§ 2.48 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (LORD SHACKLETON)
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Government of Wales Bill, has consented to place her Prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I am very grateful to Her Majesty for consenting to place her Prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the to enable us to discuss and to take a decision upon this important measure.
My Lords, the object of the Bill is to provide for the devolution of powers in relation to the internal government Wales to extend the principle of federal government for the United Kingdom already in operation for Northern Ireland. It is, we Welsh believe, or many of us feel, an historic occasion. It is the first time, so far as I am aware, that a Bill of this nature has been presented to your 703 Lordships. We Welsh are proud of being Welsh, and proud of being British. We in the Liberal Party are not separatists. We do not wish to separate ourselves from the rest of the United Kingdom, as the Welsh Nationalists do. We do not want Wales to become, as they would have it, like Ghana or Trinidad in its relation to the rest of the United Kingdom.
The dialogue in Wales at this moment is not whether there should be a Government and Parliament for Wales, but what sort of Government and Parliament there should be. As your Lordships know, federalism has been described as a polity in which several States form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs. This is no new idea in the United Kingdom. Professor Dicey once wrote that any idea in Britain took at least thirty years to get on to the Statute Book. This Bill has taken far longer than that, because on a very wet night, on November 26, 1879, Mr. Gladstone, speaking at the Corn Exchange, Dalkeith, at the beginning of his Midlothian campaign, said:I propose that a measure of Home Rule should be conferred upon the different portions of the United Kingdom in order to relieve Parliament of an overwhelming weight of business.He continued:If arrangements could be made under which Ireland, Scotland, Wales and portions of England could deal with questions of local and special interest to themselves that would be the attainment of a great national good.Those words were said in 1879 on a wet night in Dalkeith, and on this dry afternoon in Westminster they are no less true.
This federal system forms a major part of Liberal policy, and has done for many years. As I have said, Northern Ireland and also the Greater London Council were in a sense forerunners of this idea. Great interest has been shown in Wales in this Bill, on the B.B.C. television and radio, in the Western Mail, and also, outside Wales, in The Times and in the Irish Press. There have been several leaders on it, and I should like to quote from two or three. The first is from the Western Mail, which is extensively circulated in Wales. The Western Mail, on November 4, last, said: 704Wales and Scotland share an anger at the irrelevance and ignorance of much Whitehall decision-making that has been little soothed by either the presence of Secretaries of State in the Cabinet or the setting up of innumerable, toothless committees. If these are what Labour means when it speaks of understanding the problems of Wales the reference is laughable. A good instance is the commitment to set up a nominated council for Wales when the real need is for nothing less than an elected regional parliament. The nationalist message is scrawled all over the wall; is Labour even now too myopic to read it?Then on November 22 the Western Mail, in another leader, said:The brave solution, and ultimately the only one that makes sense in a democracy, would be an elected parliament."—that is, an elected Parliament for Wales. A few months ago The Times, in a leader, said:A Commission should be established to review the constitutional arrangements for Scotland and Wales with a view to creating local parliaments for Scottish and Welsh affairs. It is national democracy that is needed, but not the dismemberment of the United Kingdom.We on these Benches completely agree with the editor of The Times. Then on November 24, last, The Times, again in a leader and actually referring to this Bill, made much the same comment.
If the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom were overburdened in 1879, as Mr. Gladstone, who had a great deal of experience of both, said, then it is far more of a burden to-day. The present system has been described as the most expensive and top-heavy administrative system in the world. In fact, the United Kingdom is too small a unit for economic purposes, hence our desire to join the European Economic Community, but with 56.05 million people it is too large for administration. Mr. Douglas Jay, speaking recently with all his experience in Government, said that when he first came to Whitehall, 27 years ago, it took three days to get a matter settled and through. He now says that one would be lucky to get it done in three months, and we on these Benches would not disagree with him.
Looking at other places in the world, the United States of America, with three and a half times our population, apart from the Federal Government has 50 States with an average population about the same as Wales, Canada has a population of 15 million in 10 Provinces; 705 Australia has a population of 10 million in 6 States; the Soviet Union, West Germany, Switzerland and many other countries have a federal system of one kind or another. Also, quite apart from Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, all have a considerable amount of local autonomy.
The economic position of Wales, as in Scotland, and in fact in much of England, is completely unbalanced. There is a concentration of power of all kinds in London, not only in Goverment but in business and everything else. This has caused great depopulation and hardship. The five counties of mid-Wales have a population of less than the City of Cardiff—less than 260,000. Indeed, they have less population in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II than they had in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
At the moment, Wales as a whole has a considerable unemployment problem. We have 43,222 people unemployed; that is, 4.3 per cent of the employable population; and that figure is rising. The figure of 4.3 per cent. compares with 2.7 per cent. in Great Britain as a whole, and 1.7 per cent. in London. In 1966, over 12,000 working people left Wales for England, and I understand that in 1967 that figure was increased, although the figures have not yet been published. The old industries, such as coal and steel, are declining or changing in form, and new industries are not taking their place. Fifteen out of 24 of the advance Government factories are scattered throughout the industrial areas, and are empty.
A Cardiff councillor, Mrs. Hallinan, whom some of your Lordships may know, who is a prominent citizen of Cardiff and whose husband and father-in-law are also members of the Council, recently said at a Parliamentary Committee that she had had a number of representations from traders in the city who fear that the city is dying on its feet. That is the capital city of Wales. Newport, Cardiff and Barry are badly hit because they are not in the development areas, and in fact there is now the extraordinary position that it is likely that our only shipbuilding yard at Newport will close down because the costs are 6 per cent. higher than in shipbuilding yards in development areas, quite apart from foreign yards.
706 The political position is this. We are an ancient people with the oldest living language in Europe. We have fought throughout history, and still fight to maintain our national identity. In this the language plays a great part, but there are many other circumstances as well. Not only the language, but our culture, our traditions and our history also all mean a great deal to us. Why, therefore, do we need Home Rule? We need Home Rule, my Lords, the sort of rule I have suggested in this Bill, because we believe that we can run our own affairs better than people who work and live 200 miles away in Whitehall. Our problems, we feel, are impossible to solve under the present set-up. A recent poll conducted in Wales by the Western Mail showed that 61 per cent. of the Welsh people polled favoured a Parliament for Wales. There was not a big poll. But there it is; that was the result.
I feel that our people need an identification with the Government, which they have not now got. This massive concentration of power in London means that the people of Wales—and those of Scotland and Northern England, too, for that matter—feel that they have no opportunity of making their wishes known or making their fears felt in Whitehall, and until we can get the genius and ability of the Welsh people fully behind the the measures which are needed to develop Wales I feel that Wale; will not flower as it should do.
Your Lordships may ask whether Wales is a viable State, whether we could pay for ourselves so far as our domestic affairs are concerned. It would be rather odd if your Lordships did ask-that, because in recent years this House, in common with the other place, ha; granted independence to all sorts of curious places, little strips of desert, remote islands, teeming Asian cities, all with far lesser populations and infinitely fewer resources than Wales has. Indeed, Wales has almost twice the population of Northern Ireland; it has the same population as New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland. I am told, although I have not checked this, that it has a larger population than forty Stales in the United Nations, and of course far greater resources than a large number of them.
We hope that your Lordships will pass this Bill, and we hope that it will be 707 the forerunner of other Bills, perhaps not quite on the same lines, because the various constituent parts of the United Kingdom differ. But it would be a forerunner for Scotland and the English regions. I personally hope that it will be an even greater forerunner and that we shall in time see a united Ireland back within the United Kingdom, within the federal structure of the United Kingdom. It is interesting to note that only recently the largest Belfast paper conducted a poll and found that 41per cent. of people polled in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, were in favour of that system, a United Ireland coming back into the federal structure. That Northern Ireland can favour a system of that kind shows what an enormous difference there has been. I believe that to-day we are a swallow which may indicate a very happy summer.
To deal very shortly with the proposals of the Bill, defence, foreign affairs, the Crown and the overall direction of the United Kingdom economy are reserved under the Bill to the Federal United Kingdom Parliament. Other matters, as agreed from time to time between the two Governments and Parliaments, will be matters for the Welsh Parliament.
Clause 1 establishes a Parliament, to be called the Parliament of Wales, consisting of a Governor, acting on behalf of Her Majesty, and a single-Chamber Legislature known as the Senate. It is my personal hope—I have not checked with my colleagues—that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who we are delighted to know is to have his Investiture next year, will become the first Governor of Wales with a modern residence in Cardiff.
Clause 2 provides power to make laws on a wide range of subjects with certain important exceptions. Clause 3 establishes religious, racial, political and linguistic equality. Clause 4 deals with inconsistencies between laws enacted by the two Parliaments. Clause 5 enables a reference on interpretation of constitutional matters to the Appellate Committee of your Lordships' House. Clause 6 deals with the appointment of Ministers. Clause 7 provides for the Senate to meet in Cardiff. Clause 8 stipulates that there shall be at least one Session a year. Clause 9 provides for 72 members of the Senate and for their payment. They will be elected by the system known as the 708 alternative vote. Clause 10 preserves the election laws for election of Members of the House of Commons but reduces the number from the present 36 to 18, and it precludes those elected to the House of Commons from intervening in the domestic matters of the other States. Your Lordships will be glad to know that Peers will be eligible for election to the Senate—that is, to the legislative body in Wales.
Clauses 11 to 17 deals with financial and taxation matters and set up a joint Exchequer Board. Clause 18 continues existing laws and institutions. Clause 19 deals with judicial and legal matters and sets up a separate Court of Appeal and a Court of Great Session, with its own judges and its own Attorney General and one legal profession. This is an innovation possibly, but we feel that there is a great case to be made for our own courts of law. We had our own courts and our own judges up to the beginning of last century, and I feel certain that this would be of great advantage to us. We should no longer have the assizes. There would be permanent courts set up in from four to six centres. Under Clause 24, the civil servants who wished to be translated would be translated, but those who did not wish to be translated would be left where they are. Clause 25 deals with consequential matters. Schedule 1 sets out a list of Ministers, and Schedule 2 refers to Clause 14 and deals with certain liabilities and expenditure.
My Lords, this measure is, I suggest, a highly important one, and transcends Party. I trust that your Lordships will treat it as such and give it a Second Reading. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Ogmore.)
§ LORD RHODES
My Lords, may I ask whether I am too late to raise a point with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore?
§ 3.7 p.m.
§ BARONESS PHILLIPS
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has said, this is the first time, I believe, on which we have been asked to consider a Bill which provides for the establishment of a Parliament for Wales, and I have 709 listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Lord in introducing the Bill. The Bill, were it enacted, would result in a drastic reorganisation of central government in the United Kingdom. The Government are glad that an opportunity has been given to discuss the principles that underlie the Bill and to air the difficulties which must be faced if any such proposal is to be taken further.
Although this is the first time on which your Lordships have been asked to consider a Bill which provides for the establishment of a Parliament for Wales, your Lordships will know that Bills couched in much the same terms have been debated in another place. The most recent occasion was on March 4, 1955, when a Government of Wales Bill was introduced as a Private Member's Bill. This was refused a Second Reading by a majority of 48 to 14. The other occasion was in 1914, when a Private Member's Bill was introduced to establish a Single Chamber Parliament for the transaction of the affairs of Wales. At that time, the Bill received scant support from the Members for Wales and little, if any, from the Liberal Government of the day, a point which is not without interest. Your Lordships might consider that the Bill that we are currently considering has at least one advantage over the 1914 Bill: that provided for 95 members while the noble Lord's Bill restricts membership to 72.
In the fifty or more years that have passed since the first Bill was introduced in 1914, Wales has changed out of all recognition, and the nature of Government business undertaken in Wales has changed as well. Thus the devolution of administration to offices in Wales has gone a long way. The devolution was largely confined to the Board of Education for Wales which had been established in 1906. Now there are some twenty heads of Government Departments in Wales who regularly meet to review current developments and the general execution of Government policies in Wales. Each year a Report about Government action is published in the annual Command Paper Wales. In the economic field, the Planning Board—comprising representatives of the main economic Ministries in Wales—meets regularly under the chairmanship of a senior official from the Welsh Office.
