§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
On the next business, I have to tell the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition at the top of page 4818 of the Order Paper and the consequent amendment that goes with it.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House at its rising on Friday 26th July do adjourn until Monday 21st October, and the House shall not adjourn on Friday 26th July until Mr. Speaker shall have reported the Royal Assent to any Acts which have been agreed upon by both Houses. —[Mr. Lennox-Boyd.]
§ 6.4 pm
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
I beg to move, in line 1 to leave out 'Friday 26th July' and insert `Tuesday 30th July'.
The Government have now had 15 or 16 hours in which to consider the vote in the House earlier this morning. It was clear from the vote that most hon. Members do not support the Government's decision to implement the top salaries review. The Government's majority was 17—one tenth of its nominal size—and no one can doubt that dozens of Government supporters went into the Government Lobby last night because of loyalty rather than conviction. The 48 Conservative Members who voted with the Opposition, the 40-odd hon. Members who did not vote and those who voted for the Government with understandable reluctance were the result of the House fulfilling its proper constitutional function.
Many hon. Members said that they had visited their constituencies during the week between the announcement of the top salaries decision and the vote on the order last night. They had listened to their constituents and had responded to the undoubted mood of the country. However, as I understand it, the Government intend to proceed with the implementation of the report as though there had been no revolt,, no outcry and no general condemnation of all that they have proposed in the operation of that report.
The Government intend to proceed with the report despite the bitter opposition that they have encountered. The central, crucial reason for that opposition is worth at least a brief repetition. The Government's proposal is opposed simply because it is unfair. It is unfair to ask the low-paid and the average-paid worker to show restraint and at the same time to insist on paying massive increases to the highest-paid public servants, who enjoy advantages that are denied to other sectors of the community. They have complete job security, index-linked pensions, which are almost unknown outside the public service, and a special social status which employment in the private sector does not carry.
The extraordinary fact about the proposals being made in the first place was recorded in the leader in The London Standard today:To everybody outside the Cabinet the social inequity of these pay awards was immediately apparent.What is unforgiveable is that, having been told of the conclusion that the awards lacked social equity, having had a week to consider their folly, and having had a vote to demonstrate the opposition to what they initially proposed, the Government intend to go ahead with it as though there had been universal support for their decision at last Thursday's Cabinet meeting.
1085 The opposition from Labour and Conservative Members last night was based, as I have described, on fairness. However, the Government either overlooked——
§ Mr. Tim Eggar (Enfield, North)
§ Mr. Hattersley
Yes, and I will explain it to the hon. Gentleman if he does not know what it means.
The Government overlooked or chose to ignore some practical considerations. First, the top salaries award was almost certain to have a damaging effect on pay negotiations in the public sector. If the Cabinet did not realise that when it made the decision, it must have realised it from reading about the reaction to the decision of pay negotiators in the public sector. There is no doubt that the decision to make those massive awards —in two cases, 46 per cent. Increases —has made a settlement of the teachers' dispute substantially more difficult to achieve. If there is disruption in the classrooms when term begins again in September, those who supported the top salaries pay award must take much of the responsibility for it.
Secondly, immense resentment is building up among the local authority manual workers and local authority ancillary workers, many of whose total wages are not even 50 per cent. of the pay awards now proposed. Those are all serious considerations, to which the Government should have given careful thought. I have described them in as moderate language as possible.
They are also serious considerations about which the Prime Minister should have given the House and the country her opinion, for she is the Minister responsible for the Civil Service. This decision was her decision. When it was announced last Thursday, her press officer was telling every newspaper that the Prime Minister supported the report in every line and detail, and had urged her troops to meet criticism head on. However, it was the Prime Minister's duty not simply to say that, but herself to meet that criticism head on, by taking one of the three opportunities provided in the House to defend what is essentially her position.
§ Mr. Richard Tracey (Surbiton)
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall deal first with the Prime Minister and then with the hon. Gentleman. All that we have heard from the Prime Minister was her answers to questions yesterday, which did not constitute anything like a reasonable response on a serious issue. She has hardly attempted to justify what in anything like rational terms or serious language she has done. She made two points, both of them trivial and neither of them concerned with the merits of the argument that she is supposedly advancing.
The Prime Minister's first point was that it had all been done before. That is wrong. The precedent on which she leaned so heavily yesterday afternoon, that of 1978, was a pay award staged over three pay rounds, which was paralleled by other comparability exercises for the lowest paid public sector workers, and gave an award to the lower-paid sections of the public service. It was not preceded by the intentional depression of earnings in the private sector by the abolition of wages council protections for young workers.
The Government should understand, although I fear that they do not, that perhaps the deepest offence has been caused not simply to those on the Opposition Benches but, 1086 in the country, to people who are basically non-political and are adherents to no political party. It has been caused by the idea that on a Wednesday afternoon some of the poorest paid and least well protected workers in the community — young workers in wages councils industries—should have their protection removed, and the next day enormous pay increases should be endorsed for the public sector.
The Prime Minister was wrong to lean on that precedent, but more important than the error in her argument was the fact that she should choose to use that argument at all. After six years in government, she should have the courage to stand on her own record rather than make bogus comparisons with what happened six, seven or eight years ago. To do so is simply demeaning and, as she demonstrated yesterday afternoon, simply to say, "I may be had but they were worse," no longer gets even a cheer from her Back Benchers.
§ Mr. Tracey
The right hon. Gentleman obviously considers that he is making a strong case in trying to differentiate between what happened in 1978 when he was a member of the Government who implemented that award, and now. Why, despite the apparent strength of his case, did 38 of his colleagues not come along to support him last night?
§ Mr. Hattersley
As speakers say in a music hall joke, I am glad that the hon. Gentleman raised that point, because it enables me to say what should he said. First, the figure of 38 is conjured out of the air.
§ Mr. Nicholas Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)
What is the figure?
§ Mr. Hattersley
Secondly, to have reduced the Government's majority still further, which is all that we could have done, as it was never within our power to defeat the Government, would have meant calling back to the House people whom I am not prepared to call back to the House now or ever because that would mean going back to the bad old habits of the 1960s and 1970s when the sick were required to be here. I was not prepared to do that on the vote of censure in 1979, and I am not prepared to do it now
I am astonished to discover that the best argument that the Government have today is that we should have trounced them more roundly than we did last night. If that is the nature of our crime, it shows how pathetically incapable the Government are of doing what they should be doing in these circumstances. If they had a case on which to build, they should be defending their own proposals rather than making a trivial point about what happened at 2 o'clock this morning.
The Prime Minister's second defence of the Government's position was, as always—this has become her habit over the past six years—to question the motives of her critics. She said that those who opposed what the Government were doing were guilty of cant and humbug. If her accusation is justified, 49 of her supporters voted for humbug last night and more than 40 of her Back Benchers compromised with cant by abstaining.
Those who voted against the report, and certainly those who spoke from the Government Benches, were opposed to the report on a principle, and were not opposed to its timing or tactics. The principle was that of social justice. Sooner or later, the Prime Minister will have to learn that 1087 even some of her supporters are beginning to think that social justice is an important consideration when Government policy is being decided.
The House was entitled to a calm explanation from the Prime Minister, the Minister who took the decision that it was right to increase the pay of the Chief of the Defence Staff by 46 per cent., but that it was not right to approve an extra 1 per cent. to bring the damaging teachers' dispute to an end.
None of these questions has been answered. Instead, we had a typical speech from the Chief Secretary last Friday and an uncharacteristic speech from the Leader of the House yesterday. The Chief Secretary said, in answer to a private notice question, that less fortunate people than the senior civil servants should rejoice at what was being proposed because it offered them, the least fortunate, at least the prospect of winning such glittering prizes.
In the northern wards of my constituency there is 50 per cent. male unemployment. All over it, services and the housing stock are deteriorating and many men and women are suffering the discrimination of the present immigration regulations. The idea that they should rejoice because the Secretary to the Cabinet is to get an extra £23,750 a year is the most bizarre nonsense imaginable.
The Leader of the House behaved in a similarly and —I say this as a compliment—surprisingly unconvincing way yesterday evening. What he said, turning not to his hon. Friends but on them, was, "Do you want such decisions about public sector pay to be decided by politicians?", as if the automatic answer to that question was, "Of course not."
It may be "of course not" for senior civil servants, generals and judges, but it is "of course" for teachers, because the pay of teachers is determined by politicians. The pay of the lowest paid workers in the public service is always determined by politicians, and I do not understand how a distinction can logically be drawn which says that the rich and the privileged must be insulated from the grubby business of politicians deciding how much they should earn, while the poorly paid and those receiving average pay will be subject to Government decisions endorsed by whipped votes in the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Hattersley
No, I will not give way.
Regrettably, the double standard typified by the Leader of the House in his answer yesterday evening is exactly what permeates the order. It is exactly what typifies the response to the report, and exactly what has caused so much resentment in the country. It is doing enormous damage in the country, because the Government are dividing the nation by helping one group and penalising and ignoring another. It would be wholly wrong for this House to adjourn until we have made one last attempt to convince the Government of their error, and that requires the Prime Minister to have the courage to come to the House and defend the decision for which she and she alone is responsible.
It is no good the Prime Minister hiding behind The London Standard bill boards uttering half-veiled threats to resign. It is no good either for the Prime Minister to sit looking menacing on the Front Bench throughout the debate on the Lord Chancellor's Salary Order. The Prime Minister has a duty to defend the decision, which was hers 1088 and hers alone. One of the things for which she will be condemned is not just the crass error of making the decision, but lacking the guts to come here and explain why she made it. Let me describe exactly the error made by the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch)
The right hon. Gentleman knows about guts. Let him tell us about the Common Market vote.
§ Mr. Hattersley
In that, I voted against my party. Not only did I vote against my party, but I did not go through the Lobby whining that I might have voted for the other side if circumstances had been rather different. Let me describe the error that the Prime Minister is making.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Her error is the belief that social justice does not matter. Of course she is right to say that, in simple terms of arithmetic, a huge pay increase to a selected few costs little, while a small pay rise to thousands of nurses, teachers and manual workers costs a great deal. But in these matters arithmetic is not enough. It is not possible in a decent society for the rich and the favoured to be absolved from restraint while other groups are not.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)
Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that the right hon. Gentleman is not giving way.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Prime Minister does not understand that her policies ought to be characterised by social justice. I should like this House to postpone the Adjournment until we have made one last desperate attempt to teach her that truth, a truth which will destroy this Government.
§ The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Barney Hayhoe)
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) lost the vote last night and has moved his amendment with customary bluff and bluster, and with precious little regard to the realities of the difficult and complicated problem of fixing pay for senior public servants. It is a problem which this year has generated a great deal of misunderstanding and widespread public concern. He gave no indication at all about what he would do. Would he totally and completely reject the report? Would he, as appeared to be suggested by his right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) speaking from the Opposition Front Bench last night, merely stage the increases over a longer period?
He treats the House with total contempt in that he is not prepared to say what he would do. He attempted to gloss over his own acute embarrassment at having been a member of the Administration who in 1978 agreed to much greater increases. Those increases were of 35 per cent., not the 12.2 per cent. for the Civil Service which he has condemned. He said that the 35 per cent. was staged, as though that were some brilliant feat of political wisdom by the Government of that day. All they did was to implement the proposal in the TSRB report that staging be carried out.
The cost of the right hon. Gentleman's first stage in the financial year 1978–79 was more than the total cost of the staged award that we are now talking about. Not only did his Government stage the award; they backdated it and as 1089 a result a large amount of money was paid. It was not debated, but the Government decision was announced in July of that year and the money was backdated to 1 January.
The right hon. Gentleman has quite a neck to complain about the increase the Government are proposing for senior civil servants which in this financial year amounts to 5.1 per cent. That will be the total amount on the pay bill for 1985–86 of the award which will be implemented by the Government. He spreads about the figure of 46 per cent., but he knows very well that he is quoting the extreme limit. Why does he not talk a little about the other elements in the report, which involve much lower increases and leave some people in the judiciary and some civil servants in London perhaps rather worse off?
