Soap (Rationing) Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th July 1946.

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7.37 P.m.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield

I beg to move, That the Order, dated 18th June, 1946, amending the Soap (Licensing of Manufacturers and Rationing) (No. 2) Order, 1945 (S.R. & O., 1946, No. 871), a copy of which amending Order was presented on 24th June, be annulled. I move this Motion in conjunction with my hon. Friends in order to challenge the Government to justify the cut of one-seventh in the soap ration, which has been recently made. We take this course because we recognise the great hardship which has been inflicted upon households throughout the country through this cut. The cut is especially severe in the hard water districts. It also affects laundries, and, perhaps, I should disclose that I have a small private interest in that business. It will have the effect that there will be little chance now of laundries being able to provide any increased assistance for the harassed housewife. At the same time, of course, it must be remembered that the overriding difficulty of the laundries has been the shortage of labour.

The announcement was first made by the Minister of Food in a broadcast on 16th June. That announcement was supplemented by his Parliamentary Secretary at a Press conference on the morning of 18th June. That was the day upon which the House reassembled after the Whitsun Recess. But no announcement or explanation was made to this House. The Order came into force on 23rd June, but was not presented to Parliament until 24th June. I repeat, that no comprehensive explanation has been made to this House of the necessity for this cut in the soap ration. Indeed, no comprehensive explanation has been made at all—at all events since the White Paper was issued in April.

The White Paper entitled, "The World Food Shortage," issued at the beginning of April, Command Paper 6785, contained four paragraphs dealing with the present situation of oils and fats. Turning over the pages, one comes to Part II of the White Paper entitled, "Measures Taken By His Majesty's Government To Meet The Crisis." It is rather significant that as one turns over these pages one finds no reference whatsoever to oils or fats, except under a short paragraph referring to whales. No reference is made to the great field of production of oils and fats, except the rather dismal account of the whaling prospects. I think that that curious omission of any constructive proposals is in keeping with the statement made by the Minister in the course of the Debate on 31st May. He then said: Our great difficulty—and we say this most openly and frankly—is in the great staples of cereals and fats, and it is there that we face a situation of great menace. It is in this respect, therefore, as my right hon. Friend has already mentioned, that we are going to take precautionary measures with which I will deal in greater detail later."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 31st May, 1946; Vol. 423, C. 1569.] He said that he would deal "in greater detail," but so far as fats are concerned he made no further reference in the course of the Debate, except for a very brief reference to Egyptian cotton seed. When one considers the contents and omissions in the White Paper, and the reference of the Minister to "precautionary measures," it is perfectly clear that the only type of precaution which the Government had in mind was restrictive in the sense of rationing. The confusion in the Ministry throughout this period seems to have been unfortunate. I will give one illustration. My right hon. Friend the Member for Southport (Mr. R. S. Hudson), in the course of the Debate on 4th April, made these observations: Before I go on to the question of home food production, I will deal with fats. I refer to the muddle of 22nd March. It will be remembered that on 23rd March, the papers came out with a statement emanating from the Ministry of Food that there was likely to be a cut of one-eighth of an ounce in margarine in the following eight days, and a reduction of one-seventh in the amount of soap. That was denied the following day from No. 10 Downing Street. It was stated that the Cabinet had not decided then and that if the cuts were made, they would be less than suggested. It will be remembered that the right hon Gentleman the Minister came back from Washington land was asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) to explain this matter. He started off by saying there was no contradiction; but on the following day he admitted that a regrettable error had been made.—[OFFCIAL REPORT, 4th April. 1946; Vol. 421, CS. 1421–22.] I ask the Minister what has occurred since then to decide the Government to make-a cut in the soap ration. Obviously, the matter was considered then, and was considered with some anxiety. Will the Minister, when he comes to reply, explain what developments have altered the decision of the Government? I am afraid that the confusion in the Department apparently still persists; it does not seem to be well acquainted with the facts of the business. I put down a Written Question, on 8th July, addressed to the Minister of Food, in which I asked him: what quantity of soap has been exported from the United Kingdom during each of the last three quarters, excluding soap for His Majesty's Forces; to what destination has it been consigned: and why was it exported. I also put down a Question for a written reply, addressed to the President of the Board of Trade, asking him: if he will state the tonnage and value of oils, fats and greases exported from the United Kingdom during the past nine months; and the destination and the purpose of such exports. Although I have pressed both Ministries since last Monday to let me have the replies to which I am entitled, they have been unable or unwilling to produce them. I can only think from what I know that they are unable to give a reply, because I had a message from the Board of Trade saying that they were having some difficulty in obtaining the facts. That seems a very strange answer to a straightforward, simple question on an essential matter, particularly when this Debate was in prospect. I hope that the Minister, during this Debate, will, at least, be able to give me the information for which I have asked. I would particularly like to know what exports have been made to the United States. I wish also to ask him about imports from the United States, because it was stated in the White Paper to which I have referred that, whereas before the war the United States was a large importer of fat, now, owing to developments, it has become a small net exporter. On that point, I would remind the House that on 14th February the then Minister of Food said: As a result of all these circumstances, in 1946 we shall be short of our total oil supplies by well over 100,000 tons. The cut of one ounce in the cooking fat ration will go some way to meet this position but not all the way. I shall endeavour to find means of replacing some of this deficiency this winter. I shall aim at getting more from American hogs, for example, for if hogs are to be killed in America owing to the shortage of foodstuffs, there should be more lard. But I warn the House that it is another dollar proposition."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February, 1946; Vol. 419, c. 576.] I ask the Minister whether the question of importing fats from the United States is still to be regarded as a dollar proposition because, last Saturday, it was announced by the Board of Trade that they would permit a great variety of articles, including cosmetics, imitation jewellery and fountain pens to be imported from the United States of America. If the question of the import of fats is still a dollar proposition, it seems to me to be a strange thing to say to the people of Birmingham, for instance: You have to incur a cut in your soap ration; but, at the same time, you are going to have the pleasure of finding the English market invaded by American imitation jewellery, so you will be able to enjoy some intense competition I would ask the Minister if he would tell us something about the production in West Africa. Yesterday, in the course of the Debate on colonial affairs, the Colonial Secretary said: A bumper crop of groundnuts had just been harvested in Nigeria. Supplies of this valuable source of fat, are, however, so short, and are likely to be for some years to come, that the Government have decided to make a special investigation of a project for large scale new production of groundnuts in East Africa. A team of expert investigators is now in Tanganyika carrying out that investigation. This is the point: We have also just decided to send a mission to West Africa to see what assistance can be given to increase production, and to speed up the transport of groundnuts and palm kernels."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1946; Vol. 425, C. 255–6.] I would ask, "Why only now?" Why is the Ministry only now deciding to take these steps, in view of the admittedly desperate shortage over here, because I understand that palm kernel oil is plentiful in West Africa? No doubt, it is a question of collection and transport, but why only now has the Ministry decided to take this act and send out a mission? Whether it will be helpful now is a matter on which I would like to express no opinion; but if it would be helpful now, would it not have been at least as helpful, if it had been sent some time ago? Surely, the question of vetting oil from West Africa, whether it is a question of production or collection or transport, is very largely a question of getting the native labour to work. As I understand it, the native of West Africa is not prepared to work, unless he is able to buy something with the money he earns. He is not interested in a savings campaign; he wants to be able to buy—whether it is jewellery or bicycles or sewing machines—something which we can produce. What are the Government doing to export the sort of things that the West African native desires to buy?

I will now pass to Australia. My information is—I cannot pledge myself as to its accuracy—that Australia has offered to sell to this country 5,000 tons of soap. I would ask the Minister to say whether that is correct or not, and, if it is correct, whether we accepted or rejected the offer; and, if we rejected it, why. With regard to the Argentine, on 26th June, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, in a written reply to a Question, said: Approximately 7.000 tons of linseed oil is being shipped from Argentina in Russian-owned tankers. The Combined Food Board have consented to the transaction on the understanding that the oil is sold to U.N.R.R.A as part of U.N.R.R.A.'s allocation and that it is distributed in territories for which U N.R.R.A. is responsible. I understand that the price for this oil has not been finally settled. —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th June 1946; Vol. 424, C. 185.] It is being shipped in Russian bottoms, and, therefore, is presumably going to Russian occupied territory, whether it is going to be distributed through the medium of U.N.R.R.A. or not. If this very precious oil is going from Argentina to Russia, without any serious attempt on our part to outbid Russia and obtain the oil for ourselves, I think that that is a grave misfortune, especially in view of the fact that Russia is now in occupation of Manchuria, which, before the war, was a great producer of soya bean oil—one of the greatest producers of vegetable oil in the world. Now that the Russians are there, we are getting none of this oil. If the Combined Food Board is going to assist Russia, surely we ought to insist that Russia should make some contribution to the oil to be distributed by the Combined Food Board.

I would also ask the Minister if he would tell us the present position with regard to Egyptian cotton seed. Are we getting any of that now? Has he made inquiries as to the possibility of getting substantial quantities of oil from the Babassu nut, which, I understand, grows prolifically in Brazil? There is also the possibility of getting quantities of poppy seed oil from Turkey, which is quite good for cooking purposes. Is the Minister of Agriculture trying to do anything to develop the growing of sunflower seeds in this country?

Now I come to the question of soap substitutes. If these are to be of any use in the present circumstances, when obviously we cannot use natural oils and fats in the process, they will have to be derived from petroleum or coal products. I am told that, so far, the use of soap substitutes has proved singularly disappointing—that if they cleanse, they are apt to damage the fabric. I hope that the Ministry will try to encourage more favourable developments. I understand that the Ministry of Food, in 1945, sent out a Committee to report on the German oil and fat industry. I should like to know whether it derived any hope from that quarter. The Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary have both said, on more than one occasion, that they are giving every encouragement to the development of soap substitutes, and I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what form that encouragement has taken. On 19th June, Lord Woolton made a speech, in which he said: I believe that if the Ministry of Food were to allow the importers of fat, who know where to get it a lot better than a lot of temporary civil servants, to go and find it, and give them a ceiling price, we would be surprised at the amount which would come to this country. The Government say it is impossible because they are being regulated by a Combined Food Board in Washington. But we do not want regulations, we want fats. If we let the private enterpriser get out and do his job, we would have more food and less rationing. That speech was made at a meeting of the Royal Empire Society on l9th June, and reading from the same copy of the "Daily Telegraph" I come to a speech made on the same day by the Lord President of the Council, in which he said he laid down three conditions necessary to provide adequate food for all. The first condition was: Control of production, importation, distribution and sale of food to ensure"—

Mr. Deputy - Speaker (Mr. HUBERT BEAUMONT):

The hon. Member must remember that we are dealing with an Order concerning soap and not food or food distribution.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield

I am much obliged to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but, of course, as far as oils and fats are concerned, the issue is indistinguishable from that of soap.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

The hon. Gentleman mentioned importation, distribution and sale of food and I pointed out that we are debating a Prayer to annul an Order concerned with soap.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Further to that point of Order. I submit to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, with very great respect, that the oil out of which soap is made is also available for the making of margarine. I would call your attention to the Government White Paper, Command Paper 6785, dealing with oils and fats, page 13, paragraphs 38, 39, 40 and 41 from which the soap rationing Order arises. Oil, is, in fact, included as part of the essential commodities of the world food shortage. I submit that, from a technical point of view, soap and food have some interconnection one with the other.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

I still emphasise the point that we are not discussing either the world food shortage or food, but soap. This Prayer is for the annulment of an Order that has relation to soap. Admittedly it is understandable that certain oils can be used both for food purposes and for the manufacture of soap. It is perfectly in Order to deal with the production and purchase of any oils or fats used in soap manufacture, but it is not in order to relate it to the general food shortage or food distribution.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield

That places us in a very great difficulty, knowing the very close, almost inextricable, association between oils and fat and soap, and I think the Minister will be in a great difficulty when he comes to reply. At any rate, I think I am safe in saving that the Lord President of the Council concluded by remarking that this control was to ensure increasingly plentiful supplies at reasonable prices. I think that the two statements, one made by Lord Woolton and the other by the Lord President of the Council, placed in juxtaposition, are very significant and the people of this country should be given the right to choose between the two views as soon as they get an opportunity. The Government are not letting individual enterprise work nor are they administering the position. The country is now getting the worst of both worlds, and I think we, on this side of the House are fully justified, in view of the confusion, incompetence and uncertainty of the Government in handling this matter, in moving a Prayer to annul this Order.

