HC Deb 10 June 1981 vol 6 cc429-40

'1.—(1) The Secretary of State shall establish a National Advisory Committee on Special Educational Needs to act as a consultative and advisory body and to report annually to the Secretary of State according to the following terms of reference:

  1. (a) to consult with the Departments of Education and Science, Health and Social Security, Employment and other relevant agencies to ensure the proper co-ordination of special educational provision at national and local level;
  2. (b) to advise and consult with local education authorities on the provision for meeting special educational needs within their area with particular regard to the best deployment of existing services;
  3. 430
  4. (c) to issue guidelines on the provision for special educational need and disseminate examples of good practice;
  5. (d) to monitor the working of this Act;
  6. (e) to instigate and promote research into the provision of special educational needs and matters relating thereto.

(2) The Secretary of State shall lay the report of the National Advisory Committee before both Houses of Parliament.

(3) The Secretary of State shall appoint the members of the Committee aforesaid to serve for such periods as he thinks fit, bearing in mind the desirability of including as members thereof handicapped persons and parents of handicapped children.'.—[Mr. Hannam.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Hannam

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

We discussed the principle of the new clause towards the end of our proceedings in Committee. It aims to put important icing on the cake of special education. It would establish a national advisory committee, which everyone wants and which in principle the Government have accepted can be provided, although they do not want to provide it in this legislation.

All the arguments for such a national advisory committee on special education were strongly expressed by witnesses at our three Special Standing Committee sittings. I thought that the use of the Select Committee procedure for those three sittings was extremely valuable and should be adopted on other occasions. Evidence from all the witnesses strongly supported the establishment of a national advisory committee, as did members of the Committee and all the organisations which wrote to us. This was especially due to the lack of resources which we all accepted as necessitating a gradualist approach by local authorities at they develop the system that we all wish to see.

The establishment of such a committee was also a recommendation of the Warnock report. Indeed, Mary Warnock herself wrote to me from Oxford reiterating her strong support for such a committee. Her letter, dated 30 April, states: I want to let you know that the Committee of Inquiry into the education of the Handicapped, at its weekend discussions last week came unanimously to the conclusion that there really must be a National Advisory Committee established as a statutory body, to advise Ministers, monitor educational practice, bring together people from different professions and initiate research—as we recommended in our report. No one would deny that the establishment of such a committee to consult local authorities on the implementation of the legislation is essential to successful integration. The Government have faced the problems of resources for the implementation of the legislation and have been unable to set aside any extra resources. They have said clearly and correctly, however, that much progress can be made towards better use of existing resources and the extension of good practice, as indeed we argued throughout the Committee stage. That may be true, but it is difficult to see how this can be achieved, given the great variation between local authorities, without some overall co-ordinating and advisory body.

The Government have also said that they do not consider that an advisory committee is necessary at this stage. I believe that many of the problems that require the establishment of such a body at later stage could be avoided if it were established now to consult and advise local education authorities. In Committee the Government gave a commitment to call a conference of professional and voluntary organisations concerned with special education to discuss the possible establishment of an advisory committee.

Since then, those voluntary organisations, RADAR and those of us who discussed the matter with them have concluded that the position is unsatisfactory. The views of the voluntary and professional organisations are clear. They strongly support the establishment of a national advisory committee. The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, the National Council of Women and all the various organisations for the disabled and handicapped, as well as Mary Warnock and her committee, still strongly express their continued support for the establishment of such a committee.

5.15 pm

Secondly, to be effective, such a committee must have clearly defined statutory duties such as consulting local education authorities on the provision for meeting special educational needs, issuing guidelines on such provision, as well as monitoring the working of the Act and reporting to the Secretary of State.

I shall not go into detail, as I did in Committee, on all the other reasons why we need a committee to establish good practice throughout the country, with the use of multi-disciplinary committees and teams, for the introduction, often in difficult circumstances, of special education for the 18 per cent. who will be required to receive education other than at special schools.

This is a complicated and technical area which will require extra advice to willing recipients among the education authorities. We are not trying to pour water through a stone. Education authorities will be willing to help in the development of the system.

