HL Deb 09 May 1985 vol 463 cc815-51

House again in Committee.

Schedule 8 [Miscellaneous functions]:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Glenarthur) moved Amendment No. 76: Page 126, line 17, at end insert ("and in section 22(1) and (2) of that Act for the words "the Council" there shall be substituted the words "a borough council or the Common Council".").

The noble Lord said: This is a technical amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Glenarthur moved Amendment No. 76A: Page 127, leave out lines 40 to 48.

The noble Lord said: These amendments are necessary simply to take account of the passage of my noble friend Lord Newall's Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill. That Bill, among other things, repeals the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 1971, which is dealt with by paragraph 6(2) of Schedule 8 to the Local Government Bill. Paragraph 6(2) may therefore be omitted and that is the effect of Amendment No. 76A. Amendment No. 76B is consequential. Amendment No. 76B: Page 128, line 1, leave out ("references to the Greater London Council include references") and insert ("the reference to the Greater London Council includes a reference"). I beg to move.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

Did the noble Lord say that these amendments are consequential on the passing of a previous Bill? I am just wondering why they are needed now. Was there an oversight earlier? What has happened to cause them to be brought into the Bill at this moment, rather than originally?

Lord Glenarthur

As I understand it, the Bill has passed. It is my noble friend Lord Newall's Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

When did that pass?

Lord Glenarthur

I think that it has just passed. I cannot give the noble Lord an exact date, but it has passed and that is why it is necessary to effect this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Glenarthur moved Amendment No. 76B:

[Printed above.]

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Drumalbyn had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 77: Page 132, line 26, leave out paragraph 15

The noble Lord said: I beg—

Lord Skelmersdale

Before my noble friend gets too far with this amendment, may I point out that this is an alternative to the amendments which were accepted earlier this afternoon and, therefore, it would not sit happily with them on the subject of trading standards. Therefore, with the greatest respect, I would advise him not to move it.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

May I simply say that we on this side of the Committee saw the position in exactly the same way. If the Minister had been less helpful, and if the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, had not been satisfied with the reply, then, quite clearly, Amendment No. 77 was an alternative way of making progress in the matter. We shall read very carefully what the Minister has said, but there is another stage when we can, if necessary, return to this matter.

Lord Drumalbyn

I thank the noble Lord. In that case, I shall not move the amendment. But I reserve the right to come back at a subsequent stage.

[Amendment No. 77 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Aylestone)

Amendments Nos. 78 to 80 are consequential on the other one.

Lord Drumablyn moved Amendment Nos. 78 to 80:

[Printed earlier: col. 793.]

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Drumalbyn had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 81:

[Printed earlier: col. 793.]

The noble Lord said: My noble friend has kindly said that he will look at this point. Therefore I shall not move the amendment and will come back to it at a later stage.

[Amendment No. 81 not moved.]

Lord Drumalbyn moved Amendment No. 82:

[Printed earlier: col. 793.]

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

Lord Elton

We spoke to this earlier. I said to my noble friend that the drafting was defective but that if he would be kind enough to withdraw it now we would see if we could produce an agreed text for the next stage.

Lord Drumalbyn

I am much obliged to my noble friend, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Skelmersdale moved Amendment No. 83: Page 134, line 3, at end insert—


20A. In section 5 of the Weeds Act 1959 after the word "county", in both places where it occurs, there shall be inserted the words "or metropolitan district".").

The noble Lord said: This is a minor and technical amendment to the Weeds Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Graham of Edmonton moved Amendment No. 83A: Page 134, line 5, leave out paragraph 21 and insert— (" . The Secretary of State shall by order taking effect on the abolition date make provision for the transfer to the appropriate residuary body of all records and archives held by the Greater London Council and each metropolitan county council before the abolition date.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment in effect deals with the transfer to the appropriate residuary body of all records and archives held by the Greater London Council and by each metropolitan county council before the abolition date. I am aware that in earlier discussions there has been some scepticism about the role of the residuary bodies in the future. Later clauses in the Bill deal very fully with the role of the residuary bodies. It is one of the problems of the order of the Bill that what noble Lords opposite are seeking to do is to ensure a better arrangement for the future of very important services. We on this side of the Committee certainly consider that the archives are very important indeed.

The Greater London Record Office was set up in April 1965, when the long-established record offices of the London County Council and the MCCs were united. At first the two collections had to be maintained separately, but they were eventually brought together at County Hall, until the steady growth in the holding of records made it necessary to find other accommodation. It is of significance that the GLC record office is the largest local record office in England. The holdings are extensive. I have in my notes a statistic that surprised and impressed all noble Lords when it was used by the noble Lord, Lord Plummer, in the debate on an earlier amendment. It is that there are more than 13 miles of shelves, which contain very important records and documents.

The official records, the records of the GLC and its predecessors—for example, of the Justices of the Peace for Middlesex, the Metropolitan Board of Works and the School Board for London—date back not to the last century, or even to the one before that, but to the 16th century. Many of the predecessor authorities were notable pioneers. Such is the reputation of the office that it has attracted more than 5,000 acquisitions by gift or loan from corporate bodies and private individuals, including several Members of the House of Lords who entrust their archives to the GLC so that they can be freely and safely available for study and preserved for future generations.

There are also large holdings of public records from coroners' courts, magistrates' courts, hospitals and regional health authorities, which are administered on behalf of central government under the Public Records Act.

I have said a word or two about the importance of the archives which in this amendment are the subject of discussion as to where their future lies in respect of the GLC. But of course the Committee is aware that the metropolitan counties, certainly separately but in no way in a diminished sense, have their own archives about which they are very concerned. The new metropolitan county councils were established in 1974 and they provided then an opportunity to begin to improve the provision of archive services. Since 1974 some progress has been made in all the metropolitan counties, but development has been very uneven. County archive services have been established and are being developed in five of the metropolitan counties.

A great deal more can be said on this subject but the amendment is moved so that the Minister can at this early stage inform us about the future of the archive services. There are other amendments in the Marshalled List and there will be other opportunities for us to return to the matters later. I beg to move.

Lord Beloff

As the noble Lord, Lord Graham, has said, there are a number of amendments on the subject of archives, including Amendment No. 130 which stands in my name: Amendment No. 130: After Clause 39, insert the following new clause:

("County archives

. It shall be the function of the county archive service authorities to retain the unity of the county archives and to maintain them in being for the use of public authorities and where appropriate the general public.").

There is also an earlier amendment, Amendment No. 121, relating to the same subject, which was to come after Clause 27: Amendment No. 121: After Clause 27, insert the following new clause:

("County archive service authorities

.—(1) On the appointed day there shall be established for each metropolitan county a body corporate to be known by the name of that county with the addition of the words "county archive service authority".

(2) Each county archive service authority shall consist of one member of each of the constituent district councils appointed by that council and of one member appointed by the county police, fire and transport authorities.").

I think it will be generally agreed on all sides of the Committee that this is a single problem and that we might as well ventilate it.

Lord Elton

If my noble friend will forgive me, for the clarity of the record, I think he has three amendments down, Amendments Nos. 121, 121ZA and 130, of which the first two are after Clause 27 and the latter after Clause 39. I want to get it clear so that we know when we get to subsequent amendments whether or not they have been spoken to. I take it that the noble Lord will be speaking to all three. Amendment 121ZA: After Clause 27, insert the following new clause:

("Greater London Record Office and History Library.

. On the appointed day all persons employed within the Greater London Record Office and History Library shall in accordance with an order under section 50(5) of this Act be transferred into the employment of the successor authority.").

Lord Beloff

That is quite correct. This is only trying to follow the Government's precepts about economy; not taking the new Marshalled List as it comes in order to save money and paper. I do apologise. Nevertheless, I was aware of the content, though not of the placing of the other amendment. As I said, I think it is generally agreed that the whole subject of archives ought to be discussed together because different ways of approaching this subject have occurred to different noble Lords. Some of us have been in contact and some of us have acted independently.

I think it is reasonable to begin by saying that I have considerable hopes of the noble Lord the Minister. As he is a historian himself and, if he will forgive my saying so, the son of an even more eminent historian, he must have a natural sympathy with historians. Although it is true, as the noble Lord, Lord Graham, has said, that the archives have current and practical uses, my purpose is to emphasise the natural concerns of the historical profession which have been voiced by the Royal Historical Society, the Historical Association, the Society of Archivists, and I understand also—and I regret this matter is being raised on an evening when my noble friend Lord Blake is not with us—the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

9 p.m.

I believe that they would all agree with the thrust of the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Graham, that the important part about archives is their continuity; the continuity of the arrangements made for their preservation, for consultation, and—increasingly with the amount of new material that is added every year to archives, as the noble Lord has said—for modern methods of cataloguing and storing, micro-filming, retrieval operations and so on. It is a large and complex subject.

It varies in the nature of the archives we are concerned with tonight—those of the GLC, on the one hand, and of the metropolitan counties, on the other. The records of local government in London for centuries relate to smaller units than the units at present covered by the GLC or previously even covered by the LCC. Most relate to earlier authorities covering in some cases what are now suburbs or parts of the metropolis at some time having an independent existence as manors or boroughs, and so on.

It has been natural and reasonable to concentrate on that arrangement. The question now before us is this: is a particular authority required or—as I understand is the Government's intention—should the oldest of the bodies (namely, the Common Council of the City of London) be the appropriate authority to look after the archives in general, provided that adequate arrangements are made for the financing of the operation? Obviously this responsibility would be far beyond the normal resources of the Common Council. In particular—and I believe this is the purport of one of the amendments to which the noble Lord referred—can one be assured that the highly skilled staff to which reference has already been made are as far as possible employed and continue in their posts? As anyone who has run even the smallest archive or library will be aware, this is a field above all in which any break in continuity can be very damaging.