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

Mr. Boothby (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Eastern) rose——

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

On a point of Order. May I ask whether it is your intention, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to call upon an hon. Member to second this Prayer?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

I thought the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) was going to do so.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

Mr. Lennox-Boyd indicated dissent.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

In that case I call Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre.

8.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to second the Motion.

In the first place, I should like to emphasise that we on this side of the House have no intention of praying for the annulment of the Order without asking for reasons, but we are completely debarred through lack of facts or figures from making up our minds on whether this soap rationing is justified or not. The only figures available are those in the Trade and Navigation Returns but when we come to the column dealing with the imports of soap we find a blank. Therefore, there is no way in which any Member of this House can make up his mind on the full facts. It is only possible to guess, to ask questions and to hope that the Minister will be able to provide an answer. The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), who moved this Prayer, has made certain very relevant observations about supplies, and I should like to ask the Minister a few more questions. In the first place, one of our greatest sources of materials for soap manufacture before the war was Argentina. We are not getting from that country anything now, but I am told that the imports of soap, particularly in Southern and Central America, have increased out of all knowledge since the beginning of this war. Where are these imports coming from, and where are the imports going which hitherto came into this country? What has the Minister done to try to compete for that soap, which is now available in Central and Southern America? Does he know how much there is, and what steps has he taken to get hold of it? We are assured that all fats from Argentina for export are placed at the disposal of the Combined Food Board. I should like to ask the Minister to give a categorical assurance that that is so. There are strong rumours regarding the exports of fats, and suggestions that Argentina is not playing the game with the Combined Food Board. Can the Minister assure us from his own knowledge, that that is not so, and that all fats available are made available to the Combined Food Board? If he can do that, how can he correlate that with the increased imports into South America?

Photo of Mr Edward Porter Mr Edward Porter , Warrington

Can the hon. and gallant Member give us any evidence for his statement?

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

I was very careful to point out when I was referring to this matter that these are rumours. I was hoping that the Minister would have information to refute them. I said nobody in any part of the House, except the Minister, had the full facts on which alone it is possible to judge the position. We on this side of the House are asking the right hon. Gentleman to justify something for which he has given no explanation to this House. He has merely made a broadcast to the nation, and held a Press conference. He has given this House, which is still responsible for the government of this country, absolutely no explanation of this matter. We are told, again in a Press conference, that the Minister is making urgent representations to Ireland to get more meat. [HON. MEMBERS: "Soap.] If he gets more meat from Ireland he will get more fat and fat is used in the manufacture of soap. Why has the Minister not previously made arrangements to get this fat? Everyone knows that in Ireland there is a great deal of fat available for export. Again I would say that there are rumours in this country that the Treasury has refused permission for this purchase; that the Treasury is rather worried about the money which this country owes to Ireland at the present time, and is not prepared to increase it. Surely, when things cone down to a point like soap rationing, we should use every available source in every country, and not be influenced by an increase of a few odd thousands in the debt already incurred. I would particularly emphasise that, when we find that an agreement has been made with America, under which we are importing luxury goods from that country.

I come now to the question of olive oil. I have been able to extract some interesting figures from the Trade and Navigation Accounts. This oil forms one of the chief components of good quality soap, and I find that in the first five months of 1945, we imported 1,550 tons of refined olive oil. This year we have imported one ton. Why have these sources dried up? Similarly, we have imported only 100 tons of unrefined olive oil. Not long ago, I was in Italy and Sicily, where there were unknown quantities of olive oil which the native producers would have been only too glad to sell to anyone. What have the Ministry of Food done to secure this oil, which is there for anyone to take away? With regard to whale oil, I understand that, broadly speaking, the British arid Japanese whaling fleets were practically exterminated during the war, and that we now depend, for the most part, on the Norwegian fleet. What steps have been taken by the Government to try to increase our resources; what steps have been taken—apart, from the one whaling expedition which received so much publicity but which, unfortunately, yielded so little result—to increase the potential resources of whale oil for ourselves?

The next question I would like to ask the Minister is about the N.A.A.F.I. Some Members of the House know from their own personal experience that in vast portions of Europe, under our control, cigarettes and soap are the staple currency. Wise and right steps have been taken by the Government to stop cigarettes being sent abroad and used as currency, and I would like to know what steps are being taken in regard to soap. Will the Minister give us the exact figures of the supplies to the N.A.A.F.I. of soap, shaving sticks, and so on, for the last available period? If the right hon. Gentleman goes into this matter I think he will discover some very illuminating figures to show that supplies are going abroad, and are being bought and used by our troops as currency. I would ask him to reassure the House on that point.

I understand from the form, No. G1535, which has been prepared by the Ministry, that all domestic users of soap are subjected to this cut, except children under five, and chimney sweeps. The Minister has chosen a very assorted "bag" for his exemptions. Why has he chosen people in those categories? Why has he not included agricultural workers? At this season we depend enormously on the efforts of our agricultural workers to get in the harvest. There is no work more trying than that of the agricultural worker and no work which makes greater demands on the worker's supplies of soap. Our fishermen are receiving constant exhortations to bring in more fish. Why have they not been exempted? Theirs is a most "smelly" occupation, and if anybody needs to have his clothes washed more than a fisherman I should like to know who he is. With all due deference to chimney sweeps, theirs is a luxury trade. One can always get on without having a chimney swept, particularly in the summer. Why are chimney sweeps preferred to essential workers, such as agricultural workers and fishermen?

Under the heading "non-domestic users" come the textile industry,, some coal concerns, and some laundries, all of which are exempted. What portions of the textile industry are exempted? I imagine it is those in which soap has to be used in scouring wool yarn. Similarly, with regard to coalmines, is the exemption merely to apply to pithead baths? Is that a sop to the coal miners to try to get them to work harder? If so, why prefer them to agricultural workers and fishermen? Then why have some laundries, and not others, been exempted? Would the Minister tell us what he is trying to achieve by this distinction?

As far as one can judge—and, here again, the Minister is the only one in the House with accurate figures—the prewar output of soap was about 500,000 tons. Without this Order, it is now about 300,000 tons, and as a result this Order will become, by October, 260,000 tons. This is because the Order compels soap manufacturers to use not more than 15 per cent. of their fat allocation in the basic year during the next 13 weeks, and 14 per cent, afterwards. Does the Minister realise the hardship being caused to this section of our community? Does he realise that it is practically impossible for any soap manufacturer to keep his business open, particularly in view or the fact that the fats he is now receiving are very heterogeneous, and varied in nature? It is true that the big manufacturers can use various types of fats, but the small men—and out of the 1,000 in the country, few can be called large—are finding it practically impossible to carry on. What hope has the Minister to offer that they will be given some help in this difficult transitional period?

A word or two about laundries. I do not know what your experience is, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but at the moment I cannot get a shirt washed under eight weeks. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wash it yourself."] I value my utility shirt more highly than to wash it myself What steps is the. Minister taking to try to help laundries? Why is it necessary for the public as a whole to be subjected to extreme discomfort?

I would ask the Minister to explain a few points about the export and import of soap. I understand that we are getting only 50 per cent. of our 1938 imports, and 75 per cent. of our 1945 imports. Why, in May, 1938, did we import 15,000 tons of soap, and in 1945 2,000 tons, whereas this year we are to import none? Why the difference? What sources have dried up? Why is it that South and Central America can get extra soap, and we can get nothing? In the first five months of this year we exported 198,000 cwts. of soap. Where has it gone, and why, particularly since, according to the Trade and Navigation Returns, 70,000 cwts. of that soap have gone to foreign countries? It is true that, a few months ago, exports were our primary consideration. I think that, in all parts of the House, we watched with growing pride the increase in our exports. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Members of the Government have told us that the export drive has far exceeded anticipations and far exceeded—if one may use the word—requirements for the moment—[HON, MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and that the trade deficit that we are expecting this year——

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

The hon. and gallant Member is now getting very far from the terms of the Motion before the House.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

With due deference to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am contending that, although at one stage it may have been necessary to sacrifice every one of these commodities in order to earn foreign exchange, that no longer applies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If I may leave that subject, which seems to be rather dangerous ground, I will ask the Minister to give us the whole facts of the situation, as he did on the question of wheat, so that we may be in a position to judge what he has done, what he could have done, and what he proposes to do in the future. At the moment, I think that every hon. Member, if he is frank, will say that he does not know the answers to those questions. I hope that the Minister, in his bounty and grace, will provide the answers.

8.22 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Murray Mr James Murray , Spennymoor

When I came to the House, I had no intention of speaking in this Debate, but I rise to challenge the insults that have been made against the miners by the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre). That miners need extra soap is a well-known fact. If the hon. and gallant Member came from a mining area where they have to use very hard water, he would know that one of the greatest difficulties which the women have to contend with is to meet the requirements in soap. I do not think I need emphasise, even in the House, that the miner is just as clean as any other individual in the country.

Photo of Mr James Murray Mr James Murray , Spennymoor

I do not intend to give way to the hon. and gallant Member. I think he had a fair innings. I rose simply to challenge his statements. [HON. MEMBERS: "Let him answer."] I do not ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to tell me what to do. All I wish to say to the hon. and gallant Member is that a beefsteak would be a better sop to the miners than the soft soap he has been talking about.

