§ 4.40 p.m.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD GRENFELL in the Chair]
§ Clause 1 [Declaratory provisions with respect to 1960 c. 38 s. 1(3) and 1967 c. 33 s. 3(5):]:
LORD BESWICK moved to add to Clause 1:
Page 2, line 14 at end insert—
("Provided that nothing in this Act shall enable the Board of Trade to limit the powers of either of the said corporations in respect of more than one route unless the order is considered and approved by the Air Transport Licensing Board.")
§ The noble Lord said: I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, will not be surprised to find an Amendment tabled to this Bill. The noble Lord replied with characteristic courtesy and care to the discussion on the Second Reading, but I doubt whether even his best friends would agree that he met the various points of criticism that had been raised. The burden of the criticism was that the proposed transfer of routes from the Air Corporations to the newly constituted Caledonian/B.U.A. company was unfair to the Corporations; did not mean any increase in traffic for the British air transport industry; and, further, that if transfers were to be made, they should be made by the properly constituted licensing authority and not by the political decision of the Minister. It was the latter point which, in particular, I tried to make.1095
§ I will not go over all the ground again, but I must emphasise the importance of the early establishment of the Civil Aviation Authority so that any allocation of route patterns as between one organisation and another can be considered professionally, objectively and non-politically, with the supreme intention of maximising all British air transport resources. I expressed the view then—and I am not alone in this—that much higher priority should have been given to the necessary legislation establishing the Civil Aviation Authority, and I was appalled to hear from the noble Lord that it is not now expected to have the Authority in business before some unspecified time in 1972. I hoped to strengthen the case of the noble Lord and his right honourable friends for a higher priority in the allocation of Parliamentary time, but I am not quite sure that the noble Lord appreciated the point, and I certainly did not recognise any thanks from him.
§ I say again that it really will be intolerable for the industry if the provisions of the Bill that we are now considering hang over all the operators for something like another eighteen months. How can one expect the Corporations to plan ahead, to buy equipment, to decide on their advertising budgets, to organise their sales campaigns and to deploy personnel if all the time there is the nagging doubt that a proportion of all this money and effort is to be spent on a route which may be taken from them by the simple, unchallengeable order of the Minister? I am suggesting in this Amendment that there should be a limit to the occasions on which the power vested in the Minister by this Bill should be exercised.
We tried on Second Reading to get some assurance from the noble Lord that in the case of the B.O.A.C. there will be no further demands, now that they have been told to surrender the West African routes. At one time in the noble Lord's speech I thought he was giving me this assurance. He did in fact say—and I quote:
The Government have given the fullest possible assurances that these powers will not be used again for further transfers of this kind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21/1/71, c. 640.]
However, this appeared to be in flat contradiction, as I said then, of an earlier
statement (reported in column 638 of the OFFICIAL REPORT) in the Second Reading debate on January 21, in which the noble Lord said:
… one block of routes, the West African block, has already been announced. I am not in a position to announce the rest of the package today.
I hope that the noble Lord will take this opportunity to make quite clear that the assurances to which he referred in column 640 really mean that the B.O.A.C. have made their contribution and will not be asked for any further surrender of routes, at any rate until such time as the matter can be argued out properly in front of the new Civil Aviation Authority.
§ I cannot forbear, before I leave this Amendment, from putting one further question to the Minister about the alleged benefits of competition which will accrue from the transfer of the West African routes from one organisation to another. The question was asked a number of times in our Second Reading discussion, and always the noble Lord contrived to refer to the advantages to British operators, in certain circumstances, of double designation. It is of course a fact that on a limited number of high-density routes there may well be benefits accruing from double designation, and the consequent competition. But what a number of my noble friends are unable to see is how, if a block of routes is transferred from one virtual monopoly to another virtual monopoly, there can be any increase of beneficial competition. I wonder whether the noble Lord could have another attempt to enlighten us on this point.
