Orders of the Day — Hire Cars (Radius Restriction)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1948.

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10.25 p.m.

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

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Order, dated 26th February, 1948, entitled the Motor Fuel (Car Hire) Order, 1948 (S.I., 1948, No. 386), a copy of which was presented on 26th February, be annulled. Statutory Instrument No. 386 of 1948 bears all the usual stigmata of a Statutory Instrument made by the Ministry of Fuel and Power. That is to say, it has the usual careless and incomplete drafting, which is not the result of any lack of competence on the part of the permanent officials of that Department, but is the inevitable result of the ordinary work of the Department being delayed and interfered with because of its energies having been concentrated on or diverted to three nationalisation Bills in the past two years. As a consequence the Minister has got into hot water, in the strictly metaphorical sense of that term, on a good many occasions. The object of this particular Statutory Instrument is not to save petrol and, therefore, I hope that the House will be spared any observations from the Government Front Bench to the effect that the Opposition are inciting the Government to be extravagant in the use of petrol.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe), on 4th March, asked the Minister of Fuel and Power: What quantity of petrol in a full year it is estimated will be saved by the operation of the regulation limiting the use of private hire cars to a radius of 20 miles. The Minister replied: No estimate can be made. The purpose of the order was not primarily to save petrol but to ensure that hire cars provide the local public service for which their allowances are intended."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1948: Vol. 448, C. 81–2.] [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Encouraged by that reception of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, accorded by his own supporters, I suggest to the House that the correct test to apply to this order is whether it fairly, sensibly and efficiently carries out that object. That is the proper criterion to apply to it.

The order itself, to which I invite the attention of the House, lays down, subject to a substantial exception to which I will come in a moment, that hire cars shall not be operated more than 20 miles from the place at which they are kept: that is to say, it lays down a radius of action beyond which cars are not permitted to operate. The question inevitably arises whether the laying down of a radius of 20 miles, or any other limited radius, is an efficient method of securing that hire cars are operated in a manner which makes the most effective use of the petrol allocated to them.

The first objection to any limited radius applied to the country as a whole is that conditions vary enormously in different parts of the country. For the purpose of argument, what might be a perfectly reasonable limitation applied to a car based in the middle of a great city, is not necessarily effective for controlling a car based in a remote part of the countryside. One obvious example arises in my own constituency. Under this order, a car based in the Royal and Ancient Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames cannot be operated in certain parts of the Metropolitan area, because certain parts of the Metropolitan area are more than 20 miles from Kingston-upon-Thames. Surely, it is not very intelligent to provide that, while a car can go from Kingston to Piccadilly, it cannot go from Kingston to, say, Finchley? Therefore, so far as that geographical situation arises, this does not seem to be a very intelligent provision.

It will no doubt occur to hon. Members that quite a number of cars are operated from coastal towns. If a car is based upon a coast town, the area of country which it can cover, if it has a limited range, is precisely half that which it could cover were it based on an inland town, unless it is of that amphibious nature to which is normally given the name of "D.U.K.W." But very few hire cars, I understand, come into that category.

Finally, there is the case of remote country districts. Twenty miles may be a reasonable limitation in heavily built-up areas; but it is wholly unreasonable, say, in parts of Scotland where the main centres of population are widely dispersed. It is inevitable that any particular figure based on a limited mileage must give rise to these anomalies. That is why I suggest to the House that a limitation of this sort, based on a fixed mileage applied to the country as a whole, is in practice quite unworkable, or, alternatively, if worked, can only give rise to inequality and hardship.

There is a further point as to the effect on the tourist trade. I understand that the Minister of Fuel and Power is going to make sonic announcement before very long as to special concessions to be made on this subject to tourists; but I urge on the Government, as we are already in the middle of March, and as most overseas tourists are already by now making plans whether to visit this country or not, that it is very unwise from the point of view of the tourist trade to lay down this limitation now in this order and leave it to the uncertain future to decide upon what mitigation can be permitted in the case of foreign tourists. At the movement all a foreigner who intends to visit this country knows is that if he comes to this country he will be unable to hire a car to go a greater distance than 20 miles, except in certain circumstances. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary, who I understand is to reply, to realise that some early announcement about concessions in this matter for foreign tourists is absolutely essential if valuable foreign exchange is not to be lost, simply through delay and dilatoriness in coming to a decision.

Finally, this particular restraint, like so many imposed by this Government, is one which hits very hardly people in a comparatively small way of life and can he perfectly easily evaded by the very rich. I understand there is already a kind of relay system in operation. There is a hostelry upon the Portsmouth road, precisely 20 miles from London, which has already developed a flourishing trade from people transferring from cars hired from London which have travelled their 20 miles to others booked further on in order to proceed into the country. An order which is capable of such easy, expensive evasion is one which prejudices the person not particularly well off and does not seriously inconvenience the very rich.

Once again, I suggest to the House that the method of restriction of the use of hire cars embodied in this order is inequitable in that way. And it goes a bit further than this. The exception made is rather an unusual one. The exception is for purposes permitted by the order and they are specified in the second paragraph of the order. Perhaps I may trouble the House with the very few words in which they are embodied:

  1. "(a) Any necessary and urgent domestic purpose of the hirer, and
  2. (b) Any necessary purpose in connection with the hirer's profession or business "
No definition of this purpose is included in the order. As I understand it, what is provided is that the owner of a hire car has himself to decide whether the purpose for which it is sought to hire the car comes within these exceptions or not. I would be obliged if the Parliamentary Secretary, or the Solicitor-General, could give any other interpretation. As I understand this far-from-clear order, that is the effect. The owner has to decide whether the purpose—and, after all, it is only the purpose he is told by the person wishing to hire the car—is covered by this provision or not. That puts him in a difficult position. If he makes a mistake, he is liable, as I understand it, to be charged in a police court with a breach of this order, and to suffer not only the penalties imposed there, but presumably also to suffer the reduction or, indeed, the elimination, of his petrol allowance by the regional petroleum officer.

It seems quite unfair to put upon the owners of cars for hire the extremely difficult job of deciding whether, in a particular case, the purpose for which a person desires to use his car is, or is not, covered by these far-from-clear phrases. It seems wrong to put on a man who may not be as well acquainted with the law as the Solicitor-General the interpretation of this particular provision of the order. If I am told that I am wrong in my interpretation, and that another interpretation has to be put upon the order, I shall be interested to hear what is said for the Government.

