Clause 3. — [General Duty of the Corporation.)

Orders of the Day — Iron and Steel Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th July 1949.

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Lords Amendment: In page 4, line 43, leave out from first "the" to "and" in line 44 and insert: principal activities of the Corporation and of the publicly-owned companies.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

I think it would probably be for the convenience of the House if we took together this Amendment, the one in line 44, and the following one in page 5, line 5, together, because they all hang together, and would be unintelligible if they were taken separately. I propose, therefore, to discuss the three Amendments together because they are all Amendments to one Clause, and indeed the two later ones were moved as consequential Amendments on Report stage, in the other place, after the first had been moved in the Committee stage. They cannot intelligently be discussed separately.

Mr. Ivor Thomas:

On a point of Order. It will not have escaped the notice of the House that each debate has been brought to an end by the Chief Patronage Secretary moving the Closure. This is very unfair to those who want to take part in the Debate. Should not the interval of time be at least three times as long?

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

This is a matter for the House. I suggest that it would obviously be for the convenience of the House to discuss the three Amendments together, with separate Divisions if desired.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

I should like to know how the Amendment in page 5, line 5, can be taken with the other two. It is on a different point altogether. I should have thought it could hardly be for the convenience of the House to take this with the other two.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

This Amendment follows on the first one. The purpose of that Amendment is to make the Corporation responsible for the economical supply, at appropriate prices and so on, not only of the products of Second Schedule activities as the Bill stated, but of all the principal activities of the Corporation. That Amendment was inserted in the Committee stage, and it was realised that it left the Clause in a ridiculous condition. On Report, the same people moved these two further Amendments as consequential, and they were accepted as such because they all hang on the same principle of substituting all principal activities for Second Schedule activities.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

I am not at all satisfied that the Amendment in page 5, line 5, is consequential on the other two. It deals with something altogether different, that is, those people who are manufacturers. I, personally, would not like to give my consent to such a procedure.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Then does the House agree that the first two Amendments be taken together.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I would like to discuss the third Amendment as well—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—Then I shall have to put half an argument to the House. It was appreciated in the other place that the second and third Amendments resulted from moving the first Amendment. They were moved by the same people as consequential Amendments. If we are to discuss them separately, we cannot have a satisfactory and coherent discussion.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be content to move it as consequential when we come to it.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I should be happy to do that, or even to move the three separately, but I can assure the House that if we do not discuss the three together, we cannot have any proper discussion. I suggest that another place, in making this series of Amendments, and altering the Clause in the way they have done, have turned a Clause which, when it left this House, was clear, precise and practical, into something which is confused, woolly and wholly impractical.

This Clause says that it shall be the duty of the Corporation to promote the efficient and economical supply of the products of Second Schedule activities, and to secure that the prices, qualities, and sizes of those products shall be such as will satisfy the reasonable demands of persons who use them. That is a logical proposition, and something within the power of the Corporation, because they have a virtual monopoly of the Second Schedule products. It is reasonable and proper to say to the Corporation that over these products it will be their duty to see that they are produced efficiently, and at prices and in quantities sufficient to satisfy the reasonable demands of consumers.

11.30 p.m.

When the Clause came before another place, it was suggested that, instead of making them responsible for Second Schedule products, where the Corporation have a virtual monopoly, that responsibility should be spread over the whole range of commodities, over which the Corporation have no monopoly whatever, and may be manufacturing only 40 to 50 per cent. of the commodities concerned. Therefore, the Corporation were given the duty to promote the efficient and economical supply of commodities whose production they control only to the extent of 40 per cent. It seems to me utterly ridiculous that the Corporation should have the duty of promoting the production of these commodities in such quantities and types as will satisfy the consumers when they have no power whatsoever over the production of, it may be, 60 per cent. of these commodities. The Corporation can carry out this duty only if they are given powers over that large section of private enterprise manufacturing these commodities in perhaps larger quantities than they are themselves. It is ridiculous to put that duty on the Corporation, yet that is what the Lords Amendment does.

After the Committee stage, the Lords appreciated that arguments such as I have used had considerable force and tried to remedy the situation by moving a further Amendment on Report which, to my mind, does not make the situation any better. This Amendment removes the duty which was imposed in the original Clause of securing that the products are of such types, qualities, quantities and sizes and are available at such prices as are suitable to the consumer, and made it the duty of the Corporation to promote their production, over much of which they have no control. That is the effect of the second Amendment.

The last Amendment was inserted because, I imagine, another place thought that it might be unreasonable to ask the Corporation to accept these responsibilities in respect of production over the whole range of commodities concerned, and it places the responsibility on the Corporation in respect only of those commodities likely to be bought by the consumers from the Corporation. The Corporation have to decide what proportion of the commodities concerned are to be bought by the consumers from the Corporation and what proportion from other producers outside the Corporation. That is really an impossible task. No one can possibly decide this, unless he is a thought reader. The consumer will buy from private producers or the Corporation according to whichever offers the best price and the best delivery. We cannot separate the prospective demand of the consumers and divide it between the Corporation and outside private producers. The Clause as it finally appears is nonsense, and wholly impracticable.

Take steel wire, of which 600,000 tons are produced every year. The Corporation will produce roughly about 46 per cent.; it will be one of the main activities of the Corporation. What is the duty of the Corporation to be under this Clause as amended by the Lords? Is it to be the duty of the Corporation to see that the whole 600,000 tons are produced properly, and at a reasonable price? Supposing consumption increases to 800,000 tons. Is it to be the duty of the Corporation to produce that additional quantity itself, or to ensure that private enterprise does so? Or supposing that consumption falls by half; what is the duty of the Corporation to be in that case? This Clause, as it stands—and I am not trying to score debating points—is utterly meaningless and impracticable, and any Corporation affected by it would not know what their duties were.

Therefore, I suggest to the House that it would be better to go back to the simpler and more precisely defined duties for the Corporation as set out in the original Bill, which were that in those few commodities over which they have complete control—about 95 per cent.—the Corporation should have precise duties to see that production is economical and to see that their goods are produced in quantities, types, qualities and sizes which are suitable to the consumers of this country. Those are reasonable duties to put upon the Corporation. They are clear, and they are duties which the Corporation can carry out. To put upon them the remote responsibilities which would be imposed upon them under the Clause as amended in the Lords would be asking the Corporation to bear an impossible burden which cannot be defined by anyone, and which could not be checked either in the Consumers' Council or in this House, if the matter were raised here. For that reason, I ask the House to disagree with the Lords Amendment.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The right hon. Gentleman has told us that this matter, as it left the House of Commons, was crystal clear, and that, as it has returned to this House, it is full of confusion and obscurity. I am bound to say, if I may do so without impertinence, that I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has done anything to dispel that obscurity. He has introduced a rather impetuous and truculent attitude towards this Amendment. He has asked the House to assist him in the way in which it discusses these Amendments, an assistance which the right hon. Gentleman has denied to the House during the whole of the Debate, by the way in which he and the Chief Whip have had it conducted. It is recognised that this is a complex and difficult subject, and that it is one upon which more than one view can be held. I will not put it higher than that at the moment. I do not think it is so overwhelmingly on the side which he has put forward as he appears to think.

In the previous Clause we dealt with the powers which the new Corporation are to have. It is interesting to observe that when it is a matter of power, then the Government seek to draw them as wide as possible. It is, perhaps, symbolic of modern life that when people demand their rights they make them as wide as they can; but when it is a matter of the corresponding duties, they want to restrict them to as narrow a compass as possible. The Corporation must have every right to interfere with every kind of practice when it is a question of powers; but when it comes to this Clause, the Government wish to avoid what, it may be argued, are the corresponding responsibilities which would flow from, and be appropriate to, the rights given to the Corporation.

As the Clause was drawn originally, it put certain main duties upon the Corporation. They were to promote the most efficient and economical production; to promote production of enough goods to meet consumers' reasonable demands; to produce these goods at reasonable prices. I would merely point out that it seems to me that there is a logical case for the extension of duties upon a Corporation which claims such immense and wide powers, to see that at least in return it satisfies the users of these products, and that these products are made available in a reasonable way. As the Clause is drawn, the duties apply only—

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I will come to that. As I was saying, as the Clause is drawn the duties, and not the rights, apply only to certain scheduled products. They will not apply to finished products, and it is on that issue that these Amendments turn.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman opposite will favour us with one of those speeches of the kind which has delighted us before. When he gets up to speak, the Patronage Secretary is always so disturbed that he promptly moves the Closure; but, since Mr. Speaker is not with us, the hon. Member is safe to make speeches because the Closure cannot be moved except in more favourable conditions than are now with us.

We were told that in the first Debate in another place it was declared that, if the first Amendment was carried, there would be results which would be anomalous. I believe that Lord Lucas spoke on this point, and these two further Amendments were framed to meet him. It may be argued that these should not have been put down at all, but it has been admitted that the three Amendments, taken together, do produce a workable and coherent scheme. I must say that I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman simply throws aside in this very extreme manner the whole argument presented for the idea lying behind this Amendment.

As will be shown by my hon. Friends who have a far more detailed knowledge of this subject than I can hope to claim, we have not had a fair description of this set of Amendments. The second two Amendments were produced on Report, and they, with the first, taken as a whole, strengthen the Bill. If they are considered fairly it has to be admitted that they give a logical counterpart to the immense range of rights which the Corporation are demanding for themselves in Clause 2, by making certain that in Clause 3 they shall have duties equal to the rights which are claimed.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

I should like to state why I do not wish these three Amendments to be taken together. The first two deal with the duties of the Corporation. The duties shall be exercised in such a way: as may seem to the Corporation best calculated to satisfy the reasonable demands of the persons who use those products for manufacturing purposes and to further the public interest in all respects. Somebody uses the products, and, under the Bill as it stands, that person can exercise a claim against the Corporation for breach of duty; but the third Amendment actually reduces the number of people who can exercise the right. As the Bill is drafted, anyone who uses a product can appeal against the Corporation, but the third Amendment says that not only must he use a product but he must also desire to purchase a product. I do not agree with that, because it narrows down those who can bring an action against the Corporation. If a firm have bought a big machine and are not satisfied with it, they will not be able to bring an action unless they want to buy another. That seems to limit the scope of bringing actions against the Corporation. That is why I do not think the Amendments can be taken together, and I will, therefore, confine myself to the first two Amendments, which deal with the duties imposed on the Corporation.

11.45 p.m.

I wish to draw attention to what the Minister said today in regard to the consumer. He said that the consumer has full protection under the Bill and that there is ample provision to make his views effective. Let us see what this Clause does if it is not amended. The first two Amendments seek to bring in not only the Second Schedule activities but also the other activities outside the Second Schedule—there are a large number of these activities, from tin-plate tubes to cold-rolled strips and bright steel bars. Anyone who buys these has no claim against the Corporation for breach of duties. We are seeking to bring them within the scope of the Clause.

It seems most illogical that a purchaser of a Second Schedule article can complain against the Corporation for a breach of duty, but a purchaser of tin-plate has no claim, although both commodities are bought from the Corporation. I am sure that other Sheffield Members will stress that point. There are a large number of firms to be taken over which produce these non-Second Schedule articles. For instance, the Corporation will produce 68 per cent. of the tubes, 73 per cent. of the cold-rolled strip and 49 per cent. of the wire, which is well over half of the whole production of the country. But the consumer who buys these articles from the Corporation will have no right of action against the Corporation or anyone else.

Let us assume that a consumer has bought something with which he is dissatisfied, either as to quality or price. All he can do is complain to the Consumers' Council who will make a complaint to the Minister, and he will take the matter up with the Corporation. They will issue an instruction to the publicly-owned company. Let us assume that the company do nothing about it. What right has the consumer in these circumstances? For weeks and months he will suffer damage. Another complaint may be made, and the Minister will again refer the matter to the Corporation. This time the Corporation may remove the directors from the company, and put in a new set of directors. All right—but still the Consumers' Council cannot get satisfaction and the consumer is suffering damage. So the procedure goes on and on. So long as the Corporation do their best to promote and secure availability, that is all that can happen as far as a right in regard to damage for the consumer is concerned. [An HON. MEMBER: "What right has he now?"] Now, he has the ordinary right of common law if something which he does not like takes place. We are now considering something which the publicly-owned company, the monopoly, does, which is an entirely different thing.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The hon. Member will appreciate that, under the Clause as amended by another place, this duty is placed on the Corporation to produce these goods … in such quantities, types, qualities and sizes and at such prices as may seem to the Corporation best calculated to satisfy the reasonable demands. The whole thing depends, anyhow, on the general view of the Corporation as to what will satisfy the reasonable demands. I think the argument about bringing actions against the Corporation in respect of tin-plating and not of steel is a bit far-fetched.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

The Amendment to line 43 refers to the principal activities of the Corporation and of the publicly-owned companies. In other words, a duty is now brought in with respect to publicly-owned companies. What I was saying was that under the Bill, as the Government wish it, there is no actual duty placed upon the publicly-owned companies. The Amendment of another place brings in the publicly-owned companies and places a duty upon them so that an action would lie under this Clause if there were a breach by the publicly-owned companies as well as by the Corporation. That is the point. I wish to reserve what I have to say about those who have to be satisfied, whether it happens to be somebody who buys the product or merely uses it, which is a different point, to a later stage in our discussion.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stone

I want to reinforce the argument put so ably by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Ecclesall (Mr. P. Roberts). What we have seen here is an example of the Govermnent dialectically led with some ability, by the right hon. Gentleman, although he tried to confuse the House and, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, even such an exalted person as yourself, on these Amendments. Luckily, that problem has been successfully resolved.

What the Government are trying to do here is simply to eat their cake and have it. That is typical of the way the Socialists tend to think, and, as far as that metaphor was used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—he talked at great length during the Budget about having our cake and eating it—it is an example of the illogical confusion into which hon. Gentlemen opposite can fall.

The point is that the Minister said, in a speech on 27th April, 1949, that it was never suggested, when the Government brought in the Bill, that the industry existed solely for the making of those products specified in the Second Schedule. That is why I say that the Government are attempting to eat their cake and have it. The Government are indeed nationalising a great variety of industries outside the Second and Third Schedules, and yet they have no responsibility whatever over the control of prices and the supply of items. That is surely as ridiculous an attitude as any into which any Government, even that of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, could manoeuvre themselves.

As my hon. Friend has pointed out, the point of this Clause is to make the Government and the Corporation responsible, not merely to the Consumers' Council but through the Minister, to this House. We believe that one of the things that needs to be got over in this Bill is that Parliament should have some control over the Executive and thereby save such maladjusted and futile corporations from being set up. The point of these Amendments is to see that there is Parliamentary control, and to see whether the Minister can be made responsible if there is found to be not sufficiently economical promotion and production, at reasonable prices, to satisfy the average consumers' demand.

I want now to turn to a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Ecclesall. The Minister in his strange defence of his opposition to these Amendments, put forward the argument that what the Government and the Corporation needed to do was to look after the Second Schedule products. If hon. Gentlemen will look at the Second Schedule products, they will see that these are extremely limited. If I may say so, in parenthesis, we are getting confusion of thought because the Government do not know what they propose to nationalise. If hon. Gentlemen will look at the Second Schedule products, they will see they are limited indeed. They really apply only to iron ore, pig iron, carbon steel, ingots, re-rolling of sheet and certain types of plate. They do not apply to a large variety of products from the industry, because the Government decided at the last moment not to nationalise the industry but only to nationalise individual firms.

Great confusion has emerged and what we get from the Bill is what is known to the industry as price leadership. The difference between this and a monopoly is small indeed. If a small amount of material is being produced and the manufacturer raises the price, everyone else tends to follow suit. The Government, or the Corporation, by reason of the varied Clauses in this Bill, and especially the notorious "taking one year with another" Clause, enabling them to balance one year with another over a number of years, can fix and rig prices as they think fit. If one looks at this price leadership, which affects the point at issue, it means that if the Government have it they must be responsible, as any State monopoly must, to Parliament for these prices. It is not a question for the Consumers' Council. It is a matter of being responsible to Parliament so that Questions can be asked in the House.

If one takes the example of tin-plate, 88 per cent. of this will be produced by the Government publicly-owned companies. It is not necessarily a Second Schedule product. It can be because it can be hot-rolled: it can be cold-rolled, and that difference means that it is not a Second Schedule product. This, I may say, is typical of the abysmal ignorance of the Government about the industry they are trying to nationalise. They do not know, and yet bring forward this sort of Bill. Tyres, wheels and axles, of which 94.3 per cent. will be produced by the Government could not in any circumstances be called Second Schedule products. Yet the Government will have almost a complete monopoly in regard to them.

12 m.

Certainly they will be able to maintain complete price leadership; and unless this House has control of the Minister and can ensure fair, efficient and economical production with the right prices being charged, then not only is the power of this House being greatly and horrifyingly diminished, but the whole industry of this country is being endangered by this octopus which can spread even further to that huge variety of products which exists under these articles of association and which at this time I have not mentioned. It is indeed a grave matter that the Minister should have seen fit to offer such a palpably absurd rebuttal of the arguments put forward in another place and put forward with great vehemence by my hon. Friends who have spoken.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Montrose District of Burghs

The thing that has puzzled me about the Minister's refusal of this Amendment and the related Amendments, is that he devoted his arguments to the quantitative problem arising out of the principal activities, which is, of course, only part of the whole. The question of quantity and producing in such quantities, is dealt with by the Amendments, but the real question is, does the Minister mean that he accepts responsibility for the Corporation to see that there is no undue preference given in relation to the products covered by the Amendments? Or does he mean that he is not concerned about the types, quantities, sizes and prices—because that is what he is really refusing in this Amendment? It is just as important to apply this to the principal activities as to the Second Schedule activities and I do not think the Minister has met that point at all. He does not seem concerned about this preference question and about types, quantity and size when he comes to the products of the principal activities.

In this whole discussion I have been completely puzzled as to how the Corporation could possibly fulfil their duties at all, particularly in relation to Second Schedule activities. One thing that might be practicable is that the Corporation might know what is in "the public interest" and what are the "reasonable demands" of the persons using the products, where companies other than the Corporation are concerned, because there is at least a price mechanism working there. I defy the Minister to tell me that the Corporation can fulfil properly the obligations of paragraph (a).

The Minister gave the thing away entirely when he pointed out that paragraph (a) is qualified entirely by the words "as may seem to the Corporation best calculated." The duty of the Corporation is thus to do what the Corporation think best. It is really the most crazy Clause that has ever been in any Bill and it is the inevitable product of a nationalisation Bill. How can the Minister justify such a Clause? If he would accept the Amendments, we would at least have some justification for the Clause, because in the products of the principal activities there is some check with the other manufacturers as to whether the Corporation are doing their job. Without these Amendments, I submit that this whole Clause might be torn out of the Bill and thrown to wherever these things are thrown.

Photo of Mr Reginald Manningham-Buller Mr Reginald Manningham-Buller , Daventry

I wish to ask the Government what is, I think, a pretty simple question; and I rise now in the hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will have time to find out the answer, if he does not know it already, before he replies to this Debate.

In moving that we disagree with this Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman did his best to attack and ridicule it, but he did not mention at any time what would be the effect of omitting it. Am I not right in saying that if these Amendments are not agreed to, the Bill does not provide that any duty whatsoever rests upon the Corporation in respect of the finished products? Is not that the position? If it is, then whatever comment he may have made, and however justified it may have been—and I do not think it was at all justified—upon what was done in another place, it was obviously an attempt to fill a very grave gap in this Bill. The effect of disagreeing with this Amendment will be to leave that gap as it was.

I think I am right in saying that nowhere in this Bill is any duty laid upon the Corporation with regard to the finished products which are not Second Schedule activities; that, in fact, they can engage in any such undue preference and exercise any unfair discrimination as they wish with regard to those unfinished products not in the Second Schedule activities. My hon. Friends have indicated quite clearly the scope and nature of those activities, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman or the Parliamentary Secretary to say whether or not it is the case that there is no duty at all, as the Bill stands, placed on the Corporation in relation to the production of those finished articles. If there is some such duty, let him refer to it. If there is not such a duty, I suggest that we should welcome this attempt by another place to deal with an obvious defect in a completely unsatisfactory Measure.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I wish to reinforce this question—I think it is a very pertinent one—put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller). I see that the Minister is in conversation; I hope he will try to give an answer to it, because it might shorten our proceedings. It is now just past midnight. I have heard most of the discussions on these Amendments, and I think every one could have been accepted by the Government without the slightest damage to the Bill—in fact they would have done the Bill a great deal of good.

For hours we discussed the powers of this Corporation and the Minister sought by every means he could to extend those powers. We now come to discuss the duties. If I might have the attention of the Minister—[Interruption]—does the hon. Gentleman wish to intervene? If he does, I will willingly give way. If I may have the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, I wish to deal with the argument he advanced, as I understood it. He said that this Clause, as amended in another place, made nonsense and I understood his argument to be something like this: He said the Clause read: It shall be the general duty of the Corporation so to exercise their powers as to promote the efficient and economical supply of products. "Then," said the right hon. Gentleman, "we must only have words which limit those products." Now why? Why should that be the only duty placed upon this Corporation? It seems to me a most incredible argument to advance to the House; that one should only be able to promote the efficient and economical supply of something of which one has a monopoly. This country would be in a funny state if that were the condition on which something was economically produced. That argument does not bear investigation for a moment. There is no real reason why this Corporation should not have the duty placed upon them of promoting the economic supply of products such as those mentioned by my hon. Friends, of which they produce 73 per cent., 83 per cent. or 93 per cent.

The right hon. Gentleman has got it into his head that the Clause as amended would place a duty upon the Corporation to promote an economic supply of things provided by private companies, but it does nothing of the kind, nor does it say anything of the kind. The products to which it refers, as the right hon. Gentleman will see if he reads it, are products of the principal activities of the publicly-owned companies. The people concerned are those people who wish to buy those products—the products of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies and not of the private companies. If this Amendment from another place were accepted, all that this Clause would do would be to place a clear duty upon the Corporation to produce efficiently and economically those things which they have just taken over in Clause 2, which it seems to me is the most elementary thing to do in any nationalisation Bill. If the Minister cannot produce a better argument than that, the House would only be doing its duty if it refused to agree to the Minister's Motion.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) entirely misunderstood what I said. The Amendment places on the Corporation the duty of promoting not only the efficient and economic supply of the products of the principal activities of the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies, but the availability of those products in such quantities, types, qualities and sizes and at such prices. It is the availability in such quantities which is obviously quite impossible when the production of these products by the Corporation is only 40 per cent. or 50 per cent.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The right hon. Gentleman speaks of the availability of products at such prices as the Corporation think are best calculated to meet the demands of the customers. What on earth is wrong with that? That is what every private business in the country is doing. The Austin motor factory do not produce cars to satisfy the users of Morris cars, but to suit their own customers. We only ask that the simple duty, which every private producer has undertaken, should be placed upon the shoulders of this great Corporation.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I have listened with great interest to the arguments that have been put forward, and very good arguments they were. What I understand from hon. Members opposite is that they desire that there should be no interference with this Corporation, but that it should be independent. After having listened to the discussion on this Amendment and to other arguments today, I think that I have never heard finer, clearer or better arguments for the job that we should have done at the start—the abolition of the House of Lords.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

I am somewhat surprised at the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). Why on this particular Clause he should talk about the abolition of the House of Lords I do not know. This House at the present time is under a great debt of gratitude to their Lordships for greatly improving this Bill, and if the Minister listens to the arguments instead of relying on the docile majority he commands in the Lobby, this Bill will be considerably improved. As the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) said, the duties of the Corporation are twofold—

12.15 a.m.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

The hon. Member for Monmouth; we must not anticipate the results of the next General Election.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

The hon. Member for Monmouth will not get back.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

The first duty is: To promote the efficient and economical supply of the products of the activities specified in the first column of the Second Schedule… They also have the duty implicit in the fact that they are entering into business to make available in reasonable quantities and prices such goods as old-established connections of the companies which are being taken over may require to purchase. The Lords Amendment requires the Corporation to discharge both duties, to give satisfaction not only in respect of the Second Schedule products but also to continue to meet the wishes of existing customers in the same satisfactory manner, and to offer them the same variety and choice, as was done by the companies the Minister is now expropriating. If that is the duty which we all recognise as inherent in the Corporation, what earthly reason can exist, except the blind prejudice of the Minister, for not writing it clearly into the Bill? I hope that we shall agree with the Lords in this Amendment.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

The Minister's defence seemed to be a long plea of non-pursuance, that is to say, "We recognise that there is a problem, but we are unable to meet it." What is the problem that the Minister is unable to meet? He has entirely forgotten that when we were considering the Monopolies Bill, it was considered that one-third control of any commodity was technically held to be able to carry with it control, not in the whole of the country, but in certain sections of the country.

The right hon. Gentleman said, "This cannot be done because of the commodities about which we are thinking. We only control something like 40 per cent. of the output of a great many of these articles." He cannot have it both ways. If the Government insist that a monopoly may exist for the purposes of the Monopolies Bill if one-third of the output of a commodity is controlled, they cannot at the same time say that they can do nothing about this case where they control 40 per cent.

That completely ignores two other important points. The first is that in the case of many of these articles, such as tubes, with an output of 68 per cent., and cold-rolled strip, with an output of 73 per cent., no provision is being made at all, for the provision of an efficient and economical supply of Second Schedule articles is required only where there is a monopoly. What will happen, for instance, to the user of cold-rolled steel? Will he be left in the cold? What can he do about his supplies. At one stage it was said that the remaining producers of cold-rolled steel could cover their requirements, but if all the users of cold-rolled steel have to go to an outside concern, we shall have an intolerable position and inflation.

Some provision must be made for this. It is not good enough for the Minister to say, "I have rung my bell for the Parliamentary draftsman. Now I am left wringing my hands. There is nothing I can do about it. We must accept this position, and the users of these commodities must make the best they can of it. They can always go to the Consumers' Council"—that omniscient, omnipresent and omnibus body which we are told can look after everything, including all the ills revealed in our consideration of the Bill at an earlier stage.

In any case, may I ask how these individuals are going to get attention from the Consumers' Council? I cannot find anything which allows them automatically to get a hearing of their complaints. Why should the Council have to remedy an ill after it takes place instead of the Bill providing that it shall never take place? This Bill, as has been said, gives the Government the widest of powers, and the narrowest of responsibilities. For the Government that is a very convenient situation, a very happy position, a very agreeable formula, but it is very bad for the country.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I wish to take part in this discussion if only to emphasise the fact that it is perfectly disgraceful that the Government should not condescend to give any reply to the arguments that have just been made. In the Committee stage of this Bill, this Clause was not discussed at all owing to the Guillotine. On Report the right hon Gentleman dealt with it in rather less than one column of HANSARD, with the result that there has been no full discussion of this all-important Clause until tonight. The House is entitled to some further argument about it, and some further explanation from the Government.

