Freedom of the Press

Orders of the Day — Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 1975.

Alert me about debates like this

"B. After section 1 of the principal Act there shall be inserted the following section:—

Charter on freedom of the Press

1A.—(1) If, before the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the passing of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Act 1975, there is agreed among parties including employers of journalists, or employers' associations representing such employers, editors or editors' organisations, and trade unions representing journalists a charter containing practical guidance for employers, trade unions, editors and other journalists on matters relating to the freedom of the press, the Secretary of State shall lay before both Houses of Parliament a draft of that charter.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) above, matters relating to the freedom of the press include

  1. (a) the rights of editors and other persons exercising editorial responsibilities to discharge their duties free from any obligation to join a trade union;
  2. (b) the rights of journalists to join a trade union of their choice;
  3. (c) the rights of editors to commission, publish or not to publish any article free from pressure by industrial action;
  4. (d) the rights of journalists not to be arbitrarily or unreasonably excluded or expelled from membership of a trade union.

(3) If no such charter has been agreed as mentioned in subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State shall, after consultation with the Press Council and such of the parties referred to in that subsection, such organisations representing workers, and such organisations representing employers, as he thinks fit, prepare in draft a charter containing rules of conduct designed to secure the rights mentioned in subsection (2) above together with such other matters as may have been agreed among the parties mentioned in subsection (1) hereof, and shall lay the draft before both Houses of Parliament.

(4) If a draft laid under subsection (1) or (3) above is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the charter in the form of the draft.

(5) A charter agreed as mentioned in subsection (1) above, or prepared by the Secretary of State in accordance with subsection (3) above, may be revised from time to time by agreement between such parties as are referred to in subsection (1) above, and the Secretary of State shall lay a draft of the revised charter before both Houses of Parliament.

(6) If a draft laid under subsection (5) above is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the revised charter in the form of the draft.

(7) On issuing a charter or revised charter under subsection (4) or (6) above the Secresary of State shall make by statutory instrument an order specifying the date on which the charter or revised charter is to come into effect.

(8) No criminal proceedings shall lie against any person on account of a contravention of the charter but the obligation to comply with the charter is a duty owed to any person who may be affected by a contravention of it and any breach of that duty by industrial action or otherwise is actionable accordingly subject to the defences and other incidents applying to actions for breach of statutory duty.

(9) In this section— article" means any matter printed or intended for printing or broadcast or intended for broadcasting by television or radio;industrial action" means—

  1. (a) a concerted stoppage of work by a group of workers, whether (in the case of all or any of those workers) the stoppage is or is not in breach of their terms and conditions of employment and whether it is carried on during or on the termination of their employment, or
  2. (b) any concerted course of conduct which—
    1. (i) is carried on by a group of workers with the intention of preventing, reducing or otherwise interfering with the production of goods or the provision of services, and
    2. (ii) in the case of some or all of them, is carried on in breach of their contracts of employment or (where they are not employees) in breach of their terms and conditions of service.""

Commons Amendment No. 1 to the Lords Amendment: In subsection (2), leave out paragraphs (a) to (d) and insert such matters as the avoidance of improper pressure to distort or suppress news, comment, or criticism, the application of union membership agreements to journalists (and in particular the right of editors to discharge their duties and to commission and publish any article) and the question of access for contributors.

The Lords disagreed to this amendment, but propose the following amendment in lieu thereof:

No. 1A: In subsection (2) leave out paragraphs (a) to (d) and insert— (a) the avoidance of improper pressure to distort or suppress news, comment or criticism;(b) the application of union membership agreements to journalists including the right of journalists not to be unreasonably excluded or expelled from trade unions and to belong to the union of their choice and the right of editors to discharge their duties free from any obligation to join a trade union;(c) the right of editors to commission and to publish or refuse to publish any material;(d) the assurance (subject only to editorial discretion) and access to the press of all contributors at all times.

4.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

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

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I understand that there is general agreement in the House that all the Lords amendments should be debated together and that the Questions should then be put successively at the end of the debate. We shall therefore take at the same time the remaining motions and amendments:

On Lords Amendment No. 1A, in lieu of Commons Amendment No. 1 to Lords amendment, That this House doth insist on its amendment to the Lords amendment to which the Lords have disagreed.Commons Amendment No. 2 to the Lords amendment: In subsection (3), in line 7, leave out from "containing" to "and" in line 11 and insert such practical guidance as is referred to in that subsectionThe Lords disagree to this amendment, but propose the following amendment in lieu thereof:

No. 2A: In subsection (3), in line 7, leave out from "containing" to "and" in line 11 and insert practical guidance on the matters specified in subsection (2) above together with such other matters as may have been agreed among the parties mentioned in subsection (1) hereof On Lords Amendment No. 2A, in lieu of Commons Amendment No. 2 to Lords amendment, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.Amendment to the Lords amendment in lieu thereof:In subsection (3), line 7, leave out from 'draft' to end of subsection and insert ', in accordance with subsection (3A) below, a charter containing such practical guidance as is referred to in subsection (1) above, and shall lay the draft before both Houses of Parliament.(3A) Where, or so far as, there appears to the Secretary of State to be agreement among the parties referred to in subsection (1) above on any matter relating to the freedom of the press, he shall incorporate in the draft charter such practical guidance as he thinks appropriate to give effect to that agreement; and where, or so far as, there appears to the Secretary of State to be no such agreement on any of the particular matters mentioned in subsection (2) above as included in matters relating to the freedom of the press, he shall incorporate in the draft charter such practical guidance on that matter as he thinks fit'.Commons Amendment No. 3 to the Lords amendment: after subsection (3) insert: ( ) A charter agreed as mentioned in subsection (1) above, or prepared by the Secretary of State in accordance with subsection (3) above, shall define its field of operation.The Lords agree to this amendment, but propose the following amendment thereto:

No. 3 A: At end insert: ( ) A charter agreed as mentioned in subsection (1) above, or prepared by the Secretary of State in accordance with subsection (3) above, shall provide for the constitution of a body which shall have the functions of—

  1. (a) hearing any complaint by a person aggrieved by a failure on the part of any other person to observe any provision of the charter;
  2. (b) issuing to the parties a declaration as to whether such a complaint is well-founded and if so whether the party aggrieved has suffered material or pecuniary loss by reason of such failure and in what amount, and in such case directing the party in breach to pay that amount; and
  3. (c) securing the publication of its decision.
( ) Any decision by the said body shall be final and conclusive between the parties and any decision of the said body made under paragraph (b) of the foregoing subsection shall be enforceable in like manner as an award made in pursuance of an arbitration agreement by an arbitrator in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1950.On Lords Amendment No. 3A to Commons Amendment No. 3 to Lords amendment,

As amendments to the Lords Amendment (No. 3A):

In paragraph (6) leave out from 'well-founded' to end of paragraph.

Leave out from "Any decision" to end of subsection. That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment, as amended.Commons Amendment No. 4 to the Lords amendment: leave out subsections (8) and (9) and insert: (8) A failure on the part of any person to observe any provision of a charter which is for the time being in force under this section shall not of itself render him liable to any proceedings, but in any proceedings—

  1. (a) any such charter shall be admissible in evidence, and
  2. (b) any provision of such a charter which appears to the court or tribunal to be relevant to any question arising in those proceedings shall be taken into account by the court or tribunal in determining that question."
The Lords agree to this amendment, but propose the following amendments thereto:

No. 4A: At beginning insert: Subject to the terms of paragraphs (c) and (d) hereofOn Lords Amendment No. 4A to Commons Amendment No. 4 to Lords amendment.That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment. No. 4B, at the end of paragraph (a) leave out "and".

On Lords Amendment No. 4B to Commons Amendment No. 4 to Lords amendment,That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment. No. 4C: After paragraph (b) insert— (c) any rule, agreement, act or conduct which is contrary to the provisions of the charter shall be deemed to be contrary to public policy,(d) nothing in the charter shall be taken to restrict or abridge any right existing by statute or common law.On Lords Amendment No. 4C to Commons Amendment No. 4 to Lords amendment,That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment. No. 4D: At end insert— ( ) In this section—'editor" includes any deputy of such editor;material" includes any matter printed or intended for printing or broadcast or intended for broadcasting by television or radio.On Lords Amendment No. 4D to Commons Amendment No. 4 to Lords amendment,That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I agree with your suggestion, Mr. Speaker, that we should debate all the different amendments together. In view of that ruling, perhaps I should first try to describe as briefly as I can the way in which these amendments work and our view about them. In that way I shall try to sort out what is exactly their meaning. I shall do that as briefly as I can before entering into some of the argumentative questions that may arise.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I hope that the Minister will be able to help me. He has just moved that the House should disagree with Lords Amendment No. 1A. Although that may be the only motion he is moving at present, as we are disecussing all the motions and amendments together, will he say at this stage whether it is his intention to move that this House doth disagree with all the remainder of the Lords amendments?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) was anticipating the procedure which I intended to follow. However, I thought that I should first indicate the meaning of each amendment in as objective a manner as possible. I then propose to indicate the Government's attitude towards those amendments and to enter into some general arguments covering two or three of the amendments at the same time. In the first few minutes of my opening I shall indicate the Government's view on the different amendments.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 1A relate to the contents of the charter as specified in subsection (2) of the clause. The Commons sent back to the Lords an amended version of subsection (2) after last month's debate. That appears as Commons Amendment No. 1. The Lords have substituted for that amendment their Amendment No. 1A, which spells out specific rights of editors and others, which must be included verbatim in the charter and are not subject to negotiation about details by the parties who may be drawing up the charter. We cannot accept that proposition. Therefore, we want to insist upon Commons Amendment No. 1 which spells out the important matters to be covered in the charter but leaves the parties concerned to decide how they should be covered.

I turn to Commons Amendment No. 2 Lords Amendment No. 2A and the Government's amendment to Lords Amendment No. 2A. Lords Amendment No. 2A seeks to replace restrictions on the matters with which the Secretary of State can deal if he is forced to prepare the charter. He could cover only the important matters detailed in subsection (2) plus whatever else is agreed between the parties. We accept the aim of that proposal but we want to tighten up the drafting. Therefore, we seek to disagree with Lords Amendment No. 2A. Instead, however, of returning to the wording of Commons Amendment No. 2, we want to substitute the new subsection (3A). This retains the substitution of Lords Amendment No. 2A, but improves the drafting. There should be no grounds for controversy on that.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

I think that the right hon. Gentleman might have got that wrong. Surely it does not substitute Lords Amendment No. 3A for Lords Amendment No. 2A. It substitutes the words printed on the white paper for the words in No. 2A which are printed on the green paper.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I think that the position is as I stated it. If I have made a mistake, I shall seek to correct it. The hon. Gentleman warned me that he was looking for an obscure point on which he might be able to trip me up. I think he is getting in now knowing that there is no subsequent point of substance which he could take. If I have made a mistake, I shall apologise and seek to correct it, but I do not think that I have made a mistake.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

Does the new, substituted phrase come within Section 2(4) of the Parliament Act 1911? Will my right hon. Friend be able to deal with the constitutional implications of that subsection of the substantive Act governing the relationship of the two Houses?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I shall deal with the whole question, because other amendments raise in a stronger form the point made by my hon. Friend.

So that there shall be no confusion, may I say that I was referring to Commons Amendment No. 2, Lords Amendment No. 2A and the Government's amendment to Lords Amendment No. 2A which deals with a matter which is not in dispute between the two Houses. The Government are not in dispute with the purpose of the amendment moved in the other place but they disagree with the drafting of it and seek to correct it. Therefore, there need not be any great controversy about that set of amendments.

I come now to Commons Amendment No. 3, Lords Amendment No. 3A and the Government's amendment to Lords Amendment No. 3A.

