HL Deb 04 April 1978 vol 390 cc114-59

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do again resolve itself into Committee.—(Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe.)

House in Committee accordingly.

[EARL CATHCART in the Chair.]


I should inform your Lordships that if Amendment No. 221 is agreed, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 3 to 23.

8.31 p.m.

Lord MORRIS moved Amendment No. 221: Page 1, line 9, leave out subsections (2) to (5) and insert — ("(2) There shall be fifty-seven members of the Assembly. (3) The Boundary Commission for Scotland shall prepare a scheme dividing Scotland into fifty-seven constituencies.").

The noble Lord said: Some of your Lordships will be aware that 1 have never done this kind of thing before. However, my considerable fears are somewhat relieved by the certain knowledge that should the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, even consider rebutting any argument I might put, he will do so with his customary gentleness.

Your Lordships will recall that the main theme which emerged in your Lordships' House during the memorable Second Reading debate of the Scotland Bill was summed up most eloquently by my noble friend Lord Ferrers when he said: …implanted in this Bill are the seeds of destruction of the United Kingdom ".—[Official Report, 14/3/78; col. 1200.]

Should the Bill remain in its present form, I believe that that statement is in no way an exaggeration. I will not pursue the argument further; it is well known to your Lordships. However, I will make the point that in believing in that principle—as did the overwhelming majority of your Lordships and those in another place, and all outside Parliament other than the lunatic fringe—it is imperative that we, the watchdog of our Constitution, must do and must be seen to do our duty. If we must have this Bill we must get it right.

Both my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel and my noble friend Lord Ferrers have brought to our notice the paradox that, although we live in a world of sophisticated communications which bring us closer together and compel us to live closer to each other, there is manifest throughout the world a strong reaction against centralised government and a profound desire to assert the influence of the individual, the family and the smaller groups of people, tied in blood, in culture and in language. It is in this sense that I am a keen devolutionist.

I believe that because of improved communications we are constantly brought face to face with and are made more aware of the massive size and complexity of the world and its problems, the ever-increasing size and influence of Governments and bureaucracies and the multiplicity of legislation, and consequentially how very little as individuals we are and as individuals we count. This fear lies in the hearts of many. We see Government wagging the tail of Parliament. We fear that the faceless bureaucracy might well be wagging the tail of Government. And what do we now see? We see in this Bill more government, not less government, more bureaucracy, not less bureaucracy. It is in this spirit that I move the Amendment.

The significance of the number 57 is quite simply that it is the number of Scottish Parliamentary constituencies to which Scotland is entitled on numerical grounds. In Volume I, paragraph 1147, the Kilbrandon Report stated: Scotland and Wales will continue to be represented in Parliament. Their representation in proportion to population would be the same as that of England, subject to any allowance which might be found appropriate for special geographical conditions. The probable effect would be to reduce Scotland's representation from 71 to about 57 and that of Wales from 36 to about 31 ".

At this stage I feel that I must point out that equal representation has always been the Liberal Party's policy. As Mr. Steele said on 16th November of last year in another place: I would accept the Kilbrandon proposal of reducing the number of Scottish MPs to the correct number proportionately ".

One might be forgiven for thinking: what relevance has the size of Scottish representation at Westminster to a Scottish Assembly? The claim that the 150 Members of the Assembly as against the 71 at Westminster would be more representative of the Scottish people would be impressive indeed, and even more so if the new constituency boundaries were closer to being actual communities. If the Scottish Members of Parliament do not wish to lose their influence, then they should look very carefully indeed at the size of the Assembly.

The historical precedent for basing representation on a population basis is sound. The third Reform Act of 1884 based the reallocation of seats strictly on population, and Scotland, with 72 seats out of 670 seats, was justly represented. The representation of the People Act 1918, based on the 1911 Census, redistributed the seats and gave Scotland 74 seats out of 707 for the whole of the United Kingdom. Scotland's total then corresponded to her relative population; but Wales, with 36 seats, was slightly over-represented, and Ireland, with 105, greatly so. England, with 492 seats, was in turn under-represented. Scotland's seats were reduced to 71 out of 625 seats by the loss of her University Members through the Representation of the People Act 1948.

On the grounds of economy; on the grounds that there will in the main be three representatives doing the work now done by one; on the grounds that it would prove difficult enough to find sufficient men and women of goodwill and quality to serve their country should there be only one Assembly man, let alone three; on the grounds of the difficulties of liaison between the Westminster Members, the Assembly men, local government and the constituents, who will be multiplied; on the grounds that self-mutilation is against human nature—namely, that it is totally unrealistic to suppose that an Assembly will decrease itself in size; and on the grounds that, as the Kilbrandon Report stated, the over-representation of Scotland is both undemocratic and constitutes a grave injustice to the people of England, I believe that it is essential that the size of the Assembly should be kept to a minimum.

It may be that, in the light of experience, it will later be felt better to increase the membership of the Assembly. That is as may be. If the Government's proposals for the size of the Assembly remain as they are, Scotsmen can look forward in fear to a lessening of the influence of their Members of Parliament at Westminster and in Scotland; they can look forward to gross over-government and to a gross consequential increase in governmental interference in their daily lives. I would not wish this upon anyone, let alone upon my fellow men. These are the reasons for moving this Amendment. I beg to move.

8.39 p.m.


This Amendment is associated with other Amendments; namely, Amendments Nos. 4, 9, 13, 15, 18, 22, 31, 32 and 59, all standing in the name of the noble Lord who has moved Amendment No. 221. Certainly they have a cumulative effect. The effect, as I understand it, is that, taken together, they would provide a Scottish Assembly of 57 members only. That Assembly would not be elected until the Boundary Commission had produced a satisfactory scheme for dividing Scotland into 57 constituencies. In saying that, I am looking at Amendment No. 221 which includes as sub-section (3): The Boundary Commission for Scotland shall prepare a scheme dividing Scotland into fifty-seven constituencies ".


It might be of assistance if I were to let the noble and learned Lord know that I shall not be moving the Amendments in my name up to and including Amendment No. 22.


Following that intervention by the noble Lord I should like to understand the position, which I believe is that the only Amendment he intends to move is Amendment No. 221.


That is so.


I would also ask him to confirm or otherwise make the position clear about subsection (3), reading: The Boundary Commission for Scotland shall prepare a scheme dividing Scotland into fifty-seven constituencies".


Of course that is consequential upon the first part of my Amendment.


As I understand that part of the Amendment which is proposed and which the noble Lord says is consequential, that would certainly seem to mean that one could not have the first election to the Assembly until the Boundary Commission have sat and considered the whole question of the constituencies in Scotland, and I believe that would lead to an extraordinary delay in the setting up of the first Assembly. If that be the effect of the Amendment and if I read it rightly —and the noble Lord will surely correct me if I am wrong—the Government must resist that, and I would hope that the Committee would take the same view.

On the face of it, the Amendment dealing with the 57 Members of the Assembly does not affect the Parliamentary constituencies. As I read the Amendment—and again the noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong and if I am misunderstanding him—the noble Lord wants to have 57 constituencies, each electing one member to the Assembly, but this Amendment does not itself propose any alteration in the Parliamentary constituencies for the United Kingdom Parliament. That point is raised I think by subsequent Amendments, some of which will be dealt with by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor.

I am sure we shall shortly have a debate on the question of what is the appropriate number of Assembly men because the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, will be moving an Amendment which raises this question quite sharply and it may be that I can deal with the matter rather more fully at that time. If that be correct, it may be sufficient to say at the present time that the Government recognise that there is no ideal size for the Assembly. The system proposed in the Bill I have to defend at greater length when we come to the Amendment tabled by the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, and I would submit that that system is practical and realistic and it certainly appears to have been accepted in principle by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, and others who moved the previous Amendment, and indeed by the Committee, which envisaged a membership of 150 voted into office on the additional Member system, described by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn.

In short, on this particular Amendment a 57 Member Assembly would be far too small to carry out the responsibilities which are being devolved and, in particular, far too small to form any sound basis for selecting an Executive to carry out the duties imposed by the Bill. It can hardly be seriously argued that an Executive of, say, 16 to 20 strong, including two Scottish Secretaries, with adequate Back Bench support and an effective Opposition, could be obtained from so small a number of Members, particularly in the likely electoral and political situation obtaining in Scotland.

With the permission of the Committee, I will confine myself to saying only that at the present time. I hope the general question of United Kingdom representation will be dealt with by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor in relation to Amendment No. 25, and I hope we may have a fuller discussion upon the number of persons who might properly be elected to the Assembly in relation to those Amendments standing in the name of the noble Earl.

One other thing that perhaps I should say is that other bodies than the Government have considered this matter. For example, the committee which sat under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Home, at an earlier stage, and recommended the creation of an Assembly of a somewhat different character I think envisaged an optimum size of 125, mentioned in paragraph 289. Also the Kilbrandon Commission envisaged a membership of about 100. For those reasons, I submit that the number of 57 is far too small and the delay inherent in this Amendment is quite unacceptable. I hope the noble Lord will not press this Amendment and, by so doing, perhaps then prevent further debate upon the number which might take place upon subsequent Amendments.

8.46 p.m.


As there is a principle behind this, I do not think it ought to be allowed to pass with quite the amount of speed that there appears to be at the moment.