The questions I want to ask—and if the Government do not choose to answer them, they will simply show that they have not got the answers—are these. First, what duty is placed on the Corporation in respect of their ancillary activities? Is there any duty at all? Can the Corporation do exactly what they want, or have they not some duty to the public? There is complete silence from the Government.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

It would be wholly inappropriate to bring into this Clause the making of the many ancillary products of the Corporation because they cannot possibly control, as I have said over and over again, the complete production of goods where they make only 10, 15 or 40 per cent. Therefore, the particular duty in this Clause is to secure that all the products of the Second Schedule activities are available in such quantities, and are of such types, qualities and sizes … etc. It would be wholly inappropriate to mention all the other activities of the Corporation. If the hon. and learned Gentleman likes to turn to other parts of the Bill, the Consumers' Council Clause, for example, he will find reference to the powers of consumers who feel they have been aggrieved because of matters affecting other products. Their complaints can be discussed at the Consumers' Council, but it would be wholly inappropriate to include these other products here.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

It really would have been better if the Parliamentary Secretary or someone else had dealt with these points seriatim at the end of the Debate, because that intervention was somewhat lengthy. I should like to deal with the Minister's intervention point by point. With regard to the remedy of the purchasers of products of ancillary products via the Consumers' Council, that is an extremely cumbersome method. It will be exceedingly difficult, in fact, for them to pursue their approaches up that avenue to a successful or effective conclusion, and there are few sanctions under that method.

Secondly, if a man can be a wicked monopolist when he is producing as much as one-third of a particular product, why should it not be possible for some duty to be placed on the Corporation when in some cases they are producing 70 or 80 per cent. of a product. Why should not the procedure applicable to private enterprise be applicable also to public enterprise? It seems obvious that the Government are not willing that the two should be treated in the same way.

I come back to my original point. Why should not the Corporation be given some general duty in respect of the products of ancillary activities? What is there damaging to the activities of the Corporation in saying that they are to have a general duty to promote efficient and economical supply? Why should the Corporation be afraid of that? Why should the Government be afraid of imposing that duty in regard to the ancillary activities?

When I first read the second Amendment, I thought something was being given to the Government in the deletion of the word "secure", but it is obvious that nothing is being given away because it is governed by the words "as may seem to the Corporation best calculated." What is wrong in imposing on the Corporation the duty to promote the availability of these products in such quantities, qualities and sizes, etc.? If there is to be a general duty imposed on the Corporation—and the weakness of the whole Bill is shown by the ineffectiveness of this Clause—why should not that general duty be imposed also in respect of ancillary activities?

There is a further point which has not yet been mentioned. As I understand the Clause, paragraph (b), which is a part of the Clause to which the right hon. Gentleman did attach some importance, dealing with undue preference and unfair discrimination, will also be affected if these two Amendments are accepted; in other words, undue preference and unfair discrimination will also be applied to ancillary activities. Why are the Government afraid to impose on the Corporation the duty not to show undue preference in respect of ancillary products? Even though they are producing only a small proportion of the total production they can, by undue preference or unfair discrimination, give great advantage to persons for reasons or objects best known to themselves. It will be disgraceful if the Government choose to leave the matter with the very brief intervention we have had so far, and are afraid to put up the Parliamentary Secretary to reply.

Mr. Ivor Thomas:

I am glad to have caught your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It seems to me that the Minister has been less than just to another place. He began by saying that when the first Amendment was originally made, it made nonsense of the Clause; but that is a normal experience in Committee work, and is inherent in it. I remember an occasion on the Docking and Nicking of Horses Bill when we had to suspend the Sitting for a time to get matters straight. The whole purpose of a Report stage is to correct such inevitable features of a Committee stage.

12.30 a.m.

As the Clause now reads, it makes a completely logical and clear section of the Bill. The Minister wants to do one thing, their Lordships another, and both express themselves with complete logic. The Minister says that where the Corporation and publicly-owned companies have a complete monopoly, they can be required to produce a sufficient and economical supply of products. Their Lordships say that a similar duty shall apply to all products of the Corporation and publicly-owned companies in whatever proportion. What is the difference between 100 per cent. and 40 per cent. that makes—? [HON. MEMBER: "Sixty per cent.!"]—It used to be that the difference between 100 and 40 was 60, but unfortunately in this world of social mismanagement it may well cease to be the case to-morrow.

The right hon. Gentleman has pointed out that the Corporation will be responsible for 46 per cent. of the production of steel wire. That is an interesting figure, for it is just the percentage of the total votes cast at the General Election obtained by the Labour Party. The Labour Party have not hesitated to use that 46 per cent. as giving them a mandate to do anything they please, and anybody who challenges that claim is said to be flouting the will of the people; yet in this case, where the Corporation will be producing 46 per cent. of a given product the Minister is unwilling to impose any duty on the Corporation to say that they shall produce it efficiently and economically.

There is a strong case for confining the activities of the Corporation to Second Schedule activities, but if they are allowed to enter the wider field and produce steel wire, tennis racquets and so on, then at any rate let a similar duty be imposed on the Corporation. This is only one more example of the tendency, of which we have had several illustrations tonight, of the Government flouting the interests of the consumers. The proposal in the Lords Amendment is one more slight protection for the consumers of certain products, and the Government are unwilling to extend that protection. The hon. Member for Montrose Burghs (Mr. Maclay) said that the Clause was one of the most crazy in the Bill. It is curious in these days how so many of us find our thoughts adequately expressed by Lord Ammon when he spoke on the telephone.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

We have not yet had an answer to a very simple question. I think it is the duty of the Government to give it to us. The defence that has been put up is that the consumer against whom undue preference is shown can have recourse to the Consumers' Council, but how can he have recourse to the Consumers' Council when no duty is laid on the Corporation in these matters? It is a very small point, to which we have had no satisfactory answer, and I think the right hon. Gentleman must address himself to that at once.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

It makes no difference whatever. The consumer can apply to the Consumers' Council if he feels unfairly treated and they can report the matter to the Minister, and the Minister can take action. It has nothing to do with the fact that in respect of those products in which the Corporation have a monopoly certain duties are put on the Corporation to produce them in the quantities required by the consumers.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

What happens if the Minister does not redress the grievance of the consumer?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

The only reason I intervene at this stage is that it appears to me that an important section of industry is going to be nationalised, and that when it has been nationalised responsibility for its management and, indeed, for the employment of the people in that section of industry, is going to be left vague. Also, it appears to me that that applies to the tin-plate industry of South Wales, besides applying to other important sections of the industry. It is astonishing that when the right hon. Gentleman is challenged with this situation, he makes what is for him, generally a fairly cool person, a somewhat heated speech, and a somewhat exaggerated speech, in which he describes the constructive proposals of their Lordships as ridiculous and inappropriate.

What we find to be inappropriate is the fact that the Government have not yet told us precisely what responsibility there will be for continuing this important section of industry working along at least as good lines as it has in the past. The industry is organised at the moment, in very much the same way as the railway industry was organised before it was nationalised, so that the parts upon which the Government, with their peculiar prejudices, wish to get a firm grasp, are operated as one close unit with other activities upon which the Government are not so dogmatically keen.

When it came to nationalisation of the railways—the right hon. Gentleman will remember this well—and it was found that the railways were accustomed to operate hotels, it was not decided to divest the Railway Executive of responsibility to the users of these hotels for their management. On the contrary, the Minister of Transport, in his wisdom, realised that there should be some responsibility for keeping the hotels as a going concern, and he set up a Hotels Executive to deal specifically with the matter, in the same way as he dealt with other ancillary activities, such as docks and harbours.

What experience have the Government undergone which, within two years, can make them change their mind so fundamentally on this important matter? I suggest in all seriousness to hon. Members opposite, who have listened in considerable numbers and patiently, to this Debate, without unfortunately giving us the advantage of their views, that one fundamental principle of Socialism—I speak not as a Socialist, but as one who takes an objective and, I hope, intelligent interest in it—must be that if you decide to seize power, you must, at least, also be prepared to accept equivalent responsibility. It is because this Bill does not impose upon the nationalisers responsibility equivalent to the power which they are taking that we feel that a further explanation from the Government is called for.

This is the first time today that I have ventured to intervene in the Debate. I feel that we should be grateful to their Lordships for having, by means of these Amendments, raised for discussion on the floor of this House some of the more salient points of this Bill. It is quite obvious that the most important points have been chosen, and they are, incidentally, points which were discussed far too inadequately when this Bill was last before the House. In spite of the presence of the Patronage Secretary at this stage, I hope we may have the benefit of an explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary, who has listened to the whole of this discussion. I hope that he will deal precisely with what is to happen, for instance, to the tin-plate industry in South Wales which has been developed to a very great extent in recent years and has played a great part in rescuing a large number of people from the economic tyranny of unemployment.

What responsibility is to be owed toward that industry, to the steel wire industry, and to other important parts of industry which are to be nationalised but which are not, in the technical language of this Bill, Second Schedule activities? The people in these industries want to know. It is not fair, especially from a Government which claims—sometimes hypocritically, I think—to care for the best interests of the workers, that the future of the workers should be left dangling in mid-air. Let us know; the House, as well as the workers, are entitled to know before the Patronage Secretary intervenes in this Debate.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

I am in two minds as to what the Government intend by disagreeing with these Amendments—[Interruption]—I can well understand the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) using this occasion as another opportunity for abusing another place, but he is also probably only too glad to ignore the effects on Soviet Russia. We in this country are interested to know how the Minister proposes to promote economic production, to satisfy reasonable demands, and to avoid exercising undue discrimination as far as the publicly-owned companies are concerned.

We understand that the Corporation is covered by the Second Schedule, but we do not understand what is the Minister's attitude to the publicly-owned companies —those which are to produce other materials, such as tubes and rolled strip. We want to know what the Minister is going to do in the way of supervision. The only indication so far given by the Minister was that made on 27th April, when he implied that all the complaints were to be handled through the Consumers' Council. He repeated that again tonight; but may I remind the House that Clause 6 (6) states: The Minister may give directions to the Corporation on any matter arising out of any conclusion, report or representation made to him or to the Corporation by the Council.… But what assurance have we that the Corporation will ever receive any of the complaints made by the consumers? What assurance is there that these complaints will be passed on, and what assurance have we that the Corporation will try to remedy these complaints?

I suggest that we are left with two alternatives; either the Minister does not intend to see the publicly-owned companies working efficiently and producing economically the right goods at a reasonable price, or there is no supervision to see that the consumers' demands are satisfied, there is no supervision to promote the assurance of reasonable price, and there is no means of avoiding undue discrimination. That is one alternative.

12.45 a.m.

The other alternative is that the Minister is going to turn the Consumers Council into a hot-air machine—a place for complaints to be voiced which he hopes will die a natural death. If I am any judge, I should say that one of the main features which attracted people to vote for nationalisation in the past was the belief that consumers' complaints would be more easily voiced than under private enterprise. That is what was believed, but what have the unfortunate consumers got? We know from other nationalised industries how much they got out of it, and we can see exactly the same thing happening with this industry; the consumers will be fobbed off at the Minister's convenience, and no obligation will be put on the Corporation in regard to the production and manufacture of a great many items of vital importance to industry today.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I am wondering whether the House might not want to come to a decision fairly soon.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire

I want to put one point. It has been established—I think the Minister admits it—that there is no duty, as far as ancillary undertakings are concerned, not to show undue preference or unfair discrimination. The reason why no duty was laid on the ancillary undertakings in another place was that no monopoly was in the hands of the Government. I should like Members opposite to realise what they mean by "monopoly," as they are always using the term in a very loose sense. I remember debating this question once with a Member opposite, and he referred to Lewis's Store in Manchester as a monopoly. I do not know what percentage of trade they have, but it must be well under 10 per cent.; whereas in this case, in regard to cold-rolled strip and tubes, it is something like 70 per cent. of the total trade. Clearly, if undue preference is shown in this case the whole object of the Bill falls to the ground. Simply to say it is all right because, although the Corporation have no duty, it will be possible to complain to the Consumers Council, seems to be the height of fatuity. So far, complaints have led to nothing at all in other industries, and it seems, a fortiori, that where no duty is laid on a corporation, no results will ever be obtained with consumers' councils.

Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House proceeded to a Division.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

(seated and covered): On a point of Order. I should like to have it made quite clear that we are to divide on the first two Amendments, and that there will be an opportunity for me to discuss the third Amendment, in page 5, line 5, which I mentioned while your predecessor was in the Chair.

The Deputy-Speaker:

Judging by Mr. Speaker's notes on this Order Paper, the Amendments to lines 43 and 44 and to line 5, in page 5, all go together—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—I am only going by the instructions here. I will look into the matter.

The House divided: Ayes, 301; Noes, 163.

Division No. 225.]AYES[12.50 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardFoot, M. M.McLeavy, F.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Forman, J. C.McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
Albu, A. H.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Freeman, J. (Watford)Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Gallacher, W.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)
Attewell, H. C.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Mann, Mrs. J.
Austin, H. LewisGibbins, J.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Awbery, S. S.Gibson, C. W.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Bacon, Miss A.Gilzean, A.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Baird, J.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mathers, Rt. Hon. George
Balfour, A.Gooch, E. G.Mayhew, C. P.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Mellish, R. J.
Barstow, P. G.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Messer, F.
Barton, C.Grenfell, D. R.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Bechervaise, A. E.Grey, C. F.Mikardo, Ian.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Grierson, E.Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R.
Berry, H.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Mitchison, G. R.
Beswick, F.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Monslow, W.
Bing, G. H. C.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Morley, R.
Binns, J.Guest, Dr. L. HadenMorris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Blenkinsop, A.Gunter, R. J.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Blyton, W. R.Guy, W. H.Mort, D. L.
Boardman, H.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Moyle, A.
Hale, LeslieNally, W.
Bottomley, A. G.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilNeal, H. (Claycross)
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Hardman, D. R.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Hardy, E. A.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Bramall, E. A.Harrison, J.O'Brien, T.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleOldfield, W. H.
Brawn, George (Belper)Haworth, J.Oliver, G. H.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Orbach, M.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Burden, T. W.Herbison, Miss M.Palmer, A. M. F.
Burke, W. A.Hewitson, Capt M.Pargiter, G. A.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Hobson, C. R.Parker, J.
Callaghan, JamesHolman, P.Parkin, B. T.
Carmichael, JamesHolmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Pearson, A.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Horabin, T. L.Peart, T. F.
Chamberlain, R. A.Houghton, DouglasPerrins, W.
Champion, A. J.Hoy, J.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Chetwynd, G. R.Hubbard, T.Popplewell, E.
Cocks, F. S.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Coldrick, W.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Price, M. Philips
Collick, P.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Pritt, D. N.
Collindridge, F.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Proctor, W. T.
Collins, V. J.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Pursey, Comdr. H.
Comyns, Dr. L.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Randall, H. E.
Cook, T. F.Jay, D. P. T.Ranger, J.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Jeger, G. (Winchester)Rankin, J.
Cove, W. G.Johnston, DouglasRees-Williams, D. R.
Crawley, A.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Reeves, J.
Crossman, R. H. S.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Rhodes, H.
Cullen, Mrs.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Daines, P.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Robens, A.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Keenan, W.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Kenyon, C.Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras, N.)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Rogers, G. H. R.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)King, E. M.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Sargood, R.
Deer, G.Kinley, J.Scollan, T.
de Freitas, GeoffreyKirby, B. V.Segal, Dr. S.
Delargy, H. J.Lang, G.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Diamond, J.Lavers, S.Sharp, Granville
Dobbie, W.Lee, F. (Hulme)Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Dodds, N. N.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Driberg, T. E. N.Leonard, W.Shurmer, P.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Levy, B. W.Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Dye, S.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lindgren, G. S.Simmons, C. J.
Edelman, M.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Skeffington, A. M.
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Logan, D. G.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Longden, F.Skinnard, F. W.
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Lyne, A. W.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McAdam, W.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Ewart, R.McAllister, G.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Farthing, W. J.McEntee, V. La. T.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Fernyhough, E.Mack, J. D.Snow, J. W.
Field, Capt. W. J.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Sorensen, R. W.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McKinlay, A. S.Sparks, J. A.
Steele, T.Ungoed-Thomas, L.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Usborne, HenryWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Stokes, R. R.Vernon, Maj W. F.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.Walker, G. H.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Stross, Dr. B.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Willis, E.
Stubbs, A. E.Warbey, W. N.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Swingler, S.Watkins, T. E.Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Sylvester, G. O.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.
Symonds, A. L.Weitzman, D.Wise, Major F. J.
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Woods, G. S.
Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)West, D. G.Wyatt, W.
Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)Yates, V. F.
Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Thurtle, ErnestWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Timmons, J.Wigg, GeorgeTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Tolley, L.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.Mr. Hannan and Mr. Wilkins.
Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Odey, G. W.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.
Astor Hon. M.Haughton, S. G.Osborne, C.
Baldwin, A. E.Head, Brig. A. H.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Barlow, Sir J.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPickthorn, K.
Bennett, Sir P.Hogg, Hon. Q.Pitman, I. J.
Birch, NigelHollis, M. C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hope, Lord J.Prescott, Stanley
Boothby, R.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Bower, N.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Raikes, H. V.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hurd, A.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Renton, D.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Bullock, Capt. M.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Butcher, H. W.Kendall, W. D.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Carson, E.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Challen, C.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Linstead, H. N.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Smithers, Sir W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Low, A. R. W.Spearman, A. C. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Lucas, Major Sir J.Spence, H. R.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Darling, Sir W. Y.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. D.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Digby, Simon WingfieldMcCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Teeling, William
Donner, P. W.McFarlane, C. S.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drayson, G. B.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drewe, C.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Eccles, D. M.Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Touche, G. C.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMacpherson, N. (Dumfries)Turton, R. H.
Erroll, F. J.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Manningham-Buller, R. E.Walker-Smith, D.
Fox, Sir G.Marlowe, A. A. H.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Marples, A. E.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Gage, C.Maude, J. C.White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Galbraith, Cmdr T. D. (Pollok)Medlicott, Brigadier F.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Gammans, L. D.Molson, A. H. E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.York, C.
Granville, E. (Eye)Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Gridley, Sir A.Nicholson, G.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grimston, R. V.Nield, B. (Chester)Mr. Studholme and
Harden, J. R. E.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Lieut-Colonel Bromley-Davenport.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Nutting, Anthony

Lords Amendment; In page 4, line 44, leave out from "and" to "as" in line 2 on page 5, and insert: the availability of those products in such quantities, types, qualities and sizes and at such prices.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. G. R. Strauss.]

The House divided: Ayes, 296; Noes, 160.

Division No. 226.]AYES[1.1 a.m
Acland, Sir RichardEvans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Logan, D. G.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Ewart, R.Longden, F.
Albu, A. H.Farthing, W. J.Lyne, A. W.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Fernyhough, E.McAdam, W.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Field, Capt. W. J.McAllister, G.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McEntee, V. La. T.
Attewell, H. C.Foot, M. M.Mack, J. D.
Austin, H. LewisForman, J. C.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Awbery, S. S.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McKinlay, A. S.
Bacon, Miss A.Freeman, J. (Watford)McLeavy, F.
Baird, J.Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
Balfour, A.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Gibbins, J.Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Barstow, P. G.Gibson, C. W.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Barton, C.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)
Bechervaise, A. E.Gooch, E. G.Mann, Mrs. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Berry, H.Grenfell, D. R.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Beswick, F.Grey, C. F.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Bing, G. H. C.Grierson, E.Mathers, Rt. Hon. George
Binns, J.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Mayhew, C. P.
Blenkinsop, A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Mellish, R. J.
Blyton, W. R.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Messer, F.
Boardman, H.Guest, Dr. L. HadenMiddleton, Mrs. L.
Bottomley, A. G.Gunter, R. J.Mikardo, Ian.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Guy, W. H.Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Mitchison, G. R.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Hale, LeslieMonslow, W.
Bramall, E. A.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilMorley, R.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Brown, George (Belper)Hardman, D. R.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hardy, E. A.Mort, D. L.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Harrison, J.Moyle, A.
Burden, T. W.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleNally, W.
Burke, W. A.Haworth, J.Neal, H. (Claycross)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Callaghan, JamesHenderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Carmichael, JamesHerbison, Miss M.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hewitson, Capt. M.O'Brien, T.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hobson, C. R.Oldfield, W. H.
Champion, A. J.Holman, P.Oliver, G. H.
Chetwynd, G. R.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Orbach, M.
Cocks, F. S.Horabin, T. L.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Coldrick, W.Houghton, DouglasPalmer, A. M. F.
Collick, P.Hoy, J.Pargiter, G. A.
Collindridge, F.Hubbard, T.Parker, J.
Collins, V. J.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Parkin, B. T.
Comyns, Dr. L.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Pearson, A.
Cook, T. F.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Peart, T. F.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Perrins, W.
Cove, W. G.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Crawley, A.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Popplewell, E.
Crossman, R. H. S.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Cullen, Mrs.Johnston, DouglasPrice, M. Philips
Daines, P.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Pritt, D. N.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Proctor, W. T.
Davies, Edward (Bruslem)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Pursey, Comdr. H.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Randall, H. E.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Jones, P. Asterley (Mitchin)Ranger, J.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Keenan, W.Rankin, J.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Kenyon, C.Rees-Williams, D. R.
Deer, G.Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Reeves, J.
de Freitas, GeoffreyKing, E. M.Rhodes, H.
Delargy, H. J.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Diamond, J.Kinley, J.Robens, A.
Dobbie, W.Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Dodds, N. N.Lang, G.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Driberg, T. E. N.Lavers, S.Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras, N.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lee, F. (Hulme)Rogers, G. H. R.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Dye, S.Leonard, W.Sargood, R.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Levy, B. W.Scollan, T.
Edelman, M.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Segal, Dr. S.
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Lewis, J. (Bolton)Shackleton, E. A. A.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Lindgren, G. S.Sharp, Granville
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St Helens)Symonds, A. L.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E)
Shurmer, P.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Wigg, George
Silverman, J. (Erdington)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wilcock, Group-Capt C. A. B.
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Thomas, George (Cardiff)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Simmons, C. J.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Skeffington, A. M.Thurtle, ErnestWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.Timmons, J.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Skinnard, F. W.Tolley, L.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Smith, C. (Colchester)Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Ungoed-Thomas, L.Willis, E.
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Usborne, HenryWills, Mrs. E. A.
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)Vernon, Maj. W. F.Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Snow, J. W.Walker, G. H.Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.
Sorensen, R. W.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Wise, Major F. J.
Sparks, J. A.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Steele, T.Warbey, W. N.Woods, G. S.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Watkins, T. E.Wyatt, W.
Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Yates, V. F.
Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)Weitzman, D.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Stross, Dr. B.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Stubbs, A. E.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Swingler, S.West, D. G.Mr. Hannan and Mr Wilkins.
Sylvester, G. O.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Nutting, Anthony
Astor, Hon. M.Haughton, S. G.Odey, G. W.
Baldwin, A. E.Head, Brig A. H.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.
Barlow, Sir J.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.Osborne, C.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPeake, Rt. Hon. O.
Bennett, Sir P.Hogg, Hon. Q.Peto, Brig C. H. M.
Birch, NigelHollis, M. C.Pitman, I. J.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hope, Lord J.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Boothby, R.Howard, Hon. A.Prescott, Stanley
Bower, N.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Raikes, H. V.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHurd, A.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Rayner, Brig R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Renton, D.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Butcher, H. W.Kendall, W. D.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Carson, E.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Challen, C.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Linstead, H. N.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smithers, Sir W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spearman, A. C. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Low, A. R. W.Spence, H. R.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas, Major Sir J.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Darling, Sir W. Y.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.McCallum, Maj. D.Taylor, Vice-Adm E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Donner, P. W.McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.Teeling, William
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Drayson, G. B.McFarlane, C. S.Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drewe, C.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Eccles, D. M.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)Touche, G. C.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMacmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Turton, R. H.
Erroll, F. J.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Walker-Smith, D.
Fox, Sir G.Mainningham-Buller, R. E.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Marlowe, A. A. H.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marples, A. E.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Gage, C.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Maude, J. C.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Gammans, L. D.Medlicott, Brigadier F.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Molson, A. H. E.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)York, C.
Granville, E. (Eye)Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Grimston, R. V.Neven-Spence, Sir B.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harden, J. R. E.Nicholson, G.Mr. Studholme and Mr. Digby.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Nield, B. (Chester)

Question put, and agreed to.

Photo of Mr Arthur Howard Mr Arthur Howard , Westminster St George's

On a point of Order. Immediately after the House had proceeded to a Division and when it was called, I was in the Gallery. I came down with all the speed that the weather could permit, but when I got to the foot of the stairs the doors were locked and no one was there to allow me to come into the precincts of the Chamber. All of us have a certain duty to our constituents. I was here and, as I said, I came down with all the speed that could be expected of a man of my advanced years. I was denied the possibility of recording my vote, and I am wondering whether you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, could give me some guidance on the matter.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I have not had much time to go into the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman. I think, strictly speaking, the hon. Member should be in the Chamber and not anywhere outside it, but, on the other hand, I do not know the answer. I do not think that the vote can be corrected. Perhaps the hon. Member will raise it with Mr. Speaker later today, and he will have time to look into the matter.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Is it not the case, as a matter of fact, that hon. Members have by long custom and immemorial usage the right to be in the galleries and to listen to the Debates from there?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

That was in the old House; not in this one.

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 5, after "purposes" to insert: and desire to purchase those products from the Corporation or from a publicly-owned company.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

A point of Order was raised during the first Division. I understand that the three Amendments were taken together and I understand that the hon. Gentleman wishes to raise a point, but we cannot have the Debate all over again.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

This puts me in a difficult position, because I wished to record my vote against the first two Amendments, but I could not agree with the Lords in the third Amendment. That is why I raised this matter, because it would have been impossible for me to have acted other than I did on two of the Amendments, but here I wish to record my vote against the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

The hon. Member now has his chance to vote for the Government.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

Am I not to be allowed to put before the House the reasons why I cannot vote for the Amendment? I might persuade some of my hon. Friends to agree with me.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

No. All the Amendments were discussed together and, as the hon. Member says, he agreed with the Lords on the first two. He disagrees with them on the third, and he should have put his point of view then.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

I raised the point of Order during the Division because I understood it was accepted that only the first two Amendments would be taken.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I have looked into the question of the third Amendment and I have followed what was agreed. I am now going to put the Question.

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 13, leave out "or from the public interest."

1.15 a.m.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , Bolton

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

I trust that in my remarks I shall not find myself in disagreement with the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) or being corrected by the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss). The Government's intention in resisting the Amendment is that the words should be retained and that the Corporation and the publicly-owned companies should have the right to give preferential treatment in the public interest.

It may be necessary to encourage exports to the hard currency areas as against exports in directions which might be against the best interests of the country. It might be necessary for the Corporation to have a margin of discretion for meeting the demands of the home market. The Government hope that it will never be necessary, but it may be, to give preferential treatment and priority in delivery to the construction of certain armaments, such as battleships, against pleasure steamers and such things. The Corporation might desire to give preferential treatment to the food canning industry. If we had a glut of a commodity, it might be desirable to give preferential treatment in tin-plate for canning. It might be necessary to put some consumers back on the priority list. Preferential treatment might be necessary in the case of generating plant and other things which were in short supply. The Government believe it to be necessary to keep the words "or from the public interest" in the Bill so that preferential treatment could be given where the Corporation and the Minister consider it necessary.

