Orders of the Day — British Museum Library

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1967.

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7.47 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I beg to move, That this House regrets Her Majesty's Government's decision regarding the siting of the British Museum Library and the failure of the Secretary of State for Education and Science to carry out sufficient consultations with the statutory Trustees before announcing this decision. In the debate on the Gracious Speech I had occasion to refer, in sharp and somewhat unparliamentary terms, to the conduct of the Secretary of State for Education and Science about this matter. We now have an opportunity to probe in greater depth into the action of the Secretary of State in reversing the firm decision, made and announced by the Conservative Government, to building the British Museum Library extension on the Bloomsbury site.

I should like, first, to deal with the Secretary of State's assertion, in which I trust he will not persist, that the only actual decision has been made by him. Equally, I hope, as a result of the representations which have poured in on him from every quarter, that he will at least consider the possibility that he has made a wrong decision in reversing previously agreed policy.

It is common ground between us that in 1951 the Bloomsbury site was designated for the building of the new library. A public inquiry was held in 1952 which canvassed at length all the main arguments for and against the scheme. The County of London Development Plan, of which this designation was part, was approved by the then Minister of Housing and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), in 1955. Sir Leslie Martin and Mr. St. John Wilson were commissioned as architects in August, 1962, to prepare a plan for the development of the site and a design for the library building to a definite brief. They were asked in that brief to make as much provision as pos sible for residential use and for the replacement of some of the existing shops and offices, particularly those traditionally associated with the area, such as bookshops and publishers' offices.

While this plan was being prepared to a definite brief, the Ministry of Public Building and Works, in the years 1961–64, proceeded to purchase by agreement nearly £1½ million worth of land. In the summer of 1964, as Minister of Public Building and Works, I received the plan prepared by Sir Leslie Martin and Mr. St. John Wilson. I regarded that plan then, as I do now, as being both functionally excellent, and architecturally exciting, and I think I can say that Lord Radcliffe and the Trustees of the British Museum take the same view, and so do other independent experts in these matters. It is a plan which not only meets the urgent needs of the British Museum Library, but opens up a magnificent new vista of the British Museum and of Hawkmoor's splendid church, and creates a fine new piazza with amenities for the many visitors from home and overseas.

When the plan was received, Lord Radcliffe and I had discussions, of the sort which are known to be necessary, with Treasury Ministers to ensure that the proposals were admitted to the Government's investment programme, and so that a formal approval of the plan could be publicly announced. I made that public announcement on 24th September, 1964, and no one doubted then, or could possibly have doubted then or subsequently, that a firm decision to go ahead as speedily as possible had been taken.

I have exercised my right to inspect the files of my time as Minister to confirm my recollection of events. Moreover, Lord Radcliffe has entirely endorsed my recollection, and so, in effect, did the Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee of the London Borough of Camden in his letter to The Times of 3rd November, 1967. My public statement of 24th September made it clear that consultations with the many interested authorities, including, of course, the housing and planning authorities, were to be held with a view to working out ways and means of implementing the scheme. There was no question of consultation about the principle of "aye" or "no". The development of the non-library part of the site, which comes to about one-quarter, requires such consultation.

I also emphasised that the scheme was an outline one, and not a final architectural solution, because naturally enough the architects themselves did not at that stage want to be committed to details. It was clear that regard also had to be paid to the factors governing the phasing of the building. It was not just a matter for negotiation with the Treasury. It was a matter of ensuring the erection of the building in stages to meet the operational requirements of the Museum, and the acquisition, and where necessary the demolition, of property in an orderly way which would facilitate rehousing, the replacement of the shops and offices, the provision of the underground car park, and other amenities. Thereafter, in pursuance of the plan, and under Labour Governments, a further £500,000 worth of land was acquired by the Ministry of Public Building and Works between 1965 and this year, so that in all about three-fifths of the site has been acquired.

For the Secretary of State to turn round now and say that he thought no firm decisions had been taken ismanifestly either mischievous or misguided. It may be that the officials of his Department have not been in sufficiently close touch with the Ministry of Public Building and Works, or it may be that standing in the wings, whispering the wrong advice, was the usual Treasury official who has a malevolent finger in nearly every curdled Government pie. At any rate, it is important that we have a firm assurance from the right hon. Gentleman today that, wherever it may be sited, the cost of extending the British Museum Library remains firmly in the Government's investment programme, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can give an assurance that the dates for the carrying out of the operation have not been set back either.

The great danger is that progress in any direction may be held up for a decade or more. The right hon. Gentleman's action is certainly completely at variance with the observations of his Minister of State, the right hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Jennie Lee), who in March of this year described the storage of the greater part of the material in the British Museum out of sight of the public as the most scandalous waste of precious national assets. The right hon. Lady hoped that ways and means would be found of easing the congestion "quite quickly". Without an extension of the Library, the present Museum building cannot possibly house the collection and provide for expansion, and at the same time provide an adequate service to the public or provide facilities for the welfare of the staff.

In the words of the 1966 Report of the Trustees: Recognition of all these insistent needs involves a requirement for more space, more equipment and more staff that in the long run is simply meaningless unless we can secure the provision and construction of the projected new library building on the south side of Great Russell Street by some date that is not merely a visionary appointment into the future. The Trustees' complaint in the 1966 Report was that the programme envisaged in 1964—and certainly even that was slower than I or my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples) would have wished—was already lagging two or three years behind schedule. But that the plan itself was to be carried out was naturally taken for granted. There was no reason why it should be otherwise, so I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw this absurd suggestion that no formal decisions were taken.

I turn, now, to the shabby way in which the Government have treated the Trustees in the matter of these so-called consultations. I think that Lord Radcliffe's letter to The Times of 31st October was really the most damning indictment imaginable of what he described as the rapidly deteriorating standards of public administration. Lord Radcliffe has stated categorically that he was never at any time told of any decision reached by the Secretary of State. When he met the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor on 14th June, he had not been called into consultation in any sense of the word. He went to express concern at the Government's inaction, and to protest at the failure to seek the Trustees' views on the observations of the Camden Borough Council. He had been seeking a meeting for some time, either with the Minister of Public Building and Works, or with the Secretary of State for Education and Science, who stepped into the breach in the absence of the former. Those observations by the Camden Borough Council, as the Chairman of its Planning and Development Committee, Mr. Shaw, has said publicly were made under the Circular 100 procedure, and, as he explained, dealt with comparatively minor and detailed aspects of the scheme relating particularly to the need for a larger degree of residential accommodation.

Those were consultations of the kind which I myself envisaged would have to take place.

The right hon. Gentleman's predecessor accepted that these were matters on which the Trustees ought to have been allowed to make representations, and Lord Radcliffe thereupon undertook to furnish papers covering the particular points raised by the Camden Borough Council. Shortly afterwards, with the authority of the Trustees, two papers dealing with the local authority's point of view were supplied. From that day until the bombshell announcement on 26th November, it appears that Lord Radcliffe never heard a word from the Department of Education and Science on the subject either by way of comment, criticism or further inquiry.

In Lord Radcliffe's own words: Mr. Crosland did not promise a further meeting when I left him, nor did I ask for one. For myself, I should have thought it absurd to raise the question. I have been accustomed to dealing with or for Government Departments for a good many years now, and it would not have occurred to me, in the context of this case, in which the Trustees are responsible by Statute for the conduct of the Museum, that their views would be set aside and a long settled plan abandoned without even a discussion as to the reasons for the rejection and an honest attempt made to work out a feasible alternative, if there is one, for what we all know to be so urgent and so important. Nothing has been done. I would have thought that this House must come to the conclusion that that is a disgraceful way to treat a statutory body with statutory responsibiliies not just to the Minister and to the Government but to the House itself. It is for those reasons that the Motion regrets the failure of the Secretary of State to carry out sufficient consultations with the statutory Trustees before announcing his decision.

That deals with the deceit and with the curious process of so-called consultation. I come to the decision itself. What must concern us all is whether the Government have made a wrong decision, or, at the very least, a decision which in the national interest they should now agree to reconsider.

I share the view expressed in a letter to me from Sir Frank Francis, the Director and Principal Librarian of the British Museum. After saying: As you may imagine, I was amazed to hear what the Secretary of State for Education and Science said in the House about the attitude of the former Government, he went on: If the present decision is not modified or abandoned, the result could be quite catastrophic not only for the future of the Museum Library itself but for our intellectual stature throughout the world. As Sir Frank himself has said, it may be that no one creating this great institution afresh would necessarily make a Library and a Museum in one place, but the fact is—it is largely for historical reasons arising out of the foundation collections acquired from Sir Hans Sloane in 1753—we have done so. As a result, we have in one place an institution where books and antiquities are available to illuminate each other, and this has turned out to be an advantage which, in most people's view, we should treasure.

In that connection, it is significant that telegrams and letters have been coming in from all over the world regretting the Government's decision. I have a number of copies of telegrams and letters which I will gladly hand over to the Secretary of State, if they have not been pased to him already. They come from librarians throughout the United States and Europe, and, without exception, they stress that it is important for learned people in all countries that the Library and other parts of the British Museum are kept together in adequate buildings in Central London.

Thus the Director-in-Chief of the Bibliothèque Royale of Belgium states in his telegram that the concentration of the collections and the Library gives the British Museum an exceptional preeminence among the cultural, artistic and intellectual institutions of Europe.

In similar vein, the University Librarian of Harvard has written: The future location of the British Museum Library is a question of profound significance not only to Britain but to scholars everywhere. The British Museum is one of the cultural and intellectual glories of the world. A major factor in its pre-eminence as an institution of learning is the remarkable integration of the collections and the Library which is to be found in no other nation. The long agreed Bloomsbury site for the new Library would perpetuate the Museum's unique values to learning, whereas construction elsewhere would very seriously diminish the contribution to world scholarship that the British Museum alone has been able to make for the last century and more.Scholars, librarians and all men concerned for the continued importance of Great Britain as a world centre of intellectual and cultural activity deplore the recent decision against the Bloomsbury site for the Library. As a representative of American universities and libraries, I hope most earnestly that it will be possible to proceed with the imaginative and altogether excellent scheme for building the new library as an integral part of the great research institution to which the world continues to look for intellectual inspiration. The House is not concerned simply with considering in isolation the position of the British Museum and the Library, important though that is. The development of the Bloomsbury site is a major London planning scheme as proposed by Sir Leslie Martin and Mr. St. John Wilson. It is closely linked with the existence and development of the University of London in the same area. It is significant that Sir Leslie Martin is closely associated with that as consultant and architect planner to the University. We have always envisaged that this site must be looked at as a whole and in relation to the surrounding activities. Together, the Museum and the University constitute a great centre of national and international learning.

