HL Deb 24 February 1966 vol 273 cc345-65

3.35 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this afternoon it is my privilege to ask the House to give a Second Reading to a Bill which is following through in a practical way some of the specific proposals of the Robbins Report for the development of higher education in Scotland. Its purpose is to modernise the constitution of the four older Scottish universities, and to pave the way for the establishment of a new university in Dundee. After looking at the constitutions of existing universities, the Robbins Committee recommended that the four older Scottish universities should be freed from the cumbersome, outmoded procedures by which, in terms of the Universities (Scotland) Acts 1858 and 1889, they still had to conduct important academic and other business.

This procedure involves consultations between the four universities, the laying of ordinances before Parliament and the approval of them by the Privy Council. Not surprisingly, this process takes time —anything from six months to a year; and yet it extends into a wide range of business, such as the founding of new Chairs, the laying down of regulations for new degrees, which in other universities would be the sole concern of the university itself. Clearly, at this time of massive university development, it is intolerable that the four older Scottish universities should be hamstrung in this way by legislation passed some seventy-five years ago. The Government, therefore, introduced the present Bill at the start of the Parliamentary Session, and it has, of course, passed through all its stages in another place.

There has not been, and I trust will not be, any controversy about the basic aim of the Bill—to modernise the constitutions of the four older Scottish universities; but there has been a sharp difference of view on the means by which this should be achieved. Broadly speaking, the present university authorities argued that a time of rapid expansion was not one in which to brood over constitutional questions: they therefore asked only for certain minimum reforms to the existing Acts. The Association of University Teachers, on the other hand, urged that no really satisfactory reforms could be carried out unless the universities were to revise their constitutions by drawing up charters. These points of view were thoroughly ventilated in consultations with the Scottish Education Department before the Bill was drafted, and have since been the subject of debate in another place.

The Bill before us to-day is a compromise—I would claim a successful compromise—between these points of view. The secret of this compromise is that the Bill is basically an enabling one: it adjusts the balance of power within the universities to give all the members of a university a due share in its government, and leaves it to the university to decide the rate and nature of constitutional reform. Part I empowers each of the four universities to contract out of the present legislation by petitioning for a Royal Charter whenever it judges the time to be right, provided that the views of all members of the university—staff, graduates and students—are canvassed before any such move is made.

In Part II the essential minimum reforms to present constitutions are made. By Clauses 2 and 7 the composition of the main organs of university government, the Court and the Senate, are revised. The most significant feature of this revision is that non-professorial staff—the readers and lecturers—are given a greater say in the management of the university. Clauses 4 and 6 sweep away the outmoded and time-wasting procedures under which a large part of university business has to be conducted at present, and replaces them by new procedures which will distinguish between matters of public importance and academic and other business lying properly within the discretion of the university. In the former case the university will have to proceed by ordinances which will still be subject to Privy Council (though not to Parliamentary) approval. In the latter, the University Court will promote resolutions where the subject is of general importance within the university but will be able to act directly on its own authority on day-to-day business and financial matters. In the case of both ordinances and resolutions the procedures provide for consultation between the Court, the Senate and the General Council, and for representations from any interested member of the university. But the total time involved should be reduced to one or two months, with provision for still speedier action in case of urgency.

Part III of the Bill takes the legislative steps necessary to separate Queen's College, Dundee, from St. Andrews University when the new University of Dundee comes to be founded by Royal Charter. This Part of the Bill is wholly non-controversial and is somewhat complex and technical in character. For the last 400 years we Dundonians have felt that there was something wrong with the state of affairs in which three of Scotland's four major cities were university towns. The fourth one which for so long was third in importance—and, as the Town Clerk of Dundee so frequently said, second in commercial importance—was one of the university towns by association only. It therefore gives me, as a former Lord Provost of Dundee, special pleasure and satisfaction to play a part in the essential preparatory work which will lead to Dundee's inheriting her birthright at last. Our pleasure in Dundee is enhanced, rather than diminished, by the knowledge that by 1967, when it is hoped that Dundee University will be admitting its first students, the four universities which Scotland has had for the past 400 years will be increased in number to eight.

