Durham County Council Staff (Union Membership)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1951.

Alert me about debates like this

7.18 p.m.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I beg to move. That this House regrets the decision of the Durham County Council in insisting on membership of an appropriate professional association or trade union as a condition of employment by that council. It is now more than four months since the decision, to which we refer in this Motion, was taken by the Durham County Council, and I think I might first remind the House of what has happened during those four months. The Resolution requiring, under threat of dismissal, that every member of the County Council's staff should provide evidence of membership of a trade union, was passed on 1st November last, and was then sent out by the heads of the departments to members of the staff. An emergency committee was formed to see the replies.

On 15th November the matter was raised in the House on the Adjournment by my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Dr. Hill). On that occasion the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health replied for the Government. He used these words: …we regret the resolution passed by the Durham County Council."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1950; Vol. 480, c. 1857.] The Motion we have put on the Order Paper has the identical words. We have taken them completely from the statement that has already been made on behalf of the Government by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health.

After that, as we know, letters were sent from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to the county, saying that the Government did not approve of coercion. The reply came from the clerk to the County Council saying that the Council had re-affirmed its resolution. The local branch of the National Union of Teachers advised their members not to answer the question concerning their trade union membership, and that advice was endorsed by the National Executive of the Union. We are told that consultations then took place between the Ministries concerned and the representatives of the County Council.

The dismissals were not enforced on 22nd November, but the resolution was not rescinded. It has not yet been rescinded and the threat remains. It seems to me that the technique in Durham is rather that of the cold war. The threat remains, and we are told that it has been successful. Many more of the staff have joined trade unions. I should like to quote from the "Schoolmaster" of 8th March. It is, as we know, the organ of the National Union of Teachers. It refers to the dismissal of teachers being averted—that was the dismissal which was timed for 22nd November—and it goes on: Later on, unfortunately it became clear that the Durham County Council was implementing its highly dangerous policy in another way. Evidence was obtained that when candidates were called for an interview, as certain teaching posts fell vacant, they were first required to answer the obnoxious question about their membership of the trade union. We know of examples of this happening. Most hon. Members have heard of the case when there was a vacancy for the headmastership of a school. Six applicants were interviewed. They were all asked what the National Union of Teachers calls "the obnoxious question." Five did not answer, saying that they had been advised by their union not to do so. Only one answered and he got the job. We may say that it was a coincidence. Was this man the best man for the job? He may have been, but do hon. Members in any part of the House think that the colleagues of the applicant, when he goes to the school, or anyone else, will really think that he was chosen because he was the best man for the job or because he was the only one who answered the question?

It is surely clear to all of us that applicants for posts who decline to answer questions put to them by the selection committee are putting themselves in a very difficult position, which is certainly detrimental to their chances of success. I will go further and ask the Minister of Education to consider this matter very seriously. Are we to think that the best men and the best women are to be chosen for these jobs, or are we to fear that the schools may be deprived of them because they do not consider that they should answer the question about trade union membership?

Photo of Mr James Murray Mr James Murray , North West Durham

Does the right hon. Lady know about any other appointments which she could give us, apart from the one that she has given?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I have checked this appointment very carefully. I have heard of others, but I want to keep to actual instances which I have checked and of which I know the circumstances. It would be very easy to give other instances, and hon. Members then would be quite right to ask "Do you know the circumstances?" I see that the National Union of Teachers referred to "appointments," in the plural.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Would the right hon. Lady apply the doctrine that she is condemning to the treatment of a clergyman by the Bishop of Rochester?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

It would be better if I stuck to the point that we are now discussing and did not try to criticise people, especially those who are in another place and are not here to answer for themselves.

We agree that these appointments have been made like this. I am certain that every hon. Member agrees that it is not the best way of making appointments. We agree that the schools may be deprived of people who would be able to hold responsible posts and who might be the best people to have them. Apart from the academic attainment of ability to teach or organise a school, how often has it been said in the House that what we want in the schools are men and women of character and resolution?

I would put this to the Minister of Education very seriously. If men and women feel that this question should not be answered, if they have sufficient character and resolution to refuse to answer it, are they to be debarred from the schools of this country? They are being debarred at present from schools in county Durham. We want to make it clear that we believe—and I am certain that the Minister of Education will agree with me—that that is not right. Our opinion ought to go out from this House quite clearly tonight.

This issue is not confined to the teachers, nor, indeed, can it be confined to the county of Durham. Perhaps I might quote again from this article in the "Schoolmaster." I agree with what is stated here. It says: The union…regard [this issue] as vital not only to the teacher, but to other branches of the local Government service. They go on to say, later that it is not enough for the individual teacher to decline to answer the question concerning his or her union, in an interview and to hope that from the strength of the opposition the Durham Council will moderate or rescind its requirements. Further action at the highest level is needed. Further action at the highest level is necessary, we agree. That is why we have put the Motion on the Order Paper. The House of Commons can express its opinion and its support for the Government's statements about the resolution of the Durham County Council. We alt agree about the autonomy of local authorities, but I suggest that it seems strange that the Government have not been able to induce the local authorities to rescind this resolution. I am certain that they have told us that they are not in favour of coercion and yet all their efforts seem to have been in vain.

On 4th December, the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, then Lord President of the Council, said: I think the House would be wise to leave it to the Government. Well, we have left it to the Government for four months, and during those four months there has been intimidation. The resolution still stands and the threat still hangs over the employees of the Durham County Council. Could no more influence be used? The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on that occasion, said: I know something about the psychology of County Durham."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th December, 1950; Vol. 482, c. 24.] It seems to me that his psychiatric treatment has done no good. But if he did not know all about the psychology of County Durham surely there are those whom he could consult. What about his right hon. Friend the Minister of Local Government and Planning? Does not he know something about that part of the world? And then the Minister of Defence—that staunch champion in international affairs of freedom and the British way of life. Has he been asked to use his influence, and if he has used it has there been no result? What about the Home Secretary? Could he not have been called in?

If powerful persuasion was needed, surely there is someone, a real expert, who has had more experience in the use of powerful persuasion than anybody else in this House—the Patronage Secretary. What a wealth of local knowledge there was for the Government to use, and not only local knowledge but local talent. It seems to me that it has not been used. It seems to me that never have there been so many people doing so little to deal with a situation which they regret.

What is to happen? We have already said that we agree about the autonomy of local authorities. We are surprised that more influence has not been exerted. We know that a conference is to take place shortly between the National Union of Teachers and the Durham County Council. I believe it is absolutely essential that before that conference takes place our opinion should be made quite clear by this Government and by this House not only to the National Union of Teachers, not only to the Durham County Council and not only to the people who, because they think it is right are refusing to answer the question, but also to the public as a whole. I agree that the Government have stated that they regret the decision of the Durham County Council. I agree that in their letter they have said they are not in favour of coercion. But I do feel that we want from this House a more definite and clearer expression of our opinion.

We have used, in this Motion, the identical words which the Government have used. I hope the Government will accept it, and I hope it will go out from this House tonight as a unanimous decision of the Government and the House of Commons as a whole, that we regret the resolution which was passed by the Durham County Council. I think also that we should have a perfectly clear statement from the Government that they do oppose intimidation.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

The right hon. Lady ought to be fair on this question of intimidation. Would she ask her hon. Friends who represent constituencies in Ulster why it is necessary for people to state their religion when they vote?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

We are all opposed to intimidation——

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I think we are all opposed to it. If the hon. Gentleman is not opposed to intimidation, and if he thinks the resolution is right, he has only got to say so and, if necessary, vote accordingly. I believe that the enormous majority of the House are opposed to intimidation and regret the resolution, and want to see that resolution rescinded. All we ask is that the Government should make their position clear tonight. Statements have been made, but they have not been made clear enough to enable the public to understand the Government's point of view. We must have it from them that they are opposed to intimidation and will support those who resist it.

It seems to me that tyranny and intimidation have spread in other countries not because the majority of the people were willing to acquiesce in the suppression of their freedom, but because they did not resist and they had no confidence that they would have the support of those in authority if they did resist. That must not happen here.

7.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I beg to move, to leave out from "House," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: while approving the attitude already adopted by His Majesty's Government, and being anxious not to interfere with the autonomy of local authorities, hopes that the discussions now proceeding between the Durham County Council and some of the associations concerned will lead to an amicable settlement of the points at issue. May I first express the sorrow of my hon. Friends who represent Durham constituencies at the death of Colonel Vickery? Although he has been a formidable opponent of ours, we are sorry to learn that he has passed away. I should like on behalf of hon. Members on these benches to express our deepest sympathy with his widow and daughter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

We are debating a situation which is described as a "closed shop." I prefer to call it an attempt to get a 100 per cent. trade union membership. As I listened to the right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Miss Horsbrugh) making an impassioned speech about tyranny and victimisation, it occurred to me that hon. Members opposite must surely have short memories. If ever a party victimised and intimidated working people, they did. I have lived in Durham County all my life. I have been a trade unionist all my life. Durham County is a staunch trade union county. The history of its fight for better wages and conditions and for recognition of trade unionism is ingrained in the people of Durham. They have great faith in their trade unions, and this spirit has passed from father to son and it has built up the great trade union movement in our county.

The right hon. Lady referred to the making of appointments. I was a member of an education committee for eight years and I remember that if ever there was a vacancy for a headship, Freemasonry was there on the job and Conservatives became Socialists over night. The background of Durham must be kept in mind if one is to understand why this dispute has arisen. Let me tell the Opposition that a non-unionist is not looked upon with any favour in Durham County.

Photo of Mr Roland Jennings Mr Roland Jennings , Sheffield, Hallam

That is not right. I have lived there all my life.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I am not talking about Conservatives in Durham who support non-unionists. I am talking about working people in Durham who work in mines and factories and who love trade unionism as much as anything that one could think of. We think that a man who will take the benefits that a trade union has secured for its members, and who will take the benefits of all the activities of a trade union without contributing towards it, is not a desirable kind of person with whom to work.

In my 25 years in the mines I have often been concerned with the non-union question. I have known instances when we have refused to go down the pits with non-unionists, when we have made them travel by themselves and when we have exhibited every kind of awkwardness to force those men to recognise their obligations. We also regard a non-unionist as a person, who, when a dispute arises, is a menace to the union in its fight for better wages and conditions. He cannot be trusted by his workmates who are trade unionists, and that ofen causes trouble in industry when this issue rears its head.

Why does this attitude arise? It comes about because of Tory vindictiveness against us. In the days that have passed they have, in my experience, always supported the employers in any fight that has taken place. I have never once known the Opposition stand against the employers when trade unions were fighting for their existence. They never complained when active trade unionists in 1926 were refused employment because of the crime of being active trade unionists.