710 Even more important than this, however, is the placing of responsibility for Wales on specially appointed Ministers who can appreciate the problems of the Principality and are well placed to ensure that these are not overlooked by the Government of the day. The first Secretary of State for Wales was appointed in 1964. In addition to direct responsibilities for a number of important functions in Wales, particularly housing, local government and roads, he has oversight over most aspects of Government administration which affect Wales. It is true to say that the Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh Office are free to influence the Government policy in the majority, if not all, the fields which are mentioned in the first Schedule to the Bill we are considering. As a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, he has the responsibility of making known the voice of Wales at the highest possible level. Serious thought should be given to this aspect of any proposal to set up a Parliament of Wales, lest in the final analysis the people of Wales may lose more influence than they gain.
Your Lordships will be aware of the arrangements which exist in another place for the discussion of Welsh affairs. The affairs of Wales are continually borne in mind by the Members representing Welsh constituencies, who are conscious of their rights and have been given increased opportunities in another place for exercising them in the Annual Welsh Day and other debates and by the setting up of the Welsh Grand Committee in 1960. Finally, the Government has for a period of years been helped by the advisory Councils for Wales which it has established. The Council for Wales and Monmouthshire, which was set up in 1949, was followed in 1965 by the Economic Council, whose terms of office comes to an end in March, 1968. Both these bodies have given distinguished service to Wales.
Suggestions have been put forward for establishing an elected Council to take over the administration of certain central Government services such as trunk roads and hospitals and also of certain services such as parts of the educational and health and welfare services, town and country planning, police, fire and public water supply now run by the counties 711 and county boroughs or by joint authorities. These suggestions were recently considered by the Government in their review of the organisation of local government in Wales. The transfer of central Government functions to an elected council would require extensive alterations in existing legislation and national administrative machinery, and, so far as most of the existing local authority services are concerned, it was thought that it would not be consistent to strengthen the local authorities for the better discharge of their functions and, at the same time, transfer the most important of these functions elsewhere. Moreover, there would be disadvantages in dividing responsibility for different parts of certain local authority services, such as education and health and welfare.
For these reasons, the Government's White Paper on Local Government in Wales (Cmnd. 3340, of July, 1967) concluded that the merits of a new all-Wales body to undertake important executive functions were not as yet clear but that there would be advantage in early action to improve the existing machinery for advisory and promotional work. The Government proposed, therefore, to take action in two stages: first, at the end of the present three-year term of office of the members of the Welsh Economic Council, the existing advisory and promotional machinery will be strengthened, without a need for special legislation, by the appointment of a new advisory body with wider terms of reference than the Welsh Economic Council. The new body will also have a large, although still nominated, membership and secondly, subsequently the Secretary of State for Wales will consider in the light of the Reports of the Royal Commissions on Local Government in England and Scotland and other developments a further strengthening of all-Wales machinery by giving it additional powers and responsibilities and by making appropriate changes in its membership and constitution.
This is the background against which your Lordships will wish to consider the noble Lord's proposal for establishing a Parliament for Wales, and I wish to say that the Government welcome this debate. The subject is an important one which presents problems requiring very careful consideration, and this debate may do 712 much to clarify the issues and promote further discussion in Wales of the role of an elected Parliament or of various alternatives to this.
As the noble Lord mentioned the solution proposed by him differs essentially, of course, from that which the Welsh Nationalist Party is proposing, and it is as well to emphasise and to make this difference clear. The noble Lord's proposal keeps Wales economically and politically within the United Kingdom, whereas the objective of the Nationalists for Wales is independence within the Commonwealth. This means complete autonomy, both economically and politically, and the right to break the link with the Crown. I am quite certain that the great majority of Welshman will continue to reject this solution.
The solution proposed by the noble Lord does, however, imply a considerable degree of economic separation, in that he proposes that Wales should have separate Ministers for dealing with, among other subjects, finance and economic affairs, labour, transport, local government and social security, that it should have a separate Exchequer and Consolidated Fund, and that there should be a yearly determination of the share that Wales should receive of the reserved taxes "collected and properly attributable to Wales". My Lords, it would be of the greatest value if the implications of these proposals could be discussed and analysed in this debate. Under the arrangements proposed in the Bill, what assurances would the noble Lord propose giving to the people of Wales that it would be possible to continue the present level of Exchequer assistance to the Welsh Development Area, to Welsh industry and agriculture and to Welsh local authorities? Would Wales continue to get its present large share of the new industries moved out of the congested areas of England? How far could it be guaranteed that social security benefits would be kept at the same level as in England?
There are also other aspects of the proposals that merit discussion. The apparatus of separate Parliament, Ministers, Governor and Judiciary proposed by the noble Lord, would surely be expensive. Yet the main policy decisions would still be taken at Westminster. This would apply completely to all the reserved subjects and it could also be expected that 713 the main policies in the field of the transferred services would be worked out at Westminster and only modified by the Welsh Parliament. In both fields, therefore, would not the reduced number of Welsh Members at Westminster have much less influence than they have now? At Ministerial level would not Wales lose a great deal if there were no longer a Department of State headed by the Secretary of State for Wales with a seat in the Cabinet?
Again, if only because there would be only half as many Welsh Members of Parliament at Westminster as there are to-day, would not the chances of Welshmen achieving any Ministerial office in the United Kingdom Government be inevitably diminished? If so, when one thinks of the contribution made by Welsh Members to the Government of the United Kingdom, as well as to the well-being of the Principality, it could not but be a matter for regret.
My Lords, I do not want to appear to be destructive in my approach to this Bill. The noble Lord is offering a solution to a problem which exists. It is the problem which my honourable friend the Lord President of the Council referred to the other evening—the problem of communication between the British people and their elected representatives and the sense of frustration that tends to exist, particularly among those who feel themselves to be miles away from Westminster and Whitehall. It is our duty to address ourselves to this problem and to consider how best it may be solved, if not in the precise way proposed by my noble friend, then in some other way. Is there, for example, a case for considering some simpler new machinery than he has proposed—for instance, an elected Council to which might be transferred advisory, promotional and executive functions not from other elected bodies but from the many nominated bodies that are now in existence? Would a solution on these lines avoid some of the risks of economic and political separation that may be thought to arise on the noble Lord's proposal, and would they also be more acceptable to the Welsh people? It was because these questions need careful consideration in the best interests of the Welsh people that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales left the door 714 open in the White Paper to which I have referred.
This Bill raises complex constitutional questions which must be fully discussed, both in Parliament and outside. It would create a major reform of the British Constitution with far-reaching implications for the United Kingdom Parliament here at Westminster, a reform on which it would be premature to pronounce here and now. It is important that the people of Wales, and indeed the people of the United Kingdom, should be given ample time to weigh up the arguments for and against this Bill, and that there should be the freest possible expression of views on the matter by all concerned. Noble Lords will wish to express their views to-day and the Government will pay great attention to them. The Government consider that their role is to watch and listen to all expressions of opinion on the subject, but not to attempt to influence this House one way or the other. Therefore the Government do not intend to give any guidance o its friends as to how they should vote. For myself, my Lords, I shall abstain.
§ 3.22 p.m.
My Lords, I beg to move as an Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading, to leave out "now" and insert "this day six months". I should like to begin, in explaining to the House exactly how I stand in this matter, by declaring an interest, by saying that I am by blood half Welsh. On my father's side I am wholly Welsh, and I call myself a Welshman because I have lived in the same house all my life in one of the more remote and furthest parts of Wales. So I claim to have more than a little interest in the matter.
I am against this Bill. I am against nationalism wherever it rears its head. The noble Lord has said that he does not call this nationalism; but, to be very polite, this is the thin end of the wedge. I call myself an internationalist, which is the opposite of a nationalist. I oppose all nationalism—Welsh, English, Scots, Cornish: any of them. I want people to draw closer and closer together rather than to go further and further apart. What I say and advocate does not mean that we must not have decentralisation. Of course we must. Call it devolution, if you like, since that is essential; but that is a very different thing from what is behind this Bill. This Bill is breaking up the 715 United Kingdom into little pieces. The noble Lord, as I see it, wants us to be small. I want us to be big. There is great talk to-day in the newspapers and among people about "Great Britain Limited". All the talk to-day is how we can unite to fight our way in the world. In industry and in commerce the talk is all about mergers—not people splitting into bits, but joining together into mergers and big concerns in industry. Industry, of course, has to spend its own money and not other people's. The big banks are much in the news in the last few days. They decentralise for the sake of efficiency. I am all for this country decentralising, but I am not for splitting it apart. They merge because they think that unity is strength; and so do I.
I must ask this question: do we Welsh now have a grievance? I say that we have none. I must justify that a little by saying that the Welsh have a greater say in the Government of the United Kingdom than any other of the peoples of that Kingdom. No, I am a little wrong in that, since the Scots have a greater say, but The Welsh have a much greater say than the English.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Oh!
Fortunately, my Lords, I have come armed with figures. In 1966, which was the date of the Census, the population per member of Parliament in the three countries was as follows: Scotland, 73,110; Wales, 75,033; England, 88,794. How sorry we are for the English! The noble Lord said that he wanted the Welsh to have an opportunity of making their wishes known. Compared to the English, the Welsh now have a much greater opportunity through their Members of Parliament, so that every Welshman has an appreciably greater share in the United Kingdom Government than every Englishman. To say, as many people do, that Wales is governed by England is, of course, sheer nonsense; but they go on saying it.
This Bill sets up a Welsh Parliament. We must think seriously about this. Although I strongly disagree with the Bill, I concede that it is well-drafted and well thought out, and I have no complaints about that. But how much is this 716 going to cost, at a time when we are all thinking about extra costs and economies? As the noble Baroness said, this separate Parliament for Wales has to be paid for.
Now comes my major reason for disagreeing with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. Directly you set up a separate Parliament, you set up a separate law. That is what I object to. I have a great admiration for the United States of America, but if I were asked what I thought was one of the worst features about the United States, I would say the fact that it had 50 separate laws. It is true that Scotland has a separate law already, but there are sound historical reasons for that dating from centuries past, and nobody seriously wants to alter them now; although if I had my way I would have the most royal of all Royal Commissions and I would not allow it to separate until it had produced the same law for Scotland and England and Wales. I have in my mind's eye the picture of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, standing there at the Dispatch Box only a few weeks ago addressing your Lordships, and explaining that in the matter of the law of legitimacy Scotland was for centuries a long way ahead of England; then in the 1930s England at one leap went ahead of Scotland, and now, he told your Lordships, Scotland is regaining its old place. The point I am trying to make is this: why in the world cannot we have the same law in both countries? I want the best law. I do not believe that the law of Scotland and the law of England are both the best. I simply do not believe it.
If this Bill is passed, then, as I motor over the Severn Bridge and I pay my half-a-crown toll, I shall have to think to myself, "What will the law be on the other side? Have I been committing an offence in England which I shall not be committing in Wales, or the other way round?" Is this necessary? I say it is not. There is no case. I submit, for a separate law in the two countries, and I repeat that as soon as you get a separate Parliament you inevitably get a separate law. I do not believe that it is wrong to drink on Sundays in Wales and right to drink on Sundays in England. I just do not believe it; and yet there it is. We have a different law.
717 And, of course, as soon as you set up a different Parliament you will have a Customs barrier. As I go home from here over the Bridge I shall be stopped by a Customs officer, who will ask: "Have you anything to declare?" As I go through the tunnel, under the river instead of over—I do not know where the Customs officer will be there—the same question will be asked: "Have you anything to declare?" Look at what happened in Ireland. Directly they had Home Rule they had Customs barriers. Is the frontier of Northern Ireland and Eire a good advertisement for good government? I should have thought not. What a waste all this is—that is one of my principal arguments against this Bill—and how expensive!
One cannot talk about Wales these days without mentioning the subject of water. Incidentally, I would interpose here that if I were a Socialist I should put water first on my list of things to be nationalised, and yet I think no Party has ever suggested that they should do just that. That is the first thing I would do in nationalisation. Here we have an island the western part of which is high, wet and has excessive water; the eastern part of which is low, dry and lacking in water. My simple mind would have a remedy at once. I would allow the water to flow, without any help from anybody, from the West to the East.
But no, not a bit of it! The Welsh Nationalists will have none of this. If this Bill passes I prophesy—I cannot prove my prophecies—that that obviously sensible move will be more difficult. It will be more difficult to get water from Wales for England. Some people will try to stop it as much as they can. The Welsh Nationalists say that the water that comes to Liverpool and Birmingham is not paid for. That, of course, is nonsense; it is very well paid for. In fact—and I say this in no rude or offensive manner at all—the ratepayers of Radnorshire are to a certain extent living on the backs of the people of Birmingham. I do not blame them at all, and I should do it myself if I were there; and this will go on as long as the pipes connecting the two places are not blown up by the Nationalists.