8.24 P.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

I have no objection to giving the miners an extra ration of soap, and I am sure that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) equally has no objection. I would give the miners an extra ration of everything in order to persuade them to get us some more coal. I wish to support very strongly the argument of my hon. and gallant Friend in favour of giving extra rations to the fishermen. He bracketed them with agriculturists. I represent both fishermen and agriculturists, and I feel that if one has a claim above the other, the fishermen have a very strong claim, especially the herring fishermen, because although the herring is the most delicious article of food to eat, it has a rather pungent smell. The people who catch herrings, and also the girls who gut them, have to use a considerable amount of soap; otherwise, they would find very great difficulty in carrying on their ordinary functions. People might be tempted to shrink from them. Herring are very pungent fish. I beg the Minister of Food to bear in mind the claims of this industry when it is a matter of dishing out extra soap.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Goldfield (Sir J. Mellor), in moving the Motion, dealt very fully and faithfully with the question of groundnuts, and we shall await with interest the reply of the Minister. I press the right hon. Gentleman to give us some information about the whale oil position. I remember that in 1940, when things were pretty difficult, the question came up, when I was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, whether or not we would send out the whalers. Great risks were attendant upon their operations at that period, but Lord Woolton took the decision—a bold decision in the circumstances—to send them out, and this country had cause to be thankful that they were sent. I ask the right hon. Gentleman what he is doing about the whale oil position, because it is extremely important, and if it is true, as some say, that we are very short of whalers at the present time, as a result of the war, what steps is he taking to get them, and what action does he intend to take this Autumn? I believe that the whale oil position is of absolutely vital importance. Another question that has been mentioned is olive oil. What action is the Minister taking to get olive oil from North Africa and Spain? Is he getting in touch with the Spanish Government and the Tunisian Government, in particular, to get what olive oil he can? It is generally agreed that the question of oil and fats is, perhaps after coal, the most serious problem which confronts the country at the present time.

I believe there is something to be done by way of extracting oil from herring. They are a very oily fish, and there are very large numbers of them round our coasts. The right hon. Gentleman will never get anywhere, as far as this problem is concerned, if he starts comparing the price of the oil that can be extracted from herring with the price that would be paid for groundnuts if they were available, which they are not. That is not a very satisfactory comparison. I know, from my brief but vivid experience of the Civil Service, that it is the kind of comparison which the Departments are apt to make. They are apt to say, ''You cannot pay twice as much for herring oil as you would have done for groundnuts if groundnuts were available, because three years ago the price of groundnuts was so and so." All that would be valid if one could get groundnut oil instead of herring, but as one cannot, no price comparisons have any validity. I ask the Minister not to be deterred from exploring the possibility of extracting from herring oil which can be made into perfectly tasteless oil, most suitable for the manufacture of margarine.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it in Order for the hon. Member to refer to tasteless oil for the manufacture of margarine in a Debate on soap?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

The point of Order was addressed to me. So far I have not deemed the hon. Member to be out of Order. I wait to see what relationship his remarks have to the subject of the Order.

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

I was going to submit to you. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, with due respect, that in so far as we can supply, from herrings, oil for the manufacture of margarine, in exact proportion to that there will be more oil available for the manufacture of soap. Surely, that is in Order, and if the hon. Member does not want it to be applied to the manufacture of margarine, I am sure that herring soap would become a most popular article in this country.

Photo of Mr Arthur Champion Mr Arthur Champion , Derbyshire Southern

Would it be non-smelly, as well as non-tasteless?

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

In the process of manufacture all smell and taste are taken away. I am only asking the House to believe that there is the possibility of extracting oil from herring in very considerable quantities if the right hon. Gentleman is not too niggardly on the subject of cost. He will not get the fishermen to go to sea and catch herring for this purpose at a loss, but if he wants oil—as he does—he should be prepared to pay a decent price, and anything that can help the situation at the present time should be tried. That is the only point I wish to make. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us this evening all the information that he possibly can with regard to every branch of what I might call the fats and oil trade. We have suffered far too much in this House in the past from having the facts concealed from us, not only on this subject but on many others, and the right hon. Gentleman has found, in the earliest days of his administration, that, on the whole, it pays to give the House of Commons and the country the facts.

8.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

I should like to say one or two words in support of the Motion which has been moved by my hon. Friends in relation to soap. I venture to do so because I manufacture a certain amount of soap myself of a kind which I think will appeal to hon. Members opposite, it being of the soft variety. I think that as the joys of Socialism unfold themselves one after another, the need for that commodity by hon. Members opposite will become apparent, and I am doing them an essential service in trying to prevent a cut in this great necessity at the present time. There has apparently been some confusion as to what soap really is, and if you will be tolerant with me for a moment, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, perhaps I might explain what it is. Soap is largely made by saponifying oils or fats; the fats are usually tallow, and the oils are of a great variety. The saponifying takes place merely by introducing alkalines into the oils and fats, with the requisite amount of water.

I want to protest at the outset about the manner in which this reduction has been announced—a Press conference, broadcasts, and there is an end to it. We have the assumption on the part of the Government that we must accept these cuts as if they were a dictum or some thing which cannot be moved in any way. I think that this is an entirely wrong attitude and when one realises that this is fortified by the statement made by the Lord President of the Council the other night that people should not be allowed to protest against cuts and be led astray into signing petitions, it gives rise to a very strange situation indeed. It is remarkable that the Government of this country, which is supposed to be a democratic and Socialist one, should protest when ordinary citizens say that these cuts are not sufficiently explained to them or may not be necessary, and I say tonight that we are doing an immense public service in bringing this to the notice of the country. Let me say that the cut which is now being announced is much more serious than it would appear on the surface, and will affect the housewife much more than she imagines at the present time.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

The hon. Gentleman opposite says that this is another scare. If he will bide his time, instead of yielding to his impetuous nature, I will tell him exactly why it is reasonable to assume that the present cuts in oil, fats and soap will prove more serious than most people visualise. Despite the fact that during the war manufacturers were supposed to manufacture at only 80 per cent. of their prewar rate of manufacture, it is undeniably true that a much larger amount was, in fact, manufactured. It is therefore true that we are now to have a bigger cut than is represented by the figures. A good deal of over-manufacture went on during the war, and for that reason housewives do not yet appreciate the severity of the proposed cut.

Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton

Does the hon. Member mean distribution or manufacture?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

Manufacture. The hon. Member surely knows that the Government of the day saw fit to alter the existing arrangements of the ration, because so many people were going into shops and getting soap without coupons being cancelled. I know, as a matter of personal knowledge, that there was a good deal of over-manufacture. When the cut comes into operation, it will be a good deal more severe than housewives at present appreciate. People have not yet got their stocks reduced to the point where conditions will become severe. During the war, we had to meet all the difficulties of transport, supplies and labour, but the truth is that the supply of oils and fats was in a very healthy condition indeed. I doubt whether one soap manufacturer in the country during the war had not, at any given moment, more oils and fats in his yam than he had in the days of peace. That situation has changed almost overnight, merely by the advent of another Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] That may seem a remarkable statement, but I would draw the attention of hon. Members opposite to the fact that what I have said is not related only to oils and fats for soap making, but to almost every raw material. If the Government do not get raw materials into the country very quickly, they will be faced with a serious unemployment problem. That may be an incidental result, but I think the statement can be shown to be perfectly true.

Why has the situation deteriorated from extreme healthiness to one in which we need every ton of oil and fat we can get? I say that it is due entirely to lack of foresight on the part of the present Government. It is impossible to bring the dogmas of the London School of Economics into business affairs without causing trouble. A man may be very excellent in the lecture room, but there is no guarantee that when his doctrines are translated into the hard realms of business they will be successful. What happened immediately the war was over? The present Government saw fit to export huge quantities of oils and fats from this country to the Continent. The stocks on hand were reduced by considerable exportations to other countries, without due regard to the possibility of replacing those stocks. The result is that the situation in the world was not improved, while we had released our stocks without making provision for their replacement. The policy of the Government in reducing stocks immediately after the war without taking due care to ensure their replacement was an act lacking in foresight, for which the people of this country now have to pay. Soap is an essential commodity. It is needed by some sections of the community more than by others. An hon. Member opposite mentioned the case of the miners, who use an exceptional amount of soap. If they happen to live in a hard water area, the present ration will be hopelessly inadequate to their needs. That applies to housewives who have children. It will be very difficult for a housewife to meet her essential needs in present circumstances. It applies also to mechanics of all kinds who get their clothes and hands dirty. The very nature of their job makes it desirable that they should have more soap rather than less. Another class who will be adversely affected are doctors and nurses. They must, of necessity, use a considerable amount of soap, and the present cut will bear very seriously on them.

I make one suggestion to the Minister. It has been calculated that people in hard water districts suffer more than those in soft water districts. It is possible by the addition of a small amount of calcium phosphate to make any soap lather as freely in a hard water district as in a soft water district. If the material is available, as I think it is, the Minister should direct that it be used. If we can get a soap which has the advantage of being latherable freely in all kinds of waters, it will help people out of their difficulties. The American Army produced a general purposes soap, with this ingredient which lathered in salt water. There is no excuse for a country such as ours which has as possession most of the countries supplying oils, to be in the state we are in at the present time We ought to be in a more favourable position in respect of oil than any other country in the world. The reason why we have lost this, is lack of business acumen.

I ask the Minister what has happened to the supplies of cotton seed oils which I am told exist in Egypt. Have we bid for these in a reasonable manner? I know the policy of the Minister of Food is to keep prices down—I subscribe to that wholeheartedly, and I think it is most annoying to have to pay the kind of blackmail price which certain countries in South America are asking at the present time—but if we are faced with the alternatives of providing things for our people or of going without, we must pay the extra few pounds a ton to get the supplies. What has the Minister done about supplies of babussa seed oil. That is relatively new in its way, but it is one of the most useful soap making oils. The supply is very prolific but the difficulty of gathering it is considerable. I am told that the Americans are buying this on a large scale. Why have not British buyers entered the market and got supplies of this oil? It is important that we should look into that question. The same applies to linseed oil. It is true that it is not used very much in the manufacture of hard soaps, but it would save other oils which could be used for soap making. We are slipping behind. We wanted to force the South American prices down, but instead of that, we have lost supplies. No Government can afford to do these things. Our people are suffering in consequence.

Then what has happened to the supply of tallow? During the war some big producers like Australia have started their own soap production and are using more tallow themselves, but I believe that we could get tallow from Australia if we pressed them. They would be willing to let us have tallow in larger quantities than at the present time.

Further, about groundnut oil, surely this is an example of lack of foresight causing a shortage? We are told that rice was available and could have been bought for India if the Government had been alive to the situation some time ago, and now because India has not been provided with the necessary amount of rice, they are keeping groundnut oil and we have to go short of soap. It is important for even a Socialist Government to be alive in these matters, and to realise that you cannot discard entirely the business men and the industrialists. The business man, the industrialist, has been abused by hon. Members opposite from time immemorial, but the longer they are in office, the more they will realise that the qualities he displays are necessary for the conduct of a nation and, without them, this country will get into a very bad state indeed.

With regard to whale oil, this is a commodity very largely used in soap-making and it is extraordinarily useful to the British soap maker. I understand that the fleet went out and did very badly. Well, I cannot blame that on to the Socialist Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—but I must say that I cannot understand why the season should have been so bad. For four, five or six years, these whales have been left alone. I do not know what are the ideal and congenial conditions under which whales breed, but I should have thought that the absence of energetic gentlemen with harpoons would at any rate have assisted their endeavours. But what do we find? That the fleet goes out and comes back with very little indeed. I would like an explanation from the Minister on that point.

