I beg to move, in page 1, line II, after "Commission)," insert:
to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor and.
Perhaps I might first of all read to the Committee the Sub-section as we wish to amend it. It would read:
For the purpose of reporting on the matters and deciding the questions mentioned in the subsequent provisions of this Act, there shall be a Commission, to be called the War Works Commission (in this Act referred to as 'the Commission'), to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor and consisting of a chairman and such number of members (not being less than five) as the Lord Chancellor may think expedient and shall include members chosen for their knowledge and experiencce of agriculture, architecture, industry, town and country planning and the conduct of legal proceedings.
The reasons for the Amendment were given in some detail during the Second Reading Debate and I will not recapitulate them now. The Committee is, no doubt, broadly familiar with them. In chief, we want the Commission to be independent. We want to give it a quasi-judicial character and we want above all to ensure that it shall not be an instrument of the Executive. Winding up the Second Reading Debate, the Attorney-General said that a Treasury Commission would be independent and he cited the War Damage Commission as an example. The Treasury deals with finance and the War Damage Commission also deals with finance, but the Commission now proposed will have to deal with conflicting claims arising from
many widespread interests. It will have to reconcile agriculture with industry, to see that amenities are preserved and that planning considerations have their proper place. These are considerations which arouse passions, and we think that the Lord Chancellor is the only Minister capable of cooling those passions. Again, the Attorney-General said that if we did not like the composition and methods of working of the Treasury Commission we could shoot at the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That, he said, was the advantage of the Treasury Commission; but now we observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put down an Amendment of his own to invite His Majesty to appoint the Commission. My hon. Friends and I do not like that at all. If something goes wrong, we cannot shoot at His Majesty. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] We do not want to shoot at His Majesty. On the contrary, we think -that the Lord Chancellor is our man. If anything goes wrong with the Commission, we can then shoot perfectly well at the Attorney-General.
Perhaps I might say a brief word about another Amendment, in the name of my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope), in page 1, line 11, leave out from "chairman," to end of Sub-section, and insert:
to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor and four other Members, of whom one shall be appointed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, one by the Board of Trade, one by the Treasury, and one by the Minister of Town and Country Planning.
We think it a pity to rule that the Commission should have five and not more than five members. The proposed basis of appointment of the Commission is too rigid. The Lord Chancellor should have freedom of choice of members of the Commission, provided that the source from which they come is laid down. The effect of, the Amendment is to set up a Commission which, though it is balanced in interests, may very well be unbalanced in personalities. We think that so many Ministerial cooks may well provide a very indigestible meal and that it is far better that the Lord Chancellor should order the whole repast himself.
Frankly, I do not like the proposal made by the Lord Chancellor any better than does the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, but, also frankly, I do not see any reason why we should change from the original proposal in the Bill that the Commission should be appointed by the Treasury. It is a Treasury Bill and a very narrow one. Its main purpose is to see that the value of any works which have been built during the war on requisitioned land inures to the State, or, if damage has been done to land by putting enormous works upon it and if and when the land reverts to the landowner, to see that he cannot make excessive claims against the Treasury for putting the land back. That is the major effect of the Bill. It is essentially a matter for Treasury decision. To suggest that the Treasury are incapable of dealing with what is essentially an assessment of values is as foolish as to suggest that they would be incapable of appointing the Board of Inland Revenue. It has nothing to do with the Chancellor of the Exchequer as such.
Are they? In that case, that is the best argument I have heard for the Chancellor's own Amendment. I suggest that the Chancellor's first thought was a good thought. This is a Treasury matter. His Amendment represents a running away from the hungry hordes behind him. Let him fight for the Treasury. It will be a bad day when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to come down to the House of Commons and apologise for the activities of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman has said that this is a good Bill; it is a good Bill, and I commend it to my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee, on one piece of evidence only, that the Tory Party have put down 40 pages of Amendments. I hope that the Chancellor will resist the Amendment and I hope that he will withdraw his own Amendment. This is a Treasury Bill and there is no reason why Treasury control should be weakened.
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken seems to have conceded, in his efforts to support the Chancellor's original draft, the case for making an alteration in the Bill. It was perfectly apparent that the basis of his argument was that if we have any Commission at all, it should be a facade, to appear to do justice between individuals—it may be small individuals—and the State, while really being a Commission which is subject to the control and direction of the Treasury, this being a Treasury Bill.
I am not prepared to acquiesce in any form of deception of that sort and I am sure that the Chancellor would not welcome support for his proposals on that particular ground. I am surprised, when there is an Amendment on the Order Paper, moved by the Noble Lord, suggesting that the appointment should be made by somebody independent of the Treasury, which has a great financial interest in the Bill, that the Chancellor should put down an Amendment proposing that the appointment should be made by His Majesty. I hope that when we come to deal with this matter my right hon. Friend will explain why he regards the Lord Chancellor as an unsuitable person to have the selection, or, alternatively, why he regards the Lord Chancellor as incapable of making a proper selection. I should have thought the Lord Chancellor, who has to appoint people to all sorts of bodies throughout the country, would do the job exceedingly well. What is more, it could not be said then that there had been any influence by the Treasury upon the selection of people to fulfil the duties of the Commission. If the Chancellor's Amendment is accepted, His Majesty will have to act on the advice of some Members of the Government. It means that the Treasury can have—I do not say they will have—a considerable amount of influence upon the question of who is to be appointed to the Commission. That is what I am out to stop, if I can, and that is why I put down the Amendment in my name. If any alteration is made, it should be by the insertion, after the Words "His Majesty," of the words, "on the advice of the Lord Chancellor."
The Noble Lord the mover of this Amendment seemed to object to the Amendment standing in the names of my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope), some other of my hon. Friends and myself, because we mentioned that we wanted other interests besides the Treasury interests represented on this Commission. He mentioned those other interests himself, and I can assure him that as far as I am concerned I think his Amendment would carry out what we want as much as would our Amendment. What we object to, as he has stated, is that this Commission shall be entirely in the hands of the Treasury. The Treasury take only the financial point of view, and in these important matters which have to be decided there are many other points of view. There is not only town planning, but agriculture and forestry and we think tee Commission should be representative of all those interests rather than of the money interests alone.
