Exercise of Functions of Commission in Wales and Monmouthshire.

Orders of the Day — Countryside Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th April 1968.

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(1) The Commission shall, after consultation with the Secretary of State, appoint a Committee for Wales.

(2) The membership of the Committee for Wales shall consist partly of persons who are members of the Commission, one of whom shall be the chairman of the Committee, and partly of persons, not exceeding four in number, who are not members of the Commission.

(3) The Commission may, after consulting the Secretary of State and subject to such conditions as they think appropriate, delegate any of their functions in Wales or Monmouthshire to the Committee for Wales, including (for Wales and Monmouthshire) their advisory functions under section 2 of this Act, and their duty of making recommendations under that section in respect of local authorities' applications for Exchequer grants.

(4) So much of section 2(3) of the Act of 1949 as authorises the payment of allowances in respect of the matters listed in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of that subsection shall apply as if all the members of the Committee for Wales were members of the Commission.—[Mrs. White.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

This Clause gives substance to the general line of argument which I followed when we discussed this matter in Committee Upstairs. It makes provision for a separate Committee for Wales of the new Countryside Commission. In Committee we had a good deal of discussion about the best way of dealing with the real problems which have arisen, and can arise in the future, in the Principality.

As the House may know, a large proportion of Wales is already designated as a National Park, or an area of outstanding natural beauty. Discussions are proceeding on the possible designation of another large area in Mid-Wales as another National Park, and this fact of itself must give rise to the consideration that Welsh opinion and Welsh interests should be more specifically provided for than they are under the organisation of the present National Parks Commission, which is the forerunner of the Countryside Commission provided for under the Bill.

We have two eminent Welsh members on the National Parks Commission, and we are extremely grateful to them for the work they do, and the advice they give, particularly with regard to Welsh problems, but, with the extended functions of the new Countryside Commission which is being provided for under the Bill, it seemed to the Secretary of State for Wales and to his colleagues that some more specific arrangement was desirable. Naturally we considered whether a completely separate Countryside Commission for Wales would be the best form of organisation, but, after considerable deliberation, and consultation with Lady Wootton and her colleagues, we came to the conclusion that the most satisfactory arrangement would be to have a separate Committee, but that it should be an organic part of the total organisation for England and Wales.

The reasons for this are partly a matter of economy, not only of money, but of manpower. We did not feel that it was necessary, or desirable, to aftempt to duplicate in Wales the complete apparatus of research, information, and so on, which is at the disposal of the Commission, and will be at the disposal of the new Countryside Commission. This seemed to be wasteful, because there are many respects in which experience gained in one part of the country is valid in another, and even more so where comparisons of experience in different parts of the country can be extremely useful and rewarding.

4.0 p.m.

Scientific matters, such as biology, ornithology, botany, geology and so on, know no political boundary, and the learned people on the staff of the Commission and those who give their services and advice to it can be used to the fullest possible benefit if there is a combined organisation for some of these purposes. We therefore came to the conclusion, on these grounds, that an entirely separate commission was not in the best interests either of England or of Wales. Furthermore, we are all well aware that a large number of those who enjoy the beauties and the natural interests of Wales come from across the border, and it is right that their interests as consumers, if one might call them such, should be taken into consideration, provided that local interests are given their fullest expression and weight. This is another reason for having a combined organisation.

We suggest in the new Clause that, by having a separate Committee of the Commission, we shall make the best of both worlds. We shall retain the right to use the resources of the Commission, but we shall have a separate body for Wales with the duty of taking special account of Welsh interests and opinions.

In subsection (2), we suggest that membership of the Committee should consist partly of persons who are members of the Commission, one of whom shall be the chairman of the Committee, and partly of persons who are not members of the Commission, not exceeding four in number. This seems to be a reasonable pattern. We shall of course expect to retain on the main Commission the Welsh members who now sit there, and one would expect that they would be members of the Welsh Committee. In addition, we might well expect other members of the main Commission with special interests in the work in Wales including scientific interests, also to be members of the Committee. We have left the number imprecise because, with the variation in membership of the main Commission, it would be unwise to be too rigid in the matter. It depends from time to time upon the interests and experience of the different members participating at any given moment. On the other hand, experience has shown that, if it is to be effective, a body of this sort should not be too large. Hence, the proposal that four members should be appointed to the Committee which we think would be about the right number to cover the various areas of the Principality.