I could give many examples but I intend to give only two. One is as recent as 11th March. I have observed the courtesies of the House by writing to the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser), and I have read the letter to him. As he had a prior engagement he asked to be excused from being present. The right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side has talked about victimisation. This letter which is headed: Hon. Member of Newcastle West. bears the address "30, Woodhill Avenue, Morecambe," and is dated 11th March, 1951. It reads:

"DEAR ERNIE,

"I understand that a matter to be discussed this week in Parliament is the Durham C.C. closed shop.

"Morecambe is in the constituency of Sir Ian Fraser of Morecambe and Lonsdale and perhaps he may be speaking and either yourself or some other M.P. may be joining in. They might find this interesting.

"I have been an active N.U.R. member in various spheres of the working class movement. I was founder-secretary of the Morecambe and Heysham Trades Council between 1940–47. In December 1945 I became the first Labour member of the Morecambe and Heysham Borough Council and retained the seat until May 1949 when I was not in a position to contest the seat again.

"During the period when I was holding that public office a member of the Conservative Party warned me in something like the following words, 'You'll have to watch out. They're after your blood and if you come unemployed you wont get work again so easily if at all. The Harbour Ward committee of the Conservative Party discussed the matter last night when they were asked to pledge themselves to preventing you or any of your party obtaining employment in the town.'

"That is clear enough. I came out of work last September. I am still out of work and am likely to remain so unless I can find some authority outside Tory Party control who will find me employment.

Yours fraternally,

T. E. NIXON."

I have given the information to the House, with the man's name and address. It can be verified by the Tory Party in Morecambe. I hope we shall not hear any more about so-called intimidation.

Photo of Mr Malcolm McCorquodale Mr Malcolm McCorquodale , Epsom

Did the hon. Member say that the gentleman belonged to the National Union of Railwaymen, and that it is the nationalised railways that have discharged him?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

The right hon. Gentleman will be able to check in HANSARD what I said. I do not want to read the letter again. This man was an active N.U.R. member of the various working-class movements, and that is what happened to him when he was out of a job.

Photo of Mr Malcolm McCorquodale Mr Malcolm McCorquodale , Epsom

It is a nationalised industry that will not give him a job?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I take another example which deals with the question of intimidation, and I think this ought to be noted, as the name of the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) appears among those who voted against this Motion. After the 1926 strike, our men who were active trade unionists were denied employment. They were unemployed for years and they travelled far and wide to get a job. In the House of Commons a Motion was moved by Mr. Sullivan on 2nd March, 1927. It read: That, in view of the large number of men who have not yet been able to resume their customary employment in the mining industry, this House urges the Government to take energetic measures to augment the volume of available employment in the industry and to secure other employment for those miners who cannot be re-absorbed; further, this House deplores the action of those employers in the industry who, in the re-engagement of men, are discriminating against active trade unionists. The right hon. Member for Woodford was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Government of that time.

What was the evidence of Lord Lawson, who was M.P. for Chester-le-Street at that time. [Laughter.]That may be a laughing matter to the Conservatives but these are the tragedies we went through. In putting his case Lord Lawson said: Although some of these officials"— he was referring to trade union officials— are very mild, moderate and decent men, they have not been employed. Up and down the County of Durham…owners have refused to meet the men, not Communists, but men of the best type of character in this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1927; Vol. 203, c. 473–4 and 502.] He went on to say—these were not his words but this is what he meant: If you want to see a conflict more prolonged and more ruinous in this industry than ever before you have only to carry on in this way to see the bitterness that will arise. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford voted against that Motion, when we were asking that active trade unionists should not be victimised in the seeking of employment. There was no howl against the employers then. What was happening was that they intended to crush the mining community, and that was why they gave the support they did on that issue.

That background has resulted in the majority of the members of the Durham County Council being men who lived through those years; and they have strong feelings on the trade union question. We also remember the chronic unemployment and distress when non-unionists were given preference for jobs in order to get wages down because trade unionists would not accept less than trade union rates. That is the background against which the House has to discuss the dispute with the Durham County Council.

In spite of this, I believe that the Government's attitude has been right. I have never had any use for the non-unionist, for I believe that the Government has more chance of success by negotiating with the Council than by trying to adopt the "big stick" method which the Tory Party used against the Chester-le-Street Board of Guardians in 1927. They put commissioners in and abolished the elected representatives of the people. What was the crime of those elected representatives? They had refused to pay the meagre scales of relief to unemployed and poor people which the Tory Party demanded at that time. Regardless of democracy or the democratic vote, the Tories abolished the board of guardians and replaced it by commissioners. The right hon. Member for Woodford voted for this. No one was allowed in at their meetings when the commissioners made decisions. Is that the way the Tory Party now want to deal with the Durham County Council? Is that the method they would have adopted if they had had the power to force this issue in the County of Durham? It is a good job that the Tory Party are not in power.

I want to say something to the Durham County Council. Having said what I have done already, I add this quite sincerely. I believe that the job of the Durham County Council is that of administrators and not trade union organisers. I say that for the simple reason that I believe that trade union organisers are the people to organise the membership of the unions and the people who ought to take action to force these individuals into the unions—and that ought to come from the bottom and not from the top.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

Why not? Hon. Gentlemen opposite are doing it with some of their professional unions.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

There is another point. We hear the charge that the central Government are always interfering with local autonomy and that they are taking a lot of powers away from local authorities. Yet today the Opposition are arguing that we should take County Durham by the scruff of the neck and teach it a serious lesson because of this issue.

Photo of Mr Roland Jennings Mr Roland Jennings , Sheffield, Hallam

It is not the administration of the Durham County Council which is at fault; it is the methods it is employing in administering.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I do not think I ought to take any notice of that intervention. I know the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings) well, and I know that when he gets pent up he must vent his feelings. I believe that the Government's approach to the problem is correct. The Durham County Council have decided that they will not implement the resolution about which there has been so much talk. Is it a crime to ask a person if he is a member of a trade union? Speaking for myself, I see nothing wrong in it. If another union thinks that it is wrong, the Durham County Council is entitled to meet it and take into serious consideration the views expressed if they are the representative opinion of the members of that union. Likewise, I hope that the N.U.T. will go out on an organising campaign with some energy behind it and get all the teachers into the union.

We have talked about the closed shop. I consider that the lawyers' union is a closed shop.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

Ask the hon. and learned Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Hutchinson).

Hon. Members:

What about the doctors?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I consider that the B.M.A. is a closed shop.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

Is the hon. Member suggesting by that remark that there is any compulsion whatever to join the British Medical Association?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

What I can say, as one who has sat on a local authority for many years, is that, when authorities have advertised for a doctor, the B.M.A. have prevented the doctors from applying.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

Will the hon. Member agree that, whenever the advertisements of his authority have been rejected, it has been because his authority has not observed a national agreement on remuneration?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

Is not the Dental Board a closed shop? The Dental Board says that it will have no foreign dentists in this country, but the miners are forced to take in foreigners when it suits the Opposition.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

We have had hundreds of foreign dentists.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I have never heard the Opposition talk about the Dental Board's ban on foreigners entering the dental profession. Is not the General Nursing Council a closed shop? A fee is payable, and if the fee is not paid the individual's name can be erased. Without this, a person cannot term herself a "State registered nurse," and, therefore, it is a closed shop. I have never heard the Opposition talk about this. I hope the Opposition will be able to "take" all this. I can take all they have to say.

What is behind all this agitation? I will tell the House. The Tories have harnessed to this dispute their hopes of reviving Toryism in Durham. For a long time they have been a decaying force. There is not a single Tory representative in the House from Durham County. There are about 10 Conservatives on the Durham County Council of about 117 members. In recent weeks at Wickham in County Durham the Tory Party have been running a Tory school teacher candidate on the issue of the closed shop. It was a Tory seat, but Labour won it back with a majority of 600 on this issue. The Tories have been so long in the wilderness that they hope that this issue will bring them out of oblivion.

I ask the House to vote for the Amendment, which protects the autonomy of local government and agrees that the Government should seek a settlement between the unions and the County Council. Of that, the Teachers' Union journal this week said: Meanwhile, it is vital that there should be no wild talk that would confuse and prejudice discussion at the forthcoming meeting. But the Tory Party have brought forward this Motion. I urge my friends in Durham County to accept the Government's advice. I say to those in the employment of the Durham County Council who are not in the union: "Be men and get inside and not take advantage of something for which you have not paid." The Tories were never the friends of the trade unions and they are not their friends tonight; and it is in that spirit that I move the Amendment.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I beg to second the Amendment.

It was quite evident during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) that this issue can be fraught with political feeling. My own view is that it would be very dangerous indeed for this issue to be so fraught. I am speaking tonight on behalf of the National Union of Teachers, who would deplore any political feeling being brought into this issue.

I believe that the Motion has not been put down by the Conservative Party in the interests either of the trade unions of Durham or of the Durham education service, but in the interests of their political persuasion and their political party. Therefore, I say definitely that in putting down this Motion the Tory Party is in danger of exacerbating feelings that already exist. It is quite clear from my hon. Friend that Durham, like South Wales, has had a tragic trade union history. I will not digress far from the issue before us, but I can remember in the Rhondda Valley the white shirt being put on the non-unionsist. I know. I worked in the pits and I can remember very well that miners who stood up for trade unionism in the pits were ostracised and denied work in South Wales. I presume that it must have been the same in Durham. We have to recognise the deep historic feeling that exists as a result of the tragic experience through which Durham has passed.

We are concerned tonight with the employment of teachers and others in the Durham County Council. I say without any equivocation that in my opinion the Government, in view of the feeling that has existed on both sides—on the one side that of the County Council and on the other side that of the trade unions concerned—have pursued up to now the wisest, the best and the most helpful policy. I listened to the speech of the right hon. Lady carefully and I could not understand the basis of the attack——

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I did not attack. I was very careful. I quite agree with the hon. Gentleman that there should be no heat in this matter. I only invited the Government, in the Motion I put to the House, to repeat what they had already said and what I thought we could all agree upon.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

But the right hon. Lady went further.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

Wait one minute please. The Motion says: That this House regrets the decision of the Durham County Council.… The Government have already said that. In a letter they said they regretted the coercion. I only wanted that to be said with the unanimous approval of the House of Commons. There need be no attack from one side or the other and no political heat.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I followed the right hon. Lady carefully and, apart from any histrionics, I could not understand the point of her attack upon the Government.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

Then what was it? Why put down a Motion?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman really wants a reply? It was not an attack. I thought that in all probability the Government would accept the Motion. I tried to make it clear that I thought, and I still think, that it would be good if the public were informed of the opinion W the Government before the conference takes place. Also, that the people who have refused, the National Union of Teachers, and the Durham County Council should know the unanimous opinion of the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr Moss Turner-Samuels Mr Moss Turner-Samuels , Gloucester

Would the right hon. Lady say why the Motion was put down?