I could quote many instances to illustrate my point. I am a local Commissioner of Taxes and we have cases brought before us complaining of this or that assessment. It is impossible for the local Inspector of Taxes to judge otherwise than from the financial point of view, and it is our job to see that the other considerations are taken into account. I have no complaint about the representation of the local Inspector of Taxes so long as account is taken of other considerations. We want the Commission to be established in the same way, not only from the point of view of finance but also from the point of view of other interests which will be seriously affected. It is not only a Treasury matter. I do not know if the Amendment of my hon. Friend who has just spoken would carry out our object of getting the Commission away from the Treasury. The whole of our object is to get a Commission representative of wide interests outside the Treasury. I would like the Chancellor to explain the difference between the Treasury forming the Commission and the Crown forming the Commission, as it does now in the case of the Forestry Commission. I do not know why the Lord Chancellor is not regarded as the most suitable person to take the wide view of all these matters.
I do not think we could possibly agree that this is merely a Treasury matter of settling compensation here or there. It is very often a question of the perpetuation of works, which in a great number of cases have really been violations of local town planning arrangements, and which would he very detrimental to the proper development of various areas of the country. Because of that I feel that the composition of this Commission should be such as really to give protection to local development and local authorities. If the appoint- ment of the Commission rested only with the Treasury, the tendency would be for finance to have an overwhelming power in the matter. In an Amendment which I and some of my hon. Friends have put down we suggest substituting for the Treasury the Minister of Town and Country Planning, but an arrangement which would ensure that the interests of town and country planning were represented on the Commission would be such as to meet the need which we feel is essential in this matter.
I cannot help thinking that it would be of great assistance to the Committee if the Chancellor would explain at an early stage what he means by his Amendment that the Commission should he appointed by His Majesty. Does that mean "appointed by His Majesty by Order in Council," which is the term the Chancellor himself uses in a later Amendment, because that makes a great deal of difference? I agree with the last speaker that so far from this being a purely Treasury matter this Clause is the most important one in the Bill. This is where the ordinary public, including the local authorities, are given protection, if necessary, against the Treasury and the Executive. When the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) spoke I doubted if he had read the Bill. His complaint of those of us who have done so, and have worked at the Bill and put down Amendments, is really a most ridiculous statement. Of course we have put down Amendments. If the Chancellor will explain exactly what he means by his Amendment, most of us would be very quickly able to make up our minds.
I feel it is now incumbent upon me to say a few words about the Amendment which stands in my name, in page 1, line 12, leave out "the Treasury" and insert "His Majesty." On the Second Reading of this Bill the opinion was expressed in various quarters of the House that a Commission appointed by the Treasury would almost inevitably be a Treasury-minded body, that it would act and be expected to act—I am paraphrasing—with a definite bias in favour of the Treasury. I said at the time that I do not for a moment accept that view. The functions of the Treasury, as the main central Department of Government, range very wide, and go far outside the sphere of finance. Nor is this Bill, despite what has been said by the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson), for example, primarily a Measure designed to save money for the Exchequer. In promoting this Bill the Treasury are actiing in their capacity as a central Department of Government, responsible to a large extent for the machinery of Government. It seemed most natural to those who were responsible for the framing of the Bill that this Commission should be appointed by the Treasury. The view has been expressed by my Noble Friend the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) that the Commission ought to be a quasi-judicial body—I dare say he would prefer not too much emphasis on "quasi"—that it should be an independent body, and should not be a mere instrument of the Executive. I absolutely agree with all that. What is the purpose of setting up such a body as this? It is to deal with matters involving a conflict of interest, to give an assurance to everybody that in this difficult and complicated process of clearing up our affairs after the war, interests of all kinds, public and private, shall have fair treatment.
I come to the reasons for the Amendment in regard to that appointment of the Commission. I do not think there is any ground for apprehension in the mind of any well-informed person—and I would include, very respectfully, all hon. Members in that category—about the result of an appointment by the Treasury; but we want to give confidence not merely in this House but everywhere, and there might be some ill-instructed persons who would think a Treasury Commission would have, as I said at the beginning, a Treasury bias. What is the alternative? Various suggestions have been made, including the appointment of the Commission by the Lord Chancellor. Not for one moment would I suggest that the Lord Chancellor was unqualified or an unsuitable authority to be entrusted with these particular functions. But when we are dealing with the structure and the machine of Government, we have to consider what is most appropriate, what fits in best with our general understanding of the distribution of responsibilities. The Lord Chancellor is unquestionably the best authority to deal with matters involving the selection of persons of legal know- ledge and experience, and he has around him many people who are very well qualified to assist him in the discharge of a function of that sort. But when we come to the selection of persons who are not to be appointed, for the most part, because of legal knowledge—unquestionably many of them will not be practising lawyers—but of people who will be Selected for their experience and standing, who will collectively give confidence to the public that the business which is coming before the Commission will be competently transacted, with reasonable promptitude, and with understanding, then the Lord Chancellor and I are in absolute agreement that that is not the sort of function which should specially be selected as a responsibility to be placed upon the shoulders of the Lord Chancellor.
Appointment by the Crown in the manner suggested has, it seems to me, this great advantage, that of course His Majesty will act constitutionally on Ministerial advice, and the Commission will be seen to be the instrument of public, Government and Parliament, set up without any particular leaning towards one Departmental interest rather than another. In practice the appointment will be made on the advice of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. That is how such things are done, and when the Commission has come into being it would have no kind of Departmental allegiance. I and my colleagues were very anxious that the purpose which the Government have in mind in setting up this Commission, which I explained on Second Reading, should be as clear as possible to the minds of all who are interested in this matter. That is the reason, and perhaps I have said enough to explain it, why we have suggested, in view of the doubts and misgivings that have been expressed here, appointment by the Crown.
I have just said that His Majesty would act upon advice and that in a case of this kind the advice would be that of the Prime Minister of the day. That is how the appointment would be made. There are many precedents for that.
