Government are making the job of the teacher incredibly difficult by their cutback in expenditure.

Mr. Robert Hughes

I cannot let my hon. Friend get away with that. There are no circumstances in which the use of corporal punishment could be justified—not even in the light of what the Government are doing to our schools.

Mr. Maxton

I accept my hon. Friend's advice. I still believe that if we are to create the proper climate for the education of our children the Government will have to provide the resources. They are not doing so at the moment.

Conservative Members, along with a large element of the teaching profession, cling to the idea that without the belt there will be no discipline in Scottish schools. It has to be said that nearly every Western European country has banned corporal punishment. Is there any evidence of greater indiscipline in the schools of France, West Germany, Sweden or Norway than there is in Scottish schools? Unless such evidence can be produced, there is no case left for the retention of corporal punishment in our schools.

Mr. Ernie Ross

What is interesting about this new clause is that so far none of the advocates of harsher treatment for other sectors of society has attempted to give us an idea of how he feels about this proposal.

Labour Members might hazard a guess about the views held by some Conservative Members. No doubt it would be out of order if we were to speculate on what the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) would do to schoolchildren. However, it would be interesting to hear the views of some Conservative Back Benchers on the new clause. When we force a Division at the end of this short debate, it will be difficult to know why they go through the Lobby that they do. It would be of interest to their constituents if, before doing so, they gave their reasons for favouring one Lobby rather than the other. I do not suggest that they accept all that Labour Members have said, but it would be helpful to know how they feel.

There are those in the Tory Party who believe that at one time there was a golden age of education, when discipline was paramount and pupils were kept under rigid control by teachers. I do not know when or if that golden age existed. Since Tories live in the past, I recommend them to read a newly published paperback by Paul Thompson called "The Edwardians" about changes in society between 1900 and 1914. The author is a social historian and the book is based on interviews with people who were alive at the time. It is not a heavy or academic book and I am sure that even the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire could wade his way through it.

The author's observations on schools are interesting. What he says about school discipline at the time shows that there was no golden age. He says that children were punished "for getting answers wrong", and for "speaking in Welsh". It is a pity that none of our Welsh colleagues are present. They were also punished for speaking in a dialect in a playground". That is something else that would interest the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire, who regularly parades his working-class credentials, when he is not informing us of his exploits in the Royal Air Force.

Children were even punished for coughing. Teachers not only used the cane—or, in Scotland, the taws—but they would slap, pull hair, and throw books and slates. When I was at school, one of the more severe and savage punishments by teachers was to put a couple of fingers between a heavy book and walk up and down the passage between the children, and if they thought that a child was not paying attention they would crack the book down on his head. It was vicious. The teachers felt that children had to be disciplined with some form of corporal punishment, rather than seeking to discuss the matter with the children or to influence them by example, or even by their method of teaching, to pay attention. Therefore, things have not changed much.

The book says that teachers tied children to radiators or made them stand for hours holding their petticoats above their heads. On a cold day, that could be a painful experience. The children retaliated by flicking darts or throwing inkwells. Sometimes they fought back in teams or just played truant.

Today virtually all teachers would condemn such practices as almost barbaric. However, the author makes an important point. He says that innumerable children who had been firmly but gently brought up at home experienced corporal punishment for the first time at school". That is similar to the experience of many children today. That is why we believe in the new clause and intend to put it to the vote.

Teachers should have the right to teach in an atmosphere without "aggro". Unruly pupils should not be allowed to disrupt lessons. The EIS is committed to ending corporal punishment once satisfactory alternatives are available so that teachers can maintain classroom discipline. COSLA's working party on corporal punishment in schools presented an interim report to the Secretary of State in January. The report states: Section 30 of the 1980 Education (Scotland) Act could be amended to require parents, as part of their duty, to provide education for their children; to ensure not only that they attend school regularly, but that they comply with the rules of the school; and that an amendment be made to the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to make persistent misconduct in schools as well as truancy grounds for referral of a child to a children's panel". Children's panels are excellent and may assist in building confidence in teachers that there is no longer a need to use corporal punishment.

The report continues: The law should be amended to give school councils powers to deal equally with truancy and disruptive behaviour". It emphasises that prosecution of parents under the 1980 Act or referral to the panel should be regarded as a last resort when all other remedies have been exhausted. Surely that would give the education authorities, the Secretary of State and the teacher unions a framework within which to work so that we can phase out corporal punishment within the time set in the new clause.

Many teachers find the use of the belt degrading. They realise that it is on the way out and that as a long-term deterrent to control disruptive pupils it has failed. I support my hon. Fried the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) when he says that corporal punishment demeans pupil and teacher equally. He suggested that we cannot beat discipline into children. No one would disagree with that. My hon. Friend said that children cannot be coerced into discipline. He described how children who were disciplined in school use some form of corporal punishment in adult life to force their will on others. That is another reason why we should encourage teachers to work towards the removal of corporal punishment.

Discipline can be effective only if children realise that discipline is necessary to take advantage of education. That is the best reason to work to eradicate corporal punishment. It is in the best interests of pupils that there should be no "aggro" in the classroom. Children should want to go to school because of the atmosphere in the classroom and because it is an exciting place. It cannot be exciting if it is interrupted by someone administering corporal punishment. We all remember the atmosphere in the classroom once someone had been belted, especially if the punishment followed a heated debate between a teacher and pupil about who was right or wrong. The corporal punishment added to the bad atmosphere and did not allow the class to understand or accept the lesson.

1 am

As many Labour Members have said, many other countries have removed corporal punishment from the classrooms and have helped their societies by doing so. In France, parents may have their social security payments suspended if there are problems about their children's behaviour in school. In Russia, parents appear be fore the works councils in the factories and are warned that they must keep their children in line. Even Russia is concerned about involving parents in the maintenance of discipline in schools.

I commend the new clause to the House as a progressive measure which rectifies one of the long-standing anomolies in Scottish education compared with the remainder of Europe. We look forward with some interest to hearing why Conservative Members will walk into either Lobby when the House divides. We shall then see where they stand on the question of corporal punishment in schools.

Mr. Foulkes

I welcome the opportunity to debate the question of corporal punishment in Scottish schools. The House has not had such an opportunity previously. I shall not range as far back into gruesome history as did my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross) or even as far around the world as he did. If you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, had the power to use the taws in the same way as a Scottish teacher there would be a few Members in the Chamber tonight with stinging hands, including some distinguished Members—[HON. MEMBERS: "On both sides of the House."] I agree. Never let it be said that I am prejudiced.