Still on water, consider the River Severn—the longest river in England— 718 which rises wholly in Wales and then flows into and runs wholly through England. Rightly, it is under one authority, I believe. That is common sense. It is now under one Government. What happens if this Bill is passed into law? Will the Severn become another Jordan? Or take Severnside. I read in the papers—I am not knowledgeable about these matters, but I read the newspapers—that it is proposed to have a great port on the River Severn called Severnside, on both sides of the river alike. I admire that idea very much, and nothing could be more sensible, nothing could be more helpful to this country than that. Now it would be comparatively easy; but what if this Bill passed into law? There might be some disputes as to how the Severnside authority should be formed; but, when formed, how would it get on if it had lo deal with two Parliaments instead of one? That sort of thing makes it obvious that one Parliament is better than two.
Now I pass to the law. This Bill sets up separate law courts right up to the august level of your Lordships' House, falling short only of that. How expensive! I submit that, on the whole, the present system works extremely well and does not need altering. Of course, it benefits and will benefit by improvements. There is at the moment a Royal Commission sitting under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Beeching, and, that being so, if nothing comes of it I shall be surprised. I quote that merely as an example to show that the Government have improvements always in mind in our legal system. I am quite certain that nobody has it in mind more than the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack.
But why, then, should these improvements be enjoyed only by England? WI- y not both countries? In my view—I say, this with all proper respect—we have a proper system of assize circuits. The Welsh circuit is separate, and I am proud to be a member of it. There are a great many Welsh judges who go circuit in England as well as Wales, and the English go circuit in Wales. That, to my mind, is all to the good. Why then stop it? I should like to see all the judges going circuit around both countries. I believe it would be better for England to hale the Welsh judges, better for Wales to have the English judges, and, if I may 719 say so with the utmost respect to the learned judges, it would be better for the judges to go around both countries. Incidentally, in passing I regret that we do not have more exchanges between England and Wales in matters of this sort. For example, I regret that on the Episcopal Benches of your Lordships' House there are no Welsh Bishops. But then I see that to-day there are no English, either.
I should like to come to just one detail of the legal set-up in this country. A vast deal of work—few people realise how much—is done by the Lord Chancellor's Department, several floors up here in your Lordships' House, working, most economically in my judgment, in very small offices, but their turn-out of work is very great. If this Bill passes it will divide that Department in twain. I cannot think that it can benefit either country to do that. Take justices of the peace. They are appointed for all over England and Wales, except for one area, by one Department working upstairs here. Why Lancashire should be different in this respect I have never understood, but no doubt there are some Lancastrians here who understand it perfectly. What advantage will there be, can there be, in duplicating this work between England and Wales? We want—I am sure the noble and learned Lord will agree that he wants—the best justices. Why, then, separate the machinery for getting them? Can it be that the principles to be applied to ensure the appointment of the best justices are different in England from those in Wales? I do not believe it for a minute.
What of the cost? That brings me to the subject of finance. The particular point in which I am interested is the National Debt. If you divide a country, it seems to me that you have to divide the National Debt—that is, the amount of money which has been borrowed in the past to pay for what has been done in the past. And let nobody think that, in the future, one country only will repay the debt. I want to be sure that it is fairly divided. I asked the noble Lord to explain it, and he quoted Clause 14 and Schedule 2. I am very grateful to him for helping me, because I could not quite understand it. And I am bound to say that I still do not quite understand it. 720 It seems to my simple mind, my Lords, that if we must have this Bill a very good way of dividing the National Debt would be to say that it will be divided in proportion to the populations of the two countries, and call it a day. That would seem to me to be fair. But not a bit of it. It seems to me that these clauses, although, as I have already said, well drafted, are both obscure and complicated. I cannot discover whether England and Wales will each pay their fair share. In passing, I would interject: did Ireland pay her fair share?
I read in Clause 14, subsection (4), the sinister words, "the relative taxable capacities" of England and Wales. I should like to know who is to determine what those capacities are. I think there is a body to be set up to do it, but may there not be a good deal of argument as to what is the capacity of Wales to pay her share; and also of England? If we must pass this Bill, why not say straightaway, "in proportion to population"? How is it to be determined? Frankly, my Lords, I am a little suspicious. I hope that the noble Lord will dissipate my suspicion.
So far this afternoon very little has been said about the language problem. The noble Lord, so far as I heard him, which was not very well, rather avoided the question of the Welsh language: but if this Bill is passed the language problem will come to a head in a big way. Of that I am quite certain. Let me concede at once—and I do so very readily—that the Welsh language as a means of communication between one man and another is every hit as good as, if not better than, English; and, as the noble Lord said, it is older. I admit that straight away. But, my Lords, how many languages do we need in this island? Whilst I would readily agree to allowing anybody who wanted to learn Welsh to do so at once, with the greatest ease and full facilities, I submit that it would be quite wrong to have two official languages in this country, making it a bilingual country.
I am sorry for other countries which are afflicted by bilingualism. Consider Canada; consider South Africa. There, everything is in two languages. Is this really an advantage? I submit that it is the reverse. I am told, "Oh!, they get on beautifully in Switzerland, and they 721 have to learn three languages". I am sure they do; but might they not more profitably be learning other subjects if every child in Switzerland did not have to get down to learning three languages?
I want to touch on the cost of bilingualism—and, believe me, my Lords, bilingualism would follow the passing of this Bill as surely as to-morrow will follow to-day. As to the cost, even now we have annual reports of charities—I get them myself—printed in two languages. With the best will in the world, one cannot help feeling that if they printed them in only one language there might be more money for the charity. Consider also the fact that there is now a considerable interchange and flow of industry between England and Wales. In my part of the world we are developing a great oil port. British companies and world companies are coming down there and developing great oil refineries, power stations and so forth, which require skilled and expert labour and officials. These people come down and bring their children. Will it not be rather difficult for them if their children have to go to a school where not only will they learn Welsh—nobody objects to that if they want to—but the medium of instruction in every subject will be Welsh? For English officials, and possibly foreign officials, it will make it very difficult. It is small wonder that there is a good deal of opposition to this sort of thing in certain parts of Wales. Under these conditions, will industries come to Wales? The noble Lord rightly said that a lot of people were leaving Wales. My prophecy is that if this Bill is passed more people will leave Wales; that there will be a net flow of emigrants. Some will come, will be attracted by it, but more will leave. That is my prophecy, although I cannot prove it. I hope I am wrong.
My Lords, I do not want to be parochial, but I live in South Pembrokeshire, which is in a minority, if you like. Perhaps it is unimportant. It is sometimes called, "Little England beyond Wales". I never hear a word of Welsh around my home if I walk out—never a word. I am more likely to hear French or German than Welsh. The people around me take things easily, it may be, but if this Bill passes I foresee trouble. There is already a great fear there of what may happen if these developments are put 722 through. Again I say that some of them will leave Wales through a still greater fear of the future.
Young people seeking a career in the professions, let us say, will have to choose where to do their work. Let us take a young man who wants to go into the Church, or a young man who wants to go to the Bar, or a young man who wants to go into a local government office. He will have to say to himself, "If I go into this job in Wales, I shall have to learn Welsh or never get to the top". A great number of them will answer the problem by saying, "Well, I shall go to England". That is why there is emigration from Wales: they must either learn Welsh or lower their sights. As some of them see it, if they stay they may get to the top in Wales, but they will not get very high if they go elsewhere. Would you ever get a David Lloyd George coming out of Wales after this Bill is passed: I fear you would not. I say that the brain drain from Wales will in future, if this Bill is passed, require a bigger drain-pipe.
My Lords, I want to say a word about the boundary between England and Wales, which is a subject that is never touched on. One does not seem to be allowed to discuss this boundary; I do not know why. There seems to be a cone spiracy that it must never be altered Local Government Boundary Commissions are appointed in England and Wales for all kinds of places, and the only thing they are not allowed to do is to touch this boundary between England and Wales. It is somehow sacred. I concede at once that most of Monmouthshire (which I like to call Gwent, with the Welsh; it is a nice name) should be in Wales. I will not say it is now in England, because if I do I shall be come even more unpopular than I other-wise shall. But for parts of the Border country—I do not live anywhere near it, so I do not know much about it—there ought to be a transfer both ways: some parts ought to be transferred from Wales into England and some from England into Wales. I am sure it would be a miracle if it were not so. But, no, it is untouchable.
If this Bill passes, what is now comparatively unimportant will suddenly become very important indeed to a number of people; because many people 723 will find themselves for the first time living on the wrong side of a frontier. They do not mind much now; they go across it with impunity. There is a lot of give and take, no doubt. But have a Welsh Parliament, have a Welsh Judiciary, and there will be many of them on the wrong side. So I plead that whatever happens, this Border should be adjusted or at least reviewed.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, mentioned the number of things concentrated in London. But are we so badly off as he suggested? At the risk of being very unpopular, I am going to suggest that the fact that so many things are concentrated in London is of great advantage to the United Kingdom, of which it is the capital. Think of the advantage of having everything centrally in London, and compare this situation with that of a country like South Africa, whose "Whitehall" and "Westminster" are a thousand miles away, and where the "Law Courts" and "the Strand" are halfway in between. I think we ought to be thankful that we do not suffer from that.
And now, coming to Wales, I ask where is the capital of Wales going to be if this Bill passes? In Cardiff, to begin with; and after that we do not know. Cardiff is a very nice city, one which I pass through every time I come here and one for which I have a considerable feeling of affection because my own family had a lot to do with its development in the old days, although not now. It is a very fine city, but its greatest friend would not say that it was in the slightest degree a convenient centre for Wales, because it is almost off the edge of Wales, toppling into the sea and into England. The cynics say—and I have said it myself; and there is a lot to be said for it—that if you ask somebody: "Where is the most centrally convenient place in Wales for Government or for meetings?", the answer is, "London". And if it is not London, it is Shrewsbury. I have in my public life been a member of two bodies composed wholly of Welshmen with not a single Englishman on them. One of them met in London; the other in Shrewsbury. It is one of the facts of life which we simply cannot avoid. The fact is that with the best will in the world—and 724 there is good will—nobody has succeeded in providing a convenient centre for Wales.
Finally, my Lords, I say that we should be "thinking big". Why is it that the United States and Russia are the successful countries they are to-day? It is simply because they are big. The noble Lord wants to make Wales smaller and he wants to make this Kingdom smaller. This movement has already gone too far, as the noble Baroness, I think, hinted—although I appreciate her position very high on the fence. By all means let us have regional representation in Wales for every Government Department—I think that would be efficient devolution and decentralisation—but I do not favour the grouping together of all the services in Wales, or in any other area, under a Secretary of State. With every possible respect for the Secretary of State and for all other Secretaries of State—and, by the way, why not a Secretary of State for England?—it is not a system that works efficiently; he is what Gilbert would call a "Lord High Everything Else".
To sum up, I say that if this Bill passes there is hound to be more trouble as well as more expense; trouble over the Border, which will have to be adjusted, and trouble over the English parts of Wales, which are purely English. My part of Wales was settled by the English and the Flemings in Plantagenet days. The fact that they then drove out the Welsh is a thing I am willing to pass over to-day. Let us face the present, not the past. We hear a lot from the Welsh Nationalists; they are well organised and very vocal. But what I want to warn the House about is this: there is on the other side a very quiet, almost silent, latent opposition which will have to be reckoned with. It keeps quiet now and is quite unorganised; but if this Bill passes I think it will spring into existence and have to be reckoned with—and it will find a leader somehow.
If this Bill is passed I shall plead for a referendum of some kind. I know that the idea of referendum is unpopular in this country, but this will be a case where a referendum is called for on a local basis and not on a county by county basis, because some counties are divided. If this Bill is passed into law it will be for England a nuisance, but for Wales a millstone. I beg to move.
Leave out ("now") and insert ("this day six months").—(Lord Merthyr.)
§ 3.57 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, this Bill is, in my opinion, a piece of Liberal kite-flying. It is a very fine kite, a Welsh dragon in the sky, for which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, is trying to raise the wind. But we know him well as a very practical politician and I really cannot believe that he expects this Bill to pass into law, especially at this time, without any provision being made for Scotland or for England. I know that he said in his speech that a Liberal programme embraced Home Rule for Scotland and Wales; but if that is the case I cannot see the point of introducing a Bill for the Government of Wales alone in the first instance. And indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, said: what about England—a country whose self-government is always ignored by those who advocate Home Rule for Wales or Scotland?
