Clause 1. — (Establishment of Horserace Betting Levy Board.)

Orders of the Day — Betting Levy Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1960.

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3.40 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, to leave out "assessing and".

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I think that it would be convenient if the following Amendments, in the name of the hon. Member, were discussed with this Amendment.

In Clause 3, page 4, line 12, leave out "Levy Board" and insert: Bookmakers' Committee established in pursuance of subsection (3) of this section". In line 15, leave out "Levy Board" and insert "Bookmakers' Committee".

In Clause 4, page 5, line 20, leave out from "period" to "the" in line 21.

In line 22, leave out "for" and insert "shall state".

In line 26, leave out from "may" to "scrutinise" in line 28.

In line 38, leave out "Levy Board" and insert "Bookmakers' Committee".

In line 42, after second "the", insert "Levy".

In Clause 5, page 7, line 18, after "Board", insert "and the Bookmakers' Committee".

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

I readily agree to your suggestion, which, I think, is admirable, Sir Gordon, that we should discuss with this Amendment the other Amendments which are essential to the one that I have moved. I am sure that it is the wish of the Committee to expedite, so far as possible, the passage of this very worthy Measure. I should be the last to detain the Committee longer than is necessary on the principle of this Amendment.

As the Committee will be aware, last Session we passed the Betting and Gaming Act. Deliberations on that Measure were closely connected with the work of the Peppiatt Committee and I am interested to discover from my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department why it is that the Home Secretary, having appointed the Peppiatt Committee, which was charged with the responsibility of investigating how best the betting levy should be organised, raised, and so on, seems—I do not wish to put it higher—to have ignored the advice which the Committee gave.

If my hon. and learned Friend will turn to the Report of the Peppiatt Committee, he will find that in paragraph 33 it states what I am attempting to move by these series of Amendments which the Chair has been kind enough to select: Those best able to run the scheme are the bookmakers themselves. Attempts made to collect a levy from bookmakers by any other body would involve the establishment of a large and expensive administrative machine. We accordingly suggest the setting up of a Bookmakers' Levy Board to collect the levy and to transmit the proceeds to a Central Board referred to in paragraphs 45 and 46. So here we have a perfectly clear and definite recommendation by the Peppiatt Committee. In the view of that Committee the job of assessing and collecting the levy is something which should be done not by the Levy Board, but by the Bookmakers' Committee.

In paragraph 34 of its Report the Committee goes further and says that the Bookmakers' Committee should be the body responsible for collecting and assessing the levy. In paragraph 35, the Committee states: If the Bookmakers' Levy Board is to collect a levy, it must maintain a comprehensive list of bookmakers holding permits. To enable this to be done, the Levy Board must be notified by the licensing authorities of the grant for renewal of bookmakers' permits. It seems to me clear that this independent and representative body, the Peppiatt Committee, devoted considerable time to investigating this question, and recommended to the Government that it should be the duty of the Bookmakers' Committee to assess and collect the levy. We ought to hear from my hon. and learned Friend why it is that in the Bill the Government seem to have departed from that recommendation and placed the responsibility for assessing the levy not on the Bookmakers' Committee, but on the Levy Board as a whole.

It may be argued that it is purely a nominal difference between the recommendations of the Peppiatt Committee and the recommendations of Her Majesty's Government. It seems to me that if the Levy Board is to have at its disposal a staff of people prepared to work not only for the Levy Board, but for various constituent bodies which make up the Levy Board, it would be more sensible and reasonable to allow the bookmakers to get on with a job which they understand better than anybody else, the job of assessing and collecting the levy.

I do not think that it is a job which can properly be undertaken by the other members of the Levy Board, the representatives of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee and the independent representatives nominated by the Home Secretary. It would be better left in the hands of the people who, in the view of the Peppiatt Committee, are most capable of doing the work satisfactorily.

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will be prepared to accept the Amendment, and the series of Amendments which go with it, which seek to transfer the position back to that recommended by the Peppiatt Committee, or, alternatively, that he can put forward a reasonable argument to show why the Government have seen fit not to accept the clear recommendations outlined in paragraphs 33, 34 and 35 of the Peppiatt Committee's Report and again in paragraphs 45 and 46. If my hon. and learned Friend turns to paragraphs 45 and 46 he will find a clear definition of what should be done.

In paragraph 46, the Peppiatt Committee recommend: The bookmakers' Levy Board would be responsible for the processes of assessment and collection of the levy and it should hand over the net proceeds of the levy to the Central Board. There is no doubt about the clear and explicit language used by the Peppiatt Committee on this point. Although we are not always in agreement, I call in aid the words of my hon. Friend the Member for North Fylde (Mr. Stanley), who made an interesting contribution to the Second Reading debate when he started that in his view, as a member of the Jockey Club, it is the duty of the Levy Board to consider how the money should be distributed. It is not part of the duty of the Board to decide how it should be assessed or collected. Clearly, that is a duty placed on the Bookmakers' Committee by the Peppiatt Committee's Report.

While I recognise that the Government are not bound to accept in detail all the recommendations of the Peppiatt Committee, this so far departs from those recommendations that I hope my hon. and learned Friend can give a satisfactory explanation of why the Government thought fit to depart from a Report which was Douched in such clear and explicit terms as I have quoted this afternoon.

3.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden) has given me the alternative of accepting his Amendment or explaining why we have departed from the recommendations of the Peppiatt Committee. I propose to choose the latter of those two alternatives. The changes which we have made from the recommendations in the Peppiatt Committee's Report are not the only departures from the advice given by that Committee. In the main, we have followed its advice, but we have made several departures, including this one regarding the exact task of the Bookmakers' Committee.

The change we have made is one for administrative reasons. We have not made any change which creates any real difference in the relationship between the Levy Board and the Bookmakers' Committee compared with what was recommended by the Peppiatt Committee. Under the provisions of the Bill the bookmakers will be responsible for two important tasks: first, for taking the initiative in drawing up the scheme for assessment and collection of the levy and, secondly, for scrutinising individual assessments. It can use its initiative or it can scrutinise those assessments referred to it by the Levy Board.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman deal with the point that there is no maximum laid down of the amount to be assessed?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

That is quite a different point. There is a separate Amendment on the Notice Paper which will be discussed later and I do not think that it would be appropriate to discuss that on this Amendment which deals only with the machinery.

If the Bookmakers' Committee is to carry out the duties I have mentioned effectively, it must, and under the Bill it will, have access not only to the declarations made by bookmakers, but also to the list of names of bookmakers sent to the Levy Board by the licensing authorities. The only part of the procedural responsibility not given to the Bookmakers' Committee under the Bill is that part which is purely manipulative and clerical, connected with the collection of the levy, and which, for administrative convenience, we feel is best made the responsibility of the Levy Board.

Obviously, a large clerical staff will be needed for this administrative work. It will have to compile and keep lists of bookmakers, receive declarations made by them, issue notices of assessment, collect and account for the money sent out as levy payments and issue certificates showing that the bookmakers have discharged their levy liabilities. Therefore, a considerable staff will be needed.

The question is which is most suitable for employing and controlling that staff, the Levy Board, as the Bill suggests, or the Bookmakers' Committee, as my hon. Friend has suggested. We say it is desirable that the Bookmakers' Committee should consist of working bookmakers representative of the bookmakers of the country. Those bookmakers, for the very reason that they are working bookmakers, will be able to give only a limited amount of time to the work of the committee. We do not think that it would be proper that they should have to deal with establishment problems of engagement and control of staff. We say it is better that the Levy Board should be responsible for paying the staff to undertake work on its behalf.

I hope that with that explanation my hon. Friend will feel assured that the Bookmakers' Committee has an important task to perform and that the Bill places upon it exactly that responsibility which it is suited to bear. I hope that he will feel that we are keeping away from it the purely clerical and sometimes invidious responsibility concerned with the actual collection of the levy. For those reasons, I advise the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I beg to move, in page 1, line 14, at the end to insert "relating to horses;".

This Amendment is, I think, fairly obvious. It relates to the way in which the levy is to be distributed. I imagine that the form of words used in the Bill has been borrowed from a form in use before the Bill was introduced. Never-the less, I think it important that we should state correctly in the Bill the exact purpose for which the levy is to be used. I take no exception to subsection (1, a), which refers to the improvement of breeds of horses although I notice that in the past some of the money has actually been going to the purpose of breeding ponies as well.

Paragraph (c) "the improvement of horse racing", is, I think, unexceptionable, but the point was made on Second Reading and elsewhere that paragraph (b) says: the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education;". That provision is very wide indeed. I should have thought that under it funds could be applied to research into myxamatosis, foot-and mouth disease and other purposes quite unconnected with horse racing. If the money is to be distributed so widely, there is also the question of whether the present Levy Board is properly constituted to advise on the question.

I imagine that the actual purpose is one of the specified purposes set out in the Explanatory Memorandum: purposes connected with the advancement of horse racing and that it is not intended that the veterinary purposes mentioned here should be unconnected with horses. That is why I am putting forward this Amendment.

It may be that the wording which I have chosen is not the best, but it seems that if this money is to be well used it should be applied with some relation to the benefit it can bring to horses. In that connection, we think particularly of the Animal Health Trust at New-market, which, so far as I know, is engaged on work exclusively for horses.

Photo of Mr John Morrison Mr John Morrison , Salisbury

The Animal Health Trust is not engaged entirely in dealing with horses.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I am grateful to my hon. Friend; I thought that it was. I was under a misconception, but I do not think that alters my argument that this money should be spent on something which has a direct relation to horses and not merely distributed to various veterinary centres regardless of the particular work they might be doing. I should be grateful if the Government would explain their intentions and whether they intend that this money should go to the whole of veterinary science and education—in which case it would not go very far—or be confined to forms which would be of use to horses.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

I think that this Amendment is one of those kindly gestures with which the Committee will agree, but I urge the hon. Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) not to press it, because veterinary science knows no frontiers and, if we establish sharp lines of demarcation, the result is bound to be the opposite from that which he has in mind.

We cannot ask the Government to commit the new Levy Board on what its policy should be. It is quite clear that the intention would be that this matter should be looked at by the veterinary authorities from the point of view of the care of horses. The hon. Member referred to some grants made in the past in respect of ponies, but such grants are tending to diminish and they were limited to a policy adopted long ago.

If the Government were kind enough to do as they have done on previous occasions—to draw the attention of the Levy Board to what the hon. Member desires—I think that he could be satisfied because the Board will look at the policies of the past and apply them in the sense he desires.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) has made my speech for me. I do not suppose that this is the first time that will happen in this debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) was quite right in saying that these words follows a precedent. They were used in the 1934 Betting and Lotteries Act and re-enacted earlier this year in the Betting and Gaming Act. In practice, what he desires is, as the hon. Member for Dudley said, followed by the Racecourse Betting Control Board, which, as far as possible, has restricted its grants to the advancement of equine science. He mentioned the Animal Health Trust, whose grant in 1959 was related entirely to an equine research project and not to the purposes of the Trust as a whole.

In addition, a grant made to the Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies at Cambridge, in 1959, was qualified by the requirement that it should be devoted to a project connected with horses. Therefore, as far as possible, the Racecourse Betting Control Board has restricted these grants to equine projects. I believe that it has worked well in the past and that there is no reason to make a change. The difficulty about making the change suggested by my hon. Friend, either in his words or in others, is that the hands of the Board would be tied to too great a degree.

For instance, if the Board wished to make grants for a veterinary scholarship it would have to inquire whether the scholarship was devoted to equine purposes or not. I think it better for the matter to be left as it has been in the past. If my hon. Friend is still worried that the Board might not follow this practice in future, there is always the discretionary power left to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who has to approve these grants. Equine bodies which felt that they had not had a proper share could make representations to him. There is that safeguard. In view of that assurance, I ask my hon. Friend not to press this change on the Government.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

In view of what my right hon. Friend has said, which I was glad to hear, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, to leave out "two other members" and to insert "one other member".

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I think that it would be convenient if this Amendment could be discussed with the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes), in page 1, line 22, at the end to insert: and one other member shall be appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland". and the following Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), in line 22, at the end to insert: (b) one member shall be appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

In the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Green) and myself, this is a paving Amendment which seeks to associate my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer more closely with the operation of the Bill. I also understand that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) wishes to associate with it the Secretary of State for Scotland.

My hon. Friend and I wish to associate the Chancellor of the Exchequer more closely with the operation of this Bill for a number of reasons. The first one is that, whatever the Government may say about the Bill, it imposes a tax. It is, in effect, using the authority of Parliament to extract moneys from bookmakers and apply those moneys to horse racing. These are moneys which the industry itself cannot raise voluntarily, and there is, therefore, only one way in which one can regard this, and that is as a tax.

I see a very close parallel between the intentions of the Bill and the motor vehicles licensing duty. It will be within the recollection of the Committee that it was not very long after the Road Fund was established that it was "raided", as it was termed, by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer for general taxation purposes. It may well be that the same may apply when this Bill becomes an Act, as by the Bill it is sought to raise about £1¼ million a year.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

Would my hon. Friend be kind enough to say where in the Bill it is proposed to raise £1¼ million?