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I am sorry to use these words but, having regard to the reply of the right hon. Lady, I must say it seems to me that this is political propaganda and political humbug.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

Quite frankly, the National Union of Teachers do not want this issue thrown into the maelstrom of political antagonism and political propaganda.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

May I put one question to the hon. Member because I wish to follow his argument? The Motion on the Order Paper, to which he is seconding an Amendment, expresses with complete accuracy, does it not, the view of the National Union of Teachers? The N.U.T. do regret this decision. Does the hon. Member ask the House to disagree with them?

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I shall be specific, even if I offend my friends. The National Union of Teachers do not favour any compulsion upon teachers to join the N.U.T. They believe that the power of their union is based upon voluntary membership and that for that membership there should be moral suasion. That is the decision of the N.U.T. and it is quite clear and definite.

The real issue before us is: Is it, or is it not wiser, having regard to the present situation, that this House should not express an opinion? I do not know whether my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education would confirm that? I understand that a meeting of the N.U.T. with representatives of the Durham County Council has been arranged for 30th March. If hon. Members opposite are not anxious for political propaganda, why not wait for that meeting to take place? I am sure that my right hon. Friend will not be absolutely passive about this matter. I am quite certain that his opinion and his weight will be used to find an amicable solution.

My right hon. Friend cannot interfere at this moment. If he did, I am quite sure that I and others would resist such interference. He has to wait and see what the result of that might be. He must not dare to interfere and to say that teachers in Durham must not belong or must belong to an organisation. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not the point."] My point is all right. The only point of interference that my right hon. Friend can make is when there is a disservice to the cause of education in Durham. If the service is endangered, he has a right to interfere; then, he has the right and the obligation put upon him by Parliament to say that the education service in Durham must not be damaged, and therefore he interferes; but he cannot interfere in a direct manner, as far as membership of the union is concerned, until that occurs.

I make this my final plea tonight to my hon. Friends opposite. Do not let us have a Division tonight.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

Let it go—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw the Amendment."] No, hon. Members opposite should withdraw their Motion. I have been here too long to be side-tracked by them. Let us have a free field for negotiation between the representatives of the Durham County Council and the unions who are concerned in this issue. I believe that given that free field, without any political pressure, without any sort of suggestion of political propaganda and party advantage, a solution will be found if the House is wise enough to allow the matter to go to that conference on 30th March.

8.12 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Cuthbert Headlam Lieut-Colonel Sir Cuthbert Headlam , Newcastle upon Tyne North

I should like to thank the hon. Member for Hough-ton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) for the kind words he said about Colonel Vickery, the Chairman of the Moderate Party in the Durham County Council. He was a personal friend of mine whose great services in the cause of local government in Durham, though they may not always have met with the approval of the majority of the Durham County Council, were greatly appreciated in the county as a whole. Colonel Vickery had strong views on the matter we are discussing here tonight, and I know how much energy and hard work he gave to trying to bring about a different attitude in the Council. I, also, like the last speaker, do not intend to detain the House for very long, because I know how many Members wish to take part in the debate, but as I am probably the only Member on this side of the House who has served on the Durham County Council and who knows their ways, it would be a little strange if I did not say a few words about their present policy.

I should think that the Durham County Council are the most politically-minded body that ever existed, and it is a most interesting body upon which to serve for one who is not of the dominant party. In the County Council there is really only a single party, which decides what the policy of the party is to be in the county, not so much in the Chamber of the Council but in the miners' hall. I was always amused by the way—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I am not saying why not. I am only saying what actually happens, because it does not seem to be known so much outside the county as inside it. The dominant party in Durham are Socialist in their views, which date back to long-ago grievances that have been done away with for many years past.

The hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring was entirely off the subject of today's debate when he dilated upon the grievances of that dim and distant past, when, I quite agree, the miners of the county had a very poor time. I also agree with the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) that the matter upon which we are engaged today is not one for party politics. That is why, I suppose, the Motion was framed in this way, because it would enormously strengthen the position of the Government, if the policy which they said they were going to emphasise is to be carried out, should they have a united House of Commons behind them rather than one side of the House.

Therefore, I hope very much that the Government will accept the Motion which, honestly, I do not believe is put up for party purposes—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—because what good it will do to the Conservative Party in the county of Durham, I really do not know. It certainly will not have very much effect on opinion outside the county. I hope that the Government will accept the Motion, and I believe that it will be of considerable assistance to them in bringing to a satisfactory conclusion this very unsatisfactory state of things which exists in the county.

I agree also that nothing can be done in the matter, not even by the Government, until the meeting has taken place between the National Union of Teachers and the County Council; but until the resolution in the Council has been rescinded I cannot conceive of how genuine trade unionists can be satisfied. Perhaps I should explain my meaning. As I understand it the dispute is really not so much about the merits or demerits of the closed shop, but about an attempted enforcement of such a policy by employers over employees. That is the point at issue as I see it, between the teachers and the County Council—a point which, I think, was taken at a recent meeting of the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters.

The supporters of trade unions in the county of Durham do not seem to appreciate how strange is the position today. The County Council are employers. They are in the position of employers, and they are trying to compel their employees to do something of which their particular unions do not approve. Therefore, the trade unionists on the other side of the House are defeating the objects which, they say, are the objects of trade unionism. I hope that that point will be emphasised strongly in the course of the debate.

The situation which existed hitherto has entirely changed. Now that local government is so large an employer of labour, councils are employers and should no longer be politicians. I hope, therefore, that an arrangement will be brought about which will enable the National Union of Teachers, the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters and other trade unions whose members work for the Durham County Council to preserve the rights and liberties and to count upon the loyalty of their members which is essential for sane and useful trade unionism.

I do not intend to detain the House any longer, but I wanted to bring forward that important point. Speaking as an old member of the county council who has watched its work for many years and realised that there is plenty of good intention among its members, I say that although I do not agree with much of what they do, I always console myself when I remember that sometimes, when I was on the county council and made a vigorous attack on the other side, some members of the other side would come to me afterwards and say, "Colonel you were perfectly right in what you said, but you must remember it is a matter of politics."

8.21 p.m.

Mr. Herbert Batter:

It is not very often I inflict myself on the House and it is with considerable trepidation that I intervene in a matter which vitally concerns Durham County Council. But even a political innocent like myself would never have believed for a moment that the right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Miss Horsbrugh), who moved the Motion, was not following the procedure which has been adopted for a considerable number of months by right hon. and hon. Members opposite—sniping at the Government, and particularly the Postmaster-General, upon all matters connected with trade union activities. We are not so credulous as to be likely to believe that the sole idea behind this Motion is that we should get assistance from hon. Members opposite to settle some difficulties which have arisen in the Durham County Council's area.

The Opposition are doing their job of opposing, as far as they can, and making the situation as difficult for the Government as they can. I should have imagined that anyone interested in getting a settlement of this difficulty would have agreed with the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton). I took down some of the right hon. Lady's words and thought her objection was that certain questions were put to the candidate. Although she said that she was not making an attack on the Government, nevertheless she said it was a curious coincidence that the person who answered the questions actually received the job. I do not know whether that can be considered as a compliment either to the county councillors who were elected, whether it can be considered a compliment to the Government, or how it can be considered, except from the point of view that something had been done which ought not to have been done and, therefore, the Motion appeared on the Order Paper.

I have been a trade union member for nearly 40 years, I have not aspired to or achieved the high office in trade union affairs of many of my hon. Friends, but I certainly had some considerable experience of the activities of the trade union movement. It has always been a source of pride to those of us who have worked in the movement that our activities have been concentrated on raising the standard of life of our people and, incidentally, by raising their standard, raising the standard of the majority of people in the community. It has to be remembered that the trade union movement of this country comprises the bulk of the population. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh."] In spite of that interjection it has to be accepted that trade union members, with their dependents, constitute the bulk of the population, but even if I go no further I would say that at least they constitute the bulk of the people who contribute to the well-being of society——

Photo of Mr Edwin Leather Mr Edwin Leather , Somerset North

Would the hon. Member give us the authority for that statement?

Mr. Butler:

It is on record in HANSARD, in an interjection.

In the course of our trade union activity we have had to face many attempts on the part of bad employers to circumvent the legitimate aspirations of our people. All sorts of schemes have been devised and I suggest that the Conservative Party have been very active recently in an attempt to gather together some of those freaks of nature called Conservative trade unionists. They have at least one on the opposite benches but how far his adherence will continue, and for how long, it is difficult to say. Employers have formed all sorts of organisations for the purpose of weaning our people away from their legitimate paths. They have devised "goose clubs" as we call them and "company unions" and all sorts of sidelines in an attempt to take our people away from the job they ought to be doing.

When I listen to the argument about taking away the liberty of the citizen and to arguments against the closed shop I recall that when I came back from the Navy, in the slump of 1921, I was an active shop steward. I remember an employer telling me, one Friday night, that there was no work for me and when I went to the various factories I found that my name had gone round as a member of my trade union. I was debarred from exercising what is described and lauded on many Tory platforms as the "God-given right to work." I was debarred from working. For the protection of its members the trade union movement has had to devise certain organisations and retain for itself certain powers.

When considering restrictive practices or restrictions on the liberty of the sub- ject, I recall that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), some time ago, was in disfavour with the Chair in connection with a matter which he called "the closed shop in reverse." While we are discussing what is suggested as a closed shop I want to refer to what I think is "the closed shop in reverse" and to refer to a system operating throughout the country in connection with an organisation called "Foremen's and Staffs' Mutual Benefit Society," which, I understand, has an exceedingly small membership. The reason why I refer to this——

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Hutchinson Sir Geoffrey Hutchinson , Ilford North

On a point of order. May I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether it is in order to discuss the affairs of this union in a debate on the Durham County Council?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

I assume that the hon. Member is going to relate his remarks to the debate in some way.

Mr. Butler:

I will try. I am inexperienced compared with some of my hon. Friends and some right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I will endeavour to relate my remarks to the question of the closed shop.

I would say that, while we have criticism of the closed shop, there are certain things going on which are making it difficult for the trade unions to do their legitimate job, and I hope that the moneys which are being paid from certain corporations and commissions set up by the Labour Government will no longer go to this organisation—the Foremen's and Staffs' Mutual Benefit Society—which debars trade unionists from enjoying the benefits which have accrued to them from these commissions and these boards.