I have to declare a close personal interest in this aspect of the matter as a member of the Court of London University. It is certain that the removal of the Library from Bloomsbury would be a great loss to the University. Many of the libraries in the individual schools and institutes of the University have been able to make some economies in space for books and in annual purchases because the British Museum is so near. If it is moved to an area outside Central London, these savings would be lost, and that must be a matter of concern to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Moreover, the University would lose the advantage which it has at present of attracting many scholars from home and abroad because of the propinquity of the British Museum and Library.

Nor is it only resident scholars who are affected. The Library must be central not just for the benefit of London University but also for that of scholars and others who come up from the provinces and from the newer universities which do not have and perhaps can never hope to have the same library and research facilities.

The Government and the Secretary of State must understand how the London University has been developing its graduate studies extensively, and it is proposed that it should continue to do so. The British Museum in Bloomsbury is essential for much of the research work of both the students and the teaching staff. I hope that the Secretary of State has seen the letter in The Times this morning from the librarians of eight of the university specialist schools and institutes stressing the importance of these considerations. As they explain, it is the concentration of the British Museum and its Library taken together with the University and other neighbouring libraries which make up a complex which is unique in Great Britain and, indeed, in Europe, in being concentrated within less than one-twelfth of a square mile. As they say, to have everything within easy walking distance is an immense advantage for scholarship.

I regret that the Secretary of State has not yet given an assurance that the Government are concerned to provide an alternative to the Bloomsbury site in the central area of London. I hope that he will at least give that assurance tonight. If he cannot, we can only presume that the reason is that he has not the slightest idea where else in Central London the Library could go. It is inconceivable—I have no doubt that the Minister of Public Building and Works, who is present, could confirm this—that a site can be found which will not present the same problems of land acquisition, demolition and replacement of housing and offices which have had to be overcome on the Bloomsbury site. If the right hon. Gentleman knows one, he can suggest it.

The Secretary of State said on 26th October: The Government have decided to set up a small independent committee to examine the functions and organisation of the British Museum Library, the National Central Library, the National Lending Library for Science and Technology and the Science Museum Library … and to consider whether … such facilities should be brought into a unified framework."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th October, 1967; Vol. 751, c. 1905.] I am not at all sure whether this is a sensible approach or that these libraries all have the same problems and difficulties, but, so be it—we are to have the new committee. I only hope that people of sufficient stature and authority will be willing to give their services to advise this Government. They cannot be much encouraged by the treatment meted out to the Trustees of the British Museum.

Finally, I ask the right hon. Gentleman for an undertaking that no future consideration of this problem by this new committee or any other body will be prejudiced by any action in regard to the Bloomsbury site. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is now weighing that request in his mind. No answer was given to this question when it was put by my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam on 3rd November. He asked about the future of the land, already acquired at a cost of over £2 million by the Ministry of Public Building and Works. In our view—I hope that the Secretary of State will agree—it is essential to retain that land if the outcome of the new committee's deliberations is not to be prejudiced.

I see that, earlier this week, the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger) asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he had any plans for disposing of the land, and the Minister said that he had none. I gather that they were thinking about it, but we should know tonight that they will not prejudice the position in any way by disposing of it prematurely.

It would not be the first time that reversals of policy have brought trouble. I am told that, in the 1920s, the then Government bought an 11½ acre site from the Duke of Bedford for £425,000 and offered it to the University. The University refused to accept the conditions which the Government tried to attach to the offer, so they sold it back to the Duke of Bedford for the same sum. When the University got the land back two years later, they had to pay £525,000. It would be a pity if history repeated itself.

I beg the Secretary of State, quite humbly, to listen to the grave doubts in many quarters about the wisdom of this decision, and at least to indicate that he will keep an open mind and, if necessary, reconsider the position in the light of the new committee's findings or any other representations which he may receive, not only from the Trustees of the British Museum, but also from universities, libraries and scholars here at home and throughout the world. Anything else from him tonight, in the face of what has happened since he made his announcement on 26th October, can be regarded only as a wilful and obstinate refusal to listen to arguments from any quarter and a betrayal of a unique national heritage.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

It might be convenient for the House if I intervene now, and say that perhaps I might be allowed, with the leave of the House, to speak again at the end of the debate if questions are raised which I do not deal with now.

This is our second debate on this subject in 13 days and the only conclusion which I can draw from these quick-fire and repetitive debates is that the Opposition have very little to attack us on; otherwise, to do the same thing twice in 13 days is a little odd. But that is their affair and not mine.

Our last debate, on 3rd November, was curious in a number of ways. First, the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon), rather surprisingly, decided to wind up a wide-ranging education debate with a speech on this one subject alone. He made not a single reference to any of the many other important points raised, on his side as well as ours. Secondly, the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) suddenly barged in at the very end of that debate, of which he had not heard a word—

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

Well, practically not a word—and made a disorderly interjection. The second debate is all the odder because the right hon. Gentleman has repeated, almost completely, the speech made by his hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West, although he made a less effective speech than his hon. Friend.

One of the main points put by the right hon. and learned Gentleman—it is in the censure Motion—is that the Library and Museum must be kept together. I have never heard any rational argument advanced for this. It is a matter of metaphysical faith or possibly a historical argument, which was the one which the right hon. and learned Gentleman used. Really, it rests on an instinctive Conservative belief that what has lasted for some time must, without further inquiry, be good. No other basis has been put forward.

The argument that the Museum Library must at all costs be unified with the Museum comes very ill from the Conservatives. In July, 1958, the previous Government themselves made a decision to split the Library into two. They separated off the scientific books, which they put into Whiteleys. If anyone were misled by all this talk about a unified Museum Library and went there to consult scientific books, he would be at the wrong address. Periodicals have also been hived off, to Colindale. In the light of this and the actions of the previous Government, they have a nerve to go on elevating into a great unbreakable principle the need to keep everything and all the books on the same site.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman implied that all library opinion is against the Government in this matter. The Library Association, which he naturally knows, and which is the professional institute of librarians in this country, has sent a statement to me in which it independently came to much the same broad conclusions as the Government. I would read two brief quotations from this statement.

First: It is the Association's opinion that the functions of a national library are in no way cognate to those of a national museum and that the Library should finally be established as a separate entity, divorced entirely from the British Museum, and with its own board of trustees or governors. Second: The question of the best allocation of responsibility and the best administrative machinery for the operation of all national, reference, lending and bibliographical services should be independently investigated "— which is exactly what I am proposing that the Committee which I will set up shall do, and I hope that Conservatives will ponder these words.

These are our own librarians. These opinions are as important as those of the other organisations. We all know how wires and telegrams from abroad can be so easily organised in the little closed Establishment circle, but these are our own librarians and I hope that the Conservatives will not go on assuming that they are speaking for librarians as a whole in this repetitive return to this matter.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman talked about lack of consultation with the Trustees. I have looked again at all the documents and I still maintain that there was adequate and proper consultation. I spoke at some length in the debate thirteen days ago, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not hear because he was not present, but which he may have read. The essential fact is that the Trustees' case was put as strongly to us as it was possible to put it. In all the long discussions which ensued, including tonight's, not a single argument or point has been added to those so ably set forth in the memorandum sent by Lord Radcliffe to my predecessor. So it could not have been improved upon, but my predecessor, I and my colleagues considered it with all the care that it clearly merited.

Conservatives are extremely selective in their idea of what constitutes "consultation". After dilly-dallying about from 1955 to 1964—for nine years—the Conservative Government then announced what hon. Members opposite now claim was a firm decision. But this so-called decision was heavily qualified. It was declared to be subject to consultation with the many interested authorities including the housing and planning authorities". It is true that the statement went on to add that the Ministry will now proceed to consult with these authorities with a view to working out ways and means of implementing the scheme". But the sentence that I have just quoted was governed by the words at the beginning "subject to consultation", and I can find no other meaning in those words than that the decision was dependent upon consultation. I do not know what "subject to" means, otherwise. That is why I described the decision as a non-decision. But in the light of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said tonight, perhaps I was too generous in my interpretation.

Let me concede to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that there are two possible interpretations of the rather twisted and ambiguous formula in which he conveyed his decision. There is mine, which seems to be the most charitable one, and that is that when he said "consultation" he meant "consultation". Then there is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own interpretation, which amounts to the admission that the whole thing was deceptive double talk intended to lull and mislead the interests referred to—the housing and planning authorities.

I thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman meant that he would take any objections and representations seriously. He is now telling us that he meant no such thing at all. He had already in his heart, though not in his mouth or through his pen, already resolved to sweep any such objections aside. The only interpretations of the decision of 1964 are either that it was a non-decision or that it was deceptive double-talk—and the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his hon. Friends can make their choice.

In 1966 the meaning of the words "subject to consultations" became a very real question when Camden made formal objections to the plan. The right hon. and learned Member now tells us, in effect, that he would have swept this aside—because, whatever he said, he had already made up his mind. We took his commitment to consult seriously. The destruction of 900 homes and the obliteration of one of the most dignified and historical areas of London seemed to us a very important matter, which weighed with us.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted a letter to The Times by Mr. Roy Shaw, Chairman of the Camden Planning and Development Committee. I think that he must have been unaware of what this gentleman is reported in The Times of 27th October, the day after my first statement, to have said, which was: We are delighted with the Government's decision. We have always been opposed to any encroachment on the comparatively scarce residential accommodation in Central London. The British Museum scheme would have meant 900 people losing their homes. Now we hope they can stay where they are. I know that Mr. Roy Shaw's first thoughts represent better than his second thoughts the views of the Camden Borough Council. We had these formally sent to us in writing.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that he has really made my point? Whatever views the Camden Borough Council may have about the scheme as a whole, we know that it welcomed the decision. Mr. Roy Shaw's letter makes clear that it realised the point to which consultations were limited.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

I do not think it does. I think that there is a flat contradiction between what Mr. Shaw said as reported in The Times and the letter which, for some reason, he wrote a little later to The Times.