I should like to say to the noble Lord, Lord HarmarNicholls—but of course he will exercise his own judgment—that there is a principle and I acknowledge it. It is a principle in which he is interested and the Committee is very interested, but it arises quite sharply on subsequent Amendments and it may be that it would be more suitable to deal with it on those subsequent Amendments.


That may be so but I do not think the noble and learned Lord ought to be allowed to get away with one of his "alibis". While one may agree that the actual figure mentioned in this Amendment could be questioned and, as the noble Lord has said, has not even got the support of the Royal Commission, the defence that I want to try to dispose of is the argument that there would not be time to do what might be right. The argument put forward by the noble Lord was that this Amendment envisages that there has to be some redrawing of the boundaries and the time that would take would mean that the Assembly could not come into being at the time when the noble Lord and the Government think it ought to come into being. One knows that that is the standard excuse from every Government if they can find any reason to produce it.

The truth is that if the Boundary Commission and Parliament wanted to get through a redrawing of these boundaries, if the principle were accepted, it could be done. I am never prepared to accept the argument that the time for carrying out something that is right ought to be taken into account. One has seen Parliament get through far-reaching and important legislation in the space of two or three minutes when they wanted to do so. If it has to go through the normal procedures in the normal way of course it can be made to take a long time. In this case the figure mentioned is 57. I do not support that figure, because my subsequent Amendment relates to a figure of 100; but I do not think the Committee ought to accept that the time it takes to do what is light ought to be a reason for not carrying out a principle that is sound.

I hope the noble Lord will not feel that he can get away completely with that particular argument when we know that the Boundary Commission and Parliament and the people instructed to do these things can carry them out with greater speed than normal if the principle behind it is important enough to justify it. If the Government get this Bill on to the Statute Book there is no doubt that the representation from Scotland cannot remain as it is, otherwise it will cause trouble. Even if the Bill is right from every other point of view, if this unfairness exists where Scottish Members can talk about English matters and English Members cannot talk about Scottish matters, it will bring about the clash which has already been mentioned in regard to previous Amendments, which will be dangerous and unnecessary.

I merely wanted to intervene to say that the principle behind this Amendment is an important one. The figure may have to be open to discussion and amendment, but 1 hope the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, will not think that the argument of delay is one that carries any weight at all if it is desired to do what is considered to be right in connection with the principle behind it.

8.49 p.m.


I think the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, is rather a moot one, but since the noble Lord, Lord Morris, mentioned the Liberal Party I should like to say it is absolutely correct that we should be perfectly prepared to accept reasonable and equal representation in the British Parliament if we had an Assembly in Scotland which was working satisfactorily. It is a perfectly fair point that he has made, that Scotland, stemming from the Act of Union, is over-represented, but if you have a smaller country in a much larger conglomeration, however nice the Members may be they do strive for as large a representation as is legally possible. Therefore I think his argument that Scotland may be over-represented in the British Parliament is right. But in this case I do not think it is relevant to the numbers in the Scottish Assembly. In the Scottish Assembly it appears that 57 would be rather too low to extract a number of people for the Executive and leave some Indians as well as chiefs. So while I appreciate his point, perhaps in this case it is irrelevant at the present time.


May I start by completely detaching myself from everything said from the Benches opposite. I have no idea whether the Heinzian 57 is a better number for the Scottish Assembly than that proposed in the Bill. I do not believe that Governments, and especially Labour Governments, habitually say that delay is a reason against doing things. Nor do I go along automatically with the Liberal point of view that 57 is too small and therefore a higher number would be better.

I want to point out one apparent inconsistency between different arms of Government policy on the Election Bills now before this House. My noble friend has told us that if this Amendment were to be passed, and we were to wait while Scotland was divided into 57 constituencies for their own Assembly, the delay while the Scottish Boundary Commission carried out this work would be extraordinary—an "extraordinary delay" was the phrase he used —and would, therefore, be unacceptable. I take the point. If legislation is before the House, and if the Government think they have got the right Bill, they want to get it through as quickly as possible.

Let us compare the Government's attitude on that with their attitude on the European Assembly Elections Bill, where it is proposed that precisely such a delay should be faced by the country. The proposal there is precisely the same, that we should wait, that a delay should be incurred and that the delay should not be regarded as extraordinary, while the Boundary Commission divides up the country, in what we have been told would be a minimum of 10 weeks' work from the passage of the Bill into law, into the new extra large constituencies necessary for direct elections to the European Assembly.

My own attitude to the present Amendment, moved by Lord Morris opposite, will depend very largely on what answer my noble friend can give the Committee to the question why it is an extraordinary and intolerable delay to contemplate Scotland being divided up according to new boundaries, and why, on the other hand, it is an ordinary tolerable delay to contemplate the whole United Kingdom being divided up into new boundaries and to postpone the direct European elections until the time when that has happened.


I do not want to deal with the matter of the European Assembly; it is going to be debated in this House, as I understand it, probably on Thursday. When I spoke of delay and extraordinary delay, the Committee will know well that the Government in their Election Manifesto proposed the creation of a Scottish Assembly, and they did that in 1974. The working out of the scheme necessarily took some considerable time, and the Committee is fully familiar with the Parliamentary problems which the first Bill, the Scotland and Wales Bill, faced, and the necessity for the introduction in the present Session of the Scotland Bill. There has already been considerable delay. If the present Bill were to pass through this House and through the other place and go on to the Statute Book, perhaps amended in some way, it would be possible to proceed to elections to the Assembly some time later this year. That would certainly not be possible if one accepted the present Amendment and the Boundary Commission had to be instructed to redraw the entire constituency map of Scotland, which has stood substantially the same for a good many years. That was the kind of delay I was talking about, and it is a delay which the Government regard as unacceptable. I hope the Committee will see that to write such a delay into the Bill, as this Amendment would do, would certainly be seen by those who support the Assembly —and there are many in Scotland, without trying to quantify them—as a wrecking Amendment.


I am very greatly reassured by what the noble and learned Lord has implied, that he will seriously reconsider the whole question of the size of the Assembly when considering other noble Lords' Amendments which touch on this subject. In those circumstances, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 not moved.]

Lord DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 5: Page 1, line 9, after ("initial") insert ("constituency").

The noble Lord said: This is one of a series of Amendments—it goes with Amendments Nos. 10, 16, 19, 21, 23 and 33—the sole purpose of which is to add after the word "initial" and before the word "members" the word "constituency", so as to distinguish the Members who are elected as constituency Members from those who are elected as Party Members. I beg to move.


Do I understand the noble Lord to be saying that this is really consequential on the Amendment the Committee has carried?



[Amendment No. 6 not moved.]

8.57 p.m.

The Earl of SELKIRK moved Amendment No. 7: Page 1, leave out lines 13 to 15.

The noble Earl said: I put this Amendment down merely as an inquiry as to the philosophy of the Government in regard to this paragraph. It may be that other noble Lords would like to speak on this Amendment because it covers some of the same points as Amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11. The point which occurred to me was that setting the initial numbers for each of these areas of which the electorate is more than 125 per cent. of the quota means that some constituencies would be of the order of 50 per cent. bigger than others. That is the mathematics of it. I have not been into the exact figures. It is quite true, of course, that constituencies change; sometimes they become bigger and sometimes they become smaller. But to start off with a variation of 50 per cent. strikes me as rather high. I wondered why the Government had selected 125 per cent. It seems to me rather a lot. There may be some good reason for it, but I have not thought of one.

The second point is that according to the Government—and there may be Amendments made on this in due course—where the 125 per cent. of the quota exists you will have three Members to each constituency. I am sure the noble Lord will appreciate that that is the direct antithesis of any form of proportional representation, because if all the Members of the Party, whatever the Party may be, vote according to the Party call, readily do so, you will get three Members of the same Party in the same constituency. That is the very thing which proportional representation wishes to avoid. I wondered, therefore, why they selected that particular course.

The third point is that according to Schedule I they want to make this a permanent system. All these things struck me as being rather odd. I dare say the Government have a perfectly fine explanation of this particular philosophy; I do not know what it is. I would be interested to know what is the basis of this constituency organisation. I will say straight away that I have not the slightest intention of pressing this Amendment. There may be some remarks from other noble Lords who have Amendments down on this paragraph, and, if so, perhaps it would be convenient to the Committee and to the noble Lord that we discussed them together. I beg to move Amendment No.7.


I should say that if Amendment No. 7 is agreed I cannot call Amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11.


I do not know what would be for the convenience of the Committee. I have an Amendment down, which is No. 8, which calls into question the whole size of the Assembly. I should be quite happy to speak to that now, unless the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, would prefer to deal with my noble friend's Amendment forthwith.


Of course, it is for the noble Lord to judge because if this Amendment were moved into the Bill his Amendment would not be called. It may, therefore, be for the convenience of the Committee—and it certainly would not inconvenience me to make my position plain—if the noble Earl were to speak to his Amendment at the same time.


In that case, it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I refer to my Amendments at the same time. I draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 8, 11 and 12 and Nos. 28, 29, and 30. Those two groups of three Amendments each in effect reduce the number of Assembly men from 150 to about 100. Amendments Nos. 8, 11 and 12 refer to the initial Members. Amendments Nos. 28, 29 and 30 refer to the Members elected at the second and subsequent elections. That, of course, brings into question the whole size of the Assembly such as the Government have proposed.