As I see it, Part III of this Bill is a step as important as Parts I and II towards the implementation of the Robbins recommendations for higher education in Scotland. Parts I and II modernise the constitutions of the four ancient universities. Part III is necessary to help establish one of the four new universities which we are creating in this decade to meet the increasing numbers of young people coming forward to follow courses of higher education. One of the strengths of Scottish education in the past has been that able young people of all social classes have had the opportunity to go on to university and follow their studies there. I hope that your Lordships will agree that this Bill is a practical measure which will help to bring our present university system up to date so that it can face the challenge presented by the need to expand the provision for education at all levels. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2ª.—(Lord Hughes.)

3.42 p.m.


My Lords, may I once again thank the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, for introducing this Bill, and for explaining its provisions so clearly. He said that it is primarily an enabling Bill. It is heartening to feel that one of the reasons for this Bill is the enormous increase in university education in Scotland over the past few years, resulting in new universities coming along and taking their place beside the four ancient universities of Scotland.

The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has discussed the Bill in some detail, and I am sure we shall all agree that it is largely uncontroversial. I therefore wish to comment on only one or two points. I am sure the House will agree that it is right that the four older universities should now be able, if they wish, to free themselves from the encumbrances of the University Acts—Acts which go back over something like a hundred years—by applying for Royal Charters. I am sure, too, that we all hope that universities will take advantage of the Bill and apply.

We have already had this week, from the University of Edinburgh (your Lordships will have read this in the Scotsman a few days ago) their proposals for reforms of their Senate and administrative structure generally. This is a good example of the sort of thing which would doubtless be included in any new charter. At the same time, we want to be clear that there is no question of putting pressure on the universities or of setting time limits within which they must apply. This would be a very bad thing. Inevitably, this change is going to cause the universities a great many difficulties: they will have extremely complex problems to sort out, and they must be allowed to work them out in their own time. I am glad to hear that Her Majesty's Government are in agreement with this point of view, and that they were able to resist pressure in another place for the inclusion of a time limit in this regard.

There is one point, that I want to raise on Clause 4 in regard to the making of ordinances, which is dealt with in paragraph (b). Here we are concerned with a time limit and the words "one month" appear. I know that there is quite a strong feeling, which I myself share, that one month is not long enough for the draft of an ordinance to be displayed and given sufficient publicity, especially when important changes are in the offing. I understand from the proceedings in another place that the Government were prepared to introduce an Amendment to extend the period, possibly, to eight weeks. This would be a great improvement, and I should be grateful if the noble Lord could give us an idea of the Government's thinking on this matter. The other clauses of the Bill call for comparatively little comment, though I know that my noble friend Lord Balerno has one or two points he wishes to raise.

Before I conclude, I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and the City of Dundee on the attainment of their new University. We all realise how much satisfaction this must give to Lord Hughes. These new universities, great repositories of knowledge and skill, are an essential and honourable part of Scotland's tradition, and it is fair to say that without them the history of Scotland would have been very different. We must all hope that the confidence which this Bill will give them will enable the new universities to acquire even more vigour and life, so that they can play their full part in the 20th century progress of Scotland. I am very glad to be able to support the Second Reading.

3.48 p.m.


My Lords, in view of the business which has preceded this matter, I feel that I must declare my interest, which is a pecuniary one, in that I receive a small pension from the University of Edinburgh. I think it can be said that everybody who knows the old universities of Scotland will welcome this Bill and the manner in which it has been drawn up and brought forward. There had been some dispute among the four ancient universities as to how they would go about the reorganisation which we had all agreed was necessary. The University of Edinburgh was a little out of step with the other universities, in that it was thinking about pressing for a Charter and, with that end in view, set up in 1961 the committee which has just reported. Its report has been largely overtaken by the Report of the Robbins Committee and by the action of the Government. That is why we particularly welcome this device which provides an option to universities to take up a Charter in due time.