With regard to the metropolitan counties, there appears to be—and I speak with no expertise on any of them—a considerable difference in the nature of their holdings and consequently, perhaps, in the nature of the arrangements which require to be made. If one takes, for instance, the metropolitan county of Yorkshire, which is the inheritor among other things of the old West Riding, one finds there historical records of great antiquity and importance. It is understandable that among the representations which noble Lords have received from archivists and others, those from West Yorkshire have been in the forefront.

On the other hand, it is of course true that other metropolitan counties—for instance, the West Midlands—have no such central core: this coming together of authorities whose historical existence and historical records are disparate. There is nothing which gives the same unity as the historical West Riding of Yorkshire. Again, I understand that in Tyne and Wear the long and historical importance of its principal city makes a difference compared with some of the others. So there is a wide variety.

The real question is this: are the arrangements which the Government are proposing for the centralisation to be maintained through the co-operative efforts of district councils (as the inheritors of these powers) sufficient; or is some ministerial intervention required to ensure that they do co-operate and, in particular, give the necessary financial support to whichever district is selected as the appropriate holder? Presumably this will normally be the district covering the current county record office. In the case of West Yorkshire, it is Wakefield. It is important that the arrangements for West Yorkshire should make certain that district authorities considerably larger and wealthier than Wakefield contribute.

The purpose of the amendment I put down, which is a probing amendment, was to suggest that one way might be to take the model for some of the other powers which it has been agreed must be run centrally, such as to the police and the fire service, and to which we seem to have added one or two other powers. Clearly I do not believe that a residuary authority, for the reasons I gave in relation to another amendment, would be appropriate. On the other hand, the Government may have their reasons for thinking that the degree of co-operation which is necessary, and which all admit to be necessary, can be assured without the compulsory powers.

There is a particular difficulty in respect of archives, as in respect of one or two other powers of local government which we are discussing in this Bill, in that the governing legislation appears to be permissive rather than compulsory. As I understand it, it is not the duty of a local authority to have and maintain archives but it is a power that they have. Therefore the language that is now introduced into the Bill would obviously have to take some account of this legal position.

On the other hand, the question has a certain advantage; namely, that in some cases we have been talking about vast sums of money so that a great deal of difference is made by how the money is raised and by whom it is spent. Even the best run archives—all of them that I know—are run with considerable efficiency and it is not a very costly operation. Therefore, it should be possible to find a measure of agreement which would reassure—and I think this is what we mainly have in mind—both those who use these archives for the purposes of historical research and those who are concerned that they are kept fully up to date because of their relevance to the far wider range of services which modern local government provides.

I hope that explains both the amendments to which I have put my name, and the general way in which I think members of the historical profession approach this subject.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I want to pay tribute to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, not least because it came from someone who has been a devoted supporter of the Government throughout the passage of this Bill but also because it came from someone with outstanding professional expertise in this area. I believe that it would be wise for the Government to pay due attention to what the noble Lord has said. Certainly I have no capacity or capability to add to the points that he made.

But there is one general point which arises from his speech, which is that it appears as we go through the clauses of this Bill that whenever there is an issue on which Members of your Lordships' Committee have particular expertise, they appear to oppose the Government; they appear to question the arrangements being made for the disposition of the powers of the metropolitan counties and the Greater London Council. It seems to me that the evidence is accumulating that the expertise we have in this Committee should be a measure of warning to the Government that this is not a Bill, like some, where there is a stupid Bill with a sensible Bill inside screaming to get out. This is a Bill where there is no sensible Bill inside.

There is a whole series of stop-gap and hasty (despite the 18 month gestation) measures to defend and to maintain the indefensible. It is on that basis that it seems to me the lengthy Committee stage here shows not that this Committee is disposed to oppose the Government on principle—I myself believe we ought not to oppose an elected House on principle—but that it is our duty, time after time, as we deal with these matters where there is expertise here, to take advantage of it. I believe that the Government should listen and bend as appropriate.

Lord Elton

Perhaps I may rise in support of our acceptance of the technical amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Drumalbyn, which we have just accepted.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

I ask the Committee to accept my apology for not being present when the opening speeches were made.

I want to make only a very brief intervention. I hope it will not be thought that I am in the habit of opposing the Government; but I must say that Amendment No. 121 really must be more or less right. I note it is supported by the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, who has considerable expertise and interest in these matters, and traditionally takes a somewhat objective view, although he speaks from the opposite Benches. I note also that it is supported by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton.

I am no historian, but I have a great personal interest in history, in books and in tradition. The county is the natural area for the keeping of archives. Counties have a pride in their regional traditions and in their history. Similar considerations—not exactly the same, but similar—apply to Amendment No. 121ZA. As I see it, this in no way conflicts with the principle of the Bill. Nobody, surely, could have fought harder to uphold the principles of the Bill than I have sought to do, but I really do not see that this does do that.

With reference to the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, I shall not repeat anything contentious, but I would object to it for the reasons that I gave in discussing Amendments No. 72B and 72C, which were withdrawn. To some degree that objection spills over to the amendment of my noble friend Lord Kaberry. I am worried about the offload of functions on to these residuary bodies. But this is not that. This, in no way, impugns the principle of the Bill. It is a sensible derogation of a cultural nature to preserve our heritage. I hope that the Government will consider this a reasoned and even perhaps reasonable contribution.

9.15 p.m.

Lord McGregor of Durris

I do not wish to take up time by traversing the ground already covered by the noble Lords, Lord Graham and Lord Beloff. I should, however, like to say a few sentences in support of the principle contained in Amendment No. 121ZA. The noble Lord, Lord Beloff, stressed the importance of history. It would be an impertinence to address the noble Lord the Minister on the subject. It is nevertheless worthwhile repeating what Sir Keith Joseph said last year about the importance of an element of national, not nationalistic, history being an inescapable part of any balanced school history course if pupils are to understand how shared values have been developed in their own society.

It is very important, and no doubt the fashionable view, that children should know about distant continents. It is also extremely important that they should make such forays from a basis of sure knowledge about their own society. It is very important indeed that they should be able to start their historical inquiries in their own neighbourhoods and in the cities in which they live. In that sense local archives are an essential foundation for historical study. We disturb them or impoverish them at our peril.

In the case of the record office of the GLC, to which this amendment refers, we are talking about a national record that has an international reputation. This is a record office to which anyone who is concerned with English material is likely to come at some stage of his historical career. We have been told by the noble Lords, Lord Graham and Lord Beloff, of the very large bodies of material that it contains already and that are constantly flowing into it. The utility of the archive is to a very large extent a function of the quality and professional skills of the staff who man it.

The staff of the London record office is small—some 32 people. I have no financial material on which to judge how economical this is, as compared with other collections. But it strikes me—I have used it from time to time—as being very thriftily manned. Certainly, it is manned by people whose command of the sources that they are making available is superb. To pass this archive over to another authority without its staff will be greatly to diminish its usefulness and to impoverish its value for historical study.

I hope very much that the noble Lord the Minister, who I am certain will have great sympathy for this point of view, is willing to consider a procedure under which the archive as a whole may retain its value, and that means retaining its present staff when it is transferred.

Baroness Lockwood

For all the reasons which have been expressed by a number of noble Lords, I should like to underline the importance of keeping the archive services together. Although my name does not appear on the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, he and I were instrumental in bringing together representatives of the archive profession from the metropolitan counties and I want to support the amendment that he has moved. The framework which the noble Lord outlined is largely that which is operating in West Yorkshire at the moment. However, I would point out to your Lordships that it took eight years for the West Yorkshire metropolitan county to bring the districts together in order to establish a joint service between the metropolitan county and the district councils, and then only four of the districts joined in the scheme. It was not until 1983 that they all participated.

One of the problems of the service being dispersed would be finance. It so happens that the whole of the capital budget for the archive service in West Yorkshire is paid by the county council, plus 50 per cent. of the running costs. One of the reasons why the representatives of the archive services in the metropolitan counties were so keen to bring in the archives of the other bodies which the Government are proposing to set up, such as the police and the fire service, was to continue the comprehensive nature of the archive resources within the county areas. A second reason was so that a contribution can be made from those bodies which will enable the shortfall to which previously the metropolitan counties have been contributing to be made up.

I support the amendment for all sorts of reasons, particularly historical reasons and because of the accessibility of the service. Since it became much more comprehensive all kinds of innovations have been introduced in order to bring it closer to individuals who are interested in history and in the archives and to institutions. For all those reasons, as well as for the economy of scale of the operation, I hope that the Minister will respond favourably to the debate.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes

I know that technically we are dealing with Amendment No. 83A, but we have been discussing many other points at the same time. I think that it is very important that the archives should be kept in a comprehensive whole somewhere, but I do not see any reason why that has to be in the residuary body, and I hope that the Minister can advise us of another solution.

The point about the wholesale transfer of staff sounds attractive and I hope it might work out that way, but I do not think it would be correct to write that into the Bill. Until the detail of where the archives are going is resolved one has no way of knowing what staff already in post would be able to carry out the work. So at this stage I do not think that I would support a wholesale transfer of staff. That staff element must be looked at with all other staff elements.