§ With regard to the Amendment itself, I can well imagine that, with the most able advice at his disposal, the noble Lord can be severely critical about my wording. The Bill itself, as the noble Lord will appreciate, does not lend itself easily to simple amendment; but what I have in mind is, I think, quite clear. We want to limit the uncertainty that has been created by the talk and the action about the transfer of routes from the Corporations to another company. The problem would not have arisen in quite the same way if either the previous Government or the present Government had made more progress in the establishment of the Civil Aviation Authority. But since, according to the noble Lord, 1097 there will not now be a new licensing authority before some time in 1972, it seems to me essential that some limit should be placed upon the power of the Minister in this regard.
§ There is a great deal of indignation in the country, expressed again on the Back Benches to-day, about the transference of publicly owned assets to other, privately owned, companies, and I had great difficulty in restraining my noble friends from voting against this Bill on Second Reading. But in this Amendment, and in what I have said this afternoon, I am trying to be constructive. I am trying to put forward this matter in a constructive way, and I hope that the noble Lord will see fit to accept the Amendment in my name. I beg to move.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
Before my noble friend replies, perhaps I may make a few comments on the Amendment. Anyone who attended the Second Reading debate on this Bill, or indeed has read the Report of it, would have been amazed, I am sure, by the antics of the Party opposite. During the Second Reading we witnessed the spectacle of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition taking his seat some two minutes before my noble friend finished his winding-up speech. The noble Lord then rose to his feet and, rather like a reverend, venerable headmaster, complained bitterly that the Government's reply, which he really had not heard, was not satisfactory; and he ended by muttering some dark threats about dividing. Then we saw the noble Lord, Lord Beswick—normally, one would judge, most fluent and very clear thinking on aviation matters—showing, I would suggest, on Second Reading, an astonishing lack of grasp on the simplest of points by intervening in my noble friend's winding-up speech no fewer than twelve times. Now, to-day, we have before us his clearly wrecking Amendment of the Bill, which I hope my noble friend will advise the Committee to reject.
The real meaning of this wrecking Amendment is, of course, to limit, at least for a period of time—it may be twelve months; it may be longer—a large chunk of the Government's package of routes to be handed over to the second force. And, as the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, well knows, the present system under the A.T.L.B.—or, indeed, possibly 1098 that under the new C.A.A.—is not the quickest of procedures, particularly when the appeal system is working. The real effect of the Amendment, if it is allowed to pass through the Committee, is, I would suggest, first to create an atmosphere of doubt as to the viability of the second force; secondly, to damage severely the immediate prospects of that second force; and, thirdly, to force a withdrawal of some of the financial backers of the second force. The noble Lord, Lord Beswick, knows about these matters better than any of us here, as he has personal experience in the independent airline field and was, I believe, a director and shareholder of British Midland Airways.
The simple essence of the Bill is to follow the Edwards Committee recommendations to create a strong and viable second force. To achieve this, the Bill before us is simply planning the transfer of some 5 per cent. of the scheduled services from the Corporation to the second force. I do not believe that this package can ever be described as a very large package or as a very damaging package to the Corporation. It will give the chance to the independents, the second force, to operate on a viable route structure. I think that Lord Beswick's Amendment seeks to delay or even to scupper the second force.
One may ask: why should the Government have to take a decision on the second force so soon after taking office? I believe that the answer is simply because the previous Government were humming and hawing for so long as to what they should do to assist the second force that ultimately the position of the independents became critical. It is generally known that by June of last year, B.U.A., the largest by far of the independents, representing some 80 per cent. of the entire independent market, was on the point of liquidation. If this had happened I think that even Lord Beswick would have agreed that it would be a major setback to the setting up of a second force.