The Royal Commission said that it was in favour of an Assembly of around 100 people. Quite correctly, it was hesitant to put forward a precise figure. Although the Royal Commission was not unanimous about everything, no one, in fact, demurred about the figure of around 100. The noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, said that he would defend what was in the Bill and I shall look forward to hearing him defend it. He equally laid great store on the Royal Commission, because, in the very first Amendment, he claimed as regards the word "Assebly none other than the wholehearted support of the Royal Commission. However, the fact is that the Government have proposed in the Bill a figure half as large again for the number of Assembly men. There has never yet been an adequate explanation as to why there should be such a substantial increase.

I have three overall objections. The first is one of cost because the more Members we have, the bigger what might be described as the infrastructure needed to serve them, and the bigger the cost. The second objection concerns the necessity. I cannot see the necessity for such a large Assembly. The third is the prudence. Is it wise to have such a large Assembly? At present Scottish affairs are looked after by 71 Scottish Members of Parliament. For a variety of understandable reasons, Scotland has a greater representation of Members of Parliament per capita than any other part of the United Kingdom. Those people look after all Scotland's interests. Whatever may be the argument for the Bill, no one has ever said that it is because the Scottish Members of Parliament are not fulfilling their duty adequately.

Therefore, to this effective and efficient body of 71 elected representatives, we are now to add a further 150 elected representatives. They will, of course, be elected to the Assembly. They will not cover all the work which the Members of Parliament cover, but only part of it. Therefore, we get a curious situation where the powers which are devolved—and only the powers which are devolved—go from 71 elected representatives to 150 elected representatives. That leaves the powers which are not devolved—and only the powers which are not devolved—to be looked after by the 71 Members of Parliament who are, at present, as I have said, in some respects over-representative. So we are producing a new Assembly in which twice as many people do half the work. Those MPs who remain have half the work that they had before. So we end up by having 221 people doing the work which 71 did previously. I fail to see the logic of that.

Of course, it may be said that it is necessary to have such a big Assembly because by the time we have a number of different Parties represented—and certainly if the Amendment which we have just passed as regards proportional representation is carried into the Bill we shall have more Parties represented—and by the time we have taken out the Members of the Executive from the governing Party, there will be no Back-Benchers left on the governing Party's Benches.

The proposed size of the Assembly in the Bill, therefore, prompts the question: how many Executives do the Government visualise having in the Assembly? There may be a Cabinet or a Scottish Executive of possibly eight or nine Scottish Secretaries and I would hope that the noble and learned Lord would be able to explain this when he comes to defend the proposals in the Bill. Those eight or nine Scottish Secretaries may have Assistant Secretaries. Therefore, one could quite easily reach the state of having 19 or 20 Members of the governing Party who are, in fact. Members of the Executive. However, at present, all Scottish affairs are looked after by one Secretary of State, two Ministers of State and three Under-Secretaries—a total of six Ministers. Therefore, I wonder whether those 19 or 20 Scottish Executives are really necessary to do only part of the work which six Ministers did previously. Presumably, they would be additional to the six Ministers who are in the United Kingdom Parliament.

Of course, it may be that the Government will visualise reducing the influence of Scotland in the United Kingdom Administration by reducing the number of Ministers. If that is their intention, perhaps we could know it, because it may well be that the Government would prefer to have not six Scottish Ministers in the United Kingdom Parliament, but perhaps only two. Even if they had only two, that would give a total of somewhere around 22 Ministers of one kind or another to do the work at present done by six. Therefore, one gets the curious situation that, at present, there are six Ministers out of 71 Members of Parliament. In order effectively to devolve, the Government say that we must have Scottish Secretaries as well. In order for the Scottish Secretaries to carry out their job effectively, they must have Assistant Secretaries; in order for there to he enough people in the Scottish Assembly from whom to fill all these posts you must have an Assembly of 150 people—more than Kilbrandon ever envisaged.

I remember going to a play once called At the Drop of Another Hat by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann and in it there was a nice little song called "The Gasman Cometh" in which there was the line, "It all makes work for the working man to do"; one rather wonders whether there is not a bit of that in this. It does not necessarily mean that it will be more efficient or more effective. As my noble friend Lord Morris said, it will certainly mean more bureaucracy and not less, more expense. not less. It will not necessarily be more effective or give more satisfaction.

If we look around the world, we find that almost every other subordinate legislature does with fewer people than is proposed in the Bill. Scotland has a population of about five million people and the Assembly is proposed for 150 members. In Canada, in the State of Ontario, there are not five million but nearly eight million people and they have a legislature not of 150 but of 117. In Quebec, with a population of six million, they have an Assembly of 108 people. In all the other provincial legislatures in Canada they have between 42 and 75 members. If one looks at Australia, in New South Wales, with a population of 4.6 million (nearly five million), they have only 96 members. In Victoria, with a population of 3.5 million, they have 73. In all the other provincial legislatures in Australia, there are between 35 and 82 members in each. In Bavaria, which is the largest of the subordinate legislatures in West Germany and which has a population of nearly 11 million, which is twice that of Scotland, they have 204 members, which is the equivalent of about 100 members for five million people. On the basis of what other subordinate legislatures throughout the world are doing, 100 members would seem about the right number; on the basis of Kilbrandon, 100 members would seem about the right number.

If I may draw the Committee's attention to paragraph 789 of the Royal Commission report, we read: The Northern Ireland House of Commons had 52 members. This number was acknowledged to be too small". It goes on later to say, On the other hand a regional Assembly very much larger than this would be unwieldy". This Assembly is three times the size of that mentioned in the Kilbrandon Report. The report then goes on to say, The precise number of members needed would depend on the extent of the devolved functions, the geographical area covered and the method of working, but we think that something of the order of 100 would be about right". The Government's proposals are based solely on doubling the present number of seats held by Scottish Members of Parliament, not on any real assessment—atleast to date—of the appropriate size of the Assembly.

I would ask the Government to look again most seriously at the size of the Assembly for these reasons: first, the precedents in the other parts of the world to which I have referred; secondly, the people to be represented; thirdly, the work already done by Members of Parliament who will continue to do their work in the House of Commons; fourthly, on the basis of cost; fifthly, on the basis of the Royal Commission report. On all these counts, one would have thought that the Government, to put it delicately, had slightly over-egged the pudding.

I hope that the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, even if he defends the present system, will nevertheless not close his ears to these suggestions and many others which other noble Lords may care to make. These are supposed to be helpful Amendments. They are not in any way motivated by Party political instincts. It is merely an attempt to try to get the Bill, if it is put into operation, as right and sensible as possible. At the moment I, for one, think that the Assembly is far too large.

9.14 p.m.


As I understand it, by passing the Amendment relating to a proportional voting system which we did, we appear to be agreeing in principle to the figure of 150, because the subject matter of the debate was a system which would involve 100 directly elected Members with 50 Members topping up that 100 in order to produce a proportional result. I want to support Amendments Nos. 8, 11 and 12 because—as the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, has said—they reduce the numbers of directly-elected Members to about 100. However, later I want to add the 50 topping up Members. Therefore, for completely different reasons from those put forward by the noble Earl, I want to support the Amendment which he will propose. Because I want to do that, I wish to oppose Amendment No. 7, which is now before us, which would prevent that possibility.

The Earl of SELKIRK

I should explain that I moved this Amendment only for the purpose of inquiry. I have no intention whatever of pressing it.


I wonder whether it would assist your Lordships if we could have a statement from the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, of exactly which constituencies would have the three initial Members; that is, how many would be involved, having over 125 per cent. of the electorate? It would be helpful if the noble and learned Lord could tell us that. As I understand it, in round figures 125 per cent. would give a quota of 65,000—those being the constituencies entitled to have three initial Members. As a starting point, that at any rate is a pretty low level of membership per constituency.

At present I think that one of the smallest constituencies is Orkney and Shetland which has an electorate of 26,000; it is almost as small as the constituency which the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, used to represent. However, that seems to be a fairly small number. The one difficulty on which I have no doubt the noble and learned Lord will comment, relating to these Amendments with which I am associated for the same reason as the noble Lord has just explained, is that there is a sharp jump from one initial Member to two initial Members, which is rather steeper than the jump from two initial Members to three initial Members. That would give a good many constituencies with a very small number of voters per Member—admitting that under the Amendment there will be two initial Members for each area more than 110 per cent. of the electoral quota. It would be very helpful if the noble and learned Lord could so to speak draw a picture here, putting in the buildings and giving a complete structure of the constituencies, so that we can see exactly how this would affect the map of Scotland. It is not easy to do, but I have no doubt that he can paint such a picture.


Before we leave either the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Selkirk or the point in general, I should like to raise one matter which very much concerns me. It relates to the size of the Assembly and the number of Members per constituency. I am most concerned with the cumulative effect of departing from the principle of one Member per constituency. Quite obviously, constituencies are very large in area in the North and West of Scotland in particular, but have fewer electors than some of the constituencies in the industrial and central belts. The discrepancies in Scotland run from over 90,000 in the case of Midlothian down to 22,000-plus in the case of the Western Isles.