I was going on to deal with a rather different aspect, which has been raised by previous speakers, who have suggested that an attempt should be made, in the setting up of the Commission, to find people who were specially qualifwd to deal with particular aspects—agriculture, planning, forestry, whatever it might be, and that it should be expressed in the wording of the Statute. I suggest to the Committee that that would be a very great mistake. We do not want people who regard themselves, and will be regarded as, partisans. Undoubtedly we want so to constitute the Commission that its members will be generally regarded as competent to form a judgment on issues affecting various kinds of interests—amenity, orderly planning, agriculture, whatever it might be. We want the Commission to act as a whole. We provide incidentally that the Commission should be able to act notwithstanding a vacancy in its numbers. What would the position be if the members were chosen as representing particular interests? One vacancy might be thought to invalidate the findings of the Commission, or at any rate to undermine its authority. In later Amendments we shall endeavour to secure the insertion of words to make it absolutely clear that the Commission has to consider every sort of interest that may be affected, and to hold the balance fairly as between one interest and another. That was very much in our minds-in the suggestions we made in regard to the constitution and the appointment of the Commission.
A further question which was raised was, What do we mean by appointment by "His Majesty"? Is it appointment by Order in Council, and why do we say later in the Bill that certain action may be taken by His Majesty by Order in Council and do not say here that the appointment has to be by Order in Council? The precedents as regards the form of words used in the case of appointments by His Majesty point in all directions. In some cases the statement is simply that the appointment is made by His Majesty, and everyone knows, what that means. In some cases the appointment is under the Sign Manual, and in yet other cases by Order in Council. The reason for putting in "Order in Council" when it comes to winding up the Commission is that that is a formal act, not con- cerned merely with putting an end to the appointment of particular individuals but bringing to an end the operations contemplated by the Bill as a whole. The more formal step of an Order in Council provides an instrument, which might be quoted in the courts, bringing the operations connected with the work of the Commission formally to an end. I think I have explained why the Government make this proposal, and I hope that on further consideration hon. Members will agree that my Amendment is well conceived and that it will help to give confidence to those who may he affected by the operations of the Bill and should be accepted by the Committee.
I feel very much dissatisfied with the latter part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech. I was moved when he said he did not wish this Commission to be weighed down by any Departmental interest, and that the appointment should be made on the advice of the Prime Minister, but if that is the case surely here is an opportunity to put it in the Bill and thus to make it clear that it is on the advice of the Prime Minister or the Privy Council that this appointment will be made. I have read what I could about the precedents, and it is clear that the King can only act by the Great Seal in four ways: by fiat, by Order in Council, by Sign Manual Warrant or by Sign Manual Warrant preceded by an Order in Council. In the case of the Forestry Commission and the Unemployment Assistance Board the appointments were made by Sign Manual Warrant. If the Chancellor wishes this appointment to be made in the same way let that be expressed in the Bill. If we put nothing in we leave a charming and delightful vagueness.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself is the King's Minister. If he as Chancellor makes an appointment it is an appointment by His Majesty. Indeed, there is no Minister of the Crown who is not, when he does an executive act, executing something on behalf of His Majesty, and I suggest that if we prefer the method of appointment by His Majesty by Order in Council to appointments by the Lord Chancellor—and I must say the first part of the Chancellor's speech persuaded me—we should at least say formally that this Commission is to be appointed by His Majesty by Order in Council. Why, when we have taken care in Clause 3 to make the disbandment of the Commission formal, should we not also see that due formality is observed over the even more important act of appointing the Commission? I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider this matter. As hon. Members have said it is most vital to the Bill that an independent Commission should be appointed. If we can have that safeguard it will help us in the consideration of the other Clauses. I ask that we have the appointment made by Order in Council.
I do not feel very strongly in favour of either the Amendment moved from the back benches or the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think it is important that we should know exactly what we are doing and appreciate what differences there are between the proposals I understand the original objection was that since the Treasury have an interest in this matter they ought not to control the Commission. Whether that was a sound objection or not I do not know. The Commission will perform certain judicial functions. A great many judicial or quasi-judicial functions are performed by officials under the control of the Treasury—the district valuers, the Income Tax Central Commissioners, and a great many others. It may not be a wholly satisfactory system, but it exists. If the Chancellor thinks, as he said on Second Reading, that there was not any real substance in the objection I could well follow that argument, but in that case he ought to have stuck to his guns. If there was nothing in the objection he ought not to have made a concession. If, on the other hand, he thought a concession ought to be made, either because there was substance in the grievance or because it might appear that there was substance in it, then he ought to have made a real concession and not an imaginary or illusory one.
Unless I have gravely misunderstood the matter his concession means nothing whatever. Instead of the Commission being appointed by the Treasury it will be appointed by the Prime Minister. He is the First Lord of the Treasury. I am not greatly interested in whether it is done by Order in Council, or under the Great Seal, or however it is done. The important point is whether the Commission are to be independently appointed. It is all very well to say that the Treasury will not do it, but that the First Lord of the Treasury, the Prime Minister, will. Who is to advise the Prime Minister? He will not put a lot of names in a hat, [An HON. MEMBER: "Which hat?"] Someone will suggest to him that such and such persons are suitable. No doubt he will have a right of veto. He will be able to look at a name and say: "I do not like him; can't you suggest somebody else?" It seems to me that the people who will advise the First Lord of the Treasury about what appointments he shall make will be the Treasury, so if the Chancellor's Amendment is accepted we shall have changed nothing whatever.
An hon. Member near me said just now that when he found 40 pages of Amendments to a Bill all put down by Tories that was conclusive evidence that it was a good Bill. I am not prepared to go so far as that; it may be prima facie evidence but it is not conclusive evidence. The point is that there are 40 pages of Amendments and it will take a long time to get through them, and if we are to waste a lot of time in debating the difference between propositions which have no substantial difference it is playing with the Committee. If the Government want to stick to their original intentions let them say so and take their courage in both hands. If they want to make a change then let them make a change and tell us exactly what the change is and how it will work. I come into the Committee and find that on the first Amendment in 40 pages of Amendments we are devoting a long time to defending a Purely imaginary concession which is no substantial concession at all.