The Government took, in my view, a very proper and wise decision to implement the Edwards Committee recommendations with a firm declaration. The Opposition during the passage of this Bill through the other place have made some pretty damaging statements. I can give 1099 two examples. An Opposition spokesman in another place said:Throughout we have resisted the giving away of Corporation routes.Later he went on to say:We shall not be bound by these shameful acts and will on return to office return these routes to B.O.A.C. and B.E.A.".I cannot for one moment consider that to be a responsible Opposition statement, and I believe that Lord Beswick is running a fairly close second to those statements if he thinks his Amendment is based on the interests of the industry or the good of the second force.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
I did not want to introduce any asperity into this debate—if there is one thing about a Welshman it is that he can avoid using asperity until the last moment, when he knows that he has won. I know the noble Earl's background. His opportunities have been great indeed. Did he inform the Leader of the Opposition that he was going to make these statements this afternoon? For although it was expressed in a quiet, gentle, cultured way, I think it was a deep attack. I should like to know whether or not the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition was informed of the speech which the noble Earl has now made.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
I did not inform the noble Lord, the Leader of the Opposition because I was simply stating what had happened.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
Yes; but it is the way that what happened is interpreted that counts. It was the interpretation that the noble Earl gave. I wish to say to the noble Earl that here there is a dichotomy of philosophy. We look at things differently from the noble Earl, but that does not mean that there is any venom or viciousness about it. I will repeat some of the statements that I made in the debate the other day. These routes all over the world have been acquired at the price of taxpayers' money. Unlike the noble Earl, many of us in this House know these routes. I know 99 per cent. of them and have travelled on them in the Far East and elsewhere. If only the public knew the situation! It is like the blueprints and prototypes of aeroplanes made for private enterprise in the past. There is some 1100 justification for spending money so long as we let the taxpayers know. Cheap newspapers write articles about the failure of public enterprise to serve the public, and then suddenly in airways—and we have some of the finest in the world under public enterprise—a package deal is made. My own grandfather, being an old radical, taught me how to read the true Conservative philosophy. I remember reading huge tomes on how Conservativism was the nucleus, the psyche, the centre of the Christian approach to society.
I am sure that in both Houses there are some Conservatives who regret this Poujadist approach to the system of society in which we live. The old acquisitive society is in change from one end of the world to the other and we must expect certain areas of public service to go into public ownership. Even on this side there may be some who disagree, but I hope that when the Leader of the Opposition or some speakers on this side of the House, within the gamut of our limited ability, try to clarify our thoughts and our opposition to this hijacking of public enterprise air routes, it will not be thought that our motives are ulterior. I hope they will think that we are trying to get an understanding. I agree with one part of the noble Earl's speech. If it is a game of "ins and outs", if when our Party get in power we say that we shall reverse this or that piece of legislation and the other side say the same, there will be no public or private enterprise that will feel safe in such a cat-and-dog system of society. I beg your Lordships to realise that there is more in this Poujadist approach than just a few cheap quarrels or debates across the floor of either House of Parliament.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I wonder whether I could start by saying this to the noble Lord, Lord Beswick. I do not want to embrace such a wide range of subjects as the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, although he did raise some very interesting considerations which are well worth a debate on a different occasion, and no doubt we shall have an opportunity to debate them in the future. I have looked carefully at my speech and, with respect, I think that I replied to all the points the noble Lord made. I did not give the answers that he wanted: that was not possible in the nature of the case. 1101 I wonder whether I may suggest that perhaps he started the debate with a misconception. There never was any question of the announcement which my right honourable friend the Minister of Trade made in another place being the whole of the package. There never had been any question of that.
I think it would be right for me to remind the Committee of what he did say. My right honourable friend said on that occasion:I promised the right honourable gentleman that at the first possible moment I would give him and the House the information that was available on route transfers. It has been decided that a part of the route transfers will take place.My Lords, I am not quite certain that those words were absolutely apt, because they may have conveyed the impression that the transfer was taking place at that minute. In fact he went on:There will be some other parts of the transfer to be negotiated and we are discussing it still with the airline concerned.A little later he said:That is the extent of the route transfers that have been agreed so far"—he is talking once again about the West African route—and I am announcing them to the House at the first opportunity.He goes on:I can say the West African link is well below the figure I have given to the House and there will therefore be some balance to be added on top.Perhaps I may say, if I need to excuse myself on this—I am always willing to do so—that I had assumed that the noble Lord was aware of what had been said on that accasion, and therefore I think we got into a little bit of an argument about what the package was, when the transfer had taken place and so forth. The fact of the matter is, of course, that there never has been any question about it; the Government have visualised that there should be a transfer equivalent to between 2½ and 3 per cent. of the revenue of B.O.A.C., amounting to some £5 million or £6 million and this does not necessarily mean that all the transfer will be on B.O.A.C.