May I give your Lordships my "Simple man's guide to Welsh politics "as they are at the moment. In the first place, the Government have made a monumental mess of the United Kingdom's economy. Therefore in Wales anybody is popular who suggests any measure of independence which they could enjoy away from the mismanagement of the present Government. This is what has encouraged nationalism in Wales, and this is the reason why Plaid Cymru have had the successes they have had recently and now have a Member in the other place.
The Liberals are seeking to jump on the Nationalist bandwagon. They have always depended on disaffected members from the other two major Parties joining them, but they are now losing the disaffected people in Wales, because they are flocking to the banners of Plaid Cymru, and in an endeavour to allow some of the glamour of nationalism to rub off on the Liberal Party, they have introduced this Bill. It may be that the noble Lords sitting on the Liberal Benches here would not accept my analysis of their motives but some of their members in Wales certainly do. One of their prospective Parliamentary Liberal candidates begged me to support this Bill for the very reason that it would spike the guns of the nationalists.
726 My Lords, what appals me, too, is that the Government, seemingly, are too weak to resist this Bill, too frightened no doubt for the seats of their Welsh Members, and they have had, as the noble Baroness has told us, to take a neutral line. This surprises me immensely, especially after what the noble Baroness herself told us, and in view of the arguments against an elected Council for Wales which were put forward in the Government White Paper on local government reorganisation. The Government would not have an elected Council, yet they now seem to be satisfied to sit on the fence and contemplate an elected Government. I find their attitude pusillanimous.
I shall ask your Lordships to support the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, which I thought he moved so convincingly. I do so not like the noble Lord, because I am irrevocably opposed to what he called decentralisation, or what I think I would go so far as to car Home Rule, but because I think that if we come to the point when we decide to decentralise, to have Home Rule in parts of the United Kingdom, the whole matter should be considered carefully and fully first by some form of Commission of Inquiry, perhaps a Royal Commission. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, made mention of this in introducing the Bill. He quoted a Times leader which advocated such a Commission, and I would say that this is the right way to do it. There should be a Commission in the first place which could conduct a full-scale inquiry and make properly balanced recommendations for Home Rule for Wales, for Scotland and for England.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, made some quotations and the noble Baroness. Lady Phillips, quoted other precedents of 1914 and 1955, I think it was. I should like to mention another precedent in this matter. In 1919 there was a Commons Resolution in favour of setting up Regional Parliaments and this was followed in 1921 by a Parliament Relief Bill. That is the sort of thing that I should like to see brought forward, and not the present Bill which deals with Wales alone. This Parliament Relief Bill was to establish Parliaments in England, Scotland and Wales, each to consist of two Houses. In England there was to 727 be a House of Commons of 492 Members and a Second House of 159. In Scotland, there was to be a Commons of 74 and a Second House of 36; in Wales a Commons of 36 and a Second House of 21. I consider it was a sensible Bill. I do not propose to go into the details, but it was sensible in that it considered the whole of the United Kingdom. Since then we have made considerable progress in devolution. The noble Baroness mentioned this and I need not go into details, but it culminated in the appointment of a Secretary of State and the present Welsh Office.
The noble Baroness also made mention of the reorganisation of the Welsh county system into five counties, and larger units. It may well be that the next stage in devolution should be some form of devolution of the Parliamentary institutions, but all I would say to your Lordships is that I think we should not put the cart before the horse; we should have a full-scale inquiry first and a proper Bill covering the whole of the United Kingdom.
My Lords, I would commend the Bill in its desire to see Home Rule rather than independence. Here, I follow exactly in the tracks of the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, in feeling that it is self-evident that international co-operation is essential, economic union is vital and the whole trend of international economics gives greater advantages to larger units. We are, it seems to me, bedevilled by nationalism which should by now be an outdated cry. In fact, to give the Liberal Party their due, they do treat nationalism on the whole as an outdated cry and they stand more for a united Europe than for individual nationalities. I should have much preferred to see them producing a Bill of a more international sort than one of this nature.
If your Lordships have studied the Bill in relation to the Government of Ireland Act 1920, you will find that it bears a very close resemblance. In considering the Bill, therefore, it is possible to draw lessons from the experience of the Stormont in Northern Ireland, which has now been in existence for 48 years and has gained considerable experience. I must mention one difference between Northern Ireland and Wales, much to the detriment 728 of Wales, which is that the Ulster Unionists are supporters of the Conservative Party, whereas any local government in Wales on its present set-up would be likely to be dominated by the Party opposite.
We should, I think, ask ourselves what are the advantages of Home Rule. In theory I see three. The first would be a lightening of the load at Westminster which the Parliamentary Relief Bill was specifically designed to achieve; and here I see a very clear advantage. It is not often that Welsh affairs are debated in the other place and they are debated even more rarely in this House. Were there a Welsh debating Chamber I believe there would be great scope for more public debate on specifically Welsh matters. It would also be easier to pass Bills of considerable Welsh importance without their clogging up the legislative processes at Westminster. I believe that the second advantage would be that scope would be given for local interpretation of national policies, and the third that it would allow some degree of local initiative in the fields not reserved to Westminster, such as health, local government, planning, education, roads and so forth. In fact, Home Rule could claim all the advantages brought by devolution of decision-making powers.
Against that, and on the other side, we must put the disadvantages and ask: are these powers rightly devolved in Wales at the present time? As has already been mentioned, there is a Government White Paper for the creation of larger counties with increased resources to meet their responsibilities. Is it right to impose immediately above those five counties a further tier of local government with basically much the same responsibilities? This was the point made in the Government White Paper when preferring a nominated Council to an elected one. It would place a further stage of government between the county and the county borough and the Central Government at Westminster, and this would involve increased administration and often increased delay. After all, there is already a great deal of administrative and executive devolution to the Welsh Office, and there is no doubt that this will gradually increase. Are we therefore sure that we should be better off in Wales by giving up the present system in which we have Ministers at 729 Whitehall, and one of them in the Cabinet?
The Stormont has worked well there is no doubt, and so might the noble Lord's Senate. But is it really all worth while, and should we in Wales be any better than we are working through the present development of policy? It seems to me that the root of the matter must largely lie in finance, because unless a Government have financial powers they really have no powers at all. Those of your Lordships who have been privileged to sit in the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe will know the frustrations of a parliamentary assembly without financial power.
In theory the Stormont is able to raise its own taxes, other than those reserved by Westminster, but in practice 95 per cent. of the revenue received in Northern Ireland comes from the reserve taxes, leaving only comparatively minor taxes to the Stormont, such as estate duty, motor licence duty, entertainments duty and stamp duty—not the sort of financial powers that really amount to a great deal of independence. The Stormont therefore depends on the amount of money it can extract from London as its share of the reserve taxes. In practice this has come to depend upon the so-called principle of parity which stipulates that if Northern Ireland pays the same taxes as the United Kingdom, it is entitled to the same social services. In practice, therefore, there is very little difference at present between a citizen of Northern Ireland and a citizen of Wales. Both pay the same taxes; both enjoy the same social benefits. And this would continue were Wales to get Home Rule under this Bill.
I should like briefly to turn to the Bill itself, and make one or two points on its provisions. The first is to draw your Lordships' attention to Clause 1(1), which makes provision for the Senate, which would be a single Chamber. Your Lordships may wonder whether this is not a regrettable innovation. Certainly there are two Chambers in Northern Ireland. I believe that there might well be a particular case for a Second Chamber in Wales for this reason, that so much of the population is constantly headed South-East, to Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, that the Senate would be dominated by representatives of that area and the representatives of 730 the rest of Wales would be very much in a minority. So there may be a possible argument for a Second Chamber based on regional representation.
The second point to which I would draw your Lordships' attention has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr. It is that by Clause 1(2) Monmouthshire is included in Wales, which is sure to arouse a great deal of controversy. I will not go into that point further at the moment; know that other noble Lords have further views on the subject. What is most interesting is to compare Clause 2 of this Bill with Section 4 of the Government of Ireland Act, which reserve certain vital matters for decision at Westminster. On comparing the Bill with the Government of Ireland Act it is possible to see that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, is claiming greater powers for the Senate than are enjoyed by the Stormont. This Bill reserves power to Westminster over the Navy, Army and Air Force, but excludes the defence of the realm. Later on there is a somewhat sinister omission in that acts of treason, as well as power; of naturalisation and policy for aliens, are not in the Bill. And I cannot really see that the Central Government al: Westminster could possibly give up these powers. Also, I am surprised to see that there is no provision for the Royal Assent to Bills passed by the single Chamber. I do not know whether this is an omission of purpose, but When it is coupled with the omission of an3 reserve powers over treason or defence of the realm it seems to me to arouse a certain amount of suspicion and to lead one to ask: what is the position of the: Crown under the Bill?
The main difference between these two clauses is the omission in the Welsh Bill of all matters concerning trade with other countries. This seems to me to be a completely unwarrantable omission, which would lead to all the consequences the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, envisaged of different rates of Custom duties, of Custom barriers, of frontiers and of all that paraphernalia of trade control which would lie in the hands of the Senate under this Bill, because it is not reserved specifically to Westminster as is the case with the Stormont. I cannot believe that it might be possible to envisage a United Kingdom where one part, such as Wales, 731 had its own control of trade with overseas countries. It would lead to too many difficulties.
So, to sum up my views, I do not consider that it would be right to give a Second Reading to this Bill on its own without proper provision for Home Rule throughout the United Kingdom, and this can only come as a result of a thoroughgoing inquiry. Were this Bill to form part of such an overall plan, then I believe that it would require amendment to bring it into line with the present powers granted to the Stormont in Northern Ireland. To-day, therefore, I would ask your Lordships to vote for the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr.
§ 4.17 p.m.
§ LORD HEYCOCK
My Lords, I rise to oppose the Bill and I will attempt in a few minutes to indicate to your Lordships the reasons why I do so. I am a Welshman, born of Welsh parents, and I have lived in Wales all my life. For 32 years I have taken part, as other noble Lords have done, in the public life of Wales. When I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, presenting the case for the development and acceptance of a Government for Wales, I felt that before anyone tried to impose a Government upon the people of Wales he might ask them whether or not they would require such a Government. It is usual, in a democratic society at least, to allow the people to determine the nature and character of the Government they require.
I should want to know from the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, how we are to run Wales from the purely economic standpoint. From my experience of local government I say frankly that the services rendered to the people of Wales in education, health and other fields commend themselves, but when I look at the benefits which we receive from the English Government, then clearly if a Government were established in Wales local government organisation would be finished and reduced.
I here this afternoon, at least, realise that in Wales there are two schools of thought in relation to the provision of self-government for Wales. The first school of thought has been indicated by 732 the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the second school of thought is indicated by the Welsh Nationalist Party. Each of them says clearly to us that it is because of the interference from the English Government that Wales is suffering. I should like, with your Lordships' permission, to quote from the Press a letter which indicates the kind of mentality that prevails in the Principality. It says:I would like to inform Mrs. Stamp that of the many hundreds of Plaid members in Merthyr there are just a few who are Welsh-speaking and this after all is a Welsh town. The blame for this state of affairs rests with the London Government who for years have tried to stamp the Welsh language and nation from the face of this earth.I have for many years been in the field of education, and I would indicate to your Lordships that we have received all possible assistance from the Central Government in encouraging the development of language and the maintenance of culture. I have been chairman of an education committee for 25 years, and in the last seven years we have clearly indicated our concern, and the concern of the people centrally, for languge and culture, on which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, touched only briefly—he briefly dismissed the language of a nation, which is the soul of a nation.
I indicated earlier in your Lordships' House that I was chairman of an education committee which, for the last 11 years at least, has pursued a certain policy in the Principality. I do not go with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore I believe that, with the will and the energy, it is possible by the end of this century for Wales to become bilingual, the two cultures living with each other. In the course of the last ten years we have developed at the primary stage of our education 15 primary schools in which instruction is given through the medium of Welsh. Again, we have established a secondary school at Rhydyfelin where the instruction is through the medium of Welsh. At the primary schools we have, in the course of the last seven years, been meeting the demands of the Welsh nation to maintain this family and its institutions. We have established 11 primary schools and a secondary school of 533 pupils. I believe, in my own mind, that that is all with the encouragement that we have received from the Central Government. At the opening of the Welsh 733 secondary school at Rhydyfelin we were privileged to have as the opener the then Minister of Education, one of the most enlightened educationists in the country, Sir Edward Boyle. This indicates clearly that there is a relationship, and if Wales wants to preserve and develop the language, they can do it with every encouragement from the Central Government.
