Orders of the Day — London Passenger Transport Bill. – in the House of Commons on 13th February 1933.
I beg to move, in page 1, line 14, after the word "by," to insert the words "the Minister, after consultation with."
There are three Amendments in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends dealing with the first part of Clause 1, and they all stand or fall together. The House is aware that we have always been opposed to the idea of Appointing Trustees as being a clumsy, and, we believe, unworkable method of getting a satisfactory appointment of the officers for the new London Transport Board, but we are not attempting by this Amendment to cut out the Appointing Trustees. We appreciate that the House, in the Committee stage, voted in favour of that, and against our Amendment to leave the appointment in the hands of the Minister, which we believe to be the right method, but we are moving this Amendment because already the Minister actually has to do everything else with regard to the members of the board. Under Sub-section (4) resignation is to the Minister. Under Sub-section (5) the Minister has to approve the amount of leave which they may have, and also has to declare the office vacant. In Subsection (6) he may remove any member of the board for inability or misbehaviour.
It seems to us it would be much more consistent, therefore, if the Minister were the actual appointing person after consultation with this new body of trustees. That would put in the hands of the Minister the whole of the negotiations between the advisory body and the people who were to be appointed, that is to say, he would ministerially act, either to appoint, dismiss, give leave or whatever it might be. He would be the one voice who spoke for these various persons, and we hope that the Government will see their way to accept this Amendment, not in any sense as intending to reverse the policy which the House has decided upon in Committee, but as being intended to improve the operation of the Act while still maintaining the principle which, presumably, the House thinks right, but which we think wrong.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that it is not the intention of this Amendment to reverse the decision arrived at by the Committee, and it is quite true that in form the Amendment is not a direct reversal of that decision, but I am inclined to think that its merits would be greater, although I could not accept it—
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman seconding the Amendment?
It is not in accordance with practice, when an Amendment is moved from the Front Bench, to require a Seconder.
I think the Amendment would have greater merits, although I could not accept it, if it were a direct reversal of the proposal contained in the Bill. The original proposal was that the Minister should appoint the board, but the plan adopted by the Committee, after a great deal of consideration, was that the Appointing Trustees should appoint the board. Now the hon. and learned Member desires that the Minister shall appoint the board, after consulting the Appointing Trustees. It seems to make the worst of both worlds. Now that the Minister is to have the responsibility of appointing the board, I think that it should be his responsibility, and, if he is a wise man he will, no doubt, consult such persons in private as it is his duty to consult. It was the proposal of which, I understand, the hon. and learned Gentleman and his party are in favour which the Committee by a very large majority rejected. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that he has no intention of attempting to go back upon that position and to put back the Minister as the appointing body, but he wants to say that the; Minister is to be the appointing body after consulting, and, I suppose, that that means, with the consent of the Appointing Trustees. It seems in substance to be very much the same thing as making the Minister the appointing body, but with the complication that he has to consult the body whose advice he need not take but whose advice it will perhaps be difficult for him to refuse if the body in question choose to promote a conflict of opinion with him.