As the order stands, if I may sum up, it does seem that the provision of a 20 miles radius is an inefficient and inequitable provision, and one that can be easily evaded; and it can only be carried out by putting upon a man who may know very little of the provisions of the law a far heavier and more difficult responsibility than it is right to impose upon him. Therefore, it seems to me that this is an order which should be debated in this House. If there is a case in its favour, that case should be put before the House and the House given, in due course, an opportunity to make a decision upon it.

10.38 p.m.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

I beg to second the Motion.

There are three reasons why I believe this to be a bad order, and to be the making of bad law. The first reason is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston - upon - Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has said, that anyone can get round the order. The second reason is that it is particularly unfair on the seaside resorts; and the third reason is that it is not clear upon whom the onus of proof falls if there is a breach of the order —the onus of proof that the car is being used for proper purposes. I think we are getting back to the stage-coach idea, but instead of changing horses at some wayside hostelry now, when making a long journey it is necessary to stop at one of the modern roadside garages and change motorcars. This means that people who, of necessity or for pleasure, make a long journey by private hire car, have only to stop at a garage and change motorcars. Any order which makes a regulation which can be got round as easily as that must be a bad order.

Regarding the second point, the effect on the seaside resorts—one of which I represent—it seems to me iniquitous that, because private hire car drivers in East-bourne cannot go 20 miles out to sea, Eastbourne private hire drivers are going to lose a lot of business. I often wonder whether it is the intention of the Government to deal knock-out blow after knockout blow to our seaside resorts. It has done nothing to help the seaside resorts all the time it has been in power. During the war it was necessary for a great many of our——

Photo of Mr Gilbert Mitchison Mr Gilbert Mitchison , Kettering

Can the hon. Member say whether this geographical limitation would affect East-bourne, anyhow?

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

I fail to see the point of that interruption. As I was saying, the seaside resorts were subject to blow after blow. This was necessary during the war when the people were deprived of the pleasure of going to many of these places. Since the war however the hotels and boarding house industry and all those concerned in the business of seaside and holiday resorts have not been given any encouragement by the Government. Only the other day there was an example of this kind of thing. The President of the Board of Trade had the impertinence—and I use that word advisedly—to suggest that the Americans making money out of their films in this country should invest it in the hotel industry and show the British hoteliers how to run their business. I suggest that the hoteliers' answer to that might be, "What a pity the President of the Board of Trade does not import a few Americans of the calibre of those who made such a quick film deal with his Department, and one so advantageous to them, to help him to run his Department." The Minister of Fuel and Power is taking precisely the same steps as the President of the Board of Trade as far as the holiday resorts are concerned. I imagine he wants the private car owners in the seaside resorts to lose their business and their livelihood, so that the Americans can buy them and show them how to run their business.

My third point is in regard to the question of onus, which has been mentioned by the hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames. Paragraph 2 of the order gives as permitted uses, any necessary and urgent domestic purpose of the hirer; and any necessary purpose in connection with the hirer's profession or business. To show how misleading the order is, may I say that I do not agree with the interpretation of my hon.Friend. I believe that the onus lies not only on the man who owns the hire car—[Interruption.] I should be grateful if hon. Members opposite, who are not interested in this order, would cease their continual interruptions. This happens to be a serious matter for some of us and affects quite a number of our constituents. The onus of proof, in my view, lies not only on the owner of the hired car, but also upon the user, because paragraph r of the order says, —no person shall use, or cause or allow the use of — Therefore, I suggest that both the owner and the man who hires the car are liable to very heavy penalties if in their wisdom or foolishness they decide that a car journey is necessary. It is unfair and unnecessary to put the onus on these people. The owner of a hire car is obviously aching to do business and very anxious to let his car on hire for a trip if he can find a legitimate excuse for so doing. However, having let his car go on a trip, he is then in fear and trembling lest the magistrates take the opposite view about the necessity for the trip. This is a bad order, and unless we get some assurance on the matter, I hope we shall divide on it and by voting against it ensure that it shall not be allowed to continue in operation.

10.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

Before I proceed farther, I should like to quote textually, while my memory is fresh, from the speech we have just heard from the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor). He said: "This order is a very serious matter for some of us."

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

I must protest; the hon. Gentleman obviously did not hear me.

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

I repeat that what the hon. Member said was—quote—"This order is a very serious matter for some of us"—full stop—unquote.— [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite may think it is funny, but that is what he said. He also said—quote—"This is also a serious business for some of our constituents"full stop—unquote. Just what is his argument? It is that this order, which restricts the radius of action of hire cars to 20 miles, is a serious matter for him and for his friends because it puts a limit on the amenities which he and his friends can enjoy.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

I must interrupt the hon. Gentleman's "quotes and unquotes," because his quotation of what I said is not only untrue but unsound.

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

Well, the hon. Member will be on record tomorrow in the OFFICIAL REPORT. If I am certain of anything in this world, I am certain that he used the personal pronoun, first person, objective plural. But just what is his argument? Is it that this order restricts the amenities which he and his friends, in view of their purchasing power, can enjoy, or is it because they are concerned with the livelihood of some of their constituents, which I admit ought to have the serious consideration of this House? I also have received some telegrams and letters from some of my constituents. Let us, first of all, suppose that the hon. Member for Eastbourne is concerned with the order because it restricts the amenities which he and his friends can buy because of their pecuniary affluence. Nobody would think, after listening to his remarks, that this country was in any sort of economic difficulty. Nobody who heard him would think that the operation of the capitalist system over a hundred years had brought about a gap in the balance of payments position of our country. That is what has happened, due in the first place to the action of private enterprise in getting profit from equipping overseas customers so that they could become our competitors. The hon. Member for Eastbourne, and the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (M7. Boyd-Carpenter), would assume that this country was in no difficulty about paying for necessary imports of food and raw materials.

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

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, according to the Minister of Fuel and Power, no saving of petrol is effected by the operation of this order?