In conclusion, I would make it clear that I oppose the Bill. I was very surprised to find that my own Party clearly sat on the fence in relation to the opposition to this Bill. Either you are for it, or you are against it. I am not concerned in any sense of the word to make political capital, or at least a political salvation. I believe that there will come a time in the history of the Welsh nation when it is necessary to consider the setting up of a Welsh Parliament for Wales, but first we should ascertain from the people of Wales whether or not they desire to have a Welsh Parliament. Therefore, I would ask your Lordships to accept the Amendment, and I would ask the Government to give the people of Wales the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want a Parliament for Wales.
Wales is a country that has unique problems. It is a country in which the majority of the people speak in a foreign tongue and the minority speak the language of the Principality. I am certain that the predominant culture of Wales is the culture of the Welsh language. In that kind of situation, I am fairly certain that, with the two cultures, the two languages and the two nations that people are fearing (I do not go with the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, who believes that at least there should be no division in Wales) frankly, if Wales is given self-government it is likely to drive people away from Wales. So long as Wales is economically secure and can provide the necessary wherewithal for its people, I am certain that people will remain there. My own feeling to-day is that the Government will give the opportunity to the people of Wales to determine their own destiny.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ LORD BANNERMAN OF KILDONAN
My Lords, I shall say only a word or two, and it will be an enthusiastic word or two in support of 734 this Bill. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, for her speech and for her placatory approach to this Bill and to its proposer. We in Scotland are preparing to show Wales and Cardiff next Saturday who is the master. But many Scotsmen, like myself, range themselves in support of my noble friend's Bill, with its main purpose of a free Wales, free from the bureaucratic mastery of Whitehall.
I was surprised to hear the remarks of the two noble Welshmen speaking here to-day. I recognise one of the noble Welshmen as being in the main a noble Englishman. The other noble Welshman retrieved himself, and had the patriotism and the background of cultural knowledge at least to give a postponed agreement to this Bill. We in Scotland suffer from the same overlordship, and we are determined, as is Wales, to become self-respecting working partners in a United Kingdom, instead of as we are now, servants of a bureaucratic centralised Government. That puts us in direct conflict with the noble Lord who spoke as from Wales, the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr.
This over-centralisation, be it of any colour of Government, is in my opinion destroying the language, the liberal opinion, physically and culturally, and the national entities of Wales and Scotland. As power here at the centre grows, the democratic processes of Government weaken, with a consequent rot spreading to every part of the Kingdom, and especially the remoter areas—and the remoter areas are Wales and Scotland. Although government may be given comfortably from this great centre of London, this Government have no knowledge of the vital difficulties that the people have to face both in Wales and in Scotland. We have a depopulation with which this Government do not seem to be greatly concerned. We have a housing difficulty about which the Government have no great concern. These matters of a cultural character are essentially a people's concern. They are worth while talking about, because they refer to people.
All the speeches to-day have in the main emphasised the fact that this proposed separate Parliament for Wales will cost more. How much is it going to cost if you are going to destroy the 735 partners of the United Kingdom? Is that factor not greater than any possible extra expense that may be incurred in setting up devolution of government? This word "devolution" is used in so many different connotations that one does not know to-day what it means when it is expressed by your Lordships. Devolution without executive power is not worth having. We must have executive power and devolution and administrative development, and extra Secretaries of State, which the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, wanted in effect to cut out. The power remains here, where it is overpower and central. Knowing something of Wales, I would say that the fabric of the economic ills due to the lack of effective power among the people—and I emphasise, the people—of Wales covers to-day most of the aspects of living in Wales.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, may I ask whether the noble Lord considers that this has been overcome in Northern Ireland—that the fabric of economic ills has been solved there?
§ LORD BANNERMAN OF KILDONAN
The noble Lord is correct, in so far as Ireland has a certain measure of executive control and so far has been able to pull itself out of the slough of despond in which it was forty years ago; and that is what we are hoping and wanting for the other portions of Great Britain. And not entirely for selfish reasons, but in order that we may become working partners of the United Kingdom rather than merely taking our orders from Whitehall. In my opinion, it is not enough to allow the Welshman to sing Land of my Fathers. I do not know, but perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, has sung Land of my Fathers in the Welsh language. If he has, then I am surprised that he has come here and made such a speech as he has made to-day in your Lordships' House. As for encouraging the Welshman to sing Land of my Fathers, how can you do it when you know that the land of his fathers is really the land of Whitehall? Therefore, I ask your Lordships to cease being Canutes, as some of you definitely are, especially the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr; I ask you to cease being Canutes and to recognise the inevitability of all progress along the lines of my noble friend's Bill.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ LORD SWANSEA
My Lords, I do not claim quite so much Welsh blood as the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, does. I was born in Wales, I have lived there all my life, and I am the fourth generation of my family to live there, but, apart from that, I think I have just as much claim to Celtic life generally, my family having originated in Cornwall. I have a great affection for Wales and I would not choose to live anywhere else. It is a lovely country. When I go to Scotland and see my Scottish relations I am always pleased to tell them how lovely Scotland is—so like Wales. That never fails to get a rise, my Lords. Wales has contributed a great deal to the history of Great Britain. Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom are mutually dependent. They are dependent on what each other has to contribute to their mutual wellbeing.
This Bill proposes to set up a Senate in Cardiff consisting of 72 elected members, at a salary the same as that drawn by present Members of the United Kingdom Parliament, and the number of Welsh Members in the United Kingdom Parliament will be reduced by only 18. There will thus, if my arithmetic is correct, be an increase of 54 in the number of Members of Parliament drawing £3,250 per annum. There will be an increase in the number of officers and clerks, and there will be a Speaker, all of whom, besides Ministers, will be drawing salaries. What is all this going to cost the taxpayer, at a time when we are doing our best to retrench and cut down public expenditure? It just does not make sense to bring in such a Bill at this time. And in the Civil Service, even if many civil servants are transferred to the Welsh Civil Service from existing Ministries in the United Kingdom, there must still be considerable duplication of manpower and a great burden on the taxpayer. There would simply be an intolerable increase in the bureaucracy, which is already getting a stranglehold on the whole nation.
One or two questions arise in my mind about the powers of Welsh Members elected to the United Kingdom Parliament. The Bill says that they are not to be entitled to speak or vote on matters which are the exclusive concern of England, Scotland or Ireland. I am not sure whether this rule applies at present 737 to Members for Northern Ireland constituencies. If it does, I am not aware of it. Then, what would be the position of Members for Welsh constituencies who became Ministers of the Crown in the United Kingdom Parliament? Would they be barred from speaking and voting on such topics?
I come to the question of the Welsh language, which the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, dealt with in his speech, which, if I may say so without presumption, was one of the most brilliant I have heard in your Lordships' House. The uncomfortable feeling arises in all of us that if Wales gets its own independent Government, Welsh is going to become more of an official language and we shall have this bugbear of duplication of official languages already mentioned. I have the greatest admiration for the Welsh language and the great fund of ancient literature. I myself, with my family, started to learn Welsh not long ago. I had always regretted that I had never learnt it when I was young, and I tried to learn it simply because I like learning languages and so that I could dig into the Welsh literature. But that is quite a different matter from making it an official language for the day-to-day conduct of life and government in the country.
What would happen, for instance, in the Welsh Senate? Would Welsh have equal status with English? If so, we should have the difficulty of translation. One might need to have simultaneous interpretation on the lines that they have in the United Nations. What would that cost? There is no reason to suppose that the proportion of Welsh speakers in the Senate would differ materially from the proportion in the country as a whole. At present, a little more than a quarter of the population speak the language, and if the Gittings Report is taken at its face value the number of people who speak the language is declining steadily year by year at the rate of about 4 per cent. In the main centres of population—Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and the other big towns—the proportion of Welsh speakers is negligible. The Welsh language is spoken mostly in the rural areas.
We cannot force a language down the throats of people. That is what the Irish Government is trying to do, without very much success. I went to Ireland last summer and it was difficult to make out 738 what the signposts, for instance, said, and some of the notices outside public buildings. One got to know eventually what the Irish characters for "post office" looked like, but at first it was a matter of hit-and-miss. Similarly, in the last few years some county councils in Wales have taken to putting up the names of certain towns in Welsh and English. It is all very interesting, but I wonder what useful purpose it serves, except to demonstrate the extreme difference in some cases between the Welsh and English versions of the place names.
Another question arises in my mind about the nationalised industries—the public corporations. For instance, what will be the effect on British Rail? Shall we have a Welsh Railways Board set up, separate from the British Railways Board? Will they run different systems? What will happen to the Coal Board? Will there be a separate Welsh Coal Board? I know that at present Wales is treated as a separate division of the National Coal Board but if Wales became self-governing would there have to be a separate Board? The same thing applies to the other public utilities, such as gas and electricity. I would hazard a guess that a great deal of the electricity used in Wales comes from across the Border, but we do not hear any complaints from Englishmen about English electricity going to Wales. The steel industry also is very important to Wales. What would happen to the nationalised industries? Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, would like to tell us that.
There are also one or two Government institutions set up, or proposed to be set up, in Wales. For instance, it is proposed to have the coinage of the United Kingdom struck in Wales. I ask myself whether, if Wales becomes self-governing, the United Kingdom Government will wish to have their coinage struck in what will become, to all intents and purposes, a foreign country. That scheme may come to an end and Llantrisant may indeed become the hole without a Mint!
The question of Welsh nationalism is a difficult one. The election of a Welsh Nationalist Member of Parliament for Carmarthen was welcomed by a great many people, irrespective of Party, because it ensured that an independent voice on behalf of the Welsh people was 739 to be heard in Westminster—independent of the main political Parties. I think it is a good thing that such minorities should be represented at Westminster. But some members of Plaid Cymru, of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, and other bodies are not so moderate in their views and they advocate an even wider separation of their country from the United Kingdom. As the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, has said, this could do nothing but harm to Wales and the United Kingdom. Although these minorities are vociferous and to a certain extent organised, I do not think they represent the people of Wales as a whole. Also they naturally court publicity as much as they can, in order that the outside world may think that they actually represent the people of Wales.
A short time ago one of the national newspapers, in its colour supplement, ran a feature article on the Free Wales Army. It was represented as a sort of underground force, training for the day when it would rise up. The Free Welsh Army is in fact a small force which makes a noise out of all proportion to its size—a noise both metaphorical and physical when its members start blowing up things. But if they think that that is doing their cause any service they are gravely mistaken. It can do nothing but harm and can only cast doubts on the responsibility of such people and their capacity to have a say in the government of their country.
The problems of linguistic minorities cannot be solved by isolating them, whether it be in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall or Brittany. They have to remain integrated with the country as a whole for the greater good of both. I personally think that the interests of Wales are well looked after at present. In my view it is a great pity that previous Governments did not think fit to create a Secretary of State for Wales. When the present Government set up that Office it was welcomed by a great many people, but it should have been done years before. The setting up of the Welsh Office is a step in devolution, and it ensures that the interests of Wales are brought to the attention of people in the Government whose responsibility it is.
740 I do not think that the interests of either Wales or the United Kingdom would be served any the better if Wales were to be self-governing. The history of this Kingdom and of the United Kingdom Parliament would be very much the poorer without the contribution which has been made, and is still being made by Welshmen. It would be invidious to quote any living persons, but I have only to point to the examples of the late Earl Lloyd-George, the late Aneurin Bevan and the late Megan Lloyd George, all of whom left their mark on the country; and there are those still in Parliament, in both Houses, who have made their mark, and continue to make their mark, for the good of Wales and for the good of Great Britain. I think it would be a great shame from the point of view of the whole country if this Bill were passed, and I hope that your Lordships will support the Amendment.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ LORD MAELOR
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, at the commencement of his speech declared his interest: he told us that he was half Welsh. Let me declare my interest and say that I am a thoroughbred, I am all Welsh. At home I speak nothing but the Welsh language. I can manage a bit of English, so here goes.
I listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, I do not wish to be offensive, but I am sure that Lord Ogmore spoke this afternoon with his tongue in his cheek. I remember that soon after he joined the Liberal Party he had a debate on the Welsh radio with a Welsh Nationalist candidate, who is now a Labour M.P. in the other House, and this is what Lord Ogmore said to that Welsh Nationalist on that occasion:Your views are excrescent.I am glad that the noble Lord has come in; I will repeat it. This is what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said to Mr. Elystan Morgan, in that debate on the radio:Your views are excrescent.He did not say, "Your views are fairly wide", or "Your views are out of date", or "Your views are naïve"; he said, "Your views are excrescent". Unless 741 the noble Lord has had a profound conversion—and I do not doubt his sincerity—then I think that adjective is a suitable one to describe his views this afternoon.