The answer to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's question is that I made it clear in my statement and, therefore, did not think it necessary to repeat it, that we have upheld the objections of the Borough of Camden. This is a decision that we have taken. The right hon. and learned Gentleman's Bloomsbury scheme is, therefore, at an end. He asked me to make it clear. He said that I had not made it clear. I made it clear right at the beginning, but perhaps there have been so many debates and discussions about this that he has not kept up with it all.

The Camden objections were not the only factor affecting our decision. There is a bigger one, the great question of the organisation of our national libraries. Throughout the whole time the Conservatives had responsibility this question never even seems to have entered their minds. It is ignored altogether in their Motion of censure. It apparently still escapes them that our national libraries are in a very confused and overlapping state, that they are unco-ordinated, that there is very great confusion between them as to functions and that this is becoming an expensive thing. I find that I have no way now of deciding what is an appropriate total amount of money to be spent on the national libraries or how it should be distributed between them.

It is absolutely essential in the interests of readers and of taxpayers that we bring order and unity into our national library system—thereby creating a new coordinated system, using the most modern techniques, that can serve us infinitely better than the present rather chaotic system—if "system" is the right word for it—which we inherited from the Conservatives.

Our main national library ought, I am convinced, to be in Central London. A great many of the arguments that the right hon. and learned Gentleman directed to the point would disappear if it is in Central London, as it ought to be. A great many of his arguments assumed that it would be in Glasgow or somewhere. We need advice. We need advice about how many books should be stocked in the library and how far books can by modern techniques be made quickly available between the national libraries and between these and, for instance, our great university libraries.

Modern techniques with one exception —in the science library—are really not being used at all in our library system—the use of closed-circuit television, teleprint and conveyor belts and all the devices that can be used nowadays to speed up the working of libraries and the movement of books between them. It was to get answers to these questions that the Government decided to set up an independent committee. We need a quick, independent survey to advise about the whole structure of our national libraries, including the place of the British Museum Library within it.

I am very glad to be able to tell the House that Dr. F. S. Dainton, Vice- Chancellor of Nottingham University, has agreed to act as the chairman of the committee. We are indeed fortunate that we can call on his services. I shall shortly be discussing with him the names of a small number of other people who will make up the committee. There will be no delay. Dr. Dainton fully realises the need for speed.

When we are talking about delay, we must remember what we are measuring it against. It should not be forgotten that under the regional Bloomsbury scheme no one expected the extension to be completed until the 1980s. It is against this that we have to measure when people talk about delay. From what has been said one would think that the whole thing would be built in a couple of years. The plan was tentative and hopeful that it would be completed in the 1980s. So I hope that we can keep that timetable. The right hon. and learned Gentleman cannot pretend that there was a rapid, wonderful scheme going ahead and that we are holding it up.

The Government's aim is a fine new library of which we can be proud and which will rival the great national libraries of other countries, and I want to see it as part of a new national library system that will be the envy of the world.

8.29 p.m.

Photo of Mr Brian Batsford Mr Brian Batsford , Ealing South

I listened with care to the Secretary of State, but I regret to say that I was not impressed by his arguments. He pointed out that we debated this subject on 3rd November last. He may remember that I took part in that debate, although I did not speak on this issue. There is, therefore, no question of my repeating myself tonight.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the subject of consultation. Reference was made in that earlier debate to the degree of consultation with the Greater London Council before he made his decision about the British Museum Library; and I wish to confine my remarks to that subject.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) reminded us, the Bloomsbury site was designated in the initial development plan, as it is called, as long ago as 1955. The G.L.C. is, therefore, obviously still responsible for that plan until it is superseded by the Greater London development plan, on which the G.L.C. is now working and which will be submitted to die Minister of Housing and Local Government at the end of 1968. The G.L.C. is, therefore, clearly involved and vitally concerned if a major adjustment to the plan is made. Nevertheless, the G.L.C. was not consulted by the right hon. Gentleman before he made his recent drastic decision.

When the G.L.C. originally considered the actual form of the proposed Library—almost exactly a year ago, on 1st December, 1966—it had a number of important reservations. I admit that it had strong reservations about the historic buildings aspect, but it had stronger reservations still about through traffic.

On the historic buildings side, it was prepared to waive its objections in view of the scale and importance of the proposal; the Sir Leslie Martin design. The words used in the Report to the Planning Committee were: The proposed scheme constitutes a major example of urban and architectural design on a grand scale for which opportunities seldom occure in such an important part of Central London". In terms of civic design, the scheme was welcomed as a major contribution to the fabric of London.

The G.L.C.'s main reservations, on the other hand, were made on the grounds of through traffic, and certain amendments were suggested. For example, the G.L.C. did not like the idea that Great Russell Street should be abolished and it suggested, as a possible amendment, that there should be a through route, but below ground level. Even in this important traffic sphere, however, it took a wider view and stated, in the Report: A way must be found of resolving the traffic problems without damaging the basic design and architectural conception. Otherwise this opportunity for achieving a contribution of outstanding merit to the urban scene in this part of London will be lost. It is clear, therefore, that whatever reservations the G.L.C. had, at the same time, it had no wish whatever to reject the scheme as a whole. In fact, the G.L.C. assumed—indeed hoped—that, with modifications, the scheme would go ahead.

That was the situation a year ago. In January of this year a letter was written by the Council to the Minister of Public Building and Works emphasising that the Council did not object to the scheme on historic buildings grounds, but suggested that they might again discuss further aspects of the traffic problem and that these discussions might take place not only with the Minister of Public Building and Works, but also with the Camden Borough Council.

That was in January, and, since then, nothing whatever has been heard from the Minister of Public Building and Works. I understand that the only thing that has happened since is that a few tentative inquiries at officer level have been made about the possibility of alternative sites. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman will claim that there is no requirement on a Government Department to consult a local planning authority in a decision of this sort, but surely the G.L.C. should have been consulted before abandoning the scheme altogether—and abandoning also a scheme which the Government and the L.C.C., as it then was, and the G.L.C., as it now is, had been firmly committed for a number of years.

I conclude on a personal note as one who has used the British Museum Library for many years. The right hon. Gentleman asked who were to speak for librarians.

I also speak tonight as a bookseller who started nearly 40 years ago in that part of London which is in the constituency of the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger). I speak also as a publisher. I have always visualised this great new Library on a site in close proximity to the British Museum. I see the argument not so much for having it close to the antiquities but much more, as my right hon. Friend said, as a part of a great university concept. People do not always realise nowadays that with the idea of keeping universities together as a complex to save too much travelling terraces of preserved houses in different parts of London are being given up so that this result can be achieved.

I therefore very much regret, for that reason alone, that this decision should have been arrived at. I am sorry, also, that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to change it and go back on his decision, because I think that it might very much have enhanced his reputation had he done so. If he still persists in looking for an alternative site I can only hope that on this occasion he will consult the Greater London Council before making his selection. I venture to suggest that the G.L.C. will have very strong views on the subject.

8.32 p.m.

Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West

I could hardly have had a better setting for my final speech in this House than a debate—and on a subject like this it would be improper to refer to the number of hon. Members present, because that might result in further delay—in which two vastly important subjects have been under discussion with virtually no back benchers permitted to take any real part at all. The debate on approved schools commenced at 4.18, and finished half an hour late. I think that three back benchers spoke briefly, in a brief intermission between announcements from the Front Bench. My right hon. Friend has now made what he called a brief intervention, and I hope that the final one will be slightly briefer—

Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West

I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend, because I have to consider other hon. Members who have a better right than I to speak.

I wanted to speak as just an ordinary bloke who uses the British Museum; who sits in the Reading Room. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for demolishing some of the dafter arguments that have been put in opposition. No one has put forward the vital arguments, which do not affect the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger) or her constituency. I used to live in Bloomsbury, and the Prime Minister—the present Prime Minister, not the previous one—used to call at my flat on his way down from Hampstead. I can well understand her problems in Holborn, which are not very much different from those in Oldham, where we are building 1,200 houses a year and rebuilding the town. We can do that without stopping the establishment somewhere of a great new building of national learning which is vital for every purpose.

With respect to my right hon. Friend, it is no argument to say that the Tories did not do anything. The point is that we said, whether it was truthful or not that the Tories did not do anything, that when we came to power we would do something. The thing to do is not to stop a plan that has been going on for 25 years. I fought my first election in 1929 on a programme of Keynesian expansionism, as a Liberal—building roads all over the country and finding work for the unemployed. That was duly denounced by the Parliamentary Labour Party of those days, and we are now beginning to build those roads inch by inch at twenty times the cost.

At that time a report had been made that the British Museum Reading Room was inadequate, needed expansion and could not supply the needs. The needs have not grown arithmetically, but algebraically. Of course it is convenient to have it next door to the University of London, but what the hell has that to do with it? It could be next door to the University of Manchester which has fewer privileges than London. I am not putting the Metropolitan argument—I am sick of the Metropolitan argument. A gentleman has written to The Times saying "I can pop in after my meeting for a quarter of an hour". That is exactly what was said of the brothels of Paris in the days when I was in that city years ago, and when I was pressed to visit one which claimed to be patronised by his late Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII.

I have to talk to my right hon. Friend rather firmly. He enjoys a considerable measure of respect and esteem in this House; I cannot understand why, except that he is a very nice fellow, undoubtedly learned and very popular. The last time we had an argument in this House was a long time ago. We do not often have an argument now. He said that we had a kgotla. We had a pow-wow and this was the result of a careful pow-wow. Has he had a palaver with Lord Radcliffe? Lord Radcliffe says that he has pneumonia and perhaps he is less forceful than he otherwise would have been. I am getting in a poor way myself.