Commons Amendment No. 3 is now accepted by both Houses. That amendment deals with the matters set out there. What is in dispute is what should be added to it.

Lords Amendment No. 3A is in part a Government amendment introduced in the Lords setting out that the charter should provide for the establishment of a body within the industry to oversee the workings of the charter. Naturally we want to retain that part of Lords Amendment No. 3A since we moved it in the other place. The Lords have added to our proposal the words after "well-founded" in paragraph (b) of Lords Amendment No. 3A and the new subsection at the end of the amendment. This is Lord Hailsham's amendment. The effect of these additions is that the supervisory body has to award compensation to anyone who has suffered material loss as a result of breach of the charter and that, if necessary, the payment of such compensation awards can be enforced through the High Court. We cannot accept these additions.

Our amendments seek to delete the Hailsham additions and to return Lords Amendment No. 3A to the form in which it was introduced in the other place—namely, the provision of a supervisory body without power to award compensation.

I turn now to Commons Amendment No. 4 and Lords Amendments Nos. 4A, 4B and 4C. Commons Amendment No. 4, providing for the charter to have evidential status in any legal proceedings in which these provisions are relevant, is now accepted by both Houses. That acceptance followed an amendment which we accepted in this House when the matter was before us on a previous occasion. However, what is in dispute is whether anything should be added to it.

Lords Amendments Nos. 4A, 4B and 4C—the Lord Goodman amendments—in effect provide that, although any general failure to observe the charter shall not of itself render anyone liable to legal proceedings, none the less any rule, agreement, act or conduct which is contrary to the charter shall be deemed to be contrary to public policy". We consider that to mean that a failure to observe the charter potentially creates a new means of access to litigation. We cannot accept that. Therefore, we seek to reject Lords Amendments Nos. 4A, 4B and 4C without putting anything in their place and to return to Commons Amendment No. 4.

4.15 p.m.

I now come to the last amendment. Lords Amendment No. 4D inserts an additional subsection in the clause providing definitions of "editor" and "material". The definitions relate to the contents of the charter spelt out in subsection (2).

The definition of "editor" does not deal with the real problem of who may properly be considered an editor. The definition of "material" ranges irrelevantly wide. If the Commons amendment is accepted, the word "material" will not in any event occur in the clause. Therefore, we shall simply seek to disagree with Lords Amendment No. 4D. We believe that the parties making the charter can provide their own more relevant and helpful definitions.

That is all I wish to say about the amendments and, for the convenience of the House, the Government's attitude to them.

Let me summarise the situation. We are proposing that the House of Commons shall reassert its previous views on the matter. We shall send the Bill back to the House of Lords in the form in which it left the House of Commons previously with only two alterations which arise from the points I have already mentioned. One concerns how the Secretary of State, if he had to impose a charter, would be able to operate in doing so and how much he would be restricted by what had been agreed. We do not dissent from the proposal made in the other place on that subject, although we believe that the drafting can be improved. That is not a matter about which the House need have any controversy.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

Will the Secretary of State amplify what he means by "irrelevantly wide" in Lords Amendment No. 4D? The words seem clear and straightforward to me. What is irrelevantly wide about it?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I was talking not about Lords Amendment No. 4D but about another amendment. We can deal with that point at another part of our discussion. I was endeavouring to indicate the state of the game under what we are proposing.

The major Government proposal to the House is that we should send the Bill back to the House of Lords in the form in which it left the House of Commons previously. We take that view because we deliberately reached our conclusions then and we do not see any reasons for varying them. However, in order that there shall be no misunderstanding, there are two variations. One, to which I have already referred—not Lords Amendment No. 4D; that is another matter altogether—is how the Secretary of State would be able to exercise his power to establish a charter if the parties had not achieved one. We do not believe that the way in which that is stated should give rise to any controversy.

There is another aspect in which the Bill differs from the form in which it was sent to the other place from this House. We do not believe that this matter should give rise to controversy. We have always considered that if a charter were established—it is central to our idea that such a charter should be established on a completely voluntary basis—it would be highly probable that the parties drawing it up would wish to establish some kind of supervisory body to which breaches or alleged breaches of the charter could be referred. Indeed, the Hetherington Charter, originally proposed by the Editor of The Guardian, included a proposal for a reviewing body. The National Union of Journalists has always assumed that there would be some such body.

Therefore, we thought that it would assist the purpose and remove anxieties, if they were still grounded in any way, to have written into the Bill that a review body should be established to carry out the voluntarily agreed charter. We accept that part of the amendments from the other place for the simple and good reason that we proposed them there. Therefore, I do not believe there should be any great controversy on that subject.

Apart from those two alterations, one of which is of a minor character and the other, although important, is one which I think strengthens what we were proposing before, what we are asking the House to do—it is a matter of major importance to our debate—is to underline afresh the views that we reached on this subject a few weeks ago. We want the other place to know clearly as a result of our votes this evening that the House of Commons has deliberated on this matter again and has reasserted the views that we held on the previous occasion, that there is no departure in any sense from the principles that we have enunciated on this matter on previous occasions or any departure from the amendments that we accepted after the discussion on a previous occasion, and that we accept the amendments in the form in which we had them before.

I turn from the detailed parts of some of the amendments—although I shall come back to some of these in a moment because they are important—to some of the more general arguments. I do not propose to traverse them all again, and I am sure that everybody will be relieved to hear me say that. I should like to emphasise the main reasons why we are so much opposed to the way in which the House of Lords has proposed to deal with this matter.

There are three major grounds of principle and practice why we are opposed to what the Lords are asking us to do. First, we do not believe that the question of Press freedom—we do not in any sense question the importance of it—in relation to a Trade Union Bill can be divorced from industrial relations altogether. What the Lords are seeking to do in their amendment—this has been the objection to their amendment and to other people's proposals throughout—means that they have not taken account of industrial relations aspects of the subject, and we have insisted that they must do so. It is because they have not taken account of those industrial relations aspects that they have been misled in the proposition that we return, as far as journalists and newspapers are concerned, to the kind of provisions that we had in the Industrial Relations Act 1971. That is our first major objection—the way in which the Lords propose to deal with this matter. They have not taken into account the effect on industrial relations if they try to deal with the matter in this way.

Photo of Mr Jonathan Aitken Mr Jonathan Aitken , Thanet East

When the right hon. Gentleman talks about industrial relations aspects not being able to be separated from Press aspects, he is saying that the newspaper industry must be treated in the same way as all kinds of manufacturing industry?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

No, I am not saying that. Strangely enough, I was saying exactly what I did say. I was saying that it was not possible to divorce this question from its industrial relations aspects. I shall refer later to some of the concern, alarms and anxieties that people have expressed on the question of the right to write freely. I do not underrate the importance of Press freedom or the right of people to write for newspapers. All I am saying is that one cannot deal with this question and leave out of account all the consequences for industrial relations.

Our objection to the proposals that have come from the Lords is that they have not applied themselves to this problem, and once again they come back to the House of Commons and say "Please will you write into the law of the land once again the kind of provision that we had in the 1971 Act?" It is true that they are applying this provision to only one industry, or only one union, but that does not make it any the better. In fact, it makes it all the worse and makes it all the more discriminatory. That is what the Lords are seeking to do, and that is our objection to what they have proposed.

The second objection is practical but none the less good. We believe that what the Lords propose would be counterproductive to the interests of Press freedom. Their proposal would not achieve the results that they want. Indeed, it would achieve a caricature of the results they want. I do not question the genuine desire of the Lords to protect Press freedom. I do not question their desire to see a charter established, even though some of them have rather belatedly come round to the idea that that is a good thing. But now that they have come round to it, I am not questioning their good faith.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am sure that my hon. Friends will speak for themselves. There are one or two of them whose motives I question, but I am in an appeasing mood at the moment and I hope that it will last.

I believe that the proposals put forward by the Lords would be counter-productive to achieving what they apparently intend, because if we wrote into the law all these legal provisions about compensation, injunctions, sanctions, and all the paraphernalia of the 1971 Act, and if we said in advance to the parties "You go away and draw up a charter", the first consequence of that would be that we should not have a charter drawn up by the parties concerned. The NUJ would not have to be militant, awkward or objectionable to say "We do not think it fair that parts of this charter should be written into the law before we even start. Let us have open discussions on them. Let us try to draw up the charter properly". It would be especially valid for the NUJ to make that claim, since it has shown itself more eager than other parties to go ahead with the charter.

The consequence would be strange if the extraordinary were to happen and the House of Commons were to agree with the Lords in their proposal. There would not be a charter agreed between the parties. For several months no progress would be made, and under the provisions of the Bill the Secretary of State, whoever he might be, would have to be charged with drawing up the charter and pushing it through. I have never been in favour of the idea that the way to have a charter properly drawn up is for the Secretary of State—even the most beneficent and wise Secretary of State—to draw it up. I should prefer the charter to be drawn up by the parties concerned, but the proposals put forward by the Lords would make it almost certain—not absolutely certain—that the charter would have to be drawn up by the Secretary of State. A charter drawn up in such circumstances would be much less likely to be effective in protecting the freedom of the Press and the right to print than a charter that was willingly agreed by the people working in the industry.

My second objection to what the Lords are proposing is that it would be counterproductive. It would not achieve the result they want, and it could cause considerable disruption inside the industry itself. I believe that if the House of Commons was unwise enough—I do not consider such an outlandish possibility—to agree with the Lords and this proposal went through, the situation would arise in which we should not get a charter, in which relationships between different sections of the industry would be poisoned and in which the possibilities of returning to a more sensible state of affairs would be greatly impeded.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that the NUJ will not agree to a charter that is enforceable? If that is so, what confidence does that give us in a charter that is unenforceable?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Again, I was not saying what the hon. Gentleman has put into my mouth. I was saying exactly what I said, which was quite different. I shall come to some of the particular proposals to which I think not only the NUJ should not agree but to which anybody who believes in freedom should not agree. What I am saying—it is a reasonable proposition—is that if we want to get a charter between the different parties in the industry, between journalists, proprietors and editors, the less we lay down absolutely binding conditions in advance, the better it will be. That applies not only to journalists but to editors and proprietors as well. One can give an indication, as we have in the Bill, of some of the subjects which should be covered, but to lay down binding provisions in advance, particularly if one attaches to them, as the Lords have done, the whole possibility of sanctions, is most unwise.

4.30 p.m.

But there is another reason and in some respects an even more powerful one why I believe that it would be most unwise for the House to alter our previous view. The events in the House of Lords, so far from having improved the case, have greatly undermined it. That is why I wish to state clearly our conclusion on its debates on 3rd November. The third condemnation of this set of amendments, which goes to the root of Parliament's responsibilities for what goes on to the statute book, is that those proposing the Lords amendments have not thought through, certainly have not explained, their legal effects.

There is confusion in the public mind and the minds of Members of Parliament and of their Lordships about the effects. In the Government's view this confusion is well justified both because the effects, as opposed to the desired outcome, have never been explained and because these effects are highly unpredictable.

The first amendment, for example, prescribing the contents of the charter, has been considered by some to be a harmless spelling out of desirable objectives to be achieved. But that is not so. It inserts what amount to legal rights into the charter, rights which have no parallel for people working in any other industry, some of which state far-reaching rights of a kind which have never been contemplated before—for example, the absolute and unqualified right of an editor to publish what he pleases in any circumstances.

I wonder whether the Lords or hon. Members have examined in full the implications of these new statutory rights to compensation and new potential bases for legal action which would be created if we accepted this proposal. Many examples could be given of the consequences of combining the unqualified right of the editor to print any material, as is given in one subsection, with the sanctions in the other parts of the Lords amendments, whether in compensation or by invoking the provision that any act or conduct against the charter would be contrary to public policy.