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) has missed the real point. He speaks of 40 pages of Amendments and of wasting time, but it has already been pointed out that this question is really vital to the whole Bill. It is the most important Amendment there is.
If the hon. Member would only let me get on with my speech, as I allowed him to go on with his, perhaps we should waste less time. This is an Amendment of fundamental importance because it concerns the atmosphere in which this Measure will be administered, and whether it gains the confidence not only of this House but of the community outside. As one who took part in the Second Reading Debate I want to thank the Chancellor for the real concession he has made to the opinions then expressed. Unlike the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne I consider it is a very real concession. I cannot fully share the views expressed by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) because this is the way the matter commends itself to me. The Chancellor has suggested the words "His Majesty." What does that mean? It means His Majesty on the advice of his Ministers, and the spokesman is obviously the Prime Minister. To that extent it is, one may say, an appointment by the Prime Minister, but it is not merely so. I myself have always thought that even if we left it to the Treasury we could rely upon those who administer that Department to realise their responsibility in this matter and probably to appoint those in whom we would have confidence.
Furthermore, I agree with what the Chancellor has said about the undesirability of pinning down the personnel of this Commission to representatives of certain interests such as those suggested in the Amendment of my right hon. and gallant friend the Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope). In a later Amendment the Chancellor indicates the direction in which the Commission shall act without pinning them down to principles or to representing definite interests. I think myself that is wise and achieves the object we have in view, I do not believe the Chancellor's Amendment is an unreal Amendment. I do not necessarily say that it is going to achieve a different Commission from what was in the minds of the Government when they produced the Bill, but it will bring a great deal more assurance to most Members of this House and to the community outside, whether they are personally interested or not. The fact is that all these enormous interests are to have fair consideration, and that when the final decisions are reached the country may be satisfied that the very best efforts have been made to reach a fair conclusion. For those reasons, I support the attitude of the Chancellor.
I fully agree that this is the most important Clause in the Bill. Certain Ministers are being given power to acquire the land of this country. A Commission is to be set up, which will hear the objections to that acquisition. But that Commission will be merely an advisory body to the Minister. I desire, first, that the Commission shall represent the various interests, agricultural, town and country planning, and so on; and, at the same time, that it shall be not merely an advisory body, but an executive body. That is the principle underlying many of the Amendments to which I have put my name. I understand from the Chancellor that his Amendment will meet those points of view: that it will enable the Commission to be appointed by His Majesty and to represent the various interests; and also that a later Amendment will give the Commission executive power to deal with our grievances. If that is so, the Chancellor has more or less met our objections.
I am not quite sure whether the Amendment in the names of my hon. Friends and myself—to insert:
after consultation with the Minister of Town and Country Planning and Minister of Agriculture"—
is one that can be discussed now; but nothing has been said so far about it. In case it is to be moved, I should like to say a word about it, if this is the proper stage. Before that, however, I should like to refer to the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am not sure that his conclusion may not be right and possibly his Amendment may be the best of the various Amendments suggested, but I think not, on the whole. He told us that there was no doubt at all that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the person best fitted for the selection of persons of legal knowledge and experience. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry—that the Lord Chancellor is the person best fitted to appoint to all high legal office. That may be true, but the Lord Chancellor does not do so. The most important ones are selected by the Prime Minister
—the Lords of Appeal, and so on. It did not seem to me that my right hon. Friend's principle there formed a very good first foundation stone for his argument, nor did I quite follow the second foundation stone for his argument. With deepest respect for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Committee and the Chair, I was not quite sure of the propriety, constitutionally or even perhaps from the point of view of privilege, of the second foundation stone of his argument, which appeared to be that he was authorised by our Noble Friend the Lord Chancellor to say that our Noble Friend waived aside the poisoned chalice—a consecrated phrase.
That seems to me to be an improper argument, and I am sure an inappropriate one; when this House is considering who is the most fit person to perform this function, I do not think it proper for any person, however eminent, to say, "Whoever is to appoint, it shall not be I"—or that it is, with respect to the Chair, even in Order. Nor is it true that the Lord Chancellor never does exercise functions of this sort. I have not refreshed my memory: I have not consulted books, even my own; but I would ask, on a vague memory, on which I would not hang a dog, what about pensions appeals and such things? The question is whether the Lord Chancellor is appropriate when you want to be quite sure that what is to be looked for is men of a judicial habit of mind, who will consider the interest of our policy and the country rather than the convenience, or even the policy, of the Administration. Is it in those circumstances best that the House should direct that the Minister primarily responsible shall be the Minister who is the keeper of His Majesty's conscience and the head of His Majesty's judiciary. I am still not quite clear why it should be thought preferable to choose the First Lord of the Treasury, nor how, by choosing the First Lord of the Treasury, who is the top boy of that Department, rather than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is the second boy and runner-up, you make any great difference.
With those preliminary remarks, I should like to say a word about my own Amendment. I am not quite sure that this is the best Amendment. [Interruption.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer may be amused; he may easily be positive about all his Amendments, but he does not have to think them all up himself, and that makes confidence come easier. I think there is something to be said for his Amendment but there has been an attempt made to put across in this connection a doctrine which, under the guise of Ministerial modesty, threatens to strengthen the hands of the Administration as against the House. That is an over-strained, and, I think, ridiculously excessive, doctrine of joint responsibility.
As far as I can see, the practical effect of putting in the First Lord of the Treasury, rather than anybody else, would be this. It would mean that any question about the composition of the Commission, whatever anybody might want, would necessarily be a matter of confidence: the Whips would be on, and all' that. I think that that is the main difference; whereas, when the thing is the business of some one Minister, the Minister has to make many decisions, small and large, some of which he knows about and some of which he does not know about, and he has to decide which of those decisions can be well kept within the office, and which are matters which might raise the doctrine of joint responsibility, where it is his business to make sure that he has the Cabinet with him. The test of whether he guesses wrong is, suppose a row ensues, what this House decides. There, is the test. If it is His Majesty nominally—which practically means the Prime Minister, and either implicitly or actually, the whole Cabinet—there can be no question of that sort arising; and, therefore, the Amendment would tend to make more difficult the raising of any question in this House about the composition of the Commission than with any of the other proposed solutions—I think so: I am not dead certain, and I am open to the correction of the learned Attorney-General or anybody else. If that is so, the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friends and myself may possibly be, the best. It should continue to be, as I think in a very large sense it must be, primarily a Treasury responsibility; but there should be a statutory authority upon Treasury Ministers to consult certain other Ministers. It is quite possible, among a series of, I agree, rather dubious alternatives, that that is the best, and I seriously invite the Committee to consider whether it is not the best.