I understand and support the Government's policy of reluctance to create new quangos for the sake of it, but I do not think that that would be the case in this instance. A children's committee already exists, embracing many disciplines and duties that we would ask the new national advisory committee to undertake. The chairman of the children's committee is Dr. Brimblecombe, whom my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) and I know well as a leading paediatrician in Devon. He has pioneered much of the work in establishing new systems of communication for the education of severely handicapped children.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

He is internationally known.

Mr. Hannam

As my hon. Friend says, he is internationally known. Dr. Brimblecombe met the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) and myself at the House to discuss whether, if the Government accepted the principle of a national advisory committee but remained reluctant to set up a new body, the children's committee, through a sub-committee, could embrace the work that would be required. We discussed the matter in some detail and he was most willing to undertake such a responsibility if the Government so required.

The Government's only real defence against the new clause seems to be that it would establish a new quango. If they accepted the principle, however, it would be possible to use an existing, well-established body, the children's committee, and to work with the DHSS to allow it to extend its activities to cover the duties required of a national advisory committee.

I believe that most of us in the House and all the organisations involved do not accept that the introduction of the system of special education can be successfully carried out without such an advisory body. We should like the Government to agree to set up a special advisory committee. If they cannot do that, however, I ask my right hon. Friend to consider the alternative to which I have referred of using an existing organisation, such as the children's committee, for the purpose.

I hope that we shall hear some thoughts from the Government about what is considered by all those concerned, from Mary Warnock and her committee through all the national organisations and all members of the Standing Committee, as one of the most important questions still remaining. I hope that the Government will consider this carefully. If they can accept the new clause today we shall, of course, be satisfied. If not, I hope that they will consider the alternative suggestion of using the children's committee.

Mr. Field

I rise once again to support the arguments of the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam). I wish to put two questions to the Secretary of State. If the Government maintain that it is unnecessary to establish a national advisory committee, will the right hon. Gentleman consider carefully the functions listed in new clause 8 which we wish the national advisory committee to have and tell us how and by whom they will be carried out? I think that he will find it difficult to argue that those functions are not important to the operation of the Bill, which, we hope, will shortly become an Act.

If my memory is correct, whoever drafted the Bill cribbed generously from the Warnock report. The Secrertary of State should bear in mind the comments made by the chairman and members of the Warnock committee since publication, as well as our debates in Committee, about the key importance of establishing a national advisory committee. If no such body is established, who will take responsibility for co-ordinating policy between Government Departments?

When the Under-Secretary of State replied to the debate on new clauses 1 and 2, I found very significant the stress that he placed on the co-ordination that he had had to undertake between Departments before he could reply. Therefore, the function of co-ordinating at a national level is clearly important. Who is to be responsible from now on for that co-ordination.

Secondly, if there is no new national advisory committee, who will be the link with local authorities after there has been co-ordination between Government Departments?

Thirdly, if there is no national advisory committee, who will have the responsibility for spreading good practice? I stress that, because in the course of the trips that I have started to make around the schools one of the things that has struck me is the importance of understanding the genesis of success in a school and how we can spread it.

We read a great deal in our newspapers about schools that are not performing very well. Indeed, we often hear something about them at Question Time. We do not seem to spend enough time thinking about how to spread success. How do we learn from the little school across the road, St. Matthew's, in Westminster? On walking through the door it is obvious that it is a humming successful school. How can other schools face the problems that that school used to face and overcome them?

There is no mechanism for spreading success. There are many organs for spreading gloom and doom, but not for spreading the good news. [Interruption.] It would appear that I am perhaps convincing the Secretary of State and that I need not continue, but for the sake of completeness I should like to persevere with him. There might also be other doubters in the House. If there is no national advisory committee, who will spread the success that many of us have seen in schools in our constituencies and elsewhere? This is an immensely important function and I do not know of any body that undertakes it at the present time.

It is crucial, with a Bill that has no money resolution attached to it, that we should try to live by our wits. That should be the short title of the Bill. New clause 8 will help us to live by our wits. Who, otherwise, will carry out the function that I have described?