If those two parts of the operation are taken together, they could have this consequence. In matters which at present most people do not consider to be governed by any absolute right of the editor to print, he would be given an absolute right to do so. For example, what about references to the Press Council? Are such references, which might interfere with the editor's right in some way, to be contrary to public policy? They might be considered to be.

I see that the Editor of The Times yesterday made, if I may say so, an estimable and courageous speech about the recrudescence of the most miserable forms of gossip-mongering journalism. I agree with what he said about the wretched way in which one or two newspapers are seeking to introduce this kind of journalism again. Most journalists think that the whole business is utterly depraved and unworthy of their profession. I am glad that the Editor of The Times should speak out so strongly against it.

But if someone should seek to refer such matters to the Press Council and if the Council should start or seek to interfere with the absolute right of the editor to print any material under the charter, as provided by the House of Lords, that might be considered contrary to public policy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I perfectly understand the concern and alarm expressed by Conservative Members. They have only just heard how outrageous are the propositions which have come to us from another place. These matters have been fully before them if they had wanted to consider them.

Many editors have entered into agreements not to engage in cheque-book journalism. Most people would agree that that is an advance—

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

It has nothing to do with this.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Unfortunately, the Lords did not apply themselves to the matter. In the first part of the amendment they say that the right of the editor to publish any material shall be absolute and unqualified, and in the second part they say that any act or conduct which interferes with that could be held to be contrary to public policy. So I understand the hon. Member's sense of outrage, because he has not been informed by his noble Friends what nonsense they were sending to us. But this is what they have sent.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

If this legislation is supposed to have these dire consequences, and if the Government are as anxious to avoid a clash with the other place as no doubt the Secretary of State is, would he care to explain why the head of the legal system in this country and a member of the Cabinet—the Lord Chancellor—failed to warn their Lordships of any of these dire consequences which the Secretary of State is now inventing as he goes along?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The hon. Gentleman is completely misinformed about what the Lord Chancellor said, because he has not studied the matter.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

If the hon. Gentleman will wait for a moment, I shall explain exactly how it occurs. The Lord Chancellor did in fact refer, in the strongest terms, to exactly the point I am making—that it was impossible for the House to incorporate such uncertain law into the law of the land and that to think that we were performing any service—

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

That is not the point I took to the Secretary of State. The Lord Chancellor did not give a warning about the dire consequences of a particularly lurid kind that the Secretary of State has held, in terrorem, over the House. It is wrong of the right hon. Gentleman to say that he did.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

If the hon. Gentleman will wait, he will get it right. Of course I understand the anxieties of Conservative Members in this matter, because these questions have not been expounded to them—partly because it is the first time that we in this House have been confronted with the absurdity of the combination, presented to us by the House of Lords, of first specifying rights which editors are to have in terms which are not qualified in any sense and which go beyond the amendment that we agreed in this House with this obscure reference to public policy, to which the Lord Chancellor referred in the most specific terms.

Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman is basing his case on what the Lord Chancellor said, I would be only too happy to enlist his support for us on our amendment. The Lord Chancellor condemned these Lords amendments precisely because of their obscurity as well. It is the combination of the two which I say leads to this result.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I shall give the column number. I shall deal with the matter. The hon. Gentleman will find—

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

I mean his reference to gossip-mongers.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Not gossip-mongers, no. What I was giving—I hope that the hon. Gentleman will follow the point—was an illustration of how the new kind of law that the Lords are trying to foist upon us will have these consequences.

There are many other examples that I could give of practical consequences which would follow from the combination offered to us. What I am saying about the Lord Chancellor—this anticipates another part of my argument, but since hon. Gentlemen are so eager to follow the point I shall deal with it now—is that if they will read columns 262 and 263 of the Official Report they will see not only that the Lord Chancellor underlined how blurred and uncertain was the law proposed but also that Lord Goodman failed to deal with the matter in his reply.

Before I go further, however, let me deal with Lord Hailsham's amendment. That provides for compensation to those who suffer loss as a result of a breach of the charter.

Photo of Mr Jonathan Aitken Mr Jonathan Aitken , Thanet East

The right hon. Gentleman gave us a reference which, so far as I can see, is completely wrong. Can he correct it?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The hon. Gentleman has not followed the argument. I shall not repeat it for his benefit if it is not necessary for the others. I am talking about 3rd November—

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

There is no such reference. The right hon. Gentleman said Column 262.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I beg the hon. Member's pardon. I misread the number of the column—a very grave offence to which I plead absolutely guilty. I should have referred to columns 962 and 963. Conservative Members will there see the Lord Chancellor's views on the obscurity of the amendments which those in another place are seeking to force upon us.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

The columns that the right hon. Gentleman has quoted contain the Lord Chancellor's reply to the amendments, but we are not dealing with the contents of the charter. Their Lordships dealt with the contents of the charter, but the particular matter which has been raised was dealt with by their Lordships a fortnight earlier. When on that occasion was such a warning given? The right hon. Gentleman may well be guilty of misrepresentation.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am not misrepresenting anyone. The hon. Gentleman must follow the argument. This is the first time that the House has been confronted with the combination of the alteration as included in subsection (2). That combination raises the issue of public policy as featured in Lord Goodman's amendment. It is that combination which leads to the consequences I have described.

Before proceeding with the argument, I must refer to Lord Hailsham's amendment, which provided for compensation for those who suffer loss as a result of a breach of the charter. It is alleged not to involve the courts and to provide a simply remedy for a grievance. But have their Lordships considered the range of circumstances in which rights to compensation should be created? They cannot have done so, because those circumstances will depend on the charter's contents, which nobody yet knows. It seems that their Lordships have not fully taken into account the large sums of compensation which could be involved as the amendment does not provide for compensation only to individuals.

Although the issue of whether or not the charter had been breached would not normally come before the courts, the powers of the High Court could be applied to enforce payment of compensation. Those powers include sequestration of funds and all the associated consequences. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Some Conservative Members say "Hear, hear". Do they want to land us back in the situation that prevailed in 1971? It seems that Lord Hailsham proposes that we should return to those days. The House has never accepted that view. I hope we shall repudiate it today.

I come again to the point which has caused such annoyance to Conservative Members. Lord Goodman's amendment provided that any rule, agreement, act or conduct which contravened the charter's provisions should be deemed to be contrary to public policy. It was the most uncertain amendment of all in its legal effect. Lord Goodman never attempted an adequate explanation of how it would work. He said that he was merely revivifying and fertilising common law.

Some people thought that the amendment created no new rights of action and, therefore, saw it as a useful presentational formula that gave added weight but not enforceability to the charter. That was not the Government's view or the Lord Chancellor's view, nor would it seem to have been Lord Goodman's view. The noble Lord made his intention plain by providing that a failure to observe the charter would not by itself render anyone liable to proceedings, subject to what was provided in his amendment about contravention of public policy. The fact that the courts are directed to consider any rule, agreement, act or conduct—that covers just about everything that anyone may do—which offends the charter as being contrary to public policy may mean that they will have to consider that as a basis for common law action. That in practice may mean an injunction restraining whatever is breaching the charter's provisions, about which as yet we know nothing regarding the exact provisions. What the courts would make of this possibility is not known, but such precedent as there is suggests that the courts could have a field day in creating judge-made law based on breaches of public policy.

4.45 p.m.

I repeat what I said before—namely, that in stating that view and by presenting us with apparently serious proposals their Lordships have shown that their method of dealing with this matter is uncertain and blurred. At one moment, advocates of the amendment in another place were saying that it was a small matter and that no one should have any worry about accepting it, yet on other points they were saying that this was the ark of the covenant and a central doctrine that we must accept. They did not sort it out in another place, and we have to sort it out here. Whatever else might be done, it would be a disgrace to the British legislature if law of this character were to be placed upon the statute book. If that happened we would be handing over a blurred and uncertain law to the courts and the judges. I am sure that their condemnation would be most severe.

If the House takes together all the proposals which have come from another place, one sees that the rewriting of the so-called rights at the beginning have been dealt with in a manner highly objectionable to one of the parties to the charter. Lord Hailsham has proposed an extreme form of sanction which could lead to the sequestration of funds and to all the difficulties that we know about from earlier experience. The obscurity of Lord Goodman's method must be apparent. Anyone who looks at these proposals together should remember that they are supposed to have come from a revising Chamber—a body that is supposed to produce law in its most perfect and immaculate state. To me, their Lordships' proposals look more like a dog's dinner on a lordly dish. I hope that the amendment will be sent back to another place in that spirit.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

As the right hon. Gentleman is making so much of the fact that the terms of the charter are as yet uncertain and that the terms are clearly all-important to this legislation, would it not be better if he were to withdraw this legislation until the terms of the charter become known in a precise form?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I hope that we shall get the charter. What we are proposing will enable a charter to be drawn up. That will be possible if we can get the Bill through the House without all the sanctions being applied in advance. That is what we are suggesting. If the hon. Gentleman has been converted to wanting a charter, he could assist in that purpose. However, I believe that he has misunderstood what I have said.

The uncertainty does not arise only because the charter is not in being. Uncertainty also arises because Lord Goodman has sought to write into this legislation a provision concerning public policy which does not bear any resemblance to any other law that we have. Their Lordships did not specify how that provision should be applied. It seems that they are at sixes and sevens as regards the consequences of that provision. I am saying that it would be an absurdity for us to suggest that we could deal with this matter properly on the basis of such an obscure and uncertain provision. Therefore, even if there were not a series of reasons for rejecting their Lordships' proposals, there would be good enough reason for the House of Commons, as a revising Chamber, to say that it is not prepared to pass legislation of this character.

Although urging the House to stand by the doctrine that we enunciated on previous occasions, I believe that we reached a sensible conclusion about how the whole matter could be dealt with in our previous discussion. I understand that the ferment and discussion are real. I believe that they derive from genuine anxieties and fears among many people throughout the country.

The most widespread anxiety—I do not believe that it is legitimate in that I do not think that the danger is present in anything like the degree described—is that in some form this legislation, which is being introduced mainly for the purpose of repealing the 1971 Act, may have some unforeseen and terrible consequences for those who contribute to the Press, leaving aside those who are employed by the Press. The provisions of the charter, like union membership agreements and closed shop agreements, apply not to contributors, but to employees in the industry. But that does not altogether remove the fear.

I illustrate the situation by quoting what Lord Goodman said in the House of Lords. There was some controversy between him and Lord Gardiner about "Lady Chatterley's Lover". Lord Gardiner had appeared for the defence in that case, and Lord Gardiner said that it had nothing to do with that book, but he then said What has to do with this matter is that if the late D. H. Lawrence was here and wanted to write for the Press…".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 3rd November 1975; Vol. 365, c. 940.]

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My understanding is that speeches in another place maybe quoted in a current Session only when they are speeches by Members of the Government. If the Secretary of State for Employment is to be allowed to quote a speech, even a speech of Lord Goodman, may we be free to quote further extracts from his speech? I shall be happy to quote extracts from the admirable speech of my noble and learned Friend Lord Hailsham.

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right. Speeches in the other place may only be paraphrased.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I apologise for having quoted directly from remarks in the other place. Lord Goodman said that if this Bill had existed in earlier years, the chances were that D. H. Lawrence would not have been able to write for the Press. There is no truth in that allegation. It is a fact that in practice D. H. Lawrence was often censored, but he was not censored by the NUJ. He was censored by publishers, the courts and others, and that prevented his saying and printing what he wanted.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Those are the realities of the matter. It is useless for anybody to say that the problem of dealing with the freedom of the Press can be dealt with solely by action directed against the NUJ. This matter has to do with the whole of the Press. That is why we suggested, as indeed did the NUJ, that the matter would be best dealt with by a charter by which people could sit down together and approach the matter in a sensible and civilised way. That is right, and we want to go ahead on those lines.