I support the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, in his welcome of the fact that no time limit has been placed upon this matter. The universities of Scotland are busy with expansion. Edinburgh University are increasing the number of their students by many hundreds each year. This puts a stress on all the Faculties: meeting this must be regarded as the first priority. Charter-making must come second to that; it can produce a great deal of argument and we do not want to waste too much time on it. When, after expansion, we are in quieter waters, we can properly go forward with the charter-making.

The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has rightly taken pride in the setting-up of the university of Dundee, and it must be a matter of great gratification to him, as a former Lord Provost of that City. However, I should like to point out an error in the noble Lord's speech when he referred to there having been four old Scottish universities. In fact, at the time of the passing of the 1858 Act there were five universities, and for a short time earlier than that, as the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, will know, there were six universities, the sixth being in Fraserburgh. The 1858 Act caused the two universities in Aberdeen to be united. So it is rather interesting that more than a hundred years later we have the Universities (Scotland) Bill creating another, and not reducing the number.

There is one point about the 1858 Act which I would, with great deference, bring to the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes. From the debate on the 1858 Act, there came the recommendation, which was later put into effect, that the Scottish universities should be represented in Parliament. Perhaps it is too late for the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and the Government to put right the error which has occurred in the elimination of university representation, but I am sure that those Members who represented the Scottish universities were illustrious people and did a lot of good. If we had had representation from the Scottish universities, there might have been an easier passage for this Bill now and less trouble with the problems of one of the older universities.

I know that this Bill ought to get as quick a passage as possible through this House, but there are one or two minor points to which I wish to draw the attention of the Government. I would support the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, in that the notice of one month for the creation of ordinances should be somewhat extended. But perhaps if it is extended there should be some method by which in dire emergency there could be a short cut, as there is when the Court puts forward a resolution.

The second point is a very small academic point, and one on which the noble Lord, Lord Snow, if he had been here, could have helped us. It is a question of the English language. Among the powers given to the Senatus is one to promote research, and there was difficulty about choosing the word "promote". Various other words were also considered. I submit that the word "promote" does not cover all that the Senate should be doing in regard to research, and I suggest that that sentence in Clause 8 should read "to promote and encourage re- search". I think it would cover the situation better if the words "and encourage" were also inserted.

There is also the question of the quorum of the General Council. The proposals of the Government reducing the quorum to 50, have gone a long way to meeting the points which have been raised by the universities, and we welcome them very much. But there are two statutory meetings of the Council each year, and they are sometimes very dull. Very little interesting business is done and it is just routine. At the present moment there is no quorum for those meetings, and if there is no particularly interesting business the attendance comes down to about 20 or 30 all told. It is true that in the Bill powers are given to the Council to set its own quorum after a certain procedure, but if these two statutory meetings could have no quorum at all, I think it would be a help. But it is not at all an important matter.

Then there is the question of the financial statement which the General Council is to be given each year. What is meant by "financial statement" is a bit vague, and so far as the General Council of Edinburgh is concerned they would like to receive the same financial statement as is laid before the University Court.

There is a small point about the designation of the City of Edinburgh in Schedule 1 for representation on the University Court. I believe that the proper phraseology is the "Corporation of the City of Edinburgh", and not the "lord Provost, Magistrates and council", as was in the Act of 1858 and subsequent Acts, and as is in the present Bill.

There is, however, one rather more important point, and that is that in Schedule 2 the University Court has power to alter the powers of the Senate and of the General Council. I suggest that it might be said that those powers of the Court should not operate except with the concurrence of the Senate or of the General Council, as the case might be. I should be grateful if the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, could give some consideration to these points, although I realise how important it is to go forward with this Bill.