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

Nobody would suppose that the background of this was one of complete embarrassment of this country in the world scheme of things. I am certain that the House will have been shocked beyond measure to hear the hon. Member for Kingston-on-Thames argue that the people who have the means to pay should be able to organise a system of 20-mile relays.

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

Really, I must protest. I hoped that I had made it clear even to +he hon. Member that I was pointing out that it was a defect in the order due to its ill drafting that rich people could drive a coach and horses through it.

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

I am glad to know that the hon. Member is heartily ashamed of what his friends are doing. He says so. Then, he referred to the tourist traffic. I think, if We understood his argument aright, it must have meant that the 20-mile limit should be taken off in order that foreign tourists could get about the country as freely as they like. What would be the mental reactions of the decent American, who, having heard the case for Marshall aid, finds this country is still so affluent that it can allow the well-to-do to drive a Daimler limousine through the petrol regulation, leap over the basic petrol abolition, and use hire cars?

I have been induced to take part in this Debate by reason of information which has come to me, and for the accuracy of which I can vouch. It has come to me at first hand from one of my constituents, who told me what he did last month before this order came into operation. He took his wife from Nottingham to Torquay for a fortnight's holiday. They went down by hire car, notwithstanding the admirable services put up by the British Railways system between Nottingham, London and Torquay. He left her there and came home. The next weekend he went down to see her, and used the same hire car. He returned and still left her there. The following weekend he went down again and brought her back. There were three journeys of 1,500 miles. The psychological effect on the workingmen in my constituency of a thing like that, which they get to know about and talk about, is such as to do no good to the production drive. These things ought not to happen if this country is in a "jam." That is the kind of thing which the hon. Member for Eastbourne had in mind when he used the word us." It is because this Order makes that sort of thing impossible that I support it, and oppose the Motion to annul it.

10.55 P.m.

Photo of Mr Luke Teeling Mr Luke Teeling , Brighton

I hope that I may come back for a minute to the more serious side after the last quite interesting but facetious speech. In my constituency, and I am sure in most other constituencies, we have a large number of ex-Service people—[Interruption]—yes, ex-Service people who have come to us and pointed out that they want to start a hire car system. They have been told by the Ministry of Fuel and Power that this can only be done if they were so badly injured during the war that they could not take on any other form of work. I do not know about other constituencies, but I do know that in mine there are a very large number of these people who are taking up that particular work. It is not unnatural, after all, that they should do so.

When people come down to the seaside resorts, about which the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor) has spoken so well, they very often come down there in the hope of being able to travel about a bit, and that is why before the present fuel crisis, these men were given the opportunity of starting this business. Now that they have been started, very often with their gratuities which they received after the war, I do think that this House should take much more serious note of what we are talking about. These fellows are now in a very difficult position. The 20 miles limit is going to affect them very considerably.

I am quite certain that there is no one in my constituency who does not want to earn an honest living and who is not as much upset about the present position of this country as everyone else ought to be; but it is felt that in many ways this is a ridiculous order and that it is doing no particular good. In my area one of them has worked it out in the last few days. He cannot go beyond the 20 miles limit, but he can go round and round in that 20 miles up to 200 or 300 miles, travelling without anyone stopping him. It is not that he wants to do that sort of thing; he wants to do a straight forward, honest business. I am not talking about one particular person—there are many. They would want to go beyond that 20 mile limit for healthy business purposes.

But the position is—and it was clearly pointed out by the hon. Member for Kingston - on - Thames (Mr. BoydCarpenter)—that these men are being left in a very difficult position as to who is to judge and who is to decide whether they are doing the legal thing or not. just what no one knows at the present time is quite where the 20-mile limit ends. At Hove and Brighton no one has yet decided on the point where they are to start. If they start at one point they can get to one or two towns where they can do considerable business. If not, they are completely cut out. I do not want to stress this point too much, but I do beg the House to take more seriously the position of the ex-Service man who has put all his money into private hire cars and who is now finding himself quite incapable of doing regular jobs which were given him by people who were going on worth-while business and who are not now seeking permission to do so because of the red tape involved in getting permission.

10.59 p.m.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Lonsdale

I want to say a word for the rural areas, illustrated by my own constituency. I represent, as hon. Members know, a considerable part of the Lake District; indeed 600 square miles of that country is in my Division. There are few towns, but there are Grange-over-Sands, a little along the coast; Morecambe, just outside my Division; Lancaster, just below it, and Kendal just in Westmorland. People go to those districts, and they want to see our beautiful Lake District. The journey from any one of those towns to the heart of the Lake District is more than 20 miles. If 20 miles is a proper figure for London, Manchester and for any big city, with vast and complex transport systems available, then it is clearly inadequate for a district like mine. If regulations are made which create unfairness and injustices, offences are there-by created. I submit that everything possible should be done to avoid complicating life for people, and that if there must be regulations and controls like these, the Government should take into special account the peculiar situation of widespread rural areas such as my constituency.

In conclusion, I would like to confirm what the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) said about ex-Service men. There are men, particularly disabled men, who have set up in this business. We are not only imposing unfairness on the whole countryside, but we are also imposing hardship upon these ex-Service men. Let us, therefore, vote against the continuance of this order, and let us hope that some hon. Members opposite will vote with us and show the Government that they must take more care in drafting these orders.

11.1 p.m.

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

There have been many occasions on which I have voted with the other side of the House, but I should be utterly ashamed of myself if I were to vote with the other side tonight, for I never heard a more extraordinary suggestion the hon. Members opposite have made. I feel quite certain that if the people of this country could know that it has been seriously put forward by the Opposition, they would be horrified. I know that the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has related some Ministerial utterance to the remarks he has made tonight, but he must know perfectly well by now that expenditure on petrol is expenditure on dollars, and he must also know that we are now pensioners of the United States. He must also know perfectly well that the basic petrol ration has been abolished. It necessarily follows that at the same time we must ensure that the rich will not be able to go where they like by hired car while the poor are unable to go about. That, surely, is absolutely self-evident. Does anybody deny that?

Remarks have been made about ex-Service men. Of course, everybody has the greatest sympathy with ex-Service men. There are two ex-Service men whom I personally know, who served as parachutists during the war—people of the greatest gallantry—who want to set up in business. One has every possible sympathy with them, but I think their enterprise is needed in other spheres. There are many jobs which disabled people can take up apart from the particular job mentioned, in which they would be of the greatest possible value.