However, it appears that the House of Lords wants to create uncertainty. That does it no credit, since the result of their Lordships' proposals is to interfere with the establishment of such a charter and thereby, with the consequential controversy, with the establishment by those concerned of a proper system of governing and arranging for the maximum freedom. If such a charter fails, I agree that the House of Commons, with the assistance of the House of Lords—if the House of Lords is still there—should see what should be done in that situation. That is a very much better way in which to seek to protect freedom than to write into legislation in advance a whole series of provisions preventing any such charter from ever seeing the light of day.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

The right hon. Gentleman said that the provisions would apply not to contributors but only to employees. Will he repeat that remark and give an assurance that it will be part of the charter?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I have said that the union membership agreements do not apply to contributors. What would happen to contributors under our proposals and those of the NUJ is that there would be a clause in the charter dealing with access to contributors. This has never been questioned by the NUJ. I appreciate the importance of the matter. All I am saying is that the proposal by the House of Lords for dealing with the provisions, so far from assisting this matter, will make it much more difficult. Their Lordships have written into the Bill—and this is another of our objections—a provision that would prevent the operation of the industrial activities of the NUJ. That will not be acceptable, because it will injure the establishment of a proper provision guaranteeing freedom.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

Will my right hon. Friend answer a question put to him on the last occasion when the House discussed these matters? If the other place persists in disagreeing with our proposals, or insists on adding further amendments or alterations to the Bill, what will the Government do with the other place? Will he give the House an unequivocal answer?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am happy to conclude my remarks by answering my hon. Friend's question. I cannot give him an answer to all hypothetical questions, any more than I was able to do so on a previous occasion. The House of Commons on the previous occasion had a serious debate on this matter. We discussed various amendments from different parts of the House and we reached our conclusions and sent them to another place. The House of Commons reached its conclusions after lengthy deliberation. The Government's desire is that, in the main, on all matters of principle we should reiterate the views that we expressed on the previous occasion. When we sent the Bill to the other place

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I gave way to the hon. Gentleman earlier.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for doing so again. Would he spell out in clear terms the position of employees who are members of the Institute of Journalists?

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Surely it is contrary to the rules of the House for the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill), when my right hon. Friend is still answering an intervention, to interrupt with a gratuitous and silly remark.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. Will he please state what is to be the position of newspaper employees who are members of the IOJ?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

That question does not arise at this point in my remarks. The hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) must learn the procedures of the House sufficiently to realise that, when a Minister is seeking to answer another hon. Member, he should not intervene.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

The right hon. Gentleman gave way to me.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The hon. Gentleman was interrupting and I was seeking to enable the House to proceed with the discussion. I have no doubt that the IOJ will be able to contribute to the talks about a charter in the same way as will other bodies concerned. That is the right way in which to proceed, but it would be wrong to try to deal with the matter by writing into law provisions that would only lead to greater difficulties.

Perhaps I may now be allowed to reply to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Lee). I hope that the House of Lords will treat seriously what is sent back to it from the House of Commons on this subject. We reached our conclusions on an earlier occasion and we sent them back to the House of Lords. What the Lords have sent back to us is a series of unworkable provisions. I hope that this House will reject them, and I hope that the other place will consider seriously what has been said on this subject, after due deliberation, by the elected part of this legislature.

I hope that the Lords will take that into account and that we shall not be faced with the kind of difficulties that would arise if they insisted upon their rights, or sought to make their rights superior to those of an elected House of Commons. It is this elected House of Commons and not any other body that should govern the country.

5.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I begin by apologising to the House for the fact that I have not been present to hear the debates of the past two weeks on this subject. The more I have listened to today's debate the more sympathy I have felt with the remarks of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), who said that this was a matter which should be put to the Royal Commission. That was something we suggested a long time ago. We were then told that there was a paramount need to enact this measure at the earliest moment.

There have been six months, from 15th April onwards, during which time there was not a single day of discussion in the House on this subject. Suddenly, in the overspill period, we are presented with Lords amendments, amendments to Lords amendments, amendments, to the Lords amendments as amended in the House of Commons and so on. The Secretary of State talks of the present Lords amendments being a disgrace to the legislature. The real disgrace is that the House of Commons is being asked to take such vital decisions at the very last minute.

It is clear that in all the deliberations that have taken place in the House of Lords the aim has been at all times to be as conciliatory as possible. If anyone reads the debates, coming fresh to the issue as I did—having been away for two weeks—the overriding impression is of the House of Lords attempting to be conciliatory and to understand the true position of the Commons. It is only because the House of Lords can write its own rules on these matters that we are able to discuss the vital issue of the freedom of the Press.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this is not perhaps the best Bill in which to consider matters of Press freedom. That is not the fault of the Opposition or the House of Lords; it is the fault of the Government for not thinking things through when they introduced this measure. It is not good enough for the right hon. Gentleman to say that Press freedom in relation to this Bill cannot be divorced from the industrial relations aspects and that therefore the industrial relations aspects must be paramount in the Bill. That might be fair enough if we were dealing only with industrial relations.

The Secretary of State knows that this is an issue involving Press freedom—a freedom which has changed very much over the years. It is not a matter, as he tried to make out, of D. H. Lawrence being prevented from writing for certain papers 40 or 50 years ago as a result of censorship, or because editors would not publish. We have got beyond that stage today. The situation on such matters now is totally different. It is probably rather better in some respects, in others probably worse. The right hon. Gentleman does not prove his case by going back to what D. H. Lawrence could have done.

Photo of Mr Tom Litterick Mr Tom Litterick , Birmingham, Selly Oak

I am pleased that the right hon. Gentleman has come to this debate. It was seven months ago that I asked him a question that I shall repeat now. He said, seven months ago, that he would answer the question later. He did not tell us how much later. Since we are talking about how things are today and what it is that menaces the freedom of the Press, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House what he thinks ought to be done to protect editorial staff from the power of the owners of the Press?

In this context I refer to Early-Day Motion No. 743 which will provide the right hon. Gentleman with one, but only one, example of the kind of horrendous monopoly power enjoyed by a few people over a large number of staff. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer this question before he finishes his speech? He has had seven months' notice.

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

Order. I appeal to hon. Members not to use interventions for the purpose of making a speech.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

The hon. Gentleman knows the answer to that question only too well. He talks about the power of the owners. I notice that in the last debate there was a good deal of talk about millionaires. That term is always used to mean someone worse than an ordinary owner. The hon. Gentleman has forgotten about the 1,300 local papers which give a widespread coverage of all events. He knows quite well that it would be possible—certainly the Institute of Journalists, among others, has said it would like to see this—to draw up a charter which would deal with problems of proprietorial interest. This is surely another reason why it would be better to allow the Royal Commission to give its views on this important subject, and why we should leave the debate on this Bill until that is done. If that course had been followed a year ago we might not have found ourselves in this position today.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

Is it not clear that the only threat of monopoly today arises not from the proprietors but from the position of the National Union of Journalists?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I was about to quote from a quotation I used during the Committee stage of this Bill in January of this year. This is a passage from a letter I received: I should add to that the thought that freedom of speech, which is the public civil right that newspapers exercise as freedom of the Press, is too important to be left to the quite imperfect control of contemporary industrial relations machinery. It is pretty inefficient at industrial relations, let alone protecting freedom of speech."—Official Report, Standing Committee E, 16th January 1975; c. 155.] That is a fairly true reflection of the issue with which we have to concern ourselves today.

The Secretary of State began by saying that there was no need for a charter or anything to be written into the Bill in any way. He would have had a charter outside the Bill. Then their Lordships, under the auspices of Lord Houghton, put a charter into the Bill. From having taken the view that their Lordships should keep their lordly noses out of the affair the right hon. Gentleman has been glad, recently, to have those lordly noses interfering. There is already exceptional treatment for the Press in a possible closed shop situation. We have breached the principle of non-interference. No one is suggesting that in dealing with a closed shop situation in the engineering industry, the ball-bearing industry or any other industry, we should have a specific charter drawn up.

The House agrees that there should be a charter to protect the interests of outside contributors to the Press. We note that the situation in the Press is now the subject of exceptional treatment. In laying down the charter, are we making any impact if we do not impose an obligation that the charter should be kept, and, if the charter is not being kept, that the injured party should be the recipient of damages? That is the crucial issue. In previous debates the right hon. Gentleman made out the greater part of his case on that issue.

The Opposition accept much of the argument on the closed shop. However, we believe that the Press is an exception. If there is to be a charter, it must be backed by a remedy. I do not use the word "sanction"; I prefer the word "remedy". There is no point in having the charter unless, when the charter is broken, there is a remedy for the aggrieved person. The Secretary of State maintains that that is the wrong way.

It is extraordinary how keen the Labour Party is to legislate on practically every subject except one of this importance and character, which involves the rights and freedom of an individual and the rights of the Press. I do not understand the position of the right hon. Gentleman. Today he spent a good deal of time attempting to stir up opinion against legal provisions. I hope that he has read what Lord Wigoder said in another place on that matter.

In the past, the National Union of Journalists accepted the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act on the question of the ballot. The NUJ agreed to register under the Act. There is no strong feeling in the NUJ against the provisions which we suggest and which the other place has written into the Bill. I do not understand why the right hon. Gentleman said that it would not be possible to draw up a satisfactory charter if the legal powers were included beforehand. He said that the NUJ, the majority of whose members are sensible men—

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

—was not prepared to draw up a sensible charter, on the ground that if the charter was broken an aggrieved person could receive an award under the rules of arbitration. That would place that person in the financial position which it enjoyed before the agreement took place.

Photo of Mr Robin Corbett Mr Robin Corbett Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that just as the industry was able to build the machinery of the Press Council, there is an equally good chance that if we get off the back of the industry it can build this charter sensibly of its own volition and, by agreement, build in the safeguards which the right hon. Gentleman seeks to insert?

5.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I hope that that will happen and that the industry will be able to build in those safeguards. The arbitration award should be made only as a last resort. Before that stage is reached, application must be made to a body which, presumably, will comprise members of the industry. There is a charter which consists of rules which have already ben drawn up. There will be a body the rules for which will be drawn up. If a body consisting of representatives of the industry draws up its own rules there is a presumption that the industry will try to make the system work. Only in the most exceptional cases, after the preliminary procedure has broken down, will the body decide whether a person has been aggrieved. The person most likely to be aggrieved would be an editor who had fallen foul of the NUJ. In that case the body, having drawn up its own charter, will have adjudicated the case and come to the decision whether there was an aggrieved party. In that case it is reasonable that the aggrieved party should have a right of compensation to put himself or herself back into the position that he or she enjoyed before the action was taken against them. That is not asking a great deal.

I do not think that Parliament should leave this issue open. It is the duty of Parliament to lay down rules and to provide the opportunities which will be available to an aggrieved person. I do not believe that we should leave the procedure to chance. If we leave it to chance, an innocent person may suffer before Parliament does anything about it. That is borne out by the fact that when discussing such matters Ministers have said, "Let us see how we get on. If it does not work, we shall do something about it". The Opposition believe that it is the duty of Parliament to do something about the situation in advance, and not leave it to chance. We hope that the rules and the charter will be properly enforced and obeyed, but we do not think that we should leave matters to chance. That is not the rôle of Parliament.

Any sensible legislature would have allowed the Royal Commission to give its view in advance. We should then have had the views of the Royal Commission on the matter on which to make an assessment, form an opinion and draft a Bill. If that had happened we should be in a much better position to give our views on this subject. I bitterly regret that that has not happened.