The presentation of this Bill—and here I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare—is simply a political gimmick on the part of the Liberal Party. In recent years the Liberal Party did not support the principle of Home Rule until after July 14, 1966. Noble Lords will be curious to know the significance of that date. That is the day when the Welsh Nationalists won a seat in Wales. At the beginning of this century practically every seat in Wales was held by a Liberal. To-day they have there only one seat, one representative. "Ah," said the Welsh Liberal Party, after hearing the result of Carmarthen, "If we want any hope of again representing Wales at Westminster we had better jump on this bandwagon; in an effort to secure the Nationalist vote we had better promise Home Rule for Wales, knowing full well, of course, that we shall never be asked to implement that promise because we have seen the last Liberal Government in Britain for all time." That is the language of the Liberal Party to-day.
It is interesting to note that they have always supported Home Rule when they have been in Opposition. When in Opposition David Lloyd George was an ardent advocate of Home Rule for Wales. He addressed scores of meetings in the Principality in support of this principle. I remember that at one of his meetings he made an appeal, and said, "I believe in Home Rule for Wales, Home Rule for England, Home Rule for Scotland, Home Rule for Ireland". And a voice came from the back, "And Home Rule for Hell." "That is right", said Lloyd George, "Let every man speak up for his own country". But Lloyd George came into power; he became the Prime Minister of this country, and he transferred his affection to Ireland. He brought about Home Rule for Ireland, and never afterwards mentioned Wales at all. Viewing this Bill, as I do, as merely a political gimmick on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and his Party, I cannot support it.
742 I fail to support the Bill for another reason. This is a constitutional issue. I believe in a Second Chamber, and I feel that to-day a Second chamber is more necessary than ever. That is why I shad welcome the Reform of the Lords Bill when it is presented. With three exceptions, every democratic country in the world has a Second Chamber. However, I doubt, and indeed I challenge, the right of your Lordships' House to change the Constitution of this island. That right was wrested from this House centuries ago. It is the people of our country, as one noble Lord has already said, who have the right to change the Constitution, and they can do it, when they desire, through their elected representatives. Those representatives are in the other place. We here represent no on but ourselves. That is why our Vote last Wednesday night was so ineffective, and so silly, if I may say so. We should have upheld the dignity of this House last Wednesday had we listened to the appeal made by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor at the close of his speech. It is the people's right to change the Constitution in any shape or form, and they are afforded that opportunity in this country at least every five years. If the people of Wales desire Home Rule above all else, they will say so through the ballot box. That is another reason why I cannot support the, noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, this afternoon.
This does not mean that I oppose devolution. On the contrary, I have always supported the principle. But it is worth remembering that it was the present Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, who in 1964 created the office of Secretary of State for Wales. We now have a Department of State and a Civil Service of our own, for the first time in history. It was a most historic event when the Prime Minister decided to have a Secretary of State for Wales, and I believe that the Welsh Office should be given the opportunity to settle down and expand.
The record of the Welsh Office during its three years of existence is a formidable one, if we are prepared to look at it objectively. In the field of housing, where the Secretary of State has executive powers, many more houses have been built in Wales than during any comparable period in the past. Now the 743 Office is engaged in the massive task of reorganising local government in Wales. In the field of industry the share which Wales has received of I.D.C.s dispersal projects, like the Royal Mint and advance factories, demonstrates the contribution which Welsh Ministers could make. I want to see the Civil Service in Wales grow still further. I am sure that every noble Lord in this House this afternoon will agree with me that the building up of an administrating machine is an essential prerequisite to any form of devolution. I should like to see an elected Council for Wales performing certain functions: for example, the administration of the police force, the fire brigade, the ambulance service and matters of that kind. I am glad to note in the White Paper on Local Government Reform, that the door is not closed to such a Council.
I want your Lordships to note this, particularly in view of the charge we have heard that the Government have been sitting on the fence in relation to this question. I am not surprised that they are on the fence, because the first thing that the Saxons did when they came over to this country was to make a fence separating England from Wales. Offa's Dyke is there to this day, to be seen by everyone. This is what the White Paper states:Further consideration will subsequently be given in the light of the Royal Commission's Reports and other developments, to the possibilities of a further strengthening of all-Wales machinery by giving it additional powers and responsibilities, and by making appropriate changes in its membership.From studying the noble Lord's Bill, I find that what he wants is a Parliament more or less on the model of Northern Ireland. As a believer in devolution I am not entirely satisfied that that is necessarily the best solution for Wales. After all, Ulster came into existence in 1922, after a long and bitter struggle in which both religion and politics played a part. I am not sure that it has been the success that many people claim for it. In spite of having Home Rule, unemployment in Ulster has been consistently high—much higher than in any other part of the United Kingdom. The noble Lord gave the figures for Wales. I would remind him that in Ulster the figures are higher. As against the Bill introduced by the 744 noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, the Welsh and Scottish Nationalists want complete economic separation. They demand Dominion status. That would be a leap in the dark. I am convinced that it would result in a sharp decline in the standards of living in both countries, Wales and Scotland, regarding retirement pensions and unemployment benefit. Nor do I believe that a Wales separated from England would sustain the National Health Service or the educational service as we have known them.
We cannot ignore the growing demand for devolution which is expressed nowadays, not only in Wales and Scotland but in the North of England—yes, it is most articulate, even there. The Government are aware of it, and, as a consequence, they have appointed the English and Scottish Royal Commissions on Local Government with fairly wide terms of reference. These Commissions will be reporting in about twelve months or so. They may make recommendations of a novel and important character. They may, for example, advocate the setting up of provincial bodies exercising important functions over a wide area. I should not be surprised if they proposed the devolving of significant functions to those bodies. If that comes about, then we shall have achieved Home Rule—not on the Ulster model, nor on the lines advocated by the Welsh Nationalists. We should no longer be dictated to by Whitehall, yet we should be able still to enjoy all the economic and social benefits which accrue to us from being attached to the rest of Britain. I think there is everything to be gained by waiting on the Reports of those Royal Commissions because I am almost certain in my own mind that they will be recommending a form of devolution that should satisfy all of us as an alternative form of Home Rule.
I hope that the noble Lord will be satisfied with having initiated this debate. It is right that we should debate and discuss all matters. But I hope he will not force this question to a vote, because I would repeat what I have said previously: that it is not the function of this House to meddle with the Constitution of this country.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, it would be tempting to enter into a Party political 745 debate with the noble Lord, Lord Maelor, but I will resist that temptation. May I correct him on one point? A Parliament for Wales was in the Liberal Manifesto in 1950, so I think his information must be incorrect. Secondly, we are not advocating the case for Welsh Nationalism as put forward by the Nationalists. I think my noble friend Lord Ogmore made that quite clear. Therefore, any of the argument about the case of the Nationalists is really irrelevant to the particular Bill which has been introduced by my noble friend. Thirdly, I think that this House has the right to introduce a Bill; but of course it will go to the House of Commons if passed through this House, and it would be for the House of Commons finally to decide whether or not it approves it.
I should like to congratulate my noble friend Lord Ogmore for introducing this Bill so persuasively and interestingly, and my noble friend Lord Bannerman of Kildonan for supporting it with such enthusiasm. I am very conscious of the fact that so far I am the only Englishman taking part in this debate. My wife is half Welsh, but I would not suggest that that is an adequate reason for taking part in this debate. But surely it is not necessary for an Englishman to apologise. This matter concerns Englishmen. Moreover, the Bill fits into the general pattern of reforms which Liberals have advocated for a long time, and it is of very real concern to the United Kingdom as a whole. Our aim is threefold: first, to recognise and satisfy the natural aspirations and demands of the people of Wales; secondly, to increase the democratic control over executive powers and bring the Executive nearer to the people; and thirdly, to ease the burden on the Parliament at Westminster.
It is fair to say that there are two processes at work in the world. On the one hand, there is the giving up of some degree of independence and sovereignty to form larger groupings and federations of nations and, on the other hand, there is the demand for greater self-determination and national self-expression. I do not think that those two processes are necessarily incompatible. In fact, the greater concentration of power must be offset by more devolution. The demand by an increasing number of people in Wales for a greater say in their own 746 affairs is intensified by the growing concentration of power in Whitehall. Therefore, I support Lord Ogmore's Bill. I do so in the belief that it will lead to a more satisfactory partnership between the nations making up the United Kingdom.
The noble Baroness speaking earlier in the debate referred to the planning boards and other bodies; but, of course, they are appointed, as is the Advisory Council. As a Yorkshireman I am aware that in the North of England there is a feeling that appointed bodies are not adequate, and I am sure that there is strong feeling in Wales on this subject. The noble Baroness said that there would be administrative difficulties in creating elected bodies. That is a view which is always put forward by government, and, with great respect to the noble Baroness. I think I could have written the brief for her, though I would not have a greed with it. She raised an interesting point about social security benefits, to which I will refer in a few moments.
The noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, said that he was against nationalism. If that means narrow nationalism, then I agree with him. He said that he was an internationalist. I regard myself as an internationalist. He said that he was in favour of decentralising. Well, so am I. So we are in agreement, but we reach a different conclusion, since I support the Bill. The noble Lord gave a somewhat graphic account of the Customs barriers which might be built up, but surely there are no Customs barriers between England and Northern Ireland, and I do not see why there should be between this country and Wales. He said that he liked greatness, bigness. The United States and Russia are big, but in fact they both have a federal system.
I noted that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, said "What about England?" That is a fair point, but surely we want more time for matters concerning England to be discussed at Westminster. It is not a case of our jumping on any particular band-wagon because the policy which we are now advocating has been advocated for a long time. The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, said that we need a Bill for the whole country, by which I suppose he meant Scotland, England and Wales. Such a Bill may be corning forward before long, and this may be quoted against him 747 when the time comes. It is no answer to say that we must wait a while until we have thought about this matter further. That was a fair précis of what the noble Baroness said. But that is what people said when Mr. Gladstone's first Bill for Home Rule in Ireland was introduced. And if only his advice had been heeded at the time many tragic events might have been averted.
I think that the Bill fits into the whole pattern. I do not think that it is necessary to wait until every detail of the Constitution has been worked out for the whole of the United Kingdom. We must rely on the evolutionary process. Furthermore, we must recognise that in setting up Parliaments for Scotland and Wales there will be divergencies between Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland because the circumstances differ. For example, Scotland has much of its own law, and the economic relationships between Scotland and the United Kingdom and Wales and the United Kingdom differ in some respects. But there will be basic similarities when these Parliaments are set up. There will be certain powers reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament, and the three essentials are foreign affairs, defence and Commonwealth relations. I must emphasise—this was a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—that we do not stand for complete separation. I am sure that separatism would be harmful to the best interests of Wales.
Since the subject of the social services has been mentioned, may I take that as an example of the practical importance of this in regard to Wales? Under the Bill introduced by my noble friend it will be possible, and in fact it is intended, to maintain parity between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom so far as the social services are concerned. We have a precedent in the arrangements with Northern Ireland. Under the Social Services (Northern Ireland Agreement) Act 1949, which follows earlier Acts of Parliament, parity over a wide range of social service benefits is ensured. As an Englishman I am aware that the net cost to the Exchequer is a charge on the Consolidated Fund, but I accept that, and I think similar arrangements arising out of the Bill could be made in regard to Wales. But if there were complete separation, as the Welsh nationalists 748 demand, it would be different. It is clear that parity could not be maintained. I think that there would be a very real danger that the level of the social services would fall below that in other parts of the United Kingdom, and it would be more difficult to achieve the aims desired by the people of Wales; namely, more industry, a more prosperous country and a check to the depopulation of Wales. I think that that might follow if people felt there was a higher standard of social services in other parts of the United Kingdom. But that would not happen under this Bill.
The decision to-day is whether or not to give the Bill a Second Reading, whether to permit further discussion in Committee—that is the issue. There is already an important dialogue going on in the country, particularly in Wales, as to the relationships between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom and how to achieve a more satisfactory partnership. That dialogue will continue whatever we do here, but it would be very unfortunate if by rejecting this Bill it were to appear that Parliament at Westminster was attempting to bring this dialogue to an end. Therefore, I support the Bill.