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

If my hon. Friend will read the Second Reading debate, he will find that the indication was given there. The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) in his Second Reading speech, said: Hon. Members should realise that perhaps one of the greatest problems of all, when the money has been raised, is how to spend it"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1960; Vol. 631, c. 907.] The hon. Member also foresaw what he regarded as a natural increment and he felt that the amount of the turnover increase every year would be about 3 per cent. On the assumption that £1¼ million a year may be raised—

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

The hon. Gentleman is going down a cul-de-sac, and before he gets to the end let me tell him what is happening. The £1¼ million to which he referred comes from the Peppiatt Committee's Report, and refers to a levy on bookmakers. The natural increment of 3 per cent., of which I was speaking on Second Reading, was the increase in the Tote turnover.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

I am grateful to the hon. Member, but the point that I was making was that this was likely to be an increasing amount, rather than a decreasing one.

Let us suppose that we were to spend about £1 million a year on the improvement of race courses. After five years, we shall have spent about £5 million, and it may well be that it will be even more difficult, within the terms and the purposes of the Bill, to find the proper things on which to spend the money. It might very well be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in this case, might do exactly the same as the former Chancellor of the Exchequer did with the Road Fund. I think that it would be best if the Chancellor of the Exchequer was more closely associated in this taxing Bill from the beginning, rather than possibly trying to bring himself into it at a later stage.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

The reason for my allowing my name to be associated with this Amendment is entirely different from that expressed by the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot).

My sole concern here is that Scottish interests shall be adequately represented, and I hope that at a later stage, and in another Amendment, to expand that point. Meantime, to achieve my objective, I am associating myself with this Amendment in an attempt to prevent the Home Secretary, who is associated with the Bill, from appointing the three members in order to give the opportunity to the Secretary of State for Scotland to appoint one with whom I shall deal in a later Amendment.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

In discussing this Amendment, we are also discussing the Amendment to line 22, to provide for the appointment of one member by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

This worries me a little. If I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) correctly, he seems to have formed the conclusion that there is something in the Bill restricting the amount levied on bookmakers to £1¼ million, but no such figure is to be found in the Bill. It was in a recommendation of the Peppiatt Committee, which the Government, in their wisdom, have seen fit to ignore, along with some other recommendations of the Peppiatt Committee. It may well be that the Levy Board may well see fit to ignore the recommendation of the Peppiatt Committee in this respect, and indeed, ignore the advice given by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), which I greatly appreciate, that the Levy Board might find itself in difficulty in getting rid of the money which it collects in future years.

If that be so, to have the Chancellor of the Exchequer waiting to get in on the act as well, to try to get money from Her Majesty's citizens who are running businesses which, under the law, are recognised as lawful, and are paying taxes and a levy on top, seems to me an unreasonable proposition. If the Chancellor wants to levy a tax on businesses, let him levy it on all businesses, and not pick out bookmakers to be particularly victimised. Under the Bill, they are subjected to a levy. There is no case for my hon. Friend the Member for Dover wishing to add a watchdog of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in order to discover whether the money raised cannot be distributed among the various charitable interests named, and, therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should get in on the act also.

We had an example of this on Second Reading, when the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) tried to get a cut for the dogs. I do not doubt that somebody else will try to get a cut for football, as well. I do not see why the Treasury should get away with this. If the Treasury wants to levy a tax, then let it do so in a proper way, and not as suggested by my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

My hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) would like to have one of the independent members of the Levy Board appointed by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) would like to have one appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland. With respect to both hon. Gentlemen, I suggest that their Amendments are out of keeping with the conception which we have, which I think the Committee understands, of the position and functions of the independent members of the Levy Board.

Their main duty, besides offering their advice in the counsels of the Levy Board, will be to arbitrate when there are disagreements between the Board as a whole and the Bookmakers' Committee, or between the Board and the Totalisator Board. These disputes will be concerned either with the levy scheme, either the total of it or the character and method of it, or with the totalisator contribution. If there are any such disputes, they would be on broad issues of policy, indeed, of justice. I do not think that either any special expertise or geographical responsibility will help them as independent members of the Levy Board, exercising their impartial judgment to reach the sort of conclusion that would be expected of them.

If, by any chance, either any additional expertise in financial matters, for example, or any special geographical knowledge of Scotland, Wales or anywhere else is required, it will always be open to the Board or to the independent members of it to seek such advice, professional or otherwise, as may be necessary. We feel, therefore, that there is no case for having either of the members of the Board appointed for the representation of special interests or special anxieties.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dover repeated his argument, which we do not believe to be a valid one in the context of the Bill, that the levy is a hypothecated tax. My hon. Friend referred to something which happened many years ago when the motor vehicle licensing duty was imposed in a Budget. I endeavoured to explain on Second Reading, as did my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, how this is not a hypothecated tax, but a method of enabling an industry to raise funds from within its own confines to help another section of that same industry.

The idea that this is a hypothecated tax is completely contrary to the purpose of the levy. We feel that it would be alien to the purpose of the Bill if we were to introduce the idea of control by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have sympathy with the point that was made in this context by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden).

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

Has the hon. and learned Gentleman yet converted the Minister of Health to that point of view?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I do not think that I should be deflected in that kind of way from the limited purpose which I am now trying to achieve.

I should like to say a word about the Scottish position which my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland has asked me to make clear. Before making any appointments, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary would wish to consult the Secretary of State for Scotland. If there is any fear that Scotland may not receive a proper share of the distributed money, there is a safeguard—at least, there will be when a Government Amendment is accepted, as, I hope, it will be, later in our proceedings—that a scheme submitted for distribution and later submitted for my right hon. Friend's approval can be modified, if necessary, by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

If any modification is necessary to meet a particular Scottish point, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will gladly do that. For example, if any representations are made that a greater proportion of the moneys available should go to Scotland, we would, of course, consult the Secretary of State for Scotland before reaching a decision and do our best to meet him.

I hope that, with these explanations, the two hon. Gentlemen will feel that the points of view which they have sincerely expressed are not necessary to convert into statutory terms and that when choosing independent members who must exercise a broad, impartial judgment in the matters on which they have to arbitrate, it would not be right that they should be appointed specially for the representation of particular points of view.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

We are in a slight procedural difficulty, because to support one Amendment we must vote for a different one. I have great sympathy with the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes). His seems to me to be a quite different case from the one about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which would be representing a special interest, if one might put it that way.

There is a great case for the Secretary of State for Scotland nominating one of the members of the Levy Board. There is a great Scottish interest in this matter. The Secretary of State for Scotland is Home Secretary for Scotland. There is a parallel here. I notice that he has his name on the back of the Bill. It seems to me to be treating him in a rather shabby fashion to have him associated with a Bill in this way and not to be mentioned in it, although, in Scotland, he is an equal person with the Home Secretary in this country.

4.15 p.m.

I was sorry that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department implied in his closing words that the Secretary of State for Scotland would not be able to appoint people who gave a broad and impartial judgment; he said that this was an argument for limiting the nominations to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Of course, the Secretary of State for Scotland is just as capable as the Home Secretary of appointing people who exercise a broad and impartial judgment. It is because we support what my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central wants, and not because we support what the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) wants, that we feel that we should make this clear when the Question is put.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

I am not altogether satisfied with the explanation given by the Under-Secretary. We must bear in mind that in Scotland we have over 1,000 bookmakers, who will make their contribution to the Levy Board's fund or whatever arrangements are introduced. It is undesirable to suggest, as the Bill does, that this Measure is supported by the Secretary of State for Scotland when nowhere in the Bill, right from Clause 1 to the Second Schedule, has he any powers. He has no functions. He is not even mentioned in the Bill. He cannot undertake to appoint the appeal tribunal that may be set up for Scotland. He will have nothing to do with the proposed Bookmakers' Committee and nothing to do with the appointments to the Levy Board.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) has said, that is somewhat shabby treatment. It should have been recognised that Scotland has to play its part in the Bill. If it has to do so, surely it is reasonable to ask that in the main body which is being established under the Bill, there should be a Scottish representative who will have knowledge and understanding of the situation in Scotland. It is all very well for the Under-Secretary to attempt to fob us off, if there is any dispute about allocation, that professional men can be brought in. I do not want to resort to that method. It could be avoided if the Secretary of State for Scotland were enabled to appoint somebody to the Levy Board.

I will only be satisfied by the procedure of enabling the Secretary of State for Scotland to make an appointment to the Levy Board so that either in the disbursement of the levy fund or any other aspect that may arise within the operations of the Levy Board, Scotland will be adequately represented. I hope that the Home Secretary will have another look at this proposition and give us fair treatment.

Photo of Captain James Duncan Captain James Duncan , South Angus

The proposal by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) probably is not the right way to tackle the matter. As my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department said, the purpose of the three members of the Levy Board is mainly to resolve disputes, and the chairman of the Board will have to look at matters from a Great Britain viewpoint.

I suggest, however, to my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland that there might be another way of achieving what I should like done. I should like the Secretary of State for Scotland in some way to be brought into all consultations concerning duties, appointments and that sort of thing which occur in the Bill, which are at present the duties of the Secretary of State, Which, in Parliamentary language, means the Home Secretary.

There are precedents for what I suggest. I cannot remember them in detail offhand, because I have not had time to look them up, but in most agricultural legislation, for example, which is United Kingdom legislation, the Minister of Agriculture nearly always has to consult the Secretary of State for Scotland. I think that it will be found in other United Kingdom legislation that there is statutory consultation which he has to take first.

Photo of Captain James Duncan Captain James Duncan , South Angus

In other legislation there is provision for statutory consultation between the two Ministers. There is the theory that the Government is one and that if one Minister is mentioned that covers the lot, but for quite a number of occasions that constitutional idea has been overridden. Perhaps, at a later stage, maybe in the form of a new Clause, the Under Secretary might consider, in all the duties and appointments, and so on, in the Bill, wherever the Home Secretary has to do anything, to say anything or to appoint anybody, that there should be statutory consultation with the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

As the Committee knows, traditionally I have great sympathy with Scottish nationalism, which I have expressed from time to time. The Committee would be well advised to look at the principles upon which this and previous Governments have operated, up till now. Under the Racecourse Betting Act, 1928, under which the Totalisator operates, there is a representative board appointed by the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a number of outside bodies. The Government, for better or for worse, have deliberately turned their back on that board and have gone for another kind of board on which there shall be representatives of the bookmaking profession, representatives of the Jockey Club and outside bodies, as in the 1928 Act.

Then, so that the Home Secretary, should discharge his responsibilities to this House of Commons, he adds a chairman and independent members. They are there because they are independent and impartial and not because they wear a kilt or play the bagpipes. It is their independence and impartiality that is the test. The Committee will get itself into a terrible tangle if it starts to look at this on a geographical basis. Where will it stop?

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) that in the past there have been very important branches of the bookmaking industry operating in Scotland—for the most part, down the century, utterly and completely illegally. I hope that these will now return over the Border, and that, now that it is legal, they will come to England and that Scotland will take its rightful place in the forefront of that part of the community that obeys the law and does not transgress it. Because Scotland has been breaking the law flagrantly for fifty years it does not give it any special rights of representation. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to appoint someone merely because he is a Scot, to look after Scotland, is to traverse the principle on which the Bill is based.

Photo of Mr Richard Brooman-White Mr Richard Brooman-White , Rutherglen

Perhaps I may make a brief reply to the Scottish point. The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) has made my speech as well as the English Minister's speech on this occasion. As an honorary Scot he might join the deliberations of the Scottish Grand Committee and make some of our speeches there for us.

The point made by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), when he said the Secretary of State should be equally capable of appointing somebody with broad judgment, is valid. Broad judgment must be the criterion, as the hon. Member for Dudley said, and as everybody has said. We do not want to get into the position where somebody is exercising impartiality of judgment from the Scottish point of view and somebody else is exercising impartiality of judgment from the English point of view.

I hope that the hon. Member will accept that there is no reason why both the members Ministerially appointed should not be Scottish, English or Welsh. They are not there to represent the difficulties of any particular area; they are there to hold the balance in any disputes between the functional interests of the bookmakers or the racing fraternity.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

Why is he there if he is not there to represent Scottish interests?

Photo of Mr Richard Brooman-White Mr Richard Brooman-White , Rutherglen

He is there because the Bill applies to Scotland and because he will be consulted and will share joint responsibility. I believe that that is the position under the constitution. His responsibilities are constitutionally indivisible with those of the Home Secretary in matters of United Kingdom administration of this kind.

I think that that also meets the point of my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) about statutory consultation. It is normally assumed in legislation that there will be consultation between Ministers, who share collective responsibility, and particularly close consultation in a case such as this, where the interests of the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, are identical in obtaining objective judgment and fair administration of these Measures over the United Kingdom as a whole.

Question put, that the words "two other Members" stand part of the Clause:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 222. Noes 180.