Lord Radcliffe pushes a button, which is important, but he does not push very hard. He puts to my right hon. Friend that he has not got the services of a sufficient number of people of learning adequately to advise on this decision. If the answer is "yes" then we should not have them as they are wasting their time there. They should be in the service of those institutes of learning which have not the staff they need. If we have not the services of those people, my right hon Friend is not competent to decide this matter.

The last thing I should like, this perhaps is my somewhat eccentric way of doing things, is to suggest that this is not a problem of vital importance. Whenever we get learned people putting a case they make a mess of it. I found it much more convenient to defend criminals than intellectual professors. We have watched the correspondence in The Times and, apart from Lord Radcliffe, someone said why should be not have the Bibliothèque Nationale at Ivry-sur-Seine? The Bibliothèque Nationale is housed in a building of historic importance. The chap who built it lost playing picquet with Cardinal Mazarin. Anyone who played picquet with Cardinal Mazarin deserved to be cheated.

I have had the privilege in the last six or seven weeks of spending a couple of weeks at the British Museum and a couple of weeks at Bibliothèque Nationale and another week or two at the Institut et Musée Voltaire in the City of Geneva. There there is the creation of a distinguished Englishman, one of the greatest living bibliographers. He has created an exceptionally small library, but one where one can sit in peace and comfort and study the whole of the 18th century in graphs and books which have been selected with special care and are available to be read in perfect conditions for study. When one sees a small but select institute like that, the case for the National Library becomes overwhelming.

Theodore Besterman, who edited the 107 volumes of Voltaire's letters beautifully annotated, is an Englishman who is respected anywhere. It is hardly necessary for me to say that, it is almost insulting for me to say it. These volumes deal with the life of a man who lived from 1696 to 1778 and when one reads his correspondence with Tsarskoe-Selo and Potsdam one is really studying a century. I have been attempting myself to write a book. I do not suppose it will ever be published. It is a work of biography of someone who is almost completely for gotten. I do not object to travel. Of course one has to travel. It is a futile argument to say that you can get everything together in Paris rich in all its museums. If one wants to study Toulouse-Lautrec one has to go to Albi. The fellow who talked about the Bibliothèque Nationale at Ivry-sur-Seine had forgotten about the great archives—the Archives Nationale—in the Hotel de Soubise. The last owner is the man who is depicted on the battlefield of Rossbach looking for his troops and saying, "Where are they? They were here yesterday morning", which is the sort of thing which can happen to political leaders nowadays.

When I was at this wonderful library in Geneva, I found that in 1740 M. Perronet had embarked upon a great reforming highway programme. Then there was an economic crisis. The economic crisis was Madame de Pompadour. To be fair to Louis XV, his liaison with Madame lasted and proved much more durable and much less expensive than my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's liaison with President Johnson.

I found something in Voltaire about Swiss bankers which I think is interesting—not wholly 18th century, but relevant. Voltaire said, "If you see a Swiss banker jump through a plate glass window, jump after him at once. There is 10 per cent. in it". That is one we shall do well to remember.

The real case is this. A national library is as essential to us as any part of our great heritage. It must be a national library. The objection to Colin-dale is not that it is Colindale half an hour from London. It is that it is half an hour from the rest of the Library were the tools are—and you cannot repair the blooming pipes in Colindale if you have left your plumber's equipment at the British Museum.

I am inclined to agree that the argument for the British Museum being in London is overwhelming, with 1½ million visitors. The argument for the Library being connected with the Museum applies with great force in certain limited but important departments of research such as archaeology, palaeontology, and so on. However, it would be absurd to put that as an argument which would be wholly decisive. It should be weighed in the balance.

My right hon. Friend's assurances are more reassuring coming from him than some statements from the Front Bench. The argument is that the decision cannot be held up any longer. If a decision is taken, it must be in favour of a great national library, following upon what has been done elsewhere. We are told that there are plans in Paris. There have been plans in London for a long time. Czechoslovakia has established a national library. The gentleman who wrote to The Times saying: should the Library of Congress be in Richmond, Virginia, could have talked a damnsight more sense if he had asked why Congress was in the worst-governed town in the United States. The Library of Congress is not only a national library, though there is an immense library there. The national library spreads over this great country.

Let me say a few words about the management of the British Museum, in case I should get diverted from the subject. They have worked under terrible conditions for a long time. They have laboured under a dreadful handicap for a long time. This Parliament passes wonderful Bills about nice offices for nice people, but the conditions under which our own staff work are deplorable. Our own reference library, with its wonderful and helpful staff, was unable the other day to find me a New Testament—not that I wanted to read it—I wanted to administer the oath as a Commissioner.

The most bitter internecine strife in the Labour Party in the pre-Wilson era was over the question whether we should move an open coal fire in favour of converting it into a reference library. I cannot remember which side my right hon. Friend was on in that dispute. We are told that some elderly Welsh Members sat round this fire warming their knees, talking of the Eisteddfod and the Mabinogion, that this went on for an incredible number of years and that they almost established a right by prescription. This battle was fought with some vigour. This was not an occasion when people said, "We are going to vote for you tonight but do not do it again." They were not going to vote at all.

The management of the British Museum has issued at this very difficult time a magnificent 250 volume index. How they have done it, I do not know. I am told that the Library of Congress is still working on one which is going to cost £3,500. The Bibliothèque Nationale started an index in 1898 and has not finished it yet. The lack of a dictionary of national biography in France is an absolute tragedy. A powerful committee started to produce one in 1933. The first volume was published in 1933 and they are getting through to the letter "D" at the moment. We in this country have much to be proud of.

I do not wish to emphasise too much the use of microfilms. There is a Parliamentary precedent when we introduced a cure for animals in Africa which was announced six years before it was ready, and, although people may agree that the development of microfilms is a vital matter, it is premature to make extravagant claims in view of the present cost. I understand that the Ministry of Technology spent a sum of £31,000 at Hatfield for the development of and investigation into micrography for the reproduction and distribution of books. In America already this is an industry with a £100 million turnover while we, as part of our programme of development, are spending £31,000.

I am looking at the clock with regret and with apologies to my hon. Friends. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."] Perhaps I could take a few more minutes. I have it in mind that in four or five weeks' time Her Gracious Majesty will entrust me with the temporary custodianship of the venerable Hundreds of the Chilterns. Then I shall leave this Palace of Westminster, never to return—not because my memories of this place are not pleasing. I treasure friendships I have been honoured within this assembly and the generosity I have received. I shall prefer not to await my old friends in the queue to the cafeteria. I am going.

In those circumstances, I feel that I might arrogate to myself tonight the privilege, having no longer any axe to grind, of not merely paying my last respects to the Chair, still the symbol of democracy throughout the world, but of conveying to its present distinguished occupant my thanks for great generosity to me and my rejoicing that it is occupied by someone who is relied upon to have the cause of democracy at heart, when it is not quite so strong as it was in some parts of the world or even here, where there are talks of coalition.

It is strange that I come back to the period of the Pompadour. On a previous occasion I adapted an epitaph of Piron—Ci-dit Piron qui ne fut rien, pas même Academicien, asHere lies Hale who was nothing or less He was lever even a P.P.S. I have had almost every experience that a back bencher can have, as a member of a Royal Commission, a joint Committee of Lords and Commons, everything except an invitation to a Ministerial dinner or a free trip with C.P.A.

I have nothing to repine about. I go grateful to this House. I go quietly, almost treading tenderly, in the circumstances. I shall go with the satisfaction of knowing that I have had great friendships, stretching from my oldest friend from Northampton to Antrim South, glad that I have known and loved two Members for Ebbw Vale. I think, also, that I have had some esteem from the great people of Oldham.

I apologise for this somewhat over-personal conclusion to what was not intended to be an emotional speech. I am grateful to my hon. and right hon. Friends for giving me a moment or two over the odds, and I am grateful to the House.

8.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

The House has just listened to a most moving speech, which has been an example of the brilliance with which my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has on many occasions, over many years, addressed the House with great wit, with great learning, at great speed, and usually on humanitarian matters which have moved the hearts of hon. and right hon. Members on both sides.

It is sad to learn that we have listened today to his last speech in the assembly. That will be a matter of great regret to everyone. All right hon. and hon. Members will thank my hon. Friend for the contributions which he has made over the years to our debates, for his brilliance and often out of order interjections, and will wish him in his retirement long life, peace and many happy recollections of the time which he spent so successfully in this assembly.

Hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

As usual, my hon. Friend has been right in the cause which he has advocated. I, for one, agree with almost everything he said. I do not accept the argument advanced from the benches opposite that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been deficient in consultation with the trustees or anyone else before coming to his decision. There may have been misunderstanding, but that it should be elevated to a charge of discourtesy which justifies a Motion of censure on my right hon. Friend is ridiculous. I could not, therefore, possibly support the Motion.

When one comes to the question of the siting of the British Museum, however, my sympathies are fully in accord with those who question my right hon. Friend's decision. I regard it as deplorable. As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West pointed out, work on this project has gone on for years. It has featured in a large number of planning decisions by the London County Council and Greater London Council and other bodies. It has been generally supported by the Government. After about 20 years of intensive work and study, the scheme has been brought to a very late stage of development. A large part of the area has been bought, and £2 million spent on it. A plan has been drawn up by two eminent architects for effecting this extension and building of a Library, which must meet with the approval of everyone who is interested in libraries and has any aesthetic sense.