We have now to consider what the Committee should do. We have suggested that various powers, duties and responsibilities may be delegated from the main Commission to the Welsh Committee after consultation with the Secretary of State, who will also be consulted about the composition of the Committee. We have suggested, by way of example, one or two important powers that might be so delegated. It seems to us desirable not to make an extensive list. If one does so and excludes anything, either by inadvertence or because it is an activity which has not yet become prominent in the work of the Commission, one may be supposed deliberately to be leaving it out. It seemed to us better to give examples only of the kind of work which might be delegated, rather than to attempt to make an all-inclusive list. The examples given are very important ones, namely, the whole gamut of advisory functions under Clause 2, and the other obvious one of making recommendations to the Secretary of State for Wales in respect of applications for Exchequer grant that might come from local authorities in Wales and Monmouthshire.

In this way the matter is left flexible so that, as experience indicates, other spheres and other duties may in due course be added or may be included from the outset. We feel that this should be a matter which the Commission should consider with the Secretary of State and with the members who have been appointed to the Welsh Committee before hard and fast decisions are reached. The new Clause as drafted leaves this open for consideration. It is open also for development in the way in which experience shows to be best.

Finally, in subsection (4) provision is made, which is now included in the Money Resolution, that the normal allowances may be paid to members of the Welsh Committee as they are now paid to members of the Commission. I should perhaps make it clear that power already exists, if desired and agreed by the Treasury, to pay remuneration to members of the full Commission. At the present time the chairman and the deputy chairman only receive such pay ment. Under the provisions already in existence members of the Commission would be eligible for such payments, including the chairman of the Welsh Committee, if it were decided that the chairman should receive some honorarium for services rendered. The amount is not laid down in the Statute; it is a matter for negotiation with the Treasury. As I say, at the moment only the chairman and the deputy chairman of the main commission receive an honorarium. We would consider that, by negotiation, it might well be decided that the chairman of the Welsh Committee should also receive a suitable honorarium, in addition to the normal out-of-pocket allowances for expenses actually incurred. In this way we are making suitable arrangements for the new Welsh Committee, and I am sure the whole House would wish it well.

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

May I remind the House that we are taking with the new Clause the two Amendments in the name of the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt), in line 7, and new Clause 5—"Separate divisions for Wales and Monmouth". If the hon. Member so desires, I am prepared to allow a Division on his first Amendment.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure the House is interested in what the Minister of State has said today about the position of Wales under the Bill. However, I must point out to the House that, as the Bill was originally drafted, it was not the Government's intention to give Wales a committee of the Countryside Commission, or a Commission of its own. On Second Reading, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), and the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans) and myself spoke in favour of the need for Wales to have a separate commission to administer the provisions of the Bill in Wales. My view has not changed since 10th November, when we had Second Reading. At that time, the Government were firmly of the opinion that Wales did not need a separate commission or committee. That is well shown by what the Parliamentary Secretary said on Second Reading. However, during the Committee stage of the Bill, we saw the Government changing their position gradually. We do not know why that should have been, but I will come in a moment to some of the possible reasons.

First, they talked of the possibility of an office. Then they talked about an administrative post. Now they have come, dragging their feet, as far as a committee. In Committee on 30th November, we heard the Minister of State for Wales say that the Chairman of the National Parks Commission had said months ago that it had proposed an office to carry out work in Wales, Yet, on 10th November, neither Minister made mention of it on Second Reading. As I say, that they set their faces against any concession to Wales.

What, then, had happened to the proposals from Lady Wootton, the Chairman of the National Parks Commission, during that period and earlier? I think that it is fair and reasonable to ask the Government if the liaison between the Welsh Office and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government was not somewhat imperfect, or if pressure from local authorities and other organisations in Wales had started to have its effect.

During Second Reading, the hon. Lady explained in column 67 some of the reasons why the Minister had not been properly briefed. She said that she was away from London. But surely it shows that the Government had no appreciation of the fact that men and women in Wales felt the need for a special commission or committee with the extended functions contained in this Bill. I explained why we thought that Wales should have a separate commission. Many organisations of a different character have their dual counterparts in Wales, and that fact is often the secret of their success. I will not read to the House the long list of dual committees of this sort. I give only two examples, because they are indicative of the problem and perform functions similar to those which will be carried out under the provisions of the Bill.

The first is the Welsh Land Settlement Society, which was set up before the war to deal with the problems of unemployed miners. The English Land Settlement Society and the Welsh one are totally separate but, at the same time, they perform the same functions. My second example is the National Committee of the Forestry Commission in Wales. The members are all Welsh and, in dealing with a very difficult problem in view of the conflicting demands of agriculture and forestry, the Committee has worked reasonably well. I am certain that in this way many more people in the Principality feel personally interested in the successful outcome of any venture or project, and it has always been wise for Governments to take advantage of local and national patriotism for successful administration.