I should like to congratulate the Government upon the speed with which they have acted. The original Act of 1858 was the result of a Commission appointed in 1826, which reported in 1830. The Act of 1858 was seen through Parliament by the then Lord Advocate, John Inglis of Glencorse. He was Chairman of the Commission which had to see the Act enforced, and that Commission met 126 times in the following four years. John Inglis presided over it and never missed a meeting. He was put in the chair of the Royal Commission that was appointed in 1876, which reported in 1878 and produced the Act of 1889. John Inglis was still in the chair, and was there to see the student representative council formed. The Act gave statutory power to the student representative council, and it was in Scotland that this idea has developed and gained such strength. I shall not weary your Lordships further with the details of history, but from the Report of that second Commission I culled the following quotation from T. H. Huxley. He is quoted as saying: A university is a place for men to get knowledge; not for boys and adolescents to get degrees.

3.59 p.m.


My Lords, may I, as possibly the only Principal of an ancient university present, just give a word of welcome to this Bill? May I also say that if the Government wish to establish yet a further university in Scotland, they might do worse than look at the ancient Charter of Fraserburgh University? They will find a copy of this in the Library and it will give them virgin fields, because the University did not last a very long time.

I may have read this Bill very badly, but on looking through it it seemed to me that the rustication of a student was a matter for the University Court, and that is a point upon which I feel rather inclined to comment. In my time at Oxford it was not infrequent for people thoroughly to enjoy an evening in company with a great friend who became rather extravagant in his conduct, and to find him missing from his place the next morning. It seems to me that short and sharp measures of that kind are much better when you are dealing with adolescent young men than long drawn-out matters which are subject to a great deal of discussion and appeal. I may be wrong about that point, but if I am right I should like to see it looked at again.

I agree with what the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, said about the time specified in Clause 4—and there is one other point. I think that a Bill dealing with universities ought to pay great attention to grammar, and I should like the Government to look at line 16 on page 1, which I think will be greatly improved by cutting out the words "require to" so that it will become quite grammatical. With those few words, I should like to say once more that, together with the rest of your Lordships, I very much welcome this Bill.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I just say that the Committee of the University of Edinburgh, which has just reported, when dealing with discipline recommends that fines of up to £5 should be imposed by Deans of Faculties without a further reference but, of course, with an appeal.


I am very much obliged to the noble Lord. That does not really meet my point. I think that rustication for a period, coming short and sharp, is very much more effective —and I stick to my guns over that.

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, as a graduate of the University of Wales, and having spent most of my academic life in English universities, perhaps I should explain that I was for ten years a member of the University Senatus of St. Andrews, so I welcome very much this Bill, and particularly the point to which my noble friend Lord Hughes has referred—that is, the creation of the University of Dundee. This is something which I think is long overdue, and I am delighted that Dundee is going to have a university.

I should also like to say that I welcome very much the provisions in this Bill for the representation of non-professorial staff on both the Senatus and the Court. This is something which has been long overdue in the Scottish Universities. I remember that, when I was a member of the University of St. Andrews, they found a way around this. I believe I am right in saying that it was a member of the University Grants Committee who, when visiting the university, pointed out to them that there was no reason why the general council should not appoint a member of the university staff as an assessor on the University Court provided that he was not a professor; and consequently the university of St. Andrews did for a number of years have someone appointed in this way. But I think it is very much preferable to have it done in the clear-cut way which is laid down in this Bill.

The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, has mentioned this period of one month. I would ask my noble friend Lord Hughes to consider this matter, because I think there is a grave risk that one month is too short a period, especially as, if I have read the Bill correctly, it does not specify that the month has got to be during university term. In other words, it would be possible for the month to be a month when the university was on vacation, and in that case it would be a very undesirable provision. So I feel that it would be wise to extend this period. I would have thought that two or three months should be the minimum period, and that one month is too short.