It is most appropriate that the Under-Secretary with responsibility for health and social work is to reply to the debate. He will deal with the issues far more sympathetically than the gangster who replied to the previous debates. It is an appropriate topic for him, because it has serious social work implications. Corporal punishment has a serious effect on a child and also on the family relationship. Many of the problems faced by youngsters occur not as a result of his work at school but because of the social position in the home and the environment in which he lives. For example, a family break-up may cause problems at school. That factor may not be fully realised. Parental involvement in discussing problems can be a far more effective way to deal with the problem than simply getting out the taws and walloping the hand of an innocent child.

Corporal punishment is not a new subject. Scotland adopted a code of practice that was agreed between the local authorities and the teachers' unions as far back as 1956. It was a great step forward in limiting the use of corporal punishment. One recommendation was that there should be no corporal punishment in special schools—that is, that we should not strap mentally and physically handicapped children. When we raised an appropriate amendment in Committee, the Government voted it down. They appear to be happy that teachers should belt mentally and physically handicapped children. That is a gross abuse of their power. It is despicable that in Scotland we even countenance the walloping of mentally and physically handicapped children by adult teachers with a powerful leather belt.

Mr. Lang

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that only 20 of his fellow Scottish Labour Members of Parliament voted in the previous Division? Is it not a gross abuse of the procedures of the House that he should seek to prolong matters this evening? Is not it the grossest hypocrisy that he and his hon. Friends should seek to make such a case?

Mr. Foulkes

This is the first opportunity that I have had to contribute to the debate. I have been waiting patiently while others have been talking. I waited while many Conservative colleagues spoke at great length on the section 88 debate. I am happy to stay all night to discuss matters of great importance to Scotland, and these are matters of importance to Scottish education. I am not my brother's keeper. I am looking after the interests of my constituents. I am glad that my next-door neighbour in geographical constituency terms, the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Lang), is present to discuss these matters.

The code of practice was supposed to be agreed 25 years ago. It recommended that teachers should not belt children of the opposite sex. It contained the specific recommendation that the belting of girls by male teachers should cease. However, it has continued in spite of the assumed acceptance of the code of practice. It was recommended that belting should cease in infant classes. That was 25 years ago, but in many instances we have not moved further forward save for some progressive establishments.

In the early 1970s in the old Edinburgh corporation Councillor Mrs. Phyllis Herriot, who was then and still is the chairman of the social work committee that is concerned with the needs of children, especially deprived children and underprivileged children, the then city treasurer and, prior to that, one of the sub-committee chairmen on the education commission, who is now my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam), with myself and others, tried to get the corporation to phase out corporal punishment. We managed to get an agreement with the teaching unions that a log should be introduced. That was a great step forward at the time.

After three terms of logging the acts of corporal punishment, we were amazed that it was taking place on tens of thousands of occasions in schools in Edinburgh. The figures have gone into history. There were children in primary grade 1 who were being belted, 5-years-olds, and children in the sixth year at secondary schools. One would think that there would be no need to use the belt when children were staying on voluntarily.

Things have improved since then. We hear Conservative Members, especially those who are now drifting off and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram), criticising the Lothian region. However, there has been a progressive elimination of corporal punishment in certain schools over the past few years because of the atmosphere in the Lothian region, the influence of the education authority and the helpful influence of education advisers. About four secondary schools have managed, with the agreement of teachers, to eliminate corporal punishment—namely, Wester Hailes education centre, Deans Community high schools, Craigroyston secondary school and Portobello secondary school.

It is interesting to note that the new head teacher of Portobello secondary school, conscious that the old regime was a fairly rigid one and anxious to move to a more relaxed one, obtained the teachers' agreement to eliminate corporal punishment. In none of these schools has the cataclysm arisen that many teachers predicted. When I have entered into detailed discussion with teachers about eliminating corporal punishment they have said "There will be riots. There will be fighting and stabbings in the schools." None of that has happened.

Mr. John MacKay

The proper way to proceed is by way of the working party between COSLA and the unions and not by way of debate such as this, which gets teachers' backs up and makes it more difficult to phase out corporal punishment school by school, which is the right course to take. Surely the least said in this place on this subject the better. Let the schools get on with doing the job themselves.

Mr. Foulkes

I am a reasonable man—I was going to say moderate, but I must not use such terms any longer. I am radical and militant in many cases.

The hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. MacKay) was a teacher before he came here. The trouble is that for too long I have listened to such reasoned arguments put forward by teachers and former teachers such as the hon. Member for Aygyll. If one talked with friends in the SSTA as well as the EIS, one would find that they agreed that they received a reasonable response from me when I was in the responsible position of chairman of an education authority.

The process has been far too slow. Pupils are still being strapped and persecution is still going on. There are still pupils whose whole personalities can be changed as a result of the imposition of corporal punishment. I believe that we need to move more quickly, which is why I support the new clause. It proposes, not an immediate abolition, but a phasing out. That is why I support it.

I understand from the education advisers in Lothian region that most primary schools have now managed to phase out corporal punishment. However, there are some other authorities, the names of which I shall not mention, not of one political complexion by any manner of means, which have not moved as far as authorities such as Lothian in trying to encourage teachers to phase out corporal punishment and in giving support to head teachers who are willing to take imaginative, positive and brave decisions, which head teachers such as the ones at Portobello, Craigroyston, Deans and Wester Hailes have been able to take. There have been no riots or anarchy in those schools as a result.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Carmichael) raised a question which is put forward by a number of people when we argue about the issue—that the pupils prefer the strap. He said that no self-respecting young boy would ever admit to preferring lines.

I am talking, not about punishment, but about sanctions, which we generally talk about. However, if one is talking about the concept of punishment, on which the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) is an expert, surely one does not have as a method of punishment something that people like, unless it is masochism that one is punishing. That is a topsy-turvy argument.

The other argument that has been raised is that teachers have a statutory right to carry out that form of punishment because they are acting in loco parentis, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) said. If the teachers are acting in the place and using the authority of the parents, the logical extension of that is that the parents should be able to withdraw that authority. Some parents have taken their suggestions on the matter as far as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. If the parents try to suggest that they are withdrawing rights from the teacher and that he will no longer act in their place, the teacher will say that that does not matter as he is acting in their place whether they like it or not. Therefore, the parents have no say. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher), the Under-Secretary of State, keeps talking about parents' rights but never does anything about them. Surely parents have some rights in this matter.