I have always been fascinated by archives. I should be very interested to know whether the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has had any different experience in his time there; but, as a member of the Greater London Council, I never had any sight or sound of them there. I have never been told how one can see them. The recent library there was closed down a few years ago from the point of view of members. Thus I have always found it a most mysterious place. I have seen more archives and learnt more history in places like Cornwall, where the local archivist took one and showed one the local archives, and cared about it. I have always been very disappointed that the archives in the Greater London Council did not seem to be as accessible as the noble Baroness, Lady Lockwood, has mentioned.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Will the noble Baroness give way?

Baroness Gardner of Parkes

Yes, I will give way.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am sorry to hear of the difficulties that the noble Baroness has had. Of course, it was an all-party agreement on the Greater London Council which led to the saving of the archives from the threat of flooding, as it was a few years ago, and the establishment of a new record office away from County Hall. This has never been a party political matter. Access to the archives has always been available to members of the council and to the public, as the noble Lord, Lord McGregor, has made clear. The noble Baroness should avail herself of the opportunity while it is still there.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes

I thank the noble Lord for that point. I certainly am fascinated. For example, when the records office was moved, many of us were never informed why, or where, it was going, though I suppose it is possible that that happened during the brief period while I was not a member. It was really that obscure; it simply vanished. However, I think there is no encouragement to members of the public to go to see the archives. There is encouragement to historians, yes; that point has been made. There is encouragement to serious students if they make an application, but there has never been to my knowledge any encouragement to the general public to go.

However, turning to my original point, I am very interested in archives. I am very interested in the history of the metropolis of London. I think it is most important that these archives should be kept intact somewhere, and I hope that we shall have a satisfactory answer on that point.

Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge

I am passionately addicted to the preservation of archives. Like I think most noble Lords who have spoken, I think it is frightfully important. I shall not develop that point. However, what I am not clear about is this. Let us take the GLC case for a start. One amendment suggests the residuary body. It has been suggested that it should go to the City of London records office, which I understand already has two of its own. Then the third amendment suggests that in relation to the shires—and this could equally be done in relation to London—a special body should be set up to look after it. Whichever of these solutions is chosen, what evidence is there, what satisfaction can we get, that at least to begin with, they will be given as much money as they are receiving now? This is not very expensive but one cannot do it properly without spending a great deal. From my association with the Institute of Recorded Sound I know that if you ever let it go without proper regulation, it takes four of five years and thousands of pounds to put it into order again.

I see nothing in the Bill to suggest that the Government could not pass it to perhaps the City of London, who are not particularly interested in it because they have their own. No adequate arrangements will be made for the staff to be properly paid and properly looked after or for the documents and whatever other items there are to be properly preserved. That is what I want to know about. I do not know whether the noble Lord the Minister can make this clear, but without that we shall be getting nothing.

Lord Elton

I shall take up the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, on one matter. The fact that anybody has archives does not make him not interested in having more; it makes him acutely interested in having more. At least, that is my experience. Looking at my papers before me, the Committee will realise that I would be the world's worst archivist and I am not quite sure where I shall come out of this debate.

We had a rather longer list of amendments to discuss because the noble Lord, Lord Kaberry of Adel, had some amendments down which he is not now proposing to move. Therefore I wonder whether I may first summarise by saying that the first amendment, which is in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Evans of Claughton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, and which was ably spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Graham, and which is the amendment to which technically we are all speaking, transfers this function or responsibility to the residuary bodies.

The first amendment of my noble friend Lord Beloff would create a body corporate for that purpose. The second amendment of my noble friend Lord Beloff would accept the agreed transfer of the archives of the GLC, the GLRO, to the City of London, for whom I suggest there is an affinity because they already have an archive. The last amendment of my noble friend Lord Beloff seeks to make it a duty on those who have the care of archives to maintain what I shall call their "coherence".

I must begin my remarks by saying that it is not necessary to bear in upon me the importance of archives. I am a very insignificant historian and an unpublished one, and I do not make any virtue therefore of my historical past although I have been steeped in history at university and subsequently, and have done my own little researches. My father was enough to convince me that archives are of the essence of history and a very necessary part of the heritage of this country, and indeed the heritage of the localities from which they were collected.

If there was any doubt in my mind as to the efficiency of archivists as a profession and their versatility, it has been dispelled by my postbag. The number of letters that I have received not merely from archivists but from people who have been inspired to write to me by archivists, acting on their own initiative without any of the rather expensive lobbying that I suspect has gone on behind other movements to alter the Bill, does them enormous credit; and that credit is due.

9.30 p.m.

There is no difference between anyone who has put down amendments on the Marshalled List and the Government as to the importance of archives or the desirability of keeping them together. There are incidental shortcomings in some of the amendments and I rather think from the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Graham, moved his first amendment that he regards it somewhat as a probing amendment, and I regard this as a probing debate.

If I have it right, the effect of the first amendment is to strike out of the Bill at page 134, paragraph 21 of Schedule 8. That paragraph contains the whole of the archive function. The drawback of his amendment—which I am glad he confirms is a probing amendment—is that it only puts part of it hack. Therefore, there would be a vacuum because it would transfer to the successor body—in this case I think the residuary body—the power to have, hold and maintain the archive. However, it would deprive it—because it has not put it back in again—of the power to service, make use of or indeed add to the archive. I merely mention in passing and in no critical sense that if the noble Lord wishes to proceed on those lines, his amendment would have to be expanded to embrace the functions which it omits.

On the subject of criticisms of amendments, I also welcome the remarks of my noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes on staffing as regards Amendment No. 121 ZA, in which my noble friend Lord Beloff asks that the staff of the GLRO should pass in toto, as it were, to the City. My noble friend is right to draw your attention to the fact that, first, we shall be dealing with the transfer of staff as a subject—a whole subject—later in the Bill; and, secondly, that it is not a part of the Government's business to tell a successor body that it must take on staff in exactly the same way as they are now employed. The successor body—the City—must be able to—I do not wish to use the word "recruit" misleadingly—take people on the strength in a way that is in conformity with the people that it already employs. The differences may not be major but I understand that from the employer's point of view it is a reasonable thing to do.

Your Lordships wish that the archives will be transferred intact, that they will be serviced, that scholars will have access to them, and that the collection of archives can continue. The point I want to make is that the powers to do this exist in the Bill, but that I think that your Lordships would wish me to be rather more precise than the lettering of the Bill, as it were, allows one to be if one relies simply upon the text.

The intention now is that if possible there shall be a voluntary scheme. I am sure that that is best. If there is not a voluntary scheme then the intention is that the archives shall be transferred to the residuary body, as indeed the noble Lord, Lord Graham, intended; that the staff shall, for the time being also, be with the residuary body; and that the residuary body shall have a duty to find a permanent home for the archives and the staff before the expiry of five years.

What I want to say that is new is that hitherto we have regarded the residuary body in this capacity as being something of a passive body. But in view of your Lordships' concern, and ours, that this shall come to a successful conclusion, we intend that it shall act as a catalyst and that the residuary body shall actively seek to promote a co-operative scheme in the area within the five years.

That is the basis of what I want to leave in your Lordships' minds. I shall read with care what your Lordships have said on the various amendments, and no doubt your Lordships will wish to read what I have said; and we may return to this at the next stage. If, as I understand, these are probing amendments, that seems the proper way to proceed.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

If I may be so presumptuous as to respond, the noble Lord is quite right. Earlier advice was that the amendment I moved would be taken on the same line, and those noble Lords who have spoken have taken the opportunity of speaking directly to amendments with which they are associated. I liked the spirit of the response of the Minister. Whatever defects and faults there are in the proposals which have been made, there is a common thread that we are not satisfied that the wording and intent of the Bill as they affect archives will meet what everyone, including the Minister, wants, which is the maintenance of the maximum benefit of a service which everyone recognises needs to be kept in as great a unity as possible.

The Minister gave me heart, not least in his intervention to my noble friend Lord McIntosh, where he alluded quite fairly to what one might call the "Drumalbyn solution". The response was, in effect, to agree substantially with the sense of what was being said. But would the Minister be allowed a little time to have a closer look, and in the light of what has been said perhaps come back with a change?

I think that the general sense here is not that boroughs and districts will not be willing to try. There is a doubt, of course, as to whether they will be willing to try, because we have the experience over the last 20 years in Greater London where since 1965 the London boroughs have had the power to create their own archivist services but only 11 have done so. That is not in question in many parts of the metropolitan authorities. The noble Lord, Lord Beloff, from a knowledge far deeper than mine, knows the problem; and he mentioned Tyneside. Tyne and Wear is well known to me, and there the metropolitan authority is the archivist for the five districts within it. Then we have other instances in Greater Manchester and Merseyside, where there are blemishes.

It would be a tragedy if the new home for what we treasure in effect means a break up. The Minister has pointed out what he wanted and what we wanted, which is accessibility, service and continuity. I am certainly impressed by the willingness of the Minister to take on board our unease. Solutions have been put forward. The Minister told us that if all else fails—that is, in the absence of a voluntary agreement—there is always the residuary body. I was heartened by the fact that he saw the residuary body in this context—I make no wider point—as being a catalyst, and that it would have the job of promoting and encouraging. That is something which we thought might be lost in the way in which the Bill would be interpreted. Thus we are heartened there.

The noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, and my noble friend Lord McIntosh suggested that the substantial alternative was for it to go to joint bodies and to the City. One cannot say that that would be a disaster, but it would be far short of what we already have. We are trying to hold on in some organisational form to what we already have. I am happy and willing to withdraw the amendment. I know that talks are continuing, as my noble friend Lady Lockwood has said, to try to achieve satisfactory arrangements with the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, and others.