There are two other points to which I should like to call attention. One is that, in the revision of the 1858 and 1889 Acts, it is now proposed that the universities should not have to go through the extremely cumbersome procedure of consulting all the other universities before they bring in a new ordinance; and I agree it is most desirable that one should get away from this cumbersome procedure. I can recollect that, when I was a member of the University of St. Andrews, it frequently meant that either one was obstructed for a period of well over a year, and sometimes two years, or one decided in despair that perhaps one would not bother about it at the moment. So I think this is a good thing.

On the other hand, there is one point which has always been to the advantage of the Scottish universities, I think, and that is that, because of the requirement of consultation, if any Scottish university wished to introduce an entirely new discipline in its university it had to consult the other universities. I can recollect one case, when I was at the university there, in which, I think I am right in saying, the University of Edinburgh wished to introduce a course leading to a degree in dental surgery. It had to come to us in Dundee, and in Dundee we had at that time the only dental school. We commented on it, because we felt that the proposals as originally put forward by Edinburgh were inadequate, and did not meet the same standards as we were operating in Dundee. Edinburgh agreed, and altered their regulations in consequence. I think this was beneficial, and I have always felt it a pity that in English universities we do not have some method of consultation between universities in order to do this. If it is possible, I should like to see the Scottish universities retain this very advantageous system that they have had, without at the same time the gross disadvantages of having to consult on every minor detail.

There is one further point, which is a minor one. If one looks at the Schedules on page 9 and subsequent pages with regard to the composition of the Courts, one finds that the Court of the University of St. Andrews is to have 18 members whereas the Courts of the other universities are to have only 16 members. When St. Andrews included what I used to know as University College, Dundee, but what is now known as Queen's College, Dundee, it was reasonable that there should be this increased Court, because the Lord Provost was on it and the Principal of the College in Dundee. But I find it a little odd that it should be necessary to have this extended Court in St. Andrews now, and I wonder whether this figure should be retained in the Bill. Apart from these very minor points, I extend my most hearty welcome to this Bill, and I congratulate the noble Lord on having put it forward in this way.


My Lords, one Sassenach having addressed your Lordships, perhaps a Welshman—


Not a Sassenach.


That is news to me. I thought everybody born South of the Border was a Sassenach. Anyway, I hope that the Scottish Peers will excuse me for addressing them also on this very Scottish Bill. Unlike the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat, I have not had the advantage of teaching in a Scottish university, but I have been a member of the Council of the Scottish University Teachers' Association, as representing the English Association of University Teachers, for very many years and I therefore have a very considerable interest in this Bill.

On the whole, it is certainly a good Bill, and, on the whole, it has the support of the Scottish University Teachers' Association, although I think it would be true to say, as indeed the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has indicated, that there was a very marked difference of opinion at an earlier stage between the constituted authorities and the teachers. In the early days the Governmental authorities did not show as much sympathy towards the point of view of the teachers as the Scottish University Teachers' Association could have hoped for and, indeed, had the right to expect; but undoubtedly under the present Administration there has been a much more sympathetic attitude, and their representations have been listened to. While I do not say we have got, by any means, all that we have asked for or all that I think we ought to have, nevertheless we have been successful in a substantial degree in obtaining a great deal.

In particular, I think that this compromise under which individual universities will be able to get their own charters is a very important concession. All modern English universities work under charters, some of them even under Acts of Parliament which have been passed, in effect, as supplementary to the charters. It has been an obvious disadvantage to our Scottish colleagues that they have not had independence as constituted by Royal Charter—as, indeed, is the method which is being used for the creation of the new universities in Scotland. However, this will be put right if the consensus of opinion in any one of the universities is to that effect. I am sure that that is a very important step forward.