I do not think that the legal problems involved in the Lords amendments are as great as the Minister would have us believe. The Lord Chancellor did not raise these points in Committee. Today the Minister has been nit-picking over the legalities, which is unusual for him. No one would think that he was too concerned with the finer points of the law. I notice that he had to keep to his brief fairly carefully when he dealt with this point, and I have no doubt that he has been well advised by the lawyers in his Department. However, I am not certain that the lawyers in his Department, or, for that matter, those in the Attorney-General's Department, are any more capable than are the noble Lords, Lord Hailsham and Lord Goodman. On occasions, I have known of Government Departments having to seek outside advice in order to come to decisions. For that reason, we need not take too seriously the legal nit-picking of the Secretary of State.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I understand fully if the right hon. Gentleman makes a comment on my legal qualifications; I do not quarrel with him on that score. But he must not dismiss the Lord Chancellor in the same breath as he dismisses me. If he will refer to col. 363 of the Official Report of the debate in the other place—[Interruption.]—I apologise; I should have said col. 963—the right hon. Gentleman will see there that the Lord Chancellor said: In my submission, the concept is not only unusual but fraught with difficulty and obscurity, and one is bound to ask where it would lead in practice."—[Official Report,House of Lords, 3rd November 1975; Vol. 365, c. 963.] There are two column in Hansard on the subject, so let no one vote in this matter without knowing the view of the highest legal authority in the country on the subject.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

But when the Secretary of State began his remarks on the subject, he was not talking about aspects of public policy; he was discussing the charter itself. The right hon. Gentleman having misread the column number in Hansard three times, we were trying to discover where, in the earlier debate, the Lord Chancellor had commented on this when the matter was relevant and was the one before the House. Of course, the Lord Chancellor did not comment on it at that time. He commented on the public policy aspects at a later stage.

This is again a case of the Secretary of State, by the sheer power of his vocabulary and his memory, trying to put across to this House a view that is not acceptable to the House of Lords and not acceptable to my right hon. and hon. Friends.

Looking through the Official Report of these debates, I noticed mat the right hon. Gentleman claimed that as a result of his activities there had been a marked improvement in industrial relations. What profit is it to the man who is now unemployed if he is told that the improvement in industrial relations has been brought about by this Government? What profit is it to the millions of men and women who are enjoying a lower standard of living today than they were 18 months ago? Is that to the credit of this Government?

The problem about the Secretary of State is that he is a very good talker but precious little else. What this Parliament and legislature is being asked to accept today is another example of the right hon. Gentleman using his viciousness against the Industrial Relations Act and refusing to face the facts on the issue of Press freedom.

I believe that the attitude of their Lordships has been one of conciliation. They have proved themselves extremely valuable as a revising Chamber. They have been able to write into this Bill certain parts that, under our rules, we in this House are not allowed to write into it. But I hope and pray that they will stand on their position of the individual requiring a remedy. Surely the individual is the person whom Parliament should respect and have uppermost in its mind when legislating. If the House of Lords does not stand firm on the rights of the individual, it will not be doing its duty to our country—nor will the reputation of Parliament be enhanced.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

For the moment, I shall refrain from taking up any of the unctuous remarks of the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) during the course of which, among other matters, he referred to the revising virtues of the House of Lords. However, one observation of his which I thought somewhat naive came when he said that one went to the courts as a last resort. Unfortunately, precisely the same argument was once used by David Maxwell-Fyfe in relation to capital punishment when he said that, unless the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords both went mad, there could be no mistakes and that it was fantasy to talk of mistakes of that kind. Not long after that, we had the Christie-Evans case, which exploded that concept completely.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State tended to skate over one or two matters, and perhaps I may be allowed to draw attention to them. The first is a technical matter relating to the operation of the Parliament Acts and the relationship between the two Houses. It is clear from my researches that it is nearly 30 years since a piece of legislation was sent backwards and forwards between the two Houses to quite the same extent as has occurred in this case. The last occasion was in 1947, and it concerned the Transport Bill, but I do not think that the matter that I wish to raise with my right hon. Friend was ever satisfactorily resolved, because in the last analysis the House of Lords gave way and accepted the amendments that this House made.

As I understand it, the general view of the law is that on matters that are rejected outright the Parliament Act operates and, as abridged by the 1949 Act, operates within a defined and restricted period. I shall say a word or two presently about the effect that the House of Lords is having on our legislative programme in what it likes to call its revising capacity. However, I am concerned now with the operation of the substantive part—

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

Order. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Lee) is going outwith the scope of the subject being debated. I will not allow a debate on the future of the House of Lords. That is not under discussion during these proceedings. The hon. Gentleman is dealing with the relationship between this House and the other place. That is not relevant to this discussion.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

With respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was not about to deal with the future of the House of Lords, and I am sorry if I gave that impression. What I was about to do, which I suggest is relevant, was to refer to Section 2(4) of the Act, which deals broadly with the position where there is a series of amendments and new clauses. So far as I know, that is a matter that has never been properly resolved. When further amendments are made, however ingeniously interwoven, unless and until a situation is arrived at in which both Houses are in agreement—

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

Order. The hon. Gentleman is anticipating a situation that has not yet arisen. So far, we do not know what the other place will do with our recommendations. Therefore, what the hon. Gentleman is dealing with now does not arise at this juncture.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The issue has arisen because there has been a disagreement. I am asking the Secretary of State to deal with the situation as it is now and to say what happens to proposals that are new clauses. He said himself that there were two exceptions to the matters now before the House representing further accretions to the matters under discussion.

In other words, with the greatest respect to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, what I am postulating is relevant to the debate. It is made relevant by virtue of those two matters put before the House by my right hon. Friend. It is no longer an academic matter. The House should know that the Government have made no attempt to make clear what would be their position if there were to be further amendments or additions to the matters that my right hon. Friend put before the House. I want to know what will be the Minister's attitude.

5.30 p.m.

As the right hon. Member for Lowestoft was allowed to rhapsodise about the revising virtues of the other place, I hope that I am not out of order in asking whether under a Conservative Government anything similar was done, except for the most minor textual matters. The only time that was threatened was when we were discussing the Bill setting up independent television, and Lord Hailsham lost his temper with Lord Salisbury. That is the last and only occasion when there was such an occurrence.

All the talk about the freedom of the Press sticks in the gullet of many of us who have listened at great length to the concern expressed by the Opposition for the freedom of the Press. In column 901 of the Lords Hansard for 3rd November the Lord Chancellor is reported as referring to the comparison between broadcasting and the Press. There is a statutory requirement for broadcasting to be balanced and politically fair. That requirement is written into Sections 4 and 5 of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act, and it is stipulated in the charter and licence of the BBC. A comparison of that requirement with the blatant partisanship exhibited by newspapers shows the cant and humbug of this debate.

Indignation has been expressed about the writings of the Bishop of Southwark in the Morning Star. I have never written a letter to that newspaper, nor would I ever wish to write an article for it, but can one imagine being invited by the editor of the Daily Telegraph to write a similar article? One can only use such vehicles for expression as are available. With each successive newspaper closure the worse the position becomes. We shall never solve the problem until the whole of the Press is governed by a statutory independent newspaper authority with the same powers of regulation and licensing as those possessed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority.

One of the ironies of history is that most Labour Members were bitterly opposed to the establishment of independent television. But we have now come to the conclusion that the only right action that the Conservative Party took in its 13-year rule was to diversify broadcasting.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

I see that the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) agrees with me. I hope that he will also agree that the reality of Press freedom will not be achieved until a similar regulative system is set up.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

The monopoly of the BBC was broken by the creation of independent television. The breaking of that monopoly benefited freedom of expression. The essence of this debate is the monopoly power exerted by the unions.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, and to an extent he is right. There may well come a time when every newspaper except one has folded, and a position will arise which is similar to that which prevails in the motor industry. In those circumstances the hon. Gentleman's argument will certainly be applicable to newspapers. Therefore, the points I have made are wholly valid.

Much has been said about the freedom of access of contributors. Does what has been said apply to the freedom of access of those who wish to write to news papers? I will give an example of a problem which has arisen in the last few days. I have written a letter to The Times in support of the Bishop of Southwark. [Interruption.] Dick Taverne is not exactly a Trotskyite by any standards. Dick Taverne is not a member of my party. Whether the Bishop of Southwark is a member of my party, I know not.

There never has been a time since the Hudson Railway and possibly the South Sea Bubble when the standard of morality of the City of London was so low. That is exemplified by the fact that the rescuer of the Slater organisation is a man of whom it has been said that his principal qualification is high-stakes gambling in the Lucan set. That is an illustration of the level of morality that prevails in the City. The Editor of The Times has managed not to publish my letter, ostensibly because of what he regards as the defamatory aspects of the case. Will Opposition Members who are so concerned about contributors' rights include correspondents' rights when those correspondents are postulating opinions hostile to the editorial policy of the newspaper concerned? Will the relations of the hon. Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken), who govern the Daily Express, accept that? Lord Beaverbrook had a blacklist of certain people, including Lord Mountbatten, who were not allowed to be mentioned.

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

Order. We have heard about "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and the Bishop of Southwark. Let us hear something that is relevant to the debate.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

We have heard about Lady Chatterley but not about the feuding mistresses of the various members of the Rank Board. That is another illustration of the way the City has behaved of late. If I cannot get these matters into the columns of The Times, I shall get them into the columns of Hansard.

My right hon. Friend put forward basic reasons for rejecting the amendments. It is an absurdity to apply industrial relations practices to a situation like this. If Opposition Members have learned anything, it must be that to apply industrial legislative procedures to the sensitive field of industrial relations is disastrous. The inclusion of matters which are said to be contrary to public policy raises the whole question of the dubiety of contractual relations which may be deemed by the courts to be void on the ground of public policy. That is yet another example of the uncertainties that would prevail in the law.

Does the right of unfettered access include privilege in libel, or does it include privilege to incite to crime? It is all very well to say that these things are fantastic, but once we write into a statute provisions of that sort, they will be pleaded by anyone who wishes to abuse a situation. Not everyone will abuse it and, perhaps not more than a very few would do so, but there are always those who take advantage of absurd situations and abuse the system. Whatever my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's charitable thoughts may be about the other place, I suspect that these amendments were tabled, at least by some, for the purposes of stultifying legislation, embarrassing the Government, and causing ill-will in industrial relations.

As hon. Members know, I have decided not to stand for re-election at the next General Election. It is a matter of some sadness for any hon. Member who chooses to do that. Even the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) probably has some feelings of sympathy about that. I have never paid all that much attention to the Whips, but I warn the Government that if they do not deal with the situation of the House of Lords—[Interruption.] In that situation the parliamentary majority is, admittedly, better in practice than it is on paper, because the Opposition are so chicken-hearted that they will not take on the Government. However, there will be circumstances in which the Government will be unable to rely upon my vote and in which it would be an embarrassment, not just a relief, to the Chief Whip to be without, me.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I had meant to start my speech on a non-controversial note, but if we are to throw stones, I would remind hon. Members that we are all in glasshouses and if we are to write letters to The Times about the state of morality I would point out that rather a lot of odd things are happening in the Labour Party. Further, although there have been complaints about threats to the Press, licensing by a public authority is a much bigger threat than the NUJ will ever face.

As usual, I have to declare an interest. On this occasion I do so to make it clear that I speak for myself and no one else. I much regret that we are at loggerheads about this matter. I agree with the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) that it is a matter on which we should have had the advice of the Royal Commision. We are very near agreement; we are agreed upon a charter. The Government have agreed that there shall be a body which will be entitled to examine alleged breaches of the charter and that its results will, in the words of the Secretary of State, have evidential status. I am not quite sure what that means, but I presume that it will be quotable in any subsequent proceedings.

I turn to what I call, without disrespect to another place, the amendments of Lord Hailsham and Lord Goodman. Before this debate ends I should like an hon. Member who is versed in the law to explain rather more fully the effect of these amendments. We are forbidden to quote from the speeches which their Lordships made, but I understand that the effect of these amendments would be to give a remedy—in the case of Lord Goodman at common law, and in the case of Lord Hailsham under a statutory provision—to members of the NUJ or the Institute of Journalists who lose their jobs contrary to the provisions of the charter. I hope I shall be corrected if I am wrong.