I feel that the Amendment of the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) is, in fact, half way between that of the Chancellor and that of my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope); but neither of them—although I have my name to one—quite meets the point which has been put again and again in this House on a series of matters. Over a long period of years this House has been trying to find a definite alternative to the Executive's power in an independent tribunal, and every time there has been severe controversy. The House has been at loggerheads with the Executive time and time again. I think that on every one of those occasions—certainly on the one or two that I remember—the suggestion that has appealed most strongly to those Members who opposed the Government has been that the Lord Chancellor was the man most likely to produce that independent tribunal. I feel that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has gone nowhere in meeting the suggestion put forward by my noble Friend the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). His Amendment is on the face of it a concession, but it is in fact no concession at all. On the other hand, my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller), in his Amendment, goes, I believe, as far as this Committee would like to go without really altering the sense of the Clause at all. Although I have my name to another Amendment, I feel that his suggestion is really the best.
The controversy is really in two parts. The first is that which concerns the Chairman. On that I have no doubt whatever that the method proposed by the Chancellor is just the same as at present envisaged, and we ought to stand firm, and try to drive the Chancellor into making the concession that the Chairman shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor. In regard to the Members of the Commission, I do not feel so strongly. I have come round to the Chancellor's argument that there should be no partisan spirit in the choosing of members. I think that, on balance, he is right there. I am quite certain that we should have the Chairman appointed by the judicial head of the Government. I feel that the Chancellor is splitting hairs, and if he looks at the Amendment moved in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry he will see that its acceptance would be entirely satisfactory.
I cannot see the slightest difference between the Amendment proposed by the Chancellor and the Bill as it stands. I believe I am correct in saying that the real position of the Prime Minister is First Lord of the Treasury. The Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledged that everybody was satisfied with the suggestion that the Commission should be appointed by the Treasury. I desire to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller). That Amendment would help everybody and would also meet the wishes of the people outside. It is an acknowledged fact that when a committee or person is appointed by the Lord Chancellor it is done purely from a judicial point of view.
I should not have been at all happy if the Chancellor had insisted on the Clause as it stands, leaving the Treasury with power to make the necessary appointments of the Commission. In considering the various Amendments before us, I agree with my right hon. Friend that on the whole—and it is a narrow balance in any direction—it would be unwise to leave the appointment of these members to the Lord Chancellor. It has been pointed out that they must be judicially-minded men. That is true but it is not everything; they must be men who are familiar with the kind of problems which are likely to come before them. Therefore, the Lord Chancellor, whose appointments would be devoted to a particular profession, would not be the most suitable person in whose hands to place appointments of this nature.
Then comes the question of whether it would be advisable to have Ministerial representatives on this Commission. Every Minister and representatives of every Ministry, such as the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Works, would perhaps tend to associate it with the particular view of that particular Ministry. I think it might cause alarm if that particular Amendment were accepted. Why not leave the matter as it originally was in the hands of the Treasury? There again, as this is a Treasury Bill and the Treasury are guarding the public purse, for obvious reasons I do not think it would be advisable to leave the appointment in the hands of the Treasury. The Chancellor is now suggesting that it should be put into the hands of the First Lord of the Treasury. That appears on the face of it to be splitting hairs, but I do not think that that is quite the case.
If I may here join issue with my hon. Friend the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), I would say that I do not quite agree with him. I thought he was not quite certain in his mind about the case. What is the position if the appointment is put in the hands of the Prime Minister of the day? I think the difference is very substantial. On the face of it he is really receiving the appointment as the King's First Minister. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University will interrupt me if I am wrong, but there are certain matters which it has been become customary to allocate to the Prime Minister per se and not as First Lord of the Treasury. He has an immense power of patronage in all kinds of different directions. The Prime Minister of the day appoints bishops and archbishops, on behalf of His Majesty of course; he appoints governors of the B.B.C. and governors abroad, on behalf of His Majesty again. Surely he is exercising his powers, admittedly on behalf of His Majesty, but none the less as Prime Minister. Why does he do it? He has at his disposal a secretariat who are accustomed to dealing with matters of that sort and who, if I may use a vulgarism, "know the chaps." I think they would be more likely than the Treasury to advise a good choice. Certainly they would be likely to recommend a better and wider choice than if the Lord Chancellor were the appointing power. Therefore, for those reasons I submit that the Amendment which has been proposed by my right hon. Friend is a wise one.
As one of the spectators of this battle which has been proceeding on the other side, I have one or two short remarks. We are advised that the Lord Chancellor is a good man for making this selection. Why? Because the Lord Chancellor can be relied upon to choose the safest possible men from the point of view of private property. There is not the faintest chance of the Lord Chancellor choosing anyone of a revolu- tionary character. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not press his own Amendment, but should keep the Clause as it is. The important thing in a Bill of this kind, and in a situation such as this, is that the Commission should be partisan. I ask the Chancellor to withdraw his Amendment.
I suggest that whoever makes these appointments will make much the same kind of selection. It seems to me obvious that the appointments will be made from among the people who are most suited. Therefore, I am not one of those who think that the matter is of great importance in that respect, but I do think it is important in another respect. These matters dealt with in this Bill will concern so many people all over the country that it is essential they should feel that whoever is responsible for the appointment of the members of this Commission should be above all suspicion of having any interest other than that of the general good. This implies, I think, that the Minister responsible for advising His Majesty should not be the head of any Department concerned. I do not agree, therefore, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his suggestion that it should be anybody connected with the Treasury. I submit that the Amendment suggesting the selection of the Lord Chancellor is the best. The Lord Chancellor is largely outside politics—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—outside politics in the sense that he is not likely to take a strictly political view, although I agree that he might not be inclined to put revolutionaries on this Commission. In this I think he would be quite right, but this, of course, is a matter of personal opinion and political outlook. But I think the suggestion that the Lord Chancellor would necessarily appoint persons with purely legal qualifications is, I think, absurd.