Before he was corrected by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) suggested that the time might not be right. Since I have been involved first in local government and now in Parliament, which is now for nearly 12 years, it has been said that the time is never right for such a move. In my view the time is always right for making such a move. I agree that we have to try now to make every effort to bring the teachers with us. In many cases we have made a great endeavour to do that. Failing that, we have to move slightly ahead of public opinion because we believe that to do so is right, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart said.

1.15 am

Finally—and that is a code word—I quote Dr. William Taylor, who is the director of the Institute of Education in London, if I may quote an English source. The Whip, the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Thompson), does not mind my quoting an English source. Dr. Taylor's remarks highlight an important point about discipline and order in schools: I had an experience some years ago when I was deputy head of a secondary school in England that has stuck with me ever since, and which I frequently quote. One day taking assembly in the absence of the head … and during the singing of some vaguely improving Victorian hymn, I looked down at the serried ranks in front of me and suddenly realised that the minute they decided they had had enough there was absolutely nothing we could do. We were outnumbered 20.9 to 1. We had as much power and as much influence as the pupils were willing to give us. Order in that school, as indeed in all the institutions of society"— some of us here should remember that— depended not upon the degree of coercion we could exercise, but on the strengthening of a thread of consent that bound us all into the institution. We should all remember that. Pupils are an important part of the institution. They spend one-fifth of their week at school.

I commend the report of the COSLA, EIS and The Scotsman conference, "Signpost for Education", with an introductory speech by the then Secretary of State for Scotland. Would that he were still Secretary of State. It contains some good recommendations about education. It states that it is important to remember that school is not only what children get at the end of it. We should make it, in itself, a pleasant place to be in. We should make it a place to which children enjoy going, but how can they enjoy it with the fear of the Lochgelly belt hanging over their heads? How can children understand, be educated and develop the gift of learning if they live in constant fear? That is not a psychological condition conducive to learning. If we are able to make school a pleasant place for children, we shall have achieved something in this debate.

Mr. McKelvey

I congratulate the authors of new clause 5.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Russell Fairgrieve)


Mr. McKelvey

If the Minister reads it, he will see why. It states: Corporal punishment of all pupils in primary schools and special schools and of female pupils will be illegal as from 1st August 1982. I have yet to hear an argument against that. It continues brilliantly: Corporal punishment of all pupils will be illegal as from 1st August 1984. That should satisfy the hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. MacKay). Teachers have been given warning of the date, so they should have the wit to devise forms of punishment other than the medieval and barbaric practice of wielding the taws.

I was belted at school and well remember the experience. It did not make me a better pupil. It brought out the rebellious part of me, not only then but in later years. No one can deny that that happens. All civilised Western countries have banned that barbaric form of punishment. Yet we drag with us this Dickensian or Victorian practice in our reluctance to drop this type of punishment on the ground that there seems to be no suitable alternative. If it is beyond the wit of members of the teaching profession to provide a suitable alternative, I can only say that they are sadly lacking in education themselves. I do not believe that that is the case.

I am sure that we all recall occasions in the classroom when, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) said, the teacher dangled the taws over the front of the desk to show the class the punishment that awaited anyone stupid or foolish enough to refuse to learn what he or she was about to impart, almost like the sword of Damocles hanging over one's head if one failed to pick up whatever relevant or irrelevant part of the lesson the teacher wished to impart.

Despite the expert knowledge of the hon. Member for Argyll, that is not conducive to good learning. Let those who believe that it is produce conclusive proof of their argument. Appalling instances were cited in Committee of handicapped and mentally retarded children being belted. Conservative Members described that as emotive sensationalism. Nevertheless, they could not refute that the present law allows it to happen and we heard horrific and recent examples. When the Minister replied that the Government could not legislate against it at present, I could not believe my ears. I took the view that if we could not legislate to abolish such barbarism we had a pretty ineffective form of Government. My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) referred to the old joke, which is no joke in this context, about the consequences of people consistently being belted.

I recall even in my primary school days one of my fellow pupils known, for whatever reason, by the nickname of "Spulter" Duncan, a large, well-built boy for his age, who always seemed to be in some kind of trouble. He was not extra-intelligent. Nevertheless, the teachers seemed to take their spite out on him.

I remember the following incident because it is engraved upon my memory. A teacher who I always suspected had sadistic tendencies was absolutely furious with this boy because he had refused to learn or was incapable of learning a table or something of the kind. At any rate, he was not able to utter the sounds that the teacher wished to hear. The teacher dragged the boy to the front of the class and made him hold out his hand for what we called a "doubler". That is to say, one had to hold one hand under the other, which prevented one from pulling one's hand away or gave one the false courage in terms of mechanics to keep one's hand in the same position so that the teacher could take careful aim and lash.

The teacher was so furious at the boy and what he had done that he drew back in an enormous swing, lifting one leg off the ground to produce the maximum velocity and momentum for the swing forward, almost like a golf swing. The boy's courage had never failed him before. He was a bit slow on the uptake, he did not have the agility of a Soviet-trained acrobat and he did not normally pull his hand away. Seeing what was coming, however, on this occasion he moved his hand slightly to the side. The teacher, meanwhile, carried on and perpetrated a follow-through with such velocity that he struck his right leg. He screamed in anguish, grabbed the boy by the hair and threatened to pulverise him for moving his hand. Such was the velocity of the intended stroke that the teacher almost broke his own leg.

The belt in the hands of someone as emotionally unstable as that could cause great difficulties. Such treatment might release masochistic tendencies in the boy, who might find that the best way to satisfy those tendencies was to be a truculent pupil. In that way the teacher would perpetually belt him, but far from solving the lad's problem it would merely add to it.

Had the teacher been a sadist, we would have had the unusual situation of a pupil saying "Please teacher, belt me, belt me", and the teacher saying "No". That was the joke referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire.

Frankly, I am concerned about the fact that no initiative has come from Conservative Members on the abolition of what has been described as a medieval and barbaric practice. There was no initiative from Conservative Members in Committee to alleviate what they agreed was a problem. Indeed, the hon. Member for Argyll said it was something that could only be erased school by school, sadist by sadist.

We cannot leave it at that. This is one of the best written new clauses on the Amendment Paper. It ought to be supported. There is no reason why it cannot be supported. I therefore look forward with interest to the Minister's reply. I hope that I am proved wrong, but I suspect that he will have little to say about this matter, because the case is unanswerable.

Mr. Canavan

The most cogent reason that I have ever heard for the retention of corporal punishment is that its abolition would cause even more unemployment in Lochgelly. However, the belts are now made in Cowdenbeath, because the saddler's factory has been moved there.