I have here a letter written from the county record office in Sheffield from the Society of Archivists. I hope the Minister will allow me to quote from it so as to put into the record the point that, professional societies, informed learned societies, historians and other users of archives are seriously concerned by the proposal in the Bill to grant separate archive powers to each metropolitan district council". I was interested because the letter continued: However, as we discussed with you, [the Minister] the Bill contains no provision to require or promote this co-operation". We could not anticipate, until the Minister said so five minutes ago, that he believes that there is a role for the residuary body to do exactly that. So we are making progress. I am happy to withdraw my amendment. Clearly no one is committed to do other than carefully read what the Minister said, consult those outside the House and perhaps come back to the matter at a latter stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Kaberry of Adel had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 84: Page 135, line 10, at end insert

("Reserve powers of the Secretary of State as to archives and records in Greater London and metropolitan counties

.—(1) Where the Secretary of State is not satisfied in the case of Greater London or a metropolitan county that all the local authorities in that area have made joint arrangements for the exercise of such of their functions under the provisions referred to in paragraph 21 of this Schedule as are necessary to secure the control, preservation, management, development and public accessibility of any collection of archives or records which relates to that area or other areas he may make an order under this paragraph.

(2) An order under this paragraph may transfer to the appropriate residuary body such functions of the local authorities in question under that paragraph as the Secretary of State considers necessary to enable him to secure the control, preservation, management, development and public accessibility of that collection.

(3) Before exercising any function transferred to him under this paragraph, the Secretary of State shall consult any local authority appearing to him to be likely to be affected.

(4) The Secretary of State shall revoke an order made under this paragraph in relation to a collection or archives or records in Greater London or a metropolitan county if at any time he is satisfied that all the local authorities in that area have made joint arrangements for the exercise of such of their functions under the provisions referred to in paragraph 21 of this Schedule as are necessary to secure the preservation, management, development and public accessibility of the system.

(5) An order under this paragraph may contain such supplementary and transitional provisions as the Secretary of State thinks necessary or expedient, including provisions for the transfer of property, staff, rights and liabilities and provisions amending any enactment or any instrument made under any enactment.")

Baroness Hornsby-Smith

My noble friend Lord Kaberry, who has been called away from the Committee, has authorised me on his behalf to withdraw his amendment.

[Amendment No. 84 not moved.]

Schedule 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16 [Functions under local statutory provisions]:

Viscount Buckmaster had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 85:

Page 12, line 7, at end insert— ("( ) Prior to the implementation of this section, there shall be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State a report on the implications for people of ethnic minority origin of the abolition of the Greater London Council and the Metropolitan County Councils with particular reference to—

  1. (a) the implementation of policies to promote equal opportunities for such ethnic minorities as fall within the ambit of the Race Relations Act 1976 and to increase the range and level of opportunities open to such minorities;
  2. (b) the promotion for adoption by London Borough Councils, Metropolitan Districts and other bodies of equal opportunity policies and practices; and
  3. (c) the involvement of such minorities in consultation and participation processes.")

The noble Viscount said: The needs of the ethnic minorities will be pursued in a later amendment which is being tabled to Clause 47, and so I do not wish to move Amendment No. 85.

[Amendment No. 85 not moved.]

On Question, Whether Clause 16 shall stand part of the Bill?

Viscount Buckmaster

I realise that Clause 16 is a substantive clause and an essential part of the Bill. Nevertheless I feel I must express my concern, which I know is shared by many of the voluntary organisations, about the implications of this clause, which deals with the devolution of functions to the London boroughs and the metropolitan district councils.

I shall speak briefly. To take one example, I consider it is totally impractical to transfer to the London boroughs lock, stock and barrel the functions now exercised by the GLC on behalf of the ethnic minorities. My reason for saying this is that of the 32 London boroughs one-third are totally unconcerned about the ethnic minorities and half the London boroughs have made no provisions at all to implement the Race Relations Act 1976. Therefore although this matter will be considered in the context of a new amendment to be tabled under Clause 47, I feel that I must register my reservations, and I may revert to this matter at Report stage.

9.45 p.m.

Lord Glenarthur

The noble Viscount has raised points particularly concerning the ethnic minorities. If I may, I can respond briefly to what he says by saying rather less than I would have done had he moved his earlier amendment but nevertheless stressing to him that the Government already make a great deal of effort to encourage local authorities to adopt and implement equal opportunities and practices with particular reference to ethnic minorities. Last year, Ministers in the Home Office and at the Department of the Environment jointly chaired a well-attended conference of local authorities precisely for that purpose. In my own department's administration of Section 11 grants, we have required local authorities seeking grant-aid to assist the employment of staff to meet the special needs of minority communities to consult those communities before making application to us.

I am glad to say that many boroughs and districts already do a great deal—and I am sure that the noble Viscount would be aware of that—to help and support ethnic minority communities in their areas. All the boroughs and districts have general powers and these general powers can be applied for the benefit of ethnic minorities. I have to say to him that there is nothing unique about the GLC and the metropolitan county councils in that respect. I could go further and describe in some detail the sort of efforts the Government have been making—financial, under the urban programme, and by other kinds of projects. I hope that, with that, at least the noble Viscount will be aware that not only are we doing quite a lot but also we are prepared to encourage further still the local boroughs and councils to carry out precisely the sort of work which he hopes will be readily adopted by them.

Viscount Buckmaster

I thank the noble Lord the Minister for that reply. As I said earlier, there is an amendment which is being tabled to Clause 47 because it is a complex matter. Nevertheless, I am aware of the Government's concern.

Clause 16 agreed to.

Clause 17 agreed to.

Clause 18 [Elections]:

Lord Chelwood moved Amendment No. 86: Page 13, line 15, leave out from ("into") to ("and") in line 17 and insert ("twelve electoral divisions each returning the number of members specified in Part III of Schedule 9 to this Act").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 86 on the Marshalled List. I understand that it will be convenient (and I hope that I am right in saying so) for us to discuss at the same time Amendments Nos. 87 to 96. Although Amendments Nos. 90 to 96 come within Schedule 9, they are quite clearly explanatory and consequential. Amendment No. 87: Page 13, line 19, leave out from ("constituted") to (", but") in line 21 and insert ("by the Inner London boroughs except that the City of Westminster, the City of London and the Temples shall together comprise one electoral division").

Amendment No. 88: Page 13, line 24, at end insert— ("(4A) At any election of members for the Inner London Education Authority, the election shall be according to the principles of proportional representation, each elector having one transferable vote as defined in subsection (4B) of this section. (4B) The expression "transferable vote" means a vote—

  1. (a) capable of being given so as to indicate the voter's preference for the candidates in order: and
  2. (b) capable of being transferred to the next choice—
    1. (i) when the vote is not required to give a prior choice the necessary quota of votes, or
    2. (ii) when owing to the deficiency in the number of votes given for a prior choice, that choice is eliminated from the list of candidates.

(4C) Her Majesty may by Order in Council prescribe the rules in accordance with which elections shall be conducted and the method of voting and transferring and counting votes at those elections.").

Amendment No. 89: Page 13, line 30, at end insert ("; and Part III of that Schedule shall specify the number of members to be elected from each electoral division.").

Amendment No. 90: Schedule 9, page 138, line 15, leave out ("not less than forty-eight or more than").

Amendment No. 91: Page 138, line 18, leave out ("part or).

.4mendment No 92: Page 138, line 21, leave out ("lie wholly within") and insert ("comprise").

Amendment No. 93: Page 138, line 27, leave out from first ("be") to end of subsection (5) and insert ("such as to secure so far as practicable, that the ratio of the electorate of each division to the number of members to be returned for that division is the same in every division.").

Amendment No. 94: Page 138, leave out lines 29 to 37.

Amendment No. 95: Page 138, line 38, leave out paragraph 3.

Amendment No. 96: Page 139, line 8, at end insert—

"Part III Number of Members of Inner London Education Authority
Electoral Division Number of Members
Cities of London and Westminister and the Temples 5
Camden 5
Greenwich 5
Hackney 5
Hammersmith and Fulham 3
Islington 4
Kensington and Chelsea 3
Lambeth 6
Lewisham 6
Southwark 6
Tower Hamlets 4
Wandsworth 6".

Clause 18 in the Bill provides for a directly elected authority from May 1986 with two members from 29 parliamentary constituencies, giving a total of 58 members of ILEA in place of the present 48. They would be elected, as the Bill stands, under the well-accepted and well-tried system of "winner takes all" which we have had in this country for so long for parliamentary and local government elections. These amendments if accepted (as I hope they will be) will mean that the members of ILEA will be elected in 12 multi-member constituencies by the single transfer- able vote method of proportional representation, usually called STV.

The constituencies will be formed as shown in Amendment No. 96, based on the boroughs. This seems to be logical as ILEA has close relations with the borough councils and since the Government wish to enhance the central role of the boroughs in London's administration. The number of members from each borough will be from three to six, depending upon the electoral register produced in 1984. This would give 30,111 voters per member, a closer correspondence, I may say, than that proposed in the Bill as it stands. There is therefore, of course, no question of hybridity.