Let me turn for a moment to the question of soapless detergents, as we call them, on which the Minister has held out some promise to the people. To my mind he has held out a good deal of false promise because I do not think his soap substitutes will do as much as he has led people to believe they will do.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

I am as interested in this as the soap manufacturers and I have for some time taken more interest than the hon. Lady. I have sold them to the public at less than cost, in order to popularise them, and I am very keenly interested in seeing them establish themselves on the market. Even so, it is essential to point out that these substitutes will not fulfil all the functions of ordinary soap and that they have very serious drawbacks which it would be unwise for me to detail. They are mainly of a liquid character and cannot be transformed into the form of soap in the ordinary way. They are apt to irritate the skin. They are suitable only for certain kinds of use, such as washing up, and, in a minor way, for a certain amount of clothes washing. But, and this is the important thing to remember, the supply of these soapless detergents is drying up as a result of the policy of this Government. I had a letter the other day from a firm which makes 95 per cent. of the basic material in this country from which these soap-less detergents are produced. They said, amongst other things, that pressure by the Government on them to export this material made it impossible for them to supply us with any more this year.

That is what is happening with the material for soapless detergents. The Government are saying, "We will make up to you the difference between the present soap ration with these soapless detergents," while the Board of Trade is forcing the material out of the country, and the people of this country will be very fortunate indeed if they get much of a supply of that commodity at the present time. I consider that this problem of soap is another example of mishandling by the present Government. The situation is admittedly difficult. The supplies of oils and fats are not as brisk as we would like them to be, but, by foresight, we could have avoided this fresh cut. This is another example of what happens to the country when Socialism is in office.

8.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

A very large number of points made by hon. Members deserve some immediate reply. The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), who moved this Motion, complained of the delay there had been in giving figures of exports of soap and for that delay I entirely plead guilty. I am afraid I was the bottleneck in replying to his written Question. I understand that the figures of our exports during the past year were running at the rate of 8,500 tons a year, which is about 3½ per cent, of the total soap production. All of that, except 500 tons, was exports for which we had obtained the raw material from the Combined Food Board on an increased scale. We had been given an increased allocation of the raw materials, on condition that we made those exports. So that the true commercial export was rather of a token character, well under 1,000 tons. In any case, with the growing difficulties of the situation, those exports have now been stopped.

The hon. Member's next point was on the question of imports of soap, or the raw materials of soap, fats, from the United States. He suggested that I had been stopped by a wicked Chancellor of the Exchequer from buying these things from the United States, because the Chancellor grudged me the dollars. I can assure the hon. Member rightaway that there is not a word of truth in that. If we could obtain these fats, tallow, or any other type of raw materials, in the United States, I should not have the least difficulty in obtaining the necessary dollars We have, of course, endeavoured to do so, but there are none for sale at the moment. The hon. Member's point about West Africa brings up the whole question of groundnuts, to which a number of hon. Members have referred. This is, perhaps, the most important single factor—there are a large number of factors, but this is the most important single factor—in the whole position, and I will try to deal with points raised by several hon. Members in that connection. It is perfectly true that the Supply of groundnuts from West Africa has been, and promises to be, relatively good.

But, that in itself is nothing like enough to restore the situation. That is why we are doing a number of things, exploring the possibilities of a greatly increased supply of groundnuts in East Africa, and of further increasing the supply from West Africa. It would be quite wrong to think that because missions are doing that work there at the moment, nothing had been done before, A good deal has been done, and indeed, West Africa has borne fruit in a good supply from that area this year. But that does not mean that we cannot make it still better, and we intend to do so. As the hon Member rightly said, that depends a good deal on getting consumer goods into the hands of native producers in that area. That links up with another point made by the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) who seconded the Motion, that after all we need not force our exports now quite so hard as we were doing, that nor exports were going so well—I am grateful for the tribute he paid us in that respect, even if it was involuntary—that now we could well let up in that field.—[interruption.] Perhaps he did not go quite as far as that, but certainly that was the implication, that we need not put tremendous pressure behind the export drive as undoubtedly has been put behind it up to now. I do not think that that is the case at all. I know I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say, with regard to the wonderful progress which has been made in the rise of export, as a reason for keeping up that drive——

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

Has the right hon. Gentleman also converted the Minister of Health, who at the last Election called exports a Tory will o' the wisp?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I have not the words of the Minister of Health with me, but I can well believe that if a Tory Government had been in power exports would indeed have been a will o' the wisp. But be that as it may, the level of our exports is in timately connected with the level of the supplies we can get of these vital materials such as groundnuts. As the hon Member for Sutton Coldfield well pointed out, it is not only that we need exports to balance our payments, we need them precisely in order to produce the supplies, in order to encourage the native producers, who will not produce for nothing, to part with their primary products.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

I would like to make clear what I said, which was, that in view of our exports, there was perhaps not so much need now to inflict this terrific hardship on our people of a cut in the soap ration. The right hon. Gentleman is going very far if he says that the export of soap to West Africa will increase the imports of groundnuts.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

There never has been an export of soap to West Africa; there never will, I think, be an export of soap to West Africa. All exports to anywhere have been stopped, so perhaps that point has now been covered. Perhaps it has been stopped since the Trade and Navigation Accounts were issued.

Returning to the vital question of groundnuts, the real issue is the temporary—I trust temporary—total cessation of supplies from India. The Indian Government—I am not for one moment criticising them in this—in view of their food situation, have totally prohibited the export of groundnuts from India. That again, more than any other single factor, is at the root of our troubles in this matter. That point links with a most remarkable statement made by the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd). He told us that we ought to be on velvet so far as these fats were concerned, because did we not possess most of the countries of the world which exported those products, and he actually instanced Egypt, and, I think, India.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

I said that we ought to have less currency difficulties attached to obtaining supplies of oils because of our association with the people who produce them. I did not instance Egypt in this connection. I invite the Minister to deny the fact that British possessions and the British Empire are the major producers of oil in this connection.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Yes, but I much prefer the formulation which the hon. Member has now given of his views to the one he first gave. He used the word "possessed" very clearly. Whatever our wishes on this subject—they might be different—we do not possess India or Egypt in the sense that we have any right or any ability to force the Governments of those countries to export fats and oils to us, if they do not wish to do so. I can, and do, hope most strongly that the Indian Govern-merit will see their way, by an improvement in the Indian food position, to resume the export of groundnuts to this country. It is of great importance to us and, of course, it would be of great benefit to India to resume that export which is very profitable to them. That can be solved only by an improvement in the food situation in India, as was recognised by another hon. Member who went on to say that somehow or other we ought not to cut off the supplies of rice to India. Was it the Socialist Government of Britain which cut off supplies of rice to India? Who occupied Burma? Was it the wicked Socialist Government?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

It could not have been much more devastating.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

The condition of this country is not precisely the condition of Burma under Japanese occupation. I can assure the hon. Member of that. The lack of rice in India is primarily because of the cutting off of Burma rice by the Japanese occupation and its consequences. It is that, together with the hope of increasing rice production in Siam, and its export, which gives hope of a better food situation in India, which, in turn, will release groundnut supplies to us. That is an allustration of how all these things are bound together. They can be tackled—I come back to the point about exports—very largely by means of our exports, because Siamese rice depends very largely on getting the flow of consumer goods into Siam. I put it to the House that it is precisely because under the very strong leadership of the President of the Board of Trade we have forced our exports with perhaps what many hon. Members feel is a very hard policy. Certainly it is a stern one. We have denied ourselves for the sake of our exports. They are the keys not only in general, but in specific cases to the increase of our exports of these vital commodities. I would like to come to the question of the Argentine. That is a very important point.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Before the Minister leaves the question of groundnuts, would he give us the figures for imports from West Africa?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I cannot give those figures offhand—I have not got them with me—nor can I pledge myself to give them later. On the question of figures, I would say that because I gave one particular wheat figure last week, I am not going to be pressed—successfully, at any rate—to give stock figures on all occasions for all commodities.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Precisely the argument which has been put forward by hon. Members opposite. It would be contrary to the practice of the so called, and well called, practical business men who buy these commodities in the world. It is precisely the advice of these business men, some of the very ablest of whom happen to be officers in my Ministry at the moment, which denies me, rightly in my opinion, the freedom to give hon. Members what they wish in this case.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Do these practical business men form the policy of the Ministry?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

The policy of the Ministry is formed by the Government. I can assure the hon. Gentleman of that. The practical buying of these commodities is done by extremely eminent business men who at the moment are officers of the Ministry of Food. They do not decide the general policy of the Government. it is a most improper suggestion to say that civil servants should do that. They do the job of which they have great and lifelong experience and they do it extremely well.

I would like to come to the question of the Argentine, which is of great importance. There have been various suggestions that we are missing the bus in the case of the Argentine and that we are being out-bought by rival buyers mainly in the matter of linseed. That is the essential fact which is concerned. That particular charge, I can assure the House, is completely false. There is no substance whatever in the charge that other countries are getting, any appreciable quantities of linseed which we are failing to get, but, when I have said that, do not let me suggest that the position is wholly satisfactory. It is not. The truth of the matter is that nobody at the moment is getting any adequate supplies of the Argentine linseed. One hon. Member who spoke regarded this, again, as one of the sins of the Labour Government in this country. I really cannot be made responsible for the Argentine Government. It is a Government of a very different political complexion from this one, and its actions and its policy are not matters which I can control. The Argentine is a free, sell-governing community, self-governing in that sense, at any rate, and it is not for me to question their actions. No one has suceeded, so far, in getting considerable quantities of linseed out of the Argentine. The question of the release of these linseed supplies, which are undoubtedly there in considerable quantities and will have to be released sooner or later, is one of very great moment, and I can assure the House that my Ministry is extremely active in this matter.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

If I had to guess at the purpose of a seller in holding up a commodity, I do not think I should find it very difficult.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Is it because the Chancellor is not finding the money?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

The right hon. Gentleman has said that we are doing as well as anybody else. Would not the House be reassured if we were given the figures?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

No. If I should give these figures, it would be very definitely against the national interest. The hon. Member spoke to us as a business man and pleaded that time after time, and he knows far better than I do that transactions in this sort of situation are the worst in which to give such figures. I come now to another point which various hon. Members made on the question of soap substitutes. The hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd) tells us, speaking as a producer of soap and soap substitutes, that he does not like them and that they are unsuitable for certain purposes., There are two things to say about that. It is perfectly true, and nobody suggests that one can make a toilet soap out of them, but, after all, if we have a satisfactory quantity and quality of these soap substitutes, they can do certain jobs, such as the washing-up of crockery. We use them in our house, as a matter of fact, and I washed-up with them myself as recently as last weekend.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I do not know its name. I consider that they are of very considerable importance and well worth development in view of the present situation. Nor, we must remember, is the question of these substitutes confined directly to that of soap. It is claimed by business men—and I never challenge business men's claims—that an effective substitute has been produced from a mineral oil base, not only for soaps, but for paints. If this claim can be successfully maintained, then, indirectly, the effect on easing our position, not only in the field of paint, but in the field of soap—and there may be others in the field of edible fats—will be very great indeed.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I do not know whether the hon. Member is challenging the statements and claims of his fellow businessmen in this field or not, but I am certainly informed by very eminent scientific advisers that technical difficulties in this field are by no means insuperable. Therefore, I continue to attach very considerable importance to this question of soap substitutes. The Ministry of Food, and other Ministries in consultation, are actively engaged in encouraging this supplementary, but very important source. The hon. Member for Bucklow also told us that the basic raw material of these substitutes was in short supply because we were forcing exports. He took up the export point again. The basic raw materials, so far as I know, of all these substitutes are mineral oils, and it is very difficult to believe that they are in short supply.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

What I said was that, so far as production of these soap-less detergents from mineral oil was concerned, they were largely in the hands of one large firm. [An HON. MEMBER: "Multiply the source of supply."] The source of supply cannot be multiplied very easily because the plant is a considerable one. The manufacturers circularised my firm only two weeks ago saying that, owing to the necessity of exporting so much material, they would have to restrict supplies to us and to every other firm in the country. Therefore, I said that the Minister was holding out false hopes to the consumer while the stuff was going overseas.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Is the hon. Member referring to mineral oil?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

No, to the detergents made from mineral oil.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

The hon. Member is referring to the semi-finished product which is then made into the soap substitute. That is the point I am very willing to examine, and if it is substantiated that there is a limiting factor which, frankly, is very contrary to the information in my possession, I think that a very strong case would be made out for using a limited supply of that semi-finished product for increasing the manufacture of soap substitutes in this country.