The central point is this: that it would be a monstrous thing for the Government to give the impression at this stage that jobs of this kind can be given and that, if there are these jobs, people can make a great deal of money out of them. I have been convinced from the beginning that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) was right when he wanted to prevent the party opposite from dividing the House on the issue of the abolition of the basic petrol ration. When he tried to do it, I personally said "Hear, hear" and, as usual, hon. Members on this side of the House thought I was a crypto-Tory. The fact of the matter is that we are in such a desperate financial position today that we are pensioners of the United States, which is an intolerable thing for anybody in this country, and we must get out of that situation as soon as possible. I will not concern myself about the fact that the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames thought that some Ministerial utterance gave the impression that no saving in dollars would be effected.

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

We are politicians and we must behave as realists in this matter. Take the position of the working man in my constituency who has to go to the Austin factory from perhaps 20, 30 or 40 miles away and who has bought a car and is not allowed to use it to go to work. Can we say to him, "We will not allow you to go to work in your car," and yet allow the wealthy American tourist to buy more petrol? We must consider the perfectly logical and unanswerable argument of my hon. Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Norman Smith) about the man from his constituency who went down to Torquay.

The Opposition's argument really does not make sense: it is an argument that cannot be advanced by logical people, particularly those people who, as the Opposition constantly state, declare that they have been trying to arouse this country to a sense of reality. I do not see any sense of reality in their argument. Is there any sense of reality in saying that we should give people the impression that the basic petrol ration is unnecessary? May I remind the party opposite that there is still a Motion on the Order Paper signed by the majority of the party opposite involving the abolition of the basic petrol ration?

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Brighton

Is it in Order to go into the question of the basic petrol ration now?

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

The question of basic petrol has nothing to do with this matter.

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

I feel that if I went any further and expressed my opinion on another question, I should be going out of Order. I am not entirely unsympathetic to the view that this dollar situation does require careful consideration but to spend 17 million dollars or so on American films like "Forever Amber" while basic petrol is not allowed seems to me to be equally insane.

I hope this matter will not he pursued tonight, because to do so would give an illogical impression to the British people.

11.8 p.m.

Photo of Major Henry Spence Major Henry Spence , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

The speeches tonight from hon. Members opposite have given the impression that because we have seen fit to pray that this order be annulled, it is therefore implied that no order is necessary at all and that we are in favour of allowing the use of hire cars anywhere and everywhere. Our contention is that this present order is a bad order and could be replaced by a good order; but owing to the particular form of the Debate tonight, we can only pray for the annulment: we cannot move amendments or suggest improvements. I should like to correct the impression created by the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Norman Smith) when he was talking about his friend, who probably belonged to the Coal Board, and who took his wife to Torquay——

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

My friend did not work for the Coal Board: he is a practitioner of private enterprise.

Photo of Major Henry Spence Major Henry Spence , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

I accept the correction. The hon. Member has said that the production drive would suffer by working men seeing cars used for purposes of that sort, but there are two production drives in this country. There is the production drive for goods for export and the production drive for food. It is those who work on the land and live in rural areas who are going to be hit by this order. I live in Northern Scotland, and my constituency is there, and I will paint a little picture of what this order means. In Aberdeenshire, we have no Sunday trains. The roads are radial from the city of Aberdeen, and if one lives on one side of Aberdeen and one's parents on the other, this order means that one cannot get across on Sunday to see them. That is what I think is hard about it. I would be in favour of an order in which the radius was increased reasonably in rural districts: that is what we seek.

This order is harsh and arbitrary in the way it works, and affects classes of people doing a good job of work for the country, and in the intemperate remarks about this side of the House opposing the order an injustice has been done to our judg- ment of the situation. We realise the need for savings in dollars. We regret the evasions which can be made to this order—and will be made, human nature being what it is. We would like to see this order annulled, and another laid which would be more generous and reasonable in the case of rural areas, in particular, and in other cases, such as the seaside towns, to which reference has been made. Let hon. Members opposite realise that we do not wish to encourage joy-riding, or anything of that sort——

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

If the hon. Gentleman were really speaking for the party opposite, I would never have spoken as I did; but the party opposite voted against the abolition of the basic petrol ration, and Members signed a Motion asking for its restoration.

Photo of Major Henry Spence Major Henry Spence , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

I regret that it would not be in Order to refer to basic petrol rationing or its abolition. The effect of this order is to prevent social contacts between members of families who live in Scotland. That is true, and cannot be gainsaid by those who live in Scotland, and know the conditions up there—or by anyone prepared to examine my post-bag. I shall vote against this order because I believe it can be replaced by a much better one.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Brighton

The hon. Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) reinforced the strong argument that one cannot make arbitrary rules of this kind which are applicable in equity to urban and rural areas. The hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Blackburn) was ingenious in getting in his general views on films and petrol, but did not apply his mind to the question. The order has nothing to do with the use of extra petrol: the hire car man gets exactly the same amount of petrol as he did before. The order does not save one drop of petrol, and is another of those ridiculous rules that the Government bring in on what they call "psychological grounds." The Front Bench opposite ought to have learned their lesson from the order which they had to abrogate a few days ago. They brought in an order solely on psychological grounds, and then had to withdraw it because its utter absurdity was brought home to them. These attempts to legislate for a vast and varied community on psychological grounds like these are really quite impossible.

The argument of the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Norman Smith) is really not worth thinking about. I must deal with his elementary lesson in punctuation. He does not seem to have understood what the order is about. I would remind him, in view of what he said, that the point is that a car hired under these arrangements drives 20 miles —full stop. That is what the hon. Gentleman has not grasped. A car hired in a coastal area has just half the space in which to operate, compared with cars hired in inland areas. This is another illustration of the harsh way in which the order operates—that people in the coastal towns have only a small area in which to operate hire cars. I have had to point this out before to hon. Members, and I remember I did so when we were discussing the radius of operation provided in the Transport Act. Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not seem able to get into their heads that a semi-circle is half the size of a circle. If only they would understand this elementary truth, they would not fall into these dangerous errors they make from time to time. I ask hon. Gentlemen to recognise that this order does not save one drop of petrol. That has been admitted by the Minister himself in an answer to me.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

The hon. and learned Gentleman says that no petrol is saved.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

If, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says, the hirers, within the limit of 20 miles, use up their petrol ration that they are entitled to use, how would he provide for them to drive beyond that distance?