Division No. 23.]AYES[4.26 p.m.
Agnew, Sir PeterCordle, JohnHamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Aitken, W. T.Corfield, F. V.Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)
Allason, JamesCostain, A. P.Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Arbuthnot, JohnCoulson, J. M.Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Ashton, Sir HubertCourtney, Cdr. AnthonyHarvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Atkins, HumphreyCraddock, Sir BeresfordHastings, Stephen
Balniel, LordCritchley, JulianHeald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Barber, AnthonyCrosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Barlow, Sir JohnCunningham, KnoxHendry, Forbes
Barter, JohnCurrie, G. B. H.Hiley, Joseph
Batsford, BrianDalkeith, Earl ofHill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Beamish, Col. TuftonDance, JamesHinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)de Ferranti, BasilHocking, Philip N.
Berkeley, HumphryDigby, Simon WingfieldHolland, Philip
Bidgood, John C.Doughty, CharlesHollingworth, John
Bingham, R. M.Duncan, Sir JamesHornby, R. P.
Birch, Rt. Hon. NigelEden, JohnHornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia
Bishop, F. P.Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Black, Sir CyrilElliott, R. W. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, N.)Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Bossom, CliveEmery, PeterHughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Bourne-Arton, A.Emmet, Hon. Mrs. EvelynHughes-Young, Michael
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. JohnErrington, Sir EricHulbert, Sir Norman
Boyle, Sir EdwardFarey-Jones, F. W.Hurd, Sir Anthony
Brewis, JohnFarr, JohnHutchison, Michael Clark
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Finlay, GraemeIremonger, T. L.
Browne, Percy (Torrington)Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Bullard, DenysGammans, LadyJenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Bullus, Wing Commander EricGardner, EdwardJohnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Burden, F. A.Gibson-Watt, DavidJohnson, Eric (Biackley)
Butcher, Sir HerbertGlover, Sir DouglasJohnson Smith, Geoffrey
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)Kaberry, Sir Donald
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)Kerby, Capt. Henry
Carr, Compton (Barons Court)Godber, J. B.Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Cary, Sir RobertGoodhart, PhilipKershaw, Anthony
Channon, H. P. G.Goodhew, VictorKitson, Timothy
Chataway, ChristopherGough, FrederickLancaster, Col. C. G.
Chichester-Clark, R.Gower, RaymondLeather, E. H. C.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)Green, AlanLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cleaver, LeonardGresham Cooke, R.Lilley, F. J. P.
Cole, NormanGrimston, Sir RobertLinstead, Sir Hugh
Collard, RichardGrosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Litchfield, Capt. John
Cooper, A. E.Gurden, HaroldLongbottom, Charles
Longden, GilbertPearson, Frank (Clitheroe)Temple, John M.
Loveys, Walter H.Peel, JohnThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughPercival, IanThomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
McMaster, Stanley R.Pickthorn, Sir KennethThompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Pike, Miss MervynThornton, Ernest
Maddan, MartinPitman, I. J.Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Maginnis, John E.Pitt, Miss EdithTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Maitland, Sir JohnPott, PercivallTurner, Colin
Markham, Major Sir FrankProudfoot, WilfredTurton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Marlowe, AnthonyQuennell, Miss J. M.van Straubenzee, W. R.
Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestRawlinson, PeterVane, W. M. F.
Marten, NeilRedmayne, Rt. Hon. MartinVaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Mathew, Robert (Honiton)Rees, HughVickers, Miss Joan
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)Ridley, Hon. NlcholasVosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Mawby, RayRippon, GeoffreyWakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Robertson, Sir DavidWall, Patrick
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Roots, WilliamWard, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Mills, StrattonRussell, RonaldWebster, David
Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)Scott-Hopkins, JamesWells, John (Maidstone)
More, Jasper (Ludlow)Seymour, LeslieWhitelaw, William
Morrison, JohnSharples, RichardWigg, George
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesShaw, M.Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Nabarro, GeraldSimon, Sir JooelynWilliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Neave, AireySheet, T. H. H.Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Nicholson, Sir GodfreySpearman, Sir AlexanderWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Nugent, Sir RichardStanley, Hon. RichardWolrlge-Gordon, Patrick
Oakshott, Sir HendrteStodart, J. A.Woodhouse, C. M.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Studholme, Sir HenryWoodnutt, Mark
Osborn, John (Hallam)Talbot, John E.Woollam, John
Osborne, Cyril (Louth)Tapsell, PeterWorsley, Marcus
Page, John (Harrow, West)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Partridge, E.Teeling, WilliamMr. Bryan and Mr. Noble.
NOES
Ainsley, WilliamGeorge, Lady Megan LloydMallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Ginsburg, DavidManuel, A. C.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Mapp, Charles
Awbery, StanGourlay, HarryMason, Roy
Bacon, Miss AliceGriffiths, David (Bother Valley)Mayhew, Christopher
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)Mellish, R. J.
Beaney, AlanGriffiths, W. (Exchange)Mendelson, J. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Grimond, J.Millan, Bruce
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Milne, Edward J.
Benson, Sir GeorgeHamilton, William (West Fife)Mitchison, G. R.
Blackburn, F.Hannan, WilliamMonslow, Walter
Blyton, WilliamHayman, F. H.Moody, A. s.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.)Herbison, Miss MargaretMorris, John
Bowles, FrankHill, J. (Midlothian)Mort, D. L.
Boyden, JamesHolman, PercyMoyle, Arthur
Braddock, Mrs. E. M.Holt, ArthurMulley, Frederick
Brockway, A. FennerHoughton, DougiasNeal, Harold
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Howell, Charles A.Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince)Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Oliver, G. H.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Hunter, A. E.Owen, Will
Castle, Mrs. BarbaraHynd, John (Attercliffe)Padley, W. E.
Chetwynd, GeorgeIrvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Collick, PercyIrving, Sydney (Dartford)Pavitt, Laurence
Corbet, Mrs. FredaJanner, BarnettPearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Jay, Rt. Hon. DouglasPeart, Frederick
Cullen, Mrs. AliceJeger, GeorgePentland, Norman
Darling, GeorgeJohnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Plummer, Sir Leslie
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)Prentlce, R. E.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Jones, Dan (Burnley)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Probert, Arthur
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Jones, J. Idwal (Wrextham)Proctor, W. T.
Deer, GeorgeJones, T. w. (Merioneth)Randall, Harry
de Freitas, GeoffreyKelley, RichardRankin, John
Diamond, JohnKenyon, CliffordRedhead, E. C.
Dodds, NormanKey, Rt. Hon. C. W.Reid, William
Driberg, TomLee, Frederick (Newton)Reynolds, G. W.
Ede, Rt. Hon. ChuterLee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Lipton, MarcusRobinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney)Loughlin, CharlesRoss, William
Evans, AlbertMabon, Dr. J. DicksonShinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Fitch, AlanMcCann, JohnShort, Edward
Fletcher, EricMacColl, JamesSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)McInnes, JamesSlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Forman, J. C.McKay, John (Wallsend)Siater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Mackie, JohnSmall, William
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. HughMcLeavy, FrankSmith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Galpern, Sir MyerMallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Snow, Julian
Sorensen, R. w.Taylor, John (West Lothian)Wilkins, W. A.
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankThomas, George (Cardiff, w.)Willey, Frederick
Spriggs, LeslieThomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Steele, ThomasThorpe, JeremyWilliams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Stewart, Michael (Fulham)Tomney, FrankWilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Stones, WilliamWade, DonaldWoodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Strachey, Rt. Hon. JohnWainwright, EdwinYates, Victor (Ladywood)
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)Watkins, TudorZilliacus, K.
Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)Weitzman, David
Sylvester, GeorgeWells, Percy (Faversham)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Symonds, J. B.White, Mrs. EireneMr. Rogers and Mr. Lawson.
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)Whitlock, William

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I beg to move, in page 1, line 22, at the end to insert: and shall be persons who the Secretary of State is satisfied have no interests connected with horse racing which might hinder them from discharging their functions as members of the Board in an impartial manner". This Amendment relates to the chairman and two members of the Levy Board to be appointed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. The scheme depends upon the chairman and the two nominees of the Home Secretary being independent members. During the Second Reading debate hon. Members on both sides stressed this need.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) has tabled an Amendment stressing that the members appointed by the Home Secretary should be independent. The word "independent", in his Amendment, would be meaningless in the context of the Bill, but because of the desire expressed on Second Reading, and because of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central, we have thought it right to table our Amendment, which will express in the Bill what my right hon. Friend would do in selecting the chairman and two members to be appointed by him. The Amendment makes clear that they must be independent of racing interests.

I assure those hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who may be apprehensive about this that it is simply to appoint nominees who will be independent in the sense that their interests will not impede their activities as members of the Board. This phraseology will express in the Bill what all members of the Committee desire.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

I am glad that the Minister has agreed to the proposition contained in the Amendment. Having regard to the proposed constitution of the Levy Board as provided for in the Bill, I felt justified in taking steps to ensure that the three members of the Board—the chairman and two other members—to be appointed by the Home Secretary should be entirely free from any interest—vested interest, if you like—in horse racing.

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the hint following my Amendment. I give him credit for the fact that his Amendment is perhaps more explicit than mine, and I very gladly accept his Amendment.

Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley

In my view, this Amendment is entirely unnecessary. I have every faith in the fact that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will select and appoint completely impartial members. He has made things more difficult by his attempt to define "independent". I do not know precisely what he means by interests connected with horse racing". I do not suggest that I am a suitable candidate for the Levy Board. In any case, I am excluded by another part of the Bill. I have been an owner, a breeder and a trainer. I have had a licence to ride. I have had an interest in a bookmaking business. I am none of these things now. Have I interests "connected with horse racing"? I have not any at present.

I wonder who is covered by this proposal. I have particularly in mind those people, eminently suitable for membership of the Levy Board, who often act as stewards at race meetings and who have a very extensive knowledge of everything to do with racing, but who are not owners or breeders of horses.

I hope that the meaning of "independent" will not lead to the usual sort of triumvirate—barrister, retired civil servant and trade union official without particular qualifications. It is essential that these members should have an extensive knowledge of racing, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will be content to leave things as they are, which, I would have thought, was perfectly satisfactory.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson). I understood my right hon. Friend to say that he was thinking of "independent" in the sense that these nominees should not be connected with racing. If that is so, there is great force in the argument of my hon. Friend, because such a situation would deny us the sevices of people who could be of the greatest possible use to the Board. If my right hon. Friend thinks that the question of independence must be clarified in the Bill, I hope that he will ensure that people who could be of value, but who are not interested parties in racing at present, are not excluded from serving on the Board.

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

I support the views advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott). When I first saw the Amendment I was worried about the words: … satisfied have no interests connected with horse racing … I was then told that the word "hinder", which appears a little later, made that expression less dangerous. In other words, these members could be interested in horse racing provided that their interest did not hinder them from making a fair judgment.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to say whether the word "hinder" is the operative word or not.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I support the Amendment. Somewhat to my surprise, yesterday evening I received what was called some notes on the Amendments. I did not ask for them, but I received them—and they did not come from the Government. I rather gathered that this afternoon we were to be treated more or less as a branch office of Messrs. Wetherbys.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will stick to the Amendment, because there are so many suspicions about how this Measure is to be worked, and the Amendment will do something to reassure those who believe that it will not be easy to work. There is supposed to be a levy on bookmakers. Even when a horse comes past the post first, it is sometimes difficult to make a levy on bookmakers, even when one holds a ticket. I am certain that this will be a levy on the punters. I am sure that in some form or other the bookmakers will pass the tax on to the consumers. The consumer always pays and the consumer in this case is the punter, who will be consumed by the bookmaker in the long run. I hope that the Government will insist on the Amendment.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

I would not wish to miss an opportunity of supporting my right hon. Friend. The Amendment is perfectly sound. If those who have doubts about it will look at the Bill they will see that the Levy Board is to consist of two members appointed by the Jockey Club, one member appointed by the National Hunt Committee, one by the Bookmakers' Committee and one by the Totalisator Board. Racing interests are fully represented and the only point of having a chairman and two independent members is to try to give impartial and unbiased judgment on subjects on which the other members of the Board are unable to reach agreement.

In those circumstances, my right hon. Friend is pursuing the right course. I am the more fortified in that belief in that the Amendment arose from some remarks which I made on Second Reading, when my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary undertook that these members would be independent. He has translated that undertaking into the Amendment. Horse racing interests are well represented and the Amendment will provide for some people of independent judgment who are not connected with horse racing who will be able to hold the balance between those interests when there are disputes.

4.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

As we discuss subsequent Amendments, the importance of these three memibers of the Board being independent will become even more obvious. It was always my right hon. Friend's intention that the chairman and two members appointed by him should be independent of racing interests, and the Amendment has been moved to meet that end.

I would not like my hon. Friend the Member for Bromsgrove (Mr. Dance) to think that "hinder" is the most important word in the Amendment. AU the words must be taken together. They serve to meet the need that the chairman and the two independent members should be independent of racing interests so that they are not impeded in their work. If we are to stand by the proposals in the Bill, as opposed to the Peppiatt recommendation, that is essential. The words make my right hon. Friend's intention more obvious to those who are to be concerned with the operation of the levy, and I hope that hon. Members will not press me to reconsider the words which, I believe, meet the occasion.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

I beg to move, in page 2, line 1, to leave out "two members" and to insert "one member".