One would expect there to be the most formidable and conclusive reasons before any Government would decide to annul all the work which has been done and reverse the decisions taken in the past. But the reasons which have been given by my hon. Friend for reversing these decisions seem to me exceedingly weak and inconclusive. My right hon. Friend told us why this great project is to be cancelled irretrievably in the speech he made in the House on 26th October. He gave his reasons clearly and I want to read them. They are all in one short paragraph, which says: The London Borough of Camden, which is the local planning authority, subsequently made formal objections, and these have been under consideration. The Government, having regard particularly to the housing situation in the borough, and to the need to preserve buildings of historic or architectural importance in Bloomsbury, have decided on balance that the borough's objections to the plan should be upheld."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th October, 1967; Vol. 751, c. 1904.] My hon. Friend's main reason is to uphold the objections of the Camden Borough to the project, which are about housing. The council has made representations to the Ministry on two points. It says that it is concerned about the large degree of residential accommodation being taken up in Central London. That is a general point, and we all have sympathy with it, but we must remember that, wherever the project is to be located, if it is to be in Central London it will either take up existing or potential residential accommodation. The council has also told us, to quote from the second letter of Mr. Roy Shaw, the Chairman of the Camden Borough's Planning Committee, who, presumably, knows what he is talking about, that the borough council's objection lay in the fact that it was concerned to get "a larger degree of residential accommodation," which is to be taken up in the new plan.

We must look at this in proper perspective and assume that it is desirable to have some sort of big library development in the area, and that the project is aesthetically good and sound. What are the facts about the new accommodation which will be required if the plan is carried out? We are told that there are 900 people in the area. The new plan proposes good accommodation for 350, with parking facilities and so on. In other words, 550 people will have to be re-housed over, I suppose, a period of about 10 years. It is no doubt distressing to those people that they must be re-housed. Nobody likes being re-housed compulsorily, but if one looks at the matter in comparison with the rehousing work being done elsewhere, it is not a problem.

In my constituency, at Lambeth, the number of people rehoused each year is 3,000, whereas this is a problem of re-housing 550 people over 10 years. Therefore, if the project is sound, the housing obligation on the council, which can be shared with the Greater London Council, is not one which justifies turning it down. But that is the prime argument on which my right hon. Friend says he turned it down.

The second reason was the number of houses in the area of historic and architectural importance. I any many other hon. Members know the area very well. The number of houses of real historical and architectural importance in these seven acres is insignificant. The whole area is a mess. It is a dog's dinner, unpalatable on the whole, in which there are a few, but very few, houses of some interest. There are many houses of mediocre quality. There are many which are poor and miserable and which ought to have been pulled down years ago.

Whatever happens, this area must be developed in some way or another. To suggest that we must kill the scheme because a number of houses of importance, historically or achitecturally, are situated there is nonsense. The Greater London Council is quite willing that this area should be redeveloped for museum purposes, in spite of the fact that there are a few fairly interesting houses in it. There is only one house, and that not outstanding, in Bloomsbury Square which has any real merit.

When it went into the scheme, the Royal Fine Art Commission examined the suggestion that there were interesting buildings of artistic merit in the area, and it concluded there was only one, and that it would be wrong to keep that one in existence if it stood in the way of the building of such a fine project as that proposed by the architects, Sir Leslie Martin and Mr. St. John Wilson.

The Ròyal Fine Art Commission is quite happy to see the area go, and those who know it would be equally pleased. It seems to me that the case for cancelling the scheme, after all the work that has been done over 20 years, on the ground that there are houses of architectural importance does not stand the light of the day. But those are the arguments on which my right hon. Friend primarily bases his case for tearing up all the work which has been done on the project.

Another argument is the desirability of having a composite national library, a matter about which there is great argument. Some people believe that it would be better to have a British Museum Library close to the location of the British Museum. This is arguable. But the point which has not been settled at all —and as far as I know no consideration has been given to it—is that even if it is agreed that there should be a composite library under one roof, why should it not be in this area, either within the seven acres that have been designated or in a larger area? The committee which my right hon. Friend has set up might well decide that it is desirable to have a composite national library. But need it all be located at the same spot? It might be in various parts of London. A British Museum Library in this area could be a central element of the new set-up.

My right hon. Friend has set up this committee which will consider the matter. He said that it should not take more than six months or a year. In the meantime, he is stopping the present proposals irretrievably. He does not say, "We have waited for a long time. It will be some years before the scheme is completed. Let us wait for six or 12 months and see what the new committee proposes". That committee may well propose that it is essential that this site be developed as the British Museum Library or as part of some composite arrangement. Will the committee be able to reach such a decision under the terms of reference which my right hon. Friend will give it? If it comes to such a conclusion will he then reverse the decision which he has taken, irretrievably to stop the building of the project in this area?

It seems to me that to make such an important decision after all these years of work, and when such a magnificent scheme has been worked out by these two eminent architects, is unfortunate. I do not know how many hon. Members have seen the scheme. It is a magnificent design, gracious and efficient. It wholly serves the purpose required and will greatly beautify that part of London. To stop all that now while the inquiry into what sort of national library we want in future is going on is a grave mistake.

It is arguable that it is desirable to have the British Museum Library next door to the Museum. Prima facie the case is strong—I put it no higher. But there is also a strong case for saying that this Library should be close to London University. It is an important part of the work of the University and I, as perhaps were some other hon. Members, was impressed by the argument put forward by the Professor of Ancient History at the University, Professor Momigliano in a letter to The Times on 7th November.

As others wish to speak I will quote only a few sentences: The B.M. library is to the University of London what Bodley is to the University of Oxford. If the B.M. library goes, the teachers of the University of London, who have simply not the time to travel far from their colleges, will increasingly rely on specialised libraries. Specialised libraries, taken alone, are the death of true scholarship. He made a strong plea in the interests of scholarship and of the University for maintaining this library on the proposed site. Surely, then, there is a strong case for having the library on this site, bearing in mind that it may be able to house many more books than at present envisaged and be completely suitable for a national library.

My right hon. Friend has come to his decision. I think that he has been ill-advised. As a result of this decision, London will be deprived of a magnificent piece of large scale planning, equally outstanding in its efficiency and beauty. The result of years of fruitful and successful hard work will have been scrapped.

I think that this is a case of not seeing the wood for the trees. My right hon. Friend has been impressed by some arguments, in my opinion weak ones. Because he does not like some of the trees, he says that the whole forest must come down. Without any idea of what is to take its place, it has to be destroyed. I fear that this decision will prove scholastically wrong and I am certain that it will be a blow to London which future generations will deeply regret.

9.13 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Pardoe Mr John Pardoe , North Cornwall

There are two separate issues in this debate. One is the need for a National Library and the other is the Conservative Party's desire to hound personally the Secretary of State for Education and Science, who happens to have made this decision. I have no intention of covering the second point. I am not particularly concerned about the second part of the Motion, either.

I do not suppose that, however much consultation had taken place, members of the Establishment would ever feel satisfied. One of the purposes, I believe, of the other place is to ensure in our constitution a place where members of the Establishment can feel that they are being involved in government when they are not.

I support the first part of the Motion, however, and shall vote against the Government. But I have one reservation. The Motion laughingly refers to a Government decision, but I do not believe that any decision has been taken. One of the more disastrous things in this country is our belief that the setting up of a committee is a decision. I do not believe that in this case any one has made any decision at all.

I want to echo the words of the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) concerning what happens if this new committee comes to the same decision that the other committee which considered this issue for four years reached. This was the committee set up by the U.G.C. and it said that "the British Museum should become the national library".

The Conservative case in this debate has been based largely on whether the decision of the Conservative Government to go ahead with this scheme was a firm decision. Let me hasten to say, from my position, that the fact that it was a decision of a Conservative Government would not necessarily lead me to support it, nor indeed to consider that it was right. After all, one of the things which led me to conclude that the Stansted decision was wrong was the fact that it had originally been made by a Conservative Government.

Photo of Mr John Pardoe Mr John Pardoe , North Cornwall

The whole history of the British Museum in the past 20 years has been a total shambles and it is against that shambles that I am voting tonight—the failure of the Government to put that right and do something.

If the present site is the right one, and there are very strong arguments for saying that this is so, why have the Government not had the guts to go ahead and build on it? If they feel that questions of housing versus books arise, if they feel that the questions of architecture are overwhelming, why have they not done what the right hon. Gentleman said he wanted to do, and that is to go ahead with a National Library elsewhere in London? I see no reason why we need another committee to tell us all this.

One of the things that amazes me, looking at the record of the actions of successive Governments over the British Museum ever since the war, is the extraordinary delays that have occurred. It is said that a firm decision was reached in 1955 to carry out this plan, yet the architects were not appointed until 1962 and the Government did not approve the scheme, even in principle, until 1964. What happened in the intervening period? Why was nothing done to get on with the job then?

We have had even more delays recently, and it is extraordinary that, since this Government came into power they have authorised the expenditure of more than £500,000 on land for this project, yet now, after this period of time, and this expenditure of money, they have failed to carry the project through. It is very difficult to isolate this decision from what I regard as the appalling absence of any policy for the proper investment in public patronage of the arts generally. We spend vast amounts of money on the British Museum, nearly £4 million a year. We spend very considerable sums of money on other galleries and museums elsewhere, and yet Parliament very rarely considers what sort of value for money we are getting.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) said that there was no alternative site in London that could be developed as a library without rehousing and all the other attendant problems. I would suggest that there is one obvious site for an extension of the British Museum, if not a Library, and that is the one in which we are now sitting. It might be very much easier to use this present building for an extension of the British Museum. We might even leave a few relics around behind us when we go.

I welcome the Minister's statement that he wants to build a new National Library in London, but I do not see that it requires another committee to tell us whether or how this should be done. If the decision has been made to do it, then for heaven's sake let us get on with it. This has been waiting around for 20 years or more, and I look to the Government to carry out their promise which they have made tonight without any further delays.

9.20 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Lena Jeger Mrs Lena Jeger , Holborn and St Pancras South

I think that we must try to apply our minds to what this argument is about. The way in which some of the sudden bibliophiles on the opposite benches are approaching the matter seems to suggest that the argument is between having a great National Library, and not having one. I dissociate myself from that attitude.

One reason why I welcome my right hon. Friend's decision, and I shall not give him any peace until he proves me right, is that I believe we will get a finer, more splendid, and more worthy National Library than was envisaged, and, with no respect to my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), a building of infinitely more gracious and pleasing design than the ugly great yard with which we have been presented so far.

I am convinced that we can get the new building more quickly. Successive Ministers have said that the previous building was to begin in the 'seventies, and was expected to be completed in the 'eighties. This is an unforgivable delay, and I am convinced that, given the support of the House, my right hon. Friend can see that we gain time by this change of plan.