In Committee, however, the hon. Lady was somewhat crushing on the subject and accused my hon. Friends and me of jumping on to the separatist bandwagon. If she had read the Order Paper which was available to the House at the time of Second Reading, she would have realised that there was no foundation for her remark. An Amendment in the names of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery and the hon. Member for Carmarthen appeared on the Order Paper declining to give a Second Reading to the Bill, but it was not supported by my hon. Friends and me. Therefore, evidence to the contrary was available. But, as I say, it may be that I do her an injustice, since she was out of London on the day in question and was not able to be present during Second Reading to inform her hon. Friends.

Although my hon. Friends and I may speak in much the same vein today as the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery and the hon. Member for Carmarthen, we do not share with the hon. Gentleman the policy of economic separatism. We never have and certainly we do not at present. That does not alter the fact, however, that we believe that the sort of matter covered by the Bill should be dealt with in Wales by Welsh people, particularly as the Bill will have such a wide effect on the countryside. If it is to succeed, we have to, have good will between those who live in the countryside and those from abroad and from our great cities who want to enjoy it.

4.15 p.m.

The Government's new Clause goes some way towards that for which we ask. However, it does not go far enough, and that is the purpose of the Amendment and the new Clause which my hon. Friends and I have tabled. In practice, the Government will find that, as the Committee evolves and as matters concerning the various functions come before the scrutiny of the Committee and the Secretary of State for Wales, sooner or later they will come to the conclusion that it would be preferable to establish a separate commission.

In order to entice and encourage the Government a little further along that path, our Amendment says that, after consulting the Secretary of State, the Commission shall delegate all functions in Wales and Monmouth to the Committee for Wales. I cannot see what is wrong with that Amendment. It merely follows out the argument that I have advanced, which is that matters in Wales are attended to far better by Welsh people, and we think that they will be dealt with more competently, economically and speedily. That is why we say that it should be mandatory on the Commission to delegate all its functions after consulting the Secretary of State.

New Clause 5 is reasonable and realistic. After all, it is a nominated council, and rightly so on this occasion. Having come so far with us as regards the choosing of the Committee, the very least that the Government can do is to agree one step further and consent to this practical and sensible measure of devolution. With its rich potential to the visitor, the walker, the pony trekker and the nature lover, Wales deserves no less.

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

I want to support the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) in his amendment. I notice that no hon. Members are present today to speak for Scotland, and there is a simple reason for that. The matter has already been settled in Scotland, and Scotland has a Commission. Again, I see no hon. Member present to speak on behalf of Northern Ireland, and the reason is that Northern Ireland has her Government. However, Wales is to remain a nation without a Government and, as matters stand at present, we are to be without a countryside commission. That is no way to treat a nation.

The Government must make a greater effort to adapt themselves to the fact that on this island we have not one nation but three—

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

In these islands, there are four. In this island there are three.

In Committee, the Minister of State gave reasons why Wales, in her opinion, should not have its own commission. As far as I can see, each one of her reasons applies equally to Scotland, but I did not notice any opposition to the Scots having their own separate commission. In these circumstances, it seemed to me that these reasons were only special pleading. They certainly failed to take into account the fundamental fact that we have in Wales a nation, and that Wales herself is the homeland of that nation, and no less than one-third of the area of that homeland is now taken up by national parks.

In reply to the debate on the Second Reading, the Minister gave as the main reason, as I understood him, for denying Wales a Commission the fact that Wales has this great area in her national parks. But surely from the Welsh standpoint this argument is wholly unconvincing, even perverse; because the fact that so large an area is included in national parks in Wales is a fact that should make a Welsh Commission imperative. The arguments deployed against the Commission are so weak that they seem to confirm the Welsh people in their suspicions that we are denied a Commission, not so much because we may be more easily helped, as has been stated on behalf of the Government, but because we may thereby be more easily exploited. But whatever the reason the Government are denying Wales this measure of self-rule.

There is at present no autonomy even in this field. It is true that they have now come to the position where we are to have a few Welsh people in a committee with others dealing with Wales, but this does not change the character of the committee and certainly does not change the character of the control. By throwing a few currants into a rice pudding one may change the flavour of the pudding, but one does not alter its character; and that is the situation here, as I see it. The control remains precisely where it was and we still have here a committee which, as far as the Welsh are concerned, is without any real responsibility. We have here still a situation of tutelage; in fact, the old imperial relationship all over again. This, as the Government now propose it, is to be a kind of advisory committee with a Welsh flavour. We have in Wales a plethora of these advisory bodies, but they amount to no more than a bit of window dressing. The power of decision has always been retained where it was, in the hands of gentlemen sitting in Whitehall, and we see what a mess they have made of the job of governing Wales.