I was born and brought up in Cowdenbeath, and I am concerned about unemployment in that area. My own brother happens to be one of the many thousands of unemployed in the Cowdenbeath area. Nevertheless, that is no justification for the retention of this area of manufacturing industry, which over the years has caused a great deal of cruelty to countless numbers of children.

In 1976 I attempted to introduce a Bill to abolish the use of corporal punishment in all education establishments. It was the first ever Ten-Minute Bill that I attempted to introduce as a Member of Parliament. Unfortunately, it was defeated by 181 votes to 120.

I know that the hon. Members for Argyll (Mr. MacKay), Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) and Fife, East (Mr. Henderson) were not Members at that time. However, the absent Minister, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher), was a Member of Parliament at that time, yet his name is missing from the Division List. He abstained. I do not know whether it was a conscientious abstention or a truancy abstention, but his name is missing from the Division List. I wonder whether that is why the other Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Fairgrieve), is present to lead the Government opposition to this reasonable new clause. It is ironic that the hon. Gentleman is responsible for health, because this method of punishing children has undermined the health of some children. Surely no one in his right senses could ever argue that the health of children is improved by adults resorting to punishing children by means of violence.

1.30 am

The use of corporal punishment in our schools is one of the last vestiges of formalised, legalised violence in our society today. It was abolished in the Armed Forces many years ago. It has been abolished in our prisons—and thank goodness. It is worth pointing out that not even the most hardened violent criminal, who may have committed the most heinous of crimes, can be subjected to corporal punishment legally in our society today. Yet very often tiny children in our schools, who may have committed petty misdemeanours which are no crime at all, are subjected, sometimes daily, to the most violent form of punishment by an adult who may be twice the size and more than three times the weight of the child in question.

Hon. Members do not like my using words such as "barbaric", or even "violence", but it does not matter whether one calls it violent punishment, corporal punishment, physical punishment, vicious punishment, or whatever. No one can deny that is is a case of an adult hitting a child. Surely it is time that we in the House of Commons said that hitting children should have no place in our education system. That is what the new clause is all about.

The use of corporal punishment in our schools today has a brutalising effect on the pupil-teacher relationship, a relationship that ought to be based on mutual respect rather than on violent confrontation. The continued use of corporal punishment has a degrading effect on both the teacher and the pupil. I think that it was my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) who referred to the possibility of violence breeding violence. That is not just an empty saying.

Some children, particularly those from deprived family backgrounds, who may have behavioural difficulties as a result, see a lot of violence—perhaps in their home background, perhaps in the street. When they go to school they see possibly the most educated person that they will ever encounter in their lives—possibly the only person with a professional qualification that they will ever meet, live with or mix with—standing in front of them with a huge piece of leather attempting to resort to violence in order to solve a problem.

No one denies that there is a problem, because very often teachers face disciplinary problems in their classrooms. It would be wrong of any hon. Member to claim that we who advocate the abolition of corporal punishment are thereby somewhat anti-teacher. We are not anti-punishment either.

I believe in discipline. I stick up for the rights of teachers and believe that children sometimes should be punished if they are guilty of doing wrong. But I maintain that there is something wrong with Scottish education when we seem to be saying that the disciplinary system in our schools would collapse if we did away with violent forms of punishment. Surely it is not beyond our wit to think of an alternative constructive, non-violent form of punishment.

I want to put the matter into the international context. International opinion on this subject puts us at or near the bottom of the international league. I have gone to international conferences on various subjects. Sometimes the subject had nothing directly to do with education. It is embarrassing when I tell people that I am from Scotland, a Member of Parliament and a former teacher and the first thing they say is "Oh, that is the place where you beat the children, isn't it?" That is the reputation that Scottish education is beginning to get internationally.

With the exception of the Republic of Ireland, the countries that make up the United Kingdom are the only countries in Europe that resort to the use of violent punishment in schools. Austria abolished it as long ago as 1870. It has been abolished in Belgium, China, Cyprus, Ecuador, Iceland, Jordan, Mauritius, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar the USSR and all European Communist countries. It was abolished in 1967 in Denmark—a relative newcomer, strange to say—in Finland in about 1890, France in 1887, Holland in about 1850, and Luxembourg in 1845. For almost 200 years, since 1783, it has been abolished in Poland, and it was abolished in Sweden in 1958. Other countries, such as Italy, maintain that corporal punishment in schools cannot be abolished because it was never permitted.

That list refers to places where Government legislation has banned corporal punishment, but in the Federal Republic of Germany, for example, teachers are forbidden to use corporal punishment by the State rather than by federal law. It is worth pointing out that the Nazi regime in Germany is the only one to have reintroduced corporal punishment since its abolition. It is also forbidden in Switzerland, although the law varies from one canton to the next.

It is interesting to look at the list of countries where corporal punishment is still officially used in schools: Australia, Barbados, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, which I have already mentioned, New Zealand, South Africa, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States in all but two States. Nearly every country has had some relationship, either past or present, with British colonialism. There is something about the old British Empire. It was founded on violence, or the threat of violence, to such an extent that even in the education systems set up in many of the countries of the Britsh Empire we introduced violence into the classrooms and used violence against the children.

I should like to quote from a source from which I do not often quote—the House of Lords: Is it really credible that British children are so much more unruly than French, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Belgian or Swedish children, or literally millions of others throughout the world, that our children, and our children alone, can only be educated with the assistance of punitive assaults?"—[Official Report, House of Lords, 10 December 1973; Vol. 347, c. 883–84.] That is a quotation from a speech by Baroness Wootton.

I am glad that the Secretary of State for Scotland is here, because he should be taking much firmer action on the matter. We are in danger of becoming a laughing stock. The right hon. Gentleman's Government are virtually in the dock at the European Court of Human Rights, in the cases of United Kingdom Government v Campbell and United Kingdom Government v Cosans. The European Commission of Human Rights has already decided to refer those cases to the court.

The boy Campbell is the son of Mrs. Campbell of Bishopbriggs, who asked Strathclyde regional council for a guarantee that her child would not be subjected to corporal punishment. He never was, but the authority refused to give the guarantee, and Mrs. Campbell decided to take the case to the commission in the first instance, and it referred it to the court.

The boy Cosans, who was a pupil at Beath senior high school in Cowdenbeath, was suspended from school because he refused corporal punishment. His crime was that in taking a short cut home he had been caught climbing over a cemetery wall. The teacher wanted to give him corporal punishment. The boy refused, the parents supported him and the boy was suspended. The suspension remained in force for the rest of his school life, and I understand that after he left school he had considerable difficulty in finding employment as a result.