I should have liked very much to be able to announce the package now or at any rate to promise that I should be able to announce it before the Bill gets a 1102 Third Reading. But, for reasons of which noble Lords are probably aware, this is not now going to be so easy. My right honourable friend has had pneumonia and things have been retarded a little. But I hope the noble Lord will accept from me that there was no doubt at all in our minds that we had made the position absolutely clear that there would be a transfer of a package. The noble Lord quite rightly quoted the words that I used. The Government have given the fullest public assurances that the powers will not be used again for further transfers of this kind. That means that once the package is over he need not worry, and the Corporations need not worry, about the position between now and the time when the Civil Aviation Act comes into effect.
My Lords, I quite sympathise with the noble Lord's position on this and readily acknowledge that I ought to have thanked him for the full support that he gave to the setting up of the Civil Aviation Authority. I should like to recognise that and I hope that he will continue to give it the fullest support. I have stated what we hope to do there. I hope that it will be possible to get the new Authority, and the Airways Board, into action by 1972, but it means introducing legislation this Session if that timetable is to be achieved. All I can say is that the legislation is in preparation, but, of course, the noble Lord will know as well as I do that it is very difficult at this stage in the Session to say whether the Government will be able to introduce all the legislation that they would wish to in the course of the Session. I am sure that the noble Lord appreciates this position; I am sure he realises that we are as anxious as he is to get ahead with the legislation to set up a Civil Aviation Authority and an Airways Board.
I hope I have satisfied him that it is not the intention in any way to make further transfers of this kind, but it would not make sense to start by handing over a package to the new company, the company which is going to be in competition, unless there was a satisfactory base from which it could operate and expand. I do not mean "expand" at the expense of the Corporations; I mean "expand" partly because civil aviation is expanding all the time and partly because we wish it well in competition as a whole.
1103 The noble Lord said that I spoke of alleged benefits of competition. He said that the transfer of the West African routes would not add to competition. I quite agree with him, but that was not the point. The transfer of routes was to give a secure base. On the other hand, he said, "How can there be any increase in competition?" The answer to that is that unless we set up a viable second force there can be no increase in competition; and it is with the object of increasing competition that we are setting up a viable force.
I referred at an earlier stage to what the Edwards Committee had said. They said that a second force is bound to require some concession of territory from B.O.A.C. The question is how much and on what terms? We discussed terms last time and why it was impossible to set up a viable force if compensation was required; and also I made the point that in any case a licence is not a form of property and no compensation is therefore payable for the transfer of a licence.
That brings me to the particular point of the noble Lord's Amendment. He is quite right in thinking that, as it stands, the Amendment will not do. I could give him several reasons why if he wishes, but I do not want to stand on drafting points. The first reason is that it is not really possible for a declaratory Bill, which declares that certain powers exist in other enactments, to include a provision which is manifestly outside the terms of those other enactments. The second is that the Amendment would be totally ineffective because this Bill does not convey, or purport to convey, any powers; and therefore there can be no question of the exercise of any powers under it. The powers which may be exercised are conveyed by the other enactments referred to in the Bill and the Amendment would in no way affect the exercise of those powers. Thirdly, I might say that I know of no precedent for a proposal of this kind whereby an Order made by a Secretary of State, and subject to the Negative Resolution procedure in Parliament, would require prior approval of an independent body such as the Air Transport Licensing Board.
Perhaps I could clarify what I said on the previous occasion if I put it in this way—and I have carefully examined these 1104 words. The noble Lord has indicated that what he wants to ensure is that route licensing decisions are taken by the body that exists for the purpose, the Air Transport Licensing Board. The decisions will indeed be taken by the Licensing Board. Caledonian-B.U.A. will have to apply for licences to serve the routes transferred to it and the present licences will have to be revoked. The Government have no power to tell the Licensing Board what licences it should grant or revoke, and these decisions will remain within the discretion of the Licensing Board.