The Welsh people are getting sick and tired of this rule from Whitehall and of our subordinate relationship which has been continually described by hon. and right hon. Members as one of "co-operation" or of "partnership". In this context the words "co-operation" and "co-partnership" are certainly overworked euphemisms for something else, but in themselves they are relationships that can exist only between autonomous people, between equals. But the partnership between Wales and England today is like co-partnership between Jonah and the Whale.

We are considering in this debate the future administration of a great part of the area of the land, of the soil, of Wales. The Welsh people approach this question conscious of a background of which many hon. Members may be oblivious and I would like to give a few examples of why the Welsh people look with some suspicion, or at least lack of confidence, on the proposals of the Government.

I remember being engaged in the struggle for Mynydd Epynt, the mountain range and valleys taken over by the War Office when they threw out 400 Welsh speaking people and took 30,000 acres of land which had been occupied by those farmers since time immemorial, and moved the linguistic border in some 10 miles on that occasion. That was done in the teeth of the unanimous opposition of the people there, opposition in which I am proud to have taken some part.

Then there was the case of Tryweryn, where a Welsh community was scattered and destroyed and the valley drowned, despite the almost unanimous opposition of the Welsh people. On that occasion most hon. Members in this House from Wales voted against the Measure, only one hon. Member from Wales voted in favour and yet the Measure was carried overwhelmingly; such is our democracy in Wales, a democracy where the Government can override our united constitutional action and can treat our democratic and political action with some contempt.

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

Order. With respect, the hon. Gentleman must come to the Clause.

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

I am trying to illustrate why people in Wales feel some lack of confidence in the proposal made by the Government here. I hope my next example will be right on the point, Mr. Speaker. It is taken from the Upper Towy Valley where the Forestry Commission propose to take some 40,000 acres to plant, as a first instalment of planting nearly 1 million acres in Wales. The opposition had more success this time. Success has not always been obtained in opposing measures taken by the Forestry Commission. I mention this example because the Government now propose to set up in Wales a Committee which resembles the Committee which the Forestry Commission has.

If the Government have more sympathy with and more knowledge of Wales they would realise what a very unhappy precedent this is. Of course, everything is done for the good of Wales; for our good we are to have a rural board imposed upon us against our will, and equally for our good we are apparently to be denied a countryside commission, although we want that very badly. In the words of the song, "When will they ever learn?". When will they ever learn that Wales is a nation and deserves to be treated as a nation, and deserves the right to live as a nation her own national life? When will they ever learn that the era of Empire is over?

This is what we want to impress on the Government on this issue. It may be that the Government are too far gone in their dream of Wales, because I believe there is a Whitehall view of Wales. That is illustrated in this proposal which the Government now makes in the matter of the Countryside Commission. It is a view which sees Wales as a lovely but silent playground for those who live in urban complexes elsewhere, without industrial roads and railways, beautiful but depopulated, her hills under miles of pine trees, her valleys drowned, with a few natives living affluently in what the Ministry of Agriculture would call "commercial units". But there is a new national self-respect in Wales, a new determination that Wales is to live as a nation with her own institutions and not only a countryside commission. We must be fully equipped with all the institutions which pertain to nationhood, and those must include, of course, in the first place a Government for our people.

Photo of Mr Tudor Watkins Mr Tudor Watkins , Breconshire and Radnorshire

I do not know on what previous occasion I was one of the odd currants coming into the hon. Gentleman's rice pudding, but I am glad to do so whatever may happen under the code of conduct on this side of the House, for I must say I prefer the new Clause of the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) to the Amendment of the Government. At the end of the debate I shall have to look at my conscience in that respect but I feel that the argument is far more in favour of new Clause 5 than of the Clause put forward by the Minister of State for Wales. To be perfectly honest on this, I wish I could follow the illustration given by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans), because I would just have said that on the evidence of those illustrations—although it was out of order—I was fully 100 per cent. behind those campaigns, though I had better not refer to them.

An important aspect, first of all, is that I do not like the wording of the Amendment of the Minister of State, because I much prefer that all the functions should be given to the Welsh Committee, and not only particular functions, because who is to decide which functions those shall be? I was not very satisfied about the illustration of functions given by the Minister and I should know something about the functions because I am Chairman of the Advisory Committee of Brecon Beacons National Park under the National Commission. I am not going to say we suffer under the present Commission, but it would be better if we had our own Commission.