I should favour the proposal which suggests the Lord Chancellor as the person to appoint this Commission, because in the considerable correspondence I have had on this subject the writers generally seem to be distrustful of the Treasury—quite unfairly, I am certain. At the same time we should take this attitude of mind into consideration, and as this is a matter which affects so many of the public—small property owners as well as large property owners and local authorities—it would be well to set up a Commission whose impartiality can give no cause for anxiety. In the public interest generally it is essential in a matter which affects so many people to have a body which is above any kind of suspicion of being infected with the Treasury point of view.
I desire to speak on a matter which is of very great importance to the country. I have in mind the consideration of interests such as the maintenance of a stretch of country which we in Norfolk and Suffolk know as Breckland, the value of which would not be very apparent from an agricultural point of view but which is of the greatest importance to such people as naturalists and so on. There are, of course, in the country other places of a similar nature which have suffered encroachments during the war and which, if the country is to maintain its attractiveness for those who live in it, must be restored to their primitive wildness. It is therefore of great importance that we should choose a judicial body which is able to give way not only to material considerations but to the more immaterial but extremely important considerations such as I have mentioned. I would prefer to support the Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) and others. I think that is the best suggestion which has been made, and I hope that, after further consideration, the Chancellor will be able to accept it.
We have had an interesting discussion, and, of course, it is entirely a question for the Committee whether they feel that the arguments have been put and they are now in a position to come to a decision, but I would like, on behalf of the Government and my right hon. Friend, to say a few words on the points that have been made, particularly, of course, since my right hon. Friend spoke. There are a number of Amendments and suggestions on the Order Paper. They are a varied list, and some hon. Members like their own Amendments while some have not liked their own but have preferred other people's. The argument, I think, has rather concentrated on the question of the Lord Chancellor and the suggestion of my right hon. Friend regard- ing His Majesty. The suggestion in the Amendment put down by my right hon. Friend really makes very little change in the Bill as introduced, and those Who put forward the argument that it does I believe to be entirely wrong.
We have many cases on the Statute Book in which a particular Minister may appoint a committee or do an act of one kind or another. The Chancellor is the effective head of the Treasury and he would be the one to make the appointment in the Bill as it was introduced. That was objected to, but, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), it is certainly not alone a Treasury matter. The Minister of Town and Country Planning is concerned, the Minister of Agriculture is concerned, and there may very well be other Ministers involved. It is one of those cases where it is wrong to say that there is only one Ministry interested. If a committee was appointed to deal with public health, everybody might say that the Minister of Health was the man to deal with it, but here we are setting up a body to deal with a very wide range of interests, and my right hon. Friend showed that there was very considerable force in the argument, without admitting that the Treasury would not take it into account, that the Commission should represent the interests with which it would have to deal. The way to meet that criticism most completely is the way which my right hon. Friend has adopted. To say that the Commission is to be appointed by His Majesty puts it into the top category in importance and shows that it is regarded by this House as one dealing with matters of wide and general interest and that it is appropriate that the appointment should be put under a particular Minister.
I am afraid I must disagree in toto with my hon. Friend. There is, of course, the Prime Minister, who is the person to submit names to His Majesty in these cases, and he will consult the whole of his colleagues in the Ministry. In cases of this kind, it is the duty of the Prime Minister, who has his col- leagues the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Town and Country Planning and the Lord Chancellor whom he can consult. As pointed out by the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick), who expressed what I am trying to say better than I am able to express it, the submission which the Prime Minister makes represents the view of Ministers as a whole. To come to the negative side, with regard to the Lord Chancellor, as was pointed out in discussing pensions appeals tribunals, it is inconvenient to have the Minister of Health appointing the medical members and the Lord Chancellor appointing the legal members. He appoints them all, but his main function in our Constitution is surely to deal with legal appointments. We feel that, by putting this form into the Bill, we have met, and more completely met, all the criticisms that were put forward in a better way than that suggested by any of the Amendments on the Order Paper. The Prime Minister, being the adviser of the King in this matter, and head of the Government, is in a position to take the advice of his colleagues, and has a great deal of patronage and means of finding out who are good men for particular positions, as no other man can do. We do, with confidence, submit this proposal to the Committee as a change which really meets the criticism more completely than any other suggestion which has been made.
It is not clear to me what my right hon. Friend is actually doing by this Amendment. Surely, we could, under this Amendment, have an appointment by Warrant under the Sign Manual, to be countersigned by any one of the distinguished right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench? That is actually, I believe, how the Forestry Commission is appointed—under Warrant under the Sign Manual. Would it be possible to have an appointment by Order in Council?
Yes, I think so. I am sorry, but I meant to deal with that point. There are different forms in our Statute Book, and I think this is the best form. It is used, for instance, with regard to the appointment of Ministers. The appointment is actually made under the Sign Manual, but there is no need to put that in. I do not think there are any precedents for saying that the appointment has to be made by His Majesty on the advice of the Prime Minister. Where advice is tendered by the Prime Minister this is the normal form. There are many precedents where appointments are made by His Majesty on the advice of some subordinate Minister or particular Department, and I think it would be throwing doubt on the position if we sought to put in any special words. That is the intention, and my right hon. Friend has clearly stated it, and we believe that those are the right words.
If this Commission is to be appointed, it has to be a Commission in which the fullest confidence can be reposed. It appears that, if we agree to the Lord Chancellor appointing it, the control of this House has simply gone at the very beginning, for the Lord Chancellor will appoint a Commission and this House will have no word in the appointment or be able to influence the appointment in any way. From that point of view the Chancellor's Amendment seems the best, but I am sorry that the Chancellor has not consented to what I would call departmentalise the matter in accordance with the idea of the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope)—that he should put on the Commission representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Board of Trade, the Treasury and the Ministry of Town and Country Planning.