The cases have now been referred to the court, though in neither was corporal punishment actually used. Another case may soon be referred to the commission to see whether such punishment is tantamount to a degrading form of punishment. The commission did not refer those two cases on the ground that it was inhuman and degrading, because the punishment had not been used. By a majority of nine votes to five, the commission expressed the opinion that there had been a violation of the second sentence of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention"— to which Britain is a signatory— the authorities' refusal to guarantee that the applicants' children would not be subjected to corporal punishment amounted to a failure to respect the applicants' right as parents to ensure their children's education and teaching in conformity with the 'philosophical convictions' constituted by the applicants' disapproval of such punishment. In other words, the grounds of referral seem to be based very much on the rights of the parents and the Government, on the face of it, appear to be denying the parents' right to decide whether their children should be subjected to corporal punishment. We face a ludicrous situation.

1.45 am

I understand that the Government have asked for extra time to prepare their case at Strasbourg. I am sorry that the Solicitor-General for Scotland is not present. The hon. and learned Gentleman or the Lord Advocate, or perhaps both, will be trekking across to Strasbourg, at the taxpayers' expense, to look like a couple of clowns appearing at the European Court to defend the indefensible in denying parents the right to decide whether their children should be subjected to corporal punishment.

Mr. Bill Walker

I trust that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that anyone is guilty before being tried. That is what he is implying.

Mr. Canavan

I am expressing an opinion, as I am entitled to do. There is no reason why hon. Members, within the High Court of Parliament, should regard a matter before the European Court of Human Rights as being sub judice in the same manner as a case before a British court. I believe that the case is indefensible. I do not know how many civil servants and secretaries will accompany the Solicitor-General, a former pupil of Loretto, or his pal, the Lord Advocate, to Strasbourg. Those working on the preparation of the case are wasting time that could be devoted to more important matters concerning the pursuit of justice in Scotland. Has the Crown Office not got its priorities upside down in spending time, money and effort to defend the indefensible in Strasbourg?

It would be less expensive and more reasonable for the Government to accept the new clause. In Committee I moved an amendment that would have given parents the right to decide whether their children should be subjected to corporal punishment. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated. Every Tory Member who was present that day voted against it. Even worse, on a later amendment of mine, which would have made unlawful the use of corporal punishment on recorded children—children who are mentally or physically handicapped, or both, and recorded as being in special educational need—every man jack on the Tory Benches voted to defeat me.

Mr. Robert Hughes


Mr. Canavan

Theirs is the party in favour of beating handicapped children. That is the only conclusion that the people of Scotland can reach. Conservative Members voted against my amendment. By doing so they voted to make it legal for teachers to resort to the use of corporal punishment and to hit handicapped children.

It is disgusting that the Minister responsible for health should come here to defend something that he voted for in Committee. He told me then that I was grossly exaggerating and that such beatings did not occur. I related a case from my experience when I was a pupil. The lad involved is still a friend of mine. From birth, part of his leg, arm and hand had been paralysed. Almost daily that boy was subjected to a public demonstration of brutality. It must have shocked not only that lad but also the wee girls who had to watch it nearly every day. It was sickening and obscene.

My memories of what went on when I was a pupil are not unique. Recently, a mother in Glasgow said: A one-handed 11-year-old boy at my daughter's school was on two occasions given six strokes of the belt on his one good hand. Normally when children are belted, they rub their hands together to ease the pain but, of course, he wasn't able to do that. I complained to the 'guidance' teacher who had belted the child. He said: 'How dare you question my professional integrity'. It is almost incredible that such things should be tolerated in the twentieth century.

I am glad to see that the clause makes special reference to the children in our special schools. From 1 August 1982 the infliction of corporal punishment on such children will be illegal if the clause is accepted. I am in favour of immediate abolition, but the amendment is at least a reasonable compromise. I hope that the Government will respond more helpfully than they did in Committee.

Mr. Henderson

If such things have been going on for so long, and if the hon. Gentleman is so concerned, why was nothing done when the Labour Party was in Government? Having failed to achieve his objective by the use of Scottish votes in Committee, why has the hon. Member come here with a trivial handful of his Scottish colleagues to try to use English votes to achieve the same objective?

Mr. Canavan

If the hon. Gentleman was not asleep, he will know that in 1976 I tried to introduce a Bill to abolish corporal punishment in our schools. When it failed, many of my hon. Friends and I began to try to get a clear affirmation of Labour Party policy on this subject. I am pleased to say that it is now official Labour Party policy to abolish corporal punishment in our schools. If I have anything to do with it, I shall ensure that the next Labour Government take steps in that direction. The Labour Party is not alone in advocating the abolition of corporal punishment.

I have a list of the different organisations that are in favour of abolition. The list includes the Advisory Centre for Education, the Confederation for the Advancement of State Education, the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties, the National Association for Mental Health, the British Association of Social Workers, the British Paediatric Association, the Association of Educational Psychologists, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Liberal Party—whose members are absent as usual, but which, nevertheless, must have passed such policy at a conference—and the Labour Party.

The teachers' unions are not nearly so reactionary as they once were over the abolition of corporal punishment. My own trade union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, is in favour of the eventual phasing out of corporal punishment, provided suitable alternatives are found. Even the Government are on record as saying that they want to seek, by means of negotiation, to achieve the abolition of corporal punishment in schools.

It is interesting to note that as long ago as 1968 there was a statement of principles and a code of conduct that were supposed to lead to the eventual phasing out of corporal punishment in schools. In Committee the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North, did not absolutely oppose my amendment in principle in his speech, although he voted against it. He did make some polite noises. He referred to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities having set up a working party on alternatives to corporal punishment and he referred also to the consultations that were going on. He said: it would have to be the subject of wider consultation. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman"— that is me— is aware of the steps currently being taken on these serious and important matters. I hope that by the end of this year we shall be able to make some decisions, once we have benefited from the advice of parents, teachers, local authorities and others concerned with these matters."—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 24 March 1981; c. 294–95.] The Minister then referred to the interim report on responsibilities and duties of parents by a working group of COSLA, which was available to the Committee.

The Government do not appear to be opposed in principle to this proposition and I hope that we shall receive a more constructive response this evening. We have moved, too. We have said that, instead of going for immediate abolition, we should set two deadlines. The first is next year for children in primary and special schools, and for girls. The second deadline is 1 August 1984, and applies to all other pupils. This will give time for consultations to take place. It will also enable a better atmosphere to be created in which the consultations can take place. They have been going on since 1968 and there has been much dragging of feet. Little progress has been made. If we decide to set these deadlines it will concentrate the minds of those involved in the consultations. It is 13 years since the statement of principles and the code of conduct were published. They did not have statutory backing. In a sense, the code of practice is purely voluntary, although some education authorities have made it mandatory. Nevertheless, it does not have the backing of an Act or a statutory instrument.