4.30 p.m.

If this Committee is formed, will its offices be in Wales and, if so, where? I suppose that, as usual, they will be in a national park, and I suggest that Brecon would be a good centre. I, too, pay a tribute to members of the National Parks Commission, Mr. Elwyn Jones and Dr. Margaret Davies, and also to another member from Brecon, Mr. John de Winton, who has served very well on the Commission. I leave to conjecture the reason why he was pushed out.

Will the membership of the Committee be drawn from the present Commission or from outside? Whoever serves on it should know its functions. Will it decide estimates for the various park authorities and the national parks themselves, or will they be determined by the Commission? The Welsh Office deals with grants of Government expenditure to the national parks and there is no difficulty about going to Whitehall, so why should not the Committee have these functions?

I hope that the Bill will soon be on the Statute Book because of the grants for administration which it will give. I hope that the Front Bench will have second thoughts about which of these Clauses is better for Wales. I suggest that it is new Clause 5 and not the other.

Mr. Emlyn boson:

If Wales is rich in anything, it is in committees. To be a member of a committee is a national disease. As the English follow football and racing, the Welsh seem to follow committees. As the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans) said, we have a plethora of committees with very little power. It has become a tactic of Government, when faced with the pressure of criticism that they do not acknowledge Wales' national existence and separate social and cultural patterns, to give us a committee. Yet another is proposed here, which will have some crumbs of power at the discretion of the Commission. The Commission is a nominated body, but it will have discretion, after consultation with the Secretary of State, to delegate some functions to the Committee.

This is an absolute sham. The Government had no intention of granting Wales anything. Scotland had not only a separate Commission but separate legislation to create it. I have heard and read nothing to show how Wales is different in this respect. What justification is there for this different treatment? The Government have been under pressure by me and the hon. Member for Carmarthen, which was followed up in Committee by the hon. Members for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) and Wrexham (Mr. J. Idwal Jones), and they have slowly given way. Now they bring forward the minimum possible proposal, a committee with no absolute powers of its own, and this is not good enough.

The new Clause of the hon. Member for Hereford is preferable to that of the Government. One does not have to be an economic separatist to recognise the need for a separate Welsh Commission. No one has attacked the concept of economic separatism more than I or been attacked more by the Welsh Nationaist Party, but that does not prevent us from agreeing on subjects like this.

No one doubts that Wales has its own social and cultural pattern. Does the Minister of State suggest that the Prime Minister was jumping on the separatist bandwagon when he created the office of Secretary of State for Wales, thus acknowledging that Wales needed separate treatment for some purposes? Why, then, have the Government refused to grant Wales what they granted Scotland? A far greater proportion of the land of Wales is in the national parks than is the case in England or Scotland—[An. HON. MEMBER: "There is none in Scotland."]—I am grateful. This adds strength to my suggestion that, if we are to have separate treatment for anything, it should be on this kind of subject.

The people of Wales are concerned about the land and the national parks which they want developed in a certain way. Why should we be controlled by Whitehall? Why should the Government be so stupid as well as so mean as to propose this Committee? I was not a Member of the Committee, but I am grateful to those hon. Members who took up the cudgels in Committee. I entirely support the new Clause of the hon. Member for Hereford and hope that he will press it to a Division.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

I suppose that second thoughts are better than none, and the Government have at least advanced from a flat refusal to recognise that Wales deserved some special body to this tiny concession of a committee. Also, a partial concession is better than one, but that is all that can be said for this proposal. The Minister of State must feel very uncomfortable about this. After all, she represents a Welsh constituency and is Minister of State, Welsh Office.

I would go a little further than the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans) or the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson). I think that this is a deplorable failure by the Secretary of State and the Welsh Office. Where were they when this Bill was being considered and drafted? Did they not assert in some small degree the interests of Wales? There has been no argument to justify this remarkable distinction between the Scottish and the Welsh machinery.

We in Wales have a separate gas board and some of us would have liked to have had a separate electricity board. There were reasonably strong economic arguments why such a board should not be established, but there are no similar economic arguments why we should not have a separate Countryside Commission for Wales. While I do not share the separatist views of the hon. Member for Carmarthen, I warn the Government that by their disregard of the reasonable aspirations of the people of Wales they are supplying magnificent material for separatist views. I hope, therefore, that they will have third thoughts on this subject and will revise the Bill because the establishment of a puny, worthless Committee of this sort will not be acceptable to Wales, even if the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery regards it as a concession.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

Perhaps a concession is better than nothing, but I hope that this concession merely postpones the day when a separate Commission will be established for Wales. Indeed, I hope that the Conservative Party will make it clear that it will be our policy to establish such a Commission when we are re-elected to power.