It is fairer to talk, as I have done, about averages over the whole field. I do not wish to counter his plucking out of the highest figure by plucking out the lowest figure. My criticism of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues goes wider than the fact that they gloss over what they have done in the past. Early yesterday morning, the deputy leader of the Liberal party, the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), who I am glad to see in his place, twice quoted wise words used by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House in the debate we had two years ago when were discussing hon. Members' pay.
I should like to contrast what happened two years ago, in July 1983, with what is happening now in July 1985. We had controversial TSRB reports on both occasions. In 1983 the report dealt with hon. Members' salaries and this report of 1985 deals with the pay of senior civil servants, the judiciary and senior military officers. In 1983, Labour, with a few exceptions, argued for full implementation of Plowden, a 31 per cent. increase, when their own and our pay was involved.
§ Mr. Budgen
Will my right hon. Friend give way?
§ Mr. Hayhoe
Let me complete the point I am making. In 1983 my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House argued the case for restraint and long term staging. The deputy leader of the Liberal party in his speech on that occasion asked:What is the point of setting up review bodies to determine what our level of pay should be, allowing them to spend large sums in the process, and then ignoring what they recommend?" —[Official Report, 19 July 1983; Vol. 46, c. 288.]Let the hon. Gentleman remember those words.
What a contrast we see. Most Conservative Members voted for staged and smaller increases in our own pay and for the full increases, though staged, for senior public servants. Most Opposition Members—Labour Members, with a few notable exceptions, Liberal Members and SDP Members — voted for the full increase in their own salaries in 1983 and oppose a staged increase for public servants in 1985.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was right to condemn the synthetic indignation of the Opposition. The House should reject their amendment with vigour and contempt.
§ Mr. Ron Leighton (Newham, North-East)
I congratulate the Government on the wisdom of their policy. Last night many of us were extremely upset to hear that the Lord Chancellor was hard up.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The Minister of State had finished his speech.
§ Mr. Leighton
I am making my own speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As is my custom, it will he brief.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
§ Mr. Leighton
Many of my hon. Friends were extremely——
§ Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is this an intervention or is the hon. Gentleman making a speech?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I called the hon. Gentleman to make a speech.
§ Mr. Leighton
I am pleased to hear than an hon. Member may make a speech in the House. If the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) wishes to intervene. I shall give way.
I reiterate that the Opposition were touched to hear that the Lord Chancellor was hard up. I am sure that most of us were willing to grant him the extra £10,000 or £15,000 that he needs to make ends meet.
We have taken the wrong attitude. We ought to congratulate the Government on giving these good people 50 per cent. salary increases. My criticism of the Government is that ——
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Does the hon. Lady wish to raise a point of order?
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
No. I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wanted the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) to give way to me as he promised.
§ Mr. Leighton
I am certainly willing to give way.
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
The hon. Gentleman is doing the Lord Chancellor less than justice. He knows that the Lord Chancellor will not be taking the increase. The hon. Gentleman is misleading people into believing that the Lord Chancellor is waiting with his hand out for the money.
§ Mr. Leighton
If the Lord Chancellor is not really hard up, that takes a great burden off my mind. I thought that these top people were hard up and that we had to vote them an extra £5,000, £10,000 or £15,000 to keep the wolf from the door. If the hon. Lady assures me that the Lord Chancellor is not hard up, perhaps there is no problem.
However, the field-marshals, the admirals and all the other top people are hard up. At least, I am assured that they are hard up and that, therefore, as a matter of public policy, we must give them lots more money. They have a good shop steward and they must all be given thousands of pounds more.
Perhaps the Government are right. In congratulating them, I would say only that they are not going far enough. They should extend their wise policy that everyone should have a 50 per cent. pay increase. What about the teachers? Perhaps the teachers and everyone else should have a 50 per cent. increase.
Wisdom is dawning on the Government at last. Let the message go out to the nation that the Government say that everyone should have a 50 per cent. pay rise. I congratulate the Government on that signal.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Perhaps it would help the House if I reminded hon. Members that we are debating when we should adjourn for the summer recess.
§ Sir Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
I voted against the Government last night and if the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), who has been fulminating against the top people's pay increase, had been able to get a proper turnout from his supporters, the policy that he so dislikes would have been defeated.
However, as we knew would be the case and as has happened throughout this Session, there was not a proper turnout of Opposition Members. Yet even without that proper turnout, the Government received a severe shock from the debate and the vote. What lessons should they learn from that?
Even those who were most enthusiastic in supporting the Government generally conceded that the political handling of the issue had been inept. However, I suspect that Ministers may have derived some comfort from the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) who said that the Government's action was bad politics, but good government. I hope that Ministers will not take that message. I usually agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds, but in this instance he is wrong. The Government's action was bad politics and bad government.
§ Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)
My hon. Friend knows that the TSRB reports on top people's pay have been accepted in the past. What was different about the policy put forward last night? What was so wrong last night which has been right in the past?
§ Sir Philip Goodhart
I can give my hon. Friend one example. Under the Labour Government we had massive inflation and top people had to have massive salary increases merely to stand still. Because of this Government's wise policies, we do not have massive inflation and, therefore, it is less necessary to give those people substantial pay increases.
The Government's decision has made it more difficult for Ministers to put forward wise policies. Good government consists trying to remove the excessive divisions that make conflict within the community more likely rather than to exacerbate them.
The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) said in a thoughtful intervention last night that the Government were running three separate pay policies. He pointed out that they argued that young workers should price themselves into jobs and were implementing that policy by changing the structure of the wages councils. I think that that is the correct policy. It is one that I advocated before the Government took it up themselves. I wholly support the Government in their activities in that respect.
At the same time, the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney pointed out that the Government are telling those in the middle ranks of the public sector that they must show restraint, or inflationary monetary pressures will put the overall economic position in considerable jeopardy. Again, I believe that the Government are right in arguing this point.
When it comes to those at the top of the tree in the private and public sectors, the Government, again I think 1092 rightly, are arguing that the differential should be increased. But it requires very great skill to argue all three policies at one and the same time. By accepting the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Body the Government have made it much more difficult to do so. I think that the Minister will find it much more difficult in future to put forward these sensible policies, and I do not believe that this is good government.
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
As one who went through the same Lobby as my hon. Friend did last night, I wonder whether he has left one factor out of consideration in what he has said. Far from there being no good time for these matters to be dealt with so that one has to deal with them when they crop up, there is a good time for dealing with them, and this answers the last of his points in particular. When the economy is booming, one can do these things. However, when one is running an economy which might be a banana republic or lame economy, that is always the wrong time to give those who are in the best sense of the word parasitic, in that they are not wealth creators, an extra large amount of money.
§ Sir Philip Goodhart
Most certainly I do not accept my hon. Friend's point. I do not believe that the Government are presiding over a banana republic economy. We have one of the strongest economies in western Europe with a higher level of non-inflationary growth than any of our partners in the EEC.
§ Mr. Budgen
Does my hon. Friend understand whether the Government now believe in comparability? I understood that they regretted having underwritten the Clegg awards, that they were trying to get away from comparability, that, for that reason, they did not support the proposal of the review board two years ago in respect of the pay of Members of Parliament, and were trying to avoid it in other respects. I have not understood the Government's position from any of the speeches that we have heard in the last two days. Can my hon. Friend enlighten me?
§ Sir Philip Goodhart
That is a point on which my hon. Friend had better expand for himself. If I sought to deal with it, I would detain the House at excessive length.
I note that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Fairbairn) argued last night, again with some force, that Opposition Members were always hostile to pay increases for those at the top of the salary scale, and that they were against people with large incomes. I think that there is considerable force in my hon. and learned Friend's words. In the past decade, however, I have noticed that there has been a more ready acceptance by the public of the idea that differentials between the top——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will address the Chair rather than turn his back on it.
§ Sir Philip Goodhart
I believe that there has been a more ready acceptance that there should be wider differentials. By accepting, as they have done, the whole of the Top Salaries Review Body report, I think that the Government have inadvertently put a road block in the way of the wider acceptance of differentials by the public as a whole. I shall therefore vote against the amendment, and I shall support the Government wholeheartedly.
1093 I recall that towards the end of another debate some 45 years ago, when the majority of a Conservative Government fell very dramatically, Leo Amery stood up, pointed to Ministers on the Front Bench and said, "In the name of God, go!". I certainly have no intention of making any such dramatic pronouncement this afternoon.
My prosaic message to Ministers is this. In the name of common sense, go and have a good holiday, go and paddle on the beach, go and build sandcastles, go and read the excellent thriller by our colleague, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. What this whole episode shows is that the Government need a little rest. I am sure that they would not have made the decision that they have made had they not been as tired as Governments get at the end of a long Session. But, when Ministers return at the end of the summer recess, I hope that they will be a little more receptive to the views of Back Benchers, and will recognise that good government does not consist of trampling on the sensibilities of friends and supporters.
§ Mr. John Silkin (Lewisham. Deptford)
I hope that the hon. Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) will forgive me if I do not follow him. He and other hon. Members who have spoken in the debate have quite properly turned it into a debate on matters of national importance and great moment to the country as a whole. But the summer Adjournment by tradition is also a time for constituency problems, and I think that the House, and you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will forgive me if for a moment I bring it back to that.
A number of the speeches that have been made so far were so well argued that it was almost impossible to know whether hon. Members were in favour of an Adjournment or against it. I wish to put it to the Leader of the House, who I hope will respond to the debate in due course, that the House should not adjourn without a promise to intervene with the Home Secretary in a constituency matter, the matter of my constituent, Mr. Michael Thynne. I hope that the Leader of the House will ensure—and this has not always happened in the past — that the Home Secretary replies to my request today and that I get a favourable answer from him.
My constituent Mr. Thynne received a sentence of life imprisonment for a particularly odious crime — rape. The circumstances were appalling. At some time in 1983 he absconded from an open prison—I am putting the worst points first—and was at liberty for three months. He absconded later and was at liberty for three days. His term of imprisonment was then increased.
However, my constituent has come up for review by the parole board, which says that it will always report within six months. I have been writing to it since September 1984 because the review committee made a recommendation that the case of my constituent should be considered by the parole board as long ago as June 1984. Therefore, the question of the House adjourning for three months while that man has to wait to know what the parole board will decide is something that I, and I hope other hon. Members, find intolerable.
What the parole board decides is a matter for the board. But that a man should have to wait that length of time after 10 years of imprisonment is an absolute disgrace —[HON. MEMBERS: "What?"] It was 1975 when he was first convicted. He has applied for parole and, in the normal 1094 course of events, the decision of the parole board is given within six months. It is 13 months since he applied arid he is going through agony, and that should not happen.
I hope that the Leader of the House will take my point on board. It is to consider constituency cases as well as matters of national importance that Adjournment motions were instituted. It is important that we vote on the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), but I hope that the House will never lose sight of this opportunity to raise questions on behalf of our constituents.
§ Sir John Farr (Harborough)
We owe it to the Opposition that this afternoon we are. in part, debating the award for top people that was fully debated last night. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) mentioned public reaction. I did not attempt to intervene at that time because it was a little difficult. On Saturday I had three meetings in three different towns in my constituency, and on Sunday I had two further meetings in two other towns I met many people, but not one of them expressed opposition to the course taken by the Government. I have received only three letters from constituents objecting to the proposed increases.
If the country is to be run in a proper manner by top-class people, we must pay them the top-class rate for the job. If we cheat and cut down or ignore the recommendations of the review body, we deserve the fate of the country being run in a second-class way, which would be disadvantageous to everyone.
Having explained why I was pleased to vote for the Government last night—and would do so again—4 wish to raise another matter. We are discussing whether the House should adjourn on Friday, and I am tempted to support the Opposition amendment suggesting that we sit into next week. The Government have left a vacancy in their public information that should be made good before the House rises. It concerns the Government's attitude towards Northern Ireland and the discussions that have been held with the Republic of Ireland.
There has been so much rumour and mischievous talk about whether this or that decision has been taken that communities on both sides of the border in Ireland have real cause for concern and anxiety about what the future holds. I have every confidence that the Government will preserve the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. but I say that only because I know so well the Ministers who administer Northern Ireland so effectively. Public opinion in both the north and the south of Ireland does not take the same view of Ministers as that taken by hon. Members on both sides of the House.