I hope that the whole of this discussion will proceed in the light of the fact that the Tory Party are, in this Motion, opposing trade unionism in this country, and that, while they talk of the theoretical liberties which the citizens ought to enjoy, those of us who have had to suffer at the hands of employers remember that the liberty we got was the liberty of the unemployment exchange and the cold hearth at home.

8.30 p.m.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

So far as I am concerned, the issue before the House is bound up with the anxiety which has been expressed by the National Union of Teachers about the length of time it has taken to put the expressed policy of the Minister of Education into effective operation by the Durham County Council.

That is my approach to the matter, and I hope the House will realise the implications of the statement of my right hon. Friend the Member for Moss Side (Miss Horsbrugh) when she referred to the fact that the organ representing the National Union of Teachers had stated that further action was required at the very highest level, the operative words, if I may say so, being "further action." As far as I am concerned, and I agree in this with some hon. Gentlemen opposite, I would have preferred that this debate should have taken place after the conference had been held between the local branch of the National Union of Teachers and the Durham County Council. I think that, tonight, we are all trying to approach this matter from a non-political point of view, because we are all genuinely anxious that it should be settled, primarily, from the point of view of the benefit of the educational services under the Durham County Council.

Several Hon. Members:

Several Hon. Members rose——

Miss Ward:

I am not going to be quite as brief as some hon. Members think. I wish to continue my remarks.

I want to call the attention of the House to a Question which was asked and the answer given by the Minister of Education as long ago as November last. The right hon. Gentleman was asked: Whether school teachers employed in schools coming within the jurisdiction of his Department must, as a condition of their employment, be members of the National Union of Teachers. His reply was: I impose no such requirement. I have, moreover, informed the Durham local education authority, who are contemplating such a requirement, that, while I favour teachers joining a union or professional organisation, I do not consider that they should be coerced into doing so by the action of their employing authority. If I may say so, with very great respect, to the right hon. Gentleman, that was a very conservative statement of fact. Then, he went on to say: If the authority were to persist in the line of action proposed, they might find themselves as a result, unable to discharge their statutory obligations. I could not remain indifferent to this threat to the educational service, and, if need be, I should use the powers which the Act gives me to prevent it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 69.] Again, the operative phrase in that statement is "were to persist in." The real objective of my hon. and right hon. Friends in putting down this Motion tonight is to find out what is in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, and to discover how long he thinks it is wise for this situation to remain as it is at present. I am quite certain that all Members of the House realise that there is very considerable anxiety, not only among the teachers, but among all sections of the community in Durham County and in the North of England at the continued persistence of this state of uncertainty in Durham County, and that we are all extremely anxious that the matter should be put right at the earliest possible moment.

The right hon. Gentleman having made that statement in the House, went, if I remember rightly, to County Durham, to Sunderland, to open a new school. Again, if I remember rightly, the right hon. Gentleman there met the local branch of the National Union of Teachers, who expressed to him their deep anxiety at the position in County Durham. The right hon. Gentleman, very properly and following the line which the Government have taken in this matter, and supported by a considerable number of hon. Members opposite, expressed his view in the following terms: It is no part of the bosses' job to do the trade unions' work. I have made my position quite clear. That, again, indicates the view, I am quite certain, of the Government and of hon. Members opposite. But still we have that most uncertain position continuing in County Durham, and we have had, as was pointed out by my right hon. Friend this most unfortunate incident of the appointment of a headmaster out of a selected number of candidates, who if I may say so without offence, "ratted" on his own professional union. If I am right in my assessment of the speeches that have been made by hon. Members opposite, they believe in loyalty to their unions. Therefore, I do not think that any of us would be particularly happy that the appointment of a headmaster for a very important school in County Durham should have been made on the basis of his really being disloyal to his own professional association.

Photo of Mr James Murray Mr James Murray , North West Durham

Is the hon. Lady not aware that, in the case of another appointment, when six applicants were interviewed five answered the question?

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

I do not want to be taken off my line of argument, but I think that if the hon. Gentleman will consult the Press reports he will see that the five losing applicants in this matter also answered that they were not prepared to answer the question, but that one of the applicants did, in fact, say that she was a member of her trade union. If I may say so, with great respect, the hon. Gentleman has got the thing the wrong way round. I do not propose to go into that matter because there is no need to do so. The fact is really quite clear.

My opinion is—and it is contained, as hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree, in the Press reports of the various meetings that have taken place in the eastern section of the Durham County Council Educational Association—that when this whole question of the appointment of the headmaster came up for consideration, not only was deep concern and anxiety expressed by people who held different political views from those of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but that senior members of the Socialist Party themselves expressed very grave doubts as to the wisdom of the chairman of the selection committee in putting that' question to the applicants.

It will be within the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentlemen opposite that a very important member of the Socialist Party—I am not quite certain whether he has resigned or whether he has been expelled, but whatever has happened he is out of the Socialist Party on this issue—and another very important Socialist supporter on Durham County Council, a certain Councillor Sullivan, expressed their gravest doubts about the action of the chairman of the Selection Committee.

Therefore, I do not think I am being unfair in saying that on this persistence on the part of Durham County Council in questioning candidates for appointments in schools, doubts have been expressed not only by political opponents but also by members of the Socialist Party. They are loyal members of the trade unions, who take exactly the same point of view as that expressed by the Minister of Education in Sunderland when he said it was no part of the bosses' job to do the work of the trade unions.

No doubt anyone reading the full report of this Education Committee would realise the very deep cleavage that exists amongst members of Durham County Council. But what rather alarmed me, and I think the Minister of Education will be equally alarmed to hear this, is that the chairman of the Committee on that occasion, County Councillor Peart, in answering criticism, made this observation, which I think was extremely unfair on the right hon. Gentleman: But get away from the idea that Mr. Tomlinson is not in favour of the closed shop. We have a very deep affection for the right hon. Gentleman's personality, though not for his politics, and we know that when County Councillor Peart made that observation he was not putting forward the view of the right hon. Gentleman. But one can very well see that among supporters of the Durham County Council a statement of that kind does arouse certain suspicions. Whatever our politics, I am sure all of us very much regret that what is tantamount to an attack on the faith of the right hon. Gentleman has been made.

Councillor Sullivan said: I am an ardent trade unionist, but my point is that the initiative for a closed shop policy should be taken by the trade unions and not the employer. What I am asking for today, and what I think will be in accord with all moderate opinion right through our Northern counties is for leadership from the right hon. Gentleman in this very difficult situation.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The hon. Member has had it.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) quoted the other day the answer that has been sent by the Clerk to Durham County Council to the right hon. Gentleman through the instrument of the Ministry of Health. Quite apart from any party view, all of us who have very great respect for Ministers of the Crown feel that the right hon. Gentleman should have taken exception to the tone of that letter. The difficulty that has occurred in this matter, of course, was that the letter from the Clerk to Durham County Council was only placed in the Library of the House of Commons. It was not made public and, therefore, the general community in the North of England were unaware of the very extraordinary tones of that letter from the Clerk to the Durham County Council to Ministers of the Crown.

I noticed that in his original comment on this issue the right hon. Gentleman said he would have to take note of any persistence by the Durham County Council in the policy they have pursued. I presume that he would take action under Section 66 of the Education Act, 1944, and, for the purposes of the record, I want to read out what power the right hon. Gentleman possess under that Act. This is the relevant section—Section 68: If the Minister is satisfied, either on complaint by any person or otherwise, that any local education authority or the managers or governors of any county or voluntary school have acted or are proposing to act unreasonably with respect to the exercise of any power conferred or the performance of any duty imposed by or under this Act, he may…contingent upon the opinion of the authority or of the managers or governors, give such directions as to the exercise of the power or the performance of the duty as appear to him to be expedient. The Minister has power under Section 68 of that Act to issue directions. Nobody wants those directions to be issued. Even in my part of the world we believe in local authorities working without interference from the central authority.

In conclusion, I would emphasise that it is apparent that a wide section of the right hon. Gentleman's own supporters in the Durham County Council, the National Union of Teachers and a very wide variety of people who have faith in local government administration ask the right hon. Gentleman to give leadership here. We hope that by accepting our Motion tonight he will give such leadership in the direction of carrying out the principles in which he and so many of his supporters profoundly believe.

8.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I do not propose to follow the arguments of the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Miss Ward) for I wish to draw attention to matters arising from this problem which so far have not been discussed in the debate. I should like to say at the outset that I read carefully the speeches of the Adjournment debate of 15th November.

It seems to me that if the Motion were carried it would be understood in the country that the Government were opposed to any local authority using compulsion to create trade union membership. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear those notes of approval from the other side of the House of what I have just said.

Photo of Mr Edwin Leather Mr Edwin Leather , Somerset North

The Government have said that.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

That enables me to draw a conclusion which is of vital importance. May I remind the House that it was not until the punitive Trades Disputes Act of 1927 that it was made impossible for a local authority to compel its employees to join a trade union. That was done by Section 6 of the 1927 Act—incidentally it had nothing to do with the General Strike. It was introduced by the Conservative Party and was in the form of an Amendment by the Attorney-General. That was the first time this restriction was placed upon local authorities. In 1946 the Labour Government repealed that Act, including Section 6. What I am suggesting to the House is that an attempt is now being made, through the incident of the Durham County Council case, to get over repeal of the 1927 Act as far as Section 6 is concerned.

I do question without any hesitation the genuineness of the Conservative Party in this matter. In the debate on 15th November it was said that it was a reasonable thing that local authorities should encourage their workpeople to be members of trade unions. On the other side of the House it was said that no exception could be taken to that. After the repeal of the 1927 Act in 1946, the largest local authority in Great Britain, the London County Council, amended their standing orders, to encourage—"encourage" was the word used—their employees to join their appropriate trade unions.

What did the Conservative Party Leader of the Conservative Opposition on the London County Council say about that? He said that the word "encouragement" was a threat. The hon. Member for Tynemouth used the same word tonight. She said that the attitude of the Durham County Council was a threat. The hon. Member opposite—the Liberal Party Member—ought not to shake his head. I heard her say it. The hon. Lady said that the Durham County Council's attitude was a threat. I am now pointing out that the Member for Hampstead (Mr. H. Brooke), who was Leader of the Conservative Opposition on the London County Council in 1946 said, when we were using the word "encouragement" in that respect, that it was a threat.