There has been unanimity in the speeches made so far today by Conservatives, Liberals and the Plaid Cymru. Even the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Tudor Watkins) is against the Minister. I hope that the hon. Lady will persuade the Government to agree to the moderate proposals put forward so eloquently by my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt).

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson , Monmouth

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) said that he did not believe in any form of separatism. I suspect that some of his arguments, if carried to their logical conclusion, would lead to at least a form of separatism. I had the honour of being a member of the Standing Committee which discussed the Bill and I fear that we might see developing a sort of Dutch auction between the parties as to which one will gain the separatist vote. There is a marked contradiction between the arguments now being advanced by hon. Gentlemen opposite and the actions they performed when they were in power. I admit that I was not able to be in my place at the beginning of this discussion but, as I say, I had the advantage of being a Member of the Committee upstairs.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The hon. Gentleman rightly admitted that he did not have the advantage of hearing the speeches made earlier today. I assure him that, speaking for the Conservative Party, I made it clear that we do not agree with economic separatism. If he is considering what my Party did when we were in power, I suggest that if he looks at the record he will find a long list of functions which were carried out for the first time by separate bodies of the type we want to see established, all introduced during our period in office.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson , Monmouth

But nothing as significant as the establishment as the office of the Secretary of State for Wales. That capped them all.

I urge hon. Gentlemen opposite to bear in mind the danger of conducting a sort of Dutch auction for the separatist vote and of making promises when in opposition which they will not carry out if unhappily, they are ever returned to power.

In Committee I spoke against the "Mark I" draft of the Bill in which it was suggested that Wales should not be given separate treatment. I then ex pressed pleasure at the concession made by the Government and I reiterate that today. It means that we in Wales will have the best of both worlds, since we will not be excluded from, for example, the research facilities which will be available in the United Kingdom as a whole and since we will have enough devolution to ensure that the interests of Wales are maintained. I hope that there will be scope for further devolution. Since the hon. Member for Barry mentioned that not a voice on this side of the House had been raised in support of the Government, I rise to assure my hon. Friend that she has my support in making this concession.

4.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

Although the hon. Gentleman does not want Wales to be excluded from the benefits of research, is he suggesting that the Scottish Commission will be excluded from the research carried out in England?

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson , Monmouth

I mentioned research as an example and referred to the benefits which would accrue as a result of the sharing of experience. I am, therefore, happy to see this half-way house for Wales, which is represented by the concession, and I believe that, as a result of it, we will have the best of both worlds.

Photo of Mr James Jones Mr James Jones , Wrexham

No one will say that I am a separatist. I am certainly not a political nationalist, although I am a cultural nationalist because I want to preserve all the things that I regard as important for Wales. I must admit, therefore, that I am rather unhappy about new Clause 18. After all, there is an established tradition between Whitehall and Wales in certain functions. For example, we have the National Library of Wales. We have had a Welsh Department of the Ministry of Education for a longer number of years. The existence of those separate bodies does not deprive us of information from the national set-up. In addition, we have the National Museum of Wales. I therefore cannot understand why we cannot have a separate Countryside Commission for Wales and Monmouthshire. With these few observations, I leave the matter to my hon. Friend the Minister.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

I have been accused of feeling uncomfortable, but I assure the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) that the contrary is the case, for I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Anderson) that the proposal in the Government new Clause represents the best of both worlds for Wales. The hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans) referred to Jonah and the whale, but Jonah did rather well out of the whale; he had a free trip with all found, I suggest, therefore, that we follow Jonah's example and benefit from the whale.

We believe that by following the Government's proposal we will have the advantages of the English and the Welsh establishment. We will also have the advantages of the separate Welsh Committee. The two Amendments to the new Clause simply represent another way of rejecting it because if all the functions were obligatorily delegated one would have a separate commission, since no functions would be left. They are, therefore, alternative ways of saying the same thing.

The hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) made two points which were entirely in favour of the Government's approach. He suggested that as the work of the new Countryside Commission evolved we would find different fields of approach and of development. This is why the new Clause leaves the matter flexible, so that in the light of experience we can see that the functions of the Committee develop in the way which is of the greatest benefit.

He also said that the work should be competently and economically dealt with. It would be completely uneconomic and incompetent to duplicate a great deal of work, which would have to be done if we had completely separate organisations. What we are proposing is emphatically in the best interests of the Principality. I remind the hon. Member far Caernarvon, among others, that it is not an English Minister in Whitehall but a Welsh Minister in Cardiff who will take the decisions on which the advice will be given, for example, on grants to local authorities in Wales.