The advice which I respectfully tender to the House is that they shall adhere to the decision that the Appointing Trustees should appoint the Transport Board, and that the Minister should be left with the powers which later Subsections will give him. I think that, on the whole, it is not an undesirable division of duties that the Minister should be charged with the duty of removing any person from the board who is unable to perform his duties, and that the Appointing Trustees should fill the vacancy if one should thus be created. That will prevent any suspicion of a removal having been brought about with a view to providing an opportunity to fill the vacancy by appointing a particular person. The Minister will remove,
|Division No. 39.]||AYES.||[4.19 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Harris, Sir Percy||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hicks, Ernest George||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Price, Gabriel|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Thorne, William James|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Tinker, John Joseph|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Maxton, James||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Crossley, A. C.||Hore-Belisha, Lesile|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Albery, Irving James||Davison, Sir William Henry||Horobin, Ian M.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Denman, Hon. R D.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Denville, Alfred||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Donner, P. W.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Doran, Edward||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Balniel, Lord||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Dunglass, Lord||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brogravs Campbell||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Elmley, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Bernays, Robert||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Boulton, W. W.||Fermoy, Lord||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Fox, Sir Gifford||Levy, Thomas|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lewis, Oswald|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Glossop, C. W. H.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Burnett, John George||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mabane, William|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Goff, Sir Park||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Grimston, R. V.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gunston, Captain D, W.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hales, Harold K.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Clarke, Frank||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hanbury, Cecil||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hartland, George A.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Cooke, Douglas||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Cross, R. H.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Munro, Patrick|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H-||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Robinson, John Roland||Summersby, Charles H.|
|North, Captain Edward T.||Rosbotham, Sir Samuel||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Nunn, William||Ross, Ronald D.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Patrick. Colin M.||Runge, Norah Cecil||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Penny, Sir George||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Petherick, M.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Potter, John||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Stourton, Hon. John J.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Ray, Sir William||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Lord Erskine.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 8, after the word "persons," to insert the words:
including the General Council of the Trades Union Congress.
The General Council of the Trades Union Congress is such an important body in the industrial affairs of this country that it really ought to be consulted in connection with these appointments. We do not believe that it would be going outside the powers of appointment to consult a body of this kind. They represent such a huge body of the industrial community that their views ought to be heard at least with respect. The General Council of the Trades Union Congress is really the nerve center of the whole of the trade union movement of the country. The trade union movement is largely incorporated in the Bill now before the House. Practically speaking, every person employed under the new board will be a member of the Trades Union Congress. They are men of proved capacity and great knowledge in this direction. They have in the past proved to be efficient advisers, and on many occasions they have been taken into consideration and consultation by more than one Government on matters of really great importance which required to be considered from the two points of view. They are selected by trade union people from the whole of the country, and they have the confidence of a large number of people connected with the industrial movement of the country. Representing,
as they do, this great organisation, we feel that it will not in any way be lowering to the Appointing Trustees to take them into consultation. They will be able to offer advice which will help the Appointing Trustees in the work which they have before them. We consider that the Amendment should be accepted, because we believe that, after consultation with the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, the position of the Appointing Trustees will be strengthened very considerably.
The hon. Member proposes to mention one body whom the Appointing Trustees are to consult. He does not propose that the Appointing Trustees should be prevented from consulting anybody else. He mentions one of a number of bodies whom the Appointing Trustees may consult if they think fit. I would call the attention of the hon. Member and of the House to the fact that there is nothing to prevent the Appointing Trustees from consulting the Council of the Trades Union Congress if the Trustees think fit. The hon. Member wants to put in the Council of the Trades Union Congress as a body whom the Appointing Trustees must consult. I perhaps do not altogether share the hon. Member's opinion as to the great merits and virtues of the Council of the Trades Union Congress, but I do not want to get into a controversy with him and, for the purpose of my argument, I will accept all his testimonials as to the merits and virtues of that body. If they be so full of merit as he describes, they are certainly a body whom the Appointing Trustees are likely to consult. I should prefer to leave it at that. I do object to picking out one body, however excellent, and saying that they are to be consulted, when there are many other bodies equally full of knowledge and experience. To single out one would be invidious. I suggest that it would be better to leave the Clause in the wide terms in which it stands at the present time, which empowers the Appointing Trustees to consult any body when it thinks fit to do so in particular circumstances.
I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend for his indication that, no doubt, this particular body will be consulted. [HON. MEMBERS: "May."] If the Appointing Trustees do their duty they will be consulted.
What I said was: "If the body in question is so full of virtue as the hon. Member thinks."
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman in a matter of this importance is not going to rely on some jesting phrase. From the point of view of the workers, this body is a body of importance. Whatever its particular merits may be, there are, of course, as the right hon. Gentleman says, many other bodies which are of importance. If we are to understand that the right hon. Gentleman has indicated that in the view of the Government this would be a proper and right body to be consulted, I do not think we need take the matter any further.