I am not attacking the Liberal Party for the moment. The hon. Gentleman said it was a threat. The point I am making is that I question the sincerity of the Tories, because although on 15th November, in the Adjournment debate, they said it was a reasonable thing for local authorities to encourage their employees to join their appropriate trade unions, when the London County Council did that very thing we were accused by the Tories of threatening.

What is the trade union attitude? I can speak with a degree of assurance and confidence on this matter because I had years of trying to carry out a liberal policy of individual freedom amid these traditional difficulties of trade unionists; and they are very real difficulties, and I want to tell the House about them. The aim of all trade unions is to get 100 per cent. trade union membership. No one objects to that. I say—and I am quite sure that no sensible person would disagree with it—that the type of membership a trade union wants is an enlightened, convinced membership of people who know why they are in membership, and on a voluntary basis if possible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I want to come to some of the practical difficulties.

A lot of humbug is talked from time time to time in this House about freedom. Freedom is not an absolute thing. It is a conditioned thing. Let me refer to what the local authorities did in 1939—many Conservative local authorities. Objection has been taken to Durham County Council's serving notice on employees and then offering to re-employ them. Hon. Members, particularly those in the legal profession, will remember a very important legal case affecting local authorities those arose in 1939, the case of Marrison v. Bell. That case laid down that until an employee was sacked by notice whilst he was off sick he should continue to draw full wages. Not one, but hundreds, of local authorities in 1939 served upon their employees notices terminating their services, and then they offered to re-employ them on the understanding that they would contract out of their legal rights so far as sickness was concerned.

I took the trouble to go to the Library and read the Index for HANSARD for 1939, and the case of Marrison v. Bell was not raised in the House; the Conservatives were not worried about that restriction on the liberty of the individual; they were not worried that, by the method of notice, that individual was being compelled to forego his legal rights created by that test case in the appeal court. Freedom is conditional. A childless couple must pay the local education rate although they get no benefit out of it. Is that an abuse of individual freedom? It is certainly a restriction on it. Many other similar examples could be quoted.

Let me now put a practical issue, and I challenge any hon. Member to give the answer to this question. I as a trade union official have been trying to find the answer for over 20 years. If there are 200 men working in a firm, and 199 of them are in a trade union and say to me as a trade union officer—never mind about the employer—that they will not work with the one and only man who will not take up his trade union card——

Photo of Mr Christopher Hollis Mr Christopher Hollis , Devizes

Is the situation not rather this? Supposing 199 union workmen say that they will not allow the 200th workman to be coerced, what will the hon. Member do?

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I am putting this problem to the House——

Major Hicks-Beach:

Answer the question.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I should be very grateful if hon. Members would allow me to make my speech in my own way.

Mr. Vane:

The hon. Gentleman invited the challenge.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

When this matter was last debated on 15th November, the question of individual freedom was raised, and the point I am trying to put is that when 199 men say they will not work with the 200th man because he does not hold a trade union card, the problem is balanc- ing the liberty of the 199 men refusing to work with the non-union man against the liberty of the one man to choose whether or not he will hold a trade union card.

Photo of Mr Christopher Hollis Mr Christopher Hollis , Devizes

But the 199 are not saying that in this case.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

That is a practical difficulty which a trade union official has had to face, and if the House can give the answer to that question I should be very pleased indeed.

Photo of Sir Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman , Bath

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me saying so, he is asking the question the wrong way round. Is it not the case here that the National Union of Teachers are saying that it is their freedom to be in a relationship with the employer in which the employer cannot force them to join the union? It is the exact opposite of the condition the hon. Gentleman is now putting before the House.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to follow the argument through. I have given the practical difficulty involved, and other cases could be cited. At the Brighton Power Station, of 900 men there was one outside the union.

Mr. Vane:

But this is Durham.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I know this is Durham, and I am now coming to the point. There was one man outside the union and the rest of the men said they would not work with him. My point is that—and this is why I support the Amendment—if local authorities have not got the same power as private employers to impose whatever conditions of service they wish, obvious difficulties follow. When 199 men refuse to work with one other man a problem is created, not only for the trade union but for the employer, because the employer is forced to decide whether he will have the 199 men or whether he will respect the conscience of the one individual and lose the other 199.

I will relate this to Durham. No one, I am happy to say, has so far been sacked. The right hon. Lady indicated that negotiations are going on. My colleague the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) gave the story in the main of the great trade union tradition in Durham, mainly based upon the mining industry, which, it is interesting to know, is the one industry which has been so persecuted by employers and by Governments. Their tradition of trade unionism is the strongest that one can find in this country. I have no doubt that a great many miners carry that tradition with them when they go into the County Hall in Durham.

I am also aware that in the past because of these 150 men out of 200, the Durham County Council have been asked by the trade unions to bring in compulsory trade union membership in certain sections. It is, however, a rather ironical position with which we are faced. I can imagine Durham miners observing any organisation of any trade union and welcoming, if there are only a few non-unionists, the obligation on every man to be in his union. It is a novel thing to find a trade union that objects. The union that has a closed shop so far as negotiating machinery is concerned is that of the teaching profession.

Photo of Mr Ralph Morley Mr Ralph Morley , Southampton, Itchen

The union has not a closed shop so far as negotiating machinery is concerned. On the Teachers Panel of the Burnham Committee there is not only the National Union of Teachers but the Association of Teachers of Technical Institutes, the Association of Assistant Masters, the Association of Assistant Mistresses, the Headmasters' Association and the Headmistresses' Association.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I have no doubt that there are many organisations representing many teachers and that restrictive practices apply there.

The Amendment supports what is actually taking place. It would be a very bad thing whilst negotiations are going on for this House to express regret. The right hon. Lady made a strong point on the Adjournment debate about the word "regret" being used. I entirely agree with her. That was the first statement of fact, but it did not go far enough, because the Minister not only made a point of the word "regret" but made the legal point also that we can only advise. Let us be quite clear about this. If we are going to regret every case of local authorities imposing compulsory trade unionism, that is very strong compulsion indeed. I hope the House will support the Amendment and that we shall finally have an amicable settlement, as, I believe, will be the outcome in Durham.

9.4 p.m.

The Minister of Education (Mr. Tomlin-son):

This debate has been initiated on the question of Durham County Council, and we have been asked by the right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Miss Horsburgh) to accept the suggestion that the Motion was put down purely for the purpose of assisting the Government. I do not think that we should either "kid" one another or "kid" ourselves. Had the Motion been put down in the right hon. Lady's name, supported by the eminent hon. Member for Luton (Dr. Hill), who is to reply, maybe I would have accepted that view.

When we notice the names of Mr. Churchill, Mr. Eden, Mr. Butler, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I am reading from the Order Paper, which I understand is quite in order—including also the Members to whom I have referred, I think it will be realised that it has been put down by the Conservative Party. If the suggestion is being made that all that is wanted is to reiterate what has been said before, then it seems to me that the old idea of getting an elephant to crack a nut is well out of date. [An HON. MEMBER: "What does that mean?"] I have always refused to interpret a joke, and I am not prepared to do it even to meet the requirements of the House.

In the course of the right hon. Lady's remarks, she suggested that we had expressed regret and that it was necessary to express it again. She did not point out to the House that the expression of regret that was made by the two Ministers concerned had achieved the object for which it was made. I will come to the whole case, because I want to go through it step by step to show that neither I nor the Government have moved one step in this direction except with the view of assisting not only in a solution of this problem, but in a solution that will be in the interests of the children who, in this business, have been left outside and are far more important, in my judgment, than either of the contestants.

The right hon. Lady made the best case that it is possible to make for the Amendment. Every argument she used in seek- ing to ask the House to express regret was an argument in favour of the Amendment—the inadvisability of interfering with local autonomy, and expressing the hope that the negotiations which are now in progress will lead to a satisfactory conclusion. Is anyone in the House prepared to suggest that this line is not the best possible for all concerned? Is anyone prepared to suggest that this line is not in the best interests of the children? When it is suggested that there is no politics in this, and that no one is seeking to make political capital out of it, I wonder who was responsible for the leading article in the "Evening Standard." I do not suppose it is suggested that anyone on this side was responsible for it. I am bringing it up at the first opportunity. Certain questions are postulated in this article, such as: Who of the great teachers would have joined a union? Would Arnold of Rugby or Sanderson of Oundle or Jowett of Balliol have joined a union? If I remember correctly Arnold was appointed in 1826, so if he had thought about joining a union he would have been in gaol. I do not need to mention the other two, but if these two men were half as great as I believe they are, both of them would have joined a trade union.

Among other things I happened to be a trade union secretary. The job I am doing now is a passing phase, and some are hoping that it will quickly pass. In my trade union life I have nothing for which to apologise, and when, as a trade unionist, I was working in the trade union movement I found that any man worth his salt would have been glad to join that which was started in the interests of his fellow men. I do not believe that anybody would object to that.

The hon. Member for Tynemouth (Miss Ward) quoted my letter, and I am going to quote it, too, because I want to go through the history of this business and the attitude taken up by the Government. It was on 18th November, 1950, that the County Council sent out the notice, to which reference has been made, calling upon the people in their employment to become members of an appropriate trade union. It read: Appropriate notices will accordingly be given to all those persons in the employment of the County Council who are not members of a trade union to terminate their employment and, at the same time, the persons con- cerned will be offered re-employment on their existing terms with an over-riding condition that they become members of an appropriate trade union before being re-engaged. This letter was sent out by the director of education on the instructions of the County Council. In view of these decisions I shall be obliged if you will request all members of the staff (both teaching and non-teaching) of your Department to produce to you evidence that they are members of an appropriate trade union by submitting for inspection their current membership cards. The attention of any employees unable to comply with this request should be drawn to the decision of the County Council and these employees should be informed that unless they produce evidence of membership by the 25th November, 1950, notice of termination of engagement will be issued in accordance with the terms of paragraph 2 above.On the 27th November, 1950, the attached schedule should be completed by you and despatched to the County Office without delay. That was brought to my notice, and on 22nd November I ordered this letter to be sent, it being signed by one of my officials: I am directed by the Minister of Education to refer to the decision which, he understands, has recently been taken by the Durham County Council, that it shall be a condition of employment of all their employees that they shall be members of an appropriate trade union.The Minister understands that this decision applies to teachers employed by the County Council as local education authority, and that it is the Council's intention to terminate the employment of any teacher who fails to produce evidence by 25th November, 1950, that he is a member of an appropriate trade union.The Minister is in favour of teachers joining a union or professional association, but he considers that they should not be coerced into membership by the action of their employing authority. If the Council were to persist in the line of action proposed, they might find themselves, as a result, unable to discharge their statutory obligations under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1944. The Minister wishes the Council to know that he could not remain indifferent to this threat to the educational service, and that, if it materialised, or seemed likely to do so, he would be compelled to take action, if need be, by the issue of directions under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1944. A similar letter was sent covering the health services. I think the matter was raised by the hon. Member for Luton on the Floor of the House in an Adjournment debate. My right hon. Friend who was Minister of Health at that time called the attention of the County Council to circular 227/46 in a communication to the Clerk of the County Council, which said: I am directed by the Minister of Health to refer to his statement in the House of Commons on 5th December"— That was on a previous occasion— regarding the action of certain local authorities who have required their nursing staff to join trade union or other recognised organisations and have indicated that their employment will be terminated if they fail to do so. The Minister made it clear to all local authorities that he considered that their primary duty as health authorities was to maintain the efficiency and smooth running of their health service and to ensure the welfare of the patients for whom they are responsible. All other considerations must in his view, be regarded as secondary. He trusts that the local authorities will follow this principle in their administration. Both from myself as Minister of Education and from the Minister of Health there had been a clear statement of the attitude of the Government on this question.