A large number of other points have been made. We were told that Eire would be a great supplier of meat and, therefore, of fats. I am afraid that that is a comparatively small factor. Let me again say that there is no Treasury difficulty in that direction, at least. The Chancellor is not limiting my purchases in Eire, and we shall purchase all the available supplies. The purchase price of olive oil is, at the moment, £400 a ton, which is a very formidable price to pay for a raw material for the manufacture of soap. Nevertheless, although mainly for other purposes, we are purchasing every ton of olive oil we can get.

The hon. Member for Bucklow was, I think, astonished at his own moderation when he did not blame the Labour Government for the disappointing results of the whaling season. Other speakers, however, were very critical indeed, because they said that, as far as they knew, there had only been one whaling expedition and that had had disappointing results. The reason why there has been only one whaling expedition is because there has been only one whaling season. I was asked a more serious point—why the results of that whaling expedition were poor? The results were, of course, a very considerable addition to our supplies, but they were, I agree, comparatively poor. I am informed that the weather in the Antarctic was extremely bad.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Could the right hon. Gentleman give us the figure?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

No, I see no reason to do so. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), who also mentioned this question, spoke his usual eloquent words on behalf of the herring. He will be pleased to hear that we propose this year to purchase and use a very considerable quantity of herring oil. This will be imported herring oil, because none is available here. I certainly am prepared, and, indeed, I have already begun, to go into the possibility of producing herring oil from British fished herring for supplementing our fats purchases. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) made an interesting point that there was an illicit export of soap through the agency of N.A.A.F.I., and that it was being used in the black market. That is a possibility which I will certainly examine, it may be well worth looking into.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield

Would the right hon. Gentleman deal with my inquiry about the offer from Australia of 5,000 tons of soap? I did not commit myself to its accuracy, but I asked the question.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I would prefer to give the hon. Gentleman the exact facts and figures later, but I understand that there was such an offer and it was refused. This is going back some time, I think. I simply do not know why it was refused. It seems, on the face of it, a curious decision, because if anyone offered me any soap at a price which was not altogether prohibitive, certainly such an offer would not be refused. I understand that at the moment a purchase in New Zealand is being made.

A number of points were made with regard to the incidence of the cut in the soap ration which has come into force, and, very naturally, different hon. Members pressed the claims of different industries and classes in the community, such as agricultural workers, fishery workers and the like. I must admit that, like other hon. Members on this side of the House, I was astonished that the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch should think that these claims should have precedence over, or even parity with, the claims of the coal-miner, because it seems to me to stand to reason that the claims of the coalminer for exemption from a cut in the soap ration must stand higher than those of workers in any other industry in the country, and I make no apology whatever for having singled out the coalminer in that respect. The hon. Member for Bucklow made one further suggestion which interested me—that something could be added to the soap to make it more effective and capable of being used more economically in hard water districts. I would be very grateful if he would send me particulars, because it sounds like a constructive suggestion.

I have no more to say, except that this cut is unquestionably most unpleasant for all of us. But it is an incredibly misleading charge to suggest that the Government are failing to scour the world for supplies of fats of all kinds. It is on a par with a charge which was made by the hon. Member for Bucklow, who is very free with his charges, and who stated categorically that in the early months this Government had exported great quantities of the then high stocks of fats which we had in this country, which had been carefully preserved by preceding Governments, and which were then squandered by this Government. Frankly, I do not believe a word of it. On looking into the matter, I find that very limited quantities of fats were exported to countries in Europe in very great need, and that already every single ton of those fats has been repaid. They were exported and have been repaid.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

Would the right hon. Gentleman give the figures which indicate the small quantity?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Whether the hon. Member believes me or whether the quantities were small or large is totally irrelevant, because every ton has been repaid. In this case the quantity has no bearing whatever on the point. Really, these charges which he makes, and which no doubt he hopes to get repeated outside this House, which have no relevance to the facts whatever, do not, I think, do credit to the responsibility of our deliberations here. We shall continue to scour the world for fats for the raw materials of soap, and for edible fats still more. We find a position today in which many countries, of course, are incomparably worse off for soap and edible fats than we are. We had to make this sacrifice in our soap ration because, of the two evils, it was a lesser evil than making a cut in the edible fat ration. It will not be an easy problem; it will not be quickly solved. By the measures for increasing the supply, which I have indicated this evening, I do believe that slowly, but surely, we shall again secure an adequate supply, and again be able to give our people what they need, I readily admit—a better supply of fats for edible purposes and a better ration of soap.

9.22 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Perhaps hon. Members opposite feel, as hon. Members on this side of the House certainly feel, that the right hon. Gentleman has made a singularly less convincing speech today than he made in a previous -Debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Certainly he was not received tonight with the ovation which he received when he sat down the other day. He has, of course, failed singularly to produce a single argument beyond those given on previous occasions by his predecessor—a predecessor, be it noted, who denied that a cut in the soap ration would be necessary. I cannot understand this reluctance on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to give figures. It appears to be an obsession with him. If the House will forgive me, I will give one or two examples to show the really fantastic position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman. We asked him if he would give the figures of whale oil imported into this country as a result of the current whaling season. What possible objection can there be to disclosing to this House the result of the whaling fleet's trip to the Antarctic, British and Norwegian? His predecessor, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe (Sir B. Smith), gave considerable details as to what was the expectation of that trip. He told us in this House on 4th April, in answer to a speech by myself, that the whaling position was not good. He said: We estimate that by extending the period we may get 50 per cent. of what we had in pre war days.''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th April, 1946; Vol. 421, C. 1503.] He had said in an earlier speech, to which I referred, in that same Debate, that he had given us the figures. He said that the whaling fleet had been less successful, and that instead of getting 135,000 tons we should only get 100,000 tons, that is a drop of 35,000 tons. If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe could give the specific figures, and if there was nothing against the national interest in his doing so on 4th April, what has intervened since 4th April to make the right hon. Gentleman so reluctant to give the figures today? There is nothing at all, and to show the completely farcical—I use the word advisedly—the completely farcical nature of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, I will turn to his own Trade and Navigation Returns for May, 1946, in which he gives the imports of whale oil, into this country both from the British fleet and from the foreign fleets. [HON. MEMBERS: "Then what are you worrying about?"] But we asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would give the figures to the House and he said "No," it was against the national interest to give them. In a previous Debate the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe gave detailed figures of the programme of imports of groundnuts from India. He told us that he had originally been promised by India 600,000 tons, and that that figure had been cut down to some 300,000 tons, and therefore he would be in difficulties, The right hon. Gentleman now says that the Indian Government have prohibited the export of groundnuts from India. What possible objection is there to telling us, in the meantime, how many actual tons of groundnuts arrived in this country from India before the embargo? Was it the 300,000 tons that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe expected, or was it some bigger or smaller figure?

Now we turn to the question of imports from West Africa. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe, in the same speech on 4th April, 1946, said: That is the position so far as India is concerned. In West Africa there is a fairly good crop, and we are doing our best to lift it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th April, 1946; Vol. 421, c. 1503.] What conceivable objection is there to the right hon. Gentleman, or the Minister of Food, telling this House whether that prognostication has turned out right, and what is the size of the crop that he has lifted? Does he seriously say that the disclosure of those figures is against the national interest? I will give him the chance to say so now.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I am perfectly willing to intervene. The right hon. Gentleman appears to be going through our main sources of supply of fats and oils one by one and seriatim. If he adds those figures together, the total will be our total supply of fats and oils, precisely the figure which, as I stated in my speech, was the one which all the practical business men—by whom hon. Gentleman opposite set such store—advised us it would be contrary to the national interest to give.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

But I am able to give the right hon. Gentleman the figures from his own publication. These are the figures which are so secret and must not be known published in May, 1946, in the Trade and Navigation Returns. If hon. Members will look under imports, first Section, pages 59 and 60, they will find the following information: Groundnuts undecorticated and decorticated' If hon. Members will follow along the line they will find that in the first five months of this year the imports of decorticated groundnuts from British West Africa amounted to 108,582 tons. This was in a year when the crop was supposed to be a rather good one, whereas last year, under the Coalition Government, we managed to get in the same period 151,000 tons from British West Africa. If all this can be put down here in the Trade and Navigation Returns, why cannot the right hon. Gentleman give it openly to this House? I go further. We get decorticated groundnuts from British India. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Indian Government had at some time stopped the export. From British India, in the first five months of this year, we got 125.000 tons of decorticated groundnuts. We got 12,000 tons from Ceylon.

Then the right hon. Gentleman talked about the difficulty of getting linseed, and the absence of linseed oil; but if he will look at a White Paper issued by his predecessor the other day, Cmd. 6785, he will find it there stated, on page 13, paragraph 39: In the Argentine increased acreages have been sown to oil seed crops, particularly sunflower seed; and despite domestic utilisation, including, in the war years, the burning of oil for fuel, the current exports of exportable supplies are over 100,000 tons of oil equivalent above the prewar average. If his predecessor could say that in April, 1946, I really do not see why this House should not be given similar information today, whether or not that estimate was made. If the House will look at this White Paper—and I am sure that hon. Members opposite must think this information is accurate, because they were at pains to quote other passages against me, when it suited their purpose, in the Debate the other day—hon. Members will find estimates made of what the likely position was to be. This was published, do not forget, immediately after the statement issued from to, Downing Street, denying the suggestion by the Ministry of Food that a cut in cooking fats and soap was likely to take place or was necessary. This was issued in order to prove to the House and to the world that these cuts were not necessary. In these four paragraphs of that White Paper very detailed estimates are given of what the situation was to be. There is nothing about not giving the actual figures. There were estimates made, for instance, of 250,000 or 300,000 tons of oil from the East Indies. When the Government come along and say, "We have changed our minds, and we are now doing something in July that we said was not necessary in April," the House and the country, surely, are entitled to know what has actually occurred, in figures, to show that those figures were wrong. The right hon. Gentleman has not given a single figure to bear out the necessity, or alleged necessity, for this cut.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to talk about the question of substitutes for oil, and there again the right hon. Gentleman gave a wholly insufficient account of what is actually taking place. I am informed that a perfectly good substitute, a soapless detergent, was invented in Germany, and produced in Germany, during the war, and a similar compound or, perhaps, a similar formula, was discovered by one of the leading oil firms in this country. I am informed—and if the right hon. Gentleman questions this, he has only himself to blame for not giving accurate figures—that some German experts have been brought over here, but up till now the Ministry of Food—I am specifically informed on this—have been limiting the production of this alternative. Moreover, I am credibly informed that two of the factories making this particular successful soap substitute were in the Russian occupied zone of Germany. This impending cut or shortage of fats must have been known for months, because the Ministry of Food put out their famous statement on 22nd March, and I should like to ask have the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues done anything at all to try to get permission to import that machinery from the Russian zone to this country. [Laughter.] Members opposite laugh, but it has not prevented them allowing U.N.R.R A to ship 7,000 tons of linseed oil from South American ports for Russian-occupied countries.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that we control both the Argentine and Russian Governments?