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

I should say that it will be for the convenience of the Committee if we discuss with this the Amendment in page 2, line 8, at the end to insert: and(f) one member shall be appointed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

It would be very much to our convenience if we discussed them separately, Sir Samuel. We regard them as raising completely separate issues and, unless we can get satisfaction, we shall want to divide the Committee on both. If it is only a matter of convenience, and not of the Chair deciding what to call, we would like to take them separately.

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

I think that we had better discuss them together, because I think it unlikely that the second will be called if it is not discussed with the first.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

"Unlikely" is a very odd expression in this connection. Would it be improper to ask how likely or unlikely it is that it will be called?

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

If the Amendments raise entirely separate issues, then we can call the second.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

They are separate, because even if we do not get the second we shall still want the Jockey Club to have only one member on the Board.

This is an Amendment to which we attach much importance. The Peppiatt Committee proposed that the Board should consist of a number of people, including one representative of the Jockey Club. When the Bill was issued we discovered, to our surprise, that the Jockey Club was to have two representatives on the Board, although all the other interests which were represented were to have only one each. There has been no defence or explanation of that extraordinary change from the recommendations of the Peppiatt Committee.

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

Before the right hon. Gentleman goes any further I should call attention to the fact that his second Amendment would be out of order if this Amendment should fail, because the size of the Board is limited by the Bill and it will not be possible to move to add to it.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

I am obliged, Sir Samuel. I understand the point.

As the Bill refers to a chairman and seven other members we shall have to do the best we can. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) will have something to say on the substance of the second Amendment.

It has been suggested in some quarters that the Jockey Club and, I think, the National Hunt Committee are treated as if they were impartial bodies before whom other interests would appear, and, as they represented racing as a whole, they would be impartial in deciding between the claims of various interests which came before them. In practice, however, we think that the Jockey Club, although it represents racing as a whole, has very clear views about what the Levy Board should do which may well be controversial, and, therefore, it cannot be held to be impartial.

The Jockey Club has made it clear that it wants the highest levy possible, whereas other people, including the bookmakers, do not.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

Can my right hon. Friend tell me his authority for the statement that the Jockey Club want the highest possible levy? The Jockey Club has said, over and over again, not that it wanted any money, but that if there was a scheme of reorganisation it would ask for a levy. It has never asked for it in the sense to which my right hon. Friend refers.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

If my hon. Friend reads the Peppiatt Report, again, he will see that the Jockey Club was asking for a levy of £3 million, whereas other people were asking for about £500,000. The Peppiatt Committee said that the figure should be about £1¼ million.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

This is the main misconception. It has persisted all through these negotiations. Once the Peppiatt Committee was set up it obviously followed that all the bodies connected with racing would submit evidence. The figure of £3 million arose in this way. Mr. Astor, when he was a Member of this House, did some homework and wrote a memorandum. He did a sum based on the total number of stakes which could be won in a season. He took the number of horses and estimated what it would cost to race them, taking into account travelling expenses, jockeys fees, and the like. There was a gap between what could be won and the outgoings of £3 million. This £3 million entered into the concurrency and was bandied about in the Peppiatt Committee, but it was never put forward officially by the Jockey Club, or, as far as I know, by anybody else.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

I can only go by what I find in the Peppiatt Report, not all the information that may be known about what was said when the Committee met. The Report clearly says that the Jockey Club gave certain opinions and that, in the Jockey Club's view, the figure of £3 million was not an over-estimate. The clear impression given by the Peppiatt Report is that the Jockey Club wanted the highest figure of all those mentioned and other interests wanted a lower figure. I did not think that that was disputed. It is perfectly clear from the Peppiatt Report. It therefore seems to me that I am justified in saying that the Jockey Club has an interest. It is not an impartial body in this matter and, therefore, it should not be over-represented on the Board.

There is, I think, another connection in which the Jockey Club has an interest, and that is that as little as possible of the levy should be spent for public purposes, like veterinary science and education. On Second Reading I quoted a statement made by the Duke of Roxburgh to The Times on 6th April, saying that he was strongly against the proceeds of the levy being frittered away on a diversity of objects. I conclude that what he meant was that it should be concentrated on a few simple things directly connected with racing and that to spend it on veterinary science, and other things, would be regarded as frittering the money away unless the sums so spent are small. Such issues as these will be in dispute on the Board. In no way can the Jockey Club be said to be an impartial body representing racing as such.

It seems to me wrong that, as the Bill stands, those interests which want a high levy—the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee—will comprise three out of the eight members of this Board, three out of seven if the chairman is excluded. This is a gross over-weighting of what is a clear interest. There is a good deal of evidence that the Jockey Club has a great deal of influence which it can bring to bear, not only through its representation on this Committee, but in other ways. For instance, suddenly the figure of "two" members has appeared in the Bill, when the Peppiatt Committee wanted only one.

Somebody must have got at somebody to get this considerable change from the Peppiatt Report made in the Bill. It is a considerable change that this one interest should have its membership doubled. It is not mentioned at any point in the Peppiatt Report as having been put forward. Someone has been able to bring about this change, and it seems to me that the Jockey Club must have had something to do with the figure in the Bill, which is in its favour.

It therefore seems to me necessary that we should bring the composition of the Board back to what the Peppiatt Committee recommended. That is all that our Amendment intends. We think that there are very powerful arguments against making this very striking change from the Peppiatt Report, and we have heard no arguments in favour of it.

Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds

I support the Amendment, and if it comes to a choice between two members of the Jockey Club and one in order to get a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on the Board, I am in favour of the surgeons, although I do not share the jaundiced view of the Jockey Club of the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). There is an overwhelming case to be made out for the inclusion of veterinary surgeons on the Board. A small board is obviously desirable, but it is notable that no one so far has suggested that there should be direct representation of other racing interests. For example, no one has suggested that the Racecourse Association, the Trainers' Federation and the Owners' Association should be represented on the Board.

Photo of Captain Hon. Richard Stanley Captain Hon. Richard Stanley , North Fylde

I do not think my hon. Friend is making a fair case. What they said was that if one was to be represented then they all should be represented, but they agreed that if all sections of the industry were represented the Board would become so big that the independent members would be completely swamped. The racehorse owners, the breeders and others got together and said that they did not want a representative on the Board as long as the other interests did not. The first that was heard about the veterinary surgeons wanting to be on the Board was when the Amendment appeared on the Amendment Paper. If the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is represented, then other interests will also want to be represented.

Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds

It is possible to make out a very good case for the veterinary surgeons, indeed an exceptional case, because their position is quite different from that of other interests in racing. Other interests in racing understand each other's intentions and point of view very well. The profession of the veterinary scientist is a highly technical one. Veterinary science represents the one interest which ought to be on the Board, partly because it is a highly technical profession and, for that reason, should be represented. I shall try to show why this is so.

5.0 p.m.

There will be a lot of hungry mouths to feed when all this money is available. The increase of prize money, rebuilding programmes, the improvement of amenities and many other causes will be pressed very vigorously by those who think that they will derive some advantage. But this one interest which is specifically included in the Bill but which is not included on the Board has a very special case to be considered, namely, the case for the advancement of equine research, veterinary science and education.

Like others in so many forms of scientific research in this country, veterinary research has had a rather thin time. It has had to limp along for many years with very little money, but if has done very fine work. When all the "tough guys" my right hon. Friend proposes to put on the Board start scrapping about who is to get what out of all this lovely money, at the end of a year or two, I fear, the second of the major objects of the levy, veterinary research and education, will be left very much at the post.

Recently, I visited the Equine Research Station at Balaton Lodge. There is nothing like it anywhere else. It is known all over the world as a centre for equine research. Every owner of bloodstock and every breeder in this country knows and values its clinical and consultative services. I am not sure that many people realise how much patient and fruitful research has gone on at that station during the last twenty years, and I am not sure either that everyone realises in how many fields those dedicated men have reached a point of near break-through which, if it were really massively supported now, could lead to enormous benefits not only for horses and other ungulates but in the whole field of animal research, and, indeed, in human medical research as well. The scientists at Balaton Lodge and Lanwades Park know more about haemotology and haemolytic diseases than anyone else in the world, and, because of certain characteristics of the horse's blood, the research they have done has a bearing on inflammation and allergies—especially as these are not only in horses but in human beings as well as in other animals.

In the virological research laboratory in Newmarket there is a tantalising background of knowledge of many virus diseases, and, with more staff and equipment, the researches could certainly produce cures and new treatments for a good many diseases which affect horses and other ungulates as well. The station needs at least two metabolism chambers to follow up its new knowledge obtained in recent years in nutritional research. There are new techniques in dealing with bone fractures, bone diseases and bone healing problems which also should be developed. There is a need to expand the biochemical laboratory, which is hardly adequate even for present needs.

The station has performed autopsies on nearly every foal which died in the Newmarket area during the last ten years. Here again, in pathology and bacteriology as well ase in parasitology, any acceleration of the present progress could undoubtedly open up new areas of knowledge and treatment for young animals particularly. Hand in hand, of course, with pure research must go the development and improvement of the station's clinical facilities and consultative arrangements.

The station badly needs a good library. A good library with publication and indexing services and that kind of thing is just as important in animal research as it is in medical research. The people at this station receive inquiries and requests for advice from all over the world, but with their present facilities they simply cannot cope with them.

The budget of the Equine Research Station was about £40,000 last year, about half of that coming from the Tote. The rest came from voluntary contributions. It is really quite astonishing to see what has been done with so little money and to see how much work in different fields of equine research has been tackled and tackled successfully. If ever there was a winner on its record worth backing it is this station at Newmarket.

We have here an opportunity not just to put Britain in the lead in equine research. By stepping up its existing programmes and developing all the new leads the researchers at the station have found in relation to horses and other animals as well as human beings, coupled with a vigorous development of veterinary education, we could certainly make this country the dominant world centre in equine research and veterinary science.

There would be several beneficiaries from such a really massive development of equine research now. Exports, tourism, Commonwealth development, agricultural productivity at home, and international prestige are only a few of the long-term beneficiaries from the sort of programme I have in mind, to say nothing of the long-term advantage to breeding and racing in the years to come.

We all realise perfectly well that, irrespective of whether my right hon. Friend decides to accept the Amendment or not, equine research and veterinary scientists will benefit under the Bill, but I feel certain that, in order to have their fair share of what will be available to them, these people really must be represented on the Board. They are the ones who can do far more for the British bloodstock industry than the Jockey Club and all the other racing associations put together.

There is another factor which is very important. This Bill should command support from a circle far wider than just that of racing and betting if it were made clear that by accepting the Amendment that Britain was determined to keep and extend her lead and dominance in this very great branch of science.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

I do not know how it came about that the Government changed their mind. It is certainly no part of my job to act as a public relations officer for the Jockey Club, but there are certain things which need to be said arising from the points which have been made about the Amendment It should be recognised that racing is not only a business. It is also a sport. The overwhelming majority of people who are interested in racing are not in it because they will make money out of it. If they do think so, they very soon find out they are mistaken. They go racing for fun.

It is true, also, that there is some easy money about, and wherever there is easy money there will always be someone looking for it. Therefore, it is of absolutely paramount importance that the government of racing should be carried on by a body of men, whatever we may think about them, whose integrity and authority are beyond dispute. It is quite plain that the main function of the Jockey Club, through its stewards and representatives, is to exercise its authority with an absolutely firm hand. There are many young men in racing who may not have had all the advantages of a very wide education and who may suddenly face high incomes and great temptations. Unless the hand of the Jockey Club is firm and is recognised as being firm, we shall run into trouble.

The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mt Aitken) spoke about the pre-eminence of British racing. Of course, we all want that, but the preeminence of British racing is recognised throughout the world by the performance of our bloodstock. We need to recognise, also, that the Jockey Club has an international reputation.

In a very humble position on the Racecourse Betting Control Board, I have from time to time had letters from people from far afield—for instance, letters from friends in Ghana who were concerned about the state of racing in Ghana and wanted to go to the Jockey Club for advice. People have come to me from out of the blue, wanting to be put in touch with the Jockey Club. There were people in Brazil who asked me to put them in touch with Wetherby's. Perhaps it is interesting to note that so conscious of public relation are Wetherby's and the Jockey Club that if one wants to find their telephone number one cannot find it in the telephone directory.

Of course, this institution has been going on since the eighteenth century; and, of course, one can criticise it, and indeed, the more one knows about it the more one can criticise it; but so far I have never heard anyone attack the Jockey Club's integrity. Therefore, in a Bill of this kind it is of paramount importance that its position and its authority should be recognised.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) is a much better and a much wiser and a much nobler person than I am. Of course, he does not go racing. If he did he would have recognised that the Jockey Club occupies a quite different position from that of the National Hunt Committee. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds is not suggesting for a moment that the National Hunt Committee should be represented on the Horserace Betting Levy Board. It is to be represented by one, and it cannot be left out, but the Jockey Club speaks for many times as many people. The value of the racing controlled by the Jockey Club, the number of races, the extent of its activities, all these are many times greater than the number or value of the races or activities represented by the National Hunt Committee, and the pre-eminence of British racing rests chiefly upon flat racing. Therefore, if we give one place to the National Hunt Committee it would seem to me to follow that we must give more to the Jockey Club. I would have thought the Jockey Club could have two places. I would have thought so. I would have thought there was a cast-iron case that, because of the authority of the Jockey Club throughout the world, it should be given special recognition.