It is the disparity of representation between one constituency and another to which I wish to draw attention. If we have very large constituencies with three Members and smaller ones with two Members—and I believe that 31 of the constituencies will fall below the electoral quota—I see a serious risk of a cumulative under-representation of the interests of the rural and remoter areas of Scotland.


Would it not be better if the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, dealt with the probing Amendment tabled by the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, so that we could go on to discuss the Amendment put down by the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, which we wish to support while at the same time criticising some of his reasons?

The Earl of SELKIRK

I am perfectly ready to withdraw my Amendment if that will help the Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.20 p.m.

Earl FERRERS moved Amendment No. 8: Page 1, line 13, leave out ("three") and insert ("two").

The noble Earl said: As I have already burdened your Lordships with the principle of what was behind my Amendment, I beg to move that Amendment No. 8 be approved.


I think the old-fashioned phrase was that it was infra dig to talk about cash. However, how much is it going to cost if we have all these Members in the Assembly? I was looking at Clause 31 where it says: There shall be paid to members of the Assembly, Scottish Secretaries and assistants to Scottish Secretaries such salaries and allowances as the Assembly may from time to time determine". We know that nobody comes cheap nowadays. If we are going to have the vast numbers that the Bill suggests will exist, I should like someone to hazard a guess as to what the remuneration is going to be, so that we can see what sort of charges are going to be put on the legislation we are now passing. I remember the time in England when you sat on a local council and did precisely the same work that councillors do today and you did not get any money for it. You did not want it; it was part of a service. Now the payment put in the form of allowances is a very expensive item indeed.


May I interrupt my noble friend? I hesitate to do so, but it is in order to keep our procedure correct. I moved the Amendment, but I do not think that the Amendment was actually put.


Amendment proposed, page 1, line 13, leave out "three" and insert "two".


My argument remains as it was when I first made it. It is all very well to talk of high principle and of how desirable things are in theory, but when it comes down to cost one finds later on that that is a very important part of the decisions that are taken. Apart from the points made by my noble friend, the potential cost of having such numbers in the Assembly as are now envisaged ought to be taken into account. I should have thought, in anticipation of what is almost certain to happen once you start setting out what your own remuneration is going to be, that it would be very wise indeed to keep the figure at the lowest possible level, otherwise the Chancellor will not be able to balance his books.


I shall not detain the Committee for long. On the question of costs, and on the question of large numbers in this Assembly, of course we entirely agree with the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, that the lower you keep the cost and the fewer people you have about, within reason, is right and proper. The reason we are supporting the Amendment is because we consider it more important to have the fair system which we think PR will give us. Therefore the 50 additional Members will make a big difference to the standing of the Government in Scotland.

The Scots are not rash, impulsive, free-spending people—or at least we are only that when compared with Englishmen. When we get an Assembly, I know that the first thing that the Assembly will look at is the worst expense we have had in recent years in Scotland; the enormous increase in the cost of local government due to the reorganisation recently carried out. There is no question that with the Assembly, the regions, and the districts we in Scotland will be very much over-governed. But do not think for one moment that the Scottish Assembly, which will not be composed of mutts, will put up with this for very long. I confidently expect that a Scottish Assembly will save a great deal of money in administration. Certainly if they find they are too large themselves, under the provisions of later Amendments they will cut the Assembly down to size. In order to be fair, to give an impression of fairness in Scotland and to make the Assembly acceptable, I think that we will support the Amendment if it is tied to the extra 50 Members which will make PR work.


It is a pity that the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, is this side of the Border, because he is displaying admirable qualities that would make him very suitable to be a Member of the Assembly. As I understand his reference to Clause 31, it would seem to imply that you decide how much money you are going to allocate for the salaries of the Assembly. You then decide how much should be paid per Member. You divide one by the other. That determines the number that should be chosen—the number of constituencies. It is rather ingenious but 1 doubt whether it would work.

9.26 p.m.


It might save time if I were to get to my feet at this stage, particularly because I am about to be drowned in a sea of bits of paper which are floating in my direction in answer to the many questions that I have been asked.

First, dealing with the request made by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, to give the Committee some information, one must of course look at the electorate as it is on the day when the electoral quota falls to be assessed. Based on the 1977 register, there would be five constituencies. The 100 per cent. figure is of the order of 53,337. I say "of the order" because a lot depends on whether or not you include Peers. If you do not, it becomes 53,336! The 125 per cent. figure is of the order of 64,000. The five constituencies are Dumbartonshire East, Kilbride East, Midlothian, Renfrewshire West and West Lothian. I might just mention that the largest of these is Midlothian, with an electorate at the present time of 96,254.

The smallest constituencies are both Orkney and Shetland which together have 27,748 in the 1977 register. But I think that Glasgow Central, which is smaller still, has 21,011 in the 1977 register. So there are quite considerable disparities between Glasgow Central on the one hand and Midlothian on the other.

I have already indicated that the Government would not claim that there was a right size for the Assembly. The figures quoted from the Kilbrandon Report, and indeed from the report of the noble Lord, Lord Home, some years ago upon a different kind of Assembly, indicate that there are obviously different views. One can quote many international examples. The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, quoted some. In a sense, I could play the same game and quote others which would tend to support the Government's figures. The noble Earl mentioned New South Wales. In fact, New South Wales has two chambers at State level, with a total of 159 representatives, for a population which is rather smaller than that of Scotland. So, looked at more closely, perhaps that is not so good an example as he suggested.

The reasoning behind the formula in the Bill is this: first of all, Assembly constituencies should be based on Parliamentary constituencies. Any other system, it is thought, would be impracticable. Secondly, because Members of Parliament are, in the Government's view, to some extent overburdened with constituency work, it would be desirable if each Member represented fewer voters than do Members of Parliament. Thirdly, it was thought that there should be some weighting arrangement to try, at least to some extent, to reduce disparities in the size of electorates. Of course, having given you the figures, you will see the enormous disparities that exist.

The 25 per cent. above-average figure—this deals with the point raised by the noble Earl in his previous Amendment, which he withdrew—and entitlement to a third Member, is justified because it represents a figure at which, in straight arithmetical logic, that area would become entitled to an additional Member. Therefore, if 100 gives two, 125 ought to give two and a half. So one becomes entitled, on that basis, to three Members. No comparable reduction should be made for constituencies which are substantially below the average because some at least—although it does not apply to them all, particularly to Glasgow Central—tend to be large and remote areas.

In the Government's view, an Assembly of the size produced by the Amendments would be too small to carry out its new responsibilities. If one compares the size of the Assembly proposed under the Bill with the size of the regional councils in Scotland—and I have in mind particularly Strathclyde, which was set up under the local government legislation and which has 103 members to carry out the local authority duties—it is hardly surprising that the Assembly, with its nationwide responsibilities, should have rather more members.

One of the principles underlying the Government's proposals is the intention to bring Government in Scotland closer to the people affected by Government, and that is why the Government propose that Assembly Members should represent fewer constituents than do Members of Parliament. Under these Amendments, 41 Members of the Scottish Assembly would each represent one whole Parliamentary constituency, and the Government's intention of making each Assembly Member responsible to a smaller number of constituents than is a Member of Parliament, so as to forge more direct links with the electorate, would be lost.

The question of cost has been raised by a number of noble Lords. The Government do not accept that the Assembly should be smaller simply to save a modest sum of money. The Assembly will have an important job to do and will be responsible for a very large budget, and while of course it is important not to spend public money unnecessarily, it is surely equally important to ensure that the Assembly is adequately equipped to fulfil its role. The noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, referred to Clause 31(1) which provides, as he said: There shall be paid to members of the Assembly … such salaries and allowances as the Assembly may from time to time determine". If he had looked at subsection (6) of that clause he would have seen that it says: Payments under this section shall be made out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund". I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Mackie of Benshie, is right to say that money will not be thrown away to all who want it; that fund will have many people making claims on it and the electorate will judge very harshly indeed if the members of the Assembly are seen or seem to pay themselves unduly out of the fund which is available to cover all the matters which are devolved and which have to be paid for out of the fund.

As to the number of Executive Members, a subject to which the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, referred, that is a matter for the First Secretary to decide, and again the same principles apply as a political restraint on the First Secretary; he must choose the numbers and of course he will be scrutinised very carefully by his colleagues and the Opposition in the Assembly in relation to that matter. Of course, until one knows how much the Members of the Assembly are to be paid it is impossible to assess what the cost is likely to be. As to the question of the number of Ministers, of course that is a matter for the Prime Minister of the day to determine in the light of the circumstances.


The noble and learned Lord will be aware, of course, that it is laid down in Acts of Parliament within what limits the Prime Minister can operate.


I am obliged to the noble Lord for making that point, but at the end of the day the Prime Minister of the day can decide whether or not to fill all the offices which are available to him under the legislation, and no doubt in the light of the existing circumstances he would consider whether he needs the number of Ministers who at the present time are thought to be necessary. I would say in relation to the number of Ministers at the present time that many people feel that the Ministers in Scotland are overburdened because of the range of their responsibilities.

I am asked whether the Government will reconsider this matter and I can say, Yes. I can say that not for any other reason perhaps than this. Having regard to the fact that this Committee has moved into the Bill an Amendment on proportional representation, which seems to involve the number of 150 and to some extent affects all these provisions in the Bill, the Government must obviously reconsider their position on that particular matter, and in that context I think the Committee will understand that they should look at this matter at the same time. I hope noble Lords will accept that. All the arguments will of course be studied and perhaps the matter could be left there for the present.