There has been no change. Questions have been asked in the House on several occasions. Again, I am reading: MR. BAKER WHITE asked the Minister of Education whether school teachers employed in schools coming within the jurisdiction of his Department must, as a condition of their employment, be members of the National Union of Teachers. My answer on that occasion was the answer I give again tonight: I impose no such requirement. I have, moreover, informed the Durham local education authority, who are contemplating such a requirement, that, while I favour teachers joining a union or professional organisation, I do not consider that they should be coerced into doing so by the action of their employing authority. If the authority were to persist in the line of action proposed they might find themselves, as a result, unable to discharge their statutory obligations. Then I repeat: I could not remain indifferent to this threat to the educational service and, if need be, I should use the powers which the Act gives me to prevent it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 69.]

An Hon. Member:

What is it all about?

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

This is what it is all about. I am charged with the duty of seeing that educational administration under an Act of Parliament is maintained. If any action of an authority, whether approved by this House or otherwise, interferes with or prevents the administration of the Act with which I am charged, it is my duty to see that the Act is carried out.

Photo of Mr Thomas Reid Mr Thomas Reid , Swindon

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that he has sufficient power to insist upon the liberty of the employee?

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

I have all the power that is necessary to indicate to the peole concerned the line of action which would be taken in the event of the circumstances arising which I think it is everybody's duty to prevent.

As a result of the action which I and my right hon. Friend the then Minister of Health took, the resolution of the Durham County Council was not implemented. The fact remains that they had given indication that on a certain date certain action would be taken unless certain things were done, but the resolution was not implemented. Now we are told tonight that it does not matter because it is still on the books. There are thousands of resolutions still on the books of local authorities which have not been implemented, and nobody ever bothers about them. It is action which is taken of which we must take cognisance. The Opposition are asking us to regret the decision of the Durham County Council to do something. But as a result of some action which we have taken they have not done that which they said they would do.

The fact is that the Opposition have put down the wrong Motion. It is not for me to tell those who put their names to the Motion what sort of Motion they should have put down, but if they wanted to raise the question of the further action which has taken place since—with which I will deal in a moment—another Motion should have been put down. The Motion before the House refers only to the decision of the Durham County Council to sack all their employees on a given date and to re-engage them when they brought forward some notice to show that they were members of a trade union or some professional organisation.

What has taken place since? I am aware that in two or three instances recently candidates for posts under the educational authority have been asked whether they were members of a union, and that in one instance the authority appointed a candidate who answered the question in the affirmative, contrary to the advice of the union. I suggest that it does not follow that his answer was the determining factor in his appointment. It may have been a coincidence, or he may have had other qualifications in addition to being a member of a trade union. As a matter of fact, he would not have been in a position to apply for the post at all had he not been a qualified teacher. So were the other five candidates. The right hon. Lady may be surprised when I tell her that the answer of the other five—it seems to me to be peculiar in some respects—was "The union has told me that I have not to answer."

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

If the right hon. Gentleman will look in HANSARD tomorrow he will see that that is what I said; that some of the five had said that their union had advised them not to answer.

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

If there is any clearer way of indicating to a committee that one is a member of a union than saying that one's union has told one not to answer——

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

I think the right hon. Gentleman would agtee with me that that answer was not made by all five applicants. That is the point.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

How does the right hon. Lady know?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the facts I think he will agree with me.

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

All I know is that there are one or two cases about which the Opposition have not spoken. As a matter of fact, more than five people have answered in that way. But this is far too important a matter upon which to be scoring debating points——

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

The noble Lord has not been here all day.

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

All I can suggest to the noble Lord is that up to now, although this debate has been a little heated sometimes, it has been reasonably pleasant, and he might allow it so to continue. I repeat that this question is far too important for the scoring of debating points. I know the attitude that has been taken up by the trade unions, I realise the difficulties of the situation, and I am anxious to get an amicable settlement. I have been responsible for calling together the bodies who can settle this. I do not want at this stage any suggestion, either on the part of the House of Commons or anybody else, which will make it more difficult for that settlement to be reached.

What are the alternatives? Unless we can get the National Union of Teachers and the Durham County Council, who are the education authority concerned, to come together on this matter, circumstances might arise in which I should be compelled to issue a direction. I do not know whether that would be in the interests of the children or whether it would be just a victory for what I call pigheadedness on both sides at the expense of the children. I therefore appeal to the House to support this Amendment or to drop the Motion. I would do it for the sake of, and in the interests of, the children.

I know there is ill-feeling and that I am called upon to do certain things as a consequence of actions that are taken. I would point out to the House that this is not the only authority who ask questions which, in my judgment, ought not to be asked when appointments are being made. I do not want to interfere with every local authority as to the way in which they should carry out their duties. After all, there is something to be said for the autonomy of local authority, and there is something particularly to be said for seeing that the local authorities observe a code which is generally acceptable. It is because I want that code to be applied, and because I want the N.U.T., from their headquarters to have the opportunity of attempting to work out that code with the Durham authority, that I am particularly anxious to solve this problem in the right way. I believe there is a right and wrong way of solving it.

May be I have the power to enforce all that I want to enforce, but I know that a person who is made to do things against his will does not do them in the interests of those who we ought to have most at heart in this business. I have had before me on more than one occasion representatives of education authorities. I have asked them not to do things they were determined to do for the simple reason that I believed that if somebody else took exception on a different line from that which is being taken by the National Union of Teachers at this time, I should have to interfere. Whether that would lead to the amicable arrangement we have always had in this country, I do not know. I say that the attitude we have taken up is a right one, and I ask the House for the confidence expressed in the Amendment rather than in the Motion.

9.30 p.m.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

I am sure I speak for many in the House when I say that the right hon. Gentleman, by the persuasive and genial way in which he has addressed the House, has convinced us that within the limits imposed upon him by the situation and within the limits of local autonomy in this matter, he has made every effort to secure a peaceful and satisfactory solution of the Durham difficulty. At the same time, the House cannot ignore those limits, for those limits seem to me to be a determining factor in the situation.

I think the House will agree that when my right hon. Friend moved the Motion, no one could have spoken in a less aggressive manner than she did. But when the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) put his Amendment to the House—and I am grateful to him for the frank and forthright way in which he did it—it became perfectly clear that there are deeper issues here involved, that there are principles here involved; and I suggest that it is the duty of the House, whatever the conclusion may be, to examine the issue of principle.

If one examines the statements of Councillor Peart, who has spoken in an equally frank and forthright way in the Durham County Council, it is perfectly clear that one of the factors which has led this Council to act in the way they have acted was the existence of this 100 per cent, or closed shop attitude of mind in the trade unions to which the majority of the members of the Durham County Council belong, I state that as a fact. It is what I may call the closed shop attitude which they have seen from the angle of employees which they are now translating into action as employers. Therefore we must, I suggest, look at this principle.

The pity is that too little has been said during this short debate tonight about the principle of individual liberty. Perhaps I may state objectively what I understand the argument to be: That where there is a majority holding a certain view, believing in a certain organisation and belonging to it, then that majority has the right, by action of one kind or another, to compel the minority to join.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

Mr. J. Cooper rose——

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

As I understand it, it is that the majority takes action, believing that the minority should join, to secure that the minority does join.

Photo of Mr John Cooper Mr John Cooper , Deptford

I think that the hon. Member is referring to the point which I made. The party opposite believe in the right to strike, and when there may be 199 men who insist upon one man joining a union, with the sanction if need be of striking, it is no longer a matter of academic argument about liberty—it is a problem which has to be faced.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

I was impressed by the hon. Member's arguments as to difficulty, as to practical difficulty, and as to convenience, and I have no doubt that the closed shop is of great convenience in some circumstances.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

The hon. Member should know.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

I am not going to be diverted in my argument. The point I wish to make is that although—[Interruption.] I had better make this point, as I made it earlier tonight, that the British Medical Association, with which I was once associated, is a voluntary body, and——

Photo of Mr John Baird Mr John Baird , Wolverhampton North East

Mr. Baird (Wolverhampton, North-East) rose——

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

No—I am in the middle of dealing with one interjection already. It is a voluntary body, it includes in its membership less than 80 per cent. of the profession, and no one is compelled to join. Indeed, the British Medical Association are now resisting an effort to make (people join by such authorities as the Durham County Council.

Photo of Mr John Baird Mr John Baird , Wolverhampton North East

Does the hon. Member admit that under the Health Act local dental committees have been set up—and I believe also there are medical committees—under pressure from the doctors and dentists, elected by the professions, and that the Ministry—again, under sanction from the medical and dental professions—have made a forcible levy on every practising dentist? I myself have to pay a levy on my monthly cheque to these local dental committees. They publish a monthly circular—[Interruption.] I am forced to pay that levy to the local dental committee, who publish a circular which very often makes political pronouncements attacking the Government. Furthermore, the local dental committees have a complete and official liaison with the British Dental Association.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

I think the House will not misunderstand me when I say I do not propose to give way again to have introduced here something which has nothing to do with the closed shop, nothing to do as far as I know with the B.M.A. but some question of dental deductions for expenses. I am coming to my main theme. It is that whatever arguments—and I admit the force of some of them—which may be put forward on grounds of convenience, or practical difficulty, or on the grounds, in the past, of a union not having achieved recognition, on the grounds in some cases of the protection of a craft—whatever force those arguments may have had in the past, I assert that it is fundamentally wrong as a matter of principle that any man should be compelled to join any organisation of any kind.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

There are circumstances in which the State for its own protection imposes a majority decision, but let this be said, that where the State decides to conscript men to His Majesty's Forces this House sees that the right of conscience is preserved. The position seems to me to be that where there is an important principle, an important freedom, involved, whether it be in the field of religious freedom, whether it be in the field of freedom on conscientious grounds from military service, it is right that the majority should respect the view of the minority. Believing that principle to be a sound one, I say that the fundamental attitude which has been revealed this evening to be the attitude of a substantial number of right hon. and hon. Members opposite is an attitude which is illiberal and an attitude which is destructive of an important freedom of the individual.