I feel certain that, with the knowledge which the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite has, he will agree about the difficulties there are when things which are in great demand are in short supply and when the necessary priorities must be given. It is necessary in such circumstances to cover the Corporation when legal proceedings might be taken against them. For these reasons, and many others, the phrase "the public interest," a loosely-defined term which covers a tremendous field of activity, has been inserted in the Bill. I think the Opposition will agree with the Government, in times such as these, that the public interest should be put first and foremost.

Photo of Mr Osbert Peake Mr Osbert Peake , Leeds North

It is not possible to discuss this Amendment adequately without some reference to the question which is closely bound up with it—whether or not the right of recourse to the courts is going to be given in the enforcement of this undue preference Clause. I draw the attention of the House to the history of this Clause. There was no Clause prohibiting undue preference in the Bill as first presented. It was demanded during the Committee stage from these benches, and it was inserted on the Report stage by the Minister after he had tabled and withdrawn his first shot at a Clause of this character. The first Clause which the right hon. Gentleman put down was in terms to prohibit undue preference, but there was a proviso to say that the provisions against undue preference should not be enforceable in any court of law.

That was the original undue preference Clause. It was withdrawn and the Clause in its present form, which is now before the House, was tabled. It places a duty on the Corporation to avoid showing, undue preference to, and exercising unfair discrimination against, any such persons or any class thereof in the supply and price of those products, but without prejudice to such variations in the terms and conditions on which those products were supplied as may arise from ordinary commercial considerations or from the public interest. There are two qualifications, therefore, which limit the liability, such as it is, of the Corporation where undue preference is concerned. When I raised this question on Report, I put it to the Minister thus: I ask the right hon. Gentleman if somebody suffers from unfair discrimination, or if somebody is granted undue preference by one of these 106 companies in the Schedule, does he believe or think that under his new Clause as it is now drawn any effective legal action could be taken in the courts against the Corporation?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1949, Vol. 464; c. 212.] I then expressed doubts about the matter, and said that I believed the new Clause had been drawn in its present form, amongst other things, to give the pretence of protection against undue preference and to avoid any possibility of recourse to the courts by any injured party against the Corporation. In reply to those questions of mine, the Minister stated: The hon. and learned Gentleman is wrong. The Corporation are definitely responsible under the new Clause. If anyone wanted to proceed he would be able to proceed against the Corporation, who would be responsible for any undue preference which they might give and which was considered to be contrary to the public interest. A similar assurance was given in the following column by the Solicitor-General, who said: The remedy would lie against the Corporation, which could be proceeded against upon this basis…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1949; Vol. 464; c. 217–8.] He went on to describe his reasons for saying that the Clause as drafted gave a right of recourse to the courts. The relevance of this question, whether or not there should be a right of recourse to the courts, lies in the words which the Parliamentary Secretary now seeks to restore to the Bill, that is, the qualification on the ground of public interest—that is to say, excepting the Corporation from any sort of liability where considerations of public interest are involved.

I concede at once that considerations of public interest are very difficult questions for courts of law to give decisions on, but I shall submit to the House, and I think with some force, that they will be equally difficult for the Corporation to give a judgment on. I remember during the war, when Regulation 18 B was under constant discussion in this House and in the law courts, that it was frequently stated that considerations of public interest should be considerations on which Ministers and no one else should give judgment.

We are faced with the position now that the opinion given by the Minister, and reinforced by the Solicitor-General, that the Clause gave a right of recourse to the courts when anyone suffered damage through undue preference being exercised against them, has been jettisoned by the Government, and thrown over completely by the Lord Chancellor, who said the matter was by no means free from doubt, and accepted fully as a statement of the law the judgment of Lord Cairns, in the leading case of Atkinson against Newcastle Water Works: The mere fact that a breach of public statutory duty has caused damage does not give a right of action to the person suffering the damage against the person guilty of the breach. Whether a breach does or does not give such a right of action must depend on the object and language of the particular statute. There is a famous judgment by the late Lord du Parcq, in which he expressed very strong views indicating that Parliament should always indicate clearly one way or the other, whether a right of recourse to the courts was given or withheld in the case of a breach of a statutory decision. We are faced with the position now that what was stated by the Minister during the Debate on Report on 27th April, and supported by the Solicitor-General, has been repudiated by the Lord Chancellor in another place; and the Government are now moving, in lieu of a Lords Amendment, an Amendment in page 5, line 13: (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Corporation either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or lia- bility enforceable by proceedings before any court. 1.30 a.m.

That seems to be where we stand on the question of recourse to the courts. Despite the assurance given on the Report stage no injured party now will have any right to recover anything in consequence of undue preference or unfair discrimination exercised by the Corporation or any of its 100 subsidiary companies. What are the arguments advanced, firstly, in favour of there being no recourse to the court, and secondly, in favour of retaining the qualification that considerations of public interest shall prevent an injured consumer from even making a successful complaint to the Consumers' Council? They are, first, that this is not a suitable matter for the courts to pronounce judgment upon, and, secondly, that the Corporation must be able to exercise undue preference and unfair discrimination. The exception is stated in terms: but without prejudice to such variations in the terms and conditions on which those products are supplied as may arise from ordinary commercial considerations or from the public interest. The Parliamentary Secretary, in moving the Motion now before the House, said that in the export trade the Corporation must be free to exercise discrimination and preference, but the export trade is very little concerned with this Clause. It is limited to what are known as products of Second Schedule activities, which consist of four things—the getting of iron ore, which we do not export; the making of iron ore into pig iron, which we do not export; the making of pig iron into steel ingots, which we do not export; and the final process is known technically as hot rolling. It may be that certain hot-rolled products, for instance, steel rails, may in the past have come to some extent into the export trade, but the export trade is very little concerned with products of Second Schedule activities. In any event, undue preference does not mean that we have to charge the same price in the export market as we do in the home market. Undue preference, as all lawyers know, applies only to consumers who are in like circumstances and in the same category.

It has been suggested that it is necessary to have this qualification to enable undue preference to be exercised as regards the export market because, for reasons of public policy, it might be undesirable to export steel to some potential enemy of this country. How is the Corporation to be a judge in a matter of that kind? Surely a case of that character must call for a direction from the Minister to the Corporation. This Corporation cannot be the judge of questions of defence and foreign policy. It is ridiculous to suppose that the words "public interest" in this proviso are intended to cover a case of that character. It is clearly a case for Ministerial direction, if undue preference of unfair discrimination is required for the export trade. The Parliamentary Secretary said that it might be more important to direct our exports of Second Schedule products to hard currency areas than to soft currency areas. Of course it may be; but that is clearly a case in which the Minister can give a direction.

Let the House bear in mind that what we asked for was a Clause against undue preference in the home market. We were not concerned with the export market. The fact that this Clause applies to the export market is entirely the doing of the Government. It is the Government's choice of words. What we have always asked for is a Clause against undue preference in the home market. To advance in defence of the qualifications of the Clause, that it would not be applicable to the home market is really a work of superogation. The right hon. Gentleman could have limited his undue preference Clause—which he told us, in the first place, was to give the right of action in the courts, though it now turns out that it does not do so—to the home market.

Then it is suggested that it might be desirable, even in the home market, to give preference as regards supply. I hope it is not suggested that there should be special preference as regards price in the home market to consumers who are in like circumstances. It will, indeed, be disastrous, if the Corporation are going to pick and choose, and select a nationalised industry, such as the coal mines or the railways, to whom steel shall be supplied at half the price at which it is supplied to anyone else.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , Bolton

I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that price was never mentioned.

Photo of Mr Osbert Peake Mr Osbert Peake , Leeds North

It is mentioned in the Clause, I think. If the hon. Gentleman will look at the Clause he will see that it says to avoid showing undue preference to … any such persons … in the supply and price of those products. This proviso about the public interest enables the Corporaton to vary their prices, and adapt their supplies to what they consider to be the requirements of the public interest. I say, first of all, that considerations of public interest should be settled by the Minister, and by the Minister alone, because he is the only person who can have sufficient knowledge at any moment of what is in the public interest and what is not. Secondly, I say that it should not be open to the Corporation to exercise undue preference or unfair discrimination even in the home market, not even where they consider some particular course of action is socially desirable.

If it be more desirable, for instance, that steel should go into the construction of factories, as is the case at present, than into the construction of cinemas, that is a matter on which the Minister can give directions to the Corporation, and not a matter on which the Corporation should be left to form their own opinion. If we are to have each nationalised industry's corporation forming its own opinion upon what is in the public interest, we shall have as many opinions as there are, in fact, boards and corporations. For these reasons, I hope that the House will insist upon the Amendment which their Lordships have put into the Bill.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

I should like to thank the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for the few remarks which he made with a view to enabling us to deal with this matter. We all know that he has had considerable experience in dealing with these matters in the House of Commons and outside. Without doubt, no one is better qualified to deal with this Clause, with its reference to the public interest, than some of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who must realise how badly these words, "in the public interest," have been used by this Government on so many occasions. There are no words in the British language which have been subjected to as much abuse and misuse as these words have in the last three years. Whenever any Government Department wishes to do anything, or hide anything, or when it has any realisation at all as to why it has done anything at all, it always says "That was in the public interest." It is something just used as a covering, and we shall be in a hopeless position if all these great corporations can say, "We must have an advantage in the public interest." There is the advantage for the British Railways; there is the advantage for the Scottish farmer as against the Welsh farmer; and all this is because these advantages are said to be "in the public interest." If these loose words, which used to have a very close meaning in the conduct of this country, are attached to a Corporation of this kind, they will be interpreted promiscuously on all sorts of occasions to hide all sorts of misdeeds.

Let me discuss for a minute how these words, in this context, are used. If we are giving to the Corporation this particular power to sell things under a commercial heading, we are definitely putting it down to be a body which should act only on commercial lines. If we are to have nationalised industries they should work on those lines, and on no other lines at all; but once one adds these words in such a matter as that with which we are here concerned, one causes it to be thought that this Corporation is a semi-political body, biased one way or the other to the Government of the day.

I see some heads nodding; it seems that I am getting some considerable support from hon. Members opposite in the belief that it is conceivable that my idea of the public interest might be the right one. I may differ from the opinion of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), because I think that it would be in the public interest for a business to be well managed; but I do not guarantee that hon. Members opposite—who are taking no part in this Debate—will take the same line of thought.

That is one of the reasons why, if one gets inserted the rule that these great corporations are to work for the public interest, one is opening a wide field for the giving of preferences to all sorts and kinds of people for the use of powers in a very inefficient way which would be very prejudicial to the higher standards of life in this country. I thought that there might be something in getting these words into the Bill; but then I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary, and I was again converted to thinking that the Government's case was completely unsound.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

That is a very feeble one.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

The hon. Member apparently says that the Parliamentary Secretary is very feeble; I did not quite catch what he said, but that is what I understood. I am not saying he is feeble, but that he does not know his case; that he converted myself, and probably a large number of people, into thinking that these words were such that the Government could put forward its own policy, but not develop British trade and industry. It is perfectly easy, under the cover of these words, to do all sorts of things, and for that reason I hope the House will stand by the Amendment of another place.

1.45 a.m.

I am trying to look at the matter from the point of view of those on the Corporation. Perhaps at one moment the chairman may think it is in the public interest to do a certain thing and the Government may agree with him. On the other hand, he might think that the Government are completely mad and reverse the decision, as he thinks in the public interest. That can happen, and it has happened very lately. It is totally unfair for the Government to come forward and say that they really must have all these powers to use the Corporation in the widest interests of trade and commerce, when their intention is to squeeze trade and commerce into ways that favour the Government. There has been far too much favouring under the term "public interest." For that reason, I would not trust this Government to use these powers—and I have the growing support of the country in this—for what they regard as being in the public interest. I am sure there is no Member opposite who will get up and say that this Government is ever likely to look after the public interest in any way whatsoever.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stone

Both my right hon. Friend the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) and my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) have clearly shown the type of confusion the Government are theoretically apt to get into with this type of Clause. It is clear that there is a new type of development in Socialism which might be called "Ammonism"—the revolution of public boards. This is precisely the difficulty which is going to arise in this case unless this Amendment is accepted. As my right hon. Friend has pointed out, it is purely in the interests of the country and the Government in power, presuming that they are normal, reasonable and have some sense, that they should be the judge of public interest and not a corporation appointed by the Government. What this Clause seeks to do is to make the Corporation the judge of what is the public interest.

I am sure that when Members opposite put this particularly stupid Bill before the country they did not wish to give the appearance of pursuing sordid partisan motives and the aggregation of even more power into their incompetent hands. At least they should now go to the country and give reasons why the trick which is being perpetrated is not as extreme as some of us believe. What this Clause does is to put into the hands of the Government, through the Corporation, two completely unnecessary powers.

I am sure that hon. Members opposite have paid great attention to the Debate which took place in another place. They have obviously read closely all that happened and have also read many of the articles written by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), who has had to swallow a great many of the things he said two years ago when he put forward armaments as being one of the chief reasons for this Bill. However, that is a digression which I am afraid may be out of Order. To return to this fact that the Government are now taking into their hands two completely unnecessary powers, one in the matter of exports and the other in the matter of the internal market, how absurd it is that the Corporation should be the judge of whether steel should be sent to Spain or wherever the latest crusade being fought by hon. Gentlemen opposite should fall. Surely that is precisely a Government matter. It is not a matter for the Corporation to decide where the public interest lies abroad, but for the Government of the day to decide, if it be a responsible Government, which, unfortunately, this Government is not. If the Government think they can "pass the buck" this way, there will be further confusion.

As regards the home market, who is to decide where preference shall lie and who is to decide what is the public interest? Surely, again, it is not the Corporation but the Government of the day which are concerned. It is the Government which should be responsible to this House. As we know, this Corporation is not going to be responsible to this House except indirectly through the Minister, who can refuse to answer any Questions, as, indeed, all the Ministers concerned with public bodies constantly refuse to do. This, again, is an attack on the control by Parliament of this great machine which is being set up by this Bill.

It surely is an extremely dangerous principle and precedent that this question of public interest should be handed over to a Corporation, and to a Corporation which itself is engaged in competitive trade with other like industries or like firms. That obviously is a danger. Further—and this is the point which might even weigh with the Minister—even these powers as granted to the Corporation, if this Clause is unamended, are not wide enough if the Minister really sets out to gain what he secretly may wish to gain. These powers are limited to the Second Schedule activities and although the Government say they propose to nationalise only relevant portions of the iron and steel industry, they are in point of fact nationalising huge areas and sections of engineering and so forth, which are not technically part of the iron and steel industry. This part of this Clause does not cover anything beyond the First and Second Schedules, and in the matter of tin-plate there can be no discrimination because it is not a Second Schedule activity. Therefore, the Corporation cannot decide in the public interest whether to export tin-plate or give it, at a certain price, to the home market.

It stands to reason that what we see before us in the refusal of the Government to accept this Amendment is a complete and utter confusion of mind. First the Clause does not give complete power over the whole range of industry involved. Secondly, it causes a great and growing fear to the public who have to accept this Bill. The third point, which surely arises from this Clause as it stands unamended, is that here again we see confusion of thought, the development of this "Ammonism" trend, the trend to give power to the board and the confusion that grows up between decisions of the board and the Government. Finally, as throughout this Bill, we see an attack on the powers of this House to control this enormous industry, which may do such great damage under national control to the industry and to the economy of this country.

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

I hope that other speakers on this side of the House will say something more about public interest on the lines which have already been mentioned by my hon. Friends. There is probably nothing more important in this Bill than the way in which the phrase "public interest" is used, or misused. What a contrast when we think back to the days of the noble inception of the phrase res publica and to its final degradation at the hands of hon. Gentlemen opposite who now compose His Majesty's Government. What is clear is that hon. Gentlemen mean by public interest the interest of His Majesty's Government. The whole swindle of Socialism is wrapped up in this phrase, and just as public ownership means, in fact, Government ownership, so, just as surely, public interest under this Government means Government interest.

What is the practical test, as opposed to the ethical test, as to whether any given action decided by the Corporation, for instance, is in the public interest? Surely the answer lies, as in all similar cases, in an effective use of control. We shall be told, no doubt, that an appeal lies finally through the Consumers' Council to the Minister. There can be no question that the Minister is going to be an interested party in the event of any appeal. That fact was conceded by Lord Lucas in another place. That is what happens when the Government go in for ownership as opposed to final arbitration. Much that hon. Gentlemen opposite have done during the last four years is bad: none of it is good. Of it all that which is the most insolent, is the way they have seemed to suggest the inevitable identification of the expression "public interest" with their own party ends.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

I am a little surprised that we have been allowed to go so far in this Debate without any legal guidance. I do not know how many hon. Gentlemen opposite who are not lawyers really feel sure they could make sense of this Clause. I am quite certain there are very few who could be sure, and quite certainly any attempt to do so must turn on highly technical considerations: not considerations of steel technique, but considerations of legal technique and the technical use of words. I really do not think the House is in a position to follow the argument without legal advice. If one tries to leave out the unnecessary verbiage of paragraph (b), I think this is putting fairly what it means: It shall be the general duty of the Corporation to avoid showing undue preference and exercising unfair discrimination except in the way of ordinary commercial considerations or for the public interest. 2.0 a.m.

I am sure the Law Officer from Scotland will advise the House and correct me if I am putting that unfairly. That is what the Clause, in effect, says, and to the eye of common sense it seems quite plain that that is its meaning. What can be "unfair discrimination" or "undue preference" which does not count somehow as an "ordinary commercial consideration" or because it is "for the public interest?" It is not a conception which, using language in the ordinary sense, it is possible to follow.

Presumably, an "unfair discrimination" or an "undue preference" is one which is not covered by "ordinary commercial considerations" or "for the public interest" and the words at the end of the sentence, on the face of them, make complete nonsense of the words "undue" and "unfair." These may be terms of art that have been defined by the courts and if they are so definable and have been so defined as to make lines 10 to 13 really mean something, is it not right to allow the House to be told that by one of the Law Officers to the Crown? Otherwise, the Treasury Bench have not a leg to stand on.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I think. I know what the paragraph means. If I understood the Parliamentary Secretary right, he was saying that in a time of scarcity or emergency it is necessary to have a system of priorities or allocations, and I would agree with him that it is in the public interest, when some material is very scarce, that it should be guided into certain channels that it might not go into for purely commercial reasons.

But is it a good thing to give the Corporation the duty of judging what that deviation from commercial distribution should be, or not? I am strongly against putting this duty on the Corporation. I think it is quite right to have allocation systems and various systems of priority, as we did in the war, but they must be open and seen by everybody, and the principles upon which they are founded must come from the Ministers concerned, and those who have to operate the system must have some form of appeal.

In the war we worked the Raw Materials Committee very well when steel of the Second Schedule varieties was allocated to all users in this country; but then the principles upon which the allocation was made were laid down by the Government as a whole and all consumers came to that Committee once every three months either in person or through the Department responsible for that. They staked their claims and heard other people stake their claims, which is a fair and above-board method of allocating scarce material like steel.

This, however, is something quite new, because here the Corporation itself is an interested party which has laid upon it another duty—to make both ends meet. Is it not going to say this when there is some material that is scarce: "It would be better to put that to our subsidiary rather than to some other firm that wants that raw material"? Is it reasonable to leave it to the Corporation to be the judge as between two consumers, one of which is its own subsidiary and for whose financial result it is responsible, and the other its rival and for whose financial result it is not responsible at all?

When the Parliamentary Secretary talks about exports, I quite agree that there may not be very many direct exports of Second Schedule products but I expect the hon. Gentleman was really thinking of guiding raw materials to the firms which are making goods for export, and certainly that has been one of the chief reasons put up in another place for retaining these words "from the public interest."

I do not know whether the Minister is aware that if he leaves these words in the Clause he is breaking a treaty which he has made with practically all the countries in the world, and especially with the United States. They are contrary to Article 29 of the Havana Treaty, which I will read to the House: Each Member undertakes if it establishes or maintains a state enterprise, wherever located, or grants to any enterprise, formally or in effect, excessive or special privileges, such enterprise shall, in its purchases and sales involving either imports or exports, act in a manner consistent with the general principles of non-discriminatory treatment prescribed in this Charter for governmental measures affecting imports or exports by private traders. The next sub-paragraph goes on to make this even more clear, but I will not trouble the House with it.

It is perfectly clear that the Government have undertaken an international obligation in regard to a nationalised industry not to discriminate in this way. The sooner the right hon. Gentleman takes these words back the better for his Government, which have already got into trouble with the United States for preaching multilaterialism when they think they can impress the Americans, and acting in a contrary way when they do anything at all.

Although, under Article 22 of the Charter, there are certain escape Clauses of a strictly temporary nature, here we are enacting a Bill which is a permanent piece of legislation; and into that permanent legislation we are writing power for the Corporation to discriminate and give undue preference whenever they consider it to be in the public interest. And are told by the Minister responsible that that has a direct connection with the export trade. I think it is time that the Government made up their minds whether or not they really stand by the obligation they sign when they want to please foreign countries. For my part, I regret Article 29 of the Havana Treaty, but the Government have put their name to it. Either we have a Government of honour or we have not, and we should like to know which it is.

But on the home market, which is much more important, it is not right to put this discrimination in the power of a Corporation where no publicity will come upon their actions, where the whole of what one might call the allocation system can be transferred and done in the dark on any little recommendation that any Minister may send down to say, "I have a friend who needs a bit of steel; will you please discriminate in favour of him?" That is not the way we should legislate in this country, and therefore I hope the House will not disagree with the Lords Amendment.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Assuming that this Clause does make sense—which is very doubtful indeed in view of what has been pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) and my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles)—may we consider for one moment what it really means, when regarded in the light of Clause 4. In Clause 4 we find that the Minister may: give to the Corporation directions of a general character as to the exercise and performance by the Corporation of their functions … in relation to matters which appear to him to affect the national interest, and the Corporation shall give effect to any such directions. The courts would naturally take note of the fact that whereas "national interest" is used in line 18, in line 13 of Clause 10 the words "public interest" are used. There is an old and well established rule of the interpretation of the Acts which this Parliament passes that where different words are used they must be assumed to have a different meaning. If the expression "public interest" in Clause 3 has a different meaning from "national interest" in Clause 4, the right hon. Gentleman ought to tell us precisely what the difference is. That is the first matter I wish to put to the Minister.

The second point is, bearing in mind that the Minister may give directions to the Corporation of a general character, is it to be assumed that among matters on which the Minister can give directions of a general character will be this general duty mentioned in Clause 3 of the Corporation so avoiding showing undue preference and exercising undue discrimination? If that is so, the position is quite intriguing, and if that were the correct interpretation of the way the Minister can, under Clause 4, give general directions as to the way the Corporation are to exercise their power under Clause 3, then the view which has been taken that the Corporation are going to have a responsibility, which we think they should not have, of arranging priorities for the delivery of steel, would not apply.

In any event, whatever the position we should clearly know, and the matter is not clear. I find it surprising that this Bill should have got as far as it has and yet this matter remains so fascinatingly vague. Of course, that is because of the Guillotine, but the point is that this Bill is becoming part of the law of the land. We hope it will not, but it may do so, and at any rate the people at the next General Election will, if they exercise their democratic duty correctly, have to get hold of the Bill and try to knock some sense into it, though I do not envy them their task. I hope I have explained my points fairly well, and I hope, seeing the Patronage Secretary has not arrived, that we shall have something in the way of a reply from the right hon. Gentleman.

2.15 a.m.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Two questions were asked by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) to which I should like to reply. There is practically no difference between "public interest" and "national interest." I understand that in interpretation the word "public" is looked upon as being rather more limited and local than "national" in this respect, but there is practically nothing in it at all and there is not much reason why one is used more than the other.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Then why use different words?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The words are used according to precedent. The hon. Member asked what is the difference, and I have given him the best answer possible after taking legal advice. His second question was: can the general directions given by the Minister under Clause 4 to the Corporation cover matters under Clause 3? The answer is most definitely yes.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Mr Robert Taylor Mr Robert Taylor , Morpeth

Mr. R. J. Taylor (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury) 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, 277; Noes, 142.

Division No. 227.]AYES[2.17 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardGibson, G. W.Mayhew, C. P.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Gilzean, A.Mellish, R. J.
Albu, A. H.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Messer, F.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Mikardo, Ian
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Grenfell, D. R.Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R.
Attewell, H. C.Grey, C. F.Mitchison, G. R.
Austin, H. LewisGrierson, E.Monslow, W.
Awbery, S. S.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morley, R.
Bacon, Miss A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Baird, J.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Morris, P. (Swansea. W.)
Balfour, A.Guest Dr. L. HadenMort, D. L.
Barstow, P. G.Gunter, R. J.Moyle A.
Barton, C.Guy, W. H.Nally, W.
Bechervaise A. E.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Neal, H. (Claycross)
Berry, H.Hale, LeslieNichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Beswick, F.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilNicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Bing G. H. C.Hamilton Lieut.-Col. R.Noel-Baker, Capt F. E. (Brentford)
Binns, J.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)O'Brien, T.
Blenkinsop, A.Hardman, D. R.Oliver, G. H.
Blyton, W. R.Hardy, E. A.Orbach, M.
Boardman, H.Harrison, J.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Bottomley, A. G.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePalmer, A. M. F.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl Exch'ge)Haworth, J.Pargiter, G. A.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Parker, J.
Bramall, E. A.Herbison, Miss M.Parkin, B. T.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Hewitson, Capt. M.Pearson, A.
Brown, George (Belper)Hobson, C. R.Perrins, W.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Holman, P.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Burden, T. W.Horabin, T. L.Price, M. Philips
Burke, W. A.Houghton, DouglasPritt, D. N.
Callaghan, JamesHoy, J.Proctor, W. T.
Carmichael, JamesHubbard, T.Pursey, Comdr. H.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hughes, Emrys (S Ayr)Randall, H. E.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Ranger, J.
Champion, A. J.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Rankin, J.
Chetwynd, G. R.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Rees-Williams. D. R.
Cocks, F. S.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Reeves, J.
Coldrick, W.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Rhodes, H.
Collick, P.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Collindridge, F.Johnston, DouglasRobens, A.
Collins, V. J.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Cook, T. F.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras. N.)
Cove, W. G.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Rogers, G. H. R.
Crawley, A.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Crossman, R. H. S.Keenan, W.Sargood, R.
Cullen, Mrs.Kenyon, C.Scollan, T.
Daines, P.King, E. M.Segal, Dr. S.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Kinley, J.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Kirby, B. V.Sharp, Granville
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lang, G.Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Lavers, S.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Lee, F. (Hulme)Shurmer, P.
Deer, G.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
de Freitas, GeoffreyLeonard, W.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Delargy, H. J.Levy, B. W.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Diamond, J.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Simmons, C. J.
Dobbie, W.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Skeffington, A. M.
Dodds, N. N.Lindgren, G. S.Skinnard, F. W.
Driberg, T. E. N.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Logan, D. G.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Dumpleton C. W.Longden, F.Snow, J. W.
Dye, S.Lyne, A. W.Sorensen, R. W.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.McAdam, W.Sparks, J. A.
Edelman, M.McAllister, G.Steele, T.
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)McEntee, V. La. T.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Mack, J. D.Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Ewart, R.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Farthing, W. J.McKinlay, A. S.Stross, Dr. B.
Fernyhough, E.McLeavy, F.Stubbs, A. E.
Field, Capt. W. J.McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.Swingler, S.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Sylvester, G. D.
Foot, M. M.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Symonds, A. L.
Forman, J. C.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Freeman, J. (Watford)Mann, Mrs. J.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Gallacher, W.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Timmons, J.
Gibbins, J.Mathers, Rt. Hon. GeorgeTolley, L.
Ungoed-Thomas, L.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Usborne, HenryWhite, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)Wise, Major F. J.
Vernon, Maj. W. F.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Walker, G. H.Wigg, GeorgeWoods, G. S.
Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Wilkins, W. A.Wyatt, W.
Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)Yates, V. F.
Warbey, W. N.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Watkins, T. E.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Williams, Ronald (Wigan)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Williams, W. R. (Heston)Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)Mr. Bowden.
West, D. G.Willis, E.
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr, P. G.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHaughton, S. G.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Astor, Hon. M.Head, Brig. A. H.Pickthorn, K.
Barlow, Sir J.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPitman, I. J.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hollis, M. C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bennett, Sir P.Hope, Lord J.Prescott, Stanley
Birch, NigelHoward, Hon. A.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Boothby, R.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Raikes, H. V.
Bower, N.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Renton, D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Butcher, H. W.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Carson, E.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Challen, C.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Linstead, H. N.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smithers, Sir W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spearman, A. C. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Low, A. R. W.Spence, H. R.
Lucas, Major Sir J.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Studholme, H. G.
Darling, Sir W. Y.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. D.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Digby, Simon WingfieldMcFarlane, C. S.Taylor, Vice-Adm E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Teeling, William
Donner, P. W.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hertford)
Drayson, G. B.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drewe, C.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Eccles, D. M.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Marples, A. E.Touche, G. C.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMarshall, D. (Bodmin)Turton, R. H.
Erroll, F. J.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Maude, J. C.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Molson, A. H. E.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Neven-Spence, Sir B.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Granville, E. (Eye)Nicholson, G.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gridley, Sir A.Nield, B. (Chester)York, C.
Grimston, R. V.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Harden, J. R. E.Nutting, AnthonyTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Odey, G. W.Major Conant and
Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Osborne, C.Bridgadier Mackeson.