I reject the argument of the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe), for whom I have a great respect, and sometimes a little more than respect. I do not see this argument in terms of books versus houses. I am not a complete stranger to books. I think that this is a completely false presentation of the argument.

I think that I must deal with one or two specific points which have been made. Too much has been said about the virtue of what I can only call the aggregation of books and museum objects. I believe that the civilised world must share the evidence of its culture throughout many lands, towns, and places. I cannot understand this megalomania about London. I would much prefer to see the House revis- ing the statutes governing the British Museum, to enable some of the lovely treasures which at the moment are hidden away to be sent to provincial museums where they would be a delight to many people.

We have heard a good deal about the inconvenience which may be caused to people who may have to travel away from Central London if the Library and the Museum are separated. Many people in our great provincial cities have to come to London to look at the treasures stored here. I would not care if the Elgin Marbles went back to Greece. I would welcome this. I see no virtue in amassing the treasures of a museum and library in one place.

Reference has been made to the part played by London University. I must remind the House that only a few of the colleges of the University are in this area. Some of the colleges are in South Kensington, and there is even one at Wye, quite a long way off. It might even be a good idea to site the new National Library in South Kensington—[Interruption.] I am talking about dispersal. I would like to see some of the unseen treasures stored in the British Museum sent to provincial museums. This is not for tonight's argument, but it is an important point.

I thought that my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall dealt rather cavalierly with the housing problem. There are slightly more than 900 private residents living in flats in this area, and the population increases naturally, even in Holborn. There are 350 young women living in a Y.W.C.A. hostel which has a long waiting list. There are several small and modest hotels in which many of those who come to read in the British Museum and to study briefly in London often find accommodation. I was amused at this morning's letter in The Times from a number of librarians who suggested that it was convenient for them to be able to walk from one library to another. Many scholars who come to London are more concerned with being able to walk to the Library from where they are staying. One reads of Virginia Woolf walking from Mecklenburg Square to the British Museum and of Eleanor Marx living in Great Russell Street and just crossing the road to the Museum.

However, if this scheme goes through, we shall push residential accommodation further from the centre of London and make it more difficult for the scholars, whose case has been so eloquently pleaded, to find anywhere to stay when they come to London to read the Library's books. After all, there are very few scholars so devoted that they would put books before bed.

Several hon. Members have referred to the element of rehousing in the Martin plan. There is no evidence to suggest that the people who lose their homes as a result of the scheme will be the same people who are able to afford the rents of the new flats or who will find them suitable in the light of their family and other circumstances. If hon. Members are so anxious to see the Borough of Camden house an extra 900 people on top of its existing commitments, I suggest that we get special authority to pull down some of the hideous slums which are a terrible disgrace to the centre of of our great city. The people living there are those who should be rehoused if there is any spare element of rehousing to be undertaken.

My right hon. Friend described the area very unkindly as a mess. One of the reasons why this part of Bloomsbury is such a mess is because of the long years of uncertainty. Time after time, people have been told that properties are on very short leases. They have been able to get very little information about the future and, of course, the area has become run down. My constituents have not even known whether to buy new curtains or put new lino on their kitchen floors because of the uncertainty. Nothing is worse for an area, and I agree with my right hon. Friend that it is run down. However, one ought to look at the causes, and the sooner that it is retrieved, the better.

One of the difficulties is that, of the area as a whole, no one would say that local or parochial reasons should take precedence over important national ones, and I would be the last. The trouble with this scheme is that it is one of many which have been planned for one small area of London. We have lost 73 acres for the University precinct alone, and, in the present case, it was suggested that we should lose another seven. We have lost much living space for hospital extensions and, unfortunately, especially when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite were in charge, we have lost acres of land for office building at a vast profit to the developers concerned.

We should be able to agree that there is no virtue in the continuing depopulation of the centres of our great cities. At the beginning of the century, 59,000 people lived in Holborn. By 1951 it had dropped to 24,000, and we are now down to 20,000. It is bad for everyone, both residents and visitors, if we tend to get dead institutional areas in the centres of our cities. I want to see the centre of London more densely populated. It is a splendid place in which to live.

Of course, one of the troubles with this scheme is that it is one of a long list. It is all very well to say that it is important and to consider it separately, but already nearly 1,500 people have been displaced from their homes for university development in this area alone, over 800 for hospital extensions; and many other schemes, some of national and some not of national importance, have involved many thousands of people in the area losing their homes.

Considering many of these schemes separately, one sees that the Hospital for Sick Children, for example, has a good case for turning people out of their houses in Great Ormond Street, because its work is important and it must expand. Of course, others are told that they must move out of Woburn Square, because a computer is to go there. None of these projects in itself is to be criticised, but, if planning means anything, it means that someone at some point must do some arithmetic and add the cumulative effect in one small part of London to a succession of decisions which might be right in themselves but which are cumulatively bad for planning and, above all, for people.

The Camden Borough Council has a housing waiting list of 9,000 people, many in desperate conditions, and it is in that light that further consideration needs to be given to the area's housing situation. Last night, the council, supported by Mr. Roy Shaw, who was one of the signatories, passed by 24 votes to 6 the following resolution: This Camden Borough Council, concerned with the welfare of the inhabitants of the area, welcomes the decision of the Secretary of State.. The Council reiterates its policy of opposition to the continuing encroachment on residential accommodation in Central London and urges H.M. Government to give practical support towards that policy. It further urges that in the interest of the cultural life of the country a speedy solution to the problem of the National Library may be found which will provide adequate and convenient facilities for an efficient library service. It is in the spirit of that resolution that the whole House should consider this question.

Of course, other sites are being talked about—for instance, Covent Garden, railway land behind St. Pancras Station, the station itself, the South Bank. I am sure that this question will not be insuperably difficult. My right hon. Friend is to be congratulated because his decision has been the catalyst which I am sure will enable a fresh decision to be made in the wider interests of scholarship and of the people not only of Camden, but of the whole of London and beyond.

9.34 p.m.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

May I tell the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger) that I have been called many things in my life but I do not believe that many people who visit me at home would expect to hear me called a sudden bibliophile.

One feature of this debate is that we have had the opportunity to hear the swan song of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale). Like many speeches which we have heard from him in the House, the hon. Member's speech tonight was in turn moving and racy. If I may say so, I think that I shall best remember the hon. Member for Oldham, West for the most brilliant point of order that I have ever heard raised. It was many years ago and it concerned the ci-prés doctrine and a number of other doctrines less familiar to us. The Leader of the House, who is present, may recall that occasion.

I am sure that we wish to assure the hon. Member for Oldham, West that his warm feelings both for the House and for democracy are entirely reciprocated by the warmth of hon. Members in all parts of the House to him. Few speeches can have been heard with more enjoyment or with deeper or more genuine regret than his speech tonight.

I pass to the subject of the Motion. The Secretary of State commented on the fact that this was the second debate on this subject in 13 days. The Opposition make no apology for that. It is a common form in the House that one raises a topic on a day of general debate when there will be no Division, and if the Opposition are dissatisfied with the answer which they receive from the Government, they feel that they ought to return to it at the first available opportunity. That is exactly what we have done tonight. The hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) said that our motives were hounding the right hon. Gentleman, but I am very well aware that the right hon. Gentleman's capacity for self- punishment is greater than any punishment that we shall ever be able to inflict upon him. I still have one or two other topics which I could mention, for example his remarkable intervention with the teachers recently without consulting the local authorities. No doubt we can refer to that on a more convenient occasion.

The right hon. Gentleman tonight made one comment which strikes me as quite extraordinary. He said that there is no rational argument for keeping the British Museum and the Library together. On the subject of siting, we absolutely disagree with the right hon. Gentleman about that, and our point of view was most convincingly supported by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), who spoke, as he always does, in a moderate and persuasive manner, but whose speech was the most damaging criticism of the Government which I have so far heard on this subject from either side of the House.

I will put two points to the Secretary of State. First, we believe, as does the right hon. Member for Vauxhall, that there is a very strong argument indeed for the specialist collections in the British Museum maintaining a physically close relationship with the department of printed books. I have been struck in recent weeks by the number of people distinguished in academic life who have got in touch with me and urged precisely that point.

There are two reasons why this physically close relationship is important. The first is the point made by Lord Radcliffe in his memorandum of 25th July. Lord Radcliffe said, The internal economy of the Museum itself would be much disturbed if the new Library building were not in close proximity to the Antiquities departments; you cannot run such departments, with their galleries, exhibitions, students' and research rooms and their learned publications without departmental libraries to support their scholarship. Hitherto we have been able to economise on departmental libraries by having ready and immediate resort to the collections of the Museum Library itself. If this resort is made impossible by a substantial separation of the Library site from the existing site of the Antiquities departments, it would be absolutely necessary to ask for very considerable additional expenditure for the enlargement of each departmental library. I believe that Lord Radcliffe has made an overwhelming case for the present arrangement and that any other arrangement would involve very serious waste and duplication. But there is a second point which I made in the debate last Friday and which I repeat tonight because it is one in particular which scholars have raised with me and it is about languages. Very few of the specialist libraries can meet all their language needs when it comes to such needs as Iron Curtain languages or Oriental languages because there are not enough specialists to go round. That is a perfectly rational argument for wanting to maintain this physically close relationship between the Library and the Museum.

But there is, of course, a second reason which was mentioned to us very persuasively by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall. The Minister quoted from a letter by Professor Momigliano to The Times and reminded us of the great importance of this subject to the University of London; that one forgets too easily that the Museum is the place where the teachers and students of the University of London find their material. The connection between the University and the Library in the Bloomsbury area has indeed been a close one.

I repeat that there is no question tonight of our indulging in criticism for criticism's sake, still less any question of concentrating any personal fire on the Minister. We took this step of tabling a Motion criticising the Government's decision on siting because we believe that it is a bad decision for London, a bad decision for Museum readers and a bad decision for scholarship. Despite all the right hon. Gentleman's protestations the other week—that he was concerned with scholarship and was anxious to have excellence in education—his speech tonight showed little concern for the interests of scholarship in connection with this subject.