It would have been proper and right to have had a debate next week to discuss the progress or otherwise of the talks between Ministers in London and in Dublin. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State could have given an analysis of the position, outlining the state of play. That would have set at rest any unjustified fears. He could have given the House an assurance chat when it returned there would be a full and early debate before any final decision was taken.
Many of my hon. Friends have said that the Government are tending to slip on banana skins, are prone to making mistakes and are bad at public relations. The matter I raise is an example of bad public relations. There is a growing need for knowledge in Northern Ireland about 1095 what, if anything, has transpired. A Government who are as conscious of good public relations as this Government should be would have recognised that defect and have taken the opportunity—and may yet do so next week—to make a public statement in the House that would have allowed a short exchange on both sides. It would have reassured hon. Members that the United Kingdom is to be preserved, so that we could then go away and enjoy a well-earned and prolonged recess.
§ Mr. James Molyneaux (Lagan Valley)
I cannot imagine that there will be any shortage of hon. Members able, willing and even eager to carry on the debate on the subject of the opening speeches. Therefore, I hope that the House will forgive me if I join my good friend the hon. Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) in seeking to divert its attention to a matter of rather greater concern to us, to the hon. Gentleman and to many of his hon. Friends. I refer to the worsening political position in Northern Ireland—something that could easily have been avoided had not the impression been deliberately given that fundamental decisions would be taken and that significant announcements would be made while the House was in recess.
I heartily support the hon. Gentleman's call that the House should meet next week. My colleagues and I are willing and eager to come here next week if the Secretary of State, even at this late stage, can be induced to lay before the House a factual and up-to-date report of what is or is not being discussed in the Anglo-Irish discussions. As the hon. Gentleman said, there is nothing more likely to cause confusion or prove a greater incentive to trouble makers than the current uncertainty and suspicion, which can be dispelled only by responsible Ministers.
In a similar debate on 26 March last I illustrated how an atmosphere of stability and confidence had been created by the Prime Minister's forthright statement after the Chequers summit with Dr. FitzGerald in November. I explained how, in the aftermath of that, there had been something like a sigh of relief from Protestants and Roman Catholics alike, who said to themselves and, more important, to each other, "Now at least we know where we stand."
In the debate in March I expressed fears that that stability, confidence and relief of tension were being put at risk and eroded by inspired leaks about the Anglo-Irish talks. That was four months ago, and who can say that I was wrong? Northern Ireland Ministers have forfeited confidence not just by refusing until today to clear the air and remove suspicion. They have allowed substance to be given to the leaked proposals.
The first leaked proposal was that of Dublin judges sharing benches with Her Majesty's judges in Belfast. How does that square with assurances of no weakening of the Union? The second was that Dublin's demand for the abolition of the Ulster Defence Regiment had met with the possible phasing out of the part-time element of that regiment. The third was the inexplicable decision in recent weeks to increase tension by curbing parades which in past years had caused only comparatively trivial incidents. Those three examples are wholly at variance with the Government's earlier rejection of joint control or shared sovereignty.
1096 Why has all that occurred? The answer is beginning to emerge through the same channel as was used for the inspired reports and leaks. It is that when British civil servants met their Dublin counterparts about six months ago—in the words of one of them, to repair the hideous damage done by "that woman" to Anglo-Irish relations —they offered the Dublin Government a consultative role in Northern Ireland affairs. Not surprisingly —Dublin politicians being old birds — Dublin said that consultation without real influence was worthless. Therefore, after months of haggling, it was decided to lay on demonstrations of good intent.
The Ulster judges were approached and suitably bullied. The Ulster Defence Regiment, apparently unacceptable to Dublin because Catholics would be murdered if they were to join, would have to be "trimmed", as The Guardian delicately put it. The Royal Ulster Constabulary was required to show its evidence of good intent and was forced to provide a demonstration of what it could do with a force of 2,000 in a situation where only 200 were required a year earlier.
We do not know whether Dublin has been impressed by those three examples of the results of consultation and advisory roles. It seems more likely that they will be regarded as a down payment and, like danegeld, more and more will be demanded.
Ulster people see all of those as the first fruits of the Anglo-Irish secret talks, and costly fruits they are and costly they will prove to be. The cost has been the greatest loss of confidence in Northern Ireland Ministers since the ill-fated Sunningdale experiment. They have succeeded in destroying in eight months all the stability that was established by the Prime Minister and the Government in the aftermath of the Irish Forum and the Chequers summit. And now, as the House prepares to adjourn for almost three months, I beg Ministers to desist from encouraging a monsoon of leaks, rumours, proposals, studies, deals and initiatives.
The hon. Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) suggested that the Government might be tired. I do not know whether he included in that remark his successors at the Northern Ireland Office. Tired or not, they should take a rest. Let us have an intermission in the weekly speculation by Ministers on the prospects of success of the Dublin talks.
To those Ministers who have plunged the Province into a state of unbelievable political confusion, we on this Bench say, "For God's sake, face up to the consequences of your indiscretions." On behalf of all who wish to preserve the democratic process, I suggest, as did Clem Attlee before me, that a period of silence from them would be welcome.
§ 7.5 pm
§ Mr. Jonathan Aitken (Thanet, South)
I am grateful for this opportunity before the House adjourns to speak on a subject of great interest to my constituents. I refer to the situation in the Kent coalfield, which has a reputation for being the smallest, most isolated, most militant—and, now, the most vulnerable — mining community in Britain. A large question mark hangs over its future. I wish to comment on its future and on the future of the economic activity and employment that surrounds the east Kent coalfield.
I should at the outset explain that about a quarter of the Kent miners live in my constituency, although the three 1097 pits are located in the constituency of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who is the most diligent of constituency Members and whose Cabinet responsibilities have not prevented him from being in his place as I raise this issue. I know that he shares many of the concerns and anxieties about his constituents that I now voice about mine.
The coal strike had a devastating, although predictable, effect on the Kent coalfield. Of the nine coal faces that were in production before the Scargill strike, five have been lost, two at Betteshanger, two at Snowdon and one at Tilmanstone. In addition to those geological losses, the Kent miners worsened their reputation for mindless militancy, for even after all other coalfields had returned to work the Kent men held out for a short period of senseless further strike.
Even after they went back, some of the most unpleasant acts of intimidation and victimisation of working miners took place in Kent. One sad statistic tells the story. Out of the 2,400 miners in Kent, 331 were working miners, but of those only 12 are today still employed in the Kent coalfield. The other 319 have left the industry and taken voluntary redundancy. The word voluntary in many cases should be in quotation marks because many of those men have been hounded out of the industry by the unpleasant and hostile attitudes of their colleagues.
That is a sad commentary on the deep and passionate divisions within the work force. But at least that phase of intimidation seems to be over. Just after the strike, one incident of intimidation was being reported to the police or NCB every day. In June there was only one such incident reported in the whole month, and there have been no reports of intimidation in July.
From my contacts with the NUM, and particularly with the NUM president, my constituent, Mr. Malcolm Pitt, I now detect not only a long overdue willingness to heal the wounds but a new mood of realism about the economic realities. Those realities are that it now costs £100 per tonne to mine coal in Kent. That coal can be sold on the market for only £50 a tonne. That is why the Kent coalfield is losing well over £2 million a month, or nearly £25 million a year. Those losses must be staunched if the Kent coalfield is to have a future.
Nobody on the Conservative Benches, in the Government or in the NCB wants to see the Kent coalfield close down. The new NCB manager in Kent, Mr. George McAlpine, is adamant in his view that he has arrived not to close a coalfield but to make it economically viable and successful. He and some leaders of the NUM believe that that can be done and that coal can be mined in Kent at half the present cost.
How is that to be achieved? First, there must be continuing improvement in management. For far too long the Kent coalfield was regarded as an appendage of the south midlands area. The most welcome change is that it has become a unit on its own. It has its own general manager with a short line of communication to the director of operations at Hobart house. That is a welcome management change. Secondly, the old reputation for union militancy has changed as well. That reputation meant clinging to outdated and inefficient styles of work on the surface and underground for far longer than at other coalfields. That must be replaced by new realism and new determination for productivity. Thirdly, a strategy must be 1098 arrived at for slimming down the work force. That has already been done eslewhere and 900 voluntary redundancies have already been taken.
As I have explained, the Tilmanstone pit is located in the constituency of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Rees), the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. It is scheduled for closure, subject to the colliery review procedure, in about nine months' time. Since the end of the strike it has cost £1 million a month to retain a mining presence at Tilmanstone, where 700 men have jobs. One new face has been in operation since 1 July. The NCB says that Tilmanstone face No. 5 has a life of only about nine months and that after that the exhausted pit must close. The NUM and NACODS are arguing—this is their case in the colliery review procedure—that face No. 5 has a much longer life, especially if mining operations can be extended to reach a nearby seam at a lower level.
It is not for me to prejudge the outcome of the colliery review procedure. I recognise that there are strong arguments on both sides. The good news is that they are both economic arguments that are based on realism. The Kent coalfield, whether it is at Tilmanstone or anywhere else, must achieve a production cost of £50 a tonne. If that is achieved, the field will have a chance of survival.
Employment prospects in the Kent coalfield are encouraging. First, there has been vigorous activity by NCB (Enterprise) Ltd., an organisation that has a special remit from the Secretary of State for Energy to create new jobs in areas that are affected by redundancy. It has already made a substantial investment of over £350,000 in an insulating material factory at central stores, which will create 95 new jobs in east Kent. Other investment projects are under active consideration involving up to £1 million in grants and loans from NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. This is good news for the business community and the job-creating world of Kent.
Secondly, there is a future for hitherto untapped coal-related industrial activity in Kent. One private company has estimated that 3.3 million tonnes of recoverable coal lie on discarded tips on the surface of Kent coalfields and that much of it could be recovered by modern technology at competitive prices, thereby creating 200 new jobs using NUM labour.
Finally, it should be reiterated that a viable coal industry with the £20 million to £25 million of economic activity that it creates is well worth fighting to preserve in the depressed economy of the area which I represent. If only the management and the work force can co-operate to reach the cost figure of £50 a tonne, which everyone agrees is attainable, I, for one, foresee a successful going concern for the Kent coalmines in future.
§ Mr. Willie W. Hamilton (Fife, Central)
It is clear that the Prime Minister herself was responsible for accepting with alacrity all the proposals in the report from the Top Salaries Review Body. The Opposition think that she hid a duty to the House and the country to defend the Government's decision in the form of a speech. The Procedure Committee is investigating the form in which Prime Minister's Question Time is handled, and I took the opportunity to send a memorandum to the Committee in which I observed that it is rather strange that the Prime Minister makes fewer speeches in the House than an active Back Bencher. She gets away with literally murder at 1099 Question Time. It is highly unsatisfactory that she is allowed to go from the beginning of a Session to the end of it without making one or two major speeches in the House.
The Leader of the House is an astute politician and he must recognise, whatever he said last night, and whatever he says this evening, that in accepting the report from the TSRB the Government have made asses of themselves. It is clear that there is a yawning chasm between the Prime Minister and the public. The hon. Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) told us that when he returned to his constituency he heard not one complaint about the report. He must be the only Conservative Member to have that experience. The majority of Conservative Back Benchers who voted against the Government's decision to increase the Lord Chancellor's salary did so to save their own skins. Most of them represent marginal constituencies and they know that they are on a hiding to nothing there as a direct consequence of the Government's acceptance of the report.
Today's edition of The London Standard states:It was the grossest piece of political ineptitude perpetrated by Mrs. Thatcher since she came to office.By jove, that is a claim. She and her poodles—I accept that the Leader of the House cannot be so described—seek to defend themselves. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Government's courage and boldness, but to others their decision reflected stupidity and insensitivity. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, the Government's action can be said to show ineptitude and callousness. At the same time that the Government were saying that some people deserved or needed an extra £23,000 a year, they were saying to others, "You must price yourself into a job by taking employment at 50 quid a week." So we have a Government whose policy is based on unfairness and ineptitude.