2 am

There may have been some improvements in some areas, even in the time since I introduced my Bill in 1976. People tend to scoff at Ten-Minute Bills, saying that they never reach the statute book, but they can help to form public opinion outside the House. In 1976 there was more hostility towards me and my Bill than there is now. For example, in both the schools that my children attend—one a primary school, and the other a secondary school at which I formerly taught—the incidence of corporal punishment is less now than it was even five years ago. I do not claim complete responsibility for that, but by attempting to introduce Private Member's legislation and by having a debate such as this Parliament can give a lead to public opinion, instead of following slavishly in the wake of popular opinion, as some phoney populist hon. Members do. Sometimes we must make a stand, and this is one such occasion.

Despite those improvements, the incidence of corporal punishment in Scottish schools is still far too frequent. A recent article in The Observer featured interviews with some Edinburgh schoolchildren about the use of the belt at school. One primary schoolboy demonstrated how some teachers brought down the belt from over their shoulders. At another primary school a pupil claimed that a boy came out of one class with his fingers cut and his hand skinned. The 14-year-old explained how when a teacher lashed across the hand the thongs of the taws flicked around the palm and bruised the back of the hand, and how when he struck along the hand the thongs bruised the pupil's wrist.

We often hear about the deterrent effect of the belt. It is interesting to note one lad's comment. He claimed that some boys have a competition to see who can get the most. They keep the score, and they are proud of it. It is a strange deterrent that makes children behave in that way.

A massive survey was carried out of 30,000 children who left school during the late 1970s. The survey was entitled "Tell them from me", and was published by Aberdeen University Press in 1980. It is interesting to read what the children said there about corporal punishment. The vast majority of Scottish children are belted during their secondary schooling. Many are frequently punished in this way. In only 10 per cent. of Scottish schools is the belt used rarely, despite the requirement of the code of practice that the strap should be used only as a last resort. The survey showed that 97 per cent. of male non-certificated students who had left school—the ones who did not sit the Scottish certificate of education examinations—said that they had been belted during their secondary schooling. Sixty per cent. said that they had been belted "often or quite often." In spite of the requirement of the so-called code of practice that girls should be belted only in exceptional circumstances, 82 per cent. of non-certificated girls had been belted and 26 per cent. said that they had been belted "often or quite often."

Even amongst the high flyers who sat their higher examinations, 88 per cent. of the boys and 36 per cent. of the girls said that they had been belted. It is no wonder that some people refer to "ritual violence" in some Scottish schools. It is high time that it was abolished. We could take an important step by supporting the new clause.

The new clause also refers to the replacement of corporal punishment by "alternative forms of punishment." We now have a better system of guidance and counselling in our schools. Counselling does not apply only to pupils or students who have stepped out of line in their behaviour. It goes wider than that. The opportunities are better for counselling on a one-to-one basis. Often a class teacher who has 30 children to tend does not have time to take one disruptive child aside and find out why that child is acting up. The reason could be something that has happened at home or because the child is psychologically disturbed. Counselling is in the interests of children, parents and teachers.

Surely it is not beyond the imagination of teachers to devise a system of lost privileges instead of hitting children. Detention might be an appropriate non-violent punishment, particularly if the pupil is frequently late or refuses to do homework or lessons in class. To compensate for that, for their own good, detention is a good idea, so long as it is accompanied by a useful educational activity. I do not believe in incarcerating children, but educational activity during part of the lunch break or after school hours is a more constructive punishment than violence.

The COSLA interim report referred to alternative forms of punishment. Pilot schemes are taking place in some schools where especially troublesome pupils are temporarily sent to a special centre within the school. Its pupil-teacher ratio is lower than in an ordinary class. The teacher in charge is specially gifted to deal with difficult pupils. I am sure that hon. Members who, like myself, have had teaching experience know that some teachers have a special gift for dealing with difficult pupils, determining the problems, and contacting the home. The aim of such a special centre must be to re-educate and rehabilitate the pupil so that eventually he can return to the mainstream of education in the school.

Has the Minister heard about the pilot schemes? Can he tell us any more about them, or is it too early to measure their success? Will he, or the other Ministers at the Scottish Office, visit some of the special centres? The head teachers who took the initiative to establish the pilot schemes should be congratulated. The Government should encourage more initiatives along those lines.

There may be a case for referring very troublesome pupils—for example, those who have resorted to violent crimes—to other authorities. An incident in a school may be referred to the reporter, who, in turn, may refer it to a children's hearing. It is not as though there is no alternative. In the last analysis—I hope that it would happen only rarely—a pupil may be suspended for anti-social behaviour because his presence at a school threatens the educational opportunity of his fellow pupils. Another extreme measure would be transfer to another school. Again, I hope that the number of cases would be few.

To say that by removing corporal punishment we are removing all the sanctions and back-up of the disciplinary process in our schools shows a distinct lack of imagination. It is not true, because some of the sanctions already—

Mr. Martin Stevens (Fulham)

Before the hon. Gentleman reaches his conclusion about corporal punishment, will he make some reference to the Inner London Education Authority, where, in the brief period since corporal punishment has been withdrawn, the foul language, the threats and the physical aggression towards both male and female teachers have provoked an atmosphere of sullen despair among many senior teachers who are now contemplating resignation?

2.15 am
Mr. Canavan

I should be interested to see the hon. Gentleman's evidence to substantiate his remarks. We hear a great deal of hearsay about what is going on in our schools, and it is incumbent upon the hon. Gentleman to produce some hard facts rather than merely repeat gossip that he may have heard from a few teachers or a few head teachers who may not be especially representative of the profession. To blame the incidence of misbehaviour by pupils on the removal of corporal punishment is daft logic, and it was refuted by a Minister earlier today when the former hatchet man from Glasgow, Cathcart, who now represents a constituency near here, claimed that the increased violence on the Isle of Man was due to the abolition of the birch on the island. I am glad that the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) was told that he was talking nonsense and that what he said could not be justified. I am glad that even some less unenlightened Ministers are now beginning to make public pronouncements to disown many of the extreme forms of rubbish that are uttered by some of their colleagues.