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

It happens that we are subscribing something in the order of£55 million sterling in British money to U.N.R.R.A., and Russia is making no contribution of money at all. What we are apparently doing is using some of that money to provide oil for Russia. I suggest that instead of laughing, the Government should take some steps to get the necessary factory machinery sent over here to make this substitute.

The other point which the right hon. Gentleman failed entirely to deal with, is the question of utilisation within this country of the supplies of oil which we have. The same oil can be used alternatively for making paint, for making soap, and, when hydrogenised, for making margarine. It is clear that some internal decision has been taken by the Government, either by the Ministry of Supply or the Ministry of Food, or possibly the Board of Trade, about the relative use of such supplies as we have of linseed for these different purposes. I suggest that we are entitled to know the total amount of linseed that has been used during the last three months for each of these three different purposes. It is clear that if you have only a limited amount of oil, you have to allocate it, but the important thing is that, on allocation depends whether you are going to get more soap or more paint. It must be clear that something has happened recently inside the Department since the right hon. Gentleman took office, which has resulted in a smaller allocation of linseed oil for soap and a large allocation for paint. Clearly something must have happened of that nature since the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe was Minister of Food and said that a reduced ration of soap would not be necessary.

Therefore, I venture to suggest that it would be to the advantage of the country, and it would certainly be to the advantage of the Government, and it would certainly relieve the housewife's mind, if this veil of secrecy was raised. The right hon. Gentleman found that he had to raise it the other clay, in the case of bread. It need never have existed in the case of bread. There are numerous other similar occasions when secrecy has prevailed today, but I am quite sure that it would be to everyone's advantage if this veil of secrecy were raised. I have given a number of cases of stocks already. I do not want to weary the House by reading out a lot more——

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I think that the right hon. Gentleman said that he had given a number of figures on stocks——

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

Imports—that is a very different matter.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

I asked for imports, and I see no reason at all why they should not be given, or why stocks should not be given. An hon. Member said that the housewife is not interested. Believe me she is vitally interested. My information is for example——

Photo of Mr Percy Shurmer Mr Percy Shurmer , Birmingham Sparkbrook

This is the first time you have been interested in housewives.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

My information—I give it purely as an illustration—is that, at the present moment, there are ample stocks of tea in this country—sufficient to make tea-rationing unnecessary. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman disclose this? The housewife would be very interested——

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Can tea stocks, and the question of whether housewives are interested in tea stocks, be relevant to this Debate?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I did not hear what the hon. and learned Member said.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

I asked if tea stocks, and the housewives' interest in tea stocks, could be relevant to a Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) (Soap) Order.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I understood the hon. and learned Member was referring to cheese. Cheese does not seem to have much to do with soap, but some cheese is rather like soap.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

I can assure the House, and hon. Members opposite, that the housewife is going to take a great interest in these matters and, so far as any information given in this Debate tonight is concerned, the housewife will agree with us on these benches that no case has been made out for the reduction of the soap ration——

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has any interest at all in soap, and, if so, will he disclose his interest?

Hen. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

I should have thought that even the hon. Gentleman would have know me long enough to know that, if I had any such interest, I should have dis. closed it at once.

Photo of Mr Joseph Alpass Mr Joseph Alpass , Thornbury

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman the same question which he has been addressing to the other side of the House—to disclose his source of information as to the stocks of tea and other things in this country?

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Ealing West

That would be out of Order.

9.45 P.m.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I must protest against the attitude which the Minister of Food adopted. In his agreeable and lucidly expressed observations while he stood at the Box he dealt in a convincing manner with certain individual points, but he failed in his attempt to give the House any reasoned case for his decision to make a further cut in the soap ration. The House is, after all, responsible to its constituents for the hardship that this cut will involve, and before the House can come to a proper decision- as to whether this cut is or is not necessary it must be in possession of the necessary information. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the House has no opportunity whatever of forming a proper view upon that vital question, unless the House is simply to accept the attitude that what the right hon. Gentleman says is law, and cannot be questioned.

If the House is to discharge its responsibility to its constituents there are two vital matters to which it must have an answer. First it must know the figures upon which the right hon. Gentleman's decision is based. If the right hon. Gentleman will not or cannot give the House those figures he is denying to the House the opportunity to exercise its own independent judgment upon the matter, and he forces hon. Members to the conclusion that the facts upon which he acted were not sufficient to justify his decision. If I am wrong, the Minister can dissipate that impression in a moment by getting up and giving the figures, but in the absence of that information—and in the absence of the Minister himself, though I do not 'know that that matters very much—how are hon. Members, and particularly hon. Members opposite whose responsibility in this matter is greater, to justify themselves to their constituents as having come to a proper decision in this matter.

There is one other matter on which the House does require information if it is to form a proper judgment. A further cut has been imposed upon the British people. Are we not entitled to set that cut in the general picture of the world situation? Are we not entitled to know the comparable position in other countries? [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I am much obliged to the hon. Member. The hon. Member no doubt wishes to form his decision without a full knowledge of the facts. I do not share that attitude, and I do not think our constituents outside share such an attitude. Surely, before a proper view can be formed as to whether a right sacrifice was asked for from the British people—for it is a sacrifice—we should know what rationing of soap there has been in other comparable countries, and in particular in the other victorious nations of the world? The right hon. Gentleman has given us nothing. He has merely given his decision on the matter and has given us no information on how Ire arrived at the decision, unless, of course, we are merely to be treated as a vehicle for automatically registering the decisions of the right hon. Gentleman.

There are two specific matters arising from the Minister's speech on which I should be glad to join issue with him. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman told the House that the export of soap has stopped. It is within the knowledge of a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House that as recently as last week, a detailed statement appeared in the Press to the effect that an export licence for over£100,000 worth of soap had been granted to a Manchester firm. That statement, if it is true, is in conflict with the assurance which the right hon. Gentleman gave to the House a few minutes ago. The statement is clear and precise. Surely the House is entitled to know whether exports of soap have been stopped, or whether, at the time the right hon. Gentleman gave that assurance, his colleague at the Board of Trade was taking a wholly different attitude.

There is one other matter. In one of his eloquently phrased and rhetorical passages the right hon. Gentleman told the House that he had scoured the world for alternative sources of supply. May I tell the House of one corner that he did not scour? As long ago as last November a report was sent to his Ministry by the Economic Section of the British Mission in Rumania, with respect to a scientist who had a process for the artificial manufacture of basic oils for soap making. That was last November, and all the responsible Department, then presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherhithe (Sir B. Smith), did was to indicate to the responsible people who put forward this request that the Ministry of Food was not interested—those were the words—in this process. Had the Department taken a more lively interest in the matter, and adopted a little more forethought, that process could have been in operation in this country today, and it is more than possible that those limitations, would not have been necessary. Since those papers were sent to the Ministry in November, they have been shuffled and reshuffled about Whitehall, until a week ago—the result, no doubt, of intervention by certain Members of the House—permission was given for this scientist to be brought to this country. The fact that permission was given deals with any suggestion that this was not a process worth trying. Apparently, it is thought worth trying now.

That is a brilliant revelation of the methods, or lack of methods, and the foresight, or lack of foresight, which has been adopted in regard to this matter. Our people have, on the one side, that picture, and, on the other, the obstinate and determined refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to give to the House of Commons the facts upon which, alone, a balanced judgment on this matter can be formed. You have, in the light of that, a decision which will cause increased difficulties in the lives of our much tried people, particularly for the housewife. It will throw an extra strain on our already overburdened laundries. I think it the inevitable and inescapable duly of any Member of the House, faced with those facts, which are beyond challenge and dispute, to register, in the only constitutional way possible, his refusal to be connected with such muddle, meddle and inefficiency.

9.54 p.m.

Photo of Hon. Edward Carson Hon. Edward Carson , Isle of Thanet

I am sorry that the Minister of Food has left, because I wish to say that in this House, where so many hon. Members have got rather hot under the collar, there are two hon. Members who have remained calm. One is the Minister of Food, who exercises self-control to keep him calm, and the other is the Leader of the House, who remains calm because he does not care whether soap is rationed or not. I think that far too much heat has been generated in this discussion. One of my hon. Friends spoke of soap substitutes. I ask the Minister, quite seriously and in a nonpolitical manner, whether he has not heard of a substitute called "Mamsel," which we have used in our house for several months. This is a substitute for soapflakes, and it is of the greatest use. I was very sorry to hear that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) cannot get his shirts washed in under eight weeks. If he will come to me after this Debate, I will tell him where he can get them washed in a fortnight.

I come now to the main point I wish to make, and in doing so, I speak not from the world point of view, but from the point of view of the consumers in this country, and particularly the railway workers. There is in Ramsgate a railway shed, and in this shed there are workers in various categories. They clean the engines, they repair the engines—[Interruption]—I ask hon. Members opposite to listen; they are not famed for listening to things they do not want to hear. The Ramsgate depot of the Southern Railway is a large depot. It has a fitting staff, and it has a staff of dirty workers. [Interruption.] That is the official term. They are workers who get very dirty. None of these workers in any category receives any extra soap. They have to rely upon the ordinary soap ration. I went down there the other day, quite unexpectedly—[Interruption]—this is no laughing matter—and I found that the men were very dirty indeed. Although they receive no extra soap, they are expected to remain clean, and after their work to look like ordinary citizens. I impress upon the Minister of Food, first, that he should consider very seriously giving these men extra soap, and secondly, most certainly that they should not receive the cut in soap that is contemplated at the present time. They need the soap very badly. My hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) has put forward a plea in favour of the fishermen of this country. I think the railway workers in this particular shed need it much more badly than the fishermen. I would also point out to the Minister that there is a grave discrepancy here in that the railway workers in certain other sheds—that at Ashford, for example—receive the extra soap ration simply because they are covered by the Factory Act. The workers at Ramsgate are not covered by that Act and, therefore, do not receive the extra soap although they do exactly the same work. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider being rather more liberal with the extra ration, especially in view of this very hard type of work.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 287; Noes, 104.