Fourthly, if there is no new body to carry out the function of monitoring the success or otherwise of this legislation, who will be responsible for monitoring and carrying back to the House the effects of that monitoring, so that we can try to improve what the Government are proposing in the education that we offer to some of our children?

The hon. Member for Exeter suggested that we should try to understand the difficulties of a Government with a clear manifesto commitment about quangos. There is a lesson here for all of us, because manifesto commitments can lead to difficulties in areas unrelated to the usual thrust of Government policy. Why not build on what we have? There is a children's committee, chaired by a distinguished doctor. Rather than set up a new body, perhaps a more satisfactory solution would be to build on the existing order.

I make that plea to the Secretary of State, not because I am trying to wear Tory clothes at this stage of the debate—indeed, I shall lose this job very quickly if I do so, having already used similar arguments in discussing two other amendments—but because in discussing the first two new clauses we were very much concerned with relaying to parents the first news about the handicap of their child. Such parents face pressures that other parents do not face. In that sense, one could say that the parents of handicapped children act in relation to all parents almost in the way that a barium meal acts in relation to an X-ray, because the group of which we take least notice in our society is the family, whether it be rich or poor.

We desperately need a body to speak with authority on behalf of families. There is a powerful case for saying that one of the institutions that we wish to build up—an institution that is separate from the Government and can speak with authority, and does not shut up because the Government, of whatever party, would like it to shut up—is the children's committee, chaired and staffed by distinguished people. I hope that when the Secretary of State replies to the debate we shall find that he has been persuaded by the arguments of the hon. Member for Exeter, and perhaps by some of my arguments. If he rejects all of them, I hope that he will address himself carefully to the four or so questions that I have posed.

If there is no appropriate body, who is to carry out the key functions that were listed by Mrs. Warnock in her report and which she thought were crucial to the effectiveness of the report or its becoming a legislative fact? If the Minister is negative in his response, and if the hon. Member for Exeter wishes to register the importance of the new clause, some of us on the Opposition Benches will join him in the Lobby.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) and the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) because I have been considerably depressed, in such contacts as I have had during the passage of the Bill, by the narrowness of the experience within the Department of Education and Science of some aspects covered by the Bill.

It has been clear to me that defensive fortifications have been erected to conceal a lack of practical knowledge. This is not something that we can live with bearing in mind that we are legislating in this area probably for the last time for some years. We need now to make the Bill as comprehensive as we can.

Some of the provisions of the Bill will come into law by ministerial regulation, not one word of which can be amended by the House—a fact that is sometimes overlooked. It is, therefore, all the more necessary that there should be a continuing, broadly based and broadly experienced monitoring body which extends far outside the skills existing in the Department of Education and Science, whose shortcomings have become obvious to hon. Members on each side of the House during the passage of the Bill.

My hon. Friend alluded to Dr. Brimblecombe, who is not merely of national status but who for many years has spent a significant time each year in the Sudan, advising the Government of the Sudan on their priorities in the organisation of paediatric health and therapy. I could not think of anyone better fitted to lead such a committee.

The reason why I have intervened is that, although later today we shall come to a group of amendments that draw particular attention to the quite different circumstances attached to psychiatric hospitals in particular, the subject is relevant at this stage. The need for those amendments has arisen from the inability of the Department of Education and Science to recognise the greatly differing circumstances encompassed by the different types of educational provision which need to be made subject to the Bill and, indeed, which existed before the Bill came before the House.

However carefully the Bill is drafted, and however carefully Ministers consider it in the light of the debates both in this House and in the other place, it will not achieve the aims of Ministers or of this House without broadly based monitoring. After all, the Bill goes to some pains in terms of multi-disciplinary teams to carry out some of its provisions. The one thing lacking is multi-disciplinary monitoring of the Bill's whole structure.