But that is not all the story. The hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Stanley) knows as well as I do that a very considerable amount of work has been done on this Bill over a very long period. There are some who have had the good fortune to have come into our deliberations only at this late stage, but those deliberations and a great deal of hard work have been going on for several years, and so far this has been an agreed Bill. Of course, even though it is agreed, that does not mean that all the Members of the House of Commons necessarily have to agree with it, but I would have thought that they would at least take some trouble to find out the principles on which the Bill was based.

One of the fundamental principles, as the hon. Member for North Fylde said, was that beneficiaries should be excluded. If hon. Gentlemen will look at the old 1928 Act they will find a number of beneficiaries were left out; the then Home Secretary and others who hammered out the scheme left them off. Perhaps that is the reason why the Jockey Club went to the Home Secretary and asked for two representatives now.

I have no doubt at all that the Jockey Club is too modest to make the points which I have made on its behalf about its disciplinary work and the peculiar position which it occupies in the world of racing, but I imagine that it would have said, "We speak for thousands of employers in this industry. We speak for the interests of owners, breeders, jockeys, trainers. Therefore, we ask for recognition to be given to them through us. For that reason we hope you will breach the principle of no direct beneficiaries being on the Board."

Let me deal now with the question of veterinary science. So far veterinary science has had help from the Racecourse Betting Control Board through the work of the charity trust of which by chance I happen to be a member. I am sure that those whose knowledge of this is much greater than my own and covers a much longer period will agree when I say that everything it has asked for has in fact been granted. Therefore, if it wants more it must come along and ask for more. The idea that it is being starved for money, if I may say so politely, is a piece of nonsense.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

It is nonsense. Does my hon. Friend want to interrupt?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

My hon. Friend challenges me. I was going to deal with that in discussing the second of the two Amendments, which I was going to move. Then I will answer my hon. Friend.

5.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

That Amendment is not to be moved, I understand. If my hon. Friend says "No" to what I am saying, let me tell him that as recently as last week a grant for next year was approved, and it was exactly what was asked for—and last year and the year before that. Inside the limits of the money which is available all that veterinary science has asked for has in fact been given.

Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds

I think that that is a little misleading, because very often people ask for what they hope to get and not what they would like to get. I could quite easily have given the hon. Member a list of projects at Newmarket at Balaton Lodge costing from £40,000 to £50,000, very good and very practical ones. I do not think it is quite fair to say that they get everything they need or that they are not starved of money. It is just not so.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

They are responsible people and would not ask for more than in fact there is, and within the sum total of the money available, as responsible people they have asked for what they wanted and have got it. They cannot get more than there is. If they want some of the £1¼ million I have no doubt that the Horserace Betting Levy Board will look with a kindly eye in this direction. What I am controverting is the very unfair point that they have been starved of money by the Racecourse Betting Control Board.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

My hon. Friend is haranguing me, but I will answer his point later.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

Does my hon. Friend want to interrupt me? Do not mutter.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds was suggesting that a great deal more can be given. I am quite sure that it can; but it does have to be related to the amount of money which is available, and inside the sum total which is available the veterinary service has been given adequate treatment. The point I want to controvert is the suggestion, implied in what he said, that representation on the Levy Board is essential in order to get more money. That, I think, is an unfair reflection upon the work over the last twenty or thirty years of people on the Racecourse Betting Control Board.

Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds

The hon. Member seems to me to be illogical about this. The whole object of getting a representative of the veterinary service on the Board is that more money will be available if it gets a fair chance of getting it.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

That is exactly the point I am making, that it is said that an increased sum of money for veterinary purposes depends upon representation on the Levy Board of the veterinary service, but does the hon. Gentleman not see that it follows that as soon as that happens breeders, jockeys, everybody else will do exactly the same?

Therefore, it is absolutely essential that there should be somebody on the Board directly representing racing interests who will act not as the representative of special interests however laudable they may be but will remember that in racing as in politics statesmen are essential. The essential need here is for a turf statesman who will have the wisdom and the detachment to take a synoptic view and balance one interest against another.

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for admitting this. Out of his own mouth he has admitted the case because he has suggested that the amount which the various interests will get will be related to their membership of the Board. I put exactly the other point of view. I hold the view that the well-being of British racing needs to be related to the position of racing on the world plane, and therefore I say it is the duty of the Government, bearing in mind its undoubtedly authentic voice in racing, to give the Jockey Club a place in deciding not only upon the disbursement of money but in the framing of policies in the interests of racing, of clean racing, of racing of which we are all proud.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

I rise to support the Amendment to the effect that a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons should be included on the Board. I do so because I think that such a man would serve a very useful purpose there. I have recently had experience of the knowledge and the services given by members of the British Veterinary Association, and I have no doubt that not only do veterinary surgeons hope that in some way they would influence certain sums of money into the veterinary profession, but also that they would be able to carry out investigations as a result of their knowledge and further, by their membership of the Board which would be of inestimable value to the British bloodstock industry.

When we read about the intentions for which the money shall be allotted, we find that it shall be allotted for the improvement of the breeds of horses; the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education. It seems to me, therefore, to be quite logical that, if that is one of the declared intentions of the use of the money, a nominee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons should be on the Board.

I certainly do not go all the way—although I can understand his point of view—with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who stated that because the greatest preponderance of interest is in flat racing the Board should include two members of the Jockey Club as of right. Certainly I believe that one member of the Jockey Club, if he were a strong member—and I am sure that he would be—would be quite capable of putting forward the views of the Board with force and that it would not suffer by having only one such member, especially when it is realised that in any case, whether there were one member or two members, the Jockey Club would be in a minority overall on the Board.

In the first place, of course, this money is raised from members of the public. It is not the prerogative of the Jockey Club or of any persons on the Board at all. The racing industry in this country is only pursued because of the interests of the general publice. Therefore, one finally comes down to what is best in the public interest concerning representation on the Board and the manner in which the money is raised.

Furthermore, we must realise—and this has already been stated—that the money cannot be raised voluntarily. It has to be raised by levy and, again, it has to come in the first instance from the public purse. If we are dealing with the public interest, I believe that the general public would be much more happy about the general circumstances if they knew that the veterinary profession was represented on the Board.

There is certainly an awakening interest in this country in general animal welfare. People not only think of the racing of the horses or of the bookmakers and others connected with racing. A great many people consider the welfare of the animals. In that connection, they consider that a highly qualified and highly skilled professional man on the Board might be able to exercise certain influences there.

Indeed, when we come down to the question of professional know-how, I am fortified by the rather indignant—if I may so put it—intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott), who objected when my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary introduced an Amendment specifying what was meant by "independent" and which would make it perfectly clear.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

If my hon. Friend looks at HANSARD tomorrow, he will realise that I was not objecting to the principle but to the method.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

What my hon. Friend said—and I took it down very carefully—was that the definition of independence "would exclude people with special knowledge of horse racing. I suggest that in this context veterinary surgeons have special knowledge of the animals used in horse racing, which is very important. One of my hon. Friends shakes his head in disagreement. Are we to assume that veterinary surgeons have no knowledge of horses?

Photo of Captain Hon. Richard Stanley Captain Hon. Richard Stanley , North Fylde

I think that my hon. Friend is getting terribly muddled. Of course veterinary surgeons know horses. That is why they have their jobs. But they know very little about the practical side of racing. I thought that that was the whole point at issue.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

The Bill lays down perfectly clearly what is the intention with regard to the money. It states that it shall be used for the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education. Therefore, my non Friend has made the case even better. If veterinary surgeons have no knowledge of horse racing, then I suggest that a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons sitting alongside members of the Jockey Club when disposal of the money was being considered might be a very good thing because all the members of the Board would then come much closer together than they are apparently at the moment, according to my hon. Friend, who, I understand, is a member of the Jockey Club. I suggest that that in itself is another reason for the inclusion of a veterinary surgeon.

There is no doubt that the veterinary profession and those engaged in the production of bloodstock and of improving its quality have much work to do together. I personally can see no valid reason why there should be such strong opposition from some quarters to the introduction on to the Levy Board of a member of the veterinary profession who must, according to the Bill itself, have a particular interest not only in the way in which the money is disposed of but, indeed, in the whole science of the production of high quality bloodstock and British racing generally. I trust that my hon. Friend will find it possible to include on the Board a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

An Amendment was down in my name, but there was a procedural difficulty. However, I assume that that Amendment has been taken with the Amendment moved and that we are discussing the position of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Before I deal with the Amendment, I wish to say something to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). He has praised the Jockey Club and has inferred that we who seek to restrict it are seeking to criticise it.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

Well, I got that impression.

I am not as experienced as my hon. Friend concerning the Jockey Club. I am only a humble racegoer. I hope that he will not be pompous because he has this added experience. After all, on Second Reading, he said: Since I have been on the Racecourse Betting Control Board I have learned that the Jockey Club does not provide the leadership which one expects. If the Home Secretary has a complaint against this important body, it is not that it is faulty but that it is diffident and incapable in this modern age, because of the way it works, of acquiring the necessary knowledge to be able to give the lead which racing unquestionably requires at present."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1960; Vol. 631, c. 900.] 5.30 p.m.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley criticised the Jockey Club. I did not make that criticism. He seemed to argue that it now has great authority and that it is responsible for keeping a firm hand on racing. I hope it does. But that would in no way be affected by the composition of this Board, and it would in no way affect the running of the Jockey Club if it had only one member on the Levy Board. I hope it will continue to exert its authority, and that if there are any grounds for criticism of its work such as was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley it will certainly bring itself up to date. However, I must point out that I am not experienced in the workings of the Jockey Club.

I think it was rather unfair to chide my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) for saying that he did not go racing. The inference was that he did not know anything about the subject whereas my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley did know. I only wish my hon. Friend would show a little modesty in these matters. I wish to deal with the Amendment affecting the Royal College. I am a member of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and have been for nine years. I rely on the experience of experts, as does my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley when he talks about the Racecourse Betting Control Board.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

So we are all square.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

We are all square. The purpose of this Bill is to improve breeding and the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science and veterinary education. The purpose of the levy is to improve breeds of horses and, of course, to improve horse-racing. But, as I think has been established by the hon. Members for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Aitken) and for Gillingham (Mr. Burden), we cannot improve horse-racing or the breeding of horses without proper veterinary practice and the development of veterinary science and veterinary education. I submit that the latter purpose is fundamental to this Bill. I am sure that the hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Stanley), who raised the question of the state of veterinary education, would agree. Whether or not we are muddled about the purpose of this Bill, I think he will agree from his experience that if we have good veterinary practice, research and development, horse-racing will inevitably improve and that there will also be an improvement in breeding. There cannot be any separation of the two.

The success of this Bill and the use of the levy will depend very much upon how much money is allocated to veterinary research and education. I am glad that the hon. Members for Bury St Edmunds and Gillingham stressed this fact in their two admirable speeches. Incidentally, we on these benches raised this point in the Second Reading debate.

There has been some argument on how the Board shall be composed. I do not want to get involved in an argument about the Jockey Club, and that is why I am sorry that these Amendments are being discussed together, for the Amendment that I wished to move relates specifically to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. I know it is argued that no beneficiary should be included among the membership of the Board. That is why breed societies, racehorse owners and other similar people have been excluded. I understand the point. But I assure those who make this criticism that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons will not be a beneficiary. Certainly there will be institutes of research, as has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds, which will benefit from the financial provisions of the Bill, but the Royal College will not be a beneficiary. If my hon. Friend for Dudley wishes to dispute that assertion, I will gladly give way.

I think it is accepted that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, in respect of veterinary problems, veterinary science and education, is equivalent to the Jockey Club in respect of horse racing. Indeed, it is a statutory supervisory body. The Privy Council is in control, four Privy Council representatives being on the Council of the College. Many of my hon. Friends will remember the 1948 Act which was sponsored by the right hon. Tom Williams who was Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. That Act imposed statutory obligations on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. It will therefore not be a beneficiary in any way. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons would, like the Jockey Club, be able to give advice on the use of the levy for veterinary science and education. I should have thought that that was logical and reasonable.

Emphasis has been laid on the question of beneficiaries, and I hope that I have refuted any suggestion that the Royal College will be a beneficiary. On its council are representatives of the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and London, as well as the National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin. There is also a member appointed by the Minister of Agriculture for the Republic of Ireland. This body, which has on it elected members, is held in high esteem all over the Commonwealth and throughout the world. This statutory body would be in no sense a beneficiary, but would be able to give its expert advice on matters affected by the Bill. I am sure that horse racing in general and horse breeding would benefit from its advice.