Division No. 241.]AYES.[3.33 p.m.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Edwards, W J. (Whitechapel)Moody, A. S.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Morley, R.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Ewart, R.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Allighan, GarryFairhurst, F.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Farthing, W. J.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Attewell, H. C.Foot, M. M.Mort, D. L.
Awbery, S. S.Foster, W. (Wigan)Moyle, A
Ayles, W. H.Freeman, Maj. J (Watford)Nally, W.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Naylor, T. E.
Bacon, Miss A.Gaitskell, H. T. N.Neal, H. (Claycross)
Balfour, A.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Barstow, P. G.George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Barton, C.Gibbins, J.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Battley, J. R.Gibson, C. W.Oldfield, W. H.
Bechervaise, A. E.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Oliver, G. H.
Belcher, J. W.Gooch, E. G.Orbach, M.
Bellenger, F. J.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Berry, H.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Parker, J.
Bing, G. H. C.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Blackburn, A. R.Grenfell, D. R.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Boardman, H.Grey, C. F.Pearson, A.
Bottomley, A. G.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Peart, Capt. T. F.
Bowen, R.Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)Perrins, W.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Guest, Dr. L. HadenPopplewell, E.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Gunter, Capt. R. J.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Guy, W. H.Porter, G, (Leeds)
Brook, D. (Haifax)Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)Price, M. Philips
Brown, George (Belper)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Pritt, D. N.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Proctor, W. T
Brown, W. J. (Rugby)Harrison, J.Pryde, D. J.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Haworth, J.Pursey, Cmdr. H
Buchanan, G.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Randall, H. E.
Burden, T. W.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Ranger, J.
Burke, W. A.Hicks, G.Rees-Williams, D. R
Byers Lt.-Col. F.Hobson, C. R.Reid, T. (Swindon)
Callaghan, JamesHolmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.House, G.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Chamberlain, R. AHughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Rogers, G. H R
Champion, A. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Royle, C.
Chater, D.Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Sargood, R.
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Scott-Elliot, W.
Clitherow, Dr. R.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Segal, Dr. S.
Cluse, W. S.Irving, W. J.Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.
Cobb, F. A.Janner, B.Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Cocks, F. S.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Coldrick, W.John, W.Shurmer, P.
Collick, P.Keenan, W.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Collindridge, FKendall, W. DSkeffington-Lodge, T. C
Collins, V. J.Kenyon, C.Skinnard, F. W.
Calman, Miss G. M.King, E. M.Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. ESmith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Corlett, Dr. J.Kinley, J.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Corvedale, ViscountKirby, B. V.Smith, T. (Normanton)
Cove, W. G.Lavers, S.Snow, Capt, J. W.
Crawley, Frt.-Lieut. ALeslie, J. R.Sparks, J. A.
Crossman, R. H. SLever, Fl. Off. N. H.Stamford, W.
Daggar, G.Levy, B. W.Stephen, C.
Daines, P.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Strachey, J.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Lewis, J. (Bolton)Stubbs, A. E.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lewis, T. (Southampton)Swingler, S.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Lipson, D. L.Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Logan, D. GTaylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)McAdam, W.Taylor, R J (Morpeth)
Deer, G.McAllister, G.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
de Freitas, GeoffreyMcEntee, V. La T.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Diamond, J.McGhee, H. G.Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)
Dobbie, W.McGovern, J.Thurtle, E.
Dodds, N. N.Mack, J. D.Tiffany, S.
Driberg, T. E. N.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Titterington, M. F
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McLeavy, F.Tolley, L.
Dumpleton, C. W.Mainwaring, W. H.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Durbin, E. F. M.Mallalieu, J. P. W.Usborne, Henry
Dye, S,Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Edelman, M.Mayhew, C. P.Walker, G. H.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)Mitchison, Maj. G. R.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Monslow, W.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Warbey, W. N.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)Woodburn, A.
Weitzman, D.Williams, D. J. (Neath)Yates, V. F.
Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Williams, W. R. (Heston)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.Williamson, T.
White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)Willis, E.TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Wills, Mrs. E. A.Captain Michael Stewart and
Wigg, Col. G. E.Wilson, J. H.Mr. Simmons
Wilkins. W. A.Wise, Major F. J.
NOES.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHaughton, S. G.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RHead, Brig. A. H.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Baldwin, A. E.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CPickthorn, K.
Barlow, Sir J.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPrescott, Stanley
Beechman, N, A.Hogg, Hon. Q.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Bennett, Sir P.Hollis, M. C.Raikes, H, V.
Birch, NigelHudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Boles, Lt.-Col D. C. (Wells)Hulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Boothby, R.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Renton, D.
Bower, N.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Jennings, R.Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Kerr, Sir J. GrahamRopner, Col. L.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WKingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. HSanderson, Sir F.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Lambert, Hon. G.Savory, Prof. D L
Butcher, H. W.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Scott, Lord W.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R.A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)Langford-Holt, J.Shephard, S. (Newark)
Carson, E.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HShepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Challen, C.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Snadden, W. M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W SLindsay, M. (Solihull)Spearman, A. C. M.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Linstead, H. N.Spence, H. R.
Clifton Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Lucas, Major Sir J.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CLucas-Tooth, Sir H.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. EMacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Cuthbert, W. N.McCallum, Maj. D.Studholme, H, G
Davidson, ViscountessMacdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'ddt'n, S.)
Digby, Maj. S. W.Maclay, Hon. J, S.Teeling, William
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Turton, R. H.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Vane, W. M. T.
Duthie, W. S.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Wakefield, Sir W. W
Eccles, D. M.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)Marlowe, A. A. H.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Marples, A. E.White, Sir D. (Fareham)
George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Glossop, C. W. H.Mellor, Sir J.Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.
Gridley, Sir A.Morris-Jones, Sir H.TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Neven-Spence, Sir BMr. Drewe and Commander
Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hon. J. H. (W'db'ge)Orr-Ewing, I. L.Agnew
Harris, H. WilsonOsborne, C

Question put, and agreed to.

Division No. 242.]AYES.[10.3 p.m.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Maclean, N. (Govan)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Ewart, R.McLeavy, F.
Allen, A C. (Bosworth)Fairhurst, F.MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Farthing, W. J.Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Alpass, J. H.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Mainwaring, W. H.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Follick, M.Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Foot, M. M.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Attewell, H. C.Forman, J. C.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Austin, H. L.Foster, W. (Wigan)Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Awbery, S. SFraser, T. (Hamilton)Mathers, G.
Ayles, W. HFreeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Medland, H. M.
Ayrton Could, Mrs. B.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Middleton, Mrs. L
Bacon, Miss A.Gaitskell, H. T. N.Mikardo, Ian
Balfour, A.Gallacher, W.Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Barstow, P. GGanley, Mrs. C. S.Monslow, W.
Barton, C.Gibbins, J.Moody, A. S.
Battley, J. RGibson, C. W.Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Bechervaise, A. E.Gilzean, A.Morley, R.
Belcher, J. W.Glanville, J, E. (Consult)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Benson, G.Gooch, E. G.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Berry, H.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Bing, G. H. CGreenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Mort, D. L.
Binns, J.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Murray, J. D.
Blenkinsop, Capt. A.Grenfell, D. R.Nally, W.
Boardman, H.Grey, C. F.Naylor, T. E.
Bottomley, A. G.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Neal, H. (Claycross)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Brook, D. (Halfax)Guest, Dr. L. HadenNoel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Gunter, Capt. R. JNoel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)
Brown, George (Belper)Guy, W. H.Noel-Buxton, Lady
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Haire, Fit-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)O'Brien, T.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hale, LeslieOldfield, W. H
Buchanan, G.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Orbach, M.
Burden, T. W.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Paget, R. T.
Burke, W. A.Hardy, E. A.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Callaghan, JamesHarrison, J.Palmer, A. M. F.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePargiter, G. A.
Champion, A. J.Haworth, J.Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Chater, D.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. RHewitson, Capt. M.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Clitherow, Dr RHobson, C. R.Pearson, A.
Cluse, W. SHolman, P.Perrins, W-
Cobb, F. A.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Cocks, F. S.Hoy, J.Porter, G. (Leads)
Coldrick, W.Hubbard, T.Price, M. Philips
Collick, P.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Pritt, D. N.
Collindridge, FHughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Proctor, W. T.
Collins, V. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Pryde, D. J.
Colman, Miss G. M.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Pursey, Cmdr, H.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Irving, W. J.Randall, H. E.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Janner, B.Ranger, J.
Corlett, Dr. J.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Rankin, J.
Crawley, Fit. Lieut. AJohn, W.Rees-Williams, D. R.
Crossman, R. H. S.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Daggar, G.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Rhodes, H.
Daines, P.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Robens, A.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Keenan, W.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Kendall, W. DRoyle, C.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Kenyon, C.Sargood, R.
Davies, Harold (Leek)King, E. M.Scollan, T.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Kingdom, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Scott-Elliot, W.
Davies, R J. (Westhoughton)Kinley, J.Segal, Dr. S.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Kirby, B. V.Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.
Deer, G.Kirkwood, D.Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Delargy, Captain H. J.Lavers, S.Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)
Diamond, J.Lee, F. (Hulme)Shurmer, P.
Dobbie, W.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Simmons, C. J.
Dodds, N. N.Leonard, W.Skinnard, F. W.
Donovan, T.Leslie, J. R.Smith, Capt. C, (Colchester)
Driberg, T. E. N.Levy, B. W.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Dumpleton, C. W.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Snow, Capt. J. W.
Dye, S.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Ede, Rt. Hon J C.Lindgren, G, S.Sparks, J. A.
Edelman, M.Longden, F.Stamford, W.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Lyne, A. WStrachey, J.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)McAdam, WStrauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Edwards, John (Blackburn)McGhee, H. G.Swingler, S.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)McGovern, JSymonds, Maj. A. L.
Edwards, W, J. (Whitechapel)Mack, J. D.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Evans, E. (Lowestoft)McKay, J. (Wallsend)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Evans, J. (Ogmore)McKinlay, A. SThomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Williamson, T.
Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)Warbey, W. N.Willis, E.
Tiffany, S.Weitzman, D.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Timmons, J.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Wilson, J. H.
Titterington, M. F.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)Wise, Major F. J
Tolley, L.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Woodburn, A.
Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Wigg, Col. G. E.Woods, G. S.
Turner-Samuels, H.Wilkes, Maj. L.Yates, V. F.
Ungoed-Thomas, L.Wilkins, W. A.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Usborne, HenryWilley, F. T. (Sunderland)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Vernon, Maj. W. F.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)Zilliacus, K.
Viant, S. P.Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Walkden, E.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Walker, G. H.Williams, W. R. (Heston)Mr. Drewe and
Commander Agncw
NOES.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHare, Lieut.-Col. Hon. J. H. (W'db'ge)Ponsonby, Col. C. E
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RHead, Brig. A. H.Raikes, H. V.
Baldwin, A. E.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CRamsay, Maj. S.
Barlow, Sir J.Hogg, Hon. Q.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Baxter, A. B.Hope, Lord J.Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Beechman, N. A.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. 5. (Southport)Ropner, Cot. L.
Bennett, Sir P.Hurd, A.Scott, Lord W.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'brgh W)Shephard, S. (Newark)
Bossom, A. C.Jennings, RShepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Smithers, Sir W.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Lipson, D. L.Snadden, W. M
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WLucas, Major Sir J.Spence, H. R.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Bullock, Capt. M.McCallum, Maj. D.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Byers Lt.-Col. F.Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.Studholme, H. G.
Carson, E.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Sutcliffe, H.
Challen, C.Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Clarke, Col. R. S.Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thomson, Sir D. (Aberdeen, S.)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Manningham-Buller, R. EThornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Marlowe, A. A. H.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CMarsden, Capt. A.Touche, G. C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. EMarshall, D. (Bodmin)Turton, R. H.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.Mellor, Sir J.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Cuthbert, W. N.Molson, A. H. EWalker-Smith, D.
Drayson, Capt. G. B.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Eccles, D. M.Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Neven-Spence, Sir B.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gage, Lt.-Col. C.Nicholson, G.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Nield, B. (Chester)York, C.
George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Nutting, AnthonyYoung, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Glyn, Sir R.Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.Osborne, CTELLERS FOR THE NOES
Grimston, R. V.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Captain Michael Stewart and
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Pitman, I. J.Mr. Popplewell

Question put accordingly, That the Order, dated 18th June, 1946, amending the Soap (Licensing of Manufacturers and Rationing) (No. 2) Order, 1945 (S.R. & O., 1946, No. 871), a copy of which

amending Order was presented on 24th June, be annulled."