The COSLA interim report referred to the role of school councils. Why should not the councils be involved in the disciplinary procedures in our schools? The councils are statutory bodies that consist of representatives not only of teachers and head teachers but of parents and sometimes even of pupils. If the councils were to consider some of these cases they might make some useful suggestions for the disciplining of wrongdoers.

We should try to replace the present system of violent punishment in our schools by forms of alternative non-violent punishment. It is time that we abolished legalised violence in our schools.

Mr. Bill Walker


Mr. Canavan

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman was not present to hear the earlier part of my speech, when I said that Britain was one of the few countries in Europe that resort to corporal punishment in its schools. At worst we are seen to be the barbarians of Europe, and at best we are seen to be the laughing stock of the civilised world.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I am not sure why I was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher), the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, to reply to the debate. It may be that he asked me to do so because I had a high record of being in receipt of corporal punishment during my school days. I had some experience of the subject.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

It did my hon. Friend good.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I like to think that it did not do me any harm.

The debate started well before midnight and it is now well after 2 o'clock. We have had eight speakers, all from the Opposition. I should like to do justice to all their speeches, but because of the time that has been taken it is only right, for the sake of the House, that I should try to reduce my remarks to the minimum.

The opening speech was made by the hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. O'Neill), whom I compliment on the way in which he carried the Bill in Committee for the Opposition. He talked about weapons of abuse and went on to the alternatives of detention, no lunch breaks and extra work. In many ways some of those alternatives are, to some extent, a form of corporal punishment. In my youth I knew of something which would come in the middle, which was known as a clip over the lugs or a kick up the backside, which probably did no harm and quite a lot of good.

There was then a speech from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Carmichael), who introduced the concept of the Lochgelly belt. He went on to talk about the tradition of Scottish education, what a great name we had for education and what we had done in the past. Presumably that was in the same era, which he also condemned. I thought that his remarks on the subject were rather muddled.

After that there were the joyous—or unjoyous—experiences of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes), who gave us the emotive description of entering class and the taws hung over the desk as an early warning at the beginning of the day that that was what one would get anyway. He talked about not being able to beat knowledge into a child and not being able to coerce a pupil into accepting discipline. He also referred to discipline being achieved only by co-operation.

Then came the most fantastic speech from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton), who for some reason, much to the amusement of my hon. Friends, started telling us all about Lord Shaftesbury, what he had done and about the Factories and Truck Acts. I hope that the hon. Member for Cathcart will remember that the statue of Eros at Piccadilly was erected by the grateful people in honour of Lord Shaftesbury, the great Tory reformer. The 400 Acts put on the statute book by the Tory Party for industrial and social reform will never be matched by the late Liberal or present Labour Party.

I shall mention the odd speech of the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross), who is now becoming known as the hon. Member for the West Bank. He referred to the golden age of education and sadistic tortures. He talked of children being tied to radiators and petticoats above their heads. He did not go on to say whether they were male or female and whether that was perversion or punishment. However, we were delighted to hear of those tortures, which seemed to happen on the West Bank. The hon. Member then told us how things were somewhat different and better in Russia. I assume that that also effects children in Afghanistan.

I shall mention briefly the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes), who said that this practice was not new. He mentioned the 1956 code of practice. I shall refer to some of his remarks when I come to my final remarks on the subject.

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. McKelvey) again raised the question of barbaric punishment and the sword of Damocles that hung above all pupils. He gave us a graphic description of a belting when, unfortunately, the poor schoolmaster in his fury missed and nearly broke his leg when the pupil withdrew his hand.

Then we had a long, sober, boring speech from the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan), who talked about legalised violence, hardened criminals and tiny children being beaten by people three times their weight and twice their size. He referred to degradation and violence breeding violence. The hon. Gentleman mentioned list D schools. I remind him that about 50 per cent. of the pupils in those schools come from one-parent families. He should take that little homily home instead of making remarks about violence.

As was obvious from the way in which the Chamber emptied, the House lost interest in what the hon. Gentleman was saying. He was as repetitive as in Committee. He went on at boring length, until I could no longer follow his remarks. He will doubtless subject the House to further long, boring and repetitive speeches for the rest of the night.

Mr. Maxton

Is the Minister challenging my hon. Friend?

Mr. Fairgrieve

I am glad to say that my speeches will always be half the length of those of the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire.

I conclude by pointing out that the scope for changing the role of corporal punishment depends very much on the extent to which it is possible to develop and reach agreement on alternative sanctions. They must be agreed by the profession and by both parties in the House.

Hon. Members are no doubt aware that a working party has been set up by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on alternatives to corporal punishment. The group, which includes representatives of parents, teachers and local authorities, has commissioned a study of schools where corporal punishment is administered and schools where it is seldom or never used. The working group has already considered its interim report. However, before it prepares a final report, with recommendations, further work and study is being carried out in some of the schools originally studied and in additional schools. The working group hopes to report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State before the end of the year.

I am sure that hon. Members will agree that that is an important initiative and that the final report will have to be carefully studied by my right hon. Friend and other interested parties. It would be quite wrong to do as those putting forward the new clause propose and deprive teachers, in anticipation of the report and discussion of its content, of their common law right to administer moderate corporal punishment. Any such major formal change would be premature, even in respect of handicapped children—and I shall return to that subject later.

I welcome the opportunity to repeat the unqualified endorsement that we gave in Committee to the ruling contained in the 1968 statement of principles and code of practice that corporal punishment should not be inflicted on a pupil suffering from any kind of handicap. I look forward with interest to the development of alternative sanctions in the wider sphere. In view of the impending COSLA report, I strongly urge hon. Members to accept the fact that the new clause is premature and should be rejected.

Mr. Canavan

If the Minister is saying that the Government do not believe that handicapped children should be subjected to corporal punishment, why did Government Members vote against my amendment in Committee?

Mr. Fairgrieve

For the reasons that I gave in Committee and tonight and for the reasons why the Labour Government did nothing.

Mr. Harry Ewing

The Labour Government introduced the code of practice, so what is the hon. Gentleman blathering about?

Mr. Fairgrieve

Our position was clearly stated in Committee. Hon. Gentlemen should make not make the issue emotive when they know the facts.

Hon. Gentlemen have asked what our policy is on corporal punishment in schools.

Mr. Robert Hughes

I do not fully accept that because there is a working party it is impossible to legislate. It should be possible to lay down that the clause does not come into operation until the negotiations are complete. Will the Minister accept the first part of the clause? He cannot justify refusing it, especially in relation to handicapped children. If it were included in another place, we should be making progress in an area in which he says that he does not want to see corporal punishment used.