5.30 pm

The logic that applies to the multi-disciplinary team must apply to monitoring. I repeat that that is necessary, because the House will be largely impotent to perform that function. Much of the crucial regulation will be done by ministerial order, which cannot be amended by the House. In the discussion stage before any changes are made in the regulations, or—one would hope—before the regulations are drafted, there should be a body that has current and diverse experience. I stress that that body should not be an internal part of the Department of Education and Science, because it is becoming apparent that that Department has severe shortcomings.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

We shall deal later with the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). I assure him that any differences of opinion that may be held at the end of that debate will not arise as a result of any shortcomings in the Department or from any disagreement about the Bill's purpose. If there is a disagreement between my hon. Friend and myself, it may centre on the legal effect of the words in the Bill and the implications of that aspect of the Bill for one type of special school. However, I hope to deal with that later. In addition, I hope to reach an amicable agreement with my hon. Friend on the issues that are of concern to both of us.

I hope, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that my next remarks will not be out of order. I have read the report of the Committee proceedings. As this is the first time that I have had the opportunity to speak since the Second Reading, I should like to say that I am grateful to all those who served on that Committee for the constructive way in which the debates were conducted. As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State said, we are not involved in party polemics. We are trying, within the constraints that the Government have set on the use of resources, to put on the statute book a Bill that will help with the genuine and human problems that disabled children face.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) for all that he has done. Equally, I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones), who has tabled an amendment that derives from others that he moved in Committee, for the work that he has done. As my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter said, in Committee we discussed whether it was right to have a national advisory committee and whether the new clause would achieve that end. I shall take those two aspects separately. The short answer to the new clause is that I do not need the power proposed in it to set up such a committee. I am advised that under section 1 of the Education Act 1944 I have the power to set up, if I should think it appropriate, such a body. Therefore, there is no need to incorporate such a power in the Bill or to attempt to set out in statutory form that committee's detailed terms of reference. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept that, whatever dicision may be taken about the committee, the new clause is not necessary.

I should mislead the House and answer only part of the debate if I did not answer the second question. Is it necessary to have a national advisory committee at this stage? I have not closed my mind to the idea of some form of national advisory committee at some stage. Under the 1944 Act I have the power to appoint one. Equally, I have not been persuaded by what I have read of the Special Standing Committee's proceedings or by what I have heard today that there is a need to set up such a committee. I stand by what was said in the White Paper, which was printed last August. We said that many bodies gave the Government advice on this matter—they are set out in paragraph 64—and that we were not convinced of the need to set up an additional advisory committee.

Mrs. Warnock wrote not only to my hon. Friend, but to me. She repeated that such a committee was desirable. As she was responsible for the report and has great knowledge of the subject, one must consider her arguments. Given that debate and her letter, I reconsidered the matter, but I still do not believe that it is necessary, at this stage, to set up a national advisory committee. As my hon. Friend accepted, one does not wish to set up additional boards of a quasi Government nature unless they are essential. Therefore, we should use our existing machinery.

The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) asked how we would deal with the various points raised by this important new clause if we did not set up such a body. He asked who would co-ordinate policy between Government Departments. An advisory committee can never carry out the role of co-ordinating policy between Government Departments. Only Government Departments and the organisations that they create can co-ordinate policy. If hon. Members think about that, they will agree that that must be right. As the Department of Education and Science is clearly the lead Department, that role must fall to it. That applies equally to the second question.

Mr. Carter-Jones

Is that not an incestuous sort of arrangement, that co-ordination must be between Government Departments? Why do the Government not bring in some fresh blood from outside to look at the way in which the system works? Would that not bring a breath of fresh air to the considerations?

Mr. Carlisle

I do not think that the hon. Member is applying his mind to the same question that I thought I was being asked, which is who is responsible for co-ordinating the work of Government Departments. I do not see that one can have an outside advisory body that is responsible for that co-ordination. That must be done by arrangements between Government bodies. No one disputes that at some stage one can have an individual to review relationships between Government bodies as a whole, but the responsibility for the successful co-ordination of Government policy must, in the end, be that of the lead Department. The fact that one has an advisory committee does not remove the responsibility from that lead Department.