Question put accordingly, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 280; Noes, 143.

Division No. 228.]AYES[2.28 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardBalfour, A.Bottomley, A. G.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Barstow, P. G.Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)
Albu, A. H.Barton, C.Braddock, T. (Mitcham)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Bechervaise, A. E.Bramall, E. A.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Berry, H.Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Beswick, F.Brown, George (Belper)
Attewell, H. C.Bing, G. H. C.Brown, T. J. (Ince)
Austin, H. LewisBinns, J.Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.
Awbery, S. S.Blenkinsop, A.Burden, T. W.
Bacon, Miss A.Blyton, W. R.Burke, W. A.
Baird, J.Boardman, H.Callaghan, James
Carmichael, JamesHughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Randall, H. E.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Ranger, J.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Rankin, J.
Champion, A. J.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Rees-Williams, D. R.
Chetwynd, G. R.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Reeves, J.
Cocks, F. S.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Rhodes, H.
Coldrick, W.Johnston, DouglasRidealgh, Mrs. M.
Collick, P.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Robens, A.
Collindridge, F.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Collins, V. J.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Cook, T. F.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras N.)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Rogers, G. H. R.
Cove, W. G.Keenan, W.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Crawley, A.Kenyon, C.Sargood, R.
Crossman, R. H. S.King, E. M.Scollan, T.
Cullen, Mrs.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Segal, Dr. S.
Daines, P.Kinley, J.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Kirby, B. V.Sharp, Granville
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Lang, G.Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lavers, S.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Lee, F. (Hulme)Shurmer, P.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Deer, G.Leonard, W.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
de Freitas, GeoffreyLevy, B. W.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Delargy, H. J.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Simmons, C. J.
Diamond, J.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Skeffington, A. M.
Dobbie, W.Lindgren, G. S.Skinnard, F. W.
Dodds, N. N.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Driberg, T. E. N.Logan, D. G.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Longden, F.Snow, J. W.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lyne, A. W.Sorensen, R. W.
Dye, S.McAdam, W.Sparks, J. A.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.McAllister, G.Steele, T.
Edelman, M.McEntee, V. La. T.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Mack, J. D.Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McKay, J. (Wallsend)Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Ewart, R.McKinlay, A. S.Stross, Dr. B.
Farthing, W. J.McLeavy, F.Stubbs, A. E.
Fernyhough, E.McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.Swingler, S.
Field, Capt. W. J.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Sylvester, G. O.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Macpherson, T. (Romford)Symonds, A. L.
Foot, M. M.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Forman, J. C.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Mann, Mrs. J.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Freeman, J. (Watford)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Gallacher, W.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Timmons, J.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Mathers, Rt. Hon. GeorgeTolley, L.
Gibbins, J.Mayhew, C. P.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Gibson, C. W.Mellish, R. J.Usborne, Henry
Gilzean, A.Messer, F.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Middleton, Mrs. L.Walker, G. H.
Gordon-Walker, P. C.Mikardo, Ian.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Grenfell, D. R.Mitchison, G. R.Warbey, W. N.
Grey, C. F.Monslow, W.Watkins, T. E.
Grierson, E.Morley, R.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Mort, D. L.West, D. G.
Guest, Dr. L. HadenMoyle, A.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Gunter, R. J.Nally, W.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Guy, W. H.Neal, H. (Claycross)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Wigg, George
Hale, LeslieNicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Wilkins, W. A.
Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilNoel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.O'Brien, T.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Oliver, G. H.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Hardman, D. R.Orbach, M.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Hardy, E. A.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Harrison, J.Palmer, A. M. F.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Hastings, Dr. SomervillePargiter, G. A.Willis, E.
Haworth, J.Parker, J.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Parkin, B. T.Wise, Major F. J.
Herbison, Miss M.Pearson, A.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hewitson, Capt. M.Peart, T. F.Woods, G. S.
Hobson, C. R.Perrins, W.Wyatt, W.
Holman, P.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)Yates, V. F.
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Popplewell, E.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Horabin, T. L.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Houghton, DouglasPrice, M. PhilipsTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hoy, J.Pritt, D. N.Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Hubbard, T.Proctor, W. T.Mr. Bowden.
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Pursey, Comdr. H.
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V.Odey, G. W.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHaughton, S. G.Osborne, C.
Astor, Hon. M.Head, Brig A. H.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Baldwin, A. E.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPeto, Brig. C. H. M.
Barlow, Sir J.Hollis, M. C.Pickthorn, K.
Beamish, Maj T. V. H.Hope, Lord J.Pitman, I. J.
Bennett, Sir P.Howard, Hon. A.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Birch, NigelHudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prescott, Stanley
Boothby, R.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Bower, N.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Raikes, H. V.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Rayner, Brig. R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Butcher, H. W.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Carson, E.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Challen, C.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Linstead, H. H.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Smithers, Sir W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Low, A. R. W.Spearman, A. C. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Lucas, Major Sir J.Spence, H. R.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Darling, Sir W. Y.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Studholme, H. G.
De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. D.Sutcliffe, H.
Dodds-Parker, A. D.McFarlane, C. S.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Donner, P. W.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Teeling, William
Drayson, G. B.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Drewe, C.Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Eccles, D. M.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Erroll, F. J.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Touche, G. C.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Marples, A. E.Turton, R. H.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Maude, J. C.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Molson, A. H. E.Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Granville, E. (Eye)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gridley, Sir A.Neven-Spence, Sir B.York, C.
Grimston, R. V.Nicholson, G.
Harden, J. R. E.Nield, B. (Chester)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Major Conant and
Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Nutting, AnthonyMr. Wingfield Digby.

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 13, insert: The Corporation shall, before the general date of transfer, prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme showing the manner in which they propose to exercise the rights conferred on them by the holding of interests in publicly-owned companies so as to secure for those companies the largest measure of autonomy consistent with the proper discharge by the Corporation of their duties under this Act, and the Minister shall lay a copy of such scheme before each House of Parliament.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is one of the Amendments made in the Lords which the Government cannot accept, not because they disagree with the spirit or the motive behind the movers of this Amendment in another place, but because they feel that it is impracticable, and that the actual proposition, as set out in the Amendment, is not one which it would really be reasonable to put before the Corporation. The idea behind the Amendment, as I understand it, is that it is desirable that the Corporation should work out, as soon as possible, the functional relationship between itself and the various companies which will become its property; and that it is desirable that that relationship should be established at a very early date, and that there should be some scheme, or organisation—some plan—established which will set out precisely what the relationships are, or should be, between the various companies concerned, and between the companies concerned and the Corporation.

There is no doubt—and I concede it straight away—that one of the major difficulties of the Corporation will be to establish, and to work out, proper relationships between itself and the com- panies which it owns, so that it will be able to give that proper direction and leadership which is so necessary in order to make this industry efficient and to inculcate the spirit which we all desire, while at the same time leaving with the various companies concerned the initiative and that measure of independence which we all agree they ought to have. We all agree that that will not be easy, and it will be an important and early task of the Corporation. That is one thing. To say that it is to be a duty of the Corporation, before the day of transfer, to draw up some such plan, and to present that plan to the Minister and to the House is, I suggest, asking the Corporation to do something which is utterly impossible. Anyone who has had anything to do with large-scale industrial organisation will know how utterly ridiculous it would be to impose upon any holding company such an obligation.

The relationships between holding companies and their subsidiaries have evolved over a long period. There has never been a time when anyone in a holding company has said, "This is our plan, our final plan; we shall always abide by this; by this plan we establish certain relationships between ourselves and our subsidiary companies." It has never happened that way. This relationship has been evolved over a long period of years, and, finally, after this evolution, we have got in the holding companies and their subsidiaries different organisational structures which bear little relationship to each other. If one compares the organisation in Unilever with that in I.C.I., one will find them quite different, and if one looks at the many big industrial organisations in America, as well as in other parts of the world, one will find a large variety of schemes adapted to the particular needs of the industry.

If the Corporation is to be asked to set about such a task in a few months' time, before it has been able to find out fully the exact position of each company, and the personalities concerned in each, and has also to draw up a plan which is to be final, so that the two Houses of Parliament can be shown how the organisation is to work, we are asking something which is quite impossible. However experienced the men concerned may be, they could not draw up a plan which could claim to have any finality about it; if this demand were persisted in, only a plan of little value could be produced.

This Amendment, although it has a laudable intention, suggests a method of procedure which is quite impracticable. It is a method which was never suggested when the Bill was in this House, and it is not because there is any dispute on principle, but because the idea is completely impracticable that we ask the House to disagree with the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I have seldom listened to such an extraordinary speech as that which has just come from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman. He said that nobody with any knowledge of business organisation on a big scale need have a plan to deal with his purchases. All that is asked for is that a relationship between the Corporation and underlying companies should be worked out actually before the vesting. In all industrial amalgamations—and I have engaged in several such amalgamations during my life—the plan of what is to happen is available when the scheme comes up; but the Government come along and say, "Oh, we shall wait a little longer." Nobody for one moment thinks that any plan made in this "vale of tears" by any Government is going to be permanent. Governments are subject to what happens at elections, and human beings are subject to death; and while there is death, there is hope.

In all large-scale industrial amalgamations, one must have some idea, and some object; but what the Minister says is that this Bill is not a working Measure at all. It is purely a political manoeuvre. They have no idea how the scheme is going to work, and we now have revealed to us the complete bankruptcy of policy. There are one or two specific questions which I should like to put to the Minister. For instance, are the underlying companies to have individual powers of borrowing? If I had to deal with so ill thought-out a scheme, I should say so. All the powers of borrowing should be vested in the holding companies. That is what I have always done with holding companies.

2.45 a.m.

Surely those who are about to undertake financial operations involving £350 million ought to know whether the individual rights of borrowing are to be left intact or to be centralised. Surely, some idea has been worked out as to what happens in regard to sales. A great many of these companies are competing with one another. Have the Government in mind some clearing house? All we learn is that it would be utterly ridiculous to suppose that someone who is about to undertake a great industrial reorganisation has decided upon such matters as central financing or sales. There is nothing in this Amendment which seems to justify the ninepins the Minister was setting up. He says that the scheme would be final, but where is there any suggestion of that? Of course it must evolve, but it must start somewhere. Neither does it say that every detail has to be brought up showing how it is proposed to exercise the rights conferred on the Corporation. No such detailed scheme is envisaged by the Amendment.

What we expect of a Government who preen themselves on being planners is some idea of what they are going to do with these assets. But the Government have the effrontery to stand up and say that they have not the slightest idea, but that it will all come out in the wash and be all right. We have a number of Ministers in the Government who act in a most admirable way. They have shown how they do it by co-ordinating everything in the docks, and this is the kind of thing to which we can look forward. "What would be more ridiculous," they say, "than to suppose that we have the least idea of knowing what we shall do when we have acquired the underlying companies." I really think that the late hour and the hot weather have got the Government down earlier than I expected. I hope we shall be given rather more cogent arguments why this Clause is to be rejected than we have heard so far.

Photo of Mr Frederic Harris Mr Frederic Harris , Croydon North

I am glad that I have been called to speak in this Debate, because on three previous occasions when I have wanted to say something a Member opposite has got up and stopped me from speaking. The statement we have just heard from the Minister is a most extraordinary one. He comes forward with this scheme of nationalisation, on which Members opposite have said so much to the country, and says that the Government do not know what they are going to do when they take over the industry. [HON. MEMBERS: "He did not say that."] I clearly heard him say that the Government could not possibly have any plans yet but must wait until the time comes. Obviously, when an industry is being taken over on such a large scale there must be a plan set out in advance as to what the Government are going to do.

If the Minister is as clever as his supporters think, let him tell us right away what the overall plan is and whether it is based on the fact that there is to be a shortage or surplus of steel in the next five years. That is a very vital point in this consideration of what is going to happen. When firms are being amalgamated one does not wait until the time comes for the amalgamation before putting a plan into operation, otherwise waste and expense would follow immediately after the transaction had taken place.

From a business point of view, the Minister just now started referring to Lever Brothers and the I.C.I., and tried to say that one cannot imagine any basis of policy between two such organisations. Of course, there is. They are different types of business in every way, but as far as the basic principles of operation are concerned, they are quite identical. There is nothing wrong about that. How, honestly, can the Minister say to this House this morning, that they have not yet worked out any scheme or plan? This is what I understood him to say; that he is waiting for the date when the vesting day comes into operation. I hope the Minister will put me right, if I am mistaken, but I thought he certainly said that.

If not, perhaps, he will tell us if he is actually waiting until the vesting date comes—a date which may never arise, which is what he may have at the back of his mind, really. Perhaps, he hopes to goodness that it will never come into operation and that he may not have to worry about it, which may be a point. Is the Minister really saying he is going to wait until the details of the plan are worked out? Surely, that is an unbelievable statement and, at this hour of the morning, are we to listen to matters of such vital importance while he makes, what I suggest, is a very poor statement?

Photo of Mr Christopher Hollis Mr Christopher Hollis , Devizes

The House must be a little terrified, not so much by the Minister's rejection of this Amendment, as by the reasons he gave for the rejection. I can understand he might have certain considerations to bring to bear upon the wording of the Amendment but we were frightened more by the reasons for the rejection than by the fact of the rejection.

As far as the right hon. Gentleman's arguments had any point, surely, the point they lead to is not so much for rejection as to the amendment of the Bill. We have had experience with other nationalised industries of confessions afterwards by responsible Ministers that they had no knowledge whatsoever of the policy that they were going to pursue. We had in another place, the confession by Lord Lucas that it may be nine years before the technique is worked out in some of the diverse interests of the steel industry.

It is a new thing when we have a right hon. Gentleman introducing a Bill and himself confessing that he has no information whatever of what he is going to do with these powers when they are given to him. Yet, only a few minutes ago, we had to go into the Division Lobby to vote that the Corporation should be the sole judge of what was the public interest. Apparently, in one Amendment it is absolutely crystal clear to the Corporation what is the public interest, and a few minutes afterwards we are told in another Amendment, that the Corporation or the Minister has no knowledge of what they are going to do and what is the public interest.

Our minds are further confused by these new distinctions between the public and national interest. According to the Minister the public interest is more limited locally than in the national interest, whatever that may mean. The meaning entirely escapes me, but I think it would be greatly to the advantage of the House if we could be told what meaning is attached to them. It would be still more to the advantage of the House if we could be given some assurance that this legislation will not, to the terror of the nation, come into operation until, at any rate, the first glimmerings of a plan of the relationship between the component parts of it are present to the mind of the Government.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

I have listened to a number of speeches from the right hon. Gentleman, many of them weak speeches, but I must say I have never listened to such a weak speech as that which we have had on this occasion. I only regret that at this time of the night that speech will not be published in the newspapers. I feel if it was published it would wake up a lot of people who have woolly ideas about the Socialist method of nationalisation. I regret that the Minister may get away with it on this occasion because of the hour of the night. He knew his case was weak because he used the old tactics of trying to read into the Amendment something which was not there in order that he could knock it down. He read into the Amendment that the plan would be a hard and fast one which would have to stand for always, which obviously is not the intention of the Amendment at all. When referring to industries and their subsidiaries he used the words "Can one expect industries to say 'This is the plan. We shall always abide by this'?". I ask him why he uses the word "always"? There is no suggestion this should be a rigid plan: it is only that there should be some indication to the House of Commons and to industry, so that industry can be able to plan in advance.

Secondly, I noticed that he used the words, "It will be a very long time before the scheme can be produced, and a general scheme would be of very little value." May I ask when the time will be when the plan will be produced? There is going to be a vesting day. If it is impossible for the board to produce the plan before vesting day how long after that date will it be? We have seen the chaos that arose in the coal industry when there was nationalisation without proper plans. Are we to have the same thing here? It is fantastic that the Minister should come down here and say a general scheme would be of very little value. It would be of great value if people were able to plan their capital investment in this industry.

The Minister then went on to say that the plan would be impractical. What a wonderful example of Socialist planning. We have heard for years that when we had Socialism we should be able to plan in advance. This is a real example of planning in which they say the general plan would be impracticable. It is obvious to me and to a number of people that the Government are really experimenting with the steel industry in the form of nationalisation. This is an experiment being made at this time when we are facing financial difficulties with an industry vital to all other industries, and to our lives. Since the end of the war, exports from steel products have doubled and in fact they represent 47 per cent. of our total exports and yet with this vital factor the Government think they can experiment. I have never heard such a disgraceful speech from the Minister and I hope it gets the full publicity it deserves.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I make no apology to the House for speaking at this late hour, but there has been no previous opportunity for discussing this question and it is the duty of the House to consider what is an extremely important point. What the Government will not face up to is that they are scrapping an arrangement which at the present time is working extremely well. There is the Iron and Steel Federation and the various constituent boards: there was the Steel Board with the control prices. This Board reported to the Minister, who, under the control of this House, reported to Parliament. It was an existing arrangement, working extremely well and nobody can dispute that fact.

3.0 a.m.

The Government are scrapping that arrangement at a time of grave national emergency when our exports are more important that ever before and when this successful arrangement is producing 50 per cent. of our exports using steel or steel products. If the hon. Member opposite seems to think this is a matter to laugh about it shows the utter sense of irresponsibility he has with regard to our national difficulties, because it should be very much on the conscience of hon. Members opposite that at a time of crisis they are scrapping something which is making such a contribution to our industrial wellbeing. It is not a matter to be waved on one side as if the point was a frivolous one.

The hon. Member has not been showing great sensitivity during the evening to any suggestion that the Government have a plan for running the industry. What is that plan? What are they doing about it? The Minister has not given any indication whatsoever as to what will happen to the Iron and Steel Federation which at present forms a very important part of our arrangements. I say it is a criminal act to scrap an arrangement that is working well and not to say what substitute will be put in place of it.

Price-fixing arrangements which are extremely difficult and complicated have been taken over by the Department of the Ministry and we do not know how the function will be carried out in the future. We do not know what the relationship will be between the board and the subsidiaries. I say deliberately in our present difficulties it really is a criminal act to attempt to pass this Bill without putting forward some scheme as to how it is to be done.

Hon. Members opposite may say, "It is too soon"; or "We have not had time to think it out"; or "We do not know." But they have had considerable warning. May I remind them of the words of the Secretary of State for War, on 11th June, 1946: Unfortunately, while the Labour movement has quite properly focused upon the fundamental principles and ideals of Socialism, little attention has been paid to the extremely difficult technical administrative problems which the carry-out of nationalisation involved. We stated our principles when power appeared to be remote. But now that we have gained power we recognise our limitations and shortcomings in the field of preparation. There has been, I regret to say, very little guidance on detail, and so we have had to improvise in the light of existing circumstances. That was in June, 1946. Whatever were the words of the Government, their supporters should have read, marked, learned and inwardly digested those occasional words of wisdom from the Secretary of State for War.

Let me take a further statement he made on 2nd May, 1948: There was far too little detailed preparation in nationalisation, and we found ourselves with legislation that had to be completed without the necessary blueprints, on which we could have proceeded much more expeditiously in the right direction.When the mining industry was nationalised, for example—this had been on the Labour Party programme for 50 years—we thought we knew all about it. The fact of the matter was that we did not. In the preparation of legislation we found ourselves up against extraordinary difficulties. Now that the administration is being run by a public board, still more difficulties are being exposed. In view of those speeches, the present action of the Government in rejecting this Amendment has been beyond criminality because all this Amendment requires them to do is not to prepare their plan now—which in fact I should have thought was an extremely reasonable requirement for the country—but that the Corporation shall prepare and submit a scheme to the Minister. The Corporation must accept the direction of the Minister on all matters which affect the public interest and if it is to be suggested that the Government have come forward with this Bill with no details at all as to how the Corporation will carry it out, without an idea as to getting the best people they can find, and to give them a blank cheque in regard to producing schemes, then I say that in our present time of crisis it is not good enough, because it does seem—

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The hon. and learned Member seems to be under some misapprehension. He is complaining that the Government have not produced a plan for running the industry. I am not going into the merits of that argument because it has nothing to do with this Amendment at all. This is a suggestion that the Corporation should present to the Government a certain plan by a certain date.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The point I was making was that it was wholly wrong for the Government to bring forward this Bill without a plan; that they ought to have this plan now and they ought to have followed the advice of the Secretary of State for War. In this Amendment we are not asking for that; we were putting the obligation much lower and asking that the Corporation should before the date of transfer prepare a plan, which I should have thought was an extremely reasonable request to make. If it is not done it means that the Corporation will have to proceed under a system of trial and error, and this country at the present time cannot afford any system of trial and error with the industry which is the basis of its export trade.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

I have listened to most of the Minister's explanations and his replies to the various new Clauses and Amendments: and I was frankly very surprised at the lack of reality on the part of the right hon. Gentleman in not accepting this Amendment, which was moved by the Liberal peers in another place. I am not sure whether the reply of the right hon. Gentleman was prepared in his own Department, or whether it was prepared in the Treasury, but I should have thought that his refusal to accept the Amendment was purely academic. If we are about to face an economic crisis or blizzard in this country, as had been referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, I cannot imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer—in an industry which will have the power of life or death over not only our internal production and manufacture of engineering industries, but in the majority of the export trades—will allow the Minister to leave with the Corporation absolute and complete control over the iron and steel industry in the six, nine, or 12 vital months ahead. I think the reply of the right hon. Gentleman is academic, and I cannot see that the Chancellor will do anything other than say that absolute power must be retained by the Minister, and must not be handed to the Corporation to begin the gigantic experiment of how this is to be carried out in the terms of the Bill.

As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) said, there is nothing extremely difficult about carrying out the suggestion in this Amendment. There is a great deal of experience available in the ordinary technique of holding companies taking over and consolidating, and so on. I should have thought that through the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir A. Duncan), and the Iron and Steel Federation, and with the tremendous control which the Minister and his Department had over this industry during the war, all the taxation and financial information required was available. Surely, as has been said, this would have been a unique opportunity, in this experimental process of nationalising industries, to prepare a scheme before vesting date, benefiting by trial and error, so that the House and the Minister might keep the absolute control of this vital industry during the economic crisis which lies ahead.

I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to change his attitude. So far, I do not think he has accepted one Amendment. I appeal to him to retain the control which the march of events will force him to retain.

Photo of Mr Gilbert Mitchison Mr Gilbert Mitchison , Kettering

I do not believe that the Opposition have the faintest idea of what this Amendment means. At any rate, I have not the faintest idea, after hearing four of them talking on it. This is not something that the Government have to do. This is a scheme which the Corporation have to prepare showing the manner in which they propose to exercise the rights conferred on them … If it had stopped there there might have been some sense in the Amendment, but it goes on to say: so as to secure for those companies the largest measure of autonomy consistent with the proper discharge by the Corporation of their duties under this Act. I fail to see what sort of a scheme it is to be and what its purpose is and what it is to be about. One object which it appears to secure for the individual companies is the largest measure of autonomy consistent with the proper discharge by the Corporation of its duties under the Act. How to prepare a scheme to do that is entirely past my understanding and, I believe, of the understanding of the ordinary man in the street, who is supposed to know the law on these matters. Certainly, the scheme as prepared can have no relation whatever to the various schemes I have heard put forward in the last half dozen speeches.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

The hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) seems to think it perfectly natural that the assets of some of the most famous companies in this country and in the world, which are at present operating with great success, should be transferred to the Corporation without the Corporation being under any obligation of any kind to disclose what they intend to do when they get those assets. One of the most alarming things about this Debate is that so many hon. Members opposite seem to be perfectly content that they should remain completely in the dark as to what are the intentions of the Government and of the Corporation. Certain duties are placed upon the Corporation under the Bill, and it would not be entirely unreasonable for the Corporation to indicate, before they receive the assets, some idea of their plans and what they are going to do with them.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis), that one could have understood it if the Government had had some criticism of the particular wording of this Amendment. That is not their objection at all. Their objection is to the Corporation having any plan of any sort in advance which shall be disclosed to Parliament. I do not agree with those of my hon. Friends who think that there is no precedent in history for what is being done. I think there is, and that is the well-known precedent of the South Sea Bubble when moneys were collected for a purpose subsequently to be disclosed. These assets will all be transferred to the Corporation for a purpose subsequently to be disclosed. The parallel to the South Sea Bubble is one with which back benchers on the opposite side are perfectly satisfied.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I heard the Minister say he had nothing against the Amendment in principle, but that there were reasons why it should not be accepted. I feel that if I made my position clear on this Amendment it would help to shorten the discussion. This is a very good Amendment, but we have to consider the source from which it comes. It raises the old philosophical problem: can good come from evil? Whether the Amendment is good, bad or indifferent I and my associates on these benches are determined to remain "disagreeables."

3.15 a.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), the solitary representative of the Communist Party, will not expect me to answer the points he has made. I want to reply to the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). The Measures of nationalisation introduced by this Government have, broadly speaking, all been of a certain pattern. After long deliberation and many rumours of conflicting views in the Government, it was decided to introduce a Measure effecting a certain degree of nationalisation in the steel industry. This pattern is entirely different from the pattern of the Act to nationalise the coal mining industry. Having had experience of the lack of preparation which has been shown after the nationalisation of the coal mines, it is natural that the Opposition should be anxious to know why and how the Government hope to make a success of this entirely new pattern of nationalisation.