The Scottish teachers have been on strike for many months for a living wage. The highest salary that can be obtained in any school in Scotland is £21,000, and that is not payable to anyone now. However, the head of the Civil Service is to receive a £23,000 increase to maintain his morale, to prevent him going into private business, or whatever. No one can seriously pretend that the man needs such an increase. As The London Standard today rightly says, the people will never forget the Government's acceptance of the TSRB's report. The decision will haunt the Government from now until the next general election, and they know it.
The later edition of The London Standard tells us that the Prime Minister last night threatened to resign. When I first read the article I thought that the right hon. Lady had promised to do so. I was hoping that it was a promise. The article describes how the Government Chief Whip was taking into his office half a dozen Tory Back Benchers at a time — rather like the Gestapo —and telling them, "You either support us tonight or instead of going to the beaches of Spain, France or elsewhere, you will be trundling the streets in a general election campaign."
§ Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Government should introduce work-sharing for the top posts that are the subject of the TSRB report? If we had two people for the price of one, we might even have a better service.
§ Mr. Hamilton
The Government have suggested that that should be done in other sectors. This is an example of the double standards that we are getting from the Government. They say that low-paid workers must accept even lower wages to maintain or increase the number of jobs that are available. At the same time, they say to the people at the top who do not need the cash, "To maintain your morale and way of living you have to have a salary increase of £20,000 or £30,000"—in some instances an increase of 46 per cent.
I hope to get a more sympathetic response from the Leader of the House to my next point. Last Thursday, he said that the Government might find time to debate the recent report on Members' outside financial interests. On 4 July, writing in The Times, Mr. Anthony Bevins stated:Some MPs are more than doubling their £16,904 parliamentary salary with outside business consultancies under which they provide political `intelligence' to their paymasters.More than 140 MPs are acting as consultants and advisers to firms such as Imperial Tobacco, Grand Metropolitan Hotels, Texaco. British Aerospace, Tate and Lyle, and Rank Hovis McDougall, which are all in the top 50 British companies.He went on to say that some companies pay £5,000 a year per consultancy and that a number of Members of Parliament are consequently doubling their salaries.
§ Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I shall continue because I am going to refer to two Conservative Members. I gave them notice that I would do so. Peter Riddell, writing in the Financial Times, stated:The committee"—I have referred to its report—also discussed the increased number of secretaries and research assistants to MPs concurrently pursuing other vocations and using their access to parliament to further them. In evidence, Mr. Peter Luff, a director of Good Relations Corporate Affairs, who holds a pass as a research assistant to Sir Anthony Grant, Conservative MP for Cambridgeshire, South-West, said he held the pass, 'under great protest because it is the only way I can gain access to certain information."'A short time ago, the Leader of the House said, when replying to a question from me, that 120 Members had registered their parliamentary consultancies—an increase of 50 per cent. over last year. He did not say that the number of declared consultancies had also increased by 50 per cent. to more than 300.
The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) lists in the register three directorships and 22 consultancies or clients, including Thames Water, the Lead Development Association—that association held an exhibition upstairs last week, but I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman organised it—the Take-Away and Fast Food Federation, Kentucky Fried Chicken Ltd, the Cement and Concrete Association, the National Bus Company, Pye Telecommunications, London Country Bus Services Ltd and the Scottish Transport Group. I had a word with the hon. Gentleman just before the debate started and told him what I would say. He has defended himself on the ground that his parliamentary salary is inadequate —£16,000-plus is not enough. However, we may not know how much he is paid for his consultancy work or what he does to earn it. God knows what these companies think that they will get from a Back Bencher for this service, but they must think it is worthwhile.
§ Mr. Peter Fry (Wellingborough)
To be attacked by the hon. Gentleman is often regarded by Conservative 1101 Members as a compliment. It is almost a battle honour that one wears with pride. So far, the hon. Gentleman has not shown that anything that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) or I have done is in any way improper or in any way offends against the rules of the House. It is up to the hon. Gentleman to make it clear if he thinks that there is anything improper. If so, he owes it to us, as Members of Parliament, to spell out his claim so that we can adequately answer it.
§ Mr. Hamilton
The hon. Gentleman can make his own speech. I am putting on the record what is in the Register of Members' Interests. That is a voluntary register. Of course the hon. Gentleman is acting within the rules, but certain conventions should be followed. I believe that a Member is elected to represent his constituents, not to line his pockets, as is so blatantly done by an increasing number of hon. Members, especially Conservatives.
§ Sir Anthony Grant (Cambridgeshire, South-West)
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice that he would raise this matter. Is he, or is he not, alleging any impropriety against me or any of my hon. Friends?
§ Mr. Hamilton
Indeed, I am. The hon. Gentleman never misses an opportunity to ask the Leader of the House, as he did last Thursday, for a debate on an early-day motion that specifically refers to the privatisation of local authority services in which he has financial interests.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I think that I heard the hon. Member allege impropriety or improper conduct. He may disagree with the rules, but he must not make personal allegations of that kind.
§ Mr. Hamilton
If I implied impropriety, of course I withdraw. I would not act in that way. I would not use the Order Paper or the procedures of the House to further my outside financial interests, which have nothing to do with the people who elected me. I leave it at that.
When I was talking to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West about this matter, he asked, "Why pick on me?" That is a fair question. I could have picked scores of others. I shall put the activities of some hon. Members on the record. They are all Conservative Members. The list includes the hon. Member for Horsham (Sir P. Hordern), who registers— I do not know how many are not registered—three directorships and four consultancies, the hon. Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith)——
§ Mr. Nicholls
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I shall continue. The list includes the hon. Member for Wealden, who is the Chairman of the Select Committee on Members' Interests and has four directorships and three consultancies, the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths)——
§ Mr. Nicholls
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for an Opposition Member to refer to all the directorships which he thinks Conservative Members have without pointing out that many of his colleagues have directorships as well?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
It is quite in order. This is not a matter for me.
§ Mr. Hamilton
The hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) can make his own speech.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Hamilton
The hon. Gentleman has made his point. I am going to put on the record what should be on the record.
§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)
Perhaps I can help the hon. Gentleman in getting this point on the record. Is he implying that the possession of these outside interests influences the way in which those hon. Members behave in the House?
§ Mr. Hamilton
It may well do. The code of conduct laid down for local councillors is much more stringent than the code for hon. Members. Farmers and directors of companies can go into the Lobbies——
§ Mr. J. F. Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)
Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I know that this is irritating Conservative Members, but I shall put these points on the record. I am asserting that the code of conduct laid down for local councillors is much more stringent than the code for hon. Members who can vote for vast sums of money for their farms and companies without fear or favour. That is a big temptation. From the record of hon. Members' outside interests it is clear that they are using this place to further their private financial interests. A few weeks ago I gave an example of that in the House when a lobby correspondent drew to my attention the fact that two hon. Members were in the pay of drug companies. When the drug companies were in bad odour a few months ago, those two hon. Members tabled 70 oral questions to the Department of Health and Social Security.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that he must relate his remarks to whether we should adjourn in accordance with the motion before the House. Secondly, he must not allege that hon. Members are using this place to further their financial interests.
§ Mr. Biffen
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is a legitimate matter for debate, but debate cannot proceed with this type of innuendo, unless it is clearly established that hon. Members are using this place to enhance their financial position. I suggest that to make that allegation is an infringement. It is important that the House should know your ruling on the matter.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have made it clear that the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) must not make an allegation of that sort.
§ Mr. Biffen
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The allegation has been made. May I suggest that it be withdrawn?
§ Mr. Hamilton
The allegation has not been made. I am merely laying the facts before the House to let hon. Members and the country make their deductions from them. I have put some of the facts on the record. As the Leader of the House has made it clear that he is sympathetic to such a debate, I hope that he will find time for one in the autumn because much more remains to be said about these matters than I have been able to say now.
A few weeks ago, when I attended the annual meeting of the United Kingdom America Parliamentary Association, the secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Deakins), said that a dinner was to be held later in the year for an anniversary celebration or some other reason. He sought to book a room downstairs, 1103 but they were all booked until the end of the year. I am not making any assertions, but the Select Committee and I are worried at what goes on in those rooms night after night. I hope that if I ask the Chairman of the Select Committee, the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Irving), for a list of the names of hon. Members who have booked the rooms and for whom, he will give me that information.
§ Mr. Charles Irving (Cheltenham)
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to correct him? The rooms are all booked until the end of next year because the quality is so good.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accede to my request for that information. Will he give me the names of hon. Members who have booked those rooms, and state the purpose?
§ Mr. Nicholas Soames (Crawley)
The hon. Gentleman may care to know that on Monday night this week I addressed the Kettering rotary club—an institution of the highest probity—in Dining Room A. I hope that he does not seek to cast a slur on it.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I am not casting slurs on anybody. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Will the hon. Member for Cheltenham guarantee to give me that information because even the Select Committee has expressed anxiety about the probable abuse of both Dining Rooms and Committee Rooms in the House? When the Speaker, who was at the meeting, heard that the rooms were fully booked, he generously offered his banqueting room, or whatever it is called, to the association, which it accepted.
The report is an important one. It impinges on the integrity of the House. If it is not debated, rumours will circulate in the press and outside. When the Leader of the House replies, I hope that he will undertake to find time to debate the report in October.
§ Sir Anthony Grant (Cambridgeshire, South-West)
The only comment I would make on the mean speech of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) is that it tells us something about his mind. I am satisfied that, when compelled to do so, he withdrew allegations of impropriety.
To return to more serious matters, it was with great regret that last night I found myself unable to support the Government. Tonight I have no hesitation in supporting them. I resent the fact that the official Opposition have chosen to take up time with this motion. They had the whole of yesterday to debate the matter, but they chose to put up only one speaker. Traditionally, this is a time when Back Bench Members can raise constituency matters, as I propose to do now.
I can give the House a much better reason for not adjourning than that offered by the Opposition Front Bench. I do not want the House to rise until there has been an opportunity to consider coroners' courts and the appointment of coroners. I am prompted to do so by the tragic case of Harriet English, the daughter of my agent in south-west Cambridgeshire.
Harriet died in horrific circumstances in the London Clinic. She was 22, and a completely fit and, indeed, athletic girl. On 19 May she felt tired after playing 1104 badminton, and later she complained of a pain in her shoulder. A general practitioner, Dr. Barretto, was consulted. He diagnosed a torn ligament, and administered an injection to ease the pain. During the following days, she became extremely ill, and, in the absence of Dr. Barretto, she was treated by his partners. During four days she got worse, and was ultimately rushed to the London Clinic where she died in agonising circumstances. The cause was said to be septicemia, which was at no time diagnosed. Obviously, the doctors recognised that something serious was wrong because the pain-killing drugs were strong ones used only in serious cases.
The death of a healthy 22-year-old girl in four days after being injected for a painful shoulder calls for a meticulous investigation. On 17 July the inquest at Westminster raised as many questions as it sought to resolve. How did she get septicemia? Why was it not diagnosed? What drugs should have been used? What was the effect of the drugs that were administered? Yet the verdict of the coroner, Dr. Knapman, was natural causes. That seems extraordinary. A verdict of death by misadventure would have been more realistic. However, probably an open verdict would have been the wisest decision.
I intend to bring the whole matter to the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General so that he can consider whether there should be a judicial review to bring out the missing facts. However, in the House now I want to raise the broad question of coroners' courts and the appointment of coroners. Coroners' inquests are inevitably highly emotional, being concerned with life and death, and tragedy. They must be conducted with scrupulous care and in accordance with the highest judicial standards. Unlike some courts dealing with quite minor matters, the only appeal from them is by leave of the Attorney-General. Perhaps the informal style of conducting inquests is appropriate in some cases, but in major cases that is not so.
Coroners must, by statute, be lawyers of five years' standing or more, or legally qualified medical practitioners. Most frequently coroners seem to fall into the latter category. They seem to be primarily doctors and only to a lesser extent people with legal qualifications. For my part, I believe that it is desirable for a corner to be a person of legal and judicial experience rather than primarily medical experience. Very often at inquests, the conduct of medical practitioners comes into question. Let me emphasise that I am not making any suggestions of impropriety against Dr. Knapman, but it is important that inquests be conducted in such a way that justice is not only done but seen to be done, as we require in the major courts. That is especially so if complex medical evidence is involved and has to be sifted by lawyers. It might even be desirable for major inquests, or ones of great complexity, to be conducted by a High Court or senior judge brought in for the occasion. That would give greater confidence to the unfortunate people involved.