Not only was I surprised at his speech. I was all the more surprised when he suddenly indicated to me that whereas, during the first half of this evening, he had thought of asking leave to intervene again to address the House, he does not now propose to do so.

In putting this matter to the right hon. Gentleman I trust that he will deal with it adequately because he must come clean with the House about his alternative proposal. When we debated this subject on 3rd November last the right hon. Gentleman committed himself by saying: I myself think that there is a strong case for having our great national library in Central London."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd November, 1967; Vol. 753, c. 509.] Tonight he went a stage further and gave a sort of oblique intimation that the Library would be in Central London. Indeed, he referred to the possibility of the Library being there—"as it should be", being the words he used. I must press the right hon. Gentleman to come clean and tell the House that, in his opinion, this great national library not merely has a strong case for being in Central London, or should be in Central London, but will be in Central London. Having said so much, and having said just notably more tonight than he said the other week, he must now come clean with the House before this debate comes to an end. He must make it quite clear to the House and the Trustees whether or not he was intending to enter into a moral commitment.

Government by intimation in that sort of way is the wrong way to treat the House. Either one is making a statement or one is not. To give a series of intimations, one a little more definite than the last, is not the way to treat Parliament on a subject of this importance.

The Minister referred to his success in obtaining Dr. Dainton as chairman of his new independent committee. All of us with knowledge of university affairs have the greatest possible respect for Dr. Dainton, who is one of the ablest vice-chancellors of the post-war period. However, I agree with the right hon. Member for Vauxhall that it seems most extraordinary to set up a new independent committee with the best possible chairman the right hon. Gentleman can secure and, at the same time, to say that the present proposals are being irretrievably stopped.

I put this direct question to the Minister, in the same way that it was asked by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall: supposing Dr. Dainton and his colleagues come to the view, in the course of their urgent examination, that the Bloomsbury plan was the best one, after all, will they be able to say so, and publicly? If not, it seems that their hands are being tied from the moment of their appointment.

I agree entirely with the right hon. Member for Vauxhall and I believe that the arguments against the Bloomsbury site are extremely weak. The right hon. Gentleman made a telling point in comparing the numbers rehoused in his own borough of Lambeth each year with the numbers rehoused in Camden. Even now, I hope that the Government will reconsider this issue of siting; and, at the very least, that they will give this new Commission they are setting up a free hand to recommend what it believes to be right. Again I come back to this point: will the right hon. Gentleman give a definite pledge that the new national library will be in Central London?

Having devoted the greater part of my time, quite deliberately, to the question of the siting of the Library, I want to say something about delay and something about consultation. The subject of delay, I still believe, was most cogently and most fairly put by the noble Lord, Lord Annan, when he said that the Government's statement of 26th October had buried nearly 20 years of planning of the new Library for the British Museum. This must lead to further delay at a time when pressure on space for the display of antiquities is getting more and more severe and when, as we know, the expansion of university places both in Britain and in the United States inevitably brings more readers pressing on space in the Reading Room. It is therefore extraordinary that the Government should have taken this step when university numbers are rising fast, and when all kinds of forces are encouraging postgraduate numbers far faster than ever before.

I was very glad that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) referred to the speech made earlier this year by the right hon. Lady the Minister of State concerned with the arts. I was criticised, not unfairly—I made no complaint—for my own absence from an earlier debate, and I hoped that we might have seen the right hon. Lady for a short time tonight, because it was she who described … the storage of the greater part of the material in the British Museum out of sight of the public as the most scandalous waste of precious national assets! She described at a Press conference how she had been "slumming" at the Museum with the Director, and had been horrified to find … all this material stored away in boxes and on shelves". She said that the … building had been shamefully neglected for decades … and hoped that means could be found of easing the congestion … but that … it was something that ought to have been done years ago". I cannot help wondering whether she had been informed then that the Government's only contribution was to stop irretrievably the present proposals already embarked on.

Having dealt with siting and with delay, I turn to consultation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Vauxhall, to whose speech I have been referring in his absence, whilst supporting the Opposition on the subject of siting felt that the issue of consultation was much less important. I do not agree, and I will explain to the House why. First, I must say to the Secretary of State that if his handling of this whole subject of the British Museum Library exemplifies what he means by consultation when he deals with local education authorities then, as a former Minister, I can promise him a pretty lively Ministerial term of office.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Hexham quoted Lord Radcliffe's letter to The Times of 31st October, which I think we would all agree is what one would call a basic document supporting the present Motion. What strikes me is the extraordinarily feeble nature of the Government's defences in explaining why they have behaved as they have done. First of all, last Friday week we had the hon. Lady the Minister of State concerned with higher education saying that really the Government had not behaved very badly, because when Lord Radcliffe visited the right hon. Gentleman who is now the President of the Board of Trade, it was not clear that there was to be another meeting. The Minister of State said: It is quite clear from that transcript that either gentleman could honourably have gone away from that meeting concluding that there would be either a further meeting or that there would not."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd November, 1967; Vol. 753, c. 579.] With great respect to the hon. Lady, whom we all respect in this House, that seems to be one of the weakest pieces of special pleading I have heard for a long time. It recalls Lord Rosebery's comment on Shelburn, that his good faith was always exemplary and always in need of explanation. This was not an impressive argument.

The right hon. Gentleman tonight used an even more curious argument. He thought that the Radcliffe memorandum could not be improved upon. In other words, he thought that because the Government had the case before them there was no need for further consultation. That was exactly what Lord Radcliffe complained about in his letter, and rightly complained. The whole essence of Lord Radcliffe's charge was when he said: I have been accustomed to dealing with Government Departments for many years now, and it would not have occurred to me, in the context of this case, in which the Trustees are responsible by statute for the conduct of the Museum that their views would be set aside and a long settled plan abandoned without even a discussion as to the reasons for the rejection and an honest attempt to work out a feasible alternative, if there is one. This seems an extraordinary way to behave to a statutory body of Trustees, to men of the distinction of the noble Lords, Lord Radcliffe, Lord Annan and Lord Eccles, and a number of others. Why could not the Government, if they were changing their mind—I think they were wrong to do so—have taken the Trustees into their confidence at some stage? Why could they not have said, "We may not now after all be able to approve the Martin plan. What is your alternative?" I believe that the reason the Government did not take that step was that any serious attempt at real consultation with the Trustees would have revealed the complete weakness of the Government's case and the weakness of their arguments for changing the site.

I have complained of the discourtesy of the Government to the Trustees. I think that the Secretary of State will be acting in a manner equally discourteous to this House if he does not now answer the point I have specifically put to him about the siting of the Library. He has twice given hints to the House, slightly more definite each time, that the Library will be sited in Central London. Before this debate comes to an end, will he tell the House exactly what is in his mind?

The right hon. Gentleman, having intended at one moment to ask the leave of the House to reply and having reserved time to do so, arrangements having been made through the usual channels that I should rise at half-past nine, he should say precisely what he meant by that remark in his speech. For the moment we can only take the situation as we find it. We have the situation of the Government having stopped proposals which I believe were sound. Here I echo what I think was a very fair summing up by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall. He said that this is an ill-advised step. London will be deprived of a major piece of large-scale planning. An opportunity has been thrown away and this is a scholastically wrong decision.

The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State complained about our raising the matter this evening. He must agree, and the House must agree, that these are four very strong reasons for censuring the Government tonight. The British Museum is one of the major institutions of this country. We are debating a real blow to London, a real blow to scholarship and we are discussing a wasted opportunity. We would have been failing in our duty as an Opposition if we had not taken the opportunity tonight to return to this most important subject. We have absolutely made out a case both regarding the wrong decision of the Government and the discourtesy with which they have treated the Trustees.

I think that the silence of the right hon. Gentleman, his unwillingness to take further part in this debate, still further justifies the Motion. In any case, I ask all my hon. and right hon. Friends to give the fullest support to the Motion, which, I believe, is entirely justified on its merits and on the Government's handling of this whole issue.

9.54 p.m.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

It is surprising that the Secretary of State is not on his feet. Even at this late hour, I will give way so that he can accede to my right hon. Friend's request.

The hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger), who has been pushing for the decision that the right hon. Gentleman has taken, admitted that she thinks that the Library should be in Central London. The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), who has held distinguished office in previous Labour Governments, with all the special knowledge that he has, has stated an opposing view to that of the right hon. Gentleman. The Liberal Party has made clear where it stands.

My right hon. and hon. Friends have put up an unanswerable argument. In view of the statement the Secretary of State made, he should take this extra step. I will give way now if he wishes to tell us where in Central London he has in mind.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

There are a number of hon. Members who are here now who were not here during my speech.

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

Order. The right hon. Gentleman can speak again only by leave of the House.

Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

I was only interrupting the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls). There are hon. Gentlemen now here who were not here during my speech, including the hon. Gentleman. I hope that he will do me the courtesy of reading my speech. He will find that I have answered both of the questions which were put to me.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

That is an evasion and an obvious one and one which treats the House with contempt. It is on record that the right hon. Gentleman himself has said that he wants it to be in Central London. He has repeated that he thinks it right that it should be in Central London. It will not be on the site that we recommended and approved. He should fill in that blank. What part of Central London will it be sited in?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

May I, by leave of the House—

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will it be in order for the Secretary of State to give the reasons why he has not replied to rather important questions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—which were put in the debate from this side of the House as well as from the other side, particularly as he told us that he would reserve five minutes at the end of the debate so that he could answer some points?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

May I put this direct question to the Secretary of State? In connection with Central London and the siting of the Museum, he gave—

Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East

Equally, the right hon. Gentleman can speak again only with the leave of the House.

Hon. Members:


Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I ask for leave.

The right hon. Gentleman gave an intimation that he thought that the Library should be in Central London. He knows as well as I do that there is a great deal of difference between saying that there is a strong case for something, or that something should take place, and a Government notice that it will take place. I ask, in view of representations from both sides of the House, that the right hon. Gentleman explain that it will—that he means the word "will" and not just the word "should".