Broadly, the Commission is not an executive body; it has relatively few executive functions. There are two schools of thought about this and it might have been otherwise, but it is provided that the main executive functions will be with the local authorities. The Com- mission will have relatively few executive functions and its work will be mostly concerned with research, information, advice, persuasion, education and the like. As to executive matters, one of the main duties of the Commission will be to undertake experimental schemes. I am glad to let the House know that in preparation for this work the Commission has been considering its first priorities for experimental schemes, and they are both to be in Wales. We see the advantage which we can gain: if we had separate Commissions, at least one of these schemes would have been in England.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

In Committee we were told definitely by the Minister of State that no money would be available from the Government for this purpose. How can she now say that the first two examples will be in Wales? Could she tell us, first, where they are to take place in Wales and, secondly, when?

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

I can certainly tell the hon. Member where. I shall leave to my right hon. Friend to say when. The first is a proposed mountain land management experimental scheme which will be in the Snowdonia area. The Secretary of State has recently purchased Snowdon and part of its surroundings. It is very appropriate that this experimental scheme should take place on what used to be the Vaynol Estate. The other will be at Dale, in Pembrokeshire, where experimental work will be undertaken on a new type of day-visitor centre.

When we have a Commission which has overall responsibility, Wales can sometimes do exceedingly well. If we had the complete separatism which has been advocated in certain quarters, in all probability we should lose the very valuable services of some most distinguished people in the scientific and amenity fields. To mention an example, Mr. James Fisher, deputy chairman of the Commission, who takes the most intense interest in the problems of conservation and natural life in Wales—

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

No, I am not giving way to any hon. Member.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

The Scots may well find they have been misguided in this matter. They may have less certain advantages than we in Wales will retain. I make no apology for this. By these means we are obtaining the best of both worlds, the advantages of a large organization for scientific research, information and education, and we are obtaining for Wales the kind of advice by which I am sure the Secretary of State will very much benefit. The pattern suggested which will provide for progressive evolution on these lines is much the best for the Principality. I warmly recommend it to the House in spite of the various views which have been advanced in the discussion.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

With your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that of the House, I rise to say that we shall certainly not vote against the Government new Clause, but obviously we shall divide the House on our Amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time.

Amendment proposed: In subsection (3), line 1, after 'Commission' leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.—[Mr. Gibson-Watt.]

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 163, Noes 207.