I am not suggesting for a moment that in many respects it is not a great improvement upon the earlier pattern, but certainly it is proposing to do something which has not previously been done in this country. At present, with the approval of the Government, large development schemes are being undertaken in the steel industry. I read in "The Economist" this week that as a result of the introduction of this nationalisation Measure the steel companies which are to be taken over are now unable to raise any further capital in the ordinary way for the carrying out of the modernisation and development plan which was approved at an earlier stage by the Government. I understand that nearly all the finance is provided at present by the Finance Corporation for Industry. Surely it is a matter of the utmost importance to all those companies and to the Finance Corporation for Industry, which is at present providing the finance, that there should be some reasonable expectation that in the comparatively near future there shall be a general outline of a plan for the steel industry.

Photo of Mr Gilbert Mitchison Mr Gilbert Mitchison , Kettering

Has the hon. Gentleman observed that all this has nothing whatever to do with the Amendment, which is merely designed to secure that the old companies and the old boys go on playing the old game in the old way, independently?

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

I understood that it was the expressed wish of the Government that that great development plan, which was put forward by the steel industry early in this Parliament, and was approved by the Government, would be continued until nationalisation took place. At present—and the Minister will correct me if I am wrong—very considerable developments and modernisation are taking place in the steel industry by those old boys running the old companies with the old names and the old reputations. It is because the Government have had the wisdom to realise that the old boys running the old firms with the old reputations have got established markets for their well-known old quality products that the structure of this Bill is to maintain that good will, and give a measure of autonomy to these companies.

If this new system is to be devised to establish a finance holding company, and if, as I understand it, that was the intention, it should be left to those existing and well-established concerns, nearly all of which are rapidly increasing in reputation at present in reply to an appeal of the Government. It is reasonable and natural that the holding company which is being set up should be asked to enter into discussions with the industry and the Government so that there may be some general plan for the administration of the industry after this Measure has come into operation.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

I once again find myself in a difficulty in understanding what the Government mean by rejecting this Amendment because, as I understand it, the Minister has not got a plan for rearranging the industry when the Corporation takes over. He is declining to make it absolutely necessary for the Corporation to make a scheme. Therefore, we are left in the dark completely, except for the one reference at the beginning of the next Clause, which says that the Minister may give directions to the Corporation.

At an earlier stage, on 9th May, the Minister went so far as to say that he hoped the Minister, whoever he might be, would not be forced to give any directions to the Corporation. Where do the Government and the Socialist Party stand? Are they going into nationalisation completely blindfold? Do they expect the country to go with them? I do not think the country is over keen on the idea. It must be abundantly clear by now that past experience has shown that nationalisation does not start with all the best advantages if the vesting day takes place before we know what is to happen, and before the industry itself knows.

This Amendment would show the industry what is to happen when the Corporation takes over; the Corporation would know; the Minister would know, and would be in a position to tell the House. As it is, no one will know, unless it is one of the great secrets the Government intend to keep and produce again as the price of keeping people's minds off something else. It is one of the greatest travesties of the use of this House that we should be asked to legislate without having the slightest idea of what this nationalisation will bring about, with the exception of the fact that a great number of companies are to come under public ownership. If that is what the Socialist Party call parliamentary democracy it is not my idea of it.

Perhaps it is the conception of parliamentary democracy held by the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). In Russia, at any rate, we know there has been nationalisation of the steel industry for 25 years. The only decent parts of it are those equipped with either British or American machinery. What is good enough for Russia is

not good enough for this country. I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have appreciated that, if nothing else. This is one of the most disgraceful things the House has ever been asked to do. How the Government have the presumption to ask us to do this I do not know.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

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, 267; Noes, 140.

Division No. 229.]AYES[3.26 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardDodds, N. N.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)
Albu, A. H.Driberg, T. E. N.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Dumpleton, C. W.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Dye, S.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)
Attewell, H. C.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Jeger, G. (Winchester)
Austin, H. LewisEdelman, M.Johnston, Douglas
Awbery, S. S.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)
Bacon, Miss A.Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)
Baird, J.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
Balfour, A.Ewart, R.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Barstow, P. G.Farthing, W. J.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Barton, C.Fernyhough, E.Keenan, W.
Bechervaise, A. E.Field, Capt. W. J.Kenyon, C.
Berry, H.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)King, E. M.
Beswick, F.Foot, M. M.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.
Bing, G. H. C.Forman, J. C.Kinley, J.
Binns, J.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Lang, G.
Blenkinsop, A.Freeman, J. (Watford)Lavers, S.
Blyton, W. R.Gallacher, W.Lee, F. (Hulme)
Bottomley, A. G.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Gibbins, J.Leonard, W.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Gibson, C. W.Levy, B. W.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Gilzean, A.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Bramall, E. A.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Lindgren, G. S.
Brown, George (Belper)Grenfell, D. R.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Grey, C. F.Logan, D. G.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Grierson, E.Longden, F.
Burden, T. W.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Lyne, A. W.
Burke, W. A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)McAdam, W.
Callaghan, JamesGriffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)McAllister, G.
Carmichael, JamesGuest, Dr. L. HadenMcEntee, V. La. T.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Gunter, R. J.Mack, J. D.
Chamberlain, R. A.Guy, W. H.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Champion, A. J.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)McKinlay, A. S.
Chetwynd, G. R.Hale, LeslieMcLeavy, F.
Cocks, F. S.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilMacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Coldrick, W.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Collick, P.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Collindridge, F.Hardman, D. R.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)
Cook, T. F.Hardy, E. A.Mann, Mrs. J.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Harrison, J.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Cove, W. G.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleManning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Crawley, A.Haworth, J.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Crossman, R. H. S.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Messer, F.
Cullen, Mrs.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Middleton, Mrs. L.
Daines, P.Herbison, Miss M.Mikardo, Ian.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Hewitson, Capt. M.Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Hobson, C. R.Mitchison, G. R.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Holman, P.Monslow, W.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Morley, R.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Horabin, T. L.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Deer, G.Houghton, DouglasMorris, P. (Swansea, W.)
de Freitas, GeoffreyHoy, J.Mort, D. L.
Delargy, H. J.Hubbard, T.Moyle, A.
Diamond, J.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Nally, W.
Neal, H. (Claycross)Scollan, T.Usborne, Henry
Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Segal, Dr. S.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Shackleton, E. A. A.Walker, G. H.
Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Sharp, GranvilleWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
O'Brien, T.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)Wallace, H. W. (Wallthamstow, E.)
Oliver, G. H.Shurmer, P.Warbey, W. N.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.Watkins, T. E.
Palmer, A. M. F.Silverman, J. (Erdington)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Pargiter, G. A.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Pearson, A.Simmons, C. J.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Peart, T. F.Skeffington, A. M.West, D. G.
Perrins, W.Skinnard, F. W.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinbgh, E.)
Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)Smith, C. (Colchester)White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Popplewell, E.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Porter, E. (Warrington)Sorenson, R. W.Wigg, George
Price, M. PhilipsSparks, J. A.Wilkins, W. A.
Pritt, D. N.Steele, T.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Proctor, W. T.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Pursey, Comdr. H.Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Randall, H. E.Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Ranger, J.Stross, Dr. B.Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Rankin, J.Stubbs, A. E.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Rees-Williams, D. R.Swingler, S.Willis, E.
Reeves, J.Sylvester, G. O.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Rhodes, H.Symonds, A. L.Wise, Major F. J.
Ridealgh, Mrs. M.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Robens, A.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Woods, G. S.
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wyatt, W.
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Thomas, George (Cardiff)Yates, V. F.
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Rogers, G. H. R.Timmons, J.
Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Tolley, L.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sargood, R.Ungoed-Thomas, L.Mr. Snow and Mr. Richard Adams
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Odey, G. W.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Osborne, C.
Astor, Hon. M.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Baldwin, A. E.Haughton, S. G.Pickthorn, K.
Barlow, Sir J.Head, Brig. A. H.Pitman, I. J.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPoole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bennett, Sir P.Hollis, M. C.Prescott, Stanley
Birch, NigelHope, Lord J.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Boothby, R.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Bower, N.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Raikes, H. V.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Renton, D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Butcher, H. W.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Carson, E.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Challen, C.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Ropner, Col. L.
Channon, H.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Linstead, H. N.Smithers, Sir W.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Spearman, A. C. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spence, H. R.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Low, A. R. W.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Lucas, Major Sir J.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Sutcliffe, H.
Cuthbert, W. N.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Darling, Sir W. Y.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
De la Bère, R.McCallum, Maj. D.Teeling, William
Dodds-Parker, A. D.McFarlane, C. S.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Donner, P. W.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Ponrith)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drayson, G. B.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Drewe, C.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Touche, G. C.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Turton, R. H.
Erroll, F. J.Marlowe, A. A. H.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Marples, A. E.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fox, Sir G.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Maude, J. C.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Medlicott, Brigadier F.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Molson, A. H. E.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)York, C.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Granville, E. (Eye)Neven-Spencs, Sir B.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gridley, Sir A.Nield, B. (Chester)Mr. Studholme and
Grimston, R. V.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Mr. Wingfield Digby.
Harden, J. R. E.Nutting, Anthony

Question put accordingly, "That the House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 266; Noes, 140.

Division No. 230.]AYES[3.36 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardGanley, Mrs. C. S.Mann, Mrs. J.
Albu, A. H.Gibbins, J.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Gibson, C. W.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Gitzearo, A.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Messer, F.
Attewell, H. C.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Middleton, Mrs. L.
Austin, H. LewisGrenfell, D. R.Mikardo, Ian.
Awbery, S. S.Grey, C. F.Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Bacon, Miss A.Grierson, E.Mitchison, G. R.
Baird, J.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Monslow, W.
Balfour, A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morley, R.
Barstow, P. G.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Barton, C.Guest, Dr. L. HadenMorris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Bechervaise, A. E.Gunter, R. J.Mort, D. L.
Berry, H.Guy, W. H.Moyle, A.
Beswick, F.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Nally, W.
Bing, G. H. C.Hale, LeslieNeal, H. (Claycross)
Binns, J.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilNichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Blenkinsop, A.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Blyton, W. R.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Bottomley, A. G.Hardman, D. R.O'Brien, T.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Hardy, E. A.Oliver, G. H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Harrison, J.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Hastings, Dr. SomervillePalmer, A. M. F.
Bramall, E. A.Haworth, J.Pargiter, G. A.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Pearson, A.
Brown, George (Belper)Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Peart, T. F.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Herbison, Miss M.Perrins, W.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hewitson, Capt. M.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Burden, T. W.Hobson, C. R.Popplewell, E.
Burke, W. A.Holman, P.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Callaghan, JamesHolmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Price, M. Philips
Carmichael, JamesHorabin, T. L.Pritt, D. N.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Houghton, DouglasProctor, W. T.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hoy, J.Pursey, Comdr. H.
Champion, A. J.Hubbard, T.Randall, H. E.
Chetwynd, G. R.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Ranger, J.
Cocks, F. S.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Rankin, J.
Coldrick, W.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Rees-Williams, D. R.
Collick, P.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Reeves, J.
Collindridge, F.Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)Rhodes, H.
Cook, T. F.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Jeger, G. (Winchester)Robens, A.
Cove, W. G.Johnston, DouglasRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Crawley, A.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Crossman, R. H. S.Jones, D. T. (Martlepool)Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Cullen, Mrs.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Rogers, G. H. R.
Daines, P.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Sargood, R.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Keenan, W.Scollan, T.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Kenyon, C.Segal, Dr. S.
Davies, Harold (Leek)King, E. M.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Sharp, Granville
Deer, G.Kinley, J.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
de Freitas, GeoffreyLang, G.Shurmer, P.
Delargy, H. J.Lavers, S.Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Diamond, J.Lee, F. (Hulme)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Dodds, N. N.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Driberg, T. E. N.Levy, B. W.Simmons, C. J.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Skeffington, A. M.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Skinnard, F. W.
Dye, S.Lindgren, G. S.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Edelman, M.Logan, D. G.Sorensen, R. W.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Longdan, F.Sparks, J. A.
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Lyne, A. W.Steele, T.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McAdam, W.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Ewart, R.McAllister, G.Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Farthing, W. J.McEntee, V. La. T.Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Fernyhough, E.Mack, J. D.Stross, Dr. B.
Field, Capt. W. J.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Stubbs, A. E.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McKinlay, A. S.Swingler, S.
Foot, M. M.McLeavy, F.Sylvester, G. O.
Forman, J. C.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Symonds, A. L.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Macpherson, T. (Romford)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Freeman, J. (Watford)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Gallacher, W.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Willis, E.
Timmons, J.West, D. G.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Tolley, L.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)Wise, Major F. J.
Ungoed-Thomas, L.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Usborne, HenryWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Woods, G. S.
Vernon, Maj. W. F.Wigg, GeorgeWyatt, W.
Walker, G. H.Wilkins, W. A.Yates, V. F.
Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Warbey, W. N.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Watkins, T. E.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)Mr. Snow and Mr. Richard Adams.
Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith. S.)
NOES
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarden, J. R. E.Nutting, Anthony
Astor, Hon. M.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Odey, G. W.
Baldwin, A. E.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Osborne, C.
Barlow, Sir J.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Haughton, S. G.Pickthorn, K.
Bennett, Sir P.Head, Brig. A. H.Pitman, I. J.
Birch, NigelHinchingbrooke, ViscountPoole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Boothby, R.Hollis, M. C.Prescott, Stanley
Bower, N.Hope, Lord J.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Raikes, H. V.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Renton, D.
Butcher, H. W.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Carson, E.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Challen, C.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Channon, H.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ropner, Col. L.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Linstead, H. N.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smithers, Sir W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spearman, A. C. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Low, A. R. W.Spence, H. R.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas, Major Sir J.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Darling, Sir W. Y.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Studholme, H. G.
De la Bère, R.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Sutcliffe, H.
McCallum, Maj. D.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Digby, Simon WingfieldMcFarlane, C. S.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Teeling, William
Donner, P. W.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drayson, G. B.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drewe, C.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMarlowe, A. A. H.Touche, G. C.
Erroll, F. J.Marples, A. E.Turton, R. H.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Fox, Sir G.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Maude, J. C.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Molson, A. H. E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Neven-Spence, Sir B.York, C.
Glanville, E. (Eye)Nicholson, G.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gridley, Sir A.Nield, B. (Chester)Commander Agnew and
Grimston, R. V.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Colonel Wheatley

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 13, to insert: () If any such undue preference or unfair discrimination as aforesaid is shown or exercised or reasonably apprehended, any person affected shall have a right of action for damages, or for an injunction or other relief as may be just.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

3.45 a.m.

I shall have to give the past history of this proposal, otherwise it will not be clear to the House why we have come to this rather curious situation. When this Bill was first introduced, no provision was made in respect of non-discrimination because it was felt by the Government that it was unnecessary. It was thought that the Corporation, not operating for private profit but set up for the common good, would not want to discriminate between one consumer and another. It seemed very unlikely that they would do so, but there was ample provision in case they should, for anyone who felt aggrieved to bring his grievance to the Consumers' Council or the Minister. Later on, it was suggested, after certain discussions which I had with representatives of industry, who feared there might be such discrimination, that it would be desirable to put in the Bill some expression of Parliament's intention that there should be no such discrimination.

I agreed to the general proposition that Parliament's intentions should be expressed in the Bill in a way that would not lead to cases being brought to the courts, and it was accepted by everyone concerned, certainly in the discussions I had with the consumers' representatives, that this was not the sort of proposition that should go before the courts so that people could claim damages, but that it was a matter of public policy on which Parliament should express its intentions in the Bill.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

I seem to remember the Parliamentary Secretary saying on an earlier Clause that it was necessary to discriminate.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

If the hon. and gallant Member will wait he will see the relevance of my hon. Friend's comments in that respect. It was then generally agreed that we should, if possible—and this was a concession I readily made on behalf of the Government—put into the Bill the general intentions of Parliament about non-discrimination in such a way that there would not be appeals to the courts with the Corporation being frequently brought to the courts by people who believed that some competitor had had any preferential delivery from one of the companies. This would cause the Corporation serious difficulty and the courts greater difficulty in deciding matters of that kind.

The first Amendment I put down on Report stage specifically said that no appeal should be made to the courts in respect of any charge of discrimination by anyone who felt aggrieved. We looked at this provision again with the consumers' representatives and came to the conclusion that a better wording would be the one which now appears in the Clause. The wording was such, in our opinion, that although an aggrieved person had a right to go to court, it was exceedingly unlikely he would do so and it was exceedingly unlikely he would succeed if he went to court. That was in conformity with our agreed general intention on this sort of matter; that questions of normal commercial operation or questions of public interest should not be brought to the courts, as it would be inappropriate that such points should be considered by the courts and moreover the Corporation would be put in a very serious and difficult situation. We therefore brought this Amendment, incorporating this non-discrimination proposal, to the House on Report stage and stated there that it was in our opinion an undoubted fact that if a man was aggrieved he had a right to go to court and get damages, if he could prove his case. It was always our intention, and I think I mentioned it at the time, that there should be no encouragement for people to go to court as it would be undesirable, on general grounds of public interest that this sort of matter should be decided in court.

In another place, it was suggested that although there was probably a right for an aggrieved person to take a matter to court and get damages, there was some doubt about it, and it was undesirable that legislation should be passed about which there was any doubt. The Lord Chancellor looked at this matter and he agreed that there was some doubt, although he was pretty certain a man would have a right to go to court. It was then moved by the Opposition in another place that the man should specifically have the right to go to court to get damages or an injunction. That was a proposal we could not consider sympathetically because it was the reverse of the intention of all of those, including the consumers' representatives, who had previously agreed on this matter. Here was a natural invitation for people to go to court and claim damages and indeed there might be a whole series of actions brought by consumers who believed that, because some competitor had obtained delivery of steel products a week or two before they had, there had been some discrimination against them, and they were entitled to some damages.

We came to the conclusion that while it was absolutely right that there should be no doubt about the position of a person who wanted to go to court and about whether he had the power to do so or not, the only logical thing to do in view of the history of this matter was to say that this provision about non-discrimination is, as it was intended to be, a declaration of intention by Parliament. Indeed there are many other declarations of intention in this Bill on what the Corporation should or should not do, without any suggestion that the Corporation could be taken to court if it was not carrying out its duty. We thought this should be put on a par with them and that if anyone is aggrieved, he can come to Parliament or to the Consumers' Council. If the Corporation does not carry out Parliament's intention properly, that is the remedy. It is unsuitable for a decision in a court of law, and the question should not be considered and argued on legal grounds—a point very strongly made by the Lord Chancellor. What is a normal commercial practice, whether something comes within that practice or not and what the public interest should be are inappropriate subjects for the courts. I move that we reject the proposal made in another place that people who are aggrieved should be entitled to get damages in the courts of law in respect of charges of discrimination against them. To remove any doubt we should make it perfectly clear there is no right of appeal to the courts in this matter and that the body to put right any grievance or suggestion that there had been discrimination must be Parliament, and the Minister operating directly, or, if necessary, through the Consumers' Council. For that reason I move that we do not agree with the Lords in this Amendment and subsequently I shall move another Amendment in substitution.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The right hon. Gentleman rightly said that the history of this matter was a curious one. "Curious" was rather a weak word for a story of vacillation, muddle and falsehood almost unrivalled in Parliamentary history. If the Government had arranged their business at a proper hour and we had time to discuss this I think it would be, in the words of Alice, "curiouser and curiouser." The Minister reminded the House that there was no mention of discrimination in the Bill when it was introduced originally, and of course there was no discussion of it during the Committee stage for the very good reason that all the Amendments to the Clause came under the Closure and were never moved.

Then he went on to tell us some, but not all, of this extraordinary story, about which, if I had time, I could speak at length but I will spare hon. Members. We did have an opportunity of moving a new Clause, although we were guillotined out of the other Clause, and at that time we were met firmly and favourably by the Minister, who said he was considering redrafting the Clause to deal with the point about discrimination.

As I understand it, it was never alleged that because Parliament was to say it should not be right for the Corporation to exercise discrimination, automatically there was to go with this, the removal of the right of the injured subject to take the matter to the courts. Why should the fact that Parliament gives general rights against discrimination, remove the right of the individual to go to the courts?

The sole question at issue, and we ought to have had the advantage of the Law Officers of the Crown at this stage, is whether or not someone who has suffered damages or thinks he has suffered damages because of undue preference should have the right to seek action in the courts. What did the Lord Chancellor say about this? The Lord Chancellor said: I strongly take the view in this case on the general purview of this matter, the individual would have such a right of action. The Lord Chancellor presumably thought he should have the right of action.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The Lord Chancellor went on deliberately to argue that he should not have that right of action.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The Lord Chancellor continued— I do not say it is one of the cases in which I cannot be wrong. My memory goes to many things on which he thought he could not be wrong: a remarkable change in a short period. He adds I said at once there was an element of doubt. I do not think that element of doubt would be removed if this Amendment were inserted. 4.0 a.m.

He took the view that it was possible for a subject to bring an action in matters of this kind. If it were possible without the Amendment it would clearly be much more possible with the Amendment which gives them that specific right. Therefore on the Lord Chancellor's own showing the Amendment merely fortifies what he believed was the meaning of the Clause and was implicit in it. So this rather strange history proceeds and we are now asked to remove an element of doubt—but in what direction? To take away the right of appeal because we must not encourage people to go to the courts. What an extraordinary attitude for the Executive and Parliament to take, that we must not encourage people to use their legal rights and, in order not to encourage them we must take those rights away. What a melancholy story of the rights of the people. First of all the Lord Chancellor says we think there is a right in the courts, but if the Opposition want to do so, they may be more specific about it than the Government—so let us take it away lest it should encourage people to go to the courts.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I hope and we all hope to be able to keep out of the courts, and the hon. Member has had a lot of difficulty, I have no doubt, in doing so.

This is a dangerous thing and we must rely on the broad general intention of Parliament to restrain the Minister. If it is the desire of Parliament that this discrimination should not be exercised, then I should have thought it was also the duty of Parliament to see that the subject has the right of going to the courts in order to make sure that the rights which Parliament wishes him to have, can in fact be enforced by the well known legal system in which the confidence of the subject remains.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire

I think the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Supply gave most extraordinary reasons for taking away the inalienable right of a British subject who, if he is aggrieved according to law can go to the courts. Where is this right left now? The first point is that the "public interest" under the Bill is to be interpreted by the Corporation and the Corporation may well interpret that in this way. They may say that the "public interest" requires that we shall succeed at all costs. That is probably how they will interpret the term "public interest." We then have an appeal to the Minister who is also admittedly an interested party. That had been admitted by the Minister to be so.

I would say that this is a very sinister proceeding. The right hon. Gentleman says it is "unsuitable" that they should have any appeal to the courts. Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler all found it extremely "unsuitable" that people should have appeals to the courts and I have no doubt that Louis XIV thought it most "unsuitable" that anyone should be sent to the Bastille except with a lettre de cachet. These things have always been "unsuitable" and surely the doctrine that liberty is safe in the hands of Executive Government, is one which the whole of history tells us is untrue. Why have a trial by jury? It would be much more suitable to commit the man straight away. That is much more reasonable. Why have habeas corpus? Why not lock him up? I know that they do so under Defence Regulations—that is another sign of progress. But the idea that an appeal to the Executive through Parliament is a substitute for the courts—an idea in which hon. Members opposite seem to believe—seems to me to be wholly wrong, and not based on history. It is not supported by anything we see in any of the "stooge" Parliaments abroad. The idea that a majority, just because it is elected, is controlled either by reason or precedent is wrong. It has never been proved in history and no one could say that hon. Gentlemen opposite are controlled either by reason or precedent—particularly by reason. The idea of any kind of protection by Parliament I believe to be wholly fallacious.

A noble Lord said in another place he hoped we should transcend any statutory formula. Surely our business in Parliament is to make statutes as clear, and as definite as possible; and then to see that those statutes are enforced by the impartial tribunal of the courts, not by an appeal to the Minister who is an interested party. I think this is much the most sinister part of this sinister Bill, and I hope it will be thrown out.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

It may distress hon. Gentlemen opposite to know that what the Government are now proposing is in direct conflict with the Charter of Human Rights to which the Government have committed this country. Article 8 of the Charter states: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. That has to be read in the light of Article 17 (2): No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. [An HON. MEMBER: "That has gone, anyhow."] Yes, undoubtedly the Government have infringed the Declaration of Human Rights, possibly before they signed it and certainly very frequently since. This is another example to which I should draw the attention of hon. Members opposite. Article 10 reads: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and later is added, quite separately: and of any criminal charge against him. In the light of the fact that the Foreign Secretary has committed the Government to that charter of international rights how dare the right hon. Gentleman put down on the Order Paper this particular Amendment which he now wishes us to support: That nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Corporation"—

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

the hon. Member cannot discuss the alternative Amendment unless it is the wish of the House to discuss the main Question and that Amendment together.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

It may be that I am at fault in this matter, but I understood from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that in order to support his opposition to the Lords in their Amendment, in order to induce the House to reject it, he was relying on the fact that he had on the Order Paper this substitute Amendment to which I have referred. If I am out of Order I do not wish to pursue the matter.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

The right hon. Gentleman did say he would move the Amendment—I do not remember his exact words—when the main Question had been decided. I certainly think it would be for the convenience of the House to discuss them together. They have both been referred to and of course there will be the opportunity of two Divisions.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

It is clear up to this point that I have been under a misunderstanding and apparently the right and proper thing to do would be for me to withdraw at this stage of the Debate, so that it could proceed strictly in accordance with the Rules of Order.

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

I view with alarm the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to reject this Amendment. It is a simple Amendment. If any undue preference or unfair discrimination—and both these things are admittedly bad—is shown by this particular body, which has accepted a tremendous responsibility not only to the consumers but to the whole of this country, the Amendment gives any member of the public the right to take steps accordingly. That is a simple, inherent, proper right, and I warn the right hon. Gentleman that any Government that seeks to preclude any citizen of this country from going to court to exercise his right to receive justice is not only dooming that Government to complete loss of all its own prestige, but all the people's faith in it, that may be left. Further, it is lowering the standard of propriety and morality throughout the country. I give that serious warning to the right hon. Gentleman.

As regards the history of the matter, I will not pursue it, but it seems there is very little indeed left between the Government and the Opposition as regards the actual method. It appears to be the intention that the Corporation shall be subject to a check of some sort or other. The right hon. Gentleman may say that there is sufficient check to the public through the Consumers' Council, the Minister and Parliament, but what better check could there be than an aggrieved citizen having the right to go to court. It is quite ridiculous to suggest that such a right will be abused, or that the insertion of such a provision in this Bill is an invitation to litigation. If that were so, every Act of Parliament that is passed, which gives the right to the citizen to go to court, is an invitation to litigation and always has been. Yet it has not been subject to abuse.

If and when the time does arrive when under some particular Act abuses may arise or the right of the litigant degenerates into abuses we will deal with that situation effectively. It does not fall within the ingenuity of the Government, nor should they ride rough shod over the rights of the people to correct abuses of the administration of justice in this country. Therefore, I most earnestly beg the right hon. Gentleman to allow the rights of justice to run their due and proper course and not to preclude the people of this country from their inherent and proper right to have an appeal to the courts of justice.