I assure the hon. Member for North Fylde that I am in no way criticising the Jockey Club, and that I merely ask him to remember that this body would be able to give expert opinion on how best the levy could be used for horse racing—

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

I am a little confused. Could the hon. Member explain whether, in his opinion, there is anything in the Bill to prevent the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons giving its advice? I should have thought that it most certainly could and would give its advice.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I agree that even if the Amendment standing in my name were not accepted, the Minister could probably set up an advisory committee to the Levy Board. But I would hope—indeed, I think it is important—that where we have the conflict of interests which have been mentioned, a body like the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, dealing specifically with the use of the levy for veterinary purposes, which is one of the main purposes of the Bill, should be able to give impartial advice to the Board.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

My hon. Friend is anxious to establish that if his Amendment were incorporated in the Bill there would be no breach of the principle that no beneficiary should be on the Board. If he looks at the Racecourse Betting Act, 1928, he will see that there were representatives of the Racecourse Association, Tattersalls Committee and of a number of other bodies which are not directly beneficiaries, in exactly the same way as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. They would be as disinterested as the Royal College. They would have special points of view to put. But does not my hon. Friend see that if we put one such body on the Board, the demands of all the others to be on it would be almost impossible to resist? That is the very principle on which the Government are trying to establish the Bill.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

My hon. Friend has missed the point. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is in no way in that relationship. I know that I could explain this all night and that my hon. Friend would not accept it. I understand his point of view. But I am arguing that the College is in no way a beneficiary. It could well be argued that the Jockey Club is much more a beneficiary and that the members of it are, too. Most of the members of the Jockey Club are connected with racing. How we are to find a representative who has no special interest in or will not benefit from the levy, I do not know.

Many members of the Jockey Club are owners and are interested in horse breeding. They are honourable people; I am not criticising them. But they will probably have a sectional interest, and I am merely arguing that for the purposes of Clause 1 (1, b), which deals with the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education, there should be a member, dealing with this main purpose, who has an impartial view as to how these funds should be used.

Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley

is not the hon. Member aware that many members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have a direct interest, because they are trainers?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

There may be an individual veterinary surgeon who has a special interest, but the College has no interest. In the same way one could argue along those lines about the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee, or even say that the hon. Member for Workington and others, who are ordinary punters, have a direct interest in the racing industry. Let us not pursue that too far.

I merely argue that the representative of the College would be able to give general guidance on the use of grants to ensure that some of the levy money were put into important research projects which would provide fundamental information on animal breeding and diseases and on veterinary science. In the end, all this will benefit the horse. I argue strongly that specialist advice wil be needed on the use of the levy.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley spoke of the Racecourse Betting Control Board. Figures were given on Second Reading. I assert from all the expert advice which I have had—which is just as expert as that given to my hon. Friend—that veterinary schools and institutes, which are responsible for 99 per cent. of veterinary education and a large part of veterinary research, have received in the past only a fraction of the money from those sources. I could tell my hon. Friend of a specific case affecting a university in which a grant was turned down.

I admit, however, that much has been done and that it is not the fault of the Racecourse Betting Control Board that it has been limited. We are to have a new board, however, with the creation of a large levy, and I hope that larger sums will be given to such organisations. I could quote figure after figure of the type of research which is needed. I have here a statement from the President of the British Veterinary Association, which is a separate body from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. In a letter the President tells me that The British Veterinary Association contends that the dispersal of funds to veterinary science and veterinary education can only be effected satisfactorily by a body which has a detailed knowledge of veterinary research as carried out by various universities and other organisations, and of veterinary education with its undergraduate and post-graduate problems. I think that that is accepted

5.45 p.m.

I have details, similar to those given by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds, of the vast amount of urgent veterinary work and research which is required. I have a list which covers, first, science and the research which is needed into many problems of the horse, heart problems being one example; secondly, microbiology and the importance of work affecting contagious diseases, which has an important connection with racehorses and their transportation; and thirdly, the need for a quick investigation and development of research into parasitological problems, again mentioned by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds. A great deal of money and staff is required for urgent research work into diseases of the foal, and investigations are required into many other specialised sections of veterinary science.

There is also a need, I am told, for important advances in the technique of veterinary surgery, particularly into bone and tendon surgery affecting the horse. Much of this work has been hampered through lack of finance. Much of it directly affects horse breeding and racing. Veterinary education needs the award of scholarships, fellowships and assistantships for investigation into work on the projects which I have mentioned. In addition, it is argued by those who are specialists that we need more travelling scholarships.

We can therefore make the case that there is an urgent need for work of this kind and that we should have on the Levy Board somebody who has this experience. It is not so much the amount of money involved; that could be decided amicably by members of the board. It is a question where the money will be directed, even within the purposes which I have mentioned, and what type of research and what type of veterinary education should be developed. All these are matters for an expert.

I have argued that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is an admirable body for this purpose and that one member of the Levy Board should be sponsored by the College, not because the College consists of veterinary surgeons but because it is a statutory body and because the Levy Board will function more efficiently and effectively if this is done.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I think that I can best deal with both the point made about the Jockey Club and that made about the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons by explaining to the Committee how the board will be composed of three elements, and what the functions of those three elements will be. We decided on having a small board. The first element is the chairman and two independent members, chosen, as has been said on an earlier Amendment, because they are impartial, in the sense that they have no vested interest whatever in racing, although one would expect them to be enthusiasts for racing. The second element consists of the representatives of the racing interests. The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said that under the Bill the Jockey Club was to be an impartial body. That has never been our view.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

I said that that had been argued in favour of the Jockey Club by those who spoke for it, but it is clearly not in the Bill.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I am glad that we understand each other on that subject, because clearly under the Bill the Jockey Club is to be representative of racing interests in the broadest sense. The third element consists of the chairman of the Tote Board and the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee.

The function of the representatives of the racing interests will be to advise on the financial needs of the racing industry and of its various parts. The function of the chairmen of the Tote Board and the Bookmakers' Committee will obviously be to advise on the capacity of the Tote Board and the bookmakers respectively to contribute towards the levy scheme.

The function of the chairman and independent members—and this is very important, because it has a bearing upon the position of the Jockey Club—will be in relation to the collection scheme, on which they will have the last word. In relation to the distribution scheme they will vote as other members of the Board vote, but the Board itself will not have the last word. The last word on the distribution scheme lies with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

If we get clearly in mind who is to have the last word we find that in regard to both the collection scheme and the distribution scheme, it does not matter a bit whether there are two Jockey Club members or one—

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

Or any of the other bodies represented.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Yes, or of any others. We are therefore faced with this alternative. We can either have three representatives altogether—which we consider a reasonably small number for keeping the Board compact and not to outweigh either the independent members or the chairmen of the Bookmakers' Committee and the Tote Board—or we can have, as was done under the 1928 Act with the Tote Boards, a very large board that represents the interests of veterinary science, the Race Course Association and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

We decided on a compact Board, and hope that we have carried the Committee with us to that extent. I hope that the Committee will be reassured by the fact that under the procedure in the Bill it does not matter whether we have two Jockey Club members or one—

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

Or any of the other bodies represented.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I listened with great care to the right hon. Gentleman, but he has displayed his interest in the debate by being absent during practically the whole of it. I would wish that he would let me explain the position, because many hon. Members have spoken whom he did not hear.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

As the hon. and learned Gentleman has raised this point, I must tell the Committee that I am very sorry to have been absent, but I had to go to a very important meeting, which I cut short as soon as I could. I interrupted only when the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to something in my speech.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, but I hope that now he has come back he will do me the courtesy of listening, instead of interrupting from his seat.

We have chosen two Jockey Club members rather than one for just the reasons given by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). He was in no sense a party to the consultations, but news naturally travels, and it has been felt by many of the various bodies inside the racing industry that as long as there was adequate representation of racing interests there was no need for individual representations of the many bodies concerned. It is on that assumption—and, indeed, on that understanding—that various bodies such as the Race Horse Breeders' Association, the Race Course Association and others have been content to have their interests represented by the Jockey Club, provided that the Jockey Club was represented by two members and not just one. We feel that it is not unreasonable.

In dealing with the question of the interests of veterinary science, may I say that it gives me the first opportunity I have ever had in the House of Commons of paying my tribute to the veterinary profession, on whose services I have so often called; never more than two or three months goes by without my having to call on it to tend one or other of the animals in which I am interested. Theirs is indeed a dedicated profession and one which, especially in the context of horse racing, as the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) said, needs to be encouraged.

Under the 1928 Act the Racecourse Betting Control Board undoubtedly did its best within its limited resources. That Board's work resulted in the Equine Research Station at Newmarket, referred to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Aitken) receiving about £20,000 last year and, I understand, other sums in previous years. Quite clearly, once we get the levy scheme going there will be more money to distribute than there has been in the past, and it is clear that veterinary science should benefit from that to an increasing extent.

What the Committee has now been considering for the last hour or two is how that can best be achieved. For the reasons I have given—namely, our desire to have a compact Board, our desire to have the interests of the racing industry represented in the broadest way and not by separate representation of interest that might directly benefit—we do not feel that it is necessary or wise to have a representative of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on the Board, more especially because the interests of the Royal College extend far beyond the interests of the treatment of horses. The Royal College is concerned with all animals.

What is to be done? If the organisations connected with veterinary science wish to obtain grants from the Levy Board their proper course, as for other beneficiaries, will be to make representations to that effect to the Board. It will then be for the Board to make the provision it considers appropriate in the distribution scheme.

There is, however, a further safeguard and, I suggest, a very important one. If veterinary science interests consider that they are not receiving a sufficient grant from the Board they can make representation to the Secretary of State, and if the Government Amendment to Clause 2 is accepted, the Secretary of State will have power to approve the distribution scheme with modifications. Among the modifications that it will be open for him to make would be an increase in the amount suggested by the Levy Board for veterinary science. The interests of veterinary science will, therefore, be safeguarded without a member of the Royal College being on the Levy Board.

For those reasons, and after this interesting and helpful debate, I suggest that our best plan is to leave the Bill as it is, because if we start upsetting the rather careful balance, and the carefully worked out machinery by which these three elements on the Levy Board will co-operate with each other, we may be in a very great difficulty.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The Under-Secretary has not responded to our case, and I asked him, if he did not intend to make a response, to say whether the Secretary of State had considered setting up an advisory committee. That is not a new thing. For example, the Agricultural Research Council has funds and is advised by the Anicals Standing Committee and the Soils Committee, both composed of experts. On the Animals Standing Committee there are representatives of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Chief Veterinary Adviser of the Ministry of Agriculture. If we are not to move in the direction I suggested, is there the possibility of an advisory committee being set up?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I was not at all sure whether the hon. Gentleman meant a committee to advise the Levy Board or one to advise my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, or both.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I was thinking of it in terms of advice to the Levy Board, but if it is knocked down by the Government, I hope that the Minister will be advised in other ways.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I should have thought, with great respect, that an advisory committee would be superfluous. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, of which the hon. Gentleman is, and for many years has been a distinguished member, is a responsible body, and any representations that it might care to make to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary or to the Levy Board will be accepted with great respect and given the most careful consideration.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

I shall be short with my remarks because the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) has already, despite the sharp rebuke he got for immodesty from his Front Bench, deployed very strongly the arguments that are relevant to this question. On the first Amendment, I follow him very largely for the reasons which he gave, though I cannot resist the temptation to add that I hope that some of the members of the Levy Board, including the Jockey Club representatives, will go racing from time to time as ordinary members of the public and that they will inflict upon themselves the misery of the meals offered at some race-courses, because that would be a valuable and chastening experience.

It is proposed through these Amendments to include on the Board a representative of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. I see nothing in the Bill to preclude that body giving any advice which it likes to the Board. I cannot contemplate the Board being so asinine as to refuse to listen to that advice.

The other point which I want to make strongly—I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State did not touch upon it as much as he could have done—is that if the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is to be admitted to representation on the Board, there will be a great many more demands than there have yet been for membership. The Race Course Association has a considerable interest and a heavy liability in this matter, but has been very restrained in not pressing what is at least a very strong case.

The claims by all these bodies should be resisted. The argument was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for North Fylde (Mr. Stanley) when he said that the danger was that the independent members would be swamped. I believe that the independent members in this scheme have an enormously important place. I go racing not as an owner but as a potential loser to the bookmaker, and I shall be delighted to feel that at long last there are independent people on such a Board who will have an opportunity of directing my losings to some profitable use from which the ordinary racegoing public may benefit.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

The Temporary Chairman who preceded you in the Chair, Sir William, pointed out that one of the difficulties that compelled us to take these two Amendments together was the fact that the membership of the Levy Board is limited to a chairman and seven members, and therefore we have rather drifted into the unfortunate position of arguing either for the Jockey Club or for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, bath of which I believe to be, in the words of the Under-Secretary of State, respected institutions.

I heartily support the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton). The only meal I ever have at a race meeting is when I am invited by the stewards to lunch with them.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

They have never asked me.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

The hon. Member should put his claim forward. I hope that the case made out by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) for the special position of the Royal College will not fall on deaf ears in the Government. If the Government were to alter the word "seven" to "eight" in Clause 1 (2) and to bring in the Royal College, the situation would be well met, because I believe that the College is in a very different position from any of the other bodies that have been mentioned.