May I refer to one or two practical points, speaking as one who until some months ago was involved in collective bargaining on behalf of a not unimportant body. I hope the House will believe me when I say that this is not to score debating points. If there is one thing that keeps an organisation on its toes it is the right of its members to resign. There is nothing like 100 resignations coming in on one morning for shaking the managing groups and committees of an organisation, and I believe it to be wrong from the angle of trade unionism that members shall be brought in under duress.

Again, any good trade union, association or club wants the right to expel the unsuitable and unwanted member. Are we going to allow a situation to develop in which a union may want to expel a member, on some personal grounds, and that that action must carry with it the loss of the man's livelihood, or, in the case of nationalised industries, the loss of his skill as well? Is that a reasonable proposition? I cannot expect to carry the whole House with me when I say from experience that it is not a bad thing, for the stimulation of a representative body, to have a lesser union, a lesser body, on its fringe. At least, it is not a bad thing to have the prospect of that happening. I am convinced that unless, in fact, membership of a trade union is kept on a voluntary basis, the trade unions themselves will suffer in spirit, in efficiency and in rights.

Photo of Mr Ernest Fernyhough Mr Ernest Fernyhough , Jarrow

I wonder whether the hon. Member would say that a gentleman, who has appeared before the tribunal as being registered as a conscientious objector, ought not, because of that fact, to be sacked by a local authority and not allowed to follow his normal profession?

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

The hon. Member has asked me my view, and I will give it quite freely. I think it would be wrong, on the part of a local authority, to terminate the appointment, but I know that at least one local authority did it during the war. I believe it to be wrong to terminate the appointment of a man who has a conscientious objection, but may I just read a letter——

Photo of Dr Hyacinth Morgan Dr Hyacinth Morgan , Warrington

Dr. Morgan (Warrington) rose——

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

No, I cannot give way. I know the hon. Member too well. [Interruption.] I will ignore the zoological noises. Before leaving the point, I want to read from a letter which I received this morning from someone——

Photo of Dr Hyacinth Morgan Dr Hyacinth Morgan , Warrington

On a point of order. May I ask whether it is in order for the hon. Gentleman to make statements quite contrary to the policy of his organisation?

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

The statements which the hon. Gentleman makes are his responsibility, and not a matter of order.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

The hon. Member for Warrington (Dr. Morgan) was for some time one of my masters, but never, I am glad to say, one of my teachers.

This letter is from someone who describes himself—[Interruption]—no, not as a Tory, but as the President of the Durham Branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Society. [An HON. MEMBER: "A Tory trade union."] May I refer to what he says, because it is very apt? He says that he believed in anybody being a member of a representative union, without a person being coerced into membership. In his trade union, of which he has been branch President, he had found that to persuade paid better dividend than any attempt at coercion. I do commend that argument.

I want to examine what, in fact, has happened, what the Ministers have done, and what has been the result in Durham. As I understand it, the Ministers' position—and I think the words cover the position of both Ministers—is that they have expressed the view that the function of a local authority is to administer the most efficient services, that they are against the unilateral requirement of the kind we have been discussing, and that, in the event of inefficiency, educational or medical, appearing—and in that event only—they are capable of stronger action.

I thought that the question put by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid) to the right hon. Gentleman, "Have you the power to stop this thing?" was the most significant question of all. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly fair in the answer he gave to the House. He made it perfectly plain that it was under default powers or under grant powers that he might subsequently be able to act. What is the position today? Within the limitations imposed upon the Ministers, they have done all that is possible.

Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth

No, we have to get the two sides together.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

They have done all that is possible in an official sense as between Minister and local authority.

Photo of Dr Hyacinth Morgan Dr Hyacinth Morgan , Warrington

As I was instructed to do for the B.M.A.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

But the position still remains in Durham, as in half a dozen authorities in this country, that, in fact, candidates are asked the question whether or not they belong to a union. In principle that is exactly the same as sacking an existing staff and requiring them as a condition of re-employment to produce evidence of trade union membership. For all his persuasiveness and good will, which I readily recognise, the right hon. Gentleman is unable to do very much more except, as he said, to bring the parties together. But it is not only a question of discussions between the N.U.T. and the County Council. There is a principle involved which affects every employee of Durham County Council, and, incidentally, every man, woman and child in this country.

There is a principle of fundamental importance involved. Therefore, I would say this. Bearing in mind local autonomy—and I welcome that part of the Amendment, for it is important to recognise the importance of local autonomy in this matter—and bearing in mind the desire in the third part of the Amendment that a solution shall be reached—a desire we all share—I am bound to ask, in relation to the first part of the Amendment approving the attitude hitherto adopted by His Majesty's Government, whether, in fact, that attitude is such as to lead this House to praise His Majesty's Government.

In this limited field, and to a very limited, and, let us admit it, as yet an unsatisfactory, stage to which the position has been brought—for it is unsatisfactory that the decision should still be on the minute book of the Durham County Council that they can still decide to act on a decision already reached—it is still a matter of public concern and regret that, in fact, they are putting that question to intending candidates, as are a number of authorities.

The point I want to come to is this. How is it that His Majesty's Govern- ment are in so relatively weak a position as to be able only to offer advice until things have gone so badly wrong that they can undertake default or grant powers? How is that? I am not going into the temperamental, emotional and other reasons which led to the repeal of the 1927 Act. I am not a psychiatrist anyway. The fact has to be faced, as was brought out by the hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. J. Cooper), I think, that this situation in which a local authority is free to do this thing has been brought about by the repeal of the relevant subsection of Section 6 of the 1927 Act. Like it or not, that is the position. The Government in this case, and in similar cases, are in the position that their action in repealing that Section—and I refer only to that Section—has been taken by the Durham County Council, on their own statement, to mean that the Government no longer think this to be a reprehensible thing, that the Government no longer forbid it, but leave it to the discretion of the local authority.

The odd part about it is that the Attorney-General in dealing with this Section asked why should not local authorities be in the same position as anybody else, but the right hon. Gentlemen who are dealing with it are bringing in new and special pleading into this field so that local authorities might not do so others do. Here we come to that part of the Amendment that applauds the attitude of His Majesty's Government and I suggest the Government have to make plain exactly what is their attitude. They have tied one hand behind their back and so made themselves ineffectual with Durham County Council. They are rather like drunkards addressing a temperance meeting. I must ask the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson), to forgive me for associating him with drunkards, as I must ask members of Durham County Council to forgive me for associating them with teetotallers.

The point I want to stress is that the Government place themselves in this dilemma, and before we applaud the attitude of His Majesty's Government we are entitled to know what is that attitude. Which is the right one? Is the right one the one that led to the repeal of Section 6, allowing local authorities to do this thing, or the approaches they are now making to local authorities with all the difficulty that arises out of their own action. Where lies the truth? I think it is reasonable to ask this question, as the purpose of the Amendment is to introduce this applauding of the Government and, no doubt with the position of certain prominent members of the Durham County Council in the minds of the Front Bench, to escape the position that hon. Gentlemen opposite might have to participate in approving a Motion regretting the action of Durham County Council.

Already I notice that the guilty conscience is at work in some of the approaches to Durham County Council, for one of the lines taken with Durham County Council was to condemn this unilateral action. If they honestly believed that the closed shop and this kind of totalitarian pressure was wrong they would have condemned bilateral action as well. So I say we are entitled to know exactly where the Government stand in this matter. In putting that I must say this—this matter is of importance outside the field of local government, for the example of local government authority will naturally be followed in other fields, and if there is one thing which has revolted and humiliated the conscience of the people of this country in recent years it is the spectacle of men being hounded from their jobs because they decline to belong to a trade union.

I study, with many other hon. Members—possibly even hon. Members on the other side of the House—the publications of the Labour Party. I studied a document recently——

Photo of Dr Hyacinth Morgan Dr Hyacinth Morgan , Warrington

The hon. Member does not understand them.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

Maybe; I must come to the hon. Member for Warrington for understanding. I studied this document and I discovered that amongst the freedoms to which they attach themselves there are a number of things like the freedom of worship and of assembly which were won long before they were ever heard of; and there is one, in particular, mentioned in an early page of the document—"Every man has the freedom to work." Why were they not honest, and why did not they add, "Unless you are a Plymouth brother?" Why did they not add, "Unless you are an employee of the Durham County Council who will not produce his card?"

The reason is that the Government are having it both ways. [HON. MEMBERS: "Non-party!"] That is always the epithet which is thrown around when something a little discomforting is being said. Was the contribution of the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring nonparty? Let us have vigorous party exchanges on this matter.

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

I suggest that the accusation about non-party speeches should be made to the hon. Gentleman's own Front Bench.

Photo of Dr Charles Hill Dr Charles Hill , Luton

I have the painful experience of gazing on the other side of the House. In conclusion, I would say to the House that, concealed behind a local event is an issue of wider importance. Just as was concealed behind the Willesden event—a midwife of 30 years' service, a deputy matron of the hospital, was told that she would be sacked within a month if she did not join a union—so there is concealed behind this event a profound issue of human liberty affecting everybody in the land. We are entitled to know whether the effusive and comforting language of the publication from which I quoted is the real truth or whether the repeal of Section 6 which made this dastardly thing possible is the real truth. I suggest that the Government are not to be applauded but are to be condemned.

Photo of Mr Patrick Buchan-Hepburn Mr Patrick Buchan-Hepburn , Beckenham

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.

9.59 p.m.

Photo of Dr Hyacinth Morgan Dr Hyacinth Morgan , Warrington

I rise to join issue—[Interruption.]—I want, if possible, to join in this debate. I have not spoken in the House for months. The hon. Member for Luton (Dr. Hill) has treated us to a histrionic exhibition which is quite common to him, as those who know him understand. [Interruption.] As I have been interrupted so many times I will sit down and meet the hon. Gentleman elsewhere.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 283; Noes, 298.