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Brighton

The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand. A hire car operator gets an allocation of petrol now —precisely the same allocation as he got before the order was made. If he likes to take his car whizzing around in a circle, and use up his petrol doing so, he may, but he is not allowed by the order to use his petrol to drive his car the same distance outside the area—or half the distance outward, to allow himself petrol enough to do the return journey.

The right hon. Gentleman seems unable to understand the absurdity of the order. I know it is difficult to follow its absurdities. That is one of them. He does not seem able to grasp that by this absurdity not one drop of petrol is saved. He interrupted me to say that I said that not a drop of petrol is saved. It was not I who said it: it was the Minister. I asked the Minister a Question last week, and he made that admission in answer to it. It is quite clear that no petrol is saved.

What is the point of keeping in force another of these absurd orders for psychological reasons? It serves no useful purpose in saving petrol, but merely irritates numbers of people, and deprives some honest men, who have been demobilised disabled from the Services, from earning their livelihood in this way. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen can laugh that one off—if they like to; but they may have constituents of their own in that position, and they will not laugh at them in that way, I am sure.

The hon. Member for King's Norton was rash enough to say he was sure this Prayer had no support in the country. I can tell him that I have had dozens and dozens of letters about it. I am willing to wager that the hon. Gentleman has not had a single letter in favour of the order. I see that he agrees with that statement. Then, on which side of the House is there a reflection of the attitude of the country to this order? Yet the hon. Gentleman has the impertinence to say that we have no backing in the country in opposing the order. I can tell him that we have had support in correspondence sent to Members of Parliament. It will be very difficult to find a flood of letters voluntarily written asking hon. Members to do all they can to keep the order in force.

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

I am willing to accept a wager with the hon. and learned Gentleman on one thing, that if a plebiscite of any kind were taken in my constituency on this matter, the vast majority would be against raising the order until the basic petrol ration is restored.

Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Brighton

I do not think it is in Order to take wagers across the Floor of the Chamber, but I can well believe that an electorate that committed such inanity in 1945 would do as the hon. Gentleman says.

11.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ian Orr-Ewing Mr Ian Orr-Ewing , Weston-Super-Mare

I am speaking not only from the coastal angle because Weston-super-Mare is my constituency; I am really just as much concerned about the rural aspect of this matter. It is really a very serious problem. Our lines of communication in the county of Somerset, as some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite know, who have given us the honour of a visit from time to time, run in peculiar ways, and the centres of train services make it impossible to run these car services within the limits imposed by this order. I mention this as an example of the impossibility of this broad, big-brush type of legislation in dealing with such personal matters.

It would be quite practicable, I believe, to evolve some sort of method, in consultation with transport advisers, the police and local authorities, by means of which different types of licences for different distances could be issued. Whether it would be worth while or not is a different matter, but it would be practicable. This order does exactly the opposite. It takes the whole country, whether the City of London or a small village in north Yorkshire or a seaside town in the West of England, and applies exactly the same general rule. Obviously that does not make common sense in any possible way. Geographical conditions are different. People travel for different purposes. One might have a farmer whose wife wants to go into Torquay. We do not quite know why anybody wants to go to Torquay. No doubt my hon. Friend who represents that constituency will be able to explain that peculiar lure. We have another Member, who represents a Midlands Division, who says that those who manufacture the cars which supply these services are all against this sort of thing and no one of his constituents would dream of using a car on hire beyond a distance of 20 miles.

Photo of Mr Ian Orr-Ewing Mr Ian Orr-Ewing , Weston-Super-Mare

I think that my hon. Friend really implied that. If he was not speaking on behalf of those who sent him here in his constituency, I think he should not have used those words at all. He said he would be ashamed to support this Prayer; I imagine he is claiming to be speaking for his constituents, and I imagine none of his constituents would wish to make use of a car going—

Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton

I said that I would be ashamed to support this Prayer until the basic petrol ration has been restored.

Photo of Mr Ian Orr-Ewing Mr Ian Orr-Ewing , Weston-Super-Mare

We are not considering this Prayer on any conditional basis. I am not being led into a discussion about basic rationing. It has nothing whatever to do with this Prayer. Coming back to the main point, I wish to say that by bringing before this House a general order of this nature, the Government have given another proof that they simply do not recognise differences between the demands of individuals in different parts of the country and different types of individuals in different parts of the country. It is a very typical Socialist order; it rules everybody out flat, and deals with everybody as servants, as the lowest form of human life, placed at the orders of the Government, which happens to be Socialist at the time. That is the principle behind this order. Surely hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite recognise perfectly well that the needs of different parts of the country must vary. If they do, cannot they also recognise that an order of this sort is quite impracticable?

I want to refer to an accusation that has been made from the Government Benches which is completely fallacious. It is not our purpose—in fact we would not succeed if it were—to add one teaspoonful to the petrol which is allowed to those who drive these motorcars. If we were going to submit that these men should be allowed more petrol, that would be a different matter. But we are not claiming that in any sense. All that we claim, representing as we do different parts of the country, is that these men who make their livelihood out of motorcars know what the demand is and equally know how extraordinarily difficult it will be for them to define whether a need is a proper and right need, or whether they are going to let themselves in for all sorts of prosecutions—whether they are going to be prosecuted long after their passenger has left the car, and long after any trace of that passenger can be found. Merely because they are found half-a-mile outside a 20-mile radius, and their passenger has disappeared, they will be liable to prosecution.

I ask the Government, for all these reasons, seriously to consider withdrawing this order. We are not pressing for consideration of an increased issue of petrol. This Prayer is moved in the desperate hope that the Government will think on commonsense lines just for once.