§ 5.19 p.m.
§ LORD RAGLAN
My Lords, in supporting Lord Merthyr's Amendment I find myself taking a slightly different line from anybody else. I shall not discuss the pros and cons of regional government in Britain, except to suggest that those who favour it greatly underestimate the administrative difficulties and duplications which it would create. In any system of regional government it looks to me from the map as if the area of Wales would be most simply administered from Liverpool, in the North, and from Cardiff or Bristol, in the South. For those reasons alone I would oppose this Bill, for I think there has not been nearly enough discussion about these questions. As to how the population of the area of Wales would be affected economically by the Bill, I gladly leave that to those noble Lords who know more about it than I do.
What I am concerned with is that such a Bill should have been seriously put before Parliament, because in conception it is a nationalist and not a regional Bill. 749 If it were not for the Welsh Nationalist Movement, no one would think of Wales as an area administratively separate from England. The two countries were, and still are, joined as one under the Act of Union, and it is only in recent years that there has been any talk of separation of any kind. I propose to tell your Lordships why I think this has happened, and why the separatists are totally misguided. I have two apologies to make. One is that I shall be going over some history, much of which may be familiar; and the other is that, to my regret but I hope not to that of your Lordships, I am going to spoil a good record and make a rather long speech. I tried to make it shorter but somehow it is as short as I can get it.
Either through the way that we are brought up, or through some trait in human nature, or both, it is nearly always easier to promote disunity than harmony. Some people are quite easily persuaded, it seems, that they do or they should belong to some exclusive group through membership of which lies the only way to salvation. It goes almost without saying that these groups are hostile to other groups, so that antagonism is provoked, things go too far and fights break out. In Europe we have stopped actually fighting about religion, but that in some ways has been replaced in the world by fighting over political ideology which, in certain instances, has taken on the worst features of some religions.
Feudalism, laying claim to land for oneself, has passed on some of its traits to nationalism, which often means claiming as much land as possible in the name of a nation. Certainly, the first requisite of nationalism is territorial integrity. Then there is racialism and, for want of a word, Jingoism, which is the exclusive grouping of people by whatever language they happen to speak. Racialism we have learned to dislike and distrust and have even attempted legislation against it. Lingoism we shall get the measure of only if it is seen how it creates antagonism; and General de Gaulle, on his jaunt to Canada, showed that he is well enough aware of it.
And now, in our literate modern society, supporting these schisms—and all the more powerful because they so often have the blessing of some professors and museum keepers—we have theories of historic separateness which 750 use history to postulate or foster or perpetuate differences which otherwise would not exist or, given time, would disappear. In my belief, this Bill springs from just such a theory: that the land of Wales is historically separate from the land of England, and for that reason the people in it should govern themselves. This is in spite of the fact that the differences between the people who happen to live on one side or other of the Welsh/English border are not at all clear, or even what they are often asserted to be.
The conception that Wales and England and Scotland are separate national entities is territorial and historical, and some people have tried to reinforce their preconceptions on this by ideas of difference of race and language, and culture, too. Perhaps I should add that my thoughts would follow exactly the same lines if we were discussing a Government for England Bill, which I am told has been mooted. However, I stand myself, I suppose, as near as possible in the middle. My family came from France, though where they came from before that I do not know. My surname is English; my mother is Scots; my title is probably Welsh and I have at least one distinguished Welsh ancestor. I live in a house with a Welsh name, and my family have been in the area for 500 or 600 years. It is in the county of Monmouth which, because of the Act of Union of 1536, is neither in England nor in Wales but belongs to both. The County motto appropriately means "Faithful to Both". In the East they speak with a Mercian burr and the place, names are English. As one moves West the place names become more frequently Welsh, and a Welsh accent appears and gets stronger. But so far as the inhabitants are concerned—and it is the inhabitants who matter and not the territory claimed for one nation or another—one could not draw a racial or linguistic or cultural line on a map.
I said that this Bill springs from an idea of historic separateness, because the Welsh Nationalists pay very much attention to history. The sentiment and the circumstances in which it has arisen are quite different from those which brought first England, and then Wales joined to England, to think of itself as a nation under the Tudors. Henry VII almost certainly blackened Richard III's name 751 to make his claim to the Throne look more justified, just like any politician might. But that, so far as is known, was the extent of his interest in history; he was concerned with the present and the future.
But the Welsh Nationalist Movement looks backwards and is, in some respects, dreamy and wistful. For it has its roots very deeply in the vogue of romantic antiquarianism which began in the late eighteenth century and which brought about a greatly increased interest in history, and especially in the study of folklore. In Wales this interest centred on the Welsh language, which is a Celtic derivative, and there was speculation as to who the Celts were and what their customs might have been. I am told that in the van of inquiry was Mrs. Piozzi, a friend of Dr. Johnson. Later, Lady Charlotte Guest taught herself Welsh and then mediæval Welsh and translated the famous Mabinogion legends, which aroused great enthusiasm in Tennyson among others. Lady Llanover, who as Lady Hall was wife of Sir Benjamin Hall, the Minister of Works who built Big Ben, was another Englishwoman who went for Welsh folk customs in a big way, dressed her servants up in what she supposed was folk costume, and pretended that they could not speak English. Now one must remember that these people were not Welsh Nationalists; they were just enjoying being folksy, just as many people do to-day. Out of their efforts, combined with those of Welshmen who had joined the movement, grew the National Eisteddfod, for which, incidentally, the costumes were designed by a Bavarian.
However, leaving the pleasant realms of song and literature, when they came to reading and researching about Welsh history what the Celtic enthusiasts found was not so enjoyable, because nearly everywhere they looked, it seemed, the Celts and the Celtic-speaking Welsh had got the worst of it from someone; and so seriously has this history been taken that the hurt has gone very deep. There is a lot of resentment and talk about the Welsh being "under-dogs, ground into the dust by the English". I have read a lot of Welsh history, mainly by Welsh authors, and I cannot help being struck by how often one sees words and 752 phrases like "conquered", "annexed", "oppressed", "imposed", "foreign domination", and so forth. I think these Welsh historians should step back and take a longer view about a process which has happened throughout recorded history and, the evidence suggests, was happening before it.
For the Celts, like the Saxons, were not natives of Britain, and it was known that Britain was inhabited before they came. That there had been at one time quite a sophisticated culture here is evidenced by Stonehenge, which was built about a thousand years before any Celts can be said to have come here. What the invading Celts did to the existing inhabitants is, of course, not known, but it is known that the Celts, besides making some very beautiful jewellery, could be very fierce. One authority suggests that up to the tenth century some tribes in Wales kept as serfs descendants of the previous population. That these serfs had had in their history their own equivalents of the Welsh heroes, Llewellyn the Great and Owen Glyn Dwr, does not appear to give Welsh historians any twinge of conscience. I am not saying that it should. I am saying that history does not start merely where it may suit one for it to start. It goes back a long way, and I shall return to the matter a little later, when I say something about the Welsh language.
My Lords, in this light one wonders why some Welshmen go on so much about how badly the Welsh are treated by the Anglo-Normans or the English—though there is some excuse because there is one big difference between the Anglo-Norman settlement in Wales and all the other settlements in Wales over thousands of years. We know very little about pre-Celtic Britain or the Celtic invasions. Knowledge of the Roman invasion and occupation is very limited. Hardly anything is known of the time when the Danes, the Saxons, the Jutes and the Angles moved in here and fought and settled their differences. Much of what is known about these periods has been discovered comparatively recently by archmoloaists and anthropologists. But the Normans were orderly and literate, and kept documents, many of which have survived. It so happens therefore that, unlike the history of previous conquests, historians have always been able to get 753 to work on the years succeeding the Norman take-over, so for a long time one has been able to read all about it. The results of their work have often been superficial and glamorised, taking little or no heed of the fact that ideas and circumstances then were totally different from those to-day. There are accounts of battles and quarrels and the to-ing and fro-ing of kings and princes, but there is practically nothing about how ordinary people lived or suffered because that was not thought worth recording. It is extremely difficult to find out even what they ate.
If, as can happen, one takes this sort of history personally and re-lives it as if what one is reading were happening to-day, there are many opportunities for joy or sorrow, depending on which side one takes. The Welsh Nationalists tend to identify themselves with the Welsh princes and the chieftains of the Middle Ages, and the Wales which was then. Two examples will suffice. I see that a Welsh-speaking public school is to be opened called after Owen Glyn Dwr (or Glendower), who fought very successfully against Henry IV for some years; and recently a letter in the Western Mail looked back over seven centuries to Edward I, calling him a tyrant. Now, Edward I defeated the Welsh Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, but it is unlikely that he was a tyrant because when leading Welshman petitioned Henry VIII to put them under the English system of law and justice they commended Edward's rule. Nevertheless, if we were each to find personal ignominy or insult in the result of fights that took place long ago, life with each other would be intolerable.
Yet this is just what this historical attitude calls upon us to do. It wants us to believe that because it is recorded that two sets of people fought each other, never mind why, or the fact that it was years and years ago, their descendants, or those who may be equated with their descendants, should still find life intolerable with each other. The same historical view prevents even the questioning of national boundaries in Britain, as the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, mentioned. The Anglo-Norman Robert de Bruis did something in 1314, which is now sanctified by history, so there is the Scottish border, fossilized, apparently. Lawmakers view with equanimity the superseding of the historically important 754 Habeas Corpus Act, but the Scottish boundary remains. Bishop Rowland Lee, Thomas Cromwell's adviser on Welsh affairs, in 1536 recommended a snip here and a tuck there; and so we have regarded with awe, hallowed by history, the Welsh border.
We are just having the solemn sight of three Commissions looking imp the reorganisation of local government in three areas of Britain separated by lines on a map which, for whatever reason they were originally drawn, now take no account of the similarities between the people who live on either side of them. Their differences and their destinies, one is led to believe, were settled in the golden ages, when men were timeless visionaries who decreed that Bill Jones, who farms in Herefordshire, was to be an Anglo-Saxon, speak English, salute one flag and sing one national anthem; but his brother Jack Jones, who farms in Radnorshire, was to be a Celt, speak Welsh, salute two flags and sing two national anthems. Nobody has asked Bill and Jack whether they want to be Celtic or Anglo-Saxon, or whatever. They are just told by dreamers in London or Cardiff, or Bangor it may be, that that is what they are or should be. Either these dreamers enjoy the antagonisms which their racialist and linguistic assertions provoke, or they do not know what they are doing because they live too far from Wales to experience them.
My Lords, after all the propaganda we have had, I thought I would ask how Celtic the Welsh really are, because the Celts were said to be blonde and big. Everyone knows that things have got very mixed up in the towns, but what about the countryside? Perhaps they are Celts. I looked for information, and I found it in a thesis called, "Blood groups, Anthropology and Language in Wales and the Western Countries", by two well-known experts in this field, Mourant and Morgan Watkin. I am not sorry to say that romance wilts before the neutrality of science, because, anthropologically, the answer is very exciting, for we know now where some of the inhabitants of Britain went to when the Celts moved in. The authors give details of types of blood group in Wales, give maps of their distribution by percentage frequency and how these frequencies tally with those of Ireland Iceland, Scotland and the Mediterranean. 755 I ask your Lordships' leave to quote from it. They say:That there should exist in most of North Wales, in some mountain regions of South Wales, in Ireland, in Scotland and, to a certain extent, even South of Hadrian's Wall, people whose ABO group frequencies are almost identical with those of certain tribes belonging to the North African White Race may, at first sight, seem rather strange. Nevertheless, there is much evidence—anthropological, archæological and linguistic—to suggest that such a finding is more than an accidental coincidence.They go on to give this evidence and show how, when the vocabulary of a new language is acquired, such things as characteristics of syntax and tone of voice tend to survive from the old language. They point out, even, that the hwyl of the modern Nonconformist minister—my noble friend Lord Maelor is not here but he will know what a hwyl is—corresponds exactly to the chant of the African muezzin or prayer leader. They deduce that the ancestors of the inhabitants of these parts of Wales must have spoken a form of Hamitic, which is in the same family as Coptic or Ancient Egyptian. On page 26 they say:Those who, at the present day, live towards the eastern periphery of Wales where Welsh is gradually giving way to English are witnesses of a process identical with that which must have taken place in Britain over two thousand years ago—the replacement of one language by another.An interesting point I think is this: that areas which are shown to be inhabited by these descendants of Hamitic speakers correspond quite closely to those areas where Welsh is still most spoken to-day. Yet to the forefathers of these Welsh speakers Celtic was a foreign tongue which they must have taken to, either by absorption or by conquest. In either case, they should have exactly the same complaint against the Celts as recently they have been persuaded to have against the Anglo-Normans and the English. I do not want to give the impression that the Welsh countryside is full of Arabs or something comic like that. The Berbers are Hamitic, the Arabs are Semitic. The Berbers are also an extremely fine-looking race. Queen Nefertiti was no doubt Hamitic—and, by the way, the Hamites really have a claim to the building of Stonehenge.