I am sorry I absented myself for a moment or two earlier. What the noble and learned Lord said may he very reasonable, but what I want to be clear about is exactly where we are going. We have carried an Amendment relating to proportional representation and that was very much on the basis that there would be 100 elected Members and 50 additional Members. At least that was my understanding of the debate.

My noble friend Lord Ferrers has now made a proposal the effect of which would be to reduce the elected Members from 150 to 100, and that would leave it open to the Liberal Party to say consequentially that there should be at some later stage 50 additional Members. Of course I realise that the Government have to think out their position, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, has said. I hope that my noble friend Lord Ferrers will agree with me here. I have not had the time to discuss the point with him at any length.

I do not want it to be said that we have created deliberately a nonsense as a result of this Committee stage. I am wondering whether the reasonable course may be to accept the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Ferrers, without prejudice to the Government's reconsideration. We could then discuss, and if need he pass, the Liberal Amendment, which would then be consequential to what had already been done. If the Government want to come to us with an alternative scheme, or to revert to their old position, if they think they can carry it, that may be more sensible than simply allowing to remain in the Bill an Amendment relating to proportional representation which would become nonsensical, if we either retain the status quo as regards 150 elected Members, or carry the full range of my noble friend's Amendments. I am anxious that we should be, roughly speaking, sensible at each stage of the Bill. I do not know what the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, thinks about this.


I entirely accept what the noble and learned Lord says. Whether one likes or does not like what will be in the Bill at the end of the day, it ought to make as much sense as it can when it reaches us again at the Report stage. I think that in the circumstances it would not be unreasonable if, prefacing the matter, as the noble and learned Lord suggested, without prejudice to the Government's ultimate position, I were to say that the Government would not resist the Amendments. Then the Bill would at least make more sense when we come to reconsider it, and we can all reconsider our positions and hope that we can make progress.


I understood the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, to say that the more Members there were of the Assembly, the nearer the Assembly would be brought to the people, but I have suffered under Strathclyde. I have a place in the Western Highlands, and I find that Strathclyde is crawling with officials. Certainly it has not brought the people nearer to local government; it has taken them much further away. All that has happened is that the rates have been trebled since that reorganisation. What worries me is that the additional Members for the Assembly rather appear to be in Labour areas. If we are to have 150 Members, I should prefer to see more Members in rural areas. From the point of view of transportation, for instance, presumably more Members would be needed in an area like Argyll than in a small area in Glasgow. I am surprised to see that the additional Members are to come from urban areas. I do not think that this ought to be based entirely on population. My grandfather was the Member for Argyll for a long time and he had the largest geographical constituency in Scotland. He managed all right with one Member—himself.

If we are to have extra Members, for Heaven's sake! let us have them in rural areas where they can cover the ground more evenly. I do not say that I smell a rat, but it seems rather odd that the additional Members for the Assembly are to be mainly in Labour areas. I do not wish to impugn any motive for that; I merely wish to make the point.

9.40 p.m.


Whether the Minister smells rats or follows red herrings, I would ask him to take note of the fact, when talking about the number of the electorate in relation to the number of Members, that if the number of the electorate remains constant and you increase the number of Members you have altered the value of the vote. In my submission—I am speaking entirely for myself—what is fundamental is the value of the vote. In terms of democracy and means of communication, there is no case whatsoever for increasing the value of a rural vote at the expense of an urban vote. I am not asking the Committee to make up its mind: what I am asking for is information.

The Minister has told us that the Government must reconsider their position in the light of the Amendment which the Committee has chosen to accept, and that he is going to go back and do the sums afresh. I would not ask him to put his civil servants to a great deal of trouble to work out the value on a hypothetical basis, but would he be good enough, either when he comes to your Lordships' House to report the results of his reconsideration or at some other appropriate moment, to tell us between what extremes the value of the vote is going to vary in the light of whatever proposition is going to be advanced? Because, may I submit to the Liberal Party, you can get a totally different result if there is in fact even a modest variation in the value of the vote. I do not want to go back to what I said earlier on, but any noble Lord who cares to take the trouble to examine the statistics which are available in the Boundary Commission reports in relation to the 1945 Election and the 1950 Election will appreciate exactly what I mean.

So far as I am personally concerned, I am standing on the Churchillian doctrine that the basis of British democracy ought to be one vote and one value; and if there is a variation of that then at least the Committee, if it accepts it, ought to know within what tolerance that variation will take place.


Perhaps I may say shortly in reply that all the suggestions and observations which have been made, whatever their animal connections, will be taken into account in the Government's reconsideration.


I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, for stating the position and for saying that he will agree to the six Amendments I am to move being incorporated into the Bill on the quite clear understanding that it will give the Government the opportunity to think again in the light of the Amendment which was accepted earlier on.

[Amendment No. 9 not moved.]

Lord DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 10: Page 1, line 13, after ("initial") insert ("constituency").

The noble Lord said: I can assure your Lordships that I have changed my locality, and not my Party, and that only temporarily. I beg to move Amendment No. 10, which is consequential on previous Amendments. It is the same as Amendment No 5.

Earl FERRERS moved Amendment No. 11: Page 1, line 14, leave out ("125") and insert ("110").

The noble Earl said: This is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move.

Earl FERRERS moved Amendment No. 12: Page 1, line 16, leave out ("two initial members") and insert ("one initial member").

The noble Earl said: This Amendment, too, is consequential. I would have wished to move it formally, but I think my noble friend Lord Lyell wishes to ask a question of the Minister and, therefore, it will not be quite so formal. I beg to move.


Perhaps the noble and learned Lord will be able to enlighten me. He mentioned figures earlier about the difference between 125 per cent. and 110 per cent. He mentioned a figure for 125 per cent. of the average electorate in Scotland. Now I not only smell a rat, but I think I have found one. My calculations did not match with what he said. If the figure that the noble and learned Lord had given was taken according to the list of electorates and constituencies that I have, I think it would make a difference of four or five seats over the Government calculations. I wonder whether the noble and learned Lord—not necessarily tonight—could verify the figure that he has given?


I shall certainly seek to do so. I have a large piece of paper with many complicated calculations on it. They are not my calculations. My noble friend now offers me another large piece of paper covered with calculations, including some in a fair hand; but perhaps I shall take advantage of the noble Lord's invitation, check for myself and give an answer on another occasion. We shall certainly have another occasion, for there are many Amendments consequential on Amendment No. 8.

[Amendment No. 13 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 14 not moved.]

9.47 p.m.

Lord KENNET moved Amendment No. 226: Page 2, line 1, at beginning insert ("Subject to section 80(3) below,").

The noble Lord said: With this Amendment we come to another area altogether. We are not here talking about the proportion of electors to elected persons in the Scottish Assembly, nor about the system by which they should be elected, nor about the relative roles the Parties might play in Scotland after devolution, but about the position of the Orkneys and Shetlands after the Bill is passed, assuming that it is passed in whatever form it comes through. The effect of my Amendment I believe to be—I am working without legal advice, and the Government will doubtless correct me if I am wrong—the following.

Clause 80(3) is to over-ride, according to the Amendment, the provision by which Orkney and Shetland have one initial Member each. The purpose of that in my mind—and I hope I am right—is that if in the referendum Orkney and Shetland declare that they are against the application of the Act which we shall have passed—that is to say, against devolution for Scotland—it will not apply to them. That is provided for in Clause 80(3), the Grimond Amendment from the House of Commons.

The purpose of my paving Amendment is if that happens they should not then have their one initial Member each in the Scottish Assembly. Clause 80(3) says that if they vote "No" in the referendum then there will be a kind of interregnum or pause during which a Commission of Inquiry, starting from the beginning, will inquire what ought to happen next. I think the assumption is that it will be tabula rasa and the Commission will be allowed to recommend what it thinks fit about the future of the communities of Orkney and Shetland. The effect of my Amendment would be to leave that future open but to bar off one way only; namely, that they should be represented in the Scottish Assembly. It will leave them open to he represented at Westminster as they are now.

Why do I propose this? It is for the following reason. The Bill, as we have it before us, does leave us with the awkward situation whereby a number of Scottish MPs at Westminster will be able to affect by their voices and votes, English, Welsh and, indeed, at the moment Northern Irish legislation on health, education, housing and all the other subjects which appear as devolved subjects in Schedules 11 and 12 to the Bill. The argument of the Government in the House of Commons (where the issue was fully discussed) was that although this was untidy and, indeed, unjustifiable in strict democratic logic, yet it was the worst of many evils because the only alternative to it was to have the system of so-called "in and out" voting. That is to say, that there should he Scottish Members in Westminster after the passage of the Act who would have their full voice and vote in United Kingdom legislation, and especially in defence, foreign policy and all the other reserved subjects under Schedules 11 and 12 to the Bill before us, but that it would be insufferable by reason of the complication thereof if they had to abstain on all discussions of health, education, housing and the other devolved subjects as they affected the rest of the United Kingdom and, notably, England.

The Government said that one could not have the Speaker ruling debate by debate, Division by Division and even intervention by intervention, in the House of Commons whether or not the subject of that intervention or vote was devolved, it being supposed that if it were devolved then the Scottish Member would not have a right to a say in it, and if it were reserved, then he would have a right to have a say in it; and it would simply be too complicated to settle such a matter vote by vote in the House of Commons.