4.15 a.m.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

The argument of the right hon. Gentleman was even more extraordinary than my hon. Friends appreciated. He began by saying that it was thought that there was a right of appeal to the courts. He said that that right could be exercised, but that the person who went to the courts was very unlikely to suceed and would probably lose. I cannot think why he came to that extraordinary view. Assuming that the right hon. Gentleman is right and that the man can go to the courts, I do not follow his conclusion that the man would lose. If undue preference or unfair discrimination is shown, why should the man lose his case? The right hon. Gentleman did not explain why that was. He seemed to think that without this Clause the man would have such difficulties in making his way before a tribunal that he would suffer defeat. What led the right hon. Gentleman to that odd conclusion?

Let us assume that the man has a right to go to the courts, if he proves his case, he wins, and if he does not, he loses. It is as simple as that. I have tried to find in the Clause the hidden obstacle which must cause him to lose. At the end of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, we find that the man does not have a right to go to the courts. The right hon. Gentleman said several times that if we rejected the Amendment, the man would be deprived of his right to go to the courts. He thought it would be difficult for the courts to decide what "ordinary commercial considerations" were or what "public interest" was. With regard to "public interest" he seemed to advance the very odd theory that the Corporation could judge what "public interest" was but that one of His Majesty's judges could not. Again, that was a complete mystery, because the words "public interest" are capable of interpretation by a nationalised board, and one would therefore think that they were also capable of interpretation in the courts. Not a bit of it. There is some hidden mystery which makes it quite impossible for the courts to decide.

"Ordinary commercial considerations" are simple words. It might be difficult to decide one way or another in a borderline case, but it must then also be difficult for the board to decide. The courts exist to decide difficult questions of fact between one of His Majesty's subjects and another. But not a bit of it. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that it justified him in depriving the subject of his right, which he began by saying he had, because the words were difficult of interpretation. Surely he knows that any case of importance involves the decision of difficult circumstances. The courts would not otherwise exist. Surely he also knows that tribunals have existed for many years to decide what is undue preference and unfair discrimination.

Has he never heard of the railway rates tribunal, a large part of whose jurisdiction consists of deciding whether the railway rate is or is not discriminatory and whether it is or is not an exercise of undue preference? It has never been advanced anywhere that these tribunals are incapable of doing their job. If one wants to make an invidious distinction, what is even more curious is the fact that His Majesty's judges are, so to speak, higher up the legal hierarchy than the railway rates tribunal, but apparently they are quite incapable of deciding any matter of common sense. It reminds me of the remark that everybody is supposed to know the law of England except His Majesty's judges, who have a court of appeal put over them to put them right. That may be true in theory, but the fact is that undue preference and unfair discrimination are capable of being decided by the tribunals of this country, and they are not made incapable of decision because concerned with them are matters of fact like ordinary commercial considerations and public interest.

Then we turn to the Lord Chancellor, and what does he say? He says there is doubt whether there is or is not the right of access to the courts, and the right hon. Gentleman seemed to echo that doubt at the beginning of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman's doubt was whether a man would succeed in his appeal to the courts, but the Lord Chan- cellor's doubt was whether or not there was this right of access. We therefore get the Government in this position: they want to perpetuate the doubt, whereas the Amendment would settle it.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Mr. G. R. Strauss indicated dissent.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but can he tell me whether or not there is a right of appeal to the courts. Can he answer "yes" or "no?"

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

If the House accepts the Amendment I am going to move, there will be no doubt whatsoever.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

I must say I still do not understand the right hon. Gentleman. If he is going to remove the doubt altogether, than he is doing very wrong. He started by saying that the man would lose. He seems to have no doubt himself, and I am asking the right hon. Gentleman whether the Lord Chancellor was right in saying that there was a doubt. The right hon. Gentleman's view was that the man was bound to lose. It is no use the right hon. Gentleman shaking his head; we all heard him. He said that a man might bring it to court, that he would have a lot of difficulty, and would probably lose his case. Why? What would make him lose his case? That is the odd part of it, and it does not seem at all natural that a man should necessarily lose his case if he has the right to appear in the courts.

If the object of the Government is to deprive a man of his right of appeal to the courts we get to this position that where there is such a thing as undue preference or unfair discrimination in the steel world there should be no right of appeal to the courts. Why should there be a right of appeal in the question of railway rates? Or is it the Socialist Party's intention that undue preference or unfair discrimination should not be made the subject of appeal in the realm of commerce? Is it their wish that there should be laid on the Corporation a moral duty, incapable of enforcement, in which the Corporation is its own judge, and subject only to feeble protests from the Consumers' Council?

It may be ignorance on my part, as I was not here when this matter was discussed tonight, but I ask who are these mysterious consumers' representatives who keep on nodding agreement with the Government when they said there would never be discrimination, then agreed to a Clause on discrimination, and later nodded agreement when it was said it would be wrong to go to the courts? Perhaps their identity has appeared, and hon. Gentlemen know all about them, but it seems mysterious to me. What value can we attach to their nodding acquiesence when they followed the gyrations of the right hon. Gentleman from discrimination to non-discrimination, and back again?

The point is a serious one, whether an act which is wrong in itself—not an evil prohibited by statute—for a Corporation in an overwhelming economic position to say they will give steel to so-and-so at such a price, but they do not like someone else and will not give him steel at the same price. It is wrong to say, "I will not sell another man any steel," or "I will put my rates so high that that man will not be able to buy any steel." Apparently the right hon. Gentleman was persuaded, with the acquiescence of the consumer representatives, that undue preference or unfair discrimination, should not be exercised by the Corporation, and put in a pious moral formula. What is the good of leaving it at such a formula? Surely the Corporation would welcome a Clause which forbids them to do it, and makes any such action appealable to the courts. But you have to have teeth in this, sanctions.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not think a right of appeal to the courts is something people will abuse. He must surely appreciate that the ordinary common law has laid down that if somebody does not carry out a statutory duty there is a right of appeal to the courts. It was laid down at the beginning of the eighteenth century, in the case of Ashby and White, where a registration officer refused to allow somebody to vote. If it had been the present Government they would have said, "He is likely to lose his case, and to prevent him doing that we must put in a Clause saying everybody shall be allowed to vote but we do not want any appeals to the law courts or the judges, who are not capable of understanding what words like 'ordinary commercial considerations' mean." That is a lunatic position, because it means that the pious hopes in this Bill will remain and the Corporation will be subject to no control when it does wrong.

The private trader who abuses his monopoly position is liable to be proceeded against if he breaks his contract in relation to the supply of goods. The Corporation will not have the competitive element against it, and therefore it is all the more necessary that it should be restrained from monopolistic practices—things which the Socialist Government have pretended to set their faces against. The worst form of monopolistic practice is to discriminate or show undue preference. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his opposition to this Amendment.

4.30 a.m.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

Is it not possible to get to a decision on this Amendment now and come to the next Amendment, which is really the substance of what we are now discussing?

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

I think the progress of this discussion would be assisted if some occupant of the Government Front Bench would condescend to reply to the serious, weighty and important arguments which have been directed from this side of the House and which, so far, have been received in sullen and discourteous silence from the Treasury Bench. A greater willingness to appreciate the arguments, about which my hon. Friends feel strongly and which we are prepared to press on the right hon. Gentleman even at the time of night at which this Government prefer to legislate, would facilitate the progress of their Bill.

The right hon. Gentleman himself put forward a most extraordinary proposition in the only contribution which we have had from that Bench. He went out of the way to say that the non-discrimination clause was intended to be a declaration of intention. He then went on to say he proposed to take out of the Bill any possibility of its being enforced. That is a novel attitude towards legislation. To say that the King, Lords and Commons shall enact something as part of the law of the Realm and then that you are deliberately and specifically to prevent it being enforced and merely leave it as a Ministerial pledge of a kind such as has been broken on that Bench every week during the last four years—that way of treating serious legislation is making a farce of the legislative process.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to face squarely this question: Does he or does he not intend the non-discrimination clause to be a reality? If it is to be a reality, he must give those people personally affected by it, the right to go to the courts. To give on the one hand the provision of non-discrimination and then deliberately to take away with the other hand the possibility of enforcing it, is to make rather more nonsense of this Bill than so far has been done. Neither the right hon. Gentleman nor anybody from that Bench, has addressed himself, to that question. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman has not appreciated that discrimination of this kind may be immensely serious to the people affected. If for political or personal reasons, this great monopoly sets its face against certain consumers of steel, they can be completely and absolutely ruined. Yet the right hon. Gentleman proposes to deny these people even an opportunity of putting their cases before the courts of law.

It is no good the right hon. Gentleman saying that they can go to the Minister. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, as all hon. Members know, that any person so affected, who goes to the Minister, will be pushed aside with the statement that this is a matter of day to day administration in which the Minister does not interfere. The right hon. Gentleman knows it would be impossible for any hon. Member to get a question past the Table, or to get anything from the right hon. Gentleman except a courteous letter referring him to the Corporation. He knows all that perfectly well. And, as if that were not sufficient, the shutting out of the rights of individuals, he is seeking here to shut out the one remaining right of access to the courts. The right hon. Gentleman must face the fact that it would be more honest and frank of him to say, "I shall allow the Corporation to discriminate as it thinks fit, and to use the immense economic power which I propose to give to it to smash its rivals." [Interruption.] I agree. I am sure the hon. Member for West Fife would do that. It would be more honest of the Minister to do that. But to do, as the right hon. Gentleman has done, namely, to seek to put into this Bill the appearance of non-discrimination, indeed, to put an express provision against it, and then to make it un-enforceable, simply reeks of hypocrisy.

Photo of Colonel Leonard Ropner Colonel Leonard Ropner , Barkston Ash

I propose to detain the House for only a very few minutes, but I want to impress upon the Minister that he has not succeeded in the smallest degree in alleviating the fears which we, on this side of the House, feel in regard to this matter. There is only one question which I want to raise, and I hope that we shall get an answer from the Government Front Bench on this matter, and in reply to the numerous points raised by my hon. Friends. The Minister indicated, as I understood him, that if those who thought they had a grievance were denied access to the courts, redress might be sought either from the Board, or through an appeal to the Minister, or through Parliament.

I am not convinced that there is going to be any redress gained from the board itself. I do not think that the Minister would put that forward as a serious suggestion. I do not think that there are many hon. Members of this House who would think that an appeal to the Minister alone will be altogether satisfactory. With regard to an appeal to Parliament, and this is the point I want to make, in all previous legislation of this sort, every effort has been made by the Government to deny to hon. Members the right to ask questions about these monopolies. How, therefore, since hon. Members of this House presumably will be denied the right to ask questions about this Corporation, as we are denied the right to ask questions about other corporations, can Parliament set about endeavouring to put right any question which may arise on the administration of this industry? I hope the Minister will explain to the House how redress can be obtained from Parliament, when questions cannot be asked about the day-to-day administration, or even about the more important administration, of the Corporation.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

There is one matter, and one matter only, on which I would express some sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman. I am astonished that in this most important discussion, and I believe that hon. Members in all parts of the House will realise how important it is, the right hon. Gentleman has not had the assistance of a Law Officer of the Crown. The views which the right hon. Gentleman expressed on the law were, I admit, shocking to a lawyer; but that is not necessarily a matter for which the right hon. Gentleman deserves any blame. On a matter which so obviously concerned the law deeply there should, I think, have been a Law Officer of the Crown present to reply to the Debate. The Debate has proceeded sufficiently long, I think, for a Law Officer to be found to reply to us in due course.

I agree entirely with the statement of my hon. Friend, the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), that if we leave the Clause as it will be under the Minister's proposals, paragraph (b) against discrimination will not be worth the paper it is written on. It will have absolutely no value of any kind whatsoever. The Minister seemed to think that there was something shocking in people having the right of recourse to the courts. What a person is asked to do is, "Go to the consumers' council" or, "Write a letter to the Minister."—[Interruption]—I am delighted to have the confirmation, through his applause, of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) which shows—not for the first time—that he fully approves this action of the Government, which is so fully in accord with the tyranny which he favours. Every time he agrees, he is of more assistance to us.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

The hon. and learned Gentleman is a lawyer; I am not. Will he not agree with me that it is easier for a man to be ruined in the courts than for him to be ruined through dealings with this Board?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

I do not, and if there is any man who takes that view, if the Lords Amendment is adopted, there is nothing to compel him to go to the courts. If the hon. Member for West Fife can persuade some person injured by unfair discrimination not to go to the courts, he can do so, although he will be doing a mischievous thing and I do not think he would succeed.

But if the Government do put in this Clause against these mal-practices, and the showing of undue preference and the exercise of unfair discrimination, it is really scandalous if they do not wish the prohibition to be a reality. The Minister has shown no reason whatever why anybody should make representations to a consumers' council, which cannot result in any Order of any sort, unless the Minister agrees, rather than go before his Majesty's judges. Hon. Members opposite take the view—which is constantly being disproved by history—that States and governments of themselves can be trusted to preserve freedom.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

It would be wrong for me to thank the hon. Member again for making articulate what is in the minds of those around him, but I would invite the attention of the House to some wise words recently written in a weekly journal which are worthy of quotation. The history of freedom is one long list of devices—from trial by jury and Habeas Corpus to the judges' rules of evidence—based on the assumption that the State cannot be trusted to serve the public interest. No one would advocate dismantling these defences of justice simply because the executive organs of government are nowadays responsible to a democratically elected Parliament. Yet in economic matters the doctrine appears to be accepted that whatever a Minister of the Crown may take it into his head to do is ipso facto in the public interest. There really is no evidence for any such naively trusting view. Indeed, evidence is beginning to accumulate for the directly contrary view. 4.45 a.m.

I wish to cite as part of my argument that quotation from the "Economist" of 18th September, 1948. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If it helps hon. Members to jeer at those words because they find it impossible to answer them, they are welcome to do so. The points that I wished to put on the law have been dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Northwich (Mr. J. Foster). I think that those who have listened to the Debate will agree that a serious case has been put forward for making it abundantly clear on the face of the Statute that the prohibition against these evil practices shall be a reality, and that those who are injured by them shall not be denied a legal remedy and therefore every remedy.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

The Minister suggested in the course of his speech that it would be inconvenient and unnatural for any aggrieved person complaining of discrimination to have recourse to the courts. The right hon. Gentleman may be aware that under the Railway Act, 1852, it was provided that there should be no unfair discrimination against any user of the railways. At that time a monopoly was being set up, and it was considered necessary to ensure that every user of the railways should be treated in the same way. There is a long line of cases dealing with that, and it has proved to be an extremely satisfactory system in ensuring that all got equitable treatment from a monopoly.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

It is to my mind futile and rather dishonest to put into the Bill what purports to be a right and then to provide specifically that in no circumstances whatever can anyone have recourse to the courts to enforce that right. It seems rather typical of what is happening in so many countries on the Continent—liberal phraseology and totalitarian in action. It is precisely the sort of method the socialist parties always use, and that is why the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) is so pleased about what is going on.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I do not think the hon. Member heard the few remarks I recently made, but whatever attitude was taken up I should be opposed to another place getting any consideration in regard to any Amendments.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

It may well be that the Minister takes the same view. Certainly that would be a more logical argument for him to adduce than the one he gave to the House. The trouble in which the right hon. Gentleman finds himself is that over the whole course of these proceedings it does not appear that the Government have ever made up their minds whether they think discrimination is or is not a good thing, and whether people should or should not go to the courts. One would have thought that at an early stage in the proceedings they would have made up their minds about that.

The first thing which the right hon. Gentleman said, when this matter was first considered by the Government, was that they thought there should be no fear of discrimination. They said that this is a great public Corporation working for use and not for profit, with the public interest at heart, which will never discriminate. That was a singularly inane view to take of any corporation set up with powers of that kind. All history shows that public corporations are just as much in need of check as any other large, powerful body. If that was the original view, it was not the view of the Parliamentary Secretary. He thought that non-discrimination was the one thing we ought to do away with. His great case was that we ought to discriminate, that it was the way to get exports, but the fact it was running counter to the international obligations of the Government did not bother him a bit. Not a single Member of the Government Front Bench got up to answer the point.

Then the right hon. Gentleman said that they had changed their minds and it might be a good thing to have a bit of discrimination. At that stage, they came to the conclusion they must remove the right of the individual to go to the courts. Then there was a confused bit, and naturally I do not wish to detain the House longer than I need, but I make no apology for it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."] If hon. Members say, "Go on," I will certainly do so. This is, after all, something to which hon. Members opposite may be indifferent. They do not mind what they are doing to an industry on which the whole of Britain's economy may depend at this time. When Britain is in the middle of a great industrial crisis, they do not care. As I have said, there was then a confused period in which the Lord Chancellor appeared to have changed his mind. It is not the first time the Lord Chancellor has changed his mind. I think the whole House has some sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman in this, if in no other matter, that to try to follow the intricacies of the vacillating opinions expressed on this matter in another place, would put him in a considerable difficulty. He came to the end of the story by saying that if no Amendment was put down, the matter would be left in doubt. Their Lordships put down an Amendment, and carried it, that a specific right should be given for the individual to go to the courts.

The remedy, which I understand the Minister is going to propose, is that in no circumstances should they seek to enforce their rights there at all. I hope the House realises how this Clause stands if no remedy in the courts is given. I will say this in favour of the Parliamentary Secretary. When he came to the House this evening, he obviously did not know what the Clause meant and had not read it. It is so difficult and complicated a matter, no doubt, and he has many things upon his mind, or he should have. He thought there was no reference to prices in this matter at all. He has certainly never realised for a moment that this Clause, as it at present stands, entitles the Corporation to differentiate in price between one domestic consumer and another.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , Bolton

Mr. J. Jones indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head. If he has a different interpretation of the Clause, I will give way.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , Bolton

The hon. Member said that I did not know that the Clause contained a reference to prices. I was speaking to the three or four words at the end of the Clause. Of course, I knew there was reference to price, but I was not referring to price particularly.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

The Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate that, from the point of view of the law, it does not matter whether the reference to the price appears, whether it appears in the middle of the Clause or at the end. What matters is what is said about price. Interpreting the Clause as it now stands, the Corporation has an absolute right to discriminate between one domestic consumer and another, and if the Parliamentary Secretary wishes to quarrel with that I will be prepared to give way. I do not think he does quarrel with it. That is an extraordinary weapon to put into the hands of the Corporation who are to exercise it in the public interest. Who is to judge the public interest?—the Corporation themselves. My own view is that no Minister, no Government, no Executive, are the right people to judge the public interest unless they are subject to careful watch by the courts; but for the Iron and Steel Corporation to judge the public interest is an extraordinary proposition. No doubt, they are admir- able men and chosen for their experience in the steel industry and the organisation of the workers. Why should they decide what the prices are to be?

No hon. Member has suggested any policy which should be pursued, nor any reason why any discrimination should be exercised. As my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) said in a useful contribution just now, Parliament has had experience in these matters before. We have had experience of the big monopolies in the course of years, and a fairly satisfactory system has been produced. Laws have been passed prohibiting undue preference and unfair discrimination. Tribunals have been set up, and persons discriminated against did not hesitate to appeal and get justice. Discrimination was knocked on the head quickly. The right hon. Gentleman has not suggested why the experience of half a century should be scrapped and something entirely new put forward. Mention has been made of consumers' councils. We have just had a consumer's council in the gas industry and what has happened to them? We are told they have gone on holiday. I hope it keeps fine for them. What substitute is that for the tribunals or courts of that character? I have never heard of a more futile attempt to ride roughshod over the public.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

One or two points have been raised in this discussion which merit an answer. The suggestion seems to have been made by some hon. Members opposite that we are depriving the steel consumers of a valuable right they possess. It is nothing of the sort. No steel consumer is able to go to court on the ground, as many people have thought, that a certain steel producer has given an undue preference to particular commercial friends. He has no right to go to the courts and allege that a particular steel producer is giving somebody else preference and demand damages as a result. There is no right possessed by the steel consumer to go to the courts to get damages from a steel producer from whom he is not getting preference.

The only legitimate complaint there could be is that we are not giving steel consumers rights which they do not possess today to get damages from the Corporation on the ground that they are giving undue preference. On that issue, debate can fairly take place; it is on that issue that the Government believe they are right in saying that it would not only be contrary to precedent but would raise immense difficulties for the courts and the industry if anybody could allege in the courts that a steel producer had given preference in delivery and price and that, therefore, he was entitled to damages.

5.0 a.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

Why was it not difficult for the Railway and Canal Commission to administer exactly the same principle?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

The charges made by the railways are pretty wellknown. The same applies to the charges made for selling simple commodities such as electricity.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by saying that railway charges are wellknown? Would he elaborate that statement?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

There are a certain number of previously well-defined standard charges which are well-known and well-established, and it is perfectly simple for anyone to allege, as was alleged in the early days of the railways, but not since the railway companies were amalgamated into large concerns, that a particular railway company was giving a rate preference to somebody else; it was perfectly simple to allege and prove that, but it is not the same situation here in dealing with producers who make thousands of different types of products. Therefore, to go to the courts and suggest that in respect of some of these products, whether in regard to quality, time of delivery or price, someone has received a preference over another, is putting on the courts a burden to do something which is utterly different from the burdens which the courts have previously had to bear and which they are very seldom asked to undertake in regard to rate charges.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

The right hon. Gentleman is making a false comparison. Does he not remember that something like 40 per cent. of the merchandise carried by rail is not carried in accordance with the standard charges but in accordance with exceptional charges, and it was because of that large amount of merchandise carried by exceptional charges that jurisdiction with regard to undue preference was so vital to secure fairness. Will not this same position arise in this new nationalised industry?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

I do not think that the argument is valid. Railway rates are very often special rates, and such rates do not give a special preference to one consumer over another. I am suggesting—and I know something about this from my experience in the Ministry of Transport—that the problem of seeing and ensuring that the railway companies did not give preference in rates to one company over another is a comparatively simple one, even with the fairly complex system of railway rates. But the problem of trying to do the same sort of thing with the thousands of different products of different quality in the iron and steel industry where price is taken into account, as well as delivery, is entirely different, so different in fact as really to make the problem not comparable at all.

On the legal aspect I want to make this point quite clear. Several things have been said about the attitude of the Lord Chancellor. It has been suggested that he wanted the Amendment which the Lords have moved accepted. It was also suggested that he changed his mind during the proceedings there. Both suggestions are untrue. He did not change his mind and he did not want the Amendment moved by the Lords incorporated in the Bill. He suggested that it would be wholly inappropriate to the courts, to put upon them this burden of deciding whether any undue preference is shown by the Corporation which will make such a vast variety of products, taking into account any particular and special exception made on ordinary commercial considerations or in the public interest. He said that in his view it would be wholly wrong for the courts to have to adjudicate in cases of that sort and decide whether a man was entitled to damages. On practical grounds it would be impossible to administer in the courts. On legal grounds we have the authority of the Lord Chancellor for saying that in his view it would be a burden difficult for the courts to bear, and that it is a task which should not be placed upon them.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Is the right hon. Gentleman pleading that in the view of the Lord Chancellor it would not be right to burden the courts with the task of trying to make sense of this amazing Clause?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Combined English Universities

Certainly—legal sense. We put in words of ordinary common application which are not legal phraseology at all, about the normal commercial considerations and the public interest. The Lord Chancellor, for that reason in particular and for other reasons, said it would be inappropriate for the courts to deal with it and say what damages ought to be assessed.

It was always the intention that this should be a concession to those consumers who were quite unjustifiably frightened by the general declaration of the intention as to the way the Corporation should perform its duty. Very similar declarations of intention have been made in respect of the availability of products of a quantity, quality, and at prices suitable to the consumer. There is no possibility of taking that matter to court, and of somebody getting damages from the Corporation because they believed that the quality was not right, or the price was too high. It is worded in such a way as to give the discretion to the Corporation.

When we state that as a result of this, there are not to be any cases in court nor demands for damages, we are following precedent. A similar sort of thing has been done in the Coal Act, for example. There is a non-discrimination Clause there, but it is deliberately worded in such a way that, so far as I am aware, no one could object to it, and it could not possibly give rise to claims in court for damages.

In the Transport Act the consumer can have a choice of services, and it was deliberately stated in that measure when that concession was made: Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Commission, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability enforceable by proceedings before any court or tribunal to which they would not otherwise be subject. I suggest that that was a perfectly wise and proper thing to do—to give a general direction to the Corporation and say that it will not be enforceable in court: if it is not carried out the Minister responsible will be questioned in Parliament about it, and if he takes no action about it, will be able to be criticised and be asked questions about any undue preference which is complained of to the consumers' council, because he is able to give directions to the Corporation and can be questioned about that.

I say, therefore, that there is ample remedy for people who feel themselves aggrieved in this matter to put their grievances forward. We are following sound precedent here in saying that there shall be no appeal to the courts for damages. I say on practical and legal grounds it would be wholly wrong that appeals and claims against the Corporation should be made through the courts.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The House on this occasion, as on a previous occasion when dealing with coal, is labouring under the difficulty that the Lord Chancellor in another place appears very seldom to hold the same views as Ministers express in this House. On the Coal Industry Bill a short time ago, we had a statement by the Minister of Fuel and Power supported by the Solicitor-General, but when it got to another place the Lord Chancellor threw it over. When it came back to the Commons, the Minister of Fuel and Power proceeded to say that he would not agree with what the Lord Chancellor said.

The right. hon. Gentleman has just been referring to criticism made in another place by the Lord Chancellor. I should like to point out to him that those criticisms were criticisms of the Government's own Clause as it went up to the Lords. It was not a criticism of some general statement, but a criticism by the Lord Chancellor. What does the Clause mean? As a result of discussions that have been held during the last few hours we begin to realise what the real attitude of the Government on undue preference is. It is significant of the right hon. Gentleman's attitude and of the whole attitude of the Government that when he proceeded to quote from the Transport Act in justification of the attitude he has taken up he left out the last few words of the Clause. It did not suit his purpose to read them, but let me read the passage in question.

The right hon. Gentleman said that the action that was being taken and proposed by the Government now was in full accord with the precedent set in the Transport Act. Let me read the Section concerned: Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Commission either directly or indirectly any form of duty or liability enforceable by proceedings before any court or tribunal— The right hon. Gentleman stopped there, but the sentence actually ends: to which they would not otherwise be subject. It is quite clear that, in fact, the Transport Act goes a long way as a result of the insertion of those words towards supporting the case we are making.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The right hon. Gentleman is implying that I left out a relevant part of that quotation which told against me. I must correct him on that. I omitted those few words because they were not relevant to the situation. All that they do is to leave in force existing rights which consumers have and which give preferential rights under the Railway Acts and so on. They do not give the consumer any additional powers, which is the matter in dispute. They do not give the consumer any rights by going to the courts in spite of the choice that was given by the Railway Acts.

5.15 a.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Yes, but what the Transport Act said was that the customer was not to have any right beyond the right which he had already. We are again up against the difficulty of what the right hon. Gentleman says here and what the Lord Chancellor says in another place. The Lord Chancellor said: I strongly take the view in this case that, on the general view of this Measure, an individual would have such right of action. If the Lord Chancellor is right in saying that on the general view an individual would have a right of action, the right hon. Gentleman is not doing in this case what he said the Transport Act did, because shortly he will move an Amendment to deprive the individual specifically of any right he may have had.