The Government do, however, have the power, under the Air Corporations Act 1967, to tell the Corporations that they must cease to serve particular routes; and they have the power under the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Act 1960 to grant exemptions that will enable Caledonian-B.U.A. to serve those routes pending the completion of the Air Transport Licensing Board's procedure if they are not completed by the desired date, which is April 1, 1971. It is not the present Bill that confers those powers; it merely declares the powers that exist in other enactments.
I would again thank the noble Lord for the spirit in which he has moved his Amendment to-day. I fully appreciate his difficulty, because there is a real difference of opinion between the two sides of the House—as was evident in the difference between the Government Statement on August 3 and the previous Government's White Paper—on whether routes should be transferred or not and, if so, on what terms. But, recognising those differences and the fact that his Amendment as it stands at present would be ineffectual, I hope that the noble Lord will agree to withdraw the Amendment and be content with the assurances that I have given.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ LORD BESWICK
The noble Lord has made a very conciliatory speech, and I have listened carefully to what he had to say. But before coming to his remarks I think I should say something about what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull. He saw fit to give us a bit of a lecture on Parliamentary procedure. One of the elements of Parliamentary courtesy is to inform a colleague, a noble Member of the House, that he 1105 proposes to attack him. I think it is doubly necessary to give notice if the attack is not based on valid assumptions or on facts. My noble friend the Leader of the Opposition did not criticise the speech of his noble friend. He said in terms that it had been conveyed to him that there had been strong feeling on these Benches. Undoubtedly there was feeling on these Benches, and undoubtedly it was conveyed to my noble friend. He then took the trouble to get up and, in a helpful spirit, say that he was not proposing to divide the House on the Second Reading. If the noble Earl is going to make an attack of this kind, he should get his facts right, and even before that he should let the noble Lord concerned know that he proposes to raise the matter.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. I just want to say that I had no reason to try to be discourteous to the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition. It certainly was not an attack on him. I was simply interpreting what he said. If I was wrong, and he was only interpreting what others had said to him, then I withdraw the comment.
§ LORD BESWICK
I am obliged. I now go on to congratulate the noble Earl. I congratulate him on his ability to count up to twelve. Certainly it was the fact that I interrupted the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, on 12 occasions. That might have been a measure of my impatience, but it might well have been due to the fact that the explanations given by the noble Lord opposite were not exactly clear. That was the feeling on this side of the House. In any case, of those twelve interruptions of mine, 8 per cent. of them were to say that the noble Lord was answering questions that I had never put.
I turn now to what the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has said this afternoon. He has criticised the wording of my Amendment. He understands the difficulty of amending a declaratory Bill of this kind. Nevertheless, the fact is that if the Amendment is carried the Bill will go back to the other place, and it will give them an opportunity to reconsider the whole issues involved. We think that this should be done.
1106 The noble Lord says that there is a difference of opinion; and that of course is the case. I am not proposing to discuss with him now how the A.T.L.B. will come into the procedure by which these transfers are ultimately effected. The fact of the matter is that the Minister, by a political decision, is taking action which many people believe to be wrong—wrong, as I argued, in the interests of the companies concerned as well as in the interests of the Corporation. The noble Lord says it is justified because it speeds up the process. The noble Earl said (or was it the noble Lord?) that it would take too long to go through the processes of the Board. But the point that I have made, and the point that I make in all sincerity, is that in the long run it may well be the quickest way of deciding this issue. If you make a decision quickly by Ministerial order, then you find in two or three years' time, when there is a change of Government, the thing is upset again. I cannot myself believe that anyone is any the better off.
It is because I think that these matters ought to be dealt with differently that I have suggested that we should have another look at the whole business. I propose to give the other place an opportunity to do this by amending the Bill in the way that I suggest, provided that I get a majority of noble Lords to support me. In any case, I propose to press the Amendment to a Division.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
Before the noble Lord sits down, could he answer this question—because I think it is pertinent? His honourable friends in another place have said that they do not believe there should be any transfer of Corporation routes to the second force. Could a second force to-day be viable with its present small structure?