The system envisaged in Amendment No. 88 is exactly the same as is used now for local govenment in Northern Ireland. It is also used for the Parliament there as well. It was introduced, as we all know, by a Conservative Government and my noble friend Lord Whitelaw was then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. It would work as follows. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Electors can vote for any number of candidates in order of preference. Any candidate who reaches the quota arrived at by a simple and well-tried formula on first preferences is declared elected. Surplus votes are then transferred to other candidates in proportion to all the second preferences for the elected candidate. Any votes still surplus after that are again re-distributed until there are none over the quotas. If enough candidates have still not achieved the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes drops out, and all his or her second preferences are re-distributed, and so on.

I have given a very brief explanation of what is in fact a system which I think is as simple as 1-2-3, and certainly child's play compared with doing the football pools, which I can never comprehend. There is a pamphlet on this subject which I would be happy to let your Lordships see, which explains it in considerable detail; but I think the system is pretty straightforward.

I would suggest that many advantages could and probably would flow from using such a system of proportional representation for ILEA elections First of all, there would be likely to be a higher turnout. The average turnout in May 1981 for the London boroughs was almost exactly 40 per cent.: in other words, three out of five of those entitled to vote did not vote. The average vote obtained by those elected was roughly half of the votes cast; so four out of five of the electorate did not vote for the candidate who was elected. Whether they thought their vote would be wasted or whether they were not interested, no one can be quite sure; but I imagine it would be a combination of both factors. In any case, whatever the reasons, this amounts to apathy writ large.

By contrast, in local government elections run on the STV system in Scandinavian countries, which have had many years of experience of it, on average, three out of four electors vote and between 80 and 90 per cent. of their votes actually count in deciding who should be elected. They influence the outcome in one way or another: that is, between 80 and 90 per cent. of all the votes cast. Incidentally, just on two-thirds of the electorate in Northern Ireland voted in the last local government elections.

Secondly, I suggest that using the STV system for ILEA would result in a much more representative authority. It would be broadly proportional between the parties and would reflect much more accurately than is the case under the present system the views of the electorate. Also, there could well be many more women elected: and do not let us forget that over half the electorate are women. There would be better representation, I suggest, almost certainly of the ethnic minorities, who provide four out of 10 of ILEA's pupils. I was very surprised to find what a high proportion of such pupils is involved, as I do not know a great deal about local government in London. A stronger voice for the Churches would be likely to result as well, and also for parent/teacher bodies, and of course for independents. I suggest all these things are to be welcomed.

Next, I should like to suggest that there would be closer ties with the electorate, between the authority and the voters. This would mean that ILEA would be more accountable to the electorate and more responsive to their wishes. I can see no objection to either of those things; nor do I imagine that any of your Lordships would be likely to do so, either.

Lastly, I suggest that there would be much less risk of violent ideological swings in policies and principles, from which the ILEA has certainly suffered a great deal in the past. Therefore there would be greater continuity of policies and more electoral confidence; and those are good things as well. These are not wild assumptions. I think they are reasonable and I hope that I have not overstated them; I certainly did not wish to do so.

Education is surely the single most important subject in Greater London's local government. I think most noble Lords would agree with that. Therefore, there is obviously a need to get the best possible electoral system and that, I think, is vital. We are talking about more than 300,000 pupils costing about £1,600 a year in more than 1,100 schools and institutions. So we are talking about a lot of people. The present system is manifestly unfair and unrepresentative. In 1982, for example, the Labour Party got four out of 10 of the votes cast and six out of 10 of the seats. All the rest together, all the other parties—the Conservative Party, of course, and the Alliance, Independents and so on—got six out of 10 of the votes cast but only four out of 10 of the seats.

What a dotty system! How unrepresentative can a system be? It could of course have been the other way round, and it has been in the past. Surely it is time to improve the system, and here is our chance. We want a system which is manifestly fair, one that is simple to understand and hopefully one that is popular as well. So far as popularity is concerned, there is absolutely no doubt, judging from all the public opinion polls there have been over many years, that the public at any rate favours proportional representation for this sort of thing and at least has an open mind about it.

The very last question to ask ourselves, I suggest, if we are considering introducing a fairer, more efficient and more representative system is: does it benefit my party? That is not a question that we ought to ask ourselves because it flies in the face of all the three objectives that I have suggested are the correct ones. I have sometimes thought that the first-past-the-post system which we have had for so long leads to the election of those candidates disliked least by the voters. Proportional representation, on the other hand, leads to the election of candidates who are most liked by the electorate. That is a very different thing and I see nothing wrong with it.

Some noble Lords are totally opposed in principle to proportional representation in any form for parliamentary elections. Many other noble Lords—a great many, I think—have open minds about it. I am not myself in favour of STV for elections to the House of Commons, but for ILEA it seems to me to make absolute sense. ILEA is a one-subject authority, and introducing STV, proportional representation, would not be the thin end of the wedge; certainly not so much as it was in introducing it in Northern Ireland, which is after all a parliamentary election.

As for the suggestion that PR would be likely to lead to hung councils, a bogy is made of that. With three major parties now—and there is no denying that there three major parties—we are bound to get hung councils, anyway: witness last week's shire council elections where there are plenty of hung councils.

So the time has come, I suggest, to cast off all old prejudices and think of some new arguments against proportional representation for ILEA, if there are any good ones. For myself, I agree with my noble friend Lord Elton when he said, during the Second Reading of this Bill, at col. 441 of Hansard for 15th April: Democracy is strongest where the voter is closest to the seat of power. The elector's … voice will be stronger in 1986 than it has been for many years".

I thought that was unintentionally and very eloquently an excellent argument for proportional representation. I believe in fact that the electors' voice will be stronger in 1986 in ILEA, in the authority, and that will prove to be true, without breaching in any way the principle of this Bill, if your Lordships accept these amendments; voting, I hope, purely on their merits and refusing to be intimidated by the unholy alliance between the two Front Benches. If the Government are not able to accept these amendments, let us call off the Whips. I beg to move.

10 p.m.

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

I beg to support the noble Lord, Lord Chelwood. I think that he has presented his case concisely and with admirable clarity. I firmly believe that, if we had had proportional representation as the method of election of the metropolitan county councils and the Greater London Council, we should not be discussing this Bill at the present time. I am absolutely certain in my own mind that the political inspiration behind the abolition of these councils is the way in which at least one of them has been behaving, and we should not have heard about this as an urgent political and parliamentary priority had we not had the eccentricities of the leadership of the Greater London Council publicised so widely and for so long.

The noble Lord, Lord Chelwood, mentioned in this connection an important point in relation to this amendment; namely, that we are dealing in this amendment with an authority to be elected under this Bill which is unique throughout our electoral system. There is nothing equivalent to the Inner London Education Authority, and I submit to your Lordships that here is an opportunity to begin an innovation with a method of election different from the one we have practised for so long, believing that an experiment would probably prove a useful guide to its consequences and to its value.

At the present time the only system departing from first-past-the-post in our constitutional arrangements is in Northern Ireland. It is time that we tried it somewhere else, and this is a splendid opportunity to do so. There is no reason at all why the ILEA should be such a stridently noticeable political body. It is educational in its functions. There should be a very large degree of common approach to educational problems, and I should have thought that this authority was eminently suitable on which to try this new system, so far as we are concerned, in our constitutional arrangements. I believe, with the noble Lord who moved the amendment, that we should get a better electoral response and a more representative result.

How often have we been hearing in recent times about the unrepresentativeness of some sectors of our institutional life? We have, indeed, required by law the use of ballots in our trade unions in order to overcome what the majority of Parliament believe to be the necessity of ensuring more representative government in our unions. It is a pity, perhaps, that in carrying through that legislation we did not become more precise on the methods to be used and the conditions under which those ballots should be taken; but that is a subject that we might go into a little more closely in a debate next week.

In general, it is not too much to say that, if Parliament in Britain is ever defied to the point of a constitutional crisis, it will be because it has become unrepresentative. The authority of Parliament has been challenged in the last 18 months within our vivid recollection. It has been overcome, but one cannot be sure that it will be overcome every time. I do not think our present system, whether nationally or locally is suitable to the lurch that can take place between one political philosophy and another on a marginal turnover in the voting of the electorate. That is the danger.

A government can be unrepresentative and unpopular almost from the beginning, because the electoral system has put power in the hands of a group of people in Parliament who form a government and who do not have adequate electoral support behind them. That is the danger to our Parliament. It astonishes me that otherwise intelligent and wise people should be so indifferent to this potential danger to our system of representative government.

I believe that in this respect, as in others, Britain has gone about in blinkers for the past 20 years. We have not seen what has been coming and we do not see what is coming now. Why should we be so conceited as to believe that what we have is the best in the world? How many times do we claim that something we have is the best in the world? When we look around we see a greater stability in some areas—certainly a greater economic unity and prosperity—where the system of proportional representation is in operation. Why should we think that we have the magic of an electoral system locked away in our historical experience which has been denied to others and which for some reason that no one can explain they have not been wise enough to adopt?

We are behind in the world of electoral systems, and we are unrepresentative in the world of electoral systems. I know that some of my friends on this side of your Lordships' Committee at one time feared that if we changed the electoral system, minorities might become represented in the House of Commons which it would be undesirable to have there. I believe that any electoral system that brings minorities into Parliament is probably bringing them to the point where an outlet for their energies, their activities and their doctrine will prove to be a safety valve in the body politic.

I beseech your Lordships to take this opportunity to begin an innovation in this unique part of our constitutional arrangements which we can observe over the next few years. There is under the Bill to be a review of this authority later. It is a splendid chance, in my opinion, to see how the system can be made to work and whether a more balanced education authority would come out of it. I deplore the divisions that appear to exist on the Inner London Education Authority on doctrinal matters which have little or nothing to do with education but have a good deal to do with political doctrine and which would be softened and eliminated if we had a more representative authority.