I say that because of the variety of interests involved in this matter. There is the question of works on private land. Owners of private land in this House have always been in the habit of speaking for themselves and they do not need any defence from me. It appears that certain war factories have been placed in situations where they may well become centres of new satellite towns. I do not think that is a good principle upon which to plan the country, and it appears to me that, in order to get the best possible advice, we ought to have the opinions of the Minister of Town and Country Planning on an issue of that character. It is a matter that cannot be dealt with by the principle of the profit and loss account as far as the Treasury is concerned. Then there are many more industries on land owned by municipalities, probably on land which they have earmarked for housing. Here, again, the Treasury, in my estimation, is not the proper autho- rity to appoint a Commission to deal with land, or war factories upon land, which has been earmarked for housing.
May I ask my hon. Friend whether, in the event of a war factory being on such land as he has instanced, he is suggesting that the effect of putting the appointment of one member of the Commission into the hands of the Minister of Town and Country Planning would lead to the demolition of that factory under this Bill?
I am suggesting that the interests of the corporation concerned would be better looked after if there was a member nominated by the Minister of Town and Country Planning on that Commission. I do not put it any higher than that. It seems to me a very reasonable deduction to make. Again, we know that there are suggested Amendments to the Bill from the Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society. They are very much concerned about war industries placed on land in their ownership. The Treasury is not the proper Ministry, and is not the best Ministry, to deal with war industries on land like that. In my estimation, the Minister of Town and Country Planning has a very definite stake there, and his advice should be sought, and it can only be sought in the best way by his having a member on the Commission. I see many war factories, some of them placed on very good agricultural land, and I can quite imagine a position, if inspired by the Treasury atmosphere, in which this Commission would be saying that a factory was too expensive to be simply demolished and the land restored to the purposes of agriculture; but if the Minister of Agriculture has a representative on that Commission it seems to me that the purposes of agriculture in this country will be far better served. Generally speaking, my view is that if this Commission had been departmentalised it would have given greater confidence to the many and varied interests concerned.
I know where a war factory has been placed on a green belt which a corporation was preserving for the amenities of its citizens. It is a very expensive factory. I should have no hesitation in saying that it ought to come down. It is a very valuable factory, but I am concerned more about the amenities of future generations than about the Treasury losing a little money on these transactions. I should certainly, if I could put my hand up in the matter, vote for that factory being pulled down and demolished and the land being restored to the corporation for the purpose for which it was going to be used, namely, to provide pleasure, recreation and amenities for its citizens. If the Commission is appointed by the Treasury, and there is a Treasury outlook on the matter, the factory will remain. The country will definitely lose, although the Treasury may gain a little in cash. I am sorry that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not agreed to departmentalise.
I listened with the greatest care to what the learned Attorney-General said and I entirely accept his statement as to the effect of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment in raising the status of.the Commission. Obviously, a commission appointed by His Majesty has a higher status than a commission appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it is still open for the Treasury to exercise an influence on the appointment of the members of this Commission. I have no doubt that, if the Chancellor's Amendment is accepted, the Treasury will have a voice in who is to be appointed, but the public will not know of it and we shall not know of it, and we shall not have any opportunity of saying anything about it or of knowing anything about it.
The purpose of my Amendment, for which the learned Attorney-General has stated there are many precedents, is to have the status of the Commission raised through the appointment being made by His Majesty, but to exclude all possibility of such advice being given to His Majesty from the Treasury without our being able to hold anyone responsible. The Amendment in my name and that of my hon. Friends provides that His Majesty, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, shall make the appointment. The Lord Chancellor can, I suppose, if he wishes, take the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and probably he would do so in a matter in which the Chancellor was greatly concerned. It is for these reasons that I wish to move the Amendment. I would have liked the learned Attorney-General to have dealt more specifically with it, if the Government are not able to accept it.
There was a general discussion on the Amendment which has just been dealt with and if any hon. Member wishes to divide the Committee on any of the other Amendments, those Amendments will be called. I understand that there may be a wish to divide on the Amendment coming immediately after the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the name of the ion Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller)—in page 1, line 12, leave out "the Treasury," and insert "His Majesty on the advice of the Lord Chancellor." If the Committee wish to divide on any other Amendment, I will call it.
I do not think that the Committee would wish to divide on the third Amendment on the Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member far Oxford (Mr. Hogg)—in page 1, line 11. leave out from the second "of," to end of Sub-section, and insert:
members (not being less than five) as the Lord Chancellor may think expedient and shall include members chosen for their knowledge and experience of agriculture, architecture, industry, town and country planning and the conduct of legal proceedings.
I am afraid that we cannot discuss that Amendment. We have had a general discussion and we cannot have another discussion, as it was understood that we should discuss the various Amendments together. If hon. Members wish to divide, that is another matter, but we cannot go on discussing the Amendments.
We have had a general discussion on half-a-dozen Amendments. It was agreed that it should be a wide discussion so that the various points could be raised, but the discussion was on the first Amendment and that covered the other Amendments. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has now been called and it will be put to the Committee for decision without a discussion. I will now proceed to do that.