The College represents an attitude to this problem quite different from that of the racecourse executives—though I am well aware of their difficulties—and of any other people concerned. The point that has been made is well worth further consideration, and it was unfortunate that my right hon. and hon. Friends, in framing their Amendments, did not spy the difficulty in which they would be ultimately involved—that if we are to have the College on the Levy Board, we must leave somebody else off. I hope that on Report that difficulty may be resolved.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

I endorse what my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has said. It is perhaps a little unfortunate that with these two Amendments we are dealing with two quite separate points. The first is whether it is necessary or desirable to have two members of the Jockey Club on the Levy Board, and the second is whether the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons should be represented on the Board.

The Home Secretary, who has been with us during the latter part of this debate, will have heard what has been said. I thought that the speech of the Under-Secretary of State was most disappointing and unsatisfactory. He gave no real reason why there was any necessity to have two members of the Jockey Club on the Levy Board.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I suggest that it is because we have to have one to watch the other.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

That is probably the best reason yet given. The Under-Secretary of State said that it did not matter whether there were two members or one member of the Jockey Club on the Board.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

From the point of view of taking responsibility under the various schemes.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

Nor did he indicate any other reason why there was any merit in having two members on the Board. The Peppiatt Committee was careful to recommend that there should be only one member of the Club on the Board, and nothing has been said in this debate to indicate that it is necessary or desirable that the membership should be weighted in this way by having two Jockey Club representatives.

Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley

The Peppiatt Committee only recommended one independent member besides the chairman, but we now have representation of the Jockey Club in the ratio of two members to eight instead of the ratio of one to five. It does not make much difference.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

It is odd that in choosing an additional member from the Jockey Club to serve on the Board it was thought necessary to say that there should now be three independent members instead of one, as recommended by the Peppiatt Committee.

I believe that we are all agreed that this should be a small compact body, and it is unnecessary that it should be weighted unduly by any one interest. Like the Under-Secretary of State, I do not much mind whether there are two members or one member of the Jockey Club on the Board, but I am insistent that, for the reasons which my hon. Friends have given, it is highly desirable that somebody should be on the Board to represent the special interests of veterinary science.

Representations to this effect have been made by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, including the hon. Members for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Aitken) and for Gillingham (Mr. Burden). I hope that the Government will now recognise that the claims of veterinary science stand in a special category. In the past, veterinary science has been neglected and starved. It was noticeable when he had a debate in May on a Motion moved by the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) that when the Home Secretary replied and adumbrated various ideas about the Levy Board in connection with collection and distribution, the right hon. Gentleman made no reference at all to the fact that one of the legitimate purposes of raising money in this unusual way should be to assist and encourage veterinary science. We were glad to find that the Peppiatt Committee dealt with this and that in the Bill it is a recognised object for which the Levy Board can distribute money. The fact has been mentioned over and over again in debate that there is a widespread feeling that much more should be done in this country than is being done at present for the advancement and encouragement of veterinary science and research.

This is an important national interest. The Bill and the machinery for raising money in the way provided for in the Bill gives an opportunity for ensuring that a branch of science which has long been neglected should now have abundant opportunities for having that leeway made up and rectified. We feel that this cannot be adequately done unless there is a representative on the Levy Board who on all occasions will be able to state with authority the special interests of veterinary science. The purely horse racing, horse breeding and racecourse interests are represented by the other members of the Levy Board, particularly those who will be appointed to represent the Jockey Club. Veterinary science calls for some special recognition.

It is no good the Under-Secretary saying that when it comes to the distribution of the levy it will not be the Levy Board that will have the last word but the Home Secretary. I remind him that the Board will have to consider the total of the levy and that in considering that total the claims of veterinary science and research are not unimportant. I do not want to pursue the matter further. I hope that my hon. and right hon. Friends will register their sense of the importance of the Amendment by dividing the Committee, and that as a result of what has been said on both sides of

the Committee the Government will have second thoughts and will give effect to what has been expressed by reconsidering the matter on Report.

Question put, That "two members" stand part of the Clause:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 223, Noes 171.

Division No. 24.]AYES[6.13 p.m.
Agnew, Sir PeterGammans, LadyMarkham, Major Sir Frank
Allason, JamesGardner, EdwardMarlowe, Anthony
Arbuthnot, JohnGlover, Sir DouglasMarples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Ashton, Sir HubertGlyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)Marten, Neil
Atkins, HumphreyGlyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)>Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Balniel, LordGodber, J. B.Matthews, Gordon (Merlden)
Barber, AnthonyGoodhart, PhilipMawby, Ray
Barlow, Sir JohnGoodhew, VictorMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Barter, JohnGower, RaymondMills, Stratton
Batsford, BrianGrant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)Green, AlanMore, Jasper (Ludlow)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)Gresham Cooke, R.Morrison, John
Berkeley, HumphryGrimond, J.Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Bidgood, John C.Grimston, Sir RobertNabarro, Gerald
Bingham, R. M.Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Neave, Alrey
Birch, Rt. Hon. NigelGurden, HaroldNicholson, Sir Godfrey
Bishop, F. P.Hall, John (Wycombe)Noble, Michael
Black, Sir CyrilHarris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)Nugent, Sir Richard
Bossom, CliveHarris, Reader (Heston)Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Bourne-Arton, A.Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Box, DonaldHarrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Osborn, John (Hallam)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. JohnHarvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)Osborne, Cyril (Louth)
Boyle, Sir EdwardHarvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Brewis, JohnHastings, StephenPartridge, E.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Hay, JohnPearson, Frank (Clltheroe)
Browne, Percy (Torrington)Henderson, John (Cathcart)Peel, John
Bryan, PaulHenderson-Stewart, Sir JamesPercival, Ian
Bullard, DenysHendry, ForbesPickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Bullus, Wing Commander EricHicks Beach, Maj. W.Pike, Miss Mervyn
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)Hiley, JosephPitman, I. J.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)Pitt, Miss Edith
Carr, Compton (Barons Court)Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)Pott, Percivall
Cary, Sir RobertHinchingbrooke, ViscountPrior, J. M. L.
Channon, H. P. G.Hocking, Philip N.Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Chichester-Clark, R.Holland, PhilipQuennell, Miss J. M.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)Hollingworth, JohnRawlinson, Peter
Cleaver, LeonardHolt, ArthurRedmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Cole, NormanHope, Rt. Hon. Lord JohnRees, Hugh
Collard, RichardHornby, R. P.Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooke, RobertHornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. PatriciaRenton, David
Cooper, A. E.Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral JohnRidley, Hon. Nicholas
Corfield, F. V.Hughes-Young, MichaelRidsdale, Julian
Costain, A. P.Hulbert, Sir NormanRippon, Geoffrey
Coulson, J. M.Hurd, Sir AnthonyRoberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Craddock, Sir BeresfordIremonger, T. L.Roots, William
Critchley, JulianIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)Russell, Ronald
Crowder, F. P.Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Scott-Hopkins, James
Cunningham, KnoxJohnson Smith, GeoffreySeymour, Leslie
Currie, G. B. H.Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)Shaw, M.
Dalkeith, Earl ofKerans, Cdr. J. S.Simon, Sir Jooelyn
Dance, JamesKerby, Capt. HenrySkeet, T. H. H.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKerr, Sir HamiltonSpearman, Sir Alexander
Deedes, W. F.Kershaw, AnthonyStanley, Hon. Richard
de Ferranti, BasilKitson, TimothyStodart, J. A.
Digby, Simon WingfieldLancaster, Col. C. G.Studholme, Sir Henry
Doughty, CharlesLeather, E. H. C.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Duncan, Sir JamesLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Eden, JohnLilley, F. J. P.Teeling, William
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Linstead, Sir HughTemple, John M.
Elliott, R. W. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, N.)Litchfield, Capt. JohnThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. EvelynLongbottom, CharlesThomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Errington, Sir EricLongden, GilbertThompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Farey-Jones, F. W.Loveys, Walter H.Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Farr, JohnLucas-Tooth, Sir HughTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Finlay, GraemeMcMaster, Stanley R.Turner, Colin
Fisher, NigelMacpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMaddan, MartinVaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Maginnls, John E.Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Wade, DonaldWilliams, Dudley (Exeter)Woollam, John
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)Worsley, Marcus
Wall, PatrickWills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Webster, DavidWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wells, John (Maidstone)Wolrige-Gordon, PatrickMr. Gibson-Watt and
Whitelaw, WilliamWoodhouse, C. M.Mr. Sharples.
Wigg, GeorgeWoodnutt, Mark
NOES
Ainsley, WilliamHerbison, Miss MargaretOliver, G. H
Aitken, W. T.Hill, J. (Midlothian)Oram, A. E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Holman, PercyOwen, Will
Awbery, StanHoughton, DouglasPadley, W. E.
Bacon, Miss AliceHowell, Charles A.Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Pavitt, Laurence
Beaney, AlanHughes, Enrys (s. Ayrshire)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Peart, Frederick
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)Hunter, A. E.Pentland, Norman
Benson, Sir GeorgeHynd, John (Attercliffe)Prentice, R. E.
Blackburn, F.Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Blyton, WilliamIrving, Sydney (Dartford)Proctor, W. T.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.)Janner, BarnettRandall, Harry
Bowles, FrankJay, Rt. Hon. DouglasReynolds, G. W.
Boyden, JamesJeger, GeorgeRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M.Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince)Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)Ross, William
Burden, F. A.Jones, Dan (Burnley)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Callaghan, JamesJones, Jack (Rotherham)Short, Edward
Castle, Mrs. BarbaraJones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Chetwynd, GeorgeJones, T. w. (Merioneth)Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Cliffe, MichaelKelley, RichardSlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Collick, PercyKenyon, CliffordSlater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Corbet, Mrs. FredaKey, Rt. Hon. C. W.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Lawson, GeorgeSnow, Julian
Cronin, JohnLedger, RonSorensen, R. w.
Cullen, Mrs. AliceLee, Frederick (Newton)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Steele, Thomas
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Lipton, MarcusStones, William
Deer, GeorgeLoughlin, CharlesStrachey, Rt. Hon. John
Diamond, JohnMabon, Dr. J. DlcksonStross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Dodds, NormanMcAdden, StephenSwain, Thomas
Donnelly, DesmondMcCann, JohnSylvester, George
Driberg, TomMacColl, JamesTaylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. ChuterMcInnes, JamesTaylor, John (West Lothian)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)McKay, John (Wallsend)Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney)Mackie, JohnThomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Evans, AlbertMcLeavy, FrankWainwright, Edwin
Fitch, AlanMallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Warbey, William
Fletcher, Eric
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)Manuel, A. C.Watkins, Tudor
Forman, J. C.Mapp, CharlesWeitzman, David
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Marsh, RichardWells, Percy (Faversham)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. HughMason, RoyWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Galpern, Sir MyerMayhew, ChristopherWilkins, W. A.
George, Lady Megan LloydMeillsh, R. J.Willey, Frederick
Ginsburg, DavidMendelson, J. J.Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Millan, BruceWilliams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gourlay, HarryMilne, Edward J.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Grey, CharlesMitchison, G. R.Winterbottom, R. E.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Monslow, WalterWoodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Moody, A. S.Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Gunter, RayMorris, JohnZilliacus, K.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Mort, D. L.
Hamilton, William (West Fife)Moyle, ArthurTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hannan, WilliamNeal, HaroldDr. Broughton and
Hayman, F. H.Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)Mr. Redhead.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, after "Act", to insert "or his deputy".

The Deputy-Chairman:

I think that it would be for the convenience of the Committee if at the same time we discussed the Amendment in page 2, line 8, after "Board", insert "or his deputy".

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

The fact that I move the Amendment briefly does not mean that I do not feel strongly about it. I will be brief because I believe that the Committee wants to make progress as rapidly as possible.

We had a fairly extensive debate on the last Amendment. This Amendment is transparently clear in its intent. The chairman for the time being of the Bookmakers' Committee or his deputy should be entitled to attend meetings of the Levy Board, and similar provision should be made for the chairman of the Tote Board, or his deputy, to attend meetings of the Board.

It might be argued that if one allows a deputy for the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee and the chairman of the Tote Board it might be desirable for other people to have deputies as well. That is a matter which, if we felt strongly about it, could probably be put right on Report.

I think that the two things are different. It is the Bookmakers' Committee and the Tote Board which will provide the cash. The others will decide how it is to be spent. It seems to me reasonable that those who pay the piper should be reasonably certain of having a chance of cheeping a little of the tune when the time comes. If it is limited to the chairman of each of the contributing bodies without allowance for illness or for a deputy to attend, it seems that the strong views they might have on these questions would be unrepresented.

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will think the Amendment reasonable, that he will recognise that there is a distinction between these two contributing members of the Board and the recipient members of the Board, and will see fit exceptionally to accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

We have some sympathy with the Amendment, but there are certain difficulties about it which I think the Committee should bear in mind. First, we are very anxious that this Levy Board should be considered of the greatest importance by its members. It will have most important functions to perform. It will deal with very large sums of money. We hope that every member of the Board will do his utmost to attend every meeting of the Board and that it will not easily be thought that a deputy will do instead. On the other hand, if the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee or the chairman of the Tote Board were to be afflicted by illness, it would certainly be unfortunate if a meeting of the Board had to be postponed, perhaps for some time, to ensure their attendance.