Mr. Carter-Jones

The right hon. and learned Gentleman answered my question when he added an adjective. He referred to "successful" co-ordination. He had previously spoken about "co-ordination". I suggested that there was no real co-ordination between Departments and that they might be shaken if outside people made observations about their unsuccessful co-ordination.

Mr. Carlisle

I shall speak about outside people in a moment. Part of my argument is that a good many outside bodies are already involved.

The hon. Member for Birkenhead asked who was responsible for links with local authorities. One must remember that one of the important aspects of the Bill is that it lays clear duties on local authorities in their dealings with children with special educational needs to identify them, in certain cases to make statements about them and to make adequate provision for them.

Under the 1944 Act the Department of Education and Science has a responsibility to ensure that local authorities carry out their statutory duties. Under that Act the Department and the Secretary of State for Education and Science have a responsiblity to ensure that local authorities are carrying out their statutory responsibility and can be asked to intervene if they are failing to carry out that statutory responsibility. My answer to the second question is that one cannot ensure that a local authority carries out its statutory responsibility by the appointment of an advisory committee, which itself does not have statutory powers. This can be done only by the Department of Education and Science using its powers under the 1944 Act.

The third question is fair. My hon. Friend the Member for Exeter has raised it on previous occasions. It involves the need to disseminate good practice. In passing, I might add how much I agree with the hon. Member for Birkenhead, that we too often fail to pay tribute to the amount of good work carried out in many parts of our institutions.

5.45 pm

When I go round special schools—I am sure that the hon. Member and many other hon. Members feel the same way—I come away humbled, impressed and grateful, on behalf of others, for the work and dedication of the staff who work there. There is a magnificent happiness inside many of those institutions. Of course there is the task of spreading good practice, but the purpose of having an inspectorate working through and with the Department is that it can cover the country and visit and examine individual schools. Only part of its task is spreading good practice.

Paragraph 64 of the White Paper says: The Secretary of State can already draw on a wide range of advice and expertise … from HM Inspectorate, DHSS, the Schools Council, the Council for Educational Technology, the National Foundation for Educational Research and the Welsh Joint Educational Committee, as well as the teachers' and local authority associations, professional groups, voluntary bodies, and parents through the many bodies representing specific conditions of handicap". Realistically, the opportunity to be advised, to receive advice and to carry out the proposals set out in the new clause is already met by the existing institutions and bodies.

The final question asked by the hon. Member for Birkenhead was: who would monitor? The only person who can monitor the success or otherwise and the implementation of an Act of Parliament is the Department responsible for carrying that Act through. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton asked how Parliament controlled that monitoring. I do not believe that it can be controlled by asking me to set up a national advisory committee with its membership appointed by the Department. Parliament controls monitoring because it has the power to question myself and my colleague Ministers at the Dispatch Box, to put down questions and to have Adjournment debates on the procedure and success of the Bill.

I accept the views that Mrs. Warnock has repeated in a letter to me. Despite the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter, and faced with the advice that already exists within the Warnock report and the responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the Bill which inevitably falls on the Department and the battery of various individual advising bodies that I already have, I have tried to explain why it would not be correct to set up a new body at this time.

Mr. Field

I forgot that I was addressing my argument to a lawyer. I should have been more precise with my language. The Minister was correct to reprimand me for thinking of the body as one that would initiate the functions. I was making a plea—I thought the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) was making the same plea—that we should have a watchdog body that would see that this was being done in Whitehall

Does the Secretary of State realise where his argument has taken him? He is now telling the House and the country that Whitehall knows best, trust Whitehall. In the 1940s my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) coined a phrase that has hung round this party for a long time, with derivations on it about Daddy knowing best and Whitehall knowing best. The plea made by the hon. Member for Exeter, which I supported, was for a plural society. However good or bad Departments are at carrying out those functions, it is crucial that one body should have the responsibility across the range of Departments and between the Government and local authorities, and on the issue of good practice it should, above all, have no other responsibilities than to see that those functions are being carried out. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is correct to reprimand me for the language I used, but it was a plea for a watchdog body and not a body to take over the functions of Whitehall or local authorities.