5.45 p.m.

This matter should be viewed primarily from the point of view of the public. They have an interest in the freedom of the Press and in free access to the Press, whether by correspondence, which I wholly accept, by contributing articles or in having variety in the Press. If these amendments are accepted, they will give sanctions only in a case where someone has lost status in the union. The Secretary of State disagrees. I hope that at some time we shall be told exactly what these amendments will achieve, if they are agreed, in relation to the freedom of the Press.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

As I sought to explain in my remarks and as was indicated in the House of Lords, the issue is much wider. Of course there is great obscurity about what would be the exact meaning of the application. Nothing is certain. That is why it is so wrong to agree the amendment in this way. However, the issue is much wider than the right hon. Gentleman suggests.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

That does not take us much further. It goes wider, but how wide? We are not talking about one industry. The Press is an enormously variegated affair. I do not claim to be expert on it, because many hon. Members know more about the workings of newspapers than I, but we should look at the situation that would arise if the charter came into force and if there were breaches of it. It is my experience that a newspaper is a communal production. The chapels are in day-to-day contact with the editorial staff and the editor is in day-to-day contact with his staff. The situation would be exceedingly serious if there were such a confrontation between the editor or the proprietors and the chairman that the charter had to be invoked and sanctions imposed. I am not clear about the status of those involved. If it were alleged that the chapels of The Guardian had acted in such a way as to infringe editorial freedom, I would presume that the proprietors were involved. These are the sort of matters on which we should have further advice. It would prove valuable to have the Royal Commission examine the whole matter.

Even in my limited experience, the NUJ is a variegated body. It contains people of all views and, indeed, some of none. My wife once attended a dinner at which she sat next to a distinguished Guardian journalist. She commented on what a splendid Liberal paper it was and he said "You be careful, there is a strong Conservative cell in The Guardian and I am the head of it."

The only danger that I can foresee is that at some period a body such as the NUJ might be able to impose some sort of censorship upon the whole Press. Individual proprietors have a right to impose views if they have set up a newspaper. However, there are many types of proprietor and I am referring to the danger of pressure being exerted on the whole Press. The word "Press" is extremely vague. I do not believe that the chapels of the NUJ are by any means the only consideration, and it would be very unwise to legislate simply for what they have done. It is my limited experience that they fight their corner, but they are in constant touch—indeed, they are the newspapers. They are constantly consulted about all sorts of matters, including editorial policy.

However, if the Government start giving money to newspapers, the magic words "public accountability" will be raised and this will lead to licensing. The danger is not that they will suppress particular newspapers within the existing spectrum of newspapers. The danger is that it will become very difficult to set up new newspapers of a radical or new outlook, and it may be difficult for really eccentric people to get their writings accepted.

Therefore, I think that we should get away from being so fascinated by the possible actions of the NUJ. It would be silly not to acknowledge that there are some within the NUJ who would like to act in a way which most people would see as contrary to the freedom of the Press. But there are other threats. In some ways the existence of strong unions is a guarantee of freedom. If they disappear, there may be no other real challenges to the State.

That being so, I feel it very important that all these considerations—the exact meanings of these amendments; what sanctions would come in; what the effect of this "evidential status" of the findings of whatever body is set up to enforce the charter would be; the sort of terms that the charter might have—should be calmly considered by a Royal Commission—which luckily we have actually sitting. This is not merely a matter of industrial relations. It goes much wider and it is a proper subject for a Royal Commission.

Another point is that we assume that everyone in this country is brought up to understand what the rule of law and freedom of the Press means. I am not so sure that this is now the case. I am not so sure that it would not be valuable to have this matter considered by the Royal Commission and, if necessary, to have certain signposts erected. That seems to me to be the main advantage of having any sanctions—that there are signposts as to how far one can go.

There is also the possibility that within the next year we shall have to consider a great many other constitutional matters, such as devolution. The whole question of our constitution is up for debate. We may have to have some sort of Bill of Rights. Therefore it would be a greaty pity, having got as far as this, having pretty well agreed upon a charter and having accepted that the charter must have some validity and force, if we should now break the whole thing up.

As I understand the speech of the right hon. Member for Lowestoft, the Opposition would go a great deal of the way towards accepting that if this matter were to be referred to a Royal Commission they would be content with that for the time being. Obviously the Opposition can give no undertaking as to what they would do in the light of its findings. But one possibility—I put it no higher than that—is that the Government should accept the Lords amendments, refer the matter at once to the Royal Commission and, if necessary, bring in an amending Bill next year in the light of the Royal Commission's findings and reverse the Lords amendments. I am only saying that it is one possibility.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I think that I ought to make the position of the Opposition quite clear. Our position is that we think that the House should now accept the Lords amendments and that we would then ask the Royal Commission to look at this matter urgently. Following that, a new Bill could be introduced, which would cover the sort of point that the right hon. Gentleman has been talking about.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

That seems also a possibility. But how far can one go by question and answer? I accept that the right hon. Gentleman cannot bind his party. We all know how difficult that is and it applies to all parties, even to the Liberal Party. But is he saying that, having referred the matter to the Royal Commission, if the Commission were to find that the Lords amendments were unworkable or unnecessary, as far as he is concerned he would advise the Conservative Party to expedite and give every fair wind to amending legislation, to put the position back where the House of Commons left it? I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to give a view about that.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

The right hon. Gentleman is now asking me to get into very deep water. We just do not know what the Royal Commission would say. But my personal view is that it would be far better to have the advice of the Royal Commission and to look carefully at that advice, and if that advice was that these amendments were not necessary, and so on, that would be bound to have a very considerable influence over the view that my party took.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. That is as far as I can press him on the matter.

Before the debate is over, however, I hope that the Government will give some assurance that this matter will be brought to the notice of the Royal Commission. No doubt the Commission is considering it now, but it has to be asked for a view on it. Whether we accept or reject the Lords amendments, I believe that we should examine this matter again when the Royal Commission has reported.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

As always, I am delighted to speak after the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). Like him, I declare an interest as a member of the NUJ and, like him, I hope to be brief, because we all wish to proceed on this matter.

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion of reference to the Royal Commission in this particular instance is helpful, although he was trying to be constructive and conciliatory. I say that for this reason. The Royal Commission has already been charged with one interim report. We have serious matters to consider. Only today we have seen the closure of the Scottish Daily News. There are serious matters which the Royal Commission must be looking at in regard to the protection and the economics of the Press.

I do not believe that we should leave these amendments in the Bill in their present form and allow them to be part of the status quo which the Royal Commission must examine. If the Lords amendments are left in the Bill in their present form we are offering to all the parties in these discussions—discussions which may become a dispute—a poisoned chalice. We are effectively saying to them that we shall need to have a new form of legal framework in which they must operate and a constraint against which their voluntary discussions, as we would hope, have to be judged.

I am intervening briefly in the debate as the mover of one of the amendments carried previously in our proceedings.

The right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) said that he very much regretted that all the conciliation had come from their Lordships and not from this place, and he regretted that we were discussing this matter late in the day. With respect to him, we are discussing it late in the day because there are very unusual constitutional circumstances. These are amendments to amendments to amendments to amendments. That is the situation which has been brought about because the House of Lords has twice sent the Bill back to us with alterations which do not meet the central point which the House of Commons, by a majority, has decided—that the law should not intrude into this area of industrial relations.

On that point, so far we have not reached any form of compromise. That is the point on which ultimately the will of this House should prevail. It will be for other Governments to change this if they see fit, and for the Royal Commission to say in due course what it wishes to be done about the matter, and for us, later, to see whether we were right or wrong. But this is the view of the majority in the House of Commons at present.

From the Government side of the House we see it—and probably I speak now for all of my hon. Friends—as a wilful failure on the part of their Lordships to understand how far my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has gone and what it is that the Labour Party, here at least, wishes to achieve. All of us are united on this matter.

Having listened very carefully to the debate in the other place on 3rd November, I was struck by what seemed to me a wilful failure to recognise how far we had gone in the area of compromise already. Those of their Lordships who spoke in the other persuasion still wish to have a Government of laws and forget that it must also be a Government of men, and that in this area the constraints and distraints of the law are not the only consideration. They wish to have produced, by one means or another, legal formulae which will bring about, perhaps by the creation of a body of case law, what they originally wished to write in by statutory provision. Up with that we cannot put, because it seems to us that there is in this area precisely the defect sharply analysed by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) in a speech on the old Industrial Relations Bill—the Act, as it became. One poisons the waters if one has this kind of legal procedure.

Photo of Mr Myer Galpern Mr Myer Galpern , Glasgow Shettleston

If the hon. Member does not wish to give way, he does not give way.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

With due respect to my hon. Friend, others wish to take part in the debate, and I promised to be very brief.

The point I wish to make is that in the debate in another place Lord Gardiner issued a strong warning about what would happen if the public policy amendment were to be passed. As there has been this rather petty squabble and disagreement about page references it would be wise to refer to chapter and verse. Lord Gardiner said—as recorded in column 919 of the Official Report of the House of Lords for 3rd November—that he saw situations in which at least legal constraints and possibly pecuniary penalties could be brought about as a result of the amendments which were then proposed.

That is the view I take. I take a very grave view of it because I believe that this will introduce into these dealings exactly what we do not want. It will introduce an atmosphere of bitterness which will make it almost impossible for those who have argued for the charter to operate and for the kind of debate and discussion which goes on in the National Union of Journalists and, no doubt, in the chapel of The Guardian to take place. Those debates and arguments will be fundamentally altered by the intrusion of the law in this respect.

Their Lordships do not seem to understand that issues of freedom, like issues of industrial relations which are intermingled with them, cannot be legislated about. There is more to them than legislation and the framework of law. There is more to this matter than seeing it from the point of view of the courts and looking outwards. We should be envisaging the reverse situation. We should accept that a voluntary charter is decided by how far the unions are from the shadow of the courts and not how close they are.

Throughout the debates we have heard a good deal from the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill). No doubt he would be interested to learn that his illustrious grandfather was quoted at length in a debate in another place. One of the remarks of the former Liberal Home Secretary, Mr. Winston Churchill, which was quoted the other day was: It is not good for trade unions that they should be brought in contact with the courts, and it is not good for the courts."—[Official Report, 30th May 1911; Vol. 26, c. 1022.] What Mr. Winston Churchill was discussing was not criminal or civil cases but those matters which move much more into areas of class and into areas of party politics. That is an area unsuitable to be dealt with in legislation of this kind, particularly if the legislation is brought about in the form that is proposed and through the agency of the House of Lords.

I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will stand firm against that view, even if it means the implementation of the Parliament Act. The Lords have played a valuable part in these discussions. There is a rôle for the House of Lords as a revising Chamber. I pay tribute to the Lords for their work in that respect. I do not doubt their Lordships' sincerity, even now at the eleventh hour and the fifty-fifth minute, but I do not believe that the last fundamental bastion of our freedom is represented by those who took part in the debates in the House of Lords on 23rd October and 3rd November and who voted through these amendments by such heavy majorities. I believe that they have imperilled themselves by what they did.

The largest vote was one taken on 23rd October, when 188 votes were cast for Lord Goodman's earlier amendment and 126 of those votes—two-thirds of them—were cast by hereditary peers who were there simply by reason of what their remote ancestors did, some of them Press Lords like Lord Rothermere, Lord Kemsley and Lord Astor of Hever. I do not believe that such a vote can represent the final word on this matter.

Do we use the courts, or do we not? Do we go the voluntary way or the way of legal constraints? I believe that we should go the voluntary way, and that the final word should rest with the House of Commons, not with the House of Lords.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Cleveland and Whitby

We have moved a long way since this legislation first began its passage. During that journey the Government have accepted the need for a statutory provision for a code to come into existence. The Government have accepted the need that it be clearly stated in the legislation what the machinery should be to adjudicate whether there has been a breach of the code. The only thing that the Government do not accept is that there should be in the legislation the slightest inducement to anyone to take any notice of an-adjudication on whether there has been any breach of the code.