That is the point of principle that I seek to make. My unfortunate constituents know that nothing can bring their daughter back, but they seek all the facts so that others may be spared Harriet's tragic fate.
§ Mr. Ian Wrigglesworth (Stockton, South)
I am mindful of the comments that the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) made about the use of the time in this debate, particularly because I 1105 am sympathetic to the views that he has just put forward, which many hon. Members with experience of coroners' courts will share. There is widespread anxiety about the way in which they operate, particularly in some recent prominent cases.
However, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand the anxiety, which many hon. Members share, about the implications of the events over the past two or three days connected with the top pay award, which further undermines the Government's economic policy. I am sure that he will also understand our belief that, because of that, there is a case for extending the present Session to provide an opportunity for a much fuller debate than last night's debate to consider the implications of the past two or three days.
In the light of the amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), this is also an opportunity to consider Labour's alternatives to what the Government have done and to the pay policy that the Government are or are not pursuing, as the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) said in an intervention. The credibility of the case put by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was undermined by the fact that he had no alternative to bring forward to the House and the country from the Labour party's locker as a way of resolving such problems.
Last night's vote was unprecedented in the Government's period of office. It was in fact a vote of no confidence in the Government by their own supporters. I think that it will be seen by the country as a vote of no confidence. As Conservative Members so ably showed last night, it is a vote of no confidence in the Government's pay policy.
On several occasions, in interventions to the Chancellor and other Ministers, I have criticised the lack of a coherent pay strategy or policy. That was made absolutely clear in Conservative Members' speeches during last night's debate. The events of the past two or three days, the Government's acceptance of the top pay award and the reaction to it are an inevitable consequence of the Government having no strategy for pay in either the public or the private sector.
Pay in the private sector is now increasing by around 9 per cent. a year. Clearly, that will further undermine the Government's economic policy. However, in the public sector there has been different treatment for different public sector workers since the Government came to office. For example, the police and the armed services have been marching ahead of people in other parts of the public sector, whereas teachers, those in the National Health Service and civil servants have been held back unjustifiably compared with increases in the private sector.
There is no doubt that the award, which the Government have allowed to go ahead with no staging, has undermined the Government's exhortations to workers in the private sector to restrain their claims, and their exhortations to members of the Confederation of British Industry and employers to resist pay claims that will make British industry less competitive. It has undermined the Government's policy towards the teachers and the nurses, to whom a staging agreement was offered, so that their 8.5 per cent. increase was phased over a period. It has undermined the whole of that strategy, if one can give it that name.
1106 That is the result of the high pay awards and seeking to accept the basis of comparability contained in the top salaries review. The problem has been with us for many years. Not only Conservative but Labour Governments have had a great deal of experience over the past two decades. A great deal of work has been done. The Government swept away the pay research unit after they came to office and established the Megaw committee to look into ways of introducing a new system of settling Civil Service pay, but as yet, after all those years in office, the Government have still not succeeded in reaching any agreement on a sensible method of comparability and settling pay disputes and negotiations in either the Civil Service or other parts of the public sector.
Our view, based largely on the detailed and comprehensive work by the Megaw committee, is that the recommendations from the ad hoc and inconsistent inquiries should be swept away and replaced by a comprehensive system of comparability between the public sector and the private sector. A proper non-inflationary comparability system is the only real solution to the problem. Different sectors of different workers have been left to catch up after a period, such as the teachers with the Houghton award, or other public sector workers with the Clegg award. If public sector workers fall behind, as they have done in those instances and on this award, inevitably any hope of a sensible pay strategy for the whole country is undermined.
The past two decades show that that system is the key to getting the economy into equilibrium and to getting expansion and people back to work without inflation. That is why there is an overwhelming case for supporting the amendment and for giving the House an opportunity to debate this central economic issue—how to determine public sector pay and avoid the knock-on effect of high and unjustifiable pay awards such as the Government have given top people.
§ Mr. Christopher Murphy (Welwyn Hatfield)
I support the anxieties expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) regarding the future relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic and the request by the leader of the Ulster Unionist party for a statement on current discussions between officials in Dublin, Belfast and London. That must be essential for the stability and development of the Province, which should be of concern to us all.
Before the House rises for the summer recess, it should have the opportunity to consider wind energy. Any mention of the advantages of wind for hon. Members is open to misinterpretation and perhaps energy at the end of the Session is more than usually difficult to summon up. However, alternative sources of power deserve increasing attention.
Several options have been considered, including geothermic, wave and tidal power, but current development shows that the greatest potential might lie with wind energy. Its advantages are considerable, but the most striking is that it derives from a consistently available resource which is natural and renewable.
Additional to the economic pluses of saving or replacing the use of expensive fossil fuels arid the reduction of dependence on imported energy or on unreliable sources due to industrial disruption are the environmental advantages, including the lack of 1107 atmospheric pollution. British Aerospace is a major company in my constituency and its experience, derived from propellers and high performance engineering, has been put to good effect as a member of the Wind Energy Group. Windmills, which are often less romantically referred to as wind turbine generators, are already in use and under construction, making a valuable addition to the production of electricity, but anxiety that we may not lead the way as we should in windmill technology must be sounded.
Because of a lack of speed in initial Government support for such activity in the United Kingdom, despite undoubted and leading expertise, the competition must now be overtaken. It would be another example of lost opportunity if the Central Electricity Generating Board and others had to look overseas to buy windmills.
§ Mr. Pawsey
Is my hon. Friend aware that, in south Warwickshire, the National Coal Board is proposing to invest £500 million to develop a new super-pit? Would my hon. Friend care to speculate on how the companies involved in the development of alternative sources of power might spend that money if it were made available to them?
§ Mr. Murphy
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. His deep understanding of the problems of energy leads me to my next point. The involvement of different Ministries has perhaps contributed to the difficulties to which I have referred. The Department of Energy and the Department of Trade and Industry are already involved, and the Overseas Development Administration might now also be involved, with potential for export to Third world nations. The Government should consider a lead Ministry for alternative energy development. Companies such as British Aerospace, which are involved in the Wind Energy Group projects, would then benefit directly from such money.
British Aerospace has also been deeply involved with the European Space Agency, which has pointed the way on international co-operation. An example of the benefits of such co-operation has been the company's prime contractor role for the Giotto spacecraft, which has successfully been launched to encounter Halley's comet and deserves all our congratulations. Such an agency might be an appropriate way in which to advance with alternative energy to minimise experimentation costs and to maximise earning potential. New job opportunities might also flow from that.
Right hon. and hon. Members are often accused of tilting at windmills. On this occasion, before the House rises, perhaps such tilting will have been put to some good effect.
§ Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)
I shall not follow what the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Murphy) said about Northern Ireland but rather follow what my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said about the amendment concerning the thorny subject of whether the Lord Chancellor's salary should be £77,000 a year to stay £2,000 a year ahead of that of the Lord Chief Justice. That is a singular reason for giving a man £77,000 a year.
1108 I recall a time in my distant past when, if I may quote L.P. Hartley, things were done differently. I remember why pit pay was kept low—pitmen had free coal and lodging. The houses in which they lived belonged to the coal owners. When the Lord Chancellor is given £77,000 a year, no reference is made to his having free coal and lodging — or rather, free heating, rates and accommodation.
As it happens, I have a soft spot for the Lord Chancellor. When I heard that his salary increase was to be debated in the House, I laid a side bet that he would not take it. I knew my man, or rather I knew the noble Lord who sits on the Woolsack, and who has the unique distinction of being head of the legal profession, a member of the Cabinet and at the same time Speaker of the upper House. The post was not envisaged by Montesequieu when he wrote about the separation of the powers.
I have a soft spot for the Lord Chancellor because he was part and parcel of my first political act. I heckled him during the general election campaign of 1964 when he visited Newcastle upon Tyne. I doubt whether, in this day and age, I could have got close enough to a Conservative Minister to heckle him, but that is how it was in those days.
§ Mr. Murphy
The hon. Gentleman is making very kind references to my noble Friend. Is he aware that my noble Friend's involvement has enhanced many a Conservative cause? I can bear witness to that in my constituency. He has come to support me in each general election I have fought there and each time I have been returned with an increased majority.
§ Mr. Bell
I am sure that, during his long career, the noble Lord has enhanced many Conservative causes. I remember that, in the late 1950s, I shared one distinction with Lord Soper—we never understood the noble Lord when he talked about the British empire. I have not had an opportunity to discuss his views since then, but I am sure that he may have been as opaque in other directions as he was on that subject.
There is another reason why the Lord Chancellor is close to my heart. He was Minister with responsibility for the north-east in 1963 when we had a compassionate Conservative Government which sent him to the nort-heast——
§ Mr. J. D. Concannon (Mansfield)
Wearing a flat cap.
§ Mr. Bell
—when we had high unemployment there.
My right hon. Friend refers to his flat cap. The fact is that the noble Lord got as far as Darlington in a bowler hat, but when he reached Darlington he changed it for a flat cap. However, his visit resulted in the building of the Newcastle and Teesside airports and a road infrastructure in the north-east. He helped us to build up the region so that when, thankfully, in 1964 a Labour Government were returned to power we were able to build upon his efforts. I have to tread somewhat carefully because the noble Lord is also the head of my profession. That happens to be one of my declared interests. I am aware of the fact that I am sailing close to the wind. The point is that the Government have deemed it necessary to give a salary increase to the noble Lord that increases his salary to £77,000 a year.
A great deal was made of what the Chief Secretary described as "synthetic indignation". Unfortunately, there was nothing synthetic about the public indignation. Those 1109 who receive invalidity benefit live in dread that a Department of Health and Social Security medical examination will remove them from the sick list to the dole queue. Those who are seriously ill now find that the prescriptions for the drugs which are necessary for their survival cost £4.50 each. My constituents in Middlesbrough have to wait longer and longer for home improvement grants. The changes in the regulations mean that those who are young and homeless have to sleep rough. These people, and others like them, realise that under the social security review they will be the losers. They perceive that there is one rule for the rich and another rule for the rest of us.
Last night, one hon. Member referred to the fact that the implementation of the 1978 top salaries review by the Labour Government was followed by the general election in 1979. More aptly, he might have said that the freezing of nurses' pay in 1962 led to the electoral defeat of the Conservative party in 1964. To use a colloquialism, by implementing the top salaries award the Government have revealed to the people of this country that they believe in a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power to the rich. This perception will not be clouded by rhetoric, news management or any other manipulative sleight of hand. It has left an indelible impression upon the low paid.
I ought to refer briefly to what low pay is. The Low Pay Unit defines low wages asat or below two-thirds of the median (mid-point of the distribution) earnings of full-time male workers, giving a figure for 1984–85 of £107 for a basic 39 hour week or £2.75 an hour for part-timers). This is very close to the TUC's minimum wage 'target' of £104 and to the Council of Europe's 'decency threshold' for earnings as specified under Article 4 of the European Social Charter. 'This is set at 68 per cent. of average male/female earnings, yielding a 1984–85 figure for Britain of £108.32 a week.All those people must wonder why the Government are giving top salaries to special categories of people while they have to live upon what is described as a "decency threshold". If that is linked to the fact that wages councils are to be abolished for those under the age of 21 and that the role of wages councils is to be limited to fixing hourly rates and overtime rates, one wonders how shop workers will be affected by the Government's trading proposals.
The entire purpose of the Government's review of shop opening hours was that if shops were to be allowed to open on Sundays there was no need to make special provision for shop workers; they could be dealt with by means of other legislation and their wages could be settled by the wages councils. If legislation is to be introduced which allows shops to open on a Sunday and if shop workers are expected to have recourse to the wages councils to look after their rights, they will find that the role of the wages councils has been reduced and that for those under 21 years of age they have been abolished altogether. This legislation will therefore lead to the low paid being put at a disadvantage.