Division No. 114.]AYES[4.56 p.m.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.Pardoe, John
Astor, JohnGurden, HaroldPearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)Peel, John
Baker, Kenneth (Acton)Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Percival, Ian
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Hawkins, PaulPink, R. Bonner
Beamish, Col, Sir TuftonHeald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionetPounder, Rafton
Bell, RonaldHeath, Rt. Hn. EdwardPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)Higgins, Terence L.Pym, Francis
Biffen, JohnHiley, JosephQuennell, Miss J. M.
Biggs-Davison, JohnHill, J. E. B.Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Birch, Rt. Hn. NigelHooson, EmlynRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Black, Sir CyrilHornby, RichardRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Body, RichardHunt, JohnRidley, Hn. Nicholas
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnHutchison, Michael ClarkRidsdale, Julian
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardIremonger, T. L.Royle, Anthony
Brinton, Sir TattonIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Scott, Nicholas
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir WalterJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Scott-Hopkins, James
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Jennings, J. C. (Burton)Sharples, Richard
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)Silvester, Frederick
Bullus, Sir EricJopling, MichaelSmith Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Campbell, GordonKimball, MarcusSmith, John (London & W'minster)
Carlisle, MarkKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Speed, Keith
Channon, H. P. G.Knight, Mrs. JillStainton, Keith
Chichester-Clark, R.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Clark, HenryLane, DavidStodart, Anthony
Clegg, WalterLangford-Holt, Sir JohnStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Cooke, RobertLegge-Bourke, Sir HarryTaylor, Edward, M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Cordle, JohnLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Costain, A. P.Lloyd, Ian (Portsm'th, Langstone)Teeling, Sir William
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir OliverLongden, GilbertTilney, John
Crouch, DavidLoveys, W. H.Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Cunningham, Sir KnoxLubbock, Ericvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Dalkeith, Earl ofMcAdden, Sir StephenVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Dance, JamesMacArthur, IanVickers, Dame Joan
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross&Crom'ty)Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Digby, Simon WingfieldMaclean, Sir FitzroyWalters, Dennis
Dodds-Parker, DouglasMcMaster, StanleyWard, Dame Irene
Drayson, G. B.Maginnis, John E.Weatherill, Bernard
Eden, Sir John Marten, NeilWebster, David
Elliot Capt. Walter (Carshatton)Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne.N.)Mawby, RayWilliams, Donald (Dudley)
Emery, PeterMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Errington, Sir EricMaydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)Mills, Peter (Torrington)Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Eyre, ReginaldMiscampbell, NormanWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Fortescue, TimMonro, HectorWorsley, Marcus
Gibson-Watt, DavidMorrison, Charles (Devizes)Wright, Esmond
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughWylie, N. R.
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)Nicholls, Sir HarmarYounger, Hn. George
Goodhew, VictorNott, John
Gower, RaymondOrr, Capt. L. P. S.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grant, AnthonyOrr-Ewing, Sir IanMr. Jasper More and
Gresham Cooke, B.Page, Graham (Crosby)Mr. Timothy Kitson.
Grieve, Percy
NOES
Abse, LeoGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)Murray, Albert
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip (Derby, S.)
Alldritt, WalterHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Norwood, Christopher
Anderson, DonaldHamling, WilliamOakes, Gordon
Archer, PeterHannan, William,O'Malley, Brian
Armstrong, ErnestHarper, JosephOram, Albert E.
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Orbach, Maurice
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)Haseldine, NormanOwen, Will (Morpeth)
Bacon, Rt. Hn. AliceHazell, Bert
Baxter, WilliamHerbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretPadley, Walter
Beaney, AlanHilton, W. S.Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Bence, CyrilHobden, Wennis (Brighton, K'town)Palmer, Arthur
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)Hooley, FrankPark, Trevor
Bidwell, SydneyHowarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Bishop, E. S.Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)Pavitt, Laurence
Blackburn, F.Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Blenkinsop, ArthurHowie, W.Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Booth, AlbertHoy, JamesPentland, Norman
Boston, TerenceHughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Boyden, JamesHughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M.Hughes, Roy (Newport)Price, William (Rugby)
Bradley, TomHynd, JohnProbert, Arthur
Bray, Dr, JeremyJackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)Randall, Harry
Brooks, EdwinJeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras, S.)Rankin, John
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Richard, Ivor
Brown, Hugh D. (C'gow, Provan)Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Robertson, John (Paisley)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)
Buchan, NormanJones, Dan (Burnley)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Kelley, RichardRose, Paul
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Kerr, Russell (Feltham)Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesLawson, GeorgeShaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Cant, R. B.Leadbitter, TedSheldon, Robert
Carmichael, NeilLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Carter-Jones, LewisLee, John (Reading)Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraLestor, Miss JoanSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Coleman, DonaldLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Concannon, J. D.Lipton, MarcusSkeffington, Arthur
Conlan, BernardLomas, KennethSmall, William
Corbet, Mrs. FredaLoughlin, CharlesSpriggs, Leslie
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Luard, EvanSteele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Dalyell, TamSummerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stratford)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Symonds, J. B.
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)McBride, NeilThomson, Rt. Hn. George
Davies, Harold (Leek)McCann, JohnThornton, Ernest
Davies, Ifor (Gower)MacDermot, NiallTuck, Raphael
Dempsey, JamesMacdonald, A. H.Urwin, T. W.
Dickens, JamesMcGuire, MichaelWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Dobson, RayMcKay, Mrs. MargaretWalden, Brian (All Saints)
Doig, PeterMackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Driberg, TomMackie, JohnWallace, George
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)Maclennan, RobertWatkins, David (Consett)
Eadie, AlexMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)Weitzman, David
Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)McNamara, J. KevinWellbeloved, James
Ennals, DavidMacPherson, MalcolmWhitaker, Ben
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)White, Mrs. Elrene
Faulds, AndrewMahon, Simon (Bootle)Whitlock, William
Fernyhough, E.Mallalieu, E. L, (Brigg)Wilkins, W. A.
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Manuel, ArchieWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Foley, MauriceMapp, CharlesWilliams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)Marks, KennethWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)Marquand, DavidWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Ford, BenMaxwell, RobertWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Forrester, JohnMayhew, ChristopherWinnick, David
Freeson, ReginaldMendelson, J. J.Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Gardner, TonyMikardo, IanWoof, Robert
Garrett, W. E.Miller, Dr. M. S.Yates, Victor
Ginsburg, DavidMilne, Edward (Blyth)
Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. AnthonyMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Mr. Ioan L. Evans and
Grey, Charles (Durham)Moyle, RolandMr. Eric G. Varley.

Clause added to the Bill.