Mr. Carlisle

I did not intend to reprimand the hon. Gentleman. I was simply putting the other side of the argument. I accept that the body would be a watchdog, and I was not suggesting that Whitehall knew best. I was trying to say that it inevitably had the statutory responsibility for certain aspects of what we proposed and that I believed that there were many outside people already in the field who had views on the matter and were in a portion to collect the information on good practice that the hon. Gentleman needs.

I welcome the role of voluntary bodies. I was sorry to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter say that he doubted whether the conference of voluntary bodies would be of any value. I repeat what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said in Committtee, namely, that we would genuinely welcome a conference of the voluntary bodies concerned—and fairly soon after the Bill reaches the statute book—to discuss problems that might arise over implementation of the Act and co-ordination between the voluntary bodies on advice that they might wish to give us.

I am told that there are already the Voluntary Council for Handicapped Children and the National Council for Special Education. I believe that we could together organise a system by which, without our setting up a new advisory council, the views of the voluntary bodies could be co-ordinated among themselves in a way that would assist the Government in the implementation of the Bill.

I end where I started. I have not closed my mind, saying that there could never be a national advisory body. At times one's judgment is shown to be wrong, but for the moment I do not believe that it is necessary to have a national body. I believe that there is sufficient to be done and sufficient means of doing it, without such a body. If I or a successor of mine ever had a change of mind, the 1944 Act would permit the creation of such a body.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

The Secretary of State's reply was very disappointing. I had hoped that he would at least accept the spirit of the clause, but his party's doctrinaire attitude towards quangos, rather than the needs of special education, seems to have dominated the Department's thinking.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that there is no need to set up a national advisory committee. In a sense, if he does not set one up, he is abolishing an existing national advisory body. The Government had the benefit of almost all the functions of a national advisory committee from the Warnock committee, which acted as a catalyst in the way in which a national advisory committee should work, in carrying out its inquiry, in the way in which it sought and set out the evidence, the way in which it produced its report, and the way in which the report was then discussed. Eventually, we had the Government's response, even if it was disappointing.

I am not sure how it did so, but in a way the Warnock committee went on functioning after producing its report. By the time the Bill has completed its passage through Parliament, it will be difficult for the committee to go on functioning. However, I am not suggesting that we should allow the Warnock committee to merge into or become, even if with totally different personnel, a national advisory committee.

The Government are abolishing something of which they have had the advantage for the past five or six years. I plead with the Minister to have second thoughts and establish for the benefit of all those concerned with special education a national advisory body with status and stature, a committee that can continue to perform the role that the Warnock committee has performed so successfully in the interim.

Mr. Hannam

The contribution of the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) was important, because he highlighted the fact that there has been a great input of information to this area of special education that will now inevitably decline and disappear unless something is put in its place.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said that the Bill was not the vehicle for legislating for an advisory committee, as the powers already existed in the 1944 Act. On Second Reading and in the White Paper the Government made it clear that they were not in principle opposed to such a committee, but that they did not believe that it was necessary now. Like other hon. Members, I have argued that it will be necessary.

Under other legislation, such as the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, local authorities have not necessarily continued along the path that the Government wished. In fact, Ministers are at present taking legislative and oher action to try to achieve certain objectives that local authorities, with their autonomous position, do not wish to achieve. It is important that the discussion continues.

Therefore, I welcome the repeated assurance of my right hon. and learned Friend that he would like at an early stage to call a conference of the voluntary organisations. I think that he will receive a clear message from them. I also believe that the matter will continue to be debated as the Bill proceeds through the other place.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) and the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) that in this area of development the expertise from outside would be more important than that inside the Department. We already have a number of important advisory committees, such as that dealing with the employment of disabled people. The children's committees are another example. They are advising the Minister and helping to monitor developments. There is also the Social Security Advisory Committee. All of these committees play a valuable role.

I believe that the discussion will continue for some time. However, as the Bill is not the vehicle for legislation of this nature, as the powers exist, and it is therefore a matter of having to persuade the Government, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Forward to