What is the alternative? What redress has the ordinary individual? Under the Railway Acts he had a definite redress. The right hon. Gentleman said that this was not an analogous case to that of the railways because the total number of cases in which discrimination might conceivably be exercised was so much greater. If the right hon. Gentleman is right, that is an argument why, the danger being greater, the remedy should be more specific, rather than the other way round. The right hon. Gentleman said that the danger is very wide and that the only way to overcome it is to remove the subject's right of redress. What is the supposed right of redress under the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion? He says that anyone who is aggrieved can go to the consumers' council, who will report to the Minister, and the Minister will come to the House and put the matter right. But what proof have we that the right hon. Gentleman will do that? What is the probability of the action which the right hon. Gentleman will take?

Here is a Corporation set up by a Socialist Government to carry out their policies. The Parliamentary Secretary on another Amendment earlier this evening justified the need for retaining the right of discrimination in the public interest. The Minister is the last person with the right to say whether it is in the public interest or not. What is to prevent him saying, "The Corporation feel this is in the public interest. I feel that this is in the public interest. I agree with them that this discrimination is justified?" When he comes to this House, even supposing that it were possible to put it to the vote, clearly he will recommend his followers, who are in a majority, to sustain his interpretation. In other words, the House may well be asked to confirm a discrimination against an individual firm, whether in this country or overseas.

We believe that that is a thoroughly unsound scheme. We believe that it is not what this country and the people have fought for over the centuries. They have fought over the centuries to establish the principle that the Government are not in the last resort the best interpreters of what is in the national interest. Over the centuries the people have fought for the principle that the Government are an interested party and that the subject ought to have the right to an appeal to independent courts. It is clear from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman and from the Amendment he is shortly to move that what he wants to do is to prevent the subject having any redress. He wants to be in a position to allow the Corporation to exercise discrimination either in individual cases or in whole classes of cases, and that we believe to be thoroughly wrong.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

I rubbed my eyes when I listened to the right hon. Gentleman's reply, not because it is 5.20 a.m. but because I thought I was listening to the most eloquent and powerful argument against the nationalisation of steel which I have heard in this Debate. He was explaining the complications and difficulties of the hundred and one small operations and various provisions in the iron and steel industry. This is now all being taken over by the greatest monopoly of all, the State. I am amazed—and I hope the country will take note of it—at the silence on the benches opposite when the last effective right of appeal of the individual in this industry is being lost in the House of Commons tonight. The right hon. Gentleman said that we had not got it at present, but he knows the enormous powers vested in the Ministry of Supply during the war, and he also knows that at present an individual or consumer can change his source of supply tomorrow if he is dissatisfied. But here we are creating a State monopoly, and all the arguments adduced by him were not supported by any of the Law Officers of the Crown; nor has a single Member on his side dared to raise his voice for the rights of the little man. They have sat there like oxen, absolutely dumb while this last effective right, this vital piece of freedom, is being taken away.

In every crevice of production and distribution in this country the little man and his rights are being frittered away by those on the benches opposite. Listening to the right hon. Gentleman and reading the Clause dealing with the Consumers' Council, the party opposite are going to give the little man the same kind of deal as was given to the dispossessed farmer during the war. I hope that we shall go into the Lobby, and I hope that the country will note the silence from the benches opposite as this injustice is being imposed on the individual.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

The speech which was made a few moments ago by the right hon. Gentleman was based on two profound fallacies. The first one was that he said that at the present time the power did not lie with an aggrieved complainant to go to the courts. But, as the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Granville) said, he can go elsewhere, and there is not the necessity, as there will be after this enormous monopolistic organisation has been set up, to protect him in the same way. One by one, under this Government, our liberties are being taken away from us, and sometimes they are not taken away so obviously as they are under this Clause. Here is the forerunner of the taking away of a most precious liberty—the right of an aggrieved person in this country having recourse to the courts in order to get compensation.

Let me read the words of the Amendment just to show how reasonable they are: If any such undue preference or unfair discrimination as aforesaid is shown or exercised or reasonably apprehended, any person affected shall have a right of action for damages, or for an injunction or other relief as may be just. No Amendment could more reasonably have been framed, and no Amendment should more quickly have been accepted by the Government. It is fantastic that an Amendment of this kind should have been thrown aside, and for the reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman. He is afraid that the courts would be overburdened with trivialities. Are we then going to abandon justice because justice becomes difficult to dispense? Is that the reasoning? Is it the case that trivialities will be brought forward so easily? Going to the courts costs money, and is not embarked on light-heartedly. Instead of finding a method of providing justice for aggrieved persons the Minister chooses to put the Corporation above the law. He sets up a gigantic, powerful, juggernaut, and encourages it to discriminate, because the power to discriminate is as much an encouragement to discriminate as the power to go to law would be an encouragement to go to law. I add my voice to those from this side which have urged that this should be accepted. The Government have fallen very low, but this should be an all-time record.

Photo of Colonel Sir Ralph Clarke Colonel Sir Ralph Clarke , East Grinstead

The right hon. Gentleman said that there is no right of private traders to appeal to the law against other private traders, and asked why, therefore, should they be allowed to do it when a board is established for this industry. The answer seems to me plain. In the case of an overwhelming monopoly which would be established by a Corporation of this sort it is essential that there should be some protection. I read in "Labour Believes in Britain" that the party opposite believe that private and public enterprise should compete fairly, to the advantage of both. It would not be competing fairly unless there was some court of appeal. With an overwhelming monopoly of this sort there would be an over-overwhelming temptation for the board to take advantage of their position. It it like a race where one of the horses is owned by the starter, judge, steward, clerk of the course, and so on. He might be able to keep straight, but if he does he is a superman.

I believe the same temptation will be before the Corporation, and more particularly if the Corporation are losing money. They may not be competing like private industry for profits and dividends, but they have to produce balance sheets, and those balance sheets will be criticised; and salaries and appointments will depend on them, and there will be a great temptation to exploit the powers they have to the detriment of the private trader.

5.30 a.m.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stone

We all listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with little less than amazement. The arguments he put forward are astounding. He put forward the absurd argument that no individual firm has any redress against the large steelmakers. The answer is that any firm trading with these large steel firms can change its source of supply, and only owing to the war and various other things is it more difficult to change. The Minister went on to talk about the number of individual items which would have to be considered. The Minister will, no doubt, be pleased to hear that that is all covered by the Amendment which proposes to appoint an Iron and Steel Prices Board. This is merely a question of trading like to like, and of justice between two people whether they are buying anvils or the smallest nuts, bolts or screws.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to talk in a way which he knows to be untrue about there being no redress at the moment. Surely the real argument—and I could see the Minister at heart was trying to avoid it—is that the State is now setting up a monopoly and must take the consequences, which are that there must be redress available to the individual consumer. That is precisely what the Government are refusing to do and why we believe this Clause should be amended.

We have a very learned Law Officer from Scotland on the Front Bench; I am sure we all feel that after the Sybelline utterances made in another place, by the well-known lawyer and rather able if chancy politician, the Lord Chancellor, in which he on one occasion decided our Amendment was legal rubbish and, on another occasion decided the Government's Clause was legal rubbish, we ought to be further refreshed by the learning and wit of the hon. and learned Gentleman from across the Border. I hope the Government will instruct the Lord Advocate to clear up this matter. We have come to a pretty pass when the Lord Chancellor is unable to interpret laws sent up to him by this House. There is no Law Officer here except this silent and apparently gagged learned Gentleman from Scotland.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Let me inform the hon. Gentleman that the hon. and learned Gentleman is my Parliamentary representative, and I forbid him to answer that question.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stone

The fact that the hon. and learned Gentleman remains silent and allows himself to be convicted of being a "fellow traveller" is surely a fact which must be taken into account. If the Lord Advocate is receiving his orders indirectly from Moscow, we have come to a pretty pass. I see the Whips hovering like angels of doom, and I am tempted to go on at undue length. When the Minister faces this monopoly problem he should face it as the pioneer monopolists faced it when the railways were set up in 1852. Why we should have such reactions from the right hon. Gentleman today amazes me.

I should just like to turn to the Minister's concession, first with regard to the consumers' councils which, as one knows from experience, are either asleep, or not working. He added this general sort of declaration of indulgence to be made to all consumers of steel, or of Third Schedule steel, or whatever products are made by the publicly-owned companies—namely, the "declaration of our good intentions." The ways of this Government have been paved with good intentions. It is not enough for the country, and it is not enough for the manufacturers, to know that the Government have these good intentions. Unless they are enforceable by law, they are worthless scraps of paper.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

The Minister, as I see it, is setting himself up in the place of His Majesty's Judges. I would therefore like to ask him, if a case is brought before him, whether he proposes to award damages? If he does award damages, who is to pay those damages? Is the Corporation to pay them, or will he make a private director, or a member of the Corporation, pay them? It seems to me that that is a point which should be cleared up. The procedure in the courts is perfectly well known; it has been built up over many years. The Minister is now, apparently, going to bring in some new procedure, yet he has given no indication of how he proposes to do it. Without that indication, I suggest to the House that it should not accept the Minister's arguments.

What happens if the Minister refuses to do what is right? It has been done before. I recall a case, some years ago, when the Admiralty refused to do what was right in regard to a small boy, whose name, I believe, was Archer-Shee and who was discharged from a school. A great fuss was made in this House about it, but the Admiralty refused to do what was right. However, the matter was taken to the court, and a Minister of the Crown of that time was proved to be wrong. What happens if a Minister of the Crown is wrong again? Under the proposed procedure, there will be no appeal to the courts. Injustice may be done, but there will be no appeal to the courts. To see the rights of people taken away in this manner can please, so far as I can see, only one section of this House, and that is the Communist section, which no doubt glories in seeing the fetters being put upon free people.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

Mr. Whiteley rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"

The House divided: Ayes, 265; Noes, 140.

Division No. 231.]AYES[5.38 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardGrey, C. F.Nally, W.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Grierson, E.Neal, H. (Claycross)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Attewell, H. C.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Noel-Baker, Capt F. E. (Brentford)
Austin, H. LewisGuest, Dr. L. HadenO'Brien, T.
Awbery, S. S.Gunter, R. J.Oliver, G. H.
Bacon, Miss A.Guy, W. H.Orbach, M.
Baird, J.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Balfour, A.Hale, LesliePalmer, A. M. F.
Barstow, P. G.Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilPargiter, G. A.
Barton, C.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Parkin, B. T.
Bechervaise, A. E.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Pearson, A.
Berry, H.Hardman, D. R.Peart, T. F.
Beswick, F.Hardy, E. A.Perrins, W.
Bing, G. H. C.Harrison, J.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Binns, J.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePorter, E. (Warrington)
Blenkinsop, A.Haworth, J.Price, M. Philips
Blyton, W. R.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Pritt, D. N.
Bottomley, A. G.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Proctor, W. T.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Herbison, Miss M.Pursey, Comdr. H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Hewitson, Capt M.Randall, H. E.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Hobson, C. R.Ranger, J.
Bramall, E. A.Holman, P.Rankin, J.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Rees-Williams, D. R.
Brown, George (Belper)Horabin, T. L.Reeves, J.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Houghton, DouglasRhodes, H.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hoy, J.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Burden, T. W.Hubbard, T.Robens, A.
Burke, W. A.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Callaghan, JamesHughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Carmichael, JamesHynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Rogers, G. H. R.
Chamberlain, R. A.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Champion, A. J.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Sargood, R.
Chetwynd, G. R.Johnston, DouglasScollan, T.
Cocks, F. S.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Shackleton, E. A. A.
Coldrick, W.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Sharp, Granville
Collick, P.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Shurmer, P.
Collindridge, F.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Collins, V. J.Keenan, W.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Cook, T. F.Kenyon, C.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)King, E. M.Simmons, C. J.
Cove, W. G.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Skeffington, A. M.
Cullen, Mrs.Kinley, J.Skinnard, F. W.
Daines, P.Lang, G.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Lavers, S.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Lee, F. (Hulme)Snow, J. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Levy, B. W.Sparks, J. A.
Davies, Haydn (St Pancras, S. W.)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Steele, T.
Deer, G.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
de Freitas, GeoffreyLindgren, G. S.Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Delargy, H. J.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Stross, Dr. B.
Diamond, J.Logan, D. G.Stubbs, A. E.
Dobbie, W.Longden, F.Swingler, S.
Dodds, N. N.Lyne, A. W.Sylvester, G. O.
Driberg, T. E. N.McAdam, W.Symonds, A. L.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McAllister, G.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dumpleton, C. W.McEntee, V. La. T.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Dye, S.Mack, J. D.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)McKinlay, A. S.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)McLeavy, F.Timmons, J.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Tolley, L.
Ewart, R.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Ungoed-Thomas L.
Farthing, W. J.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Usborne, Henry
Fernyhough, E.Mann, Mrs. J.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Field, Capt. W. J.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Walker, G. H.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Foot, M. M.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Forman, J. C.Mellish, R. J.Warbey, W. N.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Messer, F.Watkins, T. E.
Freeman, J. (Watford)Middleton, Mrs. L.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Gallacher, W.Mikardo, Ian.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Mitchison, G. R.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Gibbins, J.Monslow, W.West, D. G.
Gibson, C. W.Morley, R.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Gilzean, A.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Mort, D. L.Wigg, George
Grenfell, D. R.Moyle, A.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C A B
Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)Willis, E.Yates, V. F.
Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)Wills, Mrs. E. A.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)Wise, Major F. J.
Williams, Ronald (Wigan)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)Woods, G. S.Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wilkins.
Williams, W. R. (Heston)Wyatt, W.
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Odey, G. W.
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarvey, Air-Comdre A. V.Osborne, C.
Astor, Hon. M.Haughton, S. G.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Baldwin, A. E.Head, Brig. A. H.Pickthorn, K.
Barlow, Sir J.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPitman, I. J.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hollis, M. C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bennett, Sir P.Hope, Lord J.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Birch, NigelHudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Boothby, R.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Raikes, H. V.
Bower, N.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Renton, D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Keeling, E. H.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Butcher, H. W.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Carson, E.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Challen, C.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Linstead, H. N.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smithers, Sir W.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spearman, A. C. M.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Low, A. R. W.Spence, H. R.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Lucas, Major Sir J.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Darling, Sir W. Y.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Studholme, H. G.
De la Bère, R.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Sutcliffe, H.
Digby, Simon WingfieldMcCallum, Maj. D.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.McFarlane, C. S.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Donner, P. W.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Teeling, William
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Maclay, Hon. J. S.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Drayson, G. B.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drewe, C.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMarlowe, A. A. H.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Erroll, F. J.Marples, A. E.Touche, G. C.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Turton, R. H.
Fox, Sir G.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Maude, J. C.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Mellor, Sir J.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Molson, A. H. E.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Granville, E. (Eye)Neven-Spence, Sir B.York, C.
Gridley, Sir A.Nicholson, G.
Grimston, R. V.Nield, B. (Chester)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harden, J. R. E.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Brigadier Mackeson and
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Nutting, AnthonyColonel Wheatley.

Question put accordingly, "That the House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 266; Noes, 140.

Division No. 232.]AYES[5.47 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardBinns, J.Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Blenkinsop, A.Chamberlain, R. A.
Albu, A. H.Blyton, W. R.Champion, A. J.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Boardman, H.Chetwynd, G. R.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Bottomley, A. G.Cocks, F. S.
Attewell, H. C.Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Coldrick, W.
Austin, H. LewisBraddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pt. Exch'ge)Collick, P.
Awbery, S. S.Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Collindridge, F.
Bacon, Miss A.Bramall, E. A.Collins, V. J.
Baird, J.Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Cook, T. F.
Balfour, A.Brown, George (Belper)Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)
Barstow, P. G.Brown, T. J. (Ince)Crossman, R. H. S.
Barton, C.Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Cullen, Mrs.
Bechervaise, A. E.Burden, T. W.Daines, P.
Berry, H.Burke, W. A.Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.
Beswick, F.Callaghan, JamesDavies, Edward (Burslem)
Bing, G. H. C.Carmichael, JamesDavies, Ernest (Enfield)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Robens, A.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Keenan, W.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Deer, G.Kenyon, C.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
de Freitas, GeoffreyKing, E. M.Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Delargy, H. J.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Rogers, G. H. R.
Diamond, J.Kinley, J.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Dobbie, W.Lang, G.Sargood, R.
Dodds, N. N.Lavers, S.Scollan, T.
Driberg, T. E. N.Lee, F. (Hulme)Shackleton, E. A. A.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Sharp, Granville
Dumpleton, C. W.Levy, B. W.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Dye, S.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Shurmer, P.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Lindgren, G. S.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Logan, D. G.Simmons, C. J.
Ewart, R.Longden, F.Skeffington, A. M.
Farthing, W. J.Lyne, A. W.Skinnard, F. W.
Fernyhough, E.McAdam, W.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Field, Capt. W. J.McAllister, G.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McEntee, V. La. T.Snow, J. W.
Foot, M. M.Mack, J. D.Sorensen, R. W.
Forman, J. C.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Sparks, J. A.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McKinlay, A. S.Steele, T.
Freeman, J. (Watford)McLeavy, F.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Gallacher, W.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Stross, Dr. B.
Gibbins, J.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Stubbs, A. E.
Gibson, C. W.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Swingler, S.
Gilzean, A.Mann, Mrs. J.Sylvester, G. O.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Symonds, A. L.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Grenfell, D. R.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Grey, C. F.Mellish, R. J.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Grierson, E.Messer, F.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Middleton, Mrs. L.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Mikardo, Ian.Timmons, J.
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Mitchison, G. R.Tolley, L.
Guest, Dr. L. HadenMonslow, W.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Gunter, R. J.Morley, R.Usborne, Henry
Guy, W. H.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Walker, G. H.
Hale, LeslieMort, D. L.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilMoyle, A.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Nally, W.Warbey, W. N.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Neal, H. (Claycross)Watkins, T. E.
Hardman, D. R.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Hardy, E. A.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Harrison, J.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)West, W. T. (Walsall)
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleO'Brien, T.West, D. G.
Haworth, J.Oliver, G. H.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Orbach, M.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Herbison, Miss M.Palmer, A. M. F.Wigg, George
Hewitson, Capt. M.Pargiter, G. A.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Hobson, C. R.Parkin, B. T.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Holman, P.Pearson, A.Willy, O. G. (Cleveland)
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Peart, T. F.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Horabin, T. L.Perrins, W.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Houghton, DouglasPoole, Cecil (Lichfield)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Hubbard, T.Porter, E. (Warrington)Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Price, M. PhilipsWillis, E.
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Pritt, D. N.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Proctor, W. T.Wise, Major F. J.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Pursey, Comdr. H.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Randall, H. E.Woods, G. S.
Wyatt, W.
Jeger, G. (Winchester)Ranger, J.Yates, V. F.
Johnston, DouglasRankin, J.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Rees-Williams, D. R.
Jones, D. T. (Hertlepool)Reeves, J.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Rhodes, H.Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wilkins.
Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
NOES
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Bower, N.Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.
Amory, D. HeathcoatBoyd-Carpenter, J. A.Conant, Maj. R. J. E.
Astor, Hon. M.Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Cooper-Key, E. M.
Baldwin, A. E.Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)
Barlow, Sir J.Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Crowder, Capt. John E.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Butcher, H. W.Cuthbert, W. N.
Bennett, Sir P.Challen, C.Darling, Sir W. Y.
Birch, NigelChannon, H.De la Bère, R.
Boothby, R.Clarke, Col. R. S.Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Donner, P. W.Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Lloyd Selwyn (Wirral)Renton, D.
Drayson, G. B.Low, A. R. W.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Drewe, C.Lucas, Major Sir J.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterLyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Erroll, F. J.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Ropner, Col. L.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)McCallum, Maj. D.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Fox, Sir G.McFarlane, C. S.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Smithers, Sir W.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Maclay, Hon. J. S.Spearman, A. C. M.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Spence, H. R.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Marlowe, A. A. H.Studholme, H. G.
Granville, E. (Eye)Marples, A. E.Sutcliffe, H.
Gridley, Sir A.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Grimston, R. V.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Harden, J. R. E.Maude, J. C.Teeling, William
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Mellor, Sir J.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Molson, A. H. E.Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Haughton, S. G.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Head, Brig. A. H.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Hinchingbrooke, ViscountNeven-Spence, Sir B.Touche, G. C.
Hollis, M. C.Nicholson, G.Turton, R. H.
Hope, Lord J.Nield, B. (Chester)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Nutting, AnthonyWatt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Odey, G. W.Webbs, Sir H. (Abbey)
Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Osborne, C.Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Keeling, E. H.Pickthorn, K.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Langford-Holt, J.Pitman, I. J.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)York, C.
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Raikes, H. V.Brigadier Mackeson and
Linstead, H. N.Ramsay, Maj. S.Mr. Wingfield Digby.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

On a point of Order. May I ask what the Government's intentions are about the Debate? If necessary, I shall formally move the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

The right hon. Gentleman cannot move the Adjournment. He can move that further consideration of the Lords Amendments be adjourned.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned."

It is clear that we cannot expect to finish the work in front of the House in anything like reasonable time. Judging by the answers we are now getting the Minister is a one-man Government band: nobody else is allowed to play. He sustains the whole play by not answering. He must be so tired that he hardly knows what he is talking about.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

This is by no means the first time I have addressed the House at this hour, both from this Box and from the opposite side. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to ask what are the Government's intentions. We propose to sit until about noon today, and to continue discussions on the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary has also placed this Business on the Order Paper for Tuesday—[HON. MEMBERS: "Which Tuesday?"]—I am coming to that in a moment. It will follow Business already announced for that day. The Government intend to get these Amendments considered in time for adequate consideration of our disagreements by the members of another place. We also intend to get, before the Recess, the remainder of the Business the Government have announced they propose to take. If necessary we shall sit on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

6.0 a.m.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

The Home Secretary missed one of the most important points raised by my right hon. Friend, which was that there is only one right hon. Gentleman opposite who is capable of speaking at all in this Debate and I do think that we are entitled to be told whether there is not one hon. Member out of 400 capable of giving a coherent answer to the arguments put forward from this side. I hope the Home Secretary will give us some satisfaction on that, because the Debate has been turned into a complete farce.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

May I remind the Government that there has been a great deal of rather difficult law to discuss on almost every Amendment which we have considered? There have been repeated suggestions by the Opposition that one of the Law Officers of the Crown should be present. Although the Attorney-General has taken part in the Divisions—and we are glad to see him here—he has made not the slightest attempt to lead and guide the House on these difficult legal problems. If the Debate is to proceed the Minister, who obviously is having a very great strain imposed upon him, should have the benefit of the assistance of one of the Law Officers.

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Midlothian and Peeblesshire Northern

What exactly will happen if the right hon. Gentleman should collapse?

Hon. Members:

He is already collapsing.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

I should like to put a further point to the Home Secretary. It must have struck him quite forcibly during the last few hours that this is a fairly complicated Bill and that during all this time the Minister in charge has been grossly overworked. We do agree that he has a very hard job. It is against all trade union rules that we should work the Minister as hard as the Home Secretary and the Patronage Secretary are working him at present. I would, therefore, ask the Home Secretary whether he could not have a little mercy on these occasions and allow the Minister to have some form of relief—say, a Law Officer. Would this not be a suitable occasion on which we might have one of the Ministers who is hardly as overworked as the present Minister of Supply—say the Chan-

cellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Then we are apparently shut down at once.

There is another suggestion I would like to make, and that is that we should have the services of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is dying to make a speech. We have had no support from the Scottish point of view, so far as the Government are concerned. I make these one or two objections to what the Home Secretary has said, because I believe that fundamentally he is a fairly kind-hearted person, and I think he ought to afford some relief to the Government Front Bench. If we go on in this way, and after the speeches from the Government Front Bench, no one quite knows when the Patronage Secretary will get up and say that the Government are quite mad.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

In view of the fact that the acting Leader of the House has said that we may have to sit on Monday and Tuesday of next week, it is quite obvious that it will be our duty on this side of the House to move the Adjournment in view of the impending economic crisis. It is quite possible that in any event the House will be recalled during August, and that we might have to sit through the whole of August to deal with urgent emergency questions. The Minister of Supply has been carrying on a one-man band with the dumb oxen behind him; there is no Law Officer of the Crown on the Front Bench. Although the Attorney-General is in the House he has not given us the opportunity of hearing him explain some of these difficult legal interpretations. For all these reasons would it not be better to adjourn the House now, and let us sit through the whole of August?

Question put, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be adjourned."

The House divided: Ayes, 138; Noes, 261.