I think all English university teachers, including those from Wales and so including my noble friend, are extremely impressed to see this new movement in Scotland for the creation of new universities. All the four great universities in Scotland date from the Middle Ages. It is an astonishing thing that this sparsely-populated part of Europe, on its very periphery, should for a period of a hun- dred years, I think, have been, from the point of view of university institutions, the best-educated area in the whole of Europe. That four universities of the calibre of these Scottish ones should have been founded at that time was a most remarkable achievement, and the Scottish people are naturally proud of it.

But, by and large, from that early time down to the present, they have stood still, in the sense that new creations have not been made. I appreciate that that is an overstatement; and the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, has drawn attention to the fact that a new university came into existence in Aberdeen as the result of the Calvinist reformation, and there was the Technical College in Glasgow which is now the University of Strathclyde and the University College of Dundee which will soon become a separate university on its own. By and large, however, Scotland did not take part in the tremendous outburst of university creation which in this country characterised the later years of the 19th Century and the first part of the 20th Century.

That has puzzled me, because every Englishman, rather shamefacedly, I think, must admit that in Scotland we have been beaten over the years from the point of view of education—at least, until recently. Therefore, it has always been a puzzle to me that Scotland did not keep up this tremendous surge forward in higher education. No doubt this is now being remedied and this Bill is a part of the great movement forward. For that reason, if for no other, I am sure that all Members of your Lordships' House will welcome it.

4.14 p.m.


My Lords, may I add my word of congratulation to the Government on this Bill? As a former graduate of Edinburgh University, I—and, I am sure, all of us—wish this "baby" great success. The noble Lord, Lord Chorley, referred to the origins of the Scottish universities in the Middle Ages. I do not wholly disagree. There was a period when development was slow; but I think it is proper to say that in Scotland the universities for a long time were much nearer the country than they were in England. There were two universities in Aberdeen at one time when there were only two in England. I remember visiting in the 1930's an important development by Stewarts and Lloyds at Corby, a remarkable new town. I went to see a man from Bellshill, in Lanarkshire, which was in a very poor way at that time. I asked what complaints he had, what possible lack he felt. He said at once: "There is no university." It was always regarded as a possibility for lads of ability to go to a university—and this had been the tradition which goes back a long way.

May I add one word to what the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, said about the promotion of research? I do not know exactly what is intended here. I hope that the words he suggested will be acceptable to the Government. I hope that the universities may be used more for research, both by the Government and by industry. This is one of the functions of the universities in the U.S.A. It is what I might call the meeting place of three big forces in the community: the Government, industry, and the universities. They ought to work together; they ought not to be isolated and separate in ivory towers. They could gain a great deal by working in closer co-operation and understanding with each other and in doing each other's research. I do not know what is intended; but I hope this will be borne in mind by those who guide university policy.

4.17 p.m.


My Lords, I am most grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate for the way in which they have given so generous a welcome to this Bill. Quite a number of points were raised; more, in fact, than I had anticipated. I will endeavour, to the length that the other Business coming forward before the House justifies, to reply to these points. First of all, there was the point made by the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, and also by the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, on the question of putting pressure on the universities to bring in the charters; and the expression of their pleasure that no time limit had been accepted by the Government and that there was no time-limit in the Bill. I can assure both noble Lords that this was done deliberately by the Government because they thought it right to do so.

We believe there will be pressure for charters, but the pressure will come in the right way, at the right time, and in the right place. The pressure will come from within the universities, and there will be discussions within the universities as to when it will be right to do so; and, obviously, only when it is right will the consensus of agreement be obtainable which will enable the universities to proceed. The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, referred, as did also my noble friend Lord Wynne-Jones, to the time limit for making ordinances. I would remind noble Lords that this point was raised in the other place. If my recollection of the debates in another place are correct, there was a family connection with this matter. I do not know how frequently it happens that the son raises a matter in the other place and the father almost seconds him in this House. But it was another point on which the other place was not able to arrive at a final conclusion, and my honourable friend promised to have another look at the matter. Noble Lords will not expect me to go any further at this stage. I can say that it has not been lost sight of.