11.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I want, if I may, to dispel two illusions held by hon. Members on the other side of the House. The first is that hire cars are used solely, or in the main, by the rich; and the second illusion is that because it is reasonable to limit the distance for which hire cars are to be used in urban areas like King's Norton and Nottingham, the restriction to 20 miles is necessarily reasonable for the whole country. These are two utter fallacies. I have correspondence from my constituency showing that 75 per cent. of the use of hire cars is for rural workers in country districts. That may astonish hon. Members, but it is true. In one part of my constituency there are coal mines. The miners like to get away from the district. They can hire buses, it is true. They can hire a bus for a journey of more than 20 miles. But if they cannot get enough travellers to make this worth while, why should they have to be extravagant with petrol by using a bus when a hire car would meet their need? That would represent a saving of petrol.

There are occasions when my constituents, and those of hon. Members opposite, want to play games or even watch them. Those who live in towns have no difficulty in getting to their recreation. But take the constituency of my hon. Friend beside me, the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. McLeod). All games are knocked out altogether in the North of Scotland. The shinty championship will go altogether unless transport can be hired. In my area there is one mining village 27 miles from the nearest town on one side, 32 miles from the nearest town on the other side. To go to any centre of civilisation in an afternoon, without losing a morning's work, and to get back the same day, people may have to hire a car. Why should they not do so?

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Is the hon. Member suggesting that an agricultural worker, for example, in his constituency, earning £4 10s. a week, is going to be considerably incommoded because he cannot hire a car to go more than 20 miles.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

Suppose that an agricultural worker's family wishes to go to a funeral, would the hon. Member say that is unnecessary? Would he say that that worker should go to the local petroleum officer for a licence? Then again, what hirer is going to accept the word of a would-be customer that a matter is really urgent and necessary? Only a day or two ago I was talking to a taxi-driver who had on a recent occasion been offered a hire of more than 20 miles. He referred it to his boss, and the boss said, "Do it if you like, but at your own risk." He did not do it. As a result of this order, many cases of urgent and necessary hire will not be undertaken at all. It will be impossible to hire cars for these journeys, because hirers will not take the risk. That is hopelessly unjust in the rural districts. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will say that there is a real need in the rural constituencies.

Photo of Mr Henry Smith Mr Henry Smith , Nottingham South

In the county of Dumfriesshire have they no buses or trains?

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

There are main lines certainly, but the hon. Member must realise that there is not the rail and bus network that there is in Nottingham or in other urban areas. It often happens that a person has to get across a constituency such as mine and there is no other practicable way but by hired car. Hon. Members opposite must shed their delusions. I hope that when the Parliamentary Secretary comes to reply—

Photo of Mrs Jean Mann Mrs Jean Mann , Coatbridge

Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge) rose

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

If the hon. Lady would allow me, I should like to finish. I hope therefore, the Parliamentary Secretary, when he comes to reply, will be prepared to modify this order at least for rural areas, because it is very necessary to do so if we want people to remain on the land.

11.32 p.m.

Photo of Sir Toby Low Sir Toby Low , Blackpool North

We have heard Eastbourne, Brighton and Weston-super-Mare, and I am sure the House will pardon me if I put a few points for the seaside resort which I have the honour to represent in this House. As has been said already, each area differs, and it is because each area differs that, in my opinion, this order is bad. The second ground on which I oppose this order is because it can be got round.

I should like to put a case to the Minister. Perhaps the hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Blackburn) spoke under a misapprehension, because he had not the order in his hand. It may be wrong for a holiday maker who goes to Blackpool to joy-ride, as one hon. Member opposite said, from Blackpool to the Lake District, which happens to be 40 miles away. However, he can do it by coach, so that to that extent he will be joy-riding within the law. He cannot do it in a hired car from Blackpool, but he can ring up Lancaster, which is 20 miles away, and order a hired car to come and take him to the Lake District. Incidentally, Lancaster happens to be 20 miles from the Lake District, too. That car can come to Blackpool, pick up the fare, take him to the Lake District, bring him back to Blackpool and then return to Lancaster. In all, that car would do 157 miles, instead of the 108 miles if the car had been hired in Blackpool.

I quite agree with everything that my hon. Friends have said on this subject. It is not a question of saving petrol, because the amount of petrol that is going to be used is governed by the amount of coupons issued to the hire car. The point I had at the back of my mind was presumably the same as that at the back of the mind of the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Norman Smith)—that we want the petrol to be used to the best advantage. I have given an example of what can happen, and I am sure there are many others of a like nature. Are they going to save petrol? I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with the case I have put and also with the effect that this order will have upon young slightly disabled ex-Service men. I view that as of the utmost importance. I hope that it will be remembered that when we were dealing with the radius in the Transport Bill, during the Committee stage, the answer from the Government Front Bench to arguments put forward by hon. Members on this side that special exemptions should be allowed to coastal areas because of the fact that half a circle is only half the size of a full circle—[Interruption.] It seems that hon. Members opposite have wakened up.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

The light has just begun to dawn.

Photo of Sir Toby Low Sir Toby Low , Blackpool North

The answer to arguments at that time was that permits could be issued by the Minister, but there is no question of permits under this order.

I would like now to refer to paragraph 2. It raises a point which was forcibly put to me last Friday when I went to my own constituency before returning to the hon. Gentleman's constituency to attend a football match next day.

Photo of Sir Toby Low Sir Toby Low , Blackpool North

Yes, we did. The car hire drivers came to me and said, "How do you expect us—the owners, as well as the drivers—to know whether the purpose of the journey is necessary or is an urgent domestic purpose?" It says in the order: (a) any necessary and urgent domestic purpose of the hirer. I would remind hon. Members of the word "urgent." If the purpose of the journey is supposed to be urgent, what time is there to find out if it is urgent? It makes it all the more difficult for the owner or driver of the car to find out whether it is a purpose for which he would be justified in carrying a man in his car. In this particular instance, one of my constituents was faced with this decision. He rang up the local office of the hon. Gentleman's Ministry, and the reply was, "We do not know any more than you. Risk it. If you are wrong, you will be called up in court, and will have to explain."Does the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend want to make these drivers and owners subject to daily calling up in court? Surely, he has some understanding of the difficulties which face the ordinary man today in trying to interpret legislation. I hope he does understand that, and I hope that he will get up now and tell us that he is going to withdraw this ridiculous order.