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Leyton

By leave of the House. I said I am "convinced" that the Library should be in Central London. That was the word I used tonight. I have set up this committee, which must look into this. It would be wrong for me to set up a committee, with a very important chairman, and go further than this. I am convinced. I will not necessarily have to accept the advice of the committee if it went against me, but to predetermine a matter which it will be looking into seems to me wrong. I do not see that I can express it more strongly

and properly at the moment than by saying that I am convinced that it should be in Central London.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 231, Noes 279.

Division No. 5.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)Mawby, Ray
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Glover, Sir DouglasMaydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Astor, JohnGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)Goodhew, VictorMills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Awdry, DanielGower, RaymondMiscampbell, Norman
Baker, W. H. K.Grant, AnthonyMitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Balniel, LordGrant-Ferris, R.Monro, Hector
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyGresham Cooke, R.Montgomery, Fergus
Batsford, BrianGrieve, PercyMorrison, Charles (Devizes)
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Bell, RonaldGrimond, Rt. Hn. J.Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)Gurden, HaroldMurton, Oscar
Berry, Hn. AnthonyHall, John (Wycombe)Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Biffen, JohnHall-Davis, A. G. F.Neave, Airey
Biggs-Davison, JohnHamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Birch, Rt. Hn. NigelHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Black, Sir CyrilHarris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)Nott, John
Blaker, PeterHarris, Reader (Heston)Onslow, Cranley
Boardman, Thomas (Leicester, S.W.)Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Body, RichardHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Bossom, Sir CliveHarvey, Sir Arthur VereOsborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnHarvie Anderson, MissPage, Graham (Crosby)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardHastings, StephenPage, John (Harrow, W.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir WalterHawkins, PaulPardoe, John
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Hay, JohnPeel, John
Bryan, PaulHeald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionelPercival, Ian
Buck, Antony (Colchester)Heath, Rt. Hn. EdwardPeyton, John
Bullus, Sir EricHesedine, MichaelPike, Miss Mervyn
Burden, F. A.Higgins, Terence L.Pink, R. Bonner
Campbell, GordonHill, J. E. B.Pounder, Rafton
Carlisle, MarkHobson, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHogg, Rt. Hn. QuintinPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Cary, Sir RobertHordern, PeterPrior, J. M. L.
Channon, H. P. G.Hornby, RichardPym, Francis
Chichester-Clark, R.Howell, David (Guildford)Quennell, Miss J. M.
Clark, HenryHunt, JohnRamsden, Rt. Hn. James
Clegg, WalterHutchison, Michael ClarkRawllnson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Cooke, RobertIremonger, T. L.Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cordle, JohnIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Corfield, F. V.Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Costain, A. P.Jennings, J. C. (Burton)Ridsdale, Julian
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir OliverJones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Robson Brown, Sir William
Crouch, DavidJopling, MichaelRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Crowder, F. P.Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cunningham, sir KnoxKaberry, Sir DonaldRoyle, Anthony
Currie, G. B. H.Kershaw, AnthonyRussell, Sir Ronald
Dalkeith, Earl ofKimball, MarcusSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Dance, JamesKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKirk, PeterScott, Nicholas
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)Kitson, TimothySharpies, Richard
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)Knight, Mrs. JillShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Digby, Simon WingfieldLambton, ViscountSilvester, Frederick
Doughty, CharlesLancaster, Col. C. G.Sinclair, Sir George
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecLane, DavidSmith, John
Drayson, G. B.Langford-Holt, Sir JohnStainton, Keith
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardLegge-Bourke, Sir HarryStodart, Anthony
Eden, Sir JohnLloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut' n C dfield)Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Lloyd, Ian[...]'tsm'th, Langstone)Summers, Sir Spencer
Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)Tapsell, Peter
Emery, PeterLoveys, W. H.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Errington, Sir EricLubbock, EricTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Farr, JohnMcAdden, Sir StephenTeeling, Sir William
Fisher, NigelMacArthur, IanTemple, John M.
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMacleod, Rt. Hn. IainThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Fortescue, TimMcMaster, StanleyThorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Foster, Sir JohnMacmillan, Maurice (Farnham)Taney, John
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)Maddan, MartinTurton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G.Maginnis, John E.van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gibson-Watt, DavidMarples, Rt. Hn. ErnestVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Giles, Rear-Adm. MorganMarten, NeilVickers, Dame Joan
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Maude, AngusWalker, Peter (Worcester)
Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir DerekWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. WilliamWright, Esmond
Walters, DennisWills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)Wylie, N. R.
Ward, Dame IreneWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)Younger, Hn. George
Weatherill, BernardWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Webster, DavidWoodnutt, MarkTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wells, John (Maidstone)Worsley, MarcusMr. Jasper More and
Mr. Reginald Eyre
Abse, LeoEnsor, DavidLyon, Alexander W. (York)
Albu, AustenEvans, Ioan L. (Blrm'h'm, Yardley)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Alldritt, WalterFernyhough, E.McBride, Neil
Allen, ScholefieldFinch, HaroldMacColl, James
Archer, PeterFitch, Alan (Wigan)MacDermot, Niall
Ashley, JackFletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Macdonald, A. H.
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)McGuire, Michael
Bacon, Rt. Hn. AliceFoley, MauriceMcKay, Mrs. Margaret
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Barnes, MichaelFord, BenMackie, John
Barnett, JoelForrester, JohnMaclennan, Robert
Baxter, WilliamFowler, GerryMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hn, F. J.Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)McNamara, J. Kevin
Bence, CyrilFreeson, ReginaldMacPherson, Malcolm
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodGalpern, Sir MyerMahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)Gardner, TonyMallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Bidwell, SydneyGinsburg, DavidMallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)
Binns, JohnGordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.Marks, Kenneth
Blackburn, F.Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard
Blenkinsop, ArthurGreenwood, Rt. Hn. AnthonyMason, Roy
Booth, AlbertGregory, ArnoldMaxwell, Robert
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurGrey, Charles (Durham)Mayhew, Christopher
Boyden, JamesGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)Mellish, Robert
Braddock, Mrs. E. M.Griffiths, Will (Exchange)Mendelson, J. J.
Bray, Dr. JeremyHamilton, James (Bothwell)Mikardo, Ian
Brooks, EdwinHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Millan, Bruce
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Hamling, WilliamMiller, Dr. M. S.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)Hannan, WilliamMilne, Edward (Blyth)
Buchan, NormanHarper, JosephMitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Molloy, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Hart, Mrs. JudithMorgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Hattersley, RoyMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Cant, R. B.Hazell, BertMorris, John (Aberavon)
Carmichael, NeilHealey, Rt. Hn. DenisMoyle, Roland
Carter-Jones, LewisHeffer, Eric S.Mulley, Rt. Hn, Frederick
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraHerbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMurray, Albert
Chapman, DonaldHilton, W. S.Newens, Stan
Coe, DenisHooley, FrankNoel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Coleman, DonaldHoughton, Rt. Hn. DouglasNorwood, Christopher
Concannon, J. D.Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Oakes, Gordon
Conlan, BernardHowarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)Ogden, Eric
Corbert, Mrs. FredaHowell, Denis (Small Heath)O'Malley, Brian
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Howie, W.Oram, Albert E.
Crawshaw, RichardHoy, JamesOrme, Stanley
Cronin, JohnHuckfield, LeslieOswald, Thomas
Crossman, Rt. Hn. RichardHughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Cullen, Mrs. AliceHughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Owen, Will (Morpeth)
Dalyell, TamHughes, Roy (Newport)Padley, Walter
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)Hunter, AdamPage, Derek (King's Lynn)
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Paget, R. T.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)Palmer, Arthur
Davies, Eclnyfed Hudson (Conway)Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasPanned, Rt. Hn. Charles
Davies, Harold (Leek)Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)Park, Trevor
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Parker, John (Dagenham)
Delargy, HughJenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Dell, EdmundJones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(w.H am,S.)Pavitt, Laurence
Dempsey, JamesJones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Dewar, DonaldJones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Diamond, Rt. Hn. JohnKelley, RichardPentland, Norman
Dickens, JamesKenyon, CliffordPerry, Ernest G. (Battersea, 8.)
Dobson, RayKerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter A Chatham)Perry, George H. (Nottingham, 8.)
Doig, PeterKerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Donnelly, DesmondKerr, Russell (Feltham)Price, William (Rugby)
Driberg, TomLawson, GeorgeProbert, Arthur
Dunn, James A.Leadbitter, TedPursey, Cmdr. Harry
Dunnett, JackLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Randall, Harry
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)Lee, Rt. Hn, Jennie (Cannock)Rees, Merlyn
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)Lee, John (Reading)Reynolds, G. W.
Eadle, AlexLestor, Miss JoanRhodes, Geoffrey
Edelman, MauriceLever, Harold (Cheetham)Richard, Ivor
Edwards, William (Merioneth)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Ellis, JohnLipton, MarcusRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
English, MichaelLomas, KennethRobinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)
Ennals, DavidLoughlin, CharlesRobinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)
Rodgers, William (Stockton)Stonehouse, JohnWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Roebuck, RoySummerskill, Hn. Dr. ShirleyWhitlock, William
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)Swain, ThomasWilkins, W. A.
Rose, PaulTaverne, DickWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Ross, Rt. Hn. WilliamThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)Thomson, Rt. Hn. GeorgeWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)Thornton, ErnestWilliams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Sheldon, RobertTinn, JamesWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.Tuck, RaphaelWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Shore, Peter (Stepney)Urwin, T. W.Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)Varley, Eric G.Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Short, Mrs. Renée(W'hampton,N.E.)Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)Walden, Brian (All Saints)Winnick, David
Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Silverman, Julius (Aston)Wallace, GeorgeWoof, Robert
Skeffington, ArthurWatkins, David (Consett)Wyatt, Woodrow
Slater, JosephWatkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)Yates, Victor
Small, WilliamWeitzman, David
Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)Wellbeloved, JamesTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stewart, Rt. Hn. MichaelWhitaker, BenMr. Harry Gourlay and
Mr. Ernest Armstrong.