The noble Lord, Lord Balerno, was interesting in his historic references, but somewhat kinder to England than the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, because he did not rub it in so hard. Regularly and for a long period Aberdeen boasted that it had two universities when England had only two. I must admit that I am not so knowledgeable on the University of Fraserburgh. Having regard to the argument that went on about whether a new university should be at Stirling or Inverness, I am surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, did not press his claims more vigorously at that time.

The noble Lord, Lord Balerno, will not be surprised if I do not give a firm and enthusiastic undertaking that the restoration of Parliamentary representation of the universities will figure in the Government's programme next year. On the question of the extension of notice, one of the difficulties is trying to find a time which covers all circumstances and yet makes reasonable provision for emergencies. All these points will be taken into consideration when the Government try to decide where the best balance of advantage lies.

The noble Lord also referred to the use of the word "promote" and suggested that it should be "promote and encourage". I think that this is one of those difficulties to which there can never be a satisfactory solution. It was fully discussed in another place, and eventually it was decided that "promote" (I think that the best description of the situation is in the words which I have from the Box) offers the least objectionable suggestion. That is almost praising it with faint damns. If we made it "promote and encourage", I think that would restart the controversy all over again. On the whole, I think it is better to leave well alone.

The quorum of the General Council, as laid down in Section 9(2), applies to all meetings of the General Council, including the statutory meetings. Section 8 of the Act of 1889 fixed the quorum for special meetings at 10 for every complete 1,000 on the register but excepted the statutory meetings, and this is repealed.

The designation of Edinburgh is rather an interesting point but, while the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, is right in referring to the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh, I gather that both descriptions are correct. Section 18 of the Edinburgh Corporation Order Confirmation Act 1958 says: The Lord Provost, Magistrates and Council of the City shall continue to be a body corporate with a common seal and they may be known, called and referred to for all purposes as the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh. But that is not a mandatory decision. In fact, a later local Act of the Council, the Edinburgh Corporation Order Confirmation Act 1964, in its Preamble, does not use the designation of Corporation of the City, but the longer description of "the Lord Provost, Magistrates and Council of the City". The primary reason for the use of the longer designation, rather than the more convenient short one, is to enable a choice of words to be made which would be applicable, in addition to Edinburgh, to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee as well. In these days when Edinburgh imagines that it has a certain grievance against Her Majesty's Government, if we had adopted one form and used another for Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, it might have been thought that that was another dire move directed against the City of Edinburgh.

The Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, suggested to Part II of Schedule 2 was in fact moved in the Scottish Standing Committee in another place by Mr. Wylie, but my right honourable friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State was so persuasive that Mr. Wylie withdrew his Amendment. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will not find it necessary to press it in your Lordships' House.

In addition to his references to the University of Fraserburgh, the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, spoke on this question of rustication—and somewhere among these papers I have an answer. It is quite a simple one. It is that Schedule 2 empowers the Court, on the recommendation of the Senate, to prescribe procedures. The exercise of discipline is the responsibility of the Senate, with appeal to the Court, and it is for the Senate of each university to determine which is the best form of discipline within the university. I do not wish to add anything further on this point at this stage.

My noble friend Lord Wynne-Jones expressed delight at the forthcoming establishment of the University of Dundee. I go back to the time when my noble friend occupied the Chair of Chemistry in Queen's and a campaign was being waged for a university in Dundee. He and I, who were supporters of that campaign, found, probably for the first time in our lives, what a nonpolitical campaign meant, because many of the people associated with us in the promotion of that campaign did not support us on any other subject. It showed us that in matters of common interest to a community it is from time to time possible to cross the ordinary bounds of politics.