Division No. 59.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Aitken, W. T.Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David MaxwellMaclay, Hon. John
Alport, C. J. M.Gage, C. H.Maclean, Fitzroy
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Arbuthnot, JohnGammans, L. D.Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromfey)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)Garner-Evans, E. H. (Denbigh)Macpherson, Major Niall (Dumfries)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Gates, Maj. E. E.Maitland, Cmdr, J. W.
Astor, Hon. M. L.Glyn, Sir RalphMarlowe, A. A. H.
Baker, P. A. D.Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Marples, A. E.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. MGridley, Sir ArnoldMarshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Baldwin, A. E.Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)Marshall, Sidney (Sutton)
Banks, Col. C.Grimston, Robert (Westbury)Maude, Angus (Ealing, S.)
Baxter, A. B.Harden, J. R. E.Maude, John (Exeter)
Beamish, Major TuftonHare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Maudling R.
Bell, R. M.Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)Medlicott, Brig. F.
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)Harris, Reader (Heston)Mellor, Sir John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Harvey, Air. Codre. A. V. (Macclesfield)Molson, A. H. E.
Bennett, William (Woodside)Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)Monckton, Sir Walter
Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth)Harvie-Watt, Sir G. S.Moore, Lt.-Col., Sir Thomas
Birch NigelHay, JohnMorrison, John (Salisbury)
Bishop, F. P.Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Black, C. W.Heald, LionelMott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Heath, EdwardNabarro, G.
Boothby, R.Henderson, John (Cathcart)Nicholls, Harmar
Bossom, A. C.Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.Nicholson, G.
Bower, NormanHiggs, J. M. C.Nield, Basil (Chester)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. AHill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.
Boyle, Sir EdwardHill, Dr. Charles (Luton)Nugent, G. R. H.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. B.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountNutting, Anthony
Braine, B. R.Hirst, GeoffreyOakshott, H. D.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cmdr. GurneyHollis, M. C.Odey, G. W.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WHolmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Hope, Lord JohnOrmsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Browne, Jack (Govan)Hornsby-Smith, Miss P.Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P G. T.Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. FlorenceOrr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)
Bullock, Capt M.Howard, Greville (St. Ives)Osborne, C.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Burden, Squadron Leader F. A.Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N,.)Perkins, W. R. D.
Butcher, H. W.Hudson, Rt. Hon. Robert (Southport)Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Carr, Robert (Mitcham)Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)Pickthorn, K.
Carson, Hon. E.Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.Pitman, I. J.
Channon, H.Hurd, A. R.Powell, J. Enoch
Clarke, Col. Ralph {East Grinstead)Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)Prescott, S.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W)Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Clyde, J. L.Hutchison, Colonel JamesPrior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Colegate, A.Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.Profumo, J. D.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Hylton-Foster, H. B.Raikes, H. V.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert (Ilford, S.)Jeffreys, General Sir GeorgeRayner, Brigadier R
Cooper-Key, E. M.Jennings, R.Redmayne, M.
Corbett, Lt.-Col. Uvedale (Ludlow)Johnson, Major Howard (Kemptown)Remnant, Hon. P.
Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne)Jones, A. (Hall Green)Ronton, D. L. M.
Cranborne, ViscountJoynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Roberts, Major Peter (Heeley)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Kaberry, D.Robertson, Sir David (Caithness)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Keeling, E. H.Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Crouch, R. F.Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)Robson-Brown, W.
Crowder, Capt. John (Finchley)Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Crowder. Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)Lambert, Hon. G.Roper, Sir Harold
Cundiff, F. W.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Ropner, Col L.
Cuthbert, W. N.Langford-Holt, J.Ross, Sir Ronald (Londonderry)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Russell, R. S.
Davies, Nigel (Epping)Leather, E. H. C.Ryder, Capt. R. E. D
de Chair, SomersetLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HSavory, Prof. D. L.
De la Bère, R.Scott, Donald
Deedes, W. F.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Shepherd, William
Digby, S. W.Lindsay, MartinSmiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Linstead, H. N.Smith, E. Martin (Grantham)
Donner, P. WLlewellyn, D.Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord MalcolmLloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (King's Norton)Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Drayson, G. B.Lloyd Selwyn (Wirral)Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir Thomas (Richmond)Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.Snadden, W. McN.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.)Soames, Capt. C.
Dunglass, LordLow, A. R. W.Spearman, A. C M
Duthie, W. S.Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Eccles, D. M.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)Spent, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. ELucas-Tooth, Sir HughStanley, Capt Hon. Richard (N. Fylde)
Erroll, F. J.Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. OStevens, G. P
Fisher, NigelMcAdden, S. J.Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Fletcher, Walter (Bury)McCallum, Major D.Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Fort, R.McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Foster, JohnMacdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (stone)McKibbin, A.Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Fraser, Sir I. (Morecambe & Lonsdale) McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Studholme, H. G.
Summers, G. S.Turner, H. F. L.Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Sutcliffe, H.Turton, R. H.White, J. Baker (Canterbury)
Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)Tweedsmuir, LadyWilliams, Charles (Torquay)
Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)Vane, W. M. F.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Teeling, W.Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Teevan, T. L.Vosper, D. F.Wills, G.
Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Thompson, Lt.-Cmdr. R. (Croydon, W.)Walker-Smith, D. C.Wood, Hon. R.
Thorneycroft, Peter (Monmouth)Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)York, C.
Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. NWard, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Thorp, Brig. R. A. F.Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Tilney, JohnWatkinson, H.Mr. Drewe and
Touche, G. C.Webbe, Sir HaroldBrigadier Mackeson.
NOES
Acland, Sir RichardDiamond, J.Jeger, George (Goole)
Adams, H. R.Dodds, N. N.Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)
Albu, A. H.Donnelly, D.Jenkins, R. H.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Driberg, T. E. N.Johnson, James (Rugby)
Alien, Scholefield (Crewe)Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)Dye, S.Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Edelman, M.Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Awbery, S. S.Edwards, W. J. (Stepnev)Jones, William Elwyn (Conway)
Ayles, W. H.Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)Keenan, W.
Bacon, Miss AliceEvans, Edward {Lowestoft)Kenyon, C.
Baird, J.Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Balfour, A.Ewart, R.Kinghorn, Sqn. Ldr. E.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JFernyhough, E.Kinley, J.
Bartley, P.Field, Capt. W. J.Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Finch, H. J.Lang, Gordon
Benn, WedgwoodFletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Benson, G.Follick, M.Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Beswick, F.Foot, M. M.Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Woolwich, E.)Freeman, John (Watford)Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Bing, G. H. C.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Lewis, John (Bolton, W.)
Blenkinsop, A.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Lindgren, G. S.
Blyton, W. R.Gibson, C W.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Boardman, H.Gllzean, A.Logan, D. G.
Booth, A.Glanville, James (Consett)Longden, Fred (Small Heath)
Bottomley, A. G.Gooch, E. G.McAllister, G.
Bowden, H. W.Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.MacColl, J. E.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)McGhee, H. G.
Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethGreenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield)McGovern, J.
Brockway, A. FGrenfell, D. R.McInnes, J.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Grey, C. F.Mack, J. D.
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton)Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)McKay, John (Wallsend)
Broughton, Dr. A D. D.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)McLeavy, F.
Brown, George (Belper)Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange)McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
Brown, Thomas (Ince)Gunter, R. JMacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Burke, W. A.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Mainwaring, W H.
Burton, Miss EHale, Joseph (Rochdale)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Callaghan, L. J.Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)
Carmichael, J.Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Mann, Mrs. Jean
Castle, Mrs. B. AHamilton, W. W.Manuel, A. C.
Champion, A. J.Hannan, W.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A
Chetwynd, G. RHardman, D. RMathers, Rt. Hon. G.
Clunie, J.Hardy, E. A.Mellish, R. J.
Cocks. F. S.Hargreaves, AMesser, F.
Coldrick, W.Harrison, J.Middleton, Mrs. L
Collick, P.Hastings, S.Mikardo, Ian
Collindridge, F.Hayman, F. H.Mitchison, G. R.
Cook, T. F.Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Tipton)Moeran, E. W.
Cooper, Geoffrey (Middlesbrough, W.)Herbison, Miss M.Monslow, W
Cooper, John (Deptford)Hewitson, Capt. M.Moody, A. S.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda (Peckham)Hobson, C. R.Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Cove, W. G.Holman, P.Morley, R.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Crawley, A.Houghton, D.Mort, D. L.
Crosland, C. A. RHoy, J.Moyle, A.
Crossman, R. H. SHubbard, T.Mulley, F. W.
Cullen, Mrs. A.Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)Mulvey, A.
Daines, P.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Murray, J. D.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Nally, W.
Darling, George (Hillsborough)Hynd, H. (Accrington)Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J
Davies, Harold (Leek)Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)O'Brien, T.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)Oldfield, W. H.
de Freitas, GeoffreyIsaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Oliver, G. H.
Deer, G.Janner, B.Orbach, M.
Delargy, H. J.Jay, D. P. T.Padley, W. E.
Paget, R. T.Silverman, Julius (Erdington)Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly)Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)Weitzman, D.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Simmons, C. J.Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Pannell, T. C.Slater, J.Wells, William (Walsall)
Pargiter, G. A.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)West, D. G.
Parker, J.Snow, J. W.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J. (Edinb'gh, E.)
Paton, J.Sorensen, R. WWhite, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Peart, T. F.Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankWhite, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Poole, C.Steele, T.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Popplewell, E.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Wigg, G.
Porter, G.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.Wilkes, L.
Proctor, W. T.Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)Wilkins, W. A.
Pryde, D JStross, Dr. BarnettWilley, Frederick (Sunderland)
Pursey, Commander H.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. EdithWilley, Octavius (Cleveland)
Rankin, J.Sylvester, G. O.Williams, David (Neath)
Rees, Mrs. D.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Reeves, J.Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Reid, Thomas {Swindon)Thomas, David (Aberdare)Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'lly)
Reid, William (Camlachie)Thomas, George {Cardiff)Williams, W. T (Hammersmith, S.)
Rhodes, H.Thomas, I. R. (Rhondda, W.)Wilson, Rt. Hon Harold (Huyton)
Richards, R.Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Robens, A.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Thurtle, ErnestWise, F. J.
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)Timmons, J.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Woods, Rev. G. S.
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)Tomney, F.Wyatt, W. L.
Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Turner-Samuels, M.Yates, V. F.
Royle, C.Ungoed-Thomas, A. L.Younger, Hon. K.
Shackleton, E. A. A.Usborne, H.
Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir HartleyVernon, W. F.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.Wallace, H. W.Mr. Pearson and Mr. Sparks.
Shurmer, P. L. E.Watkins, T. E.

Proposed words be there added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Resolved: That this House, while approving the attitude already adopted by His Majesty's Government, and being anxious not to interfere with the autonomy of local authorities, hopes that the discussions now proceeding between the Durham Council Council and some of the associations will lead to an amicable settlement of the points at issue.