Division No. 233.]AYES[6.10 a.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Cuthbert, W. N.
Amory, D. HeathcoatBromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.De la Bère, R.
Astor, Hon. M.Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Digby, Simon Wingfield
Baldwin, A. E.Butcher, H. W.Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Barlow, Sir J.Challen, C.Donner, P. W.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Channon, H.Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)
Bennett, Sir P.Clarke, Col. R. S.Drayson, G. B.
Birch, NigelClifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Drewe, C.
Boothby, R.Cooper-Key, E. M.Eden, Rt. Hon. A.
Bower, N.Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Crowder, Capt. John E.Erroll, F. J.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Renton, D.
Fox, Sir G.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)McCallum, Maj. D.Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)McFarlane, C. S.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Ropner, Col. L.
Gates, Maj. E. E.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Granville, E. (Eye)Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Smithers, Sir W.
Gridley, Sir A.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Spearman, A. C. M.
Grimston, R. V.Marlowe, A. A. H.Spence, H. R.
Harden, J. R. E.Marples, A. E.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Maude, J. C.Studholme, H. G.
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Medlicott, Brigadier F.Sutcliffe, H.
Haughton, S. G.Mellor, Sir J.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Head, Brig. A. H.Molson, A. H. E.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Hinchingbrooke, ViscountMorrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Teeling, William
Hope, Lord J.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Neven-Spence, Sir B.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Nicholson, G.Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Nield, B. (Chester)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Nutting, AnthonyTouche, G. C.
Keeling, E. H.Odey, G. W.Turton, R. H.
Langford-Holt, J.Osborne, C.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Pickthorn, K.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Pitman, I. J.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Linstead, H. N.Prescott, StanleyWilliams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.York, C.
Low, A. R. W.Raikes, H. V.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lucas, Major Sir J.Ramsay, Maj. S.Major Conant and
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Rayner, Brig. R.Colonel Wheatley.
NOES
Acland, Sir RichardCook, T. F.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Adams, Richard (Balham)Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)
Albu, A. H.Cove, W. G.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Crossman, R. H. S.Guest, Dr. L. Haden
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Cullen, Mrs.Gunter, R. J.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Daines, P.Guy, W. H.
Attewell, H. C.Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)
Austin, H. LewisDavies, Edward (Burslem)Hale, Leslie
Awbery, S. S.Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.
Bacon, Miss A.Davies, Harold (Leek)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
Baird, J.Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Hardman, D. R.
Balfour, A.Deer, G.Hardy, E. A.
Barstow, P. G.de Freitas, GeoffreyHarrison, J.
Barton, C.Delargy, H. J.Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Bechervaise, A. E.Diamond, J.Haworth, J.
Berry, H.Dobbie, W.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)
Beswick, F.Dodds, N. N.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)
Bing, G. H. C.Driberg, T. E. N.Herbison, Miss M.
Binns, J.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Hewitson, Capt M.
Blenkinsop, A.Dumpleton, C. W.Hobson, C. R.
Blyton, W. R.Dye, S.Holman, P.
Boardman, H.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
Bottomley, A. G.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Horabin, T. L.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Houghton, Douglas
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Hoy, J.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Ewart, R.Hubbard, T.
Bramall, E. A.Farthing, W. J.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Fernyhough, E.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)
Brown, George (Belper)Field, Capt. W. J.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Foot, M. M.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)
Burden, T. W.Forman, J. C.Jeger, G. (Winchester)
Burke, W. A.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Johnston, Douglas
Callaghan, JamesFreeman, J. (Watford)Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)
Carmichael, JamesGallacher, W.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
Chamberlain, R. A.Gibbins, J.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Champion, A. J.Gibson, C. W.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Chetwynd, G. R.Gilzean, A.Keenan, W.
Cocks, F. S.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Kenyon, C.
Coldrick, W.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.
Collick, P.Grenfell, D. R.Kinley, J.
Collindridge, F.Grey, C. F.Lang, G.
Collins, V. J.Grierson, E.Lavers, S.
Lee, F. (Hulme)Pargiter, G. A.Stubbs, A. E.
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Parkin, B. T.Swingler, S.
Levy, B. W.Pearson, A.Sylvester, G. O.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Peart, T. F.Symonds, A. L.
Lewis, J. (Bolton)Perrins, W.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Lindgren, G. S.Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Porter, E. (Warrington)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Logan, D. G.Price, M. PhilipsThomas, George (Cardiff)
Longden, F.Pritt, D. N.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Lyne, A. W.Proctor, W. T.Timmons, J.
McAdam, W.Pursey, Comdr, H.Tolley, L.
McAllister, G.Randall, H. E.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
McEntee, V. La. T.Ranger, J.Usborne, Henry
Mack, J. D.Rankin, J.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
McKay, J. (Wallsend)Rees-Williams, D. R.Walker, G. H.
McKinlay, A. S.Reeves, J.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
McLeavy, F.Rhodes, H.Warbey, W. N.
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.Watkins, T. E.
Macpherson, T. (Romford)Robens, A.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)West, D. G.
Mann, Mrs. J.Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras, N.)Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb gh, E.)
Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Rogers, G. H. R.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Mellish, R. J.Sargood, R.Wigg, George
Messer, F.Scollan, T.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Middleton, Mrs. L.Shackleton, E. A. A.Wilkins, W. A.
Mikardo, Ian.Sharp, GranvilleWilley, F. T. (Sunderland)
Mitchison, G. R.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Monslow, W.Smurmer, P.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Morley, R.Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Silverman, J. (Erdington)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Mort, D. L.Simmons, C. J.Willis, E.
Moyle, A.Skeffington, A. M.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Nally, W.Skinnard, F. W.Wise, Major F. J.
Neal, H. (Claycross)Smith, C. (Colchester)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Snow, J. W.Woods, G. S.
Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Sorensen, R. W.Wyatt, W.
O'Brien, T.Sparks, J. A.Yates, V. F.
Oliver, G. H.Steels, T.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Orbach, M.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Palmer, A. M. F.Stross, Dr. B.Mr. Popplewell and
Mr. George Wallace.

Amendment proposed, in lieu of the Lords Amendment last disagreed to, in page 5, line 13, after the words inserted by the second Lords Amendment in page 5, line 13, to insert: (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Corporation, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability enforceable by proceedings before any court."—[Mr. G. R. Strauss.]

6.15 a.m.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I ought to point out to hon. Gentlemen that I have been examining this Amendment with the Lords Amendment which was defeated. It seems to me that one is a complete contradiction or negation of the other, and the Debate therefore cannot range over the whole scope of the earlier Debate.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I am in a difficulty about this matter, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, because, mistakenly thinking that both this Amendment and the previous one were being discussed together—a conclusion which I apparently wrongly drew from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on the other Amendment—I proceeded to deploy an argument which related only to this Amendment. Your predecessor in the Chair, rightly, it seemed to me, stopped me in the middle of my argument, and I naturally did not proceed with it in view of his Ruling. I have no wish to repeat what I said earlier, but a very important principle is at stake. This Amendment says, in effect, that there shall be no redress. When Parliament lays down against the individual citizen such a terrible proposition, surely the matter should be specifically discussed and the discussion on it should not be wrapped up in the discussion of another and possibly a less important Amendment.

In order that we may have an answer on the specific point, I would like briefly to refer the right hon. Gentleman to Articles 8 and 10 of the Charter of Human Rights, of which this Amendment appears to be a flagrant breach. The moving of the Amendment by the Government is in itself a flagrant breach of solemn undertakings entered into by the Government in the international sphere. The Articles are very short and for the benefit of hon. Members who were not in the Chamber earlier, they are as follows: Article 8 states: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. Article 10 states: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations … The right hon. Gentleman, if I understood his previous argument, came to the conclusion that it was unnecessary to insert the words which were put into the Transport Act because then the rights already existed, and on this occasion no rights already existed. It seems to me that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman entirely missed the point. It appears to be this: that in the railway system, as soon as it was seen that a monopoly was being set up, rights were created, and the right to seek redress when there had been undue preference or unfair discrimination was established. Exactly the same position has now arisen. A monopoly is being created which may abuse its rights at the expense of the individual citizen. It may create undue preference and give rise to unfair discrimination.

In order that the rights of the individual may be protected, and they are now being assaulted for the first time, with the exception of the powers taken during the war, surely it is right that there should be the same opportunities granted as under the railway legislation. Whether that is so or not, one thing which must be wrong is that the Government are attempting to carry an Amendment with the positive intention of preventing any right there may possibly be from ever being exerted.

I think hon. Gentlemen opposite, who take far more interest in international affairs than in the nationalisation Bills, should pay heed. I wonder if their consciences will not be severely shocked and shaken if they find themselves voting in favour of this Amendment, which is such a flagrant breach of international obligations.

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

As I dealt with the question on the last Amendment I do not propose to address myself to the general merits of this quite outrageous Amendment, but wish to raise the point that I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman in seeking to carry out his outrageous intention has succeeded in doing that. I am not at all clear as to the effect of his Amendment. It excludes any liability, directly or indirectly, of the Corporation in respect of the non-discrimination Clause, but does it protect the servants or agents of the Corporation? Does the Amendment exclude the possibility of them being brought before a court as servants or agents of the Corporation?

It is possible that the word "indirectly" may be so construed, but at least it is doubtful, and I should be grateful if the hard-worked Minister, whether with or without the legal assistance which seems so often to fail him, could clear up that point. The Corporation are covered, but what about the subsidiary companies? If any one of the subsidiary companies indulges in breaches of the non-discrimination clause there is apparently no cover for them. Is it a fact that while the Corporation are covered the companies are exposed?

It seems that the right hon. Gentleman, in attempting to exclude the subject from the right of access to the courts, has succeeded in doing so in so clumsy and uncertain a manner as to give rise to much of that litigation which he appeared in an earlier speech so much to fear. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman at least to seek to satisfy the House that he has been able to do what he sought to do, and that if he wants to take away the rights of the citizen he has at least done it properly and tidily. I am certain the right hon. Gentleman would agree that it would be highly unsatisfactory to leave this matter in that uncertain state, which can only be tested by fighting actions up to the House of Lords. But it is very unfortunate if this House, being forced by the Government's mishandling of its time-table to deal with these points at 6.30 in the morning, should find itself under the further handicap of having to deal with them without the assistance of the Law Officers.

One of my hon. Friends has pointed out that the Attorney-General was in the precincts. Is there any reason why he should not discharge his duties to the House? If he does not, it does not lie in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to complain that Government Business does not go as speedily as they would like. If the House is not given the authoritative advice it is entitled to it is quite likely that the House will continue to ask for it.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Montrose District of Burghs

The Minister has pointed out that the whole purpose of this Clause was to give certain general directions to the Corporation about how they should act, and he said that the Government cannot accept that there should be any right of appeal to the courts if the Corporation failed in their obligations. He repeated once or twice the phrase, "There should be no claims through the courts." Does that mean that an aggrieved citizen or company, with a blatant case of discrimination which they can prove and from which they have suffered severely, have no chance of compensation from anyone?

It seems to me that the Consumers' Council cannot meet a compensation claim. Can the Minister? Has he any Vote on which he can do it? Or are we going to find Parliament adjudicating on a claim and making a grant? I may be dense, but is the meaning of the Minister's statement that there is no possible redress at any time for private concerns damaged through the failure of the Corporation to obey the instructions given them under the Bill?

6.30 a.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

This Amendment and the one we have just disposed of relate closely to each other. I had hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not have been content with formally moving it, because his request to the House to put this proviso into the Bill is important. I was naturally much relieved by the information the Home Secretary gave us as to the course of the proceedings, because I was afraid possibly there would not be sufficient time to give that full consideration to the immense amount of business on these Amendments that we still have to give. But he has relieved our minds very much by the announcement he has made. He has pledged the Government that proceedings will not be protracted beyond noon, so that the country may have a full account of their admirable handling of the dock trouble. We have nothing to fear in regard to that. He has assured us that we shall have plenty of time tomorrow to consider further these matters and, if necessary, we shall have to continue into next week. That is quite all right as far as we are concerned.

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

I do not know what that has to do with the Amendment before us.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I must apologise, Mr. Speaker, but I was led into this by the hope that it was not through any fear of delay that the right hon. Gentleman contented himself with formally moving, without any explanation or word, an Amendment of this kind. It is a pretty tremendous Amendment. The history of this discrimination is curious. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that after consideration of the case at various stages both in this House and in another place, the Government decided, contrary to their first intentions, to introduce a Clause against discrimination or undue preference. The right hon. Gentleman takes great pride in that—but it was only under a great deal of pressure that the Government agreed to doing so. Well, we are glad to have it, but what does the right hon. Gentleman do? He introduces this Amendment, which makes it perfectly certain that he will lose nothing by his concession, because here he is making his Clause absolutely inoperative. The proposed subsection says: Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Corporation, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability enforceable by proceedings before any court. By whom, then, is it to be enforced? Not by the courts, the traditional method by which the rights of the subject throughout the centuries have been enforced. It has been just on this point that the Executive and Parliament have quarrelled over so many generations—the whole history nobody knows better than the Home Secretary. I think he must be ashamed to have an Amendment of this kind moved in his presence. I once believed he stood for freedom in many forms, yet he allows an Amendment to be put in which is really meaningless, because there are no means of enforcing it except by the courts. He says the Minister can enforce it. Then why put it in, if the Minister has these powers. The Minister cannot enforce it. Experience of the nationalised industries shows it is extremely difficult to bring pressure on a Minister in any particular case. In many generalised cases we can raise the matter by Question in Parliament, but if it is against a particular discrimination or preference, we are told it arises from the day-to-day business of the Corporation and it is not a fit subject on which to question a Minister. This is the whole battle that has gone on for many months now. An attempt is being made to build up a new procedure of the House in regard to these nationalised industries. The House of Commons has not been very successful in resisting this and procedure has not been at all satisfactory.

Therefore, if this right of special protection of individual cases, apart from any general question, is not to be given by the courts, I say that the words put in are pure eyewash, and have no meaning. We might just as well have stood where we did at the beginning. The non-discrimination Clause is not worth the paper it is written on. The public will judge the intentions of all Governments. I know that there are hon. Members below the Gangway and in all parts of the House who have pleaded and will plead this cause of the rights of the subject whatever party may be in power. Such cases have been pleaded by many hon. Members opposite. I say that it is wrong to follow a procedure which tends to increase the power of the Executive.

There was a famous Motion moved in this House once which hon. Members may remember. It was to the effect that the power of the Crown was increasing, and ought to be diminished. In recent years there has been an increase of power, not of the Crown as it was in the eighteenth century, but of the Executive acting for the Crown. The only method of keeping the freedom which the individual has, or ought to have, in a Socialist State—the freedom which I believe many hon. Members want the individual to have—is to give the courts the right to judge individual cases. There is not an hon. Member who does not know from his own correspondence, and the cases which he has to take up with Government Departments, how frightfully strong is the power of the Executive. They know how difficult it is, even for an hon. Member who has what he thinks is a pretty good case, to break through the tremendous defences which the bureaucracy can put up. I challenge any hon. Member, even if he has had only four years' experience in this House—and even more, the hon. Member who has had 24 years' experience—on this matter.

I say that the power of the courts, wherever it can be introduced, is by far the best protection of the individual against the Executive, of whatever Party it may be composed, and whatever may be the complexion of the Government in power. I do ask the Home Secretary to think over this matter again, and to judge it in the light of his own reading of history and in the light of his own experience in administration, both as a Minister and as a private Member of this House. The subsection does not even leave it in doubt, does not even leave it for the courts to make their own decisions; but whatever else happens, regarding this discrimination it shall never be the right of the individual to take it to the justices or to the courts. It shall be the sole prerogative of the Minister and the Executive to decide.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

I would like to ask the Secretary of State for Scotland a question, and I hope we shall be given a direct answer. The question which I wish to ask him is whether he has given his consent to this Amendment. I notice that my question is perfectly clear to him. If he has given his consent to this Amendment, he has betrayed his trust as Secretary of State for Scotland. The hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) may laugh, but he knows that it is a fact that the basis of the law of Scotland has always been the freedom of the individual, and it has always been that the people of Scotland control the country, and not the Executive. There have been constant wars in Scotland for that sole purpose and if the Secretary of State today has publicly said to the people of Scotland—as I presume his silence means he has—that he has approved of this Amendment, then he has given up that age-long right for which we have fought. The blame will lie upon his own head. He is a traitor to his country, if he agrees to this.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in Order for an hon. Member to use the word "traitor" in respect of another hon. Member?

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

I have spoken on that before. I think it is wrong for an hon. Member to say of another that he is a traitor.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, if I have transgressed the Rules; I will say he is a traitor to the principle. I think that will be in Order, although I do not know the precise legal difference. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where is the Attorney-General?"] Perhaps the Lord Advocate will be able to help; but as the Secretary of State has not said that he has not approved this Amendment, we in Scotland must assume he has given away that for which we have fought for a thousand years.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

I have listened to every word which has been spoken on this Amendment with very great attention and for the life of me I cannot understand why we are having it at this stage of the Bill. But then, why are we constantly putting into the Bills before this House Amendments which prevent the ordinary subject from having his age-long right of appeal to the courts? Why are we placing this great monopoly of the iron and steel business above the law, and entirely beyond the courts of the country? The hon. and gallant Member for Perth (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) was referring to the position in Scotland, but so far as we are concerned in England, our concern for the law is far higher and far deeper than it is with the Scottish people. Historical examples, which one might be tempted to quote to prove how our rights have been controverted, would not, I think, be welcome at this time of day. But if the Scots object to the functions of this Amendment, which seeks to over-ride the law and put this present miserable Government above the law, I would remind the House that, "those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad."

I say frankly that, when the people of this country, and of Scotland, learn that this is the kind of afterthought which is

put into the Bill at the present moment, they will realise that the intention is to root out the ordinary people and to take away the rights of the common man and woman, and that Socialism is to be developed to the full and is nothing more than a Communist dictatorship.

6.45 a.m.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

I feel that I should be neglecting my duty if I merely registered a silent vote against the taking away of the rights of the people of this country, which the Minister is seeking to perpetrate by this Amendment. This, I say, is one further step towards the police State, which seems to be something inevitably associated with Socialism. We are losing the right of the people to have their cases freely and impartially examined by the King's judges; the only right they will have for redress, will be at the will and whim of the Minister. The right the citizen enjoys at the present time is to apply to the courts for an injunction.

Immediately we take away that right the citizen is left with nothing to do except to write letters to the Consumers Council or to invite his Member to write to the Minister, and this Minister of all Ministers whose Department is notorious for its delays in dealing with correspondence; the fact is that the complexities of the Department are such that the office cannot keep up with the work imposed upon it. The alternatives are an immediate injunction granted by one of His Majesty's judges, or a dilatory procedure through the private office of the Department. This is what the Minister is asking us to exchange. The Government are making a deliberate, knowing and calculated attack on the liberties of the people, and Members opposite sit in silence and, I believe, in shame, watching what he is doing.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

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, 255; Noes, 128.

Division No. 234.]AYES[6.50 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardAnderson, A. (Motherwell)Baird, J.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Attewell, H. C.Balfour, A.
Albu, A. H.Austin, H. LewisBarstow, P. G.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Awbery, S. S.Barton, C.
Alton, A. C. (Bosworth)Bacon, Miss A.Bechervaise, A. E.
Berry, H.Hardy, E. A.Popplewell, E.
Bing, G. H. C.Harrison, J.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Binns, J.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePrice, M. Philips
Blenkinsop, A.Haworth, J.Pritt, D. N.
Blytom W. R.Henderson,, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Proctor, W. T.
Boardman, H.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Pursey, Comdr. H.
Bottomley A. G.Herbison, Miss M.Randall, H. E.
Bowden, Fig Offr. H. W.Hewitson, Capt. M.Rankin, J.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Hobson, C. R.Ranger, J.
Bramall, E. A.Holman, P.Rees-Williams, D. R.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Reeves, J.
Brown, George (Belper)Horabin, T. L.Rhodes, H.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Houghton, Doug'asRidealgh, Mrs. M.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hoy, J.Robens, A.
Burden, T. W.Hubbard, T.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Burke, W. A.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Callaghan, JamesHughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Carmichael, JamesHynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Rogers, G. H. R.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Chamberlain, R. A.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Sargood, R.
Champion, A. J.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Scollan, T.
Chetwynd, G. R.Johnston, DouglasShackleton, E. A. A.
Cocks, F. S.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Sharp, Granville
Coldrick, W.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Shurmer, P.
Collick, P.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Collindridge, F.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Collins, V. J.Keenan, W.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Cook, T. F.Kenyon, C.Simmons, C. J.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Skeffington, A. M.
Cove, W. G.Kinley, J.Skinnard, F. W.
Crossman, R. H. S.Lang, G.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Cullen, Mrs.Lavers, S.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Daines, P.Lee, F. (Hulme)Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Edward (Bursfem)Levy, B. W.Sparks, J. A.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Steele, T.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Lewis, J. (Bolton)Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Lindgren, G. S.Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Deer, G.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Stross, Dr. B.
Diamond, J.Logan, D. G.Stubbs, A. E.
Dobbie, W.Longden, F.Swingler, S.
Dodds, N. N.Lyne, A. W.Sylvester, G. O.
Driberg, T. E. N.McAdam, W.Symonds, A. L.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McAllister, G.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dumpleton, C. W.McEntee, V. La. T.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Dye, S.Mack, J. D.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)McKintay, A. S.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)McLeavy, F.Timmons, J.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Tolley, L.
Ewart, R.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Farthing, W. J.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Usborne, Henry
Fernyhough, E.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Field, Capt W. J.Mann, Mrs. J.Walker, G. H.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Warbey, W. N.
Foot, M. M.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Watkins, T. E.
Forman, J. C.Mellish, R. J.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Messer, F.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Freeman, J. (Watford)Middleton, Mrs. L.West, D. G.
Gallacher, W.Mikardo, Ian.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Mitchison, G. R.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Gibbins, J.Monslow, W.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Gibson, C. W.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Wigg, George
Gilzean, A.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mort, D. L.Wilkins, W. A.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Nally, W.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Grenfell, D. R.Neal, H. (Claycross)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Grey, C. F.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Grierson, E.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanetly)O'Brien, T.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Oliver, G. H.Willis, E.
Guest, Dr. L. HadenOrbach, M.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Gunter, R. J.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Wise, Major F. J.
Guy, W. H.Palmer, A. M. F.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Pargiter, G. A.Woods, G. S.
Hale, LeslieParkin, B. T.Wyatt, W.
Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilPearson, A.Yates, V. F.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Peart, T. F.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Perrins, W.
Hardman, D. R.Pools, Cecil (Lichfield)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace
NOES
Amory, D. HeathcoatHarden, J. R. E.Nield, B. (Chester)
Astor, Hon. M.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Baldwin, A. E.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)Nutting, Anthony
Barlow, Sir J.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Odey, G. W.
Bennett, Sir P.Haughton, S. G.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Birch, NigelHead, Brig. A. H.Pickthorn, K.
Boothby, R.Hope, Lord J.Pitman, I. J.
Bower, N.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prescott, Stanley
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Raikes, H. V.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Rayner, Brig. R.
Butcher, H. W.Keeling, E. H.Ranton, D.
Carson, E.Langford-Holt, J.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Challen, C.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Channon, H.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Ropner, Col. L.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)Smithers, Sir W.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Linstead, H. N.Spearman, A. C. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)Spence, H. R.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Crowder, Capt. John E.Low, A. R. W.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas, Major Sir J.Sutcliffe, H.
De la Bère, R.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Donner, P. W.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)McCallum, Maj. D.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drayson, G. B.McFarlane, C. S.Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Drewe, C.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Eccles, D. M.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorp, Brigadier, R. A. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Touche, G. C.
Elliot, Lieut,-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterMacmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Turton, R. H.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Fox, Sir G.Marlowe, A. A. H.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Marples, A. E.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Maude, J. C.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Medlicott, Brigadier F.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Gammans, L. D.Mellor, Sir J.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gates, Maj. E. E.Molson, A. H. E.York, C.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Granville, E. (Eye)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gridley, Sir A.Neven-Spence, Sir B.Colonel Wheatley and
Grimston, R. V.Nicholson, G.Mr. Wingfield Digby.

Question put accordingly, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 259; Noes, 129.

Division No. 235.]AYES[6.58 a.m.
Acland, Sir RichardBurke, W. A.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)
Adams, Richard (Balham)Callaghan, JamesDumpleton, C. W.
Albu, A. H.Carmichael, JamesDye, S.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Castle, Mrs. B. A.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Chamberlain, R. A.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Champion, A. J.Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)
Attewell, H. C.Chetwynd, G. R.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Austin, H. LewisCocks, F. S.Ewart, R.
Awbery, S. S.Coldrick, W.Farthing, W. J.
Bacon, Miss A.Collick, P.Fernyhough, E.
Baird, J.Collindridge, F.Field, Capt. W. J.
Balfour, A.Collins, V. J.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)
Barstow, P. G.Cook, T. F.Foot, M. M.
Barton, C.Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Forman, J. C.
Bechervaise, A. E.Cove, W. G.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
Berry, H.Crossman, R. H. S.Freeman, J. (Watford)
Bing, G. H. C.Cullen, Mrs.Gallacher, W.
Binns, J.Daines, P.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.
Blenkinsop, A.Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Gibbins, J.
Blyton, W. R.Davies, Edward (Burslem)Gibson, C. W.
Boardman, H.Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Gilzean, A.
Bottomley, A. G.Davies, Harold (Leek)Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)Deer, G.Grenfell, D. R.
Bramall, E. A.de Freitas, GeoffreyGrey, C. F.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Delargy, H. J.Grierson, E.
Brown, George (Belper)Diamond, J.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Dobbie, W.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Dodds, N. N.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
Burden, T. W.Driberg, T. E. N.Guest, Dr. L. Haden
Gunter, R. J.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Guy, W. H.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Hale, LeslieMallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Simmons, C. J.
Hall, Rt. Hon. GlenvilMann, Mrs. J.Skeffington, A. M.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Skinnard, F. W.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Smith, C. (Colchester)
Hardman, D. R.Mellish, R. J.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Hardy, E. A.Messer, F.Sorenson, R. W.
Harrison, J.Middleton, Mrs. L.Sparks, J. A.
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleMikardo, Ian.Steele, T.
Haworth, J.Mitchison, G. R.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Monslow, W.Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Stross, Dr. B.
Herbison, Miss M.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Stubbs, A. E.
Hewitson, Capt. M.Mort, D. L.Swingler, S.
Hobson, C. R.Moyle, A.Sylvester, G. O.
Holman, P.Nally, W.Symonds, A. L.
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Neal, H. (Claycross)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Horabin, T. L.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Houghton, DouglasNicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Hoy, J.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Hubbard, T.O'Brien, T.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Oliver, G. H.Timmons, J.
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)Orbach, M.Tolley, L.
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Palmer, A. M. F.Usborne, Henry
Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Pargiter, G. A.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Jeger, G. (Winchester)Parkin, B. T.Walker, G. H.
Johnston, DouglasPearson, A.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)Peart, T. F.Warbey, W. N.
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Perrins, W.Watkins, T. E.
Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Popplewell, E.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Keenan, W.Porter, E. (Warrington)West, D. G.
Kenyon, C.Price, M. PhilipsWheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Pritt, D. N.White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Kinley, J.Proctor, W. T.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lang, G.Pursey, Comdr. H.Wigg, George
Lavers, S.Randall, H. E.Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Lee, F. (Hulme)Ranger, J.Wilkins, W. A.
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Rankin, J.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Levy, B. W.Rees-Williams, D. R.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Reeves, J.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Lewis, J. (Bolton)Rhodes, H.Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Lindgren, G. S.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Robens, A.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Logan, D. G.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Willis, E.
Longden, F.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Lyne, A. W.Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras N.,Wise, Major F. J.
McAdam, W.Rogers, G. H. R.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
McAllister, G.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Woods, G. S.
McEntee, V. La. T.Sargood, R.Wyatt, W.
Mack, J. D.Scollan, T.Yates, V. F.
McKay, J. (Wallsend)Shackleton, E. A. A.Younger, Hon. Kenneth.
McKinlay, A. S.Sharp, Granville
McLeavy, F.Shurmer, P.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace.
NOES
Amory, D. HeathcoatDe la Bère, R.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)
Astor, Hon. M.Digby, Simon WingfieldHarris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)
Baldwin, A. E.Dodds-Parker, A. D.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.
Barlow, Sir J.Donner, P. W.Haughton, S. G.
Bennett, Sir P.Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Head, Brig. A. H.
Birch, NigelDrayson, G. B.Hope, Lord J.
Boothby, R.Drewe, C.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)
Bower, N.Eccles, D. M.Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. WalterHutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Fox, Sir G.Keeling, E. H.
Butcher, H. W.Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Langford-Holt, J.
Carson, E.Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
Challen, C.Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Channon, H.Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Gammans, L. D.Lindsay, M. (Solihull)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Gates, Maj. E. E.Linstead, H. N.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Granville, E. (Eye)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Gridley, Sir A.Low, A. R. W.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Grimston, R. V.Lucas, Major Sir J.
Cuthbert, W. N.Harden, J. R. E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Nutting, AnthonySutcliffe, H.
MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Odey, G. W.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
McCallum, Maj. D.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Taylor, Vice-Adm, E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
McFarlane, C. S.Pickthorn, K.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Pitman, I. J.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Maclay, Hon. J. S.Prescott, StanleyThorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Raikes, H. V.Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Marlowe, A. A. H.Ramsay, Maj. S.Touche, G. C.
Marples, A. E.Rayner, Brig. R.Turton, R. H.
Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Renton, D.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Mauda, J. C.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)Ward, Hon. G. R.
Medlicott, Brigadier F.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Mellor, Sir J.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Molson, A. H. E.Ropner, Col. L.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Smithers, Sir W.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Neven-Spence, Sir B.Spearman, A. C. M.York, C.
Nicholson, G.Spence, H. R.
Nield, B. (Chaster)Strauss, Henry (English Universities)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)Brigadier Mackeson and
Colonel Wheatley.