There is a further point about the Amendment. By implication it rather suggests that a member of the Board is there merely to represent the interests of the Tote or the bookmakers as the case may be, whereas we hope that, whatever the final responsibility for the decisions of the Board may be, as I explained to the Committee on the previous Amendment, all members of the Board will feel it their duty to take part in the discussion on all matters both as to collection and distribution of money which will fall within the responsibility of the Board.

It might be felt that if deputies could be sent they would not be fully empowered. However, subject to what other views may be expressed, my advice to the Committee would be not to accept my hon. Friend's Amendment but to give us the opportunity of considering the matter further in the light of what my hon. Friend has said and in the light of any views which may be expressed by other hon. Members.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

My hon. and learned Friend has asked for views on the Amendment. In one sentence, I ask him to consider this most seriously. I recognise that this Board should be regarded as extremely important and influential and that membership of it should be taken seriously.

None the less, one can visualise the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee—or the chairman of the Tote Board—being incapacitated perhaps through falling over his umbrella at Newmarket and breaking his leg and therefore being unable to attend the meeting. Some provision should be made for a deputy to represent him.

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will look into this question to see whether he could not put down something on Report to cover the point.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I support the request made by the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden), but I hope that if a provision for this is put into the Bill the Bookmakers' Committee, or the Tote Board, as the case may be, will designate the person who is to attend as a deputy. It will not do to have the chairman ringing somebody up on the telephone and saying: "I am sorry old boy but I want to go to the Leger. If you turn up tomorrow you will oblige me very much". It should be understood that it is A.B. who is the chairman and that it is C.D. who has been appointed by the body concerned to be his deputy for the kind of contingency envisaged in the Amendment.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I can hardly imagine the Levy Board deciding to meet on the day of the Leger. Nevertheless, I shall bear in mind what the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said. As I said earlier, if my hon. Friend withdraws his Amendment I undertake to consider the matter further before the Report stage.

Photo of Sir Stephen McAdden Sir Stephen McAdden , Southend East

In view of the undertaking given by my hon. and learned Friend, I willingly seek leave to withdraw the Amendment, having drawn to his attention the fact that not only might the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee break his leg, but if the impost was too high he might have his leg broken and be unable to attend the meeting. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will bear this contingency in mind when we consider the Bill on Report.

Having said that, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment negatived

6.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I beg to move, in page 2, line 12, at the end to insert: , but the Chairman and other two members appointed by the Home Secretary shall be appointed for a definite term of years". This brings us back to the appointment by the Home Secretary of the chairman and two independent members, about which we have had a certain amount of debate this afternoon, although we know very little more than we did as to the intentions of the Government in the matter of the persons to be appointed. It is a little confusing to find that they are to be removable at pleasure, and apparently they are not to be appointed for a fixed term of years. The subsection says: any person appointed to be a member of the Levy Board under paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this subsection may be removed from the Board at any time by the person by whom he was appointed. That is understandable as it relates to the two representatives of the Jockey Club and the representative of the National Hunt Committee, but it is difficult to understand why it should apply to the representatives appointed by the Home Secretary.

If this were a Bill of constitutional importance it would be very queer to find such a provision. On the face of it, it would appear that in the event of disagreement these three gentlemen can receive a moment's notice. That will not provide continuity, and it has been the criticism of some members of the Racecourse Betting Control Board that there has been a lack of continuity in the past. I suggest that continuity will be needed in respect of the appointments of these three gentlemen.

Secondly, I suggest that unless my right hon. Friend can offer the people who are regarded as possibilities for these jobs a definite term of office it is very unlikely that he will get the best sort of people to carry out this work. I therefore hope that he will agree to write into the Bill a provision laying down a definite term of office for the three key members of the Levy Board.

Photo of Mr Eric Johnson Mr Eric Johnson , Manchester, Blackley

I support what my hon. Friend has said, and not only for the reasons that he gave. I believe that the converse argument also has some bearing on the matter. These members of the Levy Board will have a great deal of power, and it is not desirable that they should hold office indefinitely. That is one reason why their term should be limited. At the same time, they should have security of tenure for a specified time. I support the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

The wording of the subsection follows that of the Racecourse Betting Act, 1928, in providing that members of the Levy Board shall hold office at pleasure. When I saw the Amendment I went into the matter in rather greater detail and found that in the statutes where this problem arises it has been dealt with in three different ways. The first way is that provided in the Bill; where the appointment is at pleasure. Some statutes fix a definite term of office, and there is the third alternative of fixing a term of office with power to extend it.

After considering the matter I came to the conclusion that there are arguments in favour of all three courses. The point in favour of the course proposed in the Bill at present is that it enables my right hon. Friend to review the position from time to time, according to the conditions of the job and the commitments of the office holders. He would not be committed to confirming in office someone who was unlikely to be able to give sufficient time to it. On the other hand, the present procedure leads to some feeling of insecurity on the part of the members concerned. It also makes it more difficult for my right hon. Friend to persuade a member to relinquish office if no term is stated.

My present advice to the Committee is that we should reconsider the matter. My right hon. Friend's inclination is to write into the Bill the third of the courses to which I have referred. The appointment would then be for a specified period, with power for my right hon. Friend to extend it annually if he thinks fit. I commend that course to the Committee, and if my hon. Friend withdraws his Amendment we will consider the point and, probably, on Report move an Amendment on the lines I have suggested.

Mr. Wingfield Dighy:

I thank my right hon. Friend for meeting me in this matter. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

I beg to move, in page 2, line 31, to leave out subsection (9).

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

It would be convenient to take with this Amendment the Amendment in Clause 7, page 9, line 15, leave out subsection (8).

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

My hon. Friends and I put down the Amendment to explore the possibility of reducing the scope of disqualification at present written into the Bill. We believe that it goes too far. In regard to the existing Racecourse Betting Control Board disqualification attaches only to the office of chairman. During the Second Reading debate several hon. Members said that it was widely acknowledged that the effective working of the Board has gained strength from the presence on it of persons such as Lord MacAndrew—formerly Sir Charles MacAndrew—the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) and the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who is on the Board now. Their counsel has been extremely helpful in the Board's deliberations and has advanced its work.

I do not suggest that it should be laid down that a Member of Parliament must be included on the Boards, but it would be a great pity if we deliberately excluded the possibility of their membership of both these Boards in respect of any office other than that of chairman, which I agree should be ineligible for Members of Parliament to hold. I imagine that it might be necessary to make some consequential provisions that Members of Parliament occupying these offices should not be allowed to draw any remuneration, although I think that it would be proper for them to receive travelling and subsistence allowances.

I hope that my right hon. Friend can indicate that he will meet the views of my hon. Friend and myself by reducing the scope of disqualification. I understand that it cannot be removed altogether.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

As the hon. Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott) has mentioned that I am a member of the Board I need not declare my interest. I rise to point out one effect of the Bill as it stands. The Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee are required to make nominations to the Board, and some Members of the House are also members of the Jockey Club. If the Jockey Club, in its wisdom, chose an hon. Member as its representative on the Board, it seems to me that as the Bill is now drafted that Member would be disqualified from membership of the House. Although there may be a case for putting a prohibition upon Members being nominated by the Home Secretary there seems to be no case for such a prohibition in respect of Members nominated by an outside body.

I hope, therefore, that the Government will at least be able to give some attention to that detail. I entirely endorse what the hon. Member for Bebington said. It seems clear that if any part of the disqualification is removed it should be on the understanding that no remuneration attaches to the job.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I mentioned this matter during the Second Reading debate and I tried to draft an Amendment which would meet the detailed points involved were the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott) accepted. We all know the problems of a few years back regarding the question of disqualification. An hon. Member would suddenly discover that he held some comparatively honorary office which disqualified him from membership of the House of Commons. One hon. Member, I recall, was an auditor and he audited the funds of his local branch of the British Legion. In order to do that he had to acquire some minor technical qualification and it was found, after he had done this work for several years, that by so doing he had accepted an office under the Crown and was disqualified from membership of the House of Commons. We had to pass an indemnity Measure to relieve him of that disqualification.

We were determined, when the House of Commons Disqualification of Members Act was passed that in the future we did not intend people to be caught out in that silly sort of way. I am also sure that we were convinced that hon. Members ought not to be holding office in the gift of a member of the Government which carried a salary. That goes back to the original trouble in the days of the placemen.

I wonder whether the draftsmen could submit a Clause to the effect that when a man is offered an appointment, if he undertook not to draw remuneration, he should not be disqualified, but that if he did not want to give such an undertaking he would be disqualified. Then, of course, he would have the right, under the House of Commons Disqualification of Members Act, to refuse the appointment. I am quite sure that the point mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) is important, but I am also sure that if there are people—as we know there are hon. Members of the House—willing to perform some unremunerated public service for which they are thought to be qualified, they ought to have the opportunity to do it, if for no other reason than that if they got some employment like that they would not be such a nuisance to the Whips by wandering about with nothing else to do but make trouble.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

I hope that the Government will resist this Amendment. I was a member of the sub-committee which examined in great detail the legislation which became the House of Commons Disqualification of Members Act. As has been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), we all agreed that it was most desirable that in future we should remove the anomalous position resulting from the fact that it depended on a purely hazardous interpretation of the Act of Queen Anne whether in certain circumstances an hon. Member was disqualified from membership of this House.

When the 1957 Act was passed a great deal of thought was given to the question of what kind of offices should in future disqualify from membership of the House of Commons. My own recollection is that as the Act went through its various stages it was not only a question of remuneration which was regarded as a chief criterion for deciding whether a particular office should disqualify or not. I think it was in accordance with the spirit of the 1957 Act that on the setting up of this Levy Board it was agreed that membership should involve disqualification from Membership of the House.

The Committee will remember that the First Schedule to the 1957 Act contains a great many offices which previously had not involved disqualification from membership of the House of Commons. I recollect that one was the Public Works Loan Board. There was a time when a member of that Board, which is an entirely unremunerative office, could be a Member of the House of Commons. That was one of several offices which disqualified that were added in the 1957 Act. I feel certain that if this Levy Board had been set up before the 1957 Act was passed, membership of it would have been included in that First Schedule.

It seems to me that disqualification is particularly important when we are setting up a board of this character which has such very wide powers of taxation. We shall have something to say later about the powers given to the Board to impose taxation without any limit on a particular class of the community. That is one reason why I should have thought membership of the Board was inconsistent with membership of the House of Commons and so I hope that the Government will resist this Amendment.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

The Government welcome this Amendment which provides an opportunity further to ascertain the views of the Committee. Some views were expressed on this issue during the Second Reading debate. I join in the tributes paid by my hon. Friend to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and to his predecessor the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) who have done yeoman service on the Racecourse Betting Control Board for many years.

As was said by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher)—I admire his expertise on this subject—we were, in spirit at any rate, influenced by the House of Commons Disqualification of Members Act. I think I am right in saying that what we put in this Bill was influenced by that procedure, although not governed by it. It would have been open to us to accept almost entirely the Amendment which has been proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott). It is true, as was said by the hon. Member for Dudley, that any representative of the Jockey Club nominated for membership of this Board by the Jockey Club, were he a Member of this House, would be disqualified from membership of this House. Similarly, if my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. MacAdden) were nominated as chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee he would be disqualified from membership of the House.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means would be excluded because of his membership of the National Hunt Committee?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

The reasons for doing this are, first, the general question of patronage under which a Member of Parliament cannot be nominated to fill a position when the nomination is made by a Minister of the Crown, and, secondly, the extent to which on a board of this nature he can relate his activities as a Member with those of being a member of the Board. On balance, we decided that at least we should introduce the Bill as strictly as possible and disqualify all members of both Boards. I should have thought that at any rate the chairmen and the two independent members of the Levy Board should remain disqualified. I should have thought, too, that just as the Chairman of the Racecourse Betting Control Board is disqualified under present procedure, so should the Chairman of the Totalisator Board be disqualified under this Bill. But I think that different circumstances arise in respect of the functional members of the Levy Board and the three remaining members of the Totalisator Board. I do not think that the reasons for their disqualification are anything like so great.

The right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) advanced an interesting point which we have considered, that this in some way should be associated with remuneration. We should like to consider that further. We have considered the issue, but we were anxious to obtain further views from the Committee. My present advice to the Committee would be that while the chairman and independent members of the Levy Board should be disqualified and the Chairman of the Totalisator Board, we should not disqualify the functional members of the Levy Board and the three other members of the Totalisator Board. That is subject to what has been said today and anything else which may be said in this debate. I ask my hon. Friend in due course to withdraw his Amendment because I think that in its entirety it would be unacceptable.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

The right hon. Member did not mention the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), namely, that all members of this Board will in effect be sharing in levying taxation on a section of the community. That is a very important consideration, which is quite different from the point about remuneration. It should at least be borne in mind when the Government are considering this matter.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

That is one of the reasons why the Bill was introduced in its present form. We shall certainly bear that in mind.

Photo of Mr Hendrie Oakshott Mr Hendrie Oakshott , Bebington

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for what he has said. In view of the undertakings given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.