My noble friend also gave a welcome to the arrangements for non-professorial staff representation. This was a position in which St. Andrews had got a little ahead of the other universities as a result of the 1958 Act, but the present proposal takes it further for all the universities and it is a course which I think is acceptable to everybody in the universities. One question to which I do not know the answer is why the Court of St. Andrews should consist of 18 members, and others of 16. If I had still been on the Court of the University of St. Andrews, I should have been tempted to say that this was merely a reflection of its greater importance, but I will not say that in this place.

The abolition of the obligation to consult with other universities when ordinances are being promoted has been generally commended by my noble friend Lord Wynne-Jones, but he gave an example of where it would be beneficial to have such consultation. It was felt that there was little point in retaining this for only four out of the eight universities, because it does not apply to the new universities. There is no obligation on Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt and Stirling, and there will be none on Dundee, to consult the others. However, I am confident that benefits which have from time to time been obtained from compulsory consultation will not be disregarded by the universities, which I am sure will get the benefit of consultation on a voluntary basis, without the wastage of time which is involved in the procedures laid down at the present time. I am quite certain that all the universities recognise that it is not necessary to throw out the baby with the bathwater.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend if he thinks it is likely that the universities will retain the system which they used to have of certain common meetings and of Courts of Senates of the universities? This, it seems to me, is an important matter.


Nothing is likely with Scottish universities, but I think it would be wise that they do so. I have attended meetings which used to take place with Principals and chairmen of finance committees, and I think the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, has been at these meetings, also. Such things were not laid down in any Act, but universities were free to do them, and it was because of my knowledge of these meetings that I was encouraged to say that that which had been obligatory would be used from time to time, as it is clearly to their advantage to do it, voluntarily.

I was particularly glad of the welcome which my noble friend Lord Chorley gave, because of my knowledge of his association with the university teachers' organisations. There was such a tremendous divergence of opinion in the beginning between what was called the Establishment and the Association of University of Teachers that it is quite a tribute to the Scottish Education Department, and to both of these bodies, that they have managed to find so much common ground in the Bill that has come forward. Of course, it is not unusual in this country for compromise to be found which is satisfactory to everybody at the end of the day. Sometimes compromise is found which is satisfactory to nobody, but I am glad to say that it is the former state of affairs which operates here and that practically everyone is happy at the results.

My noble friend Lord Chorley expressed surprise that Scotland, which had been so far ahead of the rest of the country, and in fact of the rest of Europe, in relation to university education, should have stood still then for a hundred years or more. I do not know that there is any need for my noble friend to be particularly surprised at that. In these matters of jealousy, obviously we had to wait a while for England to catch up. We are now endeavouring to reassert our natural superiority in these matters. In view of the comment made to me by my noble friend Lord Champion, I do not wish to enter into any argument as to how far South and how far West the definition "Sassenach" applies. If it applies to everybody South of the Scottish Border, then it takes in a wonderful field of territory, and one realises, perhaps for the first time, that if that is the definition, there are Sassenachs not only of many nationalities, but of many colours.

The final point to which I was referred is, I think, as important as any raised in the debate, and that is the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, on the need for the use of university research facilities, both by the Government and by industry. This is a point which cannot be emphasised too often. Her Majesty's Government obviously can easily bring exhortation to bear on industry to make use of these facilities, but the best exhortation to industry is the example of the Government doing it themselves. I am glad to say that in the last year there has been quite a move in this direction. More than one project has already been undertaken by the University of Strathclyde in this connection, and others are presently under consideration for Government research to be undertaken both at Queen's College, Dundee— the University of Dundee to be—and at the University of Edinburgh. I should wish to assure your Lordships, and the noble Earl, in particular, that the Government consider that if they did not make use of these facilities to the greatest possible extent we should be wasting one of the greatest of our assets in the struggle to survive and to expand our abilities in the 20th century.

I repeat that I am most grateful for the welcome that has been given to the Bill, and I am particularly grateful for the kind references which were made to my own connection with Dundee. I hope, as the noble Lord, Lord Balerno, said, that the remaining stages of the Bill will be speedy.

On Question, Bill read 2ª, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.