Last time we debated this matter the Labour moderates—the members of the Manifesto Group—strained every nerve to get concessions on the contents of the code, and, with a great deal of stage-managed drama, the odd crumb was thrown to them by the Secretary of State in the closing stages of the debate—what matters is not in the charter, though that is of considerable importance. What also matters is what effect the charter has and what effect a breach of the charter has if such a breach is found to have taken place.

I suggest that the central case remains which was argued last time and in the previous debates, that there is a distinct threat to Press freedom—not a great threat, not an impending threat, but the distinct possibility of a threat exercised by a monopoly union if a union should ever obtain a monopoly. That is not fantasy. It is not heroics. It is a reality, a possibility, and something that should be guarded against at the only time that it is possible for Parliament to guard against it, namely, at the time of the passage of this legislation.

What we are debating is whether there should be a proper protection against the exercise of such a threat. It is clear that if that threat became a reality the mere existence of a totally unenforceable code would be no protection and that only if there were some basis of enforceability would there be any protection in a situation as dire as that which we envisage, albeit as a remote threat.

I understand the argument put forward with sincerity by hon. Members opposite that we must not return to the days of the Industrial Relations Act, that there is hostility to statutory intervenion, and that, therefore, it would be wrong for us to accept what their Lordships have done. It is for that reason that I particularly commend the amendment in the name of Lord Goodman, which was proposed in the other place because, as was pointed out by a distinguished jurist who sits on the Socialist benches in the other place—Lord Lloyd of Hampstead, formerly a professor of jurisprudence in London Universitythe Amendment…introduces no new statutory cause of action and no new statutory right of any kind."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 3rd November 1975; Vol. 365, c. 954.] It has been the intervention of statute that hon. Members opposite have objected to, on grounds with which I disagree but which I understand. The Secretary of State has said again and again in these debates that it is statute that is the evil and that he does not object to common law. The common law is a growing organism. If the Secretary of State does not object to the common law, he must not object to it not only in its present form but also in the form which it will reach as it continues to grow.

All that the Goodman amendment does is to provide a measure of guidance which the courts will be able to interpret as they go along dealing with the realities. That measure of guidance is surely a very moderate and modest protection against the threat that we fear, albeit as a remote fear.

If the Secretary of State does not object to the common law developing there is no reason why he should object to its being underpinned by the Goodman amendment, even if he does not, because of the legacy of the Industrial Relations Act, want to create an express statutory right.

That is essentially the case. If the Secretary of State were to tell the House, that he accepts the Goodman amendment but does not accept the Hailsham amendment, there would be many hon. Members on this side—of course, I can speak only for myself—who would regard that as an acceptable basis for compromise. There was a time when I thought that the stage was set for another dramatic concession from the Secretary of State, saying he would denounce the wicked Lord Hailsham but accept the tolerable Lord Goodman, and that we should clinch a deal on that basis. Apparently, it is not to be so. We are not to see that. Even a modest underpinning of the common law as opposed to the creation of the statutory right that is considered so objectionable is not to be the basis of a deal tonight. I say, the more's the pity. It is a great shame. A great opportunity has been missed.

If that is so, if there is a basis for a deal of this kind, where are the moderates now? Where are the members of the Manifesto Group? They have been described as paper tigers but that is an imprecise description. What sort of paper is it? It is not stout cardboard nor firm writing paper. It is a wispy rice paper that wilts in face of the slightest breath and can be trampled into oblivion by any old foot. They have failed to stand up for freedom of speech when threatened. Like the Liberal intellectuals of the Weimar Republic, they have refused to see danger, or have been fobbed off with meaningless phrases and illusory guarantees. We have learned to expect nothing better from the right hon. Gentleman, but we had dared to hope for a little courage from some of his hon. Friends.

That hope has been dashed. It has implications well beyound this Bill. If anyone in this House or in the country looks to the Manifesto Group or the Labour moderates to curb the precipitate Leftward zeal of the Government, they will be sorely disappointed. They mouth the language of moderation, but their feet lead them firmly into the extremist lobbies.

Photo of Mr Brian Walden Mr Brian Walden , Birmingham, Ladywood

One thing that in this House I have learned about all industrial relations disputes is that the House and the country should at all costs be protected from the good intentions of lawyers. On industrial relations lawyers always say two things: first, that it is absolutely imperative to bring in the law and that there can be no possibility of peace and security for anyone unless matters can be brought before the courts; and, secondly, that they can advise the House well as to what will be the implications when matters are brought before the courts. All my experience has taught me that they are wrong on the first point and misleading on the second. The operation of such matters when they get into the courts in capricious in the extreme.

The trouble with the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) is that he is a Bourbon. He has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. He has forgotten nothing of the Tory manifesto of 1970 and has learned nothing from the disaster of 1971.

With others on this side of the House, as a genuine doubter I have taken up a lot of the time and patience of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment. No one could have done more than he has to listen to every representation brought before him, and it would be churlish, when I am with him on this issue tonight, not to say a brief word in his support and state clearly where the Opposition mistake lies.

The mistake lies, however much they may try to deny it, in a preconception that the law ought to come in somewhere and that somewhere there should be a court which can hand down either a judgment or some sort of guidance to be of use to someone in some action he might take. That is the very last thing I want to see happen.

I wish that the Tory Party could learn that there is no point in saving its Confederate money: the South is not going to rise again. That whole area of regulating trade unions in such a way is stone dead. The Conservatives simply do themselves a total disservice, both in terms of legislation before the House and, if I may dare to say so, in my humble judgment, in terms of their own electoral interest, by constantly harking back.

6.15 p.m.

However, seeing them behave in this way, I make a prediction particularly to the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior), for whom I have considerable regard. I do not say that the attitude of the Conservative Party here or in another place has been mischievous, but I do say that it has been hopelessly short-sighted. Should the Conservative Party be successful at the next General Election and form the Government, the very greatest issue that that Government will face will be their relationship with the trade unions. That is what they will be most concerned with. I predict infallibly that in no circumstances whatever will the right hon. Gentleman, or whoever else is responsible, legislate such Lords amendments. There is not a chance of his doing so and antagonising the entire trade union movement for something as hypothetical as this.

I could have considered the Opposition's attitude mischievous. I do not, but I think that they have still not learned the lesson of 1971. If the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby will read his own remarks in Hansard tomorrow he will see what I mean. He will not accept that anything other than law is a guarantee of freedom in this case. He accuses the Manifesto Group and others on these benches, who have worked at least as hard as he has done on this issue, of having sold the pass and of being paper tigers only because they cannot get some guarantee to do something that, in my judgment, would be a folly—namely, to bring in the courts.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford

The hon. Gentleman has the high regard of the whole House. I would be grateful if he would explain how he believes that statutes should interfere with and control the affairs of the City, industry, commerce and every public body in the country but not the trade union movement.

Photo of Mr Brian Walden Mr Brian Walden , Birmingham, Ladywood

That question would take me very wide of the debate and you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would not welcome that, but perhaps I can answer it in a sentence. Our law evolved in the way it did long before the trade unions had any effective influence. They do not fit into it. Any attempt to put them on the procrustean bed does not work. It is not a question simply of their not accepting it. They do not fit it, and it does not fit them. The two do not hive well together. We do not serve the best interests of the country by trying to make them do so. We have to handle the problem in other ways.

I do not deny that there are genuine worries I do not want to prevaricate about the matter. There are numerous worries. I do not want to prevaricate and the most important is the fear that the lunatic section of the NUJ will eventually get hold of some editor somewhere and make sure that the paper is run as a Trotskyite rag with no possibility of anyone other than the totalitarian Left giving views on the issues of the day. That is the real fear, stated in my usual blunt and, I hope, straightforward terms. I do not deny that there are people who would like to do it, but they are a very small minority in the unions.

Photo of Mr Brian Walden Mr Brian Walden , Birmingham, Ladywood

That is nonsensical. The leadership of the NUJ are among the strongest supporters of the freedom of the Press, but there are a small number of members in the union who would do it if they could.

Nothing could be more valuable than that we should have had these numerous debates on the freedom of the Press, because it is clear, and is a far better guarantee than any law, that it is simply impossible, and should be acknowledged everywhere to be impossible, for such a situation to occur without the House of Commons taking steps to redress it. In other words, I do not believe that there will be troubles of the kind that have been put forward as possibilities, because I think that everyone now realises that if such action were to be taken those who have fought so hard for my right hon. Friend's point of view would have to admit that it had not stood the test of time. That action, therefore, ought to be subject to a different remedy.

The most sensible thing in any legislature is not to legislate for distant hypothetical events, but to relate oneself to practical possibilities. It would be apposite to adopt deterrents when there was some proven need for them. At the moment there is not.

Photo of Mr Harold McCusker Mr Harold McCusker , County Armagh

As someone who has spent a considerable part of his working life in industrial relations and has always appreciated blunt, straightforward speaking, I very much agree with what has been said by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Lady-wood (Mr. Walden). I do not wish to reiterate the arguments we have listened to almost ad nauseam on this subject. The Ulster Unionists acknowledge the paramount importance of Press freedom and share the concern over any possibility of its being eroded.

While there are differences of opinion within our group on the merits of a closed shop, we are united in feeling that we cannot support any attempt to provide special protection for a very small and isolated section of the working population. A few days ago we removed special category status from a number of the people in the community to which I belong. In going along with the Government tonight, we are showing that we do not wish to confer special category status on other people.

Photo of Mr George Reid Mr George Reid , Stirlingshire East and Clackmannan

There is a Scottish word which adequately describes the difficulties of the House in considering this matter. The word is fankle, and it means muddle, confusion and difficulty in pinpointing the key issues in a debate. Many moderates in the House and outside are distressed by the degree to which the issue of Press freedom has become polarised. It could have been otherwise.

When the House last considered this matter there was a reasonable and practical amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Horam) which purported to have the support of the entire Manifesto Group. It went to the heart of the matter by recognising the uniquely privileged, but burdensome, position of editors. Editors have a threefold responsibility—to their public, proprietors and staff. The Secretary of State has said that Press freedom cannot be divorced from industrial relations practice, but where in industry is there a job comparable with that of an editor? He is subject to constraints by the needs of his paper to survive and by considerations of law. He must remain free from hidden influences within the NUJ and he carries the legal responsibility for a group product. An editor is guarantor of the collective freedom of his workers to get on with their job without political or proprietorial interference. How then can an editor neatly fit into the standard patterns of industrial life?

The Manifesto Group's amendment would have allowed an editor the freedom not to join a union. It said nothing about the rest of the editorial staff, but in reality it would have allowed a closed shop up to but not including the editorial chair. My party thought that right and proper. Those of us with some experience of newspaper offices have no wish to see the NUJ weakened, especially with the current economic difficulties of the newspaper industry. We did not want picture editors, sports editors, women's page editors and crossword editors released from normal trade union obligations.

There used to be an associate membership class within the NUJ. It was open to editors who had gone through the ranks and wanted to retain a foot in the union, while simultaneously the union recognised the inviolability of their external legal obligations. At least one senior member of the NUJ has told me that he believes that associate members' cards should be reintroduced and I think there is some sympathy for that view in the House.

The hon. Member for Gateshead, West did not move his amendment and it was left to Members of my party, along with the Liberals, the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) and the hon. Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken) to do the job for him. If the Conservative Party had mobilised its forces on that occasion, there was a real chance that the Government could have been defeated and that this central issue of Press freedom could have been settled. Instead, they sat on their hands as they do so often and abstained. They appeared to be set on pursuing the matter by confrontation in another place.