11.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Wansbeck

We have listened, once again, and for some considerable time, to the usual irresponsible talk from the benches opposite; to arguments running quite contrary to one another, as I hope to show, with not one realistic approach to this whole problem. I do not propose to deal with all the differing hypothetical cases which have been raised, nor with all those points which have been so fully discussed, and answered, on previous occasions in this House. Where there are substantial cases, I hope to deal with them. An hon. Member gave us the benefit of his advice when he told us that a farm worker was in a very difficult situation in his constituency because he could not get taxis to travel more than 20 miles. I would like to know how can a farm worker afford taxis going over 20 miles?

Hon. Members:

Give way.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Wansbeck

I can stand a good deal of that. I have had a lot of experience of it and a lot of it more rowdy than the shouting we have just heard. I am prepared to give way when the hon. Gentleman waits until I have finished what I was going to say. I was saying that I wanted to know how many people of the type he mentioned—the farm workers—are so affected in his constituency that they could afford something like £4 a visit for journeys over 20 miles? They are few and far between, and if the circumstances are such as to come within the terms of the order—that they are urgent or necessary or licensed—permission can be obtained. I suggest to the hon. Member that this was a nonsensical point to raise, and one not good either in substance or fact.

Photo of Major Henry Spence Major Henry Spence , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

May I answer the Minister? I did not say it was a question of farm workers, but of those who worked on the land. I would also point out that it is the habitual practice in these cases to join together in hiring a car and then share the cost.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Wansbeck

A point was raised about what the Minister has said in relation to the saving of petrol. The Minister did say that the purpose of the order was not primarily to save petrol, and the order is not primarily to save petrol. [HON. MEMBERS: It is psychological."] It is not psychological either. If hon. Members will have patience, I will explain as elementarily as I can so that it will be understood what this order really means.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Cheap and vulgar.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Wansbeck

I have learned a good deal from the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) since I came into this House. A very interesting point arose, between the senior Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) and the junior Member (Mr. Marlowe). The senior Member for Brighton almost brought tears to the eyes of the House when he described the ex-Service men in his constituency who were unable to make a living because of this order, and because they could not go more than 20 miles. If they could not use all their petrol because of this restriction, then some petrol must have been saved. Otherwise the junior Member is wrong when he says that this order would not save one teaspoonful. I suggest they get together and work it out and then tell us what it means.

The hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) asked one special question which I am very glad to answer. He wished to know whether we might have an early statement about the tourist trade, and I am glad to tell him, and the House, that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will be making a statement next week on the position in relation to tourists from overseas.

A good deal has been said about the interpretation of this order, and one can always take a sentence here and there and make anything one wants of it. What is the intention of the order? Basic petrol was taken away from the people of the country who run motorcars and motorcycles, and petrol was only permitted for business, essential purposes, domestic purposes and so on. It would be utterly wrong in those circumstances to deprive all the motorists of pleasure riding and at the same time allocate petrol so that private hire cars and taxis would be available for people with the money to do all the pleasure riding that they want without any limit at all.

What is the purpose, then, of this order? Its purpose is to ensure, as far as it is possible, that taxicabs and private hire cars will do the job and perform the function for which they are really intended, and that is to supplement the local services in a given locality, and not for the purpose of taking people from London to Brighton on a Sunday afternoon. Therefore, we framed this order to pro- vide that these taxi and private hire people would use the petrol allocated to them for the really essential purpose that the petrol was allocated. We have taken petrol from the private motorists and we have taken it away, as far as possible, from those who can afford to hire taxis.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always asking us to make orders simple and concise, but if we were to take their advice tonight we should have an order of several pages, taking in every area and putting in all sorts of complicated features on this and that aspect. The 20 miles radius is very reasonable indeed for the real function of the taxicab or private hire car. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, as far as I know, are not engaged in this business as taxicab proprietors.

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

Sir Ben Smith is the only one. [Interruption.] The new progression: London to Himley.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Wansbeck

It seems to me that there could be a better authority than hon. Members opposite as to whether this is a reasonable radius or not, and that better authority is the associations concerned. We have talked to them. They did not like the radius at all, but it was a 15-mile radius in the war and they said, "Well, if you make it a 20-mile radius we think that would be all right." So we made it a 20-mile radius which has been done by arrangement, not with the approval, but certainly on the advice of, the people who run taxis and private hire cars, or at least their associations; and it seems to me that their advice in this matter is slightly better than that tendered by hon. Members opposite.

During the evening we have been able, through the efforts of hon. Gentlemen opposite, to tell those who would twist and crook this country, the way in which they could avoid this order. Thank God that the bulk of our people are decent, honest citizens who do not try to twist; and yet hon. Members opposite have been cudgelling their brains, trying to read things into the order and trying to find just how it is possible to twist the order about. I suggest that they have done no service to the nation in so doing. Any line of demarcation is always going to be unfair to somebody somewhere or another, but, by and large, I claim for this order that its purpose is to try to ensure, as far as it is humanly possible, that taxicabs, or private hire cars shall be used for the real purpose for which they are intended, to supplement the public service. By and large, this order does that, and I hope this House will overwhelmingly vote against this Prayer.

11.50 p.m.

Mr. Vane:

We have now listened to three speeches from the opposite side, two from the back benches and one from the Minister and, really, there is very little to choose between them. I hoped the Minister was going to show us some justification for this order, and all he has given us is a display of bluster. I am really not surprised because there is so little reasonable explanation which could be offered. When, at the end of his speech, he talked about people in this country explaining ways of "twisting" orders, I thought it came ill from him, considering his right hon. Friend had to confess in this House only last week that their favourite child, the National Coal Board, had been deep in the black market, dealing in firewood to the extent of, I believe, 27,000 tons.

I would like to support what the hon. Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) said in particular reference to the Lake district. There you have a great many tourists who hire a car and find that it is necessary to go more than 20 miles if they are to drive round that particularly beautiful part of the country which, I think, we all want to advertise, and soon see become a national park.

The hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Blackburn) tried to drag the dollar red herring across this Debate and said that surely we, on this side of the House, knew that our exchange position was difficult. He implied that we were encouraging extravagance in the expenditure of dollars when we are, in fact trying to do the reverse. I had a letter this morning from a hotel keeper in my area. He gave a list of the American bookings which he has already had for the coming season. There are 528 persons who have booked accommodation in this one hotel between 29th May and 15th September this year. If this order is annulled as I hope it will be, some of these tourists, by their spending in this country, will give us their dollars. If this stupid order is accepted by the House tonight, as I hope it will not be, we will lose these dollars, or I suppose they will have to hire buses to drive them round the district. They will be perfectly within their rights in doing so.