2.30 am
Mr. Fairgrieve

I shall refer again later to the question of corporal punishment and handicapped children. The House does not help the subject by becoming emotive and talking about groups of teachers beating handicapped children, which does not happen. In many cases, physical restraint may be described as corporal punishment. It is a very difficult area. I do not think that the way in which it is being treated by certain hon. Members is right.

I point out once again that the Government, like their predecessors, do not dissent from the statement of principle and code of practice promulgated in 1968 by the liaison committee on educational matters on which authorities, teachers and the Scottish Education Department were represented. In essence, our view is that discipline in schools is a matter best left to the judgment of the head teacher and teaching staff, with direction and guidance as appropriate from the education authority.

Parents will, of course, wish to be aware of the disciplinary arrangements of schools in order to exercise their right of choice. To encourage parents to take an interest in these matters and to allow them to find a school that suits their own opinions and discipline, the consultative paper that we have issued and the regulations for information for parents propose that schools should make available details of their policy on discipline.

I said that I would return to the subject of handicapped children. We stressed in Committee that any change in the disciplinary code could be made only after consultation with education authorities and teachers' associations. Nevertheless, I recognise the concern of hon. Members that the position of handicapped children in this respect should be clarified as soon as possible. I am prepared to give an assurance that the consultations that we shall be carrying out following the enactment of Warnock legislation on regulations governing the conduct of special schools and classes will not exclude the question of corporal punishment.

I wish to say a brief word on the finding of the European Commission of Human Rights that the United Kingdom Government have failed to respect the philosophical convictions of parents who believe that their children should not be subject to corporal punishment. The Government, as we all know—and this applies to more than the present Government—are contesting that finding in the European Court. As the position is currently sub judice, it would be premature for me to press the issue at this stage.

Mr. Canavan

How much money is it costing the Crown Office and the Scottish Education Department to prepare that case, and how much time is being spent on briefing the Solicitor-General for Scotland and the Lord Advocate to trek over to Strasbourg?

Mr. Henderson

Justice is beyond price.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I have no idea how much it is costing, but no doubt the question has been heard and if an answer is available we will get it to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. John MacKay

Is it not interesting that the Educational Institute of Scotland, which was heavily quoted by the Opposition in an earlier debate, wishes the Government to defend the position of Scottish teachers at those hearings?

Mr. Fairgrieve

I thank my hon. Friend for giving us that information from his great knowledge of the profession.

I had intended to ask the Opposition not to divide the House on this matter, but I now invite them to do so, for the simple reason than in the Division before midnight only 40 out of 253 Labour Members voted. That is the interest that the Opposition take in this important subject, on which one hon. Member has repeated himself on and on to the utter boredom of the entire House. I shall be interested to see how many Opposition Members are taking this important issue of education in Scotland seriously enough to stay and vote against provisions that they do not like. Of the 43 Scottish Labour Members, only 20 voted in the last Division. I hope that they will be able to do better this time. I invite them to divide the House.

Mr. O'Neill

With permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should like to say that we wish to vote on the new clause, not for the dubious reasons advanced by the Minister, but simply because we feel that once again the House should have the opportunity to vote on corporal punishment.

There is considerable disappointment among Labour Members that once again the Minister has chosen to hide behind this so-called working party. Were that working party to be paid on a productivity basis, it would not earn much. However, the time scale that we envisage is modest. Certainly the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) were reasonable. He said that it would be possible to accept the new clause and to carry on the negotiations.

Mr. Maxton

The Government are keen to use the processes of consultation to delay decisions that they do not like. Had they consulted the colleges of education in the same way, those colleges could still hope to be open in 1986.

Mr. O'Neill

I return to the point of the new clause. We want to ensure that the House is left in no doubt that the Labour Party's resolve on this matter is a good deal firmer than it was during the lifetime of the Labour Government. There has been a change in the climate of opinion. We recognise that there is a new mood among parents and educationists. In some respects the teachers' organisations are moving at the speed of the slowest. The Secretary of State would be ill-advised to delay too long with these committees.

The new clause is modest and sensible. It allows the Government to go forward and to get the kind of agreement which even the Under-Secretary wants so that this barbaric form of punishment may be removed from the Scottish education scene.

For those reasons, we want to press the new clause to a vote.

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

The House divided: Ayes 24, Noes 101.

Division No. 210] [2.35 am
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) McKelvey, William
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) McTaggart, Robert
Campbell-Savours, Dale Maxton, John
Canavan, Dennis Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Carmichael, Neil O'Neill, Martin
Cryer, Bob Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd) Radice, Giles
Dewar, Donald Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Dormand, Jack Skinner, Dennis
Eadie, Alex Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Ewing, Harry
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Tellers for the Ayes:
Haynes, Frank Mr. Robert Hughes and
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Mr. George Foulkes.
Alexander, Richard Faith, Mrs Sheila
Ancram, Michael Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Atkins, Robert (Preston N) Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Berry, Hon Anthony Garel-Jones, Tristan
Biffen, Rt Hon John Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Biggs-Davison, John Grist, Ian
Blackburn, John Gummer, John Selwyn
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hannam, John
Braine, Sir Bernard Hawksley, Warren
Bright, Graham Henderson, Barry
Brooke, Hon Peter Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Jessel, Toby
Budgen, Nick Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Butcher, John King, Rt Hon Tom
Cadbury, Jocelyn Kitson, Sir Timothy
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Knox, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lang, Ian
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Le Marchant, Spencer
Cockeram, Eric Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Colvin, Michael Lyell, Nicholas
Dorrell, Stephen Macfarlane, Neil
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. MacKay, John (Argyll)
Dover, Denshore Major, John
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Mather, Carol
Fairgrieve, Russell Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Mellor, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Sproat, Iain
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Stanbrook, Ivor
Moate, Roger Stevens, Martin
Monro, Hector Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)
Murphy, Christopher Stradling Thomas, J.
Nelson, Anthony Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Neubert, Michael Temple-Morris, Peter
Newton, Tony Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Normanton, Tom Thompson, Donald
Osborn, John Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Viggers, Peter
Proctor, K. Harvey Waddington, David
Raison, Timothy Wakeham, John
Rathbone, Tim Walker, B. (Perth)
Rhodes James, Robert Wells, Bowen
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wheeler, John
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Wickenden, Keith
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW) Wolfson, Mark
Rossi, Hugh Young, Sir George (Acton)
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Younger, Rt Hon George
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Tellers for the Noes:
Sims, Roger Mr. John Cope and
Skeet, T. H. H. Mr. Alastair Goodlad.
Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)

Question accordingly negatived.

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