Let us pause and look at that for a moment. Schedules 11 and 12 taken together, which say what is reserved, what is conditionally reserved, what is concurrently reserved and what is not reserved at all and therefore fully devolved, runs to some 24 pages. Somebody has to interpret those 24 pages on a strategic scale before any measure is introduced either into the Westminster Parliament or into the Scottish Assembly after the Bill is taken through Parliament. If we accept the Government's contention that it is possible to decide into which Legislature a given measure should be introduced or, look at it another way, what measures would be susceptible of introduction into one Legislature or the other, and if we then further accept that, although that is possible, it is impossible for the Speaker to rule on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis in the House about a given intervention on what is reserved, we see that the situation, though conceivable, is going to be extremely difficult.

The Government's main argument against "in and out" voting (which of course would abolish the difficulty) is that it was tried by Gladstone in the case of the Irish Members of the House of Commons. It was abandoned because it was too complicated. I would only say at this stage, since I am straying somewhat wide from the subject of my own Amendment (though I shall come back to it in a minute) that the precedent was long ago, and the result of adopting the course taken by Gladstone—that is, of allowing the Stormont Members since 1921 to have a say in the English legislation and not vice versa—has not been entirely reassuring when one considers the reproduction of the experiment on another and larger scale in the case of Scotland, though I know of course that Scotland is not a divided community like Ulster.

The conclusion that I draw from all that is that the system by which the Scottish Members in Westminster have a say in English legislation, and the English Members have no say in legislation on the very same matter in Edinburgh, is going to be a doubtful, dangerous but possibly a manageable one. Should we then, in view of its doubtfulness and dangerousness, willingly contemplate the reproduction of the system in miniature in Edinburgh? Without this Amendment that is precisely what we should do. We shall have two Orkney and Shetland Members in Edinburgh who, because Orkney and Shetland will have voted against the devolution Bill altogether—the application of the Act to Orkney and Shetland—will not be affected by it. We shall have these two people with a voice and a vote on Scottish devolved issues. But the Scottish Members—the other 123, or whatever the figure is, the majority of the Scottish Members—will have no voice or vote on legislation affecting Orkney and Shetland because they will be out under Clause 80(3). We shall therefore have a muddle in Westminster, which we may survive, and that will be duplicated on a smaller scale in Edinburgh, which they may or may not survive: who knows

I move this Amendment now in the hope of drawing the attention of the Committee to the fact that if you tolerate a "maxi-muddle" in Westminster, it has effects all down the line and raises the question: should we tolerate also a "mini-muddle" by the Orkney and Shetland Members having a voice and vote in matters which do not concern them in Edinburgh? I do not pretend to know what is right, either on the major or the minor issue, and the purpose of my Amendment is to draw attention to the undeniable fact that they go together. If we are to have the one, we have to take a decision as to whether we also have the other. Who knows whether or not there may be others down the line which will follow from it? I cannot see that far, but perhaps other noble Lords can. Do we want the muddle in Westminster with the muddle in Edinburgh? Do we want the muddle in Westminster without the muddle in Edinburgh? I put the point forward for solution in debate at this moment because it seems to be the right time to do so. I beg to move.

9.57 p.m.


I do not know whether this Amendment is technically necessary and therefore I must reserve my own views until the Minister has guided us. Subject to that, I am entirely in support of what is plainly the purpose of the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, in moving this Amendment. His purpose, plainly stated, is to avoid "a muddle ", as he put it, in Edinburgh, resulting from a reproduction in miniature of the same sort of possible confusion that is going to arise as between Westminster and Edinburgh. But I do not know, until the noble Lord has enlightened us, whether in fact, as the Bill now stands, this would arise.

Clause 80(3) makes provision in the event—I understand the quite likely event—of the vote in Orkney and Shetland being against participation in this measure, that the Act shall not apply to them. If the Act does not apply, presumably that non-application covers Clause 80(3) to which the noble Lord's Amendment applies. If the noble Lord on the Front Bench opposite can reassure me as to that, I shall be perfectly happy about it; but if there is any doubt at all perhaps the matter should be investigated further.


May I ask a question of the noble Lord before he replies? Would it not be more satisfactory to your Lordships for him to indicate at this stage what he proposes to do about Clause 80(3)? It seems to me that, as that clause now stands, there is going to be a terrible muddle anyway, and I should have thought that, either at this stage or at the next stage, he would have to put down an Amendment to Clause 80(3). If that Amendment were made, perhaps it might not be necessary to have this Amendment which is being proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Kennet.

Viscount THURSO

I do not think that it is really necessary to put in the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Kennet. It seems to me to be an "extra", because as the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, pointed out, Clause 80 does allow the Act not to apply, and if the Act does not apply then it does not apply at this point. However, I see no harm in including the Amendment because it merely dots the i and crosses the t.

What I hope is that, when and if the referendum under Clause 80 of this Bill is held, the people of Orkney and Shetland will see that their future lies with the Assembly in Edinburgh. If we make a good job of our Amendments in this Committee, and if we improve the Bill, we may send back to the other place a Bill to which the Orcadians and Shetlanders can agree, which should be our aim. But if they wish to opt out of this new arrangement and stay with the Westminster Parliament; I see no great difficulty in doing that, any more than there would be for the Isle of Man or the States of the Channel Islands, and so on, to come into association with the Parliament in Westminster. We on these Benches would certainly agree to leave in this Amendment, and would not oppose it, but I do not think that it is entirely necessary.


There is something more in this than just dotting the i's and crossing the t's. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, made it quite clear that his Amendment was to deal with the interregnum after the people of Orkney and Shetlands may opt out under a referendum. It is perfectly true, as the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, said, that if they do that Clause 80(3) will not apply. Subsection (3) states that "the Secretary of State shall lay … an order ". But the Secretary of State may take a long time to lay an order, and what will be the situation then?—because if the Bill goes through unamended there will be an initial Member for Orkney and another for Shetland. The people of Orkney and Shetland will, I hope, opt out under the referendum, and until an order is laid the Bill will apply. Perhaps he will correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I heard the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, say that there will be an interregnum, and there must be a pause, between the decision of the people of Orkney and Shetland and the laying of an order by the Secretary of State. That is what the Amendment is about. Perhaps the noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong.


No. I confirm that that was the point.

10.2 p.m.


I also confirm to the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that his interpretation of the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Kennet, as it applies to Clause 80(3), is indeed correct. I should also say to your Lordships, and particularly to my noble friend Lord Kennet, that the Government are impressed by the strength of feeling on this matter which has emanated from the Orkney and Shetland Islands; and that, following the decision taken in the other place, the Government accept that some special provisions relating to the Islands should find a place in the Bill.

But the Government see considerable problems arising from the approval of any order made under Clause 80(3). These have already been spelled out in some detail to the Islands' Councils, and were referred to in considerable detail in the other place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I think that the fact that I make this point is a confirmation that the Government are looking closely at Clause 80(3). The noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, directed my attention to that.

I think it is fair to say that the Government's intentions towards the Islands are entirely honourable, but the position is still very open and discussions with the councils continue. I might emphasise that it is only at this stage that we know that the Shetland Islands council, and only the Shetland Islands council, has taken a positive decision. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland hopes to visit the Islands, and continues to have discussions with them.

I do not think that I should say anything more in your Lordships' Committee this evening which might pre-empt what is a continuing dialogue, and I therefore think that these matters should be left just as they are at this time. I do not think that it would be useful for us to continue further on this point at this stage.


Before the noble Lord sits down, I do not know whether he can go a little further, because that would certainly determine my attitude to his noble friend's Amendment. He said that Clause 80(3) needs amendment. Looked at technically, I am trying to see reasons for agreeing with him. But can he say now, and give an assurance to the Committee, that any Amendment that the Government bring forward will preserve the essence of this subsection; that is to say, if the Islands vote by a majority not to come under the Assembly, the Government will so provide that they should not come under the Assembly?


No; at this stage I could not give an unequivocal assurance of that kind. It is part of a particular discussion which in the meantime continues. It would be wrong of me to go further than I have already gone at this time.


Would the noble Lord not agree that his refusal now to give an assurance is much more serious than his ever agreeable manner would allow one to suggest? He is always so plausible and kindly; we are always rather relaxed when he comes to the Box and takes us into his confidence. However, a very serious issue is at stake. In effect, what the noble Lord has said is this: If the Islands choose to stay out we, the Government, are not going to let them do so. That is what the noble Lord said and that is how it sounded. Of course, the noble Lord did not mean it to sound like that, because he is much too nice, much too smooth, much too agreeable, much too plausible and much too friendly; but that is how it sounded.


I think that the noble Earl is putting his own highly yet always interesting interpretation upon my remarks. I do not think that I went so far as the noble Earl suggested—certainly, I am convinced I did not. However, may I say this. All kinds of problems are attendant upon a decision of this kind, with both the Shetlands and the Orkneys saying, "We want nothing to do with the Assembly". Yet one must keep in mind that the honourable Member for the constituency does not take quite that point. He is on record as saying that he thinks that the Islands will have to work with the Assembly, and so much of their present position is totally related to the Edinburgh scene. These are the clear, practical politics of the situation. Having said that, one must then go on to say that a meaningful discussion is taking place. It would be wrong of me to go further because I do not want to prejudice these discussions.