There is one further point. The noble Lord who moved the amendment referred to the "hung Parliament" and the "hung authority". Why in heaven's name an elected authority should be called "hung" when it is more representative, I do not understand. After all, democracy is about representatives and it is about representation. There is nothing in the proportional representation system which denies any single grouping or party an overall majority in the elected body. That happened in Austria after many years of so-called coalition governments. Parties came to terms, as they have in other parts of Europe, I think to the better stability of their systems and to the greater prosperity of their people than in this country.

Our adversarial politics are a positive danger to our stability when there is such a large common denominator throughout the political thinking in Britain, when there are so many problems that are generally recognised as being common to us all, and when there are so many aspects of our affairs which are inseparable from our geography and our economic relationship with the rest of the world. Why should a country be so seriously split politically and be prevented from getting that central unity and common purpose which alone will see this Britain of ours through its difficulties?

I take a very gloomy view of the future of this country and of our institutions if we continue to think that politics is a game. Why in Britain are we so desperately anxious to play the game of winners and losers, when there is a combination in politics and in representation which is so important? I strongly urge this amendment upon your Lordships' Committee. Let us try it. Let us have an innovation for once and become more adventurous in trying something new, and see whether the results are better than we have had up until now. We know what the Inner London Education Authority has been up till now: let us see whether we can make it more satisfactory, so that it can face the future with a better degree of unity than it has had in the past.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

I oppose Amendment No. 86 and also Amendments Nos. 87 and 96 to which my noble friend Lord Chelwood spoke. Changing the voting system to a form of proportional representation, the abolition of the Temples (in which I declare a slight interest) as a separate electoral entity, and the advent of the constitutional Armageddon prophesied by the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, if one looks at the Short Title of the Bill, has nothing whatever to do with the argument.

These are not matters consequential on or connected with the abolition of the GLC and the MCCs, or with the transfer of functions, in any fair or reasonable construction of the Short Title of this Bill. In any event, it is fair to say where I stand as I am speaking; I am against this on its merits.

I for one am not concerned with opinion polls. One is not concerned with the benefits to any particular party. The special case for proportional representation on ILEA but not for the House of Commons I did not understand; but this is a matter with which my noble friend Lord Beloff will, I am sure, deal. However, all this is beside the mark. It is quite outside the context of the Title of this Bill.

Lord Beloff

My excuse for addressing your Lordships a second time this evening is partly to bring us back to the subject of ILEA. Certainly I would not wish to engage in a general debate about the merits or demerits of proportional representation for political bodies, whether national or local. Some regard PR as the plague; some, like the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, believe on the contrary that it is a cure for almost any plague—perhaps even the cure we are looking for to get rid of AIDS.

I want to talk about ILEA itself, for this reason. Noble Lords will remember that an elected ILEA was not in the original proposals of the Government. Education in London was to be run by a joint board. Many of us in all parties took some part in persuading the Government that such was inappropriate and that the particular problems of education in London ought to be the subject of a directly elected body. I certainly believe that as a member of the Government party I may have had something to do with persuading my noble friends to accept this change to their original plans.

I did so for a very specific reason; one to which other speakers have alluded. It was the conviction that education, unlike waste disposal, is and always will be a political subject—in the sense that people's general philosophy of the purposes of education differ very considerably and often in an irreconcilable fashion.

On the other hand, for the consumers of education—and we may here take the parents rather than the children—the criteria which they apply to a particular educational philosophy and its results are usually of a more practical kind. What seemed to be necessary if we made another experiment with direct election was to try to insulate education so far as possible not from the interplay of different philosophies—which, in the nature of things, would be impossible—but at least from a direct connection with party policy and party philosophies. It seemed to me that if when people voted for their member for ILEA they were not voting, as they might well do, on general grounds for their member of a borough council or county council or national Parliament, then one concern would be whether the person putting himself forward was most likely to handle better the problem of educating their children, and the chances were at least that this would be an improvement.

10.15 p.m.

If one accepts the view that the elected ILEA which the Bill now proposes is to be what used to be called in this country a school board, which is a pattern of organisation still familiar in the United States of America, one has to ask, what kind of electoral system would we best like? Here, I oppose the amendment in favour of STV, for two reasons. First, it necessitates larger constituencies, and, indeed, the consequential amendment shows this to be the case, whereas it seems to me that an individual who wishes to make an impact as someone who has something to say about education itself, not general political issues, is more likely to make an impact in a smaller constituency where he or she is likely personally to be better known.

My second view—and this was borne out in a way by some of the arguments of my noble friend Lord Chelwood—is that whether or not one likes proportional representation, it is a method of securing what some people would call a more fair representation of political parties. It is a method devised to meet a system of more than two parties. It is a system which parties very early and very easily learn to control to their own advantage. My feeling is that if we had a system of proportional representation, we might get what is called a hung council—I do not know why it should be regarded as so derogatory—a proportion of people representing the various parties in London corresponding more closely to the number of votes cast. I think that would be an argument perhaps for proportional representation in a political body, but if one is trying to insulate education from party strife, it seems to me that on both those counts proportional representation is not the right thing for what we are now discussing.

Baroness Ewart-Biggs

I rise to support this amendment to which my name is attached, but in doing so I view it with a certain trepidation as it is a very controversial and even emotional subject, as has already been proved by the two noble Lords who have just spoken. However, I do not agree with them that these amendments are irrelevant to this Bill, and I shall come to my arguments in favour of that in a moment.

First of all I should like to stress that, from the way I see them, these amendments do not, or should not, embrace the whole principle of electoral reform. My noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby has put forward arguments for the principle of electoral reform. We are this evening discussing a change in the elctoral system for an education authority. Therefore, the arguments used should not be judged in the context of those arguments used for advocating an electoral system for a level of government because, after all, that is an entirely different question and one which, as I have said before, draws out all sorts of emotions and prejudices.

Today we are really discussing what is the best way of electing an authority which will be most efficient in running London's schools and what is the best way of offering London's children the best opportunities. After all, there are 1,133 schools and other educational institutions under ILEA. It would seem right to introduce a system whereby such a large and very important educational authority is protected from the kind of uncertainty that the present Bill is forcing upon it. For that reason, the amendments are highly relevant.

My first aim is to protect this education authority from having its educational policies interrupted by the upheavals that one has seen result from the rise and fall of different and varied political parties. The argument against continuing with the old system is that one would like a more varied representation on that authority. As my noble friends have already said, this would ensure, in turn, that more candidates representing educational beliefs rather than party political beliefs could be elected. Parents might be better represented on the authority. Who, after all, could show a greater commitment to that authority than the parents of children educated within it? More women might he elected to that authority. Again, I cannot see anything wrong with such a development.

Furthermore, no one can surely deny that London schools cater for a very varied multicultural community. No less than 44 per cent. of children at primary school and 38 per cent. at secondary schools come from different ethnic groups. I am not inferring that there is any discrimination against the ethnic groups. I am a governor of two ILEA schools, one a primary school and one a nursery school, and I know of all the trouble and precautions that are taken to ensure there should never be any kind of discrimination.

However, no one can maintain that these groups are adequately represented on the Inner London Education Authority. The proof that a more democratic representation of voters' choice can be achieved lies in the fact that proportional representation system was introduced for the New York school hoard elections. This was done especially to cater for the very many ethnic groups living in New York city. It was done to involve the black and the Puerto Rican communities in the education of their own children.

This leads me to a situation much nearer home that would be very favourably affected by a change in the electoral system for ILEA. A fellow resident of Kensington and Chelsea has made a strong point for changing the elctoral system. I should like to quote some of the cogent arguments that he has expressed in a letter to me. He writes: Kensington and Chelsea is a borough that has among its citizens some of the richest and some of the poorest in the land. It has its own North-South divide with a predominantly rich south whose parents aspire to sending their children to public schools even if their primary education is provided by the local authority. In the north and isolated areas of the south there are large numbers of council tenants of whom something like 75 per cent. receive some form of rent rebates. This extreme brings with it great problems for the education service. On the one hand the withdrawal of numbers of secondary-aged pupils into the private school sector means that those electors have very little interest in ensuring that the ILEA schools provide the best education possible. On the other hand pressures of their economic circumstances mean that the less well off have little opportunity to participate in the education of their children. For these children the liberating effect of higher education is a distant prospect. While any education authority can only scratch at the problems of numbers of their clients I would suggest that the lack of proper representation is one factor that deepens the sense of alienation from the education process. Direct elections are one way in which this can be alleviated, but the current first-past-the-post electoral system will only go to deepen it. For the Borough as a whole the party votes are roughly in a proportion 50 per cent. Conservative, 25 per cent. Labour and 25 per cent. Alliance. Its parliamentary representation is 100 per cent. Conservative. Clearly the proposed system will mean that the views of 50 per cent. of voters will be unrepresented on ILEA until there is a boundary review. He ends by saying: For this reason I would urge you to vote for an electoral system for the ILEA elections which would be likely to provide a just and fair system". I feel very strongly that a change in the electoral system would both produce a wider and fairer representation and at the same time strengthen ILEA. I have every reason to wish to do that. As I say, I am a governor of these two schools, which I think are admirably run, and I have a very great respect for that authority. I shall be speaking about this matter again when we come to Clause 21.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The difficulty of the argument which the noble Baroness has just addressed to your Lordships, I think, is this. If for ILEA a system of PR is so superior to that operating elsewhere in our electoral system, why stop with ILEA? Is not her argument, if it has validity, one of much wider application than merely to ILEA?