In a letter, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers says of the Government's proposed legislation on Sunday trading and its consequences in my constituency of Middlesbrough:Some of us want to go to church on Sundays in order to give expression to our religious beliefs. Others of us find that Sunday is the only day of the week when all the family can be together, and it is important that the bonds with our families and friends should not be broken. Our employers have told us they do not 1110 want to open the shop on Sundays and will not be the first to do so, but they warn us that if the shop across the road is open and we are not, we will be forced to do likewise.That letter relates to Sunday activities, to low pay and in the end to the Government's policy.
The Government are on a slippery slope. They have found that events are slipping out of their reach. Instead of having control over events, they have lost control. It will take some time before the walking on the pavement, to which the Chief Whip is alleged to have referred when his colleagues were threatening to vote against the Government, comes about, but when that walking on the pavement takes place it will be the walking of voters to the polls. When they do so, they will decisively reject this Government. We have to wait patiently, but:Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.The electorate are in that position. They will grind slowly, but they will grind properly. They will grind this Government into the dust.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)
Order. Most speeches in this debate have been admirably short. I hope that this pattern will continue. Eight other hon. Members wish to speak before the wind-up speeches at about 20 minutes to nine o'clock. I therefore appeal for brevity.
§ 8.9 pm
§ Mr. J. F. Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)
I should like to follow in the footsteps of my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken) and refer to the National Coal Board. One matter which should be drawn to the attention of the House before we rise for the recess is the NCB's proposals for mining coal in Warwickshire in what it calls the south Warwickshire prospect. That includes a substantial part of my constituency.
The matter is urgent, and we should discuss it before rising for the recess, because the National Coal Board is even now having discussions with local authorities to fix a site for the proposed new pit complex. Those discussions are taking place without the benefit of any debate in this House.
We should have an opportunity to consider three basic principles. First, taking into account changing technology, will the coal be required in the 21st century? Secondly, can the expected investment of about £500 million be found? Thirdly, if the earlier conditions are satisfied, could not the coal be obtained from existing pits in Warwickshire, such as Coventry colliery and Daw Mill? The House should have an opportunity to express its opinion on those important matters.
The board's quoted investment figure of £500 million represents a substantial sum of public money — large even by the standards of the House——
§ Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhondda)
§ Mr. Pawsey
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman agrees with me.
It might help the House if I gave some details of the National Coal Board's time scale. By the end of this year, it hopes to have fixed a site for the pit complex. By the middle of next year, planning applications will have been submitted. By 1988, the board hopes that the site works will start, and hopes that the first coal will emerge by 1998. That time scale should not blind the House to the 1111 size and urgency of the problem. Once projects of this size begin, they seem to develop their own momentum, a momentum which it becomes difficult to control.
The NCB would not have put forward this proposal if it did not believe that the funding was readily available. Indeed, it would not now be discussing with the local authorities the site of the new super-pit if it did not believe that the money was available.
The south Warwickshire prospect will produce about 3 million tonnes of coal a year. It will be high-quality coal extracted from deep seams about 14 ft thick. The coal will be of sufficient quality to be used in industry, in the domestic market and in power stations. Indeed, about 60 per cent. of it is earmarked for the power stations of the Central Electricity Generating Board. However, will the CEGB require those enormous quantities of coal? We should remember the nuclear alternative, which is cheaper and cleaner than the extraction of power from fossil fuels. With nuclear power, there is no problem with acid rain or with the disposal of ash. There is no need for trucks and trains to move the coal to power stations. The NCB must prove that this enormous investment will benefit the nation, and not merely the board.
Hon. Members will recall that we have just come through a long and bitter coal dispute, which produced intimidation on a scale never envisaged in the United Kingdom. Those activities do not demonstrate responsibility. It is noteworthy that Mr. Scargill still preaches no pit closures, the class war, and the message of the strike. Against that background, are we justified in investing £500 million in this new super-pit?
§ Mr. Rogers
Will the hon. Gentleman come clean and say that the real reason why he and his constituents are against the pit is that it will intrude into a beautiful area of Great Britain? I might support him if he put forward that argument, and I will expect his support when I ask for some marginal investment by the coal board in areas such as the Rhondda valley, which I represent, and which has between 30 and 90 per cent. unemployment, skilled miners available, an infrastructure of education, transport and communications and people extremely anxious to work. We also live in a beautiful part of the country, but we have learned how to get rid of our despoliation. I will support him if he is honest, and I expect him to support me in future.
§ Mr. Pawsey
The hon. Gentleman anticipates my speech. If he listens patiently, he will hear my argument. I look forward to his continuing support.
The NCB says that the area of search lies between Coventry and Kenilworth. To paraphrase the words of the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers), it is a green and pleasant land. The pit complex will cover one square kilometre. I am delighted to see my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Energy, who has responsibility for coal, now in his place. Knowing his interest, concern and conscientiousness, I would have been surprised were he not here. I am grateful to him for listening to my arguments.
The pit complex, which will cover one square kilometre, will include winding towers, a coal treatment plant, car parks for trucks and a massive coal storage area. The operation will involve between 300 and 500 lorry 1112 movements a day. It will involve the movement of 10 large trains each day. All this is in a green belt, which is already under considerable threat.
If the National Coal Board can justify the need for the coal, why should it not be extracted from the pits at Daw Mill or at Coventry? It seems that the only argument against the development of those pits is an economic one, but there is more at stake than pure economics. The environment must be protected. If there is a larger national interest, I take note of it, but the interests of those who live in what the hon. Member for Rhondda and I agree is a green and pleasant land should also be considered.
I recognise that planning applications must be submitted to the likely mineral authority, which is Warwickshire county council. I am also aware that we can have section 52 agreements and environmental impact assessments. Those conditions will help to safeguard the amenities of the area, but they are not enough. Therefore, will my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House consider using the machinery that exists in the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 to set up a planning inquiry commission? That commission would be empowered to examine the entire issue in depth. It would examine the board's proof of needs and the environmental issues, and it would assess the transport considerations and implications, and the attitude of the public. It would give us an opportunity to evaluate the views expressed at two large public meetings—one attended by 350 people and the other by more than 700. The hon. Member for Rhondda was right to imply the depth of feeling in my constituency.
The position has changed since the inquiries into the Asfordby and Vale of Belvoir pits. We have had the Sizewell inquiry, with all its implications for the CEGB. We have had the miners' strike, and we know its implications for the industry. We are aware of the changing demands for coal and of the new technology that is emerging. All those matters would fall within the remit of a planning inquiry commission. It could and would examine those matters, and there is certainly time for such a commission to be set up. I ask my right hon. Friend to consider my suggestion and, at the right time, to give it his unqualified support.
§ Mr. Don Dixon (Jarrow)
I support the amendment because it highlights the Government's attitude to two nations. It speaks about both the Top Salaries Review Body awards and the treatment of the wages councils. The Government believe in the north and the south, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick being divided.
It is disgraceful that the Government have singled out the lowest paid and then suggested that the abolition of the wages councils would create jobs. All that will happen is that unscrupulous employers will sack workers over 21 and employ youngsters on a lower wage than they are already getting under the wages councils. Wages councils wages are already low. In 1974, they were 73 per cent. of the national average and in 1984 only 65 per cent. Some of the wages in the hairdressing profession are only £57 a week. My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) spoke about the Council of Europe's decency wage threshold of £108 a week, which shows how poorly some people are still paid.
The Government have already attacked the wages councils. They have cut the wages inspectorate and 1113 unscrupulous employers are not being prosecuted when they do not pay the already low wages suggested by the wages councils. Last night, there was a rebellion on the Tory Benches. I would have been more impressed if it had been because they recognised the injustice of the TSRB awards rather than because they were looking after their own skins for the next general election.
None of my constituents will be affected by the TSRB awards, but a number will be affected by the proposals about the wages councils. A few days ago, we had a statement from the Secretary of State for Defence about the naval dockyards. He spoke about commercial management, but I do not think that he realised that, until 1977, the shipyards had commercial management, which virtually ruined the shipbuilding industry. One of the reasons for the high unemployment in my constituency is the commercial management of the shipbuilding industry. We do not need any lessons from the Government about that.
The Secretary of State for Defence spoke about reports, but in 1962 we had the Paton reports on the shipbuilding industry, in 1966 the Geddes report and in 1972 the BoozAllen report. Every one of those independent reports criticised the commercial independent and private management of the shipbuilding industry. If the right hon. Gentleman were to take his suggestion of commercial management to its logical conclusion, he should sign the armed forces over to the mercenaries rather than have to pay the admirals and generals the fat increases suggested by the TSRB.
My constituency has been damaged by this Government since 1979. We have miners not millionaires, engineers not racketeers, shipbuilders not shipowners; they have all been hit by the Government's policies. In 1930, unemployment in Jarrow was 30 per cent. above the national average. Today, it is 40 per cent. above the national average and 46 per cent. of those who are unemployed have been unemployed for more than 12 months. That is the effect of the Government's policies.
We should not adjourn and swan off on our foreign holidays until we have had a statement from the Government about their attitudes and policies to the second nation that they have created.
Not only have the unemployed and the sick been hit; the pensioners have suffered. When the London Regional Transport Act was in Committee, the Government underwrote concessionary bus passes for pensioners in London, but refused to do so for pensioners in the rest of the country. That exemplifies the Government's attitude. Pensioners have also been hit by the closure of sub-post offices and the loss of such services as doorstep delivery of milk. They need protection, not attack, from the Government.
I support my right hon. Friend's amendment because I want the Prime Minister to make a statement on the wages councils and to explain to the House and the nation why she is attacking those at the bottom of the scale while she is giving fat increases to those at the top. My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough referred to the Lord Chancellor's salary. We in the north realise that, when the noble Lord was Minister with responsibility for our region, he did a tremendous amount of work on the infrastructure there. It is a pity that the Government do not continue the philosophy that he carried out when he was a Minister.
§ Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)
Despite the way in which the debate was opened, I suspect that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is still thinking of taking a holiday in the near future. If he is still of that mind, he could do a lot worse than consider going to Teignbridge. It is an excellent constituency, the full delights of which I set out in my maiden speech so many years ago. However, if my right hon. Friend were thinking of going down to Dartmoor and of dropping in at. Two Bridges, which is a beauty spot in that area, he would find that others had got there before him. He would find there the remnants of the "peace convoy" of Stonehenge fame.
Perhaps many hon. Members regard hippies and hippydom with a certain nostalgia and think that hippies are an arcadian delight, splendid and marvellously charming creatures with long flowing hair, even if it no longer meets in the middle. However, the reality for the people in my part of the world is different.
I can do no better than quote from a letter in which the 'director general of the National Trust wrote to The Times about the peace convoy when it was at Stonehenge. He said:Crowds of festival-goers disported themselves on the stones in scenes closer to desecration than to religion. About 1,000 young trees were torn or cut down; trenches and holes were dug with disregard for the ancient barrows; fences were ripped up, and a scarred landscape of burnt-out vehicles and rubbish was the legacy of the festival.The people who live in my constituency and own private land that has been invaded by these people are now having to endure such conditions, as I saw when I went clown there.
The rights of an Englishman come in many shapes and sizes. I would be the first to concede that one of them is that if a person wants to live his life in foulness, degradation, indolence and squalor, he should be allowed to do so. However, it is not his right to expect that such a life should be paid for by the taxpayer. Neither is it right that he should expect to be entitled to flout the law because of the way that he exercises his lifestyle.
Despite the fact that the vehicles in the peace convoy are manifestly unroadworthy and profoundly dangerous to anybody who might come into contact with them, the law is powerless. Mercifully, after the Police and Criminal Evidence Act comes into effect on 1 January 1986, the sections of it that deal with this problem will ensure that that side of things is taken care of. No longer will a hippy be able to tell a policeman that he is a little ray of sunshine or Donald Duck from Disneyland and be certain that his vehicle will not be taken off the road.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will take on board the fact that, under the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976, anybody who qualifies for supplementary benefits should be available for work. It is manifestly clear from the way in which these people live and travel from one part of the country to another and try to disguise who they are and what there whereabouts are that they are not making themselves available for work.
I hope that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will be prepared to consider the guidance being given to the adjudication officer, who has to decide these matters if supplementary benefit officers are not convinced that a person is available for work. I hope that he will say that this is an abuse of the way that the supplementary benefit system works, and of the system and should not be 1115 countenanced. People should not be able to use taxpayers' money in that way, because that is not the reason for which supplementary benfits were instituted. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to give me some comfort that in future outrages of that sort will not be financed by the taxpayer.