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. 191; Noes, 68.

Barlow, Sir JLambert, Hon. G.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Beechman, N. ALegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Birch, NigelLennox-Boyd, A. T.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Bossom, A. C.Low, A. R. W.Scott, Lord W.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.McCallum, Maj. D.Smithers, Sir W
Byers, FrankMcFarlane, C. S.Spence, H. R.
Carson, E.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Challen, C.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Studholme, H. G.
Cole, T. LMaclay, Hon. J. S.Sutcliffe, H.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Maclean, F. H. R.Teeling, William
Crowder, Capt. John E.MacLeod, J.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Darling, Sir W. Y.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Thorp, Brigadier, R. A. F
De la Bere, R.Maitland, Comdr. J. WVane, W. M. F.
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Marlowe, A. A. H.Wadsworth, G.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Wakefield, Sir W W.
Gage, C.Maude, J. C.Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Mellor, Sir J.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Grant, LadyMolson, A. H, E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Harden, J. R. E.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Mullan, Lt. C. H.
Hogg, Hon. Q.Neven-Spence, Sir B.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hope, Lord J.Orr-Ewing, I. L.Mr. Charles Taylor and
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Peto, Brig. C. H. MMr. Boyd-Carpenter.

Question put accordingly.

Division No. 97.]AYES.[12.4 a.m
Barlow, Sir J.Lambert, Hon. G.Peto, Brig. C H. M
Beechman, N. ALegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D
Birch, NigelLennox-Boyd, A. T.Raikes, H. V.
Bossom, A. C.Low, A. R. W.Ramsay, Maj S
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WLucas-Tooth, Sir H.Scott, Lord W.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.McCallum, Maj. D.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Challen, C.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Smithers, Sir W
Cole, T. L.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Spence, H. R
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Crowder, Capt. John E.Maclean, F. H. RStudholme, H. G
Darling, Sir W. Y.MacLeod, J.Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.Macpherson, N, (Dumfries)Teeling, William
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marlowe, A. A. H.Thorp, Brigadier, R. A. F
Gage, C.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Vane, W. M. F
Gomme-Duncan, Col. AMaude, J. C.Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Grant, LadyMellor, Sir J.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Harden, J. R. E.Molson, A. H. E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hogg, Hon. QMullan, Lt. C. H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hope, Lord J.Neven-Spence, Sir BMr. Charles Taylor and
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Orr-Ewing, I. L.Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Coldrick, W.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Alpass, J. H.Collindridge, F.Fairhurst, F.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Collins, V. J.Farthing, W. J.
Attewell, H. C.Comyns, Dr. L.Fernyhough, E.
Baird, J.Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Field, Capt. W. J.
Balfour, A.Corbet, Mrs. F. K, (Camb'well, N.W.)Follick, M.
Barton, C.Crawley, A.Forman, J. C.
Bechervaise, A. EDaggar, G.Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Beswick, F.Dairies, P.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.
Bing, G. H. C.Davies, Edward (Burslem)Gibbins, J.
Blackburn, A. R.Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Gibson, C. W
Blenkinsop, A.Davies, Harold (Leek)Gilzean, A.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Gordon-Walker, P. C.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)de Freitas, GeoffreyGreenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Diamond, J.Grey, C. F.
Bramall, E. A.Debbie, W.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
Brown, George (Belper)Dodds, N. N.Gunter, R. J.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Driberg, T. E. N.Guy, W. H.
Buchanan, Rt. Hon. G.Dumpleton, C. W.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)
Burke, W. AEde, Rt. Hon. J. C.Hale, Leslie
Byers, FrankEdwards, John (Blackburn)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col R
Callaghan, JamesEdwards, W. J. (Whitechaoel)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
Carmichael, JamesEvans, Albert (Islington, W.)Hardy, E. A.
Champion, A. J.Evans, John (Ogmore)Hastings, Dr. Somerville

The House divided: Ayes, 63; Noes, 191.

Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Monslow, W.Steele, T.
Herbison, Miss M.Morgan, Dr. H. B.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Holman, PMorris, P. (Swansea, W.)Stross, Dr. B.
House, G.Nally, W.Stubbs, A. E.
Hoy, J.Neal, H. (Claycross)Swingler, S.
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Sylvester, G. O
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Symonds, A. L.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)O'Brien, T.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Orbach, M.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Palmer, A. M. F.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Janner, B.Paton, J (Norwich)Tiffany, S.
Jeger, G. (Winchester)Pearson, A.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Peart, T. F.Ungoed-Thomas, L
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Porter, G. (Leeds)Wadsworth, G.
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Price, M. PhilipsWallace, G D. (Chislehurst)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Pritt, D. N.Warbey, W. N.
Keenan, W.Proctor, W. TWatkins, T. E.
Kendall, W. DPryde, D J.Watson, W. M.
Kenyon, C.Pursey, Cmdr. H.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Randall, H. E.Wheatley, John (Edinburgh, E.)
Kinley, J.Ranger, J.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Levy, B. W.Reid, T. (Swindon)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)Robens, A.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C A B
Lindgren, G. S.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Wilkes, L.
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Wilkins, W. A.
Longden, F.Rogers, G. H. R.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Lyne, A. W.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
McGhee, H. G.Sargood, RWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Maekay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Scollan, TWilliams, R. W. (Wigan)
McKinlay, A S.Segal, Dr. S.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
McLeavy, F.Shackleton, E. A AWillis, E.
Mallalieu, J. P WSharp, GranvilleWills, Mrs. E. A.
Mann, Mrs. J.Silverman, J. (Erdington)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Mathers, Rt. Hon. GeorgeSilverman, S. S. (Nelson)Yates, V. F.
Mellish, R. J.Smith, H N. (Nottingham. S.)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Middleton, Mrs. L.Snow, J W
Mikardo, IanSoiley, L. J.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.Sorensen, R. W.Mr. Simmons and
Mitchison, G R.Soskice, Sir FrankMr. Richard Adams.