756 However, I am not advocating a Hamitic revival. Neither am I decrying the Celtic revival, many points of which have been enjoyable, quaint and interesting; and the institution of the Eisteddfod, for example, has given much pleasure to many. But for the Gittins Committee on Education to recommend the teaching of a Celtic language to primary school children is altogether carrying the thing too far. These children, as the noble Lord, Lord Bannerman of Kildonan, would say, are young people, not young Celts, and every regard should be had to their future careers. I agree with the Western Mail that Welsh, if learned, should be learned in the home. I myself should not really like to see it die.
But it is one thing to love and preserve old buildings and quite another to try to make people live in them. In fact, I happen to know several professional people—those with young families—who have been scared off going to Wales because of the obsession that some Welsh people have about the Celtic language. If language is to be looked upon for what it is, a vehicle of communication and not a means of creating difference, then I think we shall all get along much better.
I think that the Welsh Language Act, which at the time looked a liberal measure, may well, if we are not careful, do more harm than good. To have more than one administrative language is something that one should do only with the gravest hesitation, because of the added complication and expense, which is enormous. But now, from the stories one sees, it seems as if the pressure for it to be passed may have been created only because there are none so blind as those who will not read.
If the ardent advocates of a Welsh-speaking Wales would take to English as the forefathers of many of them took to Celtic; if we can prevent the warm and friendly land of Wales being turned by some antiquarian enthusiasts into a sort of live neo-Celtic museum; if we can induce them to stop selecting things from history books as an inspiration for an inward-looking, exclusive nationalism and persuade them to look forwards and outwards as an inspiration for internationalism, then I think there will be a much happier prospect for all of us.
757 I hope dial the noble Lord will withdraw this Bill because I am sure that, with his great knowledge of affairs overseas, he is as aware as anybody that, looking at the tensions and troubles in the world to-day, what human beings need is not more but fewer barriers between them. I think that to deliberately go out of our way to create more segregation, whether social, national or economic, would be an act of great irresponsibility in the face of our hard-won experience. The vast majority of the people of Wales have, anyway, too much sense to shut themselves in some enclave behind an artificial border. I hope and pray that they will once again rise up—but this time to ask to do away with that border for the false, arbitrary, antiquated, antisocial thing that it is.
§ 5.48 p.m.
VISCOUNT ST. DAVIDS
My Lords, I do not wish to delay the House even for one moment, because I have no wish to keep this Bill any longer from its proper fate at the hands of the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Merthyr. I rise to speak because I look upon myself as a Welsh Imperialist. I refuse to see Wales separated from her empire. The fact of the matter is that England and Wales have done very well out of each other in the past, and neither would do as well without the other. I do not wish to say over again or at any length the various things that have been said by other noble Lords; I have always been against repetition in this House.
I will just tell one short story. Some years ago it was decided that there should be a dinner for Welshmen in Parliament. I was asked to round up the Welsh Peers for the dinner, and I found 24 of them. As a matter of fact, we never held the dinner for one simple reason—that when we totted up the Members for the Welsh constituencies and Welsh Peers we found that the number was quite overwhelmed by the total of 150 Welshmen who sit for English constituencies. I do not wish to urge the English to throw us out—that would be entirely contrary to my wish; but nevertheless, it is an example of the enormous amount that Wales has gained by being attached to England, and also—if I may put it in this way—the great talent that England has been able to draw from Wales. It is because I do not wish 758 to see any boundary put between these two great nations, any boundary either drawn on a map or imposed by a language, that I shall to-night oppose this Bill by voting for the Amendment.
§ LORD BLYTON
My Lords, I rise only to say this. When I read this Bill relating to Wales and when I thought about Scottish nationalism, because I speak as a "Geordie" I wondered whether we should not have a Parliament for Durham as well as for Wales; and one for Yorkshire, and one for every county. Where we would be at the end of the road, I cannot tell. While I should like to see the Scots and the Welsh with their own cultures, this Bill is just bringing Parliament into ridicule. After all we have been amalgamated now for many years; and if we built a wall around Wales 50 feet high and if we built a wall 50 feet high across the Cheviots, neither area would be viable by itself. People would climb over the walls in a fortnight. I think that this Bill is silly.
My Lords, may I be allowed to make one small point which I do not think has been brought out in this debate; that is, the administrative one? Anyone who has lived on the English side of the Scottish Border knows the inevitable difficulties which arise from having different administrations on either side of that border. I am not blaming anyone, but difficulties have arisen in the course of time. I hope your Lordships appreciate that what is suggested by this Bill is that the same sort of problems should be created along the Welsh Border, only much worse. I would leave only this thought with your Lordships. If the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak had occurred a short time ago, with different Administrations on either side of the Welsh Border it would have been very much more likely to have been worse than better as a consequence.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I intervene only very briefly at this stage to revert to the position of the Government. The fact that I am an Anglo-Irishman puts me in a position of special neutrality. I do not normally find it necessary to defend England, except when I am outside England, and I do not think this is the issue which is before us. Noble Lords will have listened to the debate with 759 enormous interest but I think there would be a feeling of regret if we were to be deprived of the Welsh Members of your Lordships' House. It was, I understood, always one of the difficulties of the Welsh that the Welsh nobility followed Henry Tudor to London—the Cecils and some of the great families who, I am told, are really Welsh. This was confirmed by the remarks of my noble friend Lord St. Davids.
I should like to say that the Government regard the problem of devolution of the system of government as a serious problem. I do not go wholly with my noble friend Lord Raglan in his thinking, though I acknowledge that he is a very brave man, as was his father. Some of your Lordships will remember the heat generated by some of Lord Raglan's remarks on the Welsh language. Indeed, I was sitting with my finger carefully in that section of the Companion which refers to the reading of Standing Order No. 29 relating to asperity of speech. I may say that the only time I actually looked at it was when a Scotsman, the noble Lord, Lord Bannerman of Kildonan, was speaking—and only then because I misunderstood the word "Canute" as pronounced in Celtic.
My Lords, I think it right that on every measure of this kind introduced by a Private Member the Government should be very careful not to try to close down the discussion. It might be argued that the Government have taken a pusillanimous position, but I assure the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, who could not miss a chance (this is all too noticeable now on the part of noble Lords on the Benches opposite) of making a Party political point, that we regard this as a serious matter on which the Government were anxious to hear the opinions of Members of your Lordships' House. But I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that I think he has achieved his objective. There is no doubt which way the sense of the debate has gone, and although I think I have noticed that there is perhaps on this free occasion a three-line Liberal Whip—
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: A four-line Whip!
§ LORD SHACKLETON
A four-line Whip: well, the Liberals are always idiosyncratic 760 —I should like to suggest to the noble Lord that he does not press this matter further. This is a serious subject. It will be the subject of debate in the context of other issues, regional issues, whether it be a separate Government for Durham or whatever it may be. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, might be disposed not to press his Amendment, which I think would be the next business to be called, if the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, did not press the Motion. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, may feel satisfied that the House has given it a very good run and there will be opportunities for further discussion in the future. I should have liked to take part in the debate. There were many things which he and certain other noble Lords said with which I might have disagreed. But I think it is the feeling of your Lordships' House that we should prefer the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, to call it a day and to retire with a sense of satisfaction.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am very grateful to all the noble Lords, or most of them, who have spoken. This has been a good-tempered and temperate debate. I am particularly grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, who, I thought, developed her case in a charming way. She made the point that this is an important occasion; and the people in Wales are looking with great attention to what your Lordships are saying this evening. I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, but on this occasion the bird is not pecking the chaff; it has been too long in this House to take the chaff offered by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton. If the noble Lord did not hear me, I said that the bird on this occasion will not peck the chaff—will not "bite", if you like another metaophor. I should particularly like to thank my noble friend Lord Wade who is President of the English Liberal Party and the noble Lord, Lord Bannerman of Kildonan, who is President of the Scottish Liberal Party. With myself, as President of the Welsh Liberal Party, we are in a federal system already.
I turn to the objections of the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr. He admitted that the Bill was a well-drafted and well-thought-out measure, and I am grateful 761 to him for his words. But what he said would apply to any form of devolution from the present system. Most of the objections he had would apply to anything, and not particularly to this Bill. Indeed, what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, and what was said by a number of noble Lords, particularly those on the Labour Benches, applies more to the nationalist case than to ours. We are not separatists. We do not envisage frontiers, barriers, electric lights and barbed wire, and people creeping through it. Nor do we envisage the Severn becoming the Jordan—although after hearing from the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, that the Welsh were once Arabs I am not at all sure that that might not become the case. After that statement by the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, I hope that President Nasser will not lay claim to Wales, as he has laid claim to so many parts of the Middle East.
I enjoyed the debate very much. I thought it was very interesting and valuable. The question in Wales is not whether we have a Parliament and Government, but what sort of Parliament and Government there will be and when they will come about. On Thursday night, God willing, I am engaged to debate the question of this Bill with Mr. Gwynfor Evans, at Cardiff, for 45 minutes on B.B.C. television—it is not a commercial so I can mention it—and I can assure your Lordships that the arguments he will put up will be so entirely different from the arguments put up by your Lordships that people will not think it is the same Bill.
§ We on these Liberal Benches and in the Welsh Liberal Party feel that in order to get Wales moving—and no one has denied the figures and facts I gave in my opening statement on the serious situation in Wales—we must get the people of Wales behind the necessary measures. We must give them the certainty that the power belongs to them; that it is for the Welsh people themselves, and for nobody else, to take the measures that are necessary. As my noble friend Lord Bannerman of Kildonan has said, we want to give the people of Wales the certainty that it is their Wales and it is up to them to do what is necessary to put things right. Then—and only then—shall we have the really happy and prosperous future we desire for the country.
§ In spite of what has been said by so many noble Lords, I sincerely trust that your Lordships will support my Bill. If we pass it here, it will have to go to another place and my honourable friend Mr. Emlyn Hooson, one of the Liberal Members, has kindly agreed, if your Lordships accept the Bill, to present it in another place, and I hope that there, too, it will be passed. I ask your Lordships to reject the Amendment and give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 86; Not-Contents, 19.*
§ * See col. 770.763
|Aberdare, L.||Cranbrook, E.||Hall, V.|
|Addison, V.||Crathorne, L.||Hanworth, V.|
|Adrian, L.||Crook, L.||Hayter, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Delacourt-Smith, L.||Headfort, M.|
|Albemarle, E.||Derwent, L.||Henderson, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Digby, L.||Heycock, L.|
|Audley, Bs.||Dilhorne, V.||Hirshfield, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Douglass of Cleveland, L.||Hodson, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Howard of Glossop, L.|
|Boston, L.||Ferrers, E.||Hylton-Foster, Bs.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Fiske, L.||Iddesleigh, E.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs.||Fortescue, E.||Inglewood, L.|
|Burden, L.||Fulton, L.||Kinloss, Ly.|
|Carron, L.||Gaitskell, Bs.||Kinnoull, E.|
|Champion, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||Lambert, V.|
|Clwyd, L.||Granville of Eye, L.||Latham, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Gray, L.||Leatherland, L.|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Greenway, L.||Lindgren, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Gridley, L.||Lothian, M.|
|Craigavon, V.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Hackings, L.||McLeavy, L.|
|Margadale, L.||Oakshott, L.||Silkin, L.|
|Merrivale, L.||Peddie, L.||Strange of Knokin, Bs.|
|Merthyr, L. [Teller.]||Popplewell, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Milverton, L.||Raglan, L. [Teller.]||Swinton, E.|
|Mitchison, L.||Redcliffe-Maud, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Morrison, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.||Vivian, L.|
|Mowbray and Stourton, L.||St. Davids, V.||Williamson, L.|
|Nugent of Guildford, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Airedale, L.||Boothby, L.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Amulree, L. [Teller.]||Byers, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Bannerman of Kildonan, L.||Carnock, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Barrington, V.||Foot, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Henley, L. [Teller.]||Wade, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Moynihan, L.|
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.