§ Mr. Allen McKay (Barnsley, West and Penistone)
I always understood that supplementary benefits were intended, as the name implies, to supplement inadequate income. Supplementary benefits do not require an applicant to be available for work as is the case with unemployment benefit. If people had an adequate income there would be no need for supplementary benefits. One out of every six of my constituents is unemployed and I am sure that people like that would be grateful not to have to rely on supplementary benefit.
I hope that this does not turn out to be a debate on mining. The hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) mentioned the investment of the Coal Board in his area. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that if such investment is not welcome in his area, it would certainly be welcome in ours, if we could find a place to put it. Unfortunately, the 20 collieries which have closed have probably worked out all the reserves in the area.
I am reminded of the time when we were looking at Selby. The people in Selby had visions of hordes of cloth-capped, clogged miners appearing over the horizon and coming into the green acres of Selby. They were quite surprised when the gentlemen who work in the mining industry appeared in the Selby area, because they were quite different. The people probably thought that the miners would use the twin towers of York minster as up and down shafts to exploit the Selby coalfield. They found out after the planning arrangements had gone through that they could hardly see the Selby complex because it merged into the beautiful green countryside. The constituents of the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth have no need to be afraid of the massive investment that the Coal Board will put into their area. If he does not get the investment, he will find himself with a lot of unemployed constituents, because the board is replacing pits and reducing capacity rather than extending it.
We shall have to debate the matter in about 10 years' time because, according to forecasts, much will happen around the year 2010. The gas and oil fields in the North sea will not have run out, but they will be so expensive to exploit that it will not be possible. In that same year, coal for the coal-fired power stations will have been burnt out. Therefore, many decisions will have to be made in about 10 years.
According to the gas undertakings, they will need about 100 million tonnes of coal a year in 2010, and that is the amount that the Coal Board intends to produce. The generating boards are a little worried about what is to happen after 2010. In 10 years' time, we will have to make decisions about what will replace the present power stations, whether they will be coal or oil-fired, and whether they will be of the conventional type or of the type which will counter the problem of acid rain. How many nuclear power stations will we have then, and will we have new forms of propulsion? All those matters could have been debated today if we had had time.
1116 I support the amendment. There is no doubt that people realise how insensitive the Government are about the pay increases for top people. People are incensed about it. The unemployed rely on supplementary benefit and have seen welfare provision eroded. They have lost their earnings-related supplement because the Government abolished it, and their welfare benefits have been eroded by about 10 per cent. Those people are awaiting the Fowler review to see if it will make further inroads into their benefits.
Because of Government policies and rising unemployment, the Government have insufficient money to compensate for the disastrous policies that they have heaped on the country. One of my constituents, Mr. Eric Moxon, attempted, as many others have attempted, to take part in a job release scheme. That is a good scheme because it means that people are able to leave work early and create vacancies for others. That is what Mr. Moxon and a number of others did.
Then, suddenly, Mr. Moxon found out that the Government had conned him about increases for inflation. People in the job release scheme found out this year that they had received an increase of 60p. We made inquiries about such a low increase when everybody else was getting £3 to £4. I have a letter which says:The taxable allowances have been increased by a lesser percentage than the tax-free allowances to allow for favourable developments in the Inland Revenue personal tax allowances.That means that those people have paid for their own tax allowances. By a sleight of hand, the Government, through the Chancellor, have given those people an increase in the base of their tax allowances, then clawed it back by not giving them an increase in the job release scheme. Thousands of people are incensed and hurt about that, and suddenly they read that the Government have decided that top salaried people are to get an increase of £25,000. When a person receives an increase of 60p and learns that someone else is getting an increase of £25,000, he is going to be incensed. That is one reason why I will be voting for the amendment, and it is the reason why millions of people who have realised what Government policies are doing will say at the next election, "We have had enough." I endorse that sentiment.
§ Mr. James Hill (Southampton, Test)
It is now almost one year since the establishment of the six free trade zones in the United Kingdom. The principle is right, and in the optimum location a free trade zone can in principle become the focus of a significant increase in economic activity, attracting trading and in the right environment manufacturing, which in turn attracts investment and revenues from overseas, and encourages the growth of United Kingdom companies.
The Southampton free trade zone, with its enormous potential for industrial growth, is the optimum United Kingdom location. Given encouragement, it could be a significant catalyst for growth in employment and for additional wealth creation, and would be a major boost to the United Kingdom invisible earnings. After a year's experience, however, we face two serious and persistent areas of difficulty. It would not put too strong an emphasis on these difficulties to say that if they are not resolved, free zone development at Southampton and the other five areas will not be commercially viable.
1117 The two areas of difficulty are over-regulation and the national dock labour scheme. I will not deal with the problem in any detail, but a brief explanation is essential.
We have found that, far from being a regime which is relatively free from bureaucratic interference and restrictions, there is a plethora of regulations. Many of them relate to VAT. The restrictions imposed, by their very existence, present a major problem, and this is exacerbated by confused and complex interpretation on the part of the relevant authorities, particularly the Customs and Excise. A full list of the regulations is set out in early-day motion 820.
The regulations and their interpretation are driving potential business away from the United Kingdom. We need to debate the matter when we return from the recess, and the national dock labour scheme must be analysed in regard to work within the free trade zones.
Southampton and Liverpool are both battling against the scheme and registered dock workers. I do not have time to explain the problem fully, but I stress that the scheme and the areas within ports that should be controlled and worked by registered dockers will have to be reviewed.
§ Mr. Peter Shore (Bethnal Green and Stepney)
It was not in a spirit of masochism that we tabled our amendment to force the House to sit for an additional two days. We tabled it because we thought that it was right for the House to have a full and proper debate on a matter that the country considers to be of the greatest importance.
We believe that the issue of public pay policy, with all its implications for millions of people at work, should be debated this side of the recess rather than our being forced into silence until the House resumes late in October. The speeches in the debate—I have counted 17 so far—have justified our decision, because nine hon. Members, from both sides of the House, have devoted their remarks, in whole or in part, to public sector pay and particularly to the Top Salaries Review Body report. We witnessed an astonishing event last night. During my time as an hon. Member I have never witnessed such a large Government majority plummeting so low. I believe that that genuinely reflected the great unease felt not only on the Opposition side, but, clearly, in a large part of the Conservative party.
Hon. Members on both sides of the House must have realised that there is a direct and personal link between the Prime Minister and the decision taken on the TSRB report. After all, the review body reports directly to the Prime Minister and all of us who have served in Governments know that, while the Cabinet should certainly play its part, this is a matter in which a Prime Minister's personal judgment is bound to play an important part.
It was interesting to read the comments of The London Standard, a great friend of the Prime Minister, on Monday — before last night's development. It said in an editorial:The Prime Minister's political acumen has always lain in appealing to the popular instinct … In this second administration, especially during recent months, this acumen seems to be failing her. But it has taken the storm over top people's salaries—a storm which everyone but Mrs. Thatcher had seen approaching—to show that she has, with cruelly sudden completeness, lost the common touch.The way in which the review body report has been handled reveals an astonishing insensitivity and an astonishing lack 1118 of touch, common sense and instinctive understanding of how ordinary people in their millions respond to such issues.
A succession of Ministers has exchanged views with us, always in somewhat restricted form. We had a private notice question on Friday, which was taken by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, though hardly to his great credit. We had exchanges with the Prime Minister during her Question Time on Tuesday, the Leader of the House opened a restricted one-and-a-half hour debate on a statutory instrument yesterday and the Minister of State, Treasury was wheeled on today.
I am inclined to think that it is right to describe top people's pay policy as being explosive material. Indeed, it is a sort of political gelignite. We are told that gelignite sweats, and I suspect that Ministers who have handled the issue so far have also sweated. The Minister of State, Treasury concealed his embarrassment with a great deal of bluster, but he did not add much except another attempt to describe the events of 1978 as though they were relevant to this year's decision. That is not the case and the hon. Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) put the issue fairly.
I assure the Minister of State, Treasury and the House that there is a genuine difference of perception and view. When we were in government our approach to top salaries was clearly that people at the top of the public services should be asked to take a lead.
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
What about the 35 per cent.?
§ Mr. Shore
Including the 35 per cent. During the period of Labour Government, the real incomes of those on top salaries were considerably reduced. Top people did not have the sort of treatment under a Labour Government that they have received under the present Government. Not only did those on top salaries not even keep pace with the rise in the cost of living under the Labour Government, but they were held well below the average wage increases of ordinary people in that period.
In the present Government's handling of TSRB reports we have witnessed the precise opposite. In the six years that the Government have been in power, the pay of those with top salaries has substantially outstripped the cost of living and even more substantially outstripped the rise in average earnings. It is precisely the recognition of that unfairness and lack of even-handedness that has been noted and deeply resented by the country.
§ Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells)
Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Shore
I shall not give way, because I do not want to encroach on the limited time of the Leader of the House.
We are not debating only a matter of principle, although a principle is involved. I do not have to convince the House that the Labour party generally favours greater equality in earned and unearned incomes, whereas the Conservative party favours greater inequality in those incomes. That is one of the great divides between the two sides of the House. Therefore, our approach is bound to be different and has been different.
The Government's failure to understand the reactions of ordinary people to the review body's report and the Government's acceptance of it has serious practical consequences as well as being a matter of principle. Some of those consequences were stated clearly in The London Standard today. It said: 1119The point is that the Government is operating a policy on pay restraint, and at a single stroke it has been torn to shreds."It goes on to say:These pay awards will not be forgotten in the lifetime of this Government. They destroy every shred of moral authority it has to lecture the public and private sectors about holding down pay.The practical consequences of that will face the Government and the country in the Government's inability to find a solution to the teachers' pay dispute. The dispute will go on, the schools will come back in September and, I fear, be subject to further disruption and the House will not be recalled until the end of October, with all kinds of developments, which could be of great damage to millions of families and their children. We shall have been rendered incapable of influencing these events by the lack of any proper debate in the House on a matter which we jolly well ought to have debated.
I believe that the Government have made a profound misjudgment of the national mood. I believe that there is a great and growing resentment of what they have done, and that they would be prudent to accept the amendment.
§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)
The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) has concluded the debate for the Opposition with characteristic courtesy. I join him in paying a tribute to all those who have taken part in a wide-ranging consideration of our affairs before we recess.
The debate, like the debate this time last year, has to some extent been hijacked by Front Bench considerations. Last year it was the situation in the coal industry. This year it has reference to the report of the Top Salaries Review Body. I quite understand that. Nonetheless, as Leader of the House, I feel that I have an obligation to take account of the traditional nature of the debate, which is that of Back Benchers raising all the topics which are of concern to them. If I have a somewhat truncated period in which to deal with the fairly well argued matters of the Top Salaries Review Body, I am sure that the House will understand.
First, I pay regard to the speech of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Mr. Silkin), who explained that he could not be present for the reply, in which he said that I should try to secure a direct reply from my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary concerning a constituency case—that of Mr. Michael Thynne, whose parole case is being considered, the right hon. Friend Gentleman thought, somewhat tardily. Of course I will concur with that request, and do all that I can to see that he receives a reply.
My hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken) reminded us of the fortunes of the Kent coalfield, and what good prospects there might be if one could move to much lower cost production. I thought that contribution Appropriate, because this time last year we were locked in the drama and agony of the coal dispute. Now we are liberated from that, and we can think in terms of recreating an industry on a happier basis than hitherto. It is a timely reminder that the processes of conciliation have proceeded. Perhaps it is a pity that we do not have a few days under our belt in which to discuss the coal industry and, more particularly, to inquire a little more closely into the attitude of Opposition Members to the organisation 1120 which is sought by mineworkers in Nottinghamshire and adjacent coalfields, and to hear from them a ringing denunciation of any comparison of that development with the Spencer movement of the 1920s and 1930s. I am sure that the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) would be at my side in urging unity in the situation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) made a powerful speech advocating the interests at stake in his constituency in the face of proposed National Coal Board development. When I campaigned with him some while back, the constituency did not have its current boundaries. I note that its name has been changed by the addition of Kenilworth. I have an uneasy feeling that my hon. Friend has been gentrified.