I appreciate very much what the noble Lord has said and I know that he is trying to be helpful, as he always is. However, the sheer fact of this matter is that the Scottish National Party argument for independence is based on Scottish oil, two-thirds of which is Shetland oil. That is the heart of the matter and everybody knows it. The noble Lord is burking the issue.

I want to say only this: while we shall all give him the benefit of the doubt in anything he says, particularly with his smile, his courtesy, his urbane charm and the rest, still there are some of us who are very concerned indeed to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the matter. Before we leave the Amendment, I hope that we shall be satisfied that the Government are not waffling and fudging but are saying firmly that if Shetland or Orkney, either or both, want to opt out, they can, and will, and shall.


That is not the present Government's position. Therefore, I could not confirm that that is the Government's view.


Could the noble Lord help us in one way while we are discussing the Amendment. I understand and appreciate the problem which the noble Lord and his colleagues face over Shetland and Orkney. We are surprised, knowing the Minister's charm and that he is from Aberdeen, that Shetland and Orkney, which have very close links with Aberdeen, seem to be escaping. However, to be serious, it is very important that when we come to a later stage in the Bill we should know what are the Government's thoughts about these two Islands. It will be very awkward for us if we are told whenever we come to these hurdles that the Government are still thinking about this. I hope very much that decisions can be taken soon.


As the Committee knows, the noble Lord is a former Secretary of State for Scotland, and he recognises the demands which are placed upon that role. However, he will be aware, because it is on public record, that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State intends to visit the Islands. He has already met the Islands' Council and he hopes to visit the islands. Certainly he is continuing the dialogue. At this time I cannot go further than that.

10.9 p.m.


Would not the noble Lord go an inch further along the line?—although I know it is very difficult for him to do this. I remember being chastised by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for giving the impression of questioning the integrity of the Government. I am not doing that. The purpose of a Committee stage is to probe. Already we have had the experience of the Government changing the rules half way through the game. We had this experience on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. The point we were putting was perfectly sound. However, in another place the rules were changed, which completely altered the whole basis of the argument we were having.

The question posed by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter is quite clear. If the position is as he explained it, then he accepts the Government's position and there must be some Amendment; but he merely asked whether we could have some indication, if not an undertaking, that there is no question in the Government's mind of altering the rules should Orkney and Shetland decide not to join the Assembly, thus making it impossible for them to give effect to not wanting to join it. The noble Lord can speak about talks going on, but if it is that talks are going on in such a way that the threat of this sort of thing will cause Orkney and Shetland to make a decision they would not otherwise make, then I think it is the duty of your Lordships and indeed the other House to clarify the position.


All I can say to the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, at this point is, that if he would address his mind to the hypothetical proposition he has put to me he will see the enormous practical difficulties that would emerge were such a situation to develop.


Surely what my noble friend has stated to the Committee is that the Secretary of State is having discussions with the people in Orkney and Shetland. It is possible—I would not put it higher than that—that there may be agreement with these authorities about Amendments to the Bill which would meet their requirements. If that is the case then presumably we shall be told at the earliest opportunity the Amendments which the Government would propose. I hope that before we reach Clause 80 the Government may be in a position to say something about their intentions, and certainly by the Report stage of the Bill. I think the fears expressed that the Government may be seeking to "do the dirty" on Orkney and Shetland are quite unfounded because the remedy is in the hands of this House. If the Bill goes back to the Commons, in so far as Orkney and Shetland are concerned, in its present form, then the position of Orkney and Shetland is absolutely protected. If noble Lords opposite think that the Government are attempting to do Orkney and Shetland down they can guarantee by their very numbers that the Government will be frustrated, so there is nothing to fear in that direction.


I should like to say on behalf of my right honourable friend who is the Member for the two constituencies, and from my own discussions with the local officials, that what they feel in Shetland and in Orkney is that Clauses 3 and 80 give them protection at this moment, and they are satisfied that they are protected from their fears—and they have great fears as to what will happen in Scotland. If they come under the Scottish Assembly they fear that they will not occupy quite the special position that they do at the present time. I personally feel—and I think I can speak for my right honourable friend—that these fears are not justified, but he agrees that some special precautions and protection should be laid down.

I would ask the Government to endeavour to speed up the discussions. I do not think they should wait for any new bodies but should simply discuss with the present authorities and arrive at a conclusion fairly quickly. We might then get a tidy clause in the Bill which will satisfy the councils of both sets of Islands and enable the immense difficulties with regard to health, education, transport and everything else to be sorted out in a sensible way.

10.14 p.m.


I think a further assurance is needed from the Government at this stage because I think what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said admirably summed up the situation. We understand that the Government are having discussions particularly with the Shetland Islands Council, and I think we in this House are all agreed that the position should be protected. But at some point the Government will have to take action and will have to make some special arrangement for the Shetland Islands if the situation remains as it is in the Bill. There will be administrative arrangements to he made and I can quite understand that they will be difficult and complicated. The assurance which I seek is that the Government are not trying to force the Shetland Islanders to change their minds under duress, by saying that it is going to be much too difficult for St. Andrew's House and the civil servants to make the special arrangements, either during the interim period or later while they are working out with the Commission a new form of association.

I would just remind the Government that they are in this Bill proposing the greatest change in our constitutional affairs since 1707, and this, surely, is an appropriate moment for these two groups of Islands to be able to reconsider their own special position within the United Kingdom; they are not seeking to break away. For that they need a certain amount of time, and I congratulate them on taking a little time and not trying to do things very quickly, as many of us have been forced to do with this Bill. I do ask the Government to give that assurance, that they will not just go on talking and then, towards the end of June or July when this Bill is due to be considered again in another place, say: "We must make these Amendments because we have not put into train all the special arrangements which will be needed if Orkney and Shetland are to be kept in a special situation of their own".


I can only confirm yet again to the noble Lord, Lord Mackie of Benshie, that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State is in communication with, and has been discussing the position with, the present Island Councils. I can say to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, that the Government feel exactly as he does in the latter part of his comment; namely, that we cannot go too quickly in a matter of this kind. There is a question of judgment and balance, and the rights of the Island communities, as they see it, to a certain position; and the absolute difficulty which faces the Assembly and a new administration were they to opt out, and the consequential problems which flow from that kind of discussion. That is the present position.


Could the noble Lord make this little addition: Could he not assure the Committee that the Government in their consultations—and the word "consultations" can mean a whole range of things—will not try to twist the arm of Orkney and Shetland?


The Government are behaving with the highest standard of moral probity in the matter.


What worries me is not what the Government say or what the Government do; what worries me is what the Government do not do. If later on, in six months' time, a Minister wanted to find a justification for doing nothing, the scene has been well set by what the Minister has said. He has stressed all the difficulties: we must not hurry, we must not go quickly. I have heard that one before. Going quickly probably means there are two speeds, dead slow and stop. What I am concerned about is the simple issue. If the Government want to drag their feet—I am not saying they do—if the civil servants want to drag their feet, then, very good, Orkney and Shetland take their decision, and then the Minister shall lay an order. It does not say when he shall lay the order.

When the Minister is questioned in another place in a year he can draw attention to what the Minister has said tonight about these insuperable difficulties; he can say the House was warned of the difficulties, that "we are struggling, working 116 hours a week to overcome these difficulties and we will overcome them as soon as we can". In the meantime nothing happens. And, of course, if the Government were not altogether playing fair, they could go to Shetland and say: "Be very careful. You may fall between two stools. You may opt out of the Assembly and you will not be back in Westminster because the order has not been laid".

There we are, Orkney and Shetland becoming more and more dissatisfied. I am not saying that that is what the Government intend—far from it; but what I am saying is that they could dispel all fears. All the Minister has to do is to say, "If Orkney and Shetland opt out the order will be laid with the least possible delay"—not immediately, but with the least possible delay—"All the difficulties they now foresee will go, and the order will be laid at the earliest possible moment". If he will say that, I shall be satisfied.


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State is at this present period arranging further meetings with the Island Councils. It may be that subsequent to these meetings Amendments will be laid before your Lordships' House. Beyond that point I cannot comment this evening.


May I say that, coming from the very far north in Scotland, much farther north than most noble Lords who have spoken, I know Orkney and Shetland. Anybody who thinks that they can twist the arm of Orkney, or particularly Shetland, will find it rather difficult. It does not happen that way. The only thing I fear is that if we go on talking they will opt back for joining up with Norway, and that would be a great loss to Scotland.


They have, of course, a tremendous administrative bond with the Edinburgh situation at the present time.


I think I am right in saying that the particular subsection to which we are referring—Clause 80(3)—has not yet been debated at all in Parliament. Am I not right in saying that? Can the noble Lord give us any assurance that when we come to this matter at the Committee stage he will be able to say something about it—even only an interim statement? It does not seem to me that the Bill is satisfactory in its present state. We are trying to find out what Amendment he is going to make to it and when. We quite understand the delay, but will he be able to do anything about it during the Committee stage?


I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, will not think me unnecessarily pert if I say that I certainly shall be able to say something during the Committee stage, but quite what, I am not able to say at this time.