§ LORD BESWICK
That is a matter for discussion. There are great technical arguments. The noble Earl introduced into the matter, irrelevantly I thought, the fact that I have had some experience in these affairs. That I have; and because I have, I am not prepared to give a categorical answer here. But I would say that if you had a properly constituted Board that would be the body which would be able to give a sensible answer to a question of this kind.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I cannot of course prevent the noble Lord from pressing this Amendment to a Division if he wishes to do so. But before we go to a Division, I think it is right to point out that this is a Bill on a very narrow issue. It was discussed fully in another place, where there was a Division on the Third Reading, which was carried by forty votes. The noble Lord is now proposing to send it back to the other place on this very narrow issue and on
§ On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?1108
§ a completely unviable Amendment. This Amendment will do this House no credit at all. I strongly recommend noble Lords not to press this Amendment, and if they do, I strongly recommend my noble friends to oppose it.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 52; Not-Contents, 80.1107
|Amulree, L.||Foot, L.||Royle, L.|
|Achibald, L.||Garnsworthy, L. [Teller.]||St. Davids, V.|
|Ardwick, L.||Gladwyn, L.||Serota, B.|
|Arwyn, L.||Henley, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Hughes, L.||Shepherd, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Jacques, L.||Shinwell, L.|
|Birdwood, L.||Janner, L.||Snow, L.|
|Birk, B.||Kilbracken, L.||Stocks, B.|
|Blackett, L.||Lindgren, L.||Stonham, L.|
|Byers, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Champion, L.||McLeavy, L.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Moyle, L.||Summerskill, B.|
|Crook, L.||Norwich, V.||Walston, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Nunburnholme, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Phillips, B. [Teller.]||White, B.|
|Douglass of Cleveland, L.||Rea, L.||Williamson, L.|
|Fiske, L.||Reading, M.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Fletcher, L.||Reay, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Falkland, V.||Milverton, L.|
|Alport, L.||Ferrers, E.||Molson, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Fortescue, E.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Gisborough, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Audley, B.||Goschen, V. [Teller.]||Rankeillour, L.|
|Avebury, L.||Gowrie, E.||Redesdale, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Greenway, L.||Reigate, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Grenfell, L.||Rochdale, V.|
|Berkeley, B.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Brecon, L.||Hacking, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Sandford, L.|
|Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.||Sandys, L.|
|Buckton, L.||Hankey, L.||Selsdon, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Hanworth, V.||Sempill, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Hawke, L.||Sherfield, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Headfort, M.||Somers, L.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Hereford, V.||Strang, L.|
|Cromartie, E.||Hylton Foster, B.||Strange of Knokin, B.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Ilford, L.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Ironside, L.||Suffield, L.|
|Dudley, E.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Teviot, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Jessel, L.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||Kinnoull, E.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Ebbisham, L.||Leathers, V.||Tweedsmuir of Belhevie, B.|
|Effingham, E.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Margadale, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Emmet of Amberley, B.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Wise, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
I wanted to make one small point—a point of some importance—which I do not think was made on Second Reading or has been made 1109 on the Committee stage to-day. I should like to ask my noble friend whether he has the statistics of what proportion of the world trade on these flights is at the moment held by B.O.A.C. I ask this as I have a suspicion that it is a very small one, because there are many airlines going to South America and West Africa. B.U.A. are an extremely enterprising body. In my humble opinion, B.U.A. are more likely to win a larger share of this trade for Britain than B.O.A.C. Therefore, I should like to hear those figures, if my noble friend has them.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
No, my Lords, I do not have them. I shall be glad to see if I can get them. These are, after all, commercial secrets, and I am not sure what figures are revealed. I will certainly see if I can get them and let my noble friend know. I quite take his point.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Remaining clause agreed to.
§ House resumed. Bill reported without amendment: Report received.