Baroness Ewart-Biggs

I was addressing myself to the Bill that is before us for discussion this evening.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I appreciate that the speech of the noble Baroness is wholly relevant to this Bill, but the issue which she has raised, which does not arise necessarily on this Bill at all, has very much wider implications. If one accepts the argument that for ILEA a system of PR is very advantageous, I think that she will appreciate that it must carry implications into a far wider area. That was the point that I was putting to her. Indeed, I suggest to her, as I suggest to all your Lordships, that if it is proposed—as my noble friend Lord Chelwood has proposed—to apply to ILEA a system of election not applied anywhere else in the British Isles outside Northern Ireland, it at least puts the onus of proof on those who propose such a system to show why in the special circumstances of ILEA (as the noble Baroness says, that is all we are discussing) a system not operating in the rest of the United Kingdom should be applied.

The noble Baroness I hope will agree that I am being fair, and I am not suggesting that that is necessarily an argument against the proposal on its merits, but it is an indication, I suggest to your Lordships, of the much wider implications of this amendment generally. What is there that is so peculiar about ILEA that it should have the benefit—if it be a benefit—of this system which is denied to every other electorate in England, Wales and Scotland?

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

Surely the reply to the noble Lord's point is that this body is distinctive. There is no other electoral body like it under our system. That is why an innovation could be tried in this instance without all the implications that the noble Lord suggests.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The noble Lord says there is no other body like ILEA. Indeed, if one felt like being frivolous one might perhaps say that there is something in that point. But what is so unusual about it—this is the point to which the noble Lord must address himself—that demands an electoral system which is not in fact provided for any other body in England, Wales or Scotland? What are the peculiarities of ILEA that demand this special, exceptional and unusual treatment?

10.30 p.m.

The Committee know that there are a number of people, of whom my noble friend Lord Chelwood is undoubtedly one, who are great exponents of these various forms of electoral system, and of course I respect their views. Indeed, when some noble Lords on the Liberal Benches make a speech some of us make a book as to whether or not they will advocate PR. I know there are people who very sincerely hold this doctrine and who believe it should be a wider application.

However, the only point that I wish to make on this amendment is that, whether they are right or whether those who, like myself, adhere to the view of first-past-the-post are right, it is very difficult to justify just picking out ILEA and picking it out only for the reason that election to it is being provided under this Bill and giving it unique treatment.

I think that the Committee have to face the point that if this is a good system of election, with all the merits to which the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, has referred, then it surely has a claim for much wider application. Therefore, it would be a mistake, in the specific and special context of ILEA and in the specific and special context of this Bill, to introduce a system unique in this country just because of the accident of the fact that the issue can be raised on this Bill. I hope therefore that my noble friend will say that we will give the ILEA the electoral system which we regard as good enough for every other authority in the United Kingdom.

Lord Diamond

The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, did not explain to us, on the basis that Northern Ireland adopted this system, why he himself was not compelled to take the view that this system should apply to the rest of the United Kingdom. Of course, he regards Northern Ireland as a special case. And those who support this amendment regard ILEA as a special case. The Committee are no more compelled to regard ILEA as part of a system of proportional representation for the country as a whole than the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, was compelled to regard Northern Ireland PR, which I imagine he supported, as PR for the whole of the country, to which he is wholly opposed.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

Will the noble Lord give way? I hope he is not suggesting that the unique and unhappy circumstances of Northern Ireland, which I think all the Committee profoundly regret, have any relevance or application to the Inner London Education Authority.

Lord Diamond

Nobody is suggesting that. What I am suggesting is that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has no right to say that because one has proportional representation in a very limited and special case, you must have proportional representation for the whole country. Everybody knows where we on these Benches stand. Of course they do. We support proportional representation throughout.

All I am saying is that what the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is saying is irrelevant to the issue we are discussing. We are discussing an issue which is much more closely related to local government. The ILEA is very closely related to local government. I beg the Committee's pardon for this reminder (because I am sure that it is in the memory of every noble Lord sitting here) that this Chamber within very, very recent times has adopted unanimously a Bill which gave the opportunity to local authorities to choose proportional representation for the election of their members. We completely support the views which have been expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Chelwood. There is no need for us to detain the Committee any longer.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark

I should like to make a brief statement because I know that time is getting short. I wish to address myself in a slightly different way to the question which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, raised. The noble Lord asked what was special about this. I listened with particular attention to what the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, was saying because it seemed to me that he was in part supplying the answer. He was pleading for us to recognise the importance of not allowing party politics to dominate the elections to this particular authority which serves only the cause of education. That is something very close to my heart and that is why I have put my name to this amendment.

I recognise that there will be differences of opinion about the merits of this particular form of representation, but it seems to me that it might achieve (a) stability and (b) the representation of certain groups—the ethnic groups and the Churches have been mentioned, and there are others—who otherwise would be less likely to be represented, given the normal party political forces at work.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

May I interrupt the right reverend Prelate? The suggestion which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Chelwood, that this system would facilitate the representation of ethnic groups surely ignores the fact that the constitutencies, as proposed in these amendments, would be so much larger, and therfore it is surely much less likely that minority groups would get themselves elected.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark

I thank the noble Lord for making that point and I recognise that it will be a point of difference between us. I just wanted to make that point, which is an important point, in general terms about the principle.

Baroness David

I would agree with the noble Lord, Lord Chelwood, in two respects: first, that education is perhaps the most important service that any local authority has to provide; and, secondly, that we want a system of voting which is simple to understand. However, I would suggest that possibly STV is not such a system. I agree with my noble friend Lord Houghton that we want to be quite sure that the system to which we move is better than what we have now. I think that the proposals made in the amendment are very likely not better than what we have now.

The amendment raises three very important questions. The first is: should there be a different voting system between one local authority and another? In this respect, very much to my surprise, I find myself in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter—and that does not happen all that often.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I am very lucky.

Baroness David

Secondly, if this is thought desirable, should the STV system be the alternative to adopt? Thirdly, is amending this legislation the way in which to deal with a major constitutional change affecting our electoral law? In my view the answer to all three questions must be, no.

I should like to make the case against. First, I deal with the case so far as an electoral experiment is concerned. Many arguments have been put forward both in favour of PR and against it. Whatever those arguments, it would seem to be most unfair that the ILEA should be used as an electoral experiment. Education is, as we have said, the most important service of all and it should not be used for experiment. If the proponents of PR wish to see the STV system adopted, they should state their case and win the argument for complete electoral reform. There is no justification for holding ILEA elections under a STV system while all other elections—national, district, borough and parish—remain under a first-past-the-post system. No other education authority will have members elected under the STV system and ILEA should not be made the guinea-pig of electoral reform.

When the House of Lords considered the Local Government (Choice of Electoral Systems) Bill, both in February 1983 and again in March 1985, the introduction of STV for district elections was thoroughly debated. Proponents argued that objections to using PR for national elections did not apply to local elections, since the responsibilities of local councillors were not so great. Personally I would query that, but that is what they said.

Such arguments, however, cannot be applied to the administration of the largest education authority in England. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Blake, who moved the Bill in March 1985—and I am very sorry that he is not here tonight—argued against extending PR to county councils on the grounds that: it is better, perhaps, to try this experiment with authorities where the size of the newly created districts would not be too large, and also, more importantly, with authorities where there is already a tradition of voting for more than one candidate."—[Official Report, 4/3/85; col. 1163.] Hence, even the noble Lord, Lord Blake, would presumably be forced to admit that ILEA, a large authority with a tradition of voting for only one candidate, should not be singled out for such an experiment.

There are then the practical difficulties, and I want to say a word on these. The amendment presents practical difficulties since the ILEA elections are to be held on the same day as the London borough elections. This would give rise to the ludicrous situation of electing one authority under PR and another under our existing system, and all on the same day. Such a position is so untenable that it is difficult to believe that it really is being seriously suggested.

It has been argued that in Northern Ireland there is no difficulty in operating the STV and the first-past-the-post system at the same time. However, although these two systems co-exist two elections under different systems have never been held on the same day. Even those who agree the need for electoral reform must ask themselves if it is appropriate for a substantial change in our electoral law, a constitutional change, to be determined by amendment to Government legislation. Clearly, in my view, it is not.

Lord Avebury

Will the noble Baroness give way? Is she suggesting that the people of London are incapable of voting in one election by the first-past-the-post system and in another by the STV, on the same day? Is that what she is saying about the people of London?

Baroness David

It is difficult for the people of London or anywhere else to be presented with two different voting papers in the same polling station and be asked to work those two systems. If one has contested local elections one knows how often people are very confused when they get to the polling stations, anyway; and I think this would really be too difficult.

There are currently within inner London 29 constituencies which under the Government's proposals in the Bill will have 58 representatives to the new ILEA. Although the boundary divisions are yet to be finalised, each constituency is likely to elect two members. The amendment seeks to do away with the constituency boundaries and create 12 electoral districts of varying size based on the London boroughs.

The noble Lord, Lord Beloff, spoke of the disadvantages of larger constituencies. Each of these districts would then elect between three and six representatives depending on its size, and these multi-member constituencies will of course be much larger than existing constituencies. They will have up to 200,000 voters in some districts, compared to an average 6,000 now. Lewisham, for instance, it is suggested would have six members. That is in the amended schedule. There could then be a minimum of 18 names on the ballot paper if just the three main parties all put up candidates, which of course is to be expected; and then there would be many fringe candidates.