|Division No. 13.]||AYES.||[4.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyts, Lt.-Col. Sir G. J.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Gratton, J. F.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Holdsworth, Sir H.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (Northwich)|
|Berry, Hon. G. L. (Buckingham)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Studholme, Major H. G.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh Cen.)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Woolley, Major W. E.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)||York, Major C.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Peters, Dr. S. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gammans, Gapt. L, D.||Simmonds, Sir O. E.||Mr. Manningham-Buller and|
|Graham, Captain A. C.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)||Commander Galbraith.|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Ellis, Sir G.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Charleton, H. C.||Emery, J. F.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. (Sc'h. Univ.)||Chater, D.||Entwistle, Sir C. F.|
|Apsley, Lady||Cluse, W. S.||Fleming, Squadron-Leader E. L.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Cocks, F. S.||Foster, W.|
|Barr, J.||Colegate, W. A.||Frankel, D.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Colman, N. C. D.||Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Conant, Major R. J. E.||Gallacher, W.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Cove, W. G.||Gibbins, J.|
|Benson, G.||Critchley, A.||Gibbons, Lt.-Col. W. E.|
|Berry, Major Hon. J. S. (Hitchin)||Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Gibson, Sir C. G.|
|Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale)||Culverwell, C. T.||Glanville, J. E.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Daggar, G.||Gledhill, G.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Grant-Ferris, Wing-Commander R.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Granville, E. L.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davison, Sir W. H.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Greenwell, Colonel T. G.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Douglas, F. C. R.||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Drewe, C.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Groves, T. E.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Gruffydd, Professor W. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||Guest, Lt.-Col. H. (Drake)|
|Bull, B. B.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gt'n, N.)||Guest, Lt.-Cal. Hn. O. (Camberwell)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Dunglass, Lord||Guy, W. H.|
|Burden, T. W.||Eccles, D. M.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.|
|Burke, W. A.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Cadogan, Maj. Sir E.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Hardie, Mrs. Agnes|
|Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley)||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.|
|Cary, R. A.||Edwards, Walter J. (Whilechapel)||Harvey, T. E.|
|Challen, Flight-Lieut. C.||Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.||Henderson. J. (Ardwick)|
|Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Marshall, F.||Sidney, Captain W. P.|
|Heneage, Lt.-Col. Sir A. P.||Mathers, G.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Hepburn, Major P. G. T. Buchan.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Sloan, A.|
|Hewlett, T. H.||Messer, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Hicks, E. G.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Snadden, W. MoN.|
|Higgs, W. F.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Somervell, R. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Montague, F.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Mort, D. L.||Spears, Maj.-Gen. Sir E. L.|
|Hughes, R. Moelwyn||Mott-Radclyffe, Major C. E.||Stephen, C.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Muff, G.||Stewart, W. Joseph (H'gton-le-Spring)|
|Hunter, Sir T.||Murray, J. D. (Spennymoor)||Stokes, R. R.|
|Hutchinson, G, C. (Ilford)||Naylor, T. E.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Jeffreys, General Sir G. D.||Nunn, W.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray & Nairn)|
|Jennings, R.||Oldfield, W. H.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|John, W.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Suirdale, Colonel Viscount|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Jones, Sir L. (Swansea, W.)||Owen, Major Sir G.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W.||Sykes, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hon. L. W.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.|
|Keeling, E. H.||Pearson, A.||Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Keir, Mr. Cazalet||Perkins, W. R. D.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Kendall, W. D.||Petherick, M.||Thorneycroft, Capt. G. E. P. (Stafford)|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Key, C. W.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Tinker, J. J.|
|King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Turton, R. H.|
|Kirby, B. V.||Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Lancaster, Lieut.-Col. C. G.||Procter, Major H. A.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Lawson, H. M. (Skipton)||Pym, L. R.||Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, S.)|
|Lawson, J. J. (Chester-le-Street)||Quibell, D. J. K.||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Rankin, Sir R.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Lipson, D. L.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Watson, W. McL.|
|Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)||Watt, G. S. Harvie (Richmond)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Ladywood)||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Loftus, P. C.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)|
|Longhurst, Captain H. C.||Ritson, J.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Roberts, W.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Macdonald, Captain Peter (I. of W.)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Willoughby, de Eresby, Major Lord|
|McGovern, J.||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)||Windsor, W.|
|Mack, J. D.||Ross Taylor, W.||Windsor-Clive, Lt.-Col. G.|
|McKie, J. H.||Rothschild, J. A. de||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|McKinlay, A. S.||Rowlands, G.||Woodburn, A.|
|Maclay, Hon. John S. (Montrose)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|Magnay, T.||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)||Wright, Group Capt. J. (Erdingl[...]|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Salt, E. W.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Mander, Sir G. le M.||Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selk'k)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Manning, C. A. G.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Major A. S. L. Young and|
Question put, and agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 1, line 22, at end, insert "or of the Civil Service."
I do not think it is necessary to say much in support of this Amendment. It is obviously undesirable that an hon. Member of this House should be a member of the Commission and it would be equally undesirable, in my view, if a member of the Civil Service should be a member of this Commission. I hope, therefore, that the Chancellor will be able to accept this Amendment without it being necessary for the Committee to spend much time upon it, since it is obviously necessary and desirable that those words should be inserted.
I can do this for my hon. Friend—give him an absolutely unqualified assurance that we have no intention whatever that a member of the Civil Service should be appointed to this Commission. I entirely agree that such a thing would be undesirable. At the same time I think my hon. Friend will see that there are objections, on the grounds of creating precedents, to putting specific words in the Bill to that effect. If one were to begin on a number of specified exceptions—beyond, of course, the normal exception of hon. Members of the House of Commons, with which I understand my hon. Friend agrees—they might in the course of time become rather a long list. One can think of other classes of people of whom obviously it could be argued that they should not be members of particular bodies. Instances will readily occur to my hon. Friends in all quarters of the House and, therefore, I will not waste their time by citing instances. I can, however, give my hon. Friend an unqualified assurance upon this matter and I hope that, with that assurance, he will not think it necessary to press his Amendment.
May I ask one question about the last six words of the Amendment, "with the consent of the Treasury"? I think this relates to payment to members of the Commission and, therefore, it is necessary for the Treasury to give its consent. Am I right in assuming that it does not mean that the Treasury will interfere in any way?
Perhaps I may explain the point of these Amendments, which is that the appointment of the Secretary of the Commission shall be a matter not for the Treasury at all but for the Commission itself, and as regards other officers and servants of the Commission, they will also be appointed by the Commission subject to the consent of the Treasury.
Might I ask, in view of the change effected by the Amendment just passed, to whom should questions now be addressed relative to the operations of this Commission? Presumably, under the Bill as it first was drafted, these questions would have been addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but now, in view of this Amendment, I am not quite clear to whom we may put questions regarding the operations and activities of the Commission, and I should like to be informed on that subject.
If we invest this Commission, as I hope we shall, with all the character and quality of a quasi-judicial body, occasions will, I suppose, not very frequently arise for putting questions in regard to the conduct of the Commission itself, because it will be the master of its own functions. Such questions as may arise concerning the Commission, its composition, its status, what I might call its internal economy, would properly be put to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister because there will be no other Minister indicated as having any responsibility whatever with regard to the matter.