The House divided: Ayes, 105; Noes, 288.

Division No. 243.AYES10.14 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Amory, D. HeathcoatCooper-Key, E. M.Hogg, Hon. Q.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RCrookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CHope, Lord J.
Baldwin, A. E.Crowder, Capt. J. F. EHudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)
Barlow, Sir J.Cuthbert, W. N.Hurd, A.
Baxter, A. B.Drayson, Capt. G. B.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Beechman, N. A.Drewe, C.Jennings, R
Bennett, Sir P.Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Kendall, W. D.
Boles, Lt.-Col D. C. (Wells)Eccles, D. M.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H
Bossom, A. CFoster, J. G. (Northwich)Lipson, D. L.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Gage, Lt.-Col. C.Lucas, Major Sir J.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WGeorge, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'ke)McCallum, Maj. D.
Buchan-Hapburn, P. G. T.Glyn, Sir R.Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.
Bullock, Capt. M.Gomme-Duncan, Col. A, GMaclay, Hon. J. S.
Byers Lt.-Col. F.Grimston, R. V.Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)
Carson, E.Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)
Challen, C.Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hon. J. H. (W'db'ge)Maitland, Comdr. J. W.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Head, Brig. A. H.Manningham-Buller, R, E.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CMarlowe, A. A. H.
Marsden, Capt. A.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Robinson, Wing-Comdr. RolandThorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Molson, A. H. E.Ropner, Col. L.Touche, G. C.
Morrison, Mai. J. G. (Salisbury)Scott, Lord W.Turton, R. H.
Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)Shephard, S. (Newark)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)Walker-Smith, D.
Neven-Spence, Sir B.Smithers, Sir W.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Nicholson, G.Snadden, W. M.White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Nield, B. (Chester)Spence, H. R.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Nutting, AnthonyStoddart-Scott, Col. M.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Orr-Ewing, I. L.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl
Osborne, C.Studholme, H. G.York, C
Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Sutcliffe, H.Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Pitman, I. J.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Raikes, H. V.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ramsay, Maj. SThomson, Sir D. (Aberdeen, S.)Sir John Mellor and
Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre.
NOES.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Delargy, Captain H. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Diamond, J.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Dobbie, W.Irving, W. J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crews)Dodds, N. N.Janner, B.
Alpass, J. H.Donovan, T.Jeger, G (Winchester)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Driberg, T. E. N.John, W.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Dugdale, J (W. Bromwich)Jones, D. T (Hartlepools)
Attewell, H. C.Dumpleton, C. W.Jones, J. H. (Balton)
Austin, H. L.Dye, S.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Awbery, S. S.Ede, Rt. Hon. J CKeenan, W
Ayles, W H.Edelman, M.Kenyon, C
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. BEdwards, A (Middlesbrough, E.)King, E M.
Bacon, Miss A.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E
Balfour, A.Edwards, John (Blackburn)Kinley, J.
Barstow, P. GEdwards, N. (Caerphilly)Kirkwood, D
Barton, C.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Lavers, S.
Battley, J. R.Evans, E (Lowestoft)Lee, F. (Hulme)
Bechcrvaise, A. E.Evans, J. (Ogmare)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Belcher, J. W.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Leonard, W.
Benson, GEwart, R.Leslie, J. R.
Berry, H.Fairhurst, F.Levy, B. W.
Bing, G. H. CFarthing, W. J.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Binns, J.Fletcher, E G. M. (Islington. E.)Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Blenkinsop, Capt AFollick, M.Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Boardman, H.Foot, M. M.Lindgren, G. S
Bottomley, A. G.Forman, J, C.Logan, D. G.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Foster, W. (Wigan)Lyne, A. W.
Braddock, Mrs. E- M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McAdam, W.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)McGhee, H. G.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Freeman, Peter (Newport)McGovern, J.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Gaitskell, H. T. NMack, J. D.
Brawn, George (Belper)Gallacher, W.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Ganley, Mrs. C. S.McKinlay, A. S.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Gibbins, JMaclean, N. (Govan)
Buchanan, G.Gibson, C. WMcLeavy, F.
Burden, T. WGilzean, A.MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Burke, W. A.Glanville, J. E (Consett)Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Callaghan, JamesGooch, E. GMainwaring, W. H.
Chamberlain, R. AGordon-Walker, P. C.Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Champion, A. J.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Chater, D.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.Grenfell, D. RMarshall, F. (Brightside)
Clitherow, Dr. R.Grey, C F.Mathers, G.
Cluse, W. S.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Medland, H. M
Cobb, F. A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Middleton, Mrs. L
Cocks, F. S.Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)Mikardo, Ian
Coldrick, W.Guest, Dr. L. HadenMitchison, Maj. G. R.
Collick, P.Gunter, Capt. R. J.Monslow, W.
Collindridge, F.Guy, W. H.Moody, A. S.
Collins, V. J.Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)Morgan, Dr. H. B
Colman, Miss G. M.Hate, LeslieMorley, R.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Corbel, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Corlett, Dr. J.Hardy, E. A.Morrison, Rt. Hon H. (Lewisham, E.)
Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A.Harrison, J.Mort, D. L.
Crossman, R. H. S.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleMurray, J. D.
Daggar, G.Haworth, J.Nally, W.
Daines, P.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Naylor, T. E.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Hewitson, Capt. M.Neal, H. (Claycross)
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Hobson, C. R.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Holman, P.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Hoy, J.Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Hubbard, T.Noel-Buxton, Lady
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)O'Brien, T.
Deer, G.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Oldfield, W. H.
Orbach, M.Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. AViant, S. P.
Paget, R. T.Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.Walkden, E.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)Walker, G. H.
Palmer, A. M. F.Shurmer, P.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
pargiter, G. A.Simmons, C J.Warbey, W. N.
Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.Skinnard, F. W.Weitzman, D.
Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Paton, J. (Norwich)Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Pearson, A.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Perrins, W.Snow, Capt. J. W.Wigg, Col. G. E.
Porter, E. (Warrington)Soskice, Maj. Sir F.Wilkes, Maj. L.
Porter, G. (Leeds)Sparks, J. A-Wilkins, W. A.
Price, M. PhilipsStamford, W.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Pritt, D. N.Strachey, J.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Proctor, W. TStrauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Pryde, D. J.Swingler, S.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Pursey, Cmdr HSymonds, Maj. A. L.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Randall, H. E.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Williamson, T.
Ranger, J.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Willis, E.
Rankin, J.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Wills, Mrs. E A
Rees-Williams, D. R.Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wilson, J. H.
Reid, T. (Swindon)Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)Wise, Major F. J
Rhodes, H.Tiffany, S.Woodburn, A.
Robens, A,Timmons, J.Woods, G. S
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Titterington, M F.Yates, V. F.
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Tolley, L.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Royle, C.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. GYounger, Hon Kenneth
Sargood, R.Turner-Samuels, M.Zilliacus, K
Scollan, T.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Scott-Elliot, WUsborne, HenryTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Segal, Dr. SVernon, Maj. W FCaptain Michael Stewart and
Mr. Popplewell.

Question put, and agreed to.

Order read for Consideration of Lords Amendments.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."—[Mr. Shinwell.]

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

Before we proceed to the consideration of the Lords Amendments, is not the Minister of Fuel and Power going to make some statement?

3.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I thought that, as general agreement had been reached in another place on the form and, indeed, the substance of the Amendments, it was unnecessary for me to offer any observations at this stage. What I had in mind was that, if hon. Members wished to elicit any information on any of the Amendments, I should be glad to furnish it. I can say that, generally speaking, agreement has been reached. There has been, of course, some compromise as that was inevitable in the circumstances. Our attention was directed in another place to what were regarded as defects in the Clauses; our representatives in another place listened attentively to the submissions that were made to them, and agreement was reached. I can find nothing objectionable in the form of the Amendments. I cannot think of anything else I should say at this stage. I would not say that I am quite satisfied but I feel that what appears on the Order Paper should satisfy right hon. and hon. Members opposite.

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for his statement. It is, indeed, surprising to think that we have now reached a stage at which he cannot think of anything else to say. This is very different from the ebullience with which this Bill started on its Second Reading. There were no indications then of what would be the final result, but I take it, from what the Minister has said, that, generally speaking, he is going to recommend the House to accept the Amendments as we come to them. We did want to know that, because it may shorten our proceedings if we know that that is the general idea.

I would like to make the comment that here we are with 15 pages of Amendments, and if it is not unprecedented, it must be years, since we had such an enormous number of Amendments sent down from another place. For that, the Government ought to be exceedingly grateful. The right hon. Gentleman said that his representatives in another place had listened very attentively. The result of their listening very attentively is shown in this document, and the Government, at least, should be grateful indeed for what has been done in another place. The great bulk of these Amendments are drafting and clarifying Amendments, which is one vindication of what we have been saying all along—that Bills introduced into this House, and passed under the present procedure, do not get sufficient attention here. If this Bill had not been so rushed in its later stages here, some of the points covered by these drafting and clarifying Amendments could have been dealt with more reasonably by this House. The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have, therefore, every reason to be grateful to another place for the care and attention given to this Measure and for the Amendments which have been inserted.

There are some Amendments on which the right hon. Gentleman says some compromise was inevitable, and on which agreement was reached. For that, again, the Government should be extremely grateful, because that is one point which we argued, we thought very cogently, in this House. Now that our points have come back to us in the form of Government Amendments introduced in another place, they do show to the Government the advantage of an opportunity for second thoughts. For that reason, the action which has been taken elsewhere has been greatly to the public interest. If we accept these Amendments, undoubtedly the Bill will leave us in a far better form than it was in previously. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will put to his colleagues, and, more particularly, to the Lord President of the Council, who, after all, is the nigger in this particular woodpile, that more time should be given to discussion in this House, in order that we should not, in future, have to spend a whole day on Lords Amendments which we could have taken in our stride at an earlier stage.

Photo of Mr Thomas Naylor Mr Thomas Naylor , Southwark South East

Are we to understand that, after what has taken place, another place is discharged without a stain on its character?

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.