§ Mr. Pawsey
I needed it!
§ Mr. Biffen
Indeed, it is a gentrification which I would welcome. I can understand his concern that there should be use of the 1971 legislation on the planning inquiry commission. I will make the point to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. However, I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that the NCB has issued a consultative document, and that he will be giving evidence in that context.
The hon. Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. McKay) made a thoughtful contribution about our future energy requirements. I reflected how Conservative Members should all be struck with great humility because, heaven knows, time and again all the forecasts which have been so confidently assertive about the future energy requirements of the country have been falsified by our experience. I was delighted that he made his observations with what I thought was a correct sense of humility.
My hon. Friend the Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) told us of the difficulties in his constituency with the peace convoy, and the supplementary benefit situation which affects those involved. I will certainly refer his remarks to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.
Finally— in the sense of constituency interests — I much appreciate the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) about coroners' courts, and I will of course reinforce his representations to the Attorney-General on the matter.
My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Fan) and the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) discussed the prospects for Northern Ireland in the next few months. It is a great tribute to the attention and dedication which the right hon. Gentleman pays to the House that these debates always feature a contribution which reminds us all that the Province, no less than any other part of the United Kingdom, derives its authority from this Westminster Parliament. I am sure that the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough, who has confidence that the Union will be preserved, will be echoed throughout the Chamber. Of course I understand the points made by the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley. He will not expect me to comment upon them. The physical presence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was greater evidence than any words which I could say.
My hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Murphy) told us of the virtues of wind power as part of the alternative energies. Although one tends to mild hilarity about such thoughts, I strongly underline what my hon. 1121 Friend said. The benign sources of energy, I suspect, will pay an increasing part in our total energy requirements and, as long as the House remains insensitive to these issues, we will insulate ourselves from what is potentially one of the most destructive facets of our public lives—green politics.
I deal next with the point of the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton). I had a mild exchange with him, because I was anxious to protect our respective positions about Members' interests. I appreciate that there is a very real interest in the House in the Select Committee's report, and an anxiety that it should be debated when Parliament returns in October. But I remind the hon. Gentleman of an incident that occurred in this Chamber earlier today. The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) objected to something in a Select Committee report which he avowed was untrue. That avowal was immediately accepted because this House proceeds on the basis that a Member's honour and integrity are assumed. When this House is not able to make that assumption, it will not be able to function by its traditional methods.
Of course Members' interests are a perfectly natural topic for anxiety both in this House and outside, but the hon. Member for Fife, Central used the words "the integrity of the House". The integrity of this House is better protected in this debate if it is not laced with innuendo and some kind of McCarthyism. That does not get us anywhere in our objectives, which I believe are common to both sides of the House. The hon. Gentleman would think the less of me if I did not say exactly what I meant, but, having said that, I believe that there is a good case for the House turning to that matter in the autumn.
In the closing minutes I wish to deal with the Top Salaries Review Body. The hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) made a powerful contribution on wages councils. I can promise him that the matter will be the subject of debate and hard-fought discussion in the autumn. The hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) showed thoughtful concern for the pay of the Lord Chancellor. On at least two occasions he could have registered his objection, but he allowed the measure to go through, so it is a little late in the day to develop such acute sensitivity.
The hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth) talked about the Labour party having no economic policy. He ended with a rehash of precisely what was Labour party policy in the late 1960s, when the Labour party was fit for Shirley Williams. That is the slogan of contemporary social democracy. It is back to some kind of statutory incomes policy or one that leans heavily upon nudge and wink and political interference and direction.
My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) reminded us that the Government had received a shock. He underlined that by saying that he had voted against the Government last night. However, he said he would be voting for the Government this evening. Well, there is no fallen angel like a born-again Tory. I am delighted to receive his support.
A great deal of the argument about the TSRB report related to structure. That is what, in some senses, made the report distinct from other reports. The House had to decide whether, given the judgment of the TSRB about what it thought would be the likely deterioration in the quality of senior ranks of the public service, we should take the remedial anticipatory action that it recommended.
1122 I think that I summarised that fairly. The decision was taken, and whatever its short-term popularity it is of longterm significance and advantage.
The hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) showed an end-of-term spirit. Having been called to make a speech on the basis of an intervention — which I know is an emotionally destabilising experience — he said that the Government were proposing increases of 50 per cent. It is, of course, increases of 15 per cent. I wave farewell to the hon. Gentleman, who is not at this moment with us, and dispatch him with a pocket calculator in the hope that he will come back in the autumn that much better equipped to take part in our debates.
I have tremendous affection for the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). He fits classically into the Macmillan description of politicians — that they are either bookies or bishops. He has a particular skill, in that he is a bookie on most days of the week and a bishop on Fridays, Thursdays, or whatever day happens to suit him. Today was the bishop's day, 'when we were told that the policy was flawed because it lacked social equity——
§ It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. SPEAKER put the Question, That the amendment be made, pursuant to Standing Order No. 12 (Periodic adjournments).
§ The House divided: Ayes 172, Noes 311.1125
|Division No. 291]||[9.04 pm|
|Abse, Leo||Craigen, J. M.|
|Alton, David||Crowther, Stan|
|Anderson, Donald||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Dalyell, Tam|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)|
|Ashton, Joe||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Deakins, Eric|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dewar, Donald|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Dobson, Frank|
|Barnett, Guy||Dormand, Jack|
|Barron, Kevin||Dubs, Alfred|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Beggs, Roy||Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.|
|Beith, A. J.||Eadie, Alex|
|Bell, Stuart||Eastham, Ken|
|Benn, Tony||Evans, John (St. Helens N)|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Fatchett, Derek|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)|
|Blair, Anthony||Fisher, Mark|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Boyes, Roland||Forrester, John|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Foster, Derek|
|Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)||Foulkes, George|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Fraser, J. (Norwood)|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Garrett, W. E.|
|Buchan, Norman||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Caborn, Richard||Godman, Dr Norman|
|Callaghan, Rt Hon J.||Golding, John|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Gould, Bryan|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Hamilton, James (M'well N)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hancock, Mr. Michael|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Hardy, Peter|
|Clarke, Thomas||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)||Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith|
|Coleman, Donald||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.||Haynes, Frank|
|Conlan, Bernard||Healey, Rt Hon Denis|
|Corbett, Robin||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)||Prescott, John|
|Home Robertson, John||Radice, Giles|
|Hoyle, Douglas||Randall, Stuart|
|Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham)||Redmond, M.|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport East)||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Robertson, George|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Rogers, Allan|
|Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)||Rooker, J. W.|
|John, Brynmor||Rowlands, Ted|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Sheerman, Barry|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Kennedy, Charles||Short, Mrs R(W' hampt'n NE)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Lambie, David||Skinner, Dennis|
|Lamond, James||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Snape, Peter|
|Leighton, Ronald||Soley, Clive|
|Lewis, Terence (Worsley)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stratford)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Loft house, Geoffrey||Stott, Roger|
|McCartney, Hugh||Strang, Gavin|
|McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Straw, Jack|
|McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Madden, Max||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Marek, Dr John||Tinn, James|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Torney, Tom|
|Mason, Rt Hon Roy||Wainwright, R.|
|Maynard, Miss Joan||Wallace, James|
|Michie, William||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Wareing, Robert|
|Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||Welsh, Michael|
|Nellist, David||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Wilson, Gordon|
|Park, George||Winnick, David|
|Patchett, Terry||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Penhaligon, David||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Pike, Peter||Mr. Don Dixon and Mr. John McWilliam|
|Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Adley, Robert||Bruinvels, Peter|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Bryan, Sir Paul|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.|
|Ancram, Michael||Buck, Sir Antony|
|Arnold, Tom||Budgen, Nick|
|Ashby, David||Burt, Alistair|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Butcher, John|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Butterfill, John|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Cash, William|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Chalker, Mrs Lynda|
|Baldry, Tony||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Chapman, Sydney|
|Batiste, Spencer||Chope, Christopher|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)|
|Bellingham, Henry||Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)|
|Bendall, Vivian||Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)|
|Best, Keith||Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Clegg, Sir Walter|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Cockeram, Eric|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Conway, Derek|
|Blackburn, John||Cope, John|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Couchman, James|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Bottomley, Peter||Crouch, David|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.|
|Bright, Graham||du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward|
|Brinton, Tim||Dunn, Robert|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Durant, Tony|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Dykes, Hugh|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)|
|Eggar, Tim||Kershaw, Sir Anthony|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Key, Robert|
|Fallon, Michael||King, Roger (B'ham N'field)|
|Farr, Sir John||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Favell, Anthony||Knight, Greg (Derby N)|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Fletcher, Alexander||Knowles, Michael|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Knox, David|
|Forman, Nigel||Lamont, Norman|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Lang, Ian|
|Forth, Eric||Latham, Michael|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Lawler, Geoffrey|
|Fox, Marcus||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Franks, Cecil||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Freeman, Roger||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Fry, Peter||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Gale, Roger||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Galley, Roy||Lester, Jim|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)|
|Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)||Lightbown, David|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Lilley, Peter|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Lloyd, Ian (Havant)|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Lord, Michael|
|Gorst, John||Luce, Richard|
|Gow, Ian||Lyell, Nicholas|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||McCrindle, Robert|
|Grant, Sir Anthony||McCurley, Mrs Anna|
|Greenway, Harry||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Gregory, Conal||MacGregor, John|
|Griffiths, Sir Eldon||MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)||MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)|
|Ground, Patrick||Maclean, David John|
|Grylls, Michael||McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)|
|Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)||Major, John|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Malins, Humfrey|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Maples, John|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Marland, Paul|
|Hannam, John||Marlow, Antony|
|Hargreaves, Kenneth||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Harris, David||Mates, Michael|
|Harvey, Robert||Mather, Carol|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)||Mayhew, Sir Patrick|
|Hawksley, Warren||Mellor, David|
|Hayes, J.||Merchant, Piers|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Hayward, Robert||Miller, Hal (B'grove)|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)|
|Henderson, Barry||Mitchell, David (NW Hants)|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Moate, Roger|
|Hickmet, Richard||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hicks, Robert||Moore, John|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)|
|Hill, James||Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)|
|Hind, Kenneth||Moynihan, Hon C.|
|Hirst, Michael||Murphy, Christopher|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Neale, Gerrard|
|Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)||Needham, Richard|
|Holt, Richard||Neubert, Michael|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Newton, Tony|
|Howard, Michael||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)||Normanton, Tom|
|Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Hubbard-Miles, Peter||Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.|
|Hunt, David (Wirral)||Osborn, Sir John|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Ottaway, Richard|
|Hunter, Andrew||Page, Sir John (Harrow W)|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Page, Richard (Herts SW)|
|Irving, Charles||Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil|
|Jackson, Robert||Parris, Matthew|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Jessel, Toby||Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Pattie, Geoffrey|
|Jones, Robert (W Herts)||Pawsey, James|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Pollock, Alexander|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Porter, Barry|
|Portillo, Michael||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Powley, John||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.|
|Price, Sir David||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Raffan, Keith||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Renton, Tim||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Tracey, Richard|
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas||Trippier, David|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Viggers, Peter|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Waddington, David|
|Rost, Peter||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Rowe, Andrew||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela||Walden, George|
|Sackville, Hon Thomas||Walker, Bill (T'side N)|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)||Waller, Gary|
|Shelton, William (Streatham)||Ward, John|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Watson, John|
|Shersby, Michael||Watts, John|
|Sims, Roger||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Wheeler, John|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas||Whitfield, John|
|Speed, Keith||Whitney, Raymond|
|Speller, Tony||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Spencer, Derek||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Squire, Robin||Wolfson, Mark|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Wood, Timothy|
|Steen, Anthony||Woodcock, Michael|
|Stern, Michael||Yeo, Tim|
|Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Stradling Thomas, J.||Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and Mr. Tim Sainsbury.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That this House at its rising on Friday 26th July do adjourn until Monday 21st October, and the House shall not adjourn on Friday 26th July until Mr. Speaker shall have reported the Royal Assent to any Acts which have been agreed upon by both Houses.