10.22 p.m.


This debate has been well worth while as a pre-run for the debate which I confidently expect the Committee will have on Clause 80(3). I picked out the following points from this most interesting and, to me, unexpected debate. First, my noble friend said that there might be difficulty in approval of any order made under Clause 80(3), by which I assume he meant difficulty in approval by the Westminster Parliament of any order which might be laid by the Secretary of State. I wondered what kind of order would run into difficulties in Westminster, given the existence of Clause 80(3)—the Grimond Amendment coming to us from the Commons—and given the evident feeling of this House about the rights of the Orcadians and Shetlanders to settle their own future. What kind of order might run into difficulty?


I suppose that the noble Lord appreciates in saying that, that so far as this Committee is concerned, under Clause 80(4) what this Committee does, does not really matter, because the House of Commons can override us in 10 days.


That applies to almost anything else this House does. However, we have legislation before us and I shall come to that in a moment. The other matter that I picked up from the debate was the statement by my noble friend that the Secretary of State was having discussions with the Councils of the two authorities up there; that he intended to visit the Islands; tliat the discussions were meaningful and that he could not say, and could not be induced to say, anything about the Amendments which the Government might or might not propose to Clause 80 at the time when we come to discuss the matter, either in Committee or on Report. I also picked up the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, that if the Secretary of State for Scotland were now to come to an agreement with the local authorities of the counties of Shetland and Orkney, then it might be possible to introduce an Amendment to the Bill in this House, on the basis of an agreement between the Secretary of State for Scotland and the local authorities of the Islands. I do not think so.

What is before your Lordships now is a stipulation about a referendum under which the people of the Islands will, to put it shortly, have the right to settle their own fates. I believe that I am right in saying that the people of those Islands did not elect their local councils on any given plan one way or the other, about going with the devolved Scotland or staying with the unitary United Kingdom. If I am right about that, then it would, of course, be quite wrong for the Government to frame any Amendment to the Bill now before us on the basis of an agreement struck between themselves and the local authority.

Having said all that and leaving now the dress rehearsal for the debate that will clearly be a crucial one on Clause 80 when we reach it, my Amendment is not an Amendment to Clause 80—it neither confirms Clause 80 nor changes it nor denies it. It has nothing to say on Clause 80. It simply subjects the existence of one or two initial Orkney and Shetland Members at Edinburgh to the operation of Clause 80.

It was pointed out by the first speakers in the debate, the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, and speakers from the Liberal Benches, that if Clause 80 is left as it is and the Government are wise enough not to amend it, and if the people of Orkney and Shetland choose to opt out, then this is a Bill which does not apply to Orkney and Shetland. That is the case to which I ask your Lordships to address your minds. We have before us a Bill which does not apply to Orkney and Shetland. What kind of an Act do we wish that Bill to be? Do we wish it to be an Act which lays specific rights and duties on Orkney and Shetland or an Act which does not mention Orkney and Shetland in the section dealing with specific rights and duties? Unless we adopt the Amendment we risk having before us an Act of Parliament which does not apply to Orkney and Shetland but which specifies that Orkney and Shetland shall send one Member each to the Edinburgh Assembly.

That is a nonsense, and I think that given that Clause 80 has no Amendments down affecting it, either from the Government or from anyone else, and since in Committee we must consider the Bill as a whole and the interaction of one part upon another, it would be safer now to carry the Amendment which I have moved in order to make the Bill one which could logically not apply if in the referendum Orkney and Shetland decide it should not.

10.27 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 226) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 62; Not-Contents, 46.

Aberdeen and Temair, M. Auckland, L. Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Abinger, L. Avebury, L. Belstead, L.
Airedale, L. Aylestone, L. Blake, L.
Aldenham, L. Balerno, L. Boothby, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Ballantrae, L. Brookeborough, V.
Amory, V. Banks, L. Burton, L.
Ampthill, L. Barrington, V. Byers, L.
Caithness, E. Hornsby-Smith, B. Platt, L.
Camoys, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Polwarth, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Hughes, L. Rathcreedan, L.
Carr of Hadley, L. Hylton, L. Rhodes, L.
Cathcart, E. Hylton-Foster, B. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Chelwood, L. Jacobson, L. Rochdale, V.
Chesham, L. Jacques, L. Rochester, L.
Chitnis, L. Kemsley, V. Romney, E.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Kennet, L. St. Davids, V.
Collison, L. Kilbrandon, L. [Teller. St. Just, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Killearn, L. Seear, B.
Cork and Orrery, E. Kilmany, L. Segal, L.
Cottlesloe, L. Kinloss, Ly. Selkirk, E.
Craigmyle, L. Kinross, L. Sempill, Ly.
Croft, L. Lauderdale, E. Shackleton, L.
Cromartie, E. Lindsey and Abington, E. Sherfield, L.
Cudlipp, L. Linlithgow, M. Shinwell, L.
de Clifford, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Simon, V.
Digby, L. Loudoun, C. Sligo, M.
Drumalbyn, L. [Teller.] Luke, L. Snow, L.
Dundee, E. Lyell, L. Somers, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. McCarthy, L. Stamp, L.
Elton, L. McGregor of Durris, L. Strathclyde, L.
Falkland, V. Mackie of Benshie, L. Strathspey, L.
Foot, L. Macloed of Borve, B. Stuart of Findhorn, V.
Gage, V. McNair, L. Swaythling, L.
Gaitskell, B. Mancroft, L. Tanlaw, L.
Garrer, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Gladwyn, L. Merrivale, L. Terrington, L.
Glendevon, L. Middleton, L. Teviot, L.
Glenkinglas, L. Mills, V. Thurso, V.
Granville of Eye, L. Minto, E. Trefgarne, L.
Gray, L. Monk Bretton, L. Vickers, B.
Grey, E. Mottistone, L. Vivian, L.
Gridley, L. Moyne, L. Wade, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Netherthorpe, L. Walston, L.
Newall, L. Ward of North Tyneside, B.
Halsbury, E. Northchurch, B. Wardington, L.
Hamnett, L. Ogmore, L. Westbury, L.
Hampden, V. O'Hagan, L. Willis, L.
Hampton, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Hanworth, V. Onslow, E. Wilson of Radcliffe, L.
Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Orr-Ewing, L. Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Hives, L. Oxfuird, V. Windlesham, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Perth, E. Younger of Leckie, V.
Alanbrooke, V. Greenway, L. Parry, L.
Bacon, B. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Peart, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Birk, B. Hale, L. Pender, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Harmar-Nicholls, L. Phillips, B.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Harris of Greenwich, L. Redmayne, L.
Brockway, L. Henderson, L. Spens, L.
Castle, L. Janner, L. Stedman, B.
Champion, L. Kaldor, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Crooke, L. Kirkhill, L. Stone, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Leatherland, L. Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]
Denham, L. Lee of Newton, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. [Teller.] Thorneycroft, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Torphichen, L.
Ellenborough, L. Long, V. Tranmire, L.
Elles, B. McCluskey, L. Tweeddale, M.
Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.) Macleod of Fuinary, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Ferrers, E. Margadale, L. White, B.
Fisher of Camden, L. Monck, V. Wigg, L.
Fortescue, E. Monson, L. Winterbottom, L.
Fulton, L. Morris, L. Wolverton, L.
Gardiner, L. Northfield, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Goronwy-Roberts, L. Oram, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Abinger, L. Hylton, L. Rochdale, V.
Amherst of Hackney, L. Kemsley, V. Romney, E.
Banks, L. Kennet, L. [Teller] St. Just, L.
Belstead, L. Killearn, L. Selkirk, E.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Kinross, L. Sempill, Ly.
Burton, L. Lauderdale, E. Shackleton, L.
Cathcart, E. Linlithgow, M. Snow, L.
Craigavon, V. Lyell, L. Strathspey, L.
Craigmyle, L. Mackie of Benshie, L. Stuart of Findhorn, V.
de Clifford, L. Masham of Ilton, B. Swansea, L.
Digby, L. Merrivale, L. Swinfen, L.
Ellenborough, L. Middleton, L. Tanlaw, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Minto, E. Thurso, V. [Teller]
Faithfull, B. Monk Bretton, L. Torphichen, L.
Falmouth, V. Monson, L. Tweeddale, M.
Fortescue, E. Morris, L. Wardington, L.
Fulton, L. Mottistone, L. Westbury, L.
Gray, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L. Wigg, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Oxfuird, V. Windlesham, L.
Hives, L. Polwarth, L.
Balerno, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Pearl, L. (L. Privy Seal)
Birk, B. Gregson, L. Perth, E.
Boston of Faversham, L. Hewlett, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Brockway, L. Jacobson, L. Stedman, B.
Castle, L. Kirkhill, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Champion, L. Lee of Newton, L. Stone, L.
Collison, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.[Teller] Strabolgi, L. [Teller]
Crook, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Cudlipp, L. Lockwood, B. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Lovell-Davis, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. McCluskey, L. Walston, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor) McGregor of Durris, L. White, B.
Fisher of Camden, L. Morris of Kenwood, L. Wilson of Radcliffe, L.
Gaitskell, B. Murray of Gravesend, L. Winterbottom, L.
Gardiner, L. Noel-Baker, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
George-Brown, L. Parry, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Baroness STEDMAN

I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.