Under the STV system voters are requested to list candidates in preference order. A candidate has to reach a certain quota of votes to be elected. Any excess votes that he or she has over the quota are redistributed among the other candidates, according to preference. If there are not surplus votes then the candidate with the least number of votes is removed and his or her votes are transferred. This process continues until the requisite number of candidates reach the quota and are elected, bringing in third, fourth and possibly fifth preferences if necessary.

Our current first-past-the-post system may not be perfect but it is simple, it is familiar, and it is well understood. Personalities play a smaller part than one might wish. The vote is for the party, and under our present system the voter has a clear choice between a set of policies. It is argued that our present system is unfair since it can allow one party huge majorities on less than 50 per cent. of the vote. While this may be the case, the STV system does not guarantee greater fairness. Lord Attlee once said that democracy does not mean rule by the majority; it means rule by the majority with deference to the interests of the minority.

These comments are often quoted as arguments for PR. The STV would not necessarily, however, give minorities a greater say. The ILEA would certainly agree with Lord Attlee's statement; indeed, there are few authorities in England which endeavour to do as much for minority interests as the ILEA already does. Ironically PR does not guarantee proportionality. With all its alleged defects under our present voting system the person or persons elected are those for whom the most electors have voted. That would not be the case with STV. STV could lead, and has led, to a position where the candidate most people want to have as their elected representative is not be elected because of the influence of second, third, fourth or even twelfth preference votes. There is no justification for giving lower preference votes.

Winston Churchill is reported to have aptly commented in 1931 that the decision is determined by the most worthless votes given to the most worthless candidates. STV has been used in only small rural societies. It has never been tried in an urban industrial society, and no sure predictions can therefore be made. To adopt STV would be a risk—a risk to which ILEA, our greatest education authority, our largest, should in no circumstances be subjected.

10.45 p.m.

Lord Glenarthur

I listened with great care to my noble friend in moving his amendments. I, too, share the concern of others who speak so keenly about the importance of education in London. It is a pleasure for me at this stage, on more or less my first appearance at the Dispatch Box this evening, to be able largely to agree with what the noble Baroness opposite has just said. The new ILEA will have many of the same powers—and this was the point that she made—and many of the same duties as local authorities, and it would, therefore, be wholly inappropriate for elections to ILEA to be conducted differently from those for local authorities in Great Britain which are held under the simple majority system.

There are very real objections to the use of proportional representation at local elections. One of its main weaknesses is that it enormously increases the chances of a hung council, though I realise that there are those of your Lordships who do not like that particular term. Under the simple majority system electors have a clear-cut choice between various candidates and parties whose policies they know and have been able to evaluate prior to the elections.

Proportional representation, however, almost invariably leads to some form of coalition government based on a programme which the electorate has not had the opportunity to approve or disapprove. Voters can, therefore, only guess what kind of coalition their party might have to enter into after an election, what new policies it might have to adopt and what compromises it might have to make to keep that coalition in existence. There is also a stronger risk of creating a series of shifting ad hoc coalitions than under the simple majority system and, in such situations, time which should be spent in taking speedy and effective decisions is inevitably frittered away on arguments about which party's policies should prevail and the price to be paid for agreeing to a particular course of action. I do not know what that would do to protect those whom ILEA serves from the upheavals which the noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs, so keenly wishes to see the back of. The use of proportional representation for local government elections would therefore be more likely to produce a weak and unstable administration where no single party would be answerable for the authority's record.

Lord Diamond

Before the noble Lord—

Lord Glenarthur

Before the noble Lord intervenes I should point out that I am under some constraints regarding time because today is Thursday and the Committee has to be up quite soon.

Lord Diamond

This is a very short intervention. Why does the noble Lord, a Government Minister, keep on referring to what local authorities cannot do when he and his Government in this House have just agreed that they can do it?

Lord Glenarthur

Perhaps if the noble Lord listens to the rest of the arguments which I shall put forward, he will be more convinced.

It has been pointed out by others that proportional representation by a single transferable vote as proposed by the amendments is used at local government elections in Northern Ireland. Of course, there are major differences here. I think the noble Lord who proposed the amendment and others who have referred to it—for example, the noble Lord, Lord Houghton—fully realise that the situation in Northern Ireland is different. It is one upon which the voting is largely controlled locally by set religious and political lines which makes the single majority system unsuitable in that part of the United Kingdom for all but the election of MPs.

One of the points raised by my noble friend Lord Beloff was that another objection to the amendments before us is that they would involve the creation of large, multi-member electoral divisions which would make members of the ILEA more remote from the people they are supposed to represent. We propose that the electorate of the Inner London Education Area should be temporarily split into 29 two-member divisions containing somewhere in the region of from 46,700 to 71,950 electors for the 1986 elections. These divisions will then be replaced by smaller, single-member divisions containing perhaps half that number of electors for the second and subsequent elections to the new authority, leading very much to the sort of figure which my noble friend Lord Chelwood said that he wanted to achieve under his system.

Under these arrangements, however, the Inner London Education Authority would be split into 12 large divisions comprising 11 inner London boroughs and the combined areas of the cities of London and Westminster and the Temples. The current electorate of these divisions which are to be represented by from 3 to 6 members, according to size, range from just over 98,000 to nearly 201,000. It will therefore be quite clearly seen that the close links which already exist between the electors in inner London and individual members of the Inner London Education Authority would be destroyed and not strengthened in the way that my noble friend Lord Chelwood suggested. With an issue such as education, it is specially important that elected representatives should have close local contact with those that they represent.

There are practical objections to these amendments, too. There are risks of confusion which I think have been ably described just now, and of course there is an increase in cost, too. I share, as I said when I started to speak, the concern about the importance of education in London. I also share the views which were expressed about the emotion of the whole subject of PR. I am sure that none of us would wish to see local government at the mercy of weak and unstable administration. We need local authorities which can act expeditiously but can act decisively and have a governing party in policies which are readily identifiable by the electorate. We also need authorities where each member represents a comparatively small area in order to become fully familiar with its problems and become well known to its inhabitants as a person to whom they can turn for help and advice on local matters. That is why we have proposed that elections to the new ILEA should be held on the same basis as those for local and central government. That is why I ask your Lordships not to accept these amendments.

Lord Chelwood

I have listened with great interest to what my noble friend has had to say. I should like to thank all noble Lords who have spoken in favour of these amendments, and also those who have spoken against them. I cannot say that I was very impressed by those who argued that these amendments did not come within the Short Title of the Bill. They are quite clearly I think consistent with the principles of the Bill which are for maximum devolution to the boroughs. The time is very late and there is obviously not a meeting of minds, which I much regret. I think therefore in the circumstances the right thing to do is to divide the Committee.

10.54 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 86) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 49; Not-Contents, 82.

Airedale, L. Chandos, V.
Attlee, E. Chelwood, L. [Teller.]
Avebury, L. Coleraine, L.
Aylestone, L. Croft, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Diamond, L.
Buckmaster, V. Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. Ewart-Biggs, B.
Caldecote, V. Falkland, V.
Foot, L. Morris of Kenwood, L.
Gladwyn, L. Ogmore, L.
Grey, E. O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Hampton, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Hanworth, V. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Rochester, L.
Hooson, L. Sainsbury, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Seear, B.
Kennet, L. Seebohm, L.
Kilmarnock, L. Simon, V.
Kissin, L. Southwark, Bp.
Kitchener, E. Stedman, B. [Teller.]
Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Tordoff, L.
McGregor of Durris, L. Walston, L.
McNair, L. Whaddon, L,
Mayhew, L. Wigoder, L.
Meston, L.
Abinger, L. Kemsley, V.
Airey of Abingdon, B. Layton, L.
Arran, E. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Beloff, L. Liverpool, E.
Belstead, L. Long, V.
Birk, B. Lothian, M.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Lyell, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. McAlpine of West Green, L.
Caithness, E. Macleod of Borve, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Margadale, L.
Carnock, L. Marshall of Leeds, L.
Clitheroe, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Colville, of Culross, V. Monk Bretton, L.
Colwyn, L. Monkswell, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Morris, L.
Cox, B. Mountevans, L.
Craigavon, V. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B. Norrie, L.
David, B. Onslow, E.
Davidson, V. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Rankeillour, L.
Dormer, L. Renton, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Renwick, L.
Dundee, E. Rodney, L.
Elles, B. Romney, E.
Elton, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Gibson-Watt, L. Sandford, L.
Glanusk, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Glenarthur, L. Southborough, L.
Gowrie, E. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Swinton, E. [Teller.]
Gray of Contin, L. Trefgarne, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L. Trumpington, B.
Halsbury, E. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Harvington, L. Vivian, L.
Hayter, L. Ward of Witley, V.
Hornsby-Smith, B. Whitelaw, V.
Howe, E. Wynford, L.
Ingrow, L. Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

11.3 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 87 to 89 not moved]

Clause 18 agreed to.

Schedule 9 [Inner London Education Authority: elections and electoral arrangements.]:

[Amendments Nos. 90 to 96 not moved.]

Schedule 9 agreed to.

Clause 19 agreed to.

Clause 20 [Consultation with inner London boroughs and the City.]:

[Amendments Nos. 97 to 100 not moved.]

Clause 20 agreed to.

Lord Denham

I beg to move that this House do now resume.

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

House resumed.

House adjourned at four minutes past eleven o'clock.