HL Deb 23 October 1968 vol 296 cc1506-8

[No. 74]

Clause 71, page 102, line 11, after "section" insert "which shall not be before 31st December 1971"

The Commons disagreed to this Amendment for the following Reason:

[No. 75.]

Because it removes the Minister's discretion to decide when the clause should come into force in the light of the development of the freightliner network.


My Lords, I had intended to speak at some little length on this point, but in view of the fact that the arguments for and against were stated so much more eloquently and concisely at the beginning of our discussion by the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, and by my noble friend Lord Beswick, I think that the House will forgive me if I formally move this Amendment. I beg to move that this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 74 to which the Commons have disagreed.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 74 to which the Commons have disagreed.—(Lord Winterbottom.)


My Lords, I listened with great interest to the exposition of the noble Lord. Lord Beswick, this afternoon of the reasons for revising the decision of your Lordships' House on this point. I must say that it did not persuade me, and I do not think that it would have persuaded any of my noble friends on these Benches. We still maintain that the introduction of a procedure, whereby the ordinary entrepreneur is regarded as incapable or unwilling to decide fairly by what means he wishes to send his goods, is totally improper in a Bill of this kind. We had hoped that by the Amendment made by this House this might have been defeated. We still hope that either in the course of time—we now have the assurance that it will be some time before this provision is introduced—or even by later action after it has been introduced, this particular side of quantity licensing will be altered.

I should like to make it abundantly plain that we are not objecting to quantity licensing as such—indeed we find this is a considerable improvement—but it is just this particular point of setting up tribunals to decide for the entrepreneur which is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way of moving his goods, and not allowing him to judge. This is the part of the Bill which sticks most in our throats as it now goes through. But, like noble Lords on the Conservative Benches, we do not regard it as an important enough constitutional point to invoke the Parliament Act. Therefore, with considerable regret, we will not vote against this Motion.


My Lords, perhaps I should add that I listened with attention and with respect to the arguments of the noble Lord. Lord Beswick, in favour of Clause 71, but even his arguments failed to convince me that he was right and I was wrong. I still feel that this is a very bad provision and I hope that we shall see the end of it before many years are out. Nevertheless, for the reasons I have stated. we do not intend to vote against it.


My Lords, I can only say I am sorry that I did not persuade the noble Lords. I take it that it was because I endeavoured not only to be fair in what I said but also to be concise. I had several pages of other detailed arguments which I did not think were appropriate then, and I do not think that I ought to inflict them on your Lordships now. I accept what the noble Lords have said about accepting this decision of another place, and I leave it at that.

On Question, Motion agreed to.