Many of us who are moderates and have had some experience of the newspaper industry look at the Lords amendments and the Secretary of State's amendments as a hopeless Hobson's choice. Is there no middle way which recognises the unique rôle of editors while at the same time allowing for a strong NUJ? The answer is apparently "No".

The freedom of the Press is a public freedom. It does not belong to the people working in the industry, whether proprietors, editors, journalists or compositors. Nor does it belong to the ideologies on either side. The public have a fundamental interest in knowing that what they read is free of constraints and outside forces.

Free editors are essential to free journalism. Instead of all the talk tonight of Parliament Acts, recourse to the law courts, and confrontation between the Commons and the Lords, it is a pity that the House did not confine itself to the essentially unique position of editors, and editors alone. It is a disservice to journalism tonight that this battle has not been fought out on the middle ground.

Photo of Mr Jonathan Aitken Mr Jonathan Aitken , Thanet East

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) threw down the gauntlet in his passionate speech. I was not a Member of this House during the passage of the Industrial Relations Bill 1971, but it strains credulity to breaking point and beyond belief that anyone, other than a handful of trade union leaders and Labour Party politicians, still believes that the atmosphere created by that Act makes it necessary for trade unions to be above the law. Not since the days of "the divine right of kings and benefit of clergy" have we had a group of over-mighty subjects said to be beyond the law. In asking us to drop legal backing from the Bill the Secretary of State is asking us to say that newspaper unions are beyond the law.

Some hon. Members have sought to portray the argument between this House and another place as a constitutional crisis. In the past it has been possible to portray such arguments as being a case of the peers versus the people, but this dispute is a clear case of the peers and the people versus the Government. The Secretary of State may have the votes in this House, but he has not won the argument in the country. The British people are rightly suspicious of any piece of legislation which is thought to jeopardise Press freedom.

They might have accepted legislation if it was supported by a Press charter definite in its terms, but this charter has the most glaring omissions. In particular, the 3,000 members of the Institute of Journalists do not have their rights protected by the vagueness of the Secretary of State's wording in the charter. The charter has no legal backing, not even the gentle legal backing of Lord Goodman's amendment. It is an extraordinary commentary on our situation that the Labour Party cannot use the words "law" and "trade unions" in the same sentence.

It is right for us to take a stand on this issue and I am glad that we shall be dividing the House.

6.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

The theme of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) appeared to be that cure is better than prevention and I do not think many people would support that concept. This is the Government's Bill, not the Opposition's. When hon. Members opposite go on about not wishing to bring the law into the question of freedom of the Press, they should remember that it is their Government introducing this Bill. It is the Bill which is endangering the freedom of the Press not the arguments put forward by the Opposition here or in the other place.

The Secretary of State is rejecting the rights of editors and other persons exercising editorial responsibilities to discharge their duties free from any obligation to join a trade union. Secondly, he is rejecting the right of journalists to join a trade union of their choice. Thirdly, he is rejecting the rights of editors to commission, publish or not to publish any article free from pressure by industrial action. Fourthly, he is rejecting the right of journalists not to be arbitrarily or unreasonably excluded or expelled from membership of a trade union.

The Government are taking us down a very dangerous path with this Bill. Before long, I have no doubt, the Secretary of State will be coming to this House demanding a Second Reading for a Trade Union and Labour Movement Bill. Clause 1 will contain provisions saying that no one shall have a job unless he is a member of an approved union. Then, perhaps Clause 2 will provide that a person can move from one job to another only if the unions at both places of employment so agree.

This is dangerous legislation setting dangerous precedents, and I hope that at this last opportunity the House will do its best to retain its sanity by retaining the Lords amendments.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

I was sorry to hear the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker) say on behalf of himself and his colleagues that he was against a special category for Press workers. I much prefer the words of a former Labour Minister who said in the other place that the printed word is too important to be regarded as a matter of industrial dispute. He went on to vote for the Goodman-Hailsham amendments which are now before us.

Many of the sentiments expressed in these long debates have been highflown, but the arguments have often been trivial. We seemed to get close to the heart of the matter on 15th October when my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken), who has made so many distinguished speeches in these debates, cited the case of Mr. Peter Robbins, the Rugby correspondent of the Financial Times, whose words had been blacked by the NUJ because he was not a member of that union even though he had been a correspondent for nine years, and who was then refused membership of the NUJ.

I support the amendments because I believe that the charter proposed by the Secretary of State would not have helped Mr. Robbins but that these amendments would. I note, however, the words of the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Corbett), who has held higher office in the NUJ than any other hon. Member, who in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, East on the Robbins case said: It is an extremely difficult problem and, in times of industrial pressure, things happen which are not normal or run-of-the-mill."—[Official Report, 15th October 1975; Vol. 897, c. 1461.] Alas, the Press today is under continuing pressure. We see the closure of the Scottish Daily News, and falling circulations in almost all branches of the newspaper industry. We see the shrinkage and elimination of profits. It is natural that members of the NUJ should be fearful for the safety of their jobs. It is only natural that they should look askance at outside contributors. The problem it causes to the Press is that too many industrious and intelligent journalists are at the moment chasing too few column inches.

The Times summed it up correctly when it said a few days ago: The freedom of the Press rests not on statute but on diversity of publication and diversity of access to publication. It is not perfect, but…it needs to be supported and defended; statute did not create it, but at least we must see that statute does not take it away. If we do not accept the Lords amendments I fear that this Bill will diminish that right of access.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

With the leave of the House I shall seek to match the brevity of the last few speakers, especially since I spoke at great length in opening. I gave way then to a large number of hon. Members, which lengthened my speech. I shall not reply to all the arguments from the Opposition Benches because most of them have been answered by my hon. Friends the Members for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) and Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden) and others who have effectively dealt with the main matters.

I wish first to reply to the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr, Grimond), who asked whether this question ought not to be referred to the Royal Commission. That possibility was discussed many months ago when the Royal Commission was originally established. Spokesmen for the Opposition and the British Guild of Newspaper Editors proposed that the issue of the closed shop and how it might affect journalism should be referred to the Royal Commission. Not only the Government but the Royal Commission itself took the contrary view.

Of course, the Royal Commission might in the course of its proceedings cover this subject along with others, and any Government must take account of what it would say if it did. However, the Commission wished to continue with its own investigation and it is therefore through its decision that the matter has not been dealt with in that way. Moreover, I think that the right hon. Gentleman was suggesting that the charter itself should be referred to the Royal Commission. I do not think that that has been suggested before or that it is a good idea.

The right people to draw up a charter are the journalists, the editors and the proprietors—those associated with the industry. I believe that they must certainly take account of the public interest. The code was originally proposed by Mr. Alastair Hetherington of The Guardian. I do not say that that was right, but it was an admirable document and it pointed the way to a solution of the problem. I hope we shall get a charter on that basis. One of our primary objectives is to help to secure that, and one of our primary objections to what is proposed by the House of Lords is that it would interfere with the whole of that procedure.

Photo of Mr Jonathan Aitken Mr Jonathan Aitken , Thanet East

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the necessity of journalists being involved in discussions on the charter. Will he give an assurance that when he speaks of journalists he means not only the NUJ but the Institute of Journalists as well?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I certainly think that the Institute of Journalists should participate in discussions on the charter. I also believe that other editors' groups—such as the magazine editors—should participate. How the negotiations are conducted is a matter for arrangement, but all these matters should be taken into account in the discussions on the charter. There are difficulties to be overcome, but the charter itself, secured by this voluntary means and in the absence of threats of sanctions at the end, will be of value. The threat of ultimate sanctions would poison the whole process. That is why we approached this matter in the way we did. I therefore urge those in another place to bear in mind that, if the Commons votes as we wish, they will bear the responsibility of interfering with the whole process which can lead to the establishment of the charter.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) asked me, in effect, what I was worrying about and why I could not accept the Goodman amendment. I do not wish to be offensive, but I am glad to see the ease with which almost universally Lord Hailsham's amendments have been shed by speakers on all sides. That is a commendation of our view that they should not be accepted. We are glad that that progress has been made.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby argues that the Goodman amendments are in a different category and he cites the very moderate—an appalling word that we have to use sometimes—speech of Lord Lloyd on this subject. I do not question Lord Lloyd's eminence in the legal sphere, but the hon. Member argues that the very moderate speech of Lord Lloyd on the subject shows that there is nothing to be afraid of in these amendments at all and that they hardly amount to anything and do not impinge in any important way.

That may be the view of Lord Lloyd. He may think that the amendments do not have any great consequence. If they have a considerable consequence, we must discover it. I contend that they have considerable consequence partly because the aim of introducing them is largely to create the possibility of legal actions. The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby nods his head, and when he does that his case falls.

Lord Goodman has also spoken in another place of pressing the amendment to a Division. I agree that I must not quote what he said, but apparently the reason for pressing the amendment so strongly is that there must be proper legal remedies. That again, in my opinion, is a very different emphasis from that given by Loyd Lloyd.

I am perfectly entitled to quote what was said by the Lord Chancellor, because he was speaking officially on behalf of the Government and also with full knowledge of the whole of these legal matters. This is what was said by the Lord Chancellor about the legal aspects of the matter on which the House will soon be voting, and it is one of the paramount reasons for my saying that the House should not accept what the Lords have proposed. The Lord Chancellor said: I must tell the House that I simply do not know what limits could be foreseen to the possible scope of this Amendment, or its consequence in practice. If rules and agreements"— which was what Lord Goodman was originally thinking of— were to have added to them acts or conduct"— which is what they have added to them under the provisions— the difficulties could be compounded"—[Official Report, House of Lords, 3rd November 1975; Vol. 365, c. 963.] We are asked to vote for a procedure for creating legal actions of infinite number. Nobody knows how wide it will stretch. It could go far beyond any of the narrow questions emphasised by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. That is the proposition facing us. We are asked to try to deal with this matter by writing into the law of the land a highly uncertain provision. The Lord Chancellor has said that nobody knows how far it could go. One thing we know is that the intention is to create a whole new field for starting legal actions to deal with this question.

We say that this is wrong. We believe that the House of Lords, on reconsideration, should say that it is wrong. We urge the House of Lords, therefore, to take into account—if it votes on this—what the House of Commons has said on this matter on two occasions after long deliberation. We believe that we have a right to urge that the House of Lords should treat the matter with the utmost seriousness.

On these matters the Labour Government have to contend with many objections in the House of Lords. In the case of the Industrial Relations Act 1971, which is now condemned on both sides, there were no difficulties for a previous Government from the House of Lords. Some amendments came from the House of Lords on that subject, but there was not a single amendment from the House of Lords challenging the central principle that was being enunciated by the Government of the day.

What we are proposing, in dealing with this problem, has had the backing of the House of Commons on numerous occasions. I trust that it will have the backing of the House of Commons on this occasion. If it does, I hope that that will be the end of the matter and that the House of Lords will accept the verdict.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

Let me begin by mentioning the things on which we agree. Not for the first time, I agree with something said by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden). He said that we should make no apology for returning to these debates on the freedom of the Press. They are well worth while. Also, we agree that a new body should be constituted to hear complaints and to make declarations about them. That was the new element introduced by a Government in the House of Lords last time. We agree with the drafting changes to Lords Amendment No. 2A.

Having said that, I now turn to the greater issues with which we have been concerned. The right hon. Gentleman opened the debate with a long speech in the course of which there were many interventions—a number being of his own making. There was no sign at all of compromise from the right hon. Gentleman. We had his usual blend of misrepresentation, of backward-looking dogmatism, and the bluff and huff that we associate so well with him. The happiest portion of his speech seemed to be when he was dwelling in the 1920s with D. H. Lawrence and Lady Chatterley—or with "Lady Chatterley's Lover".

The right hon. Gentleman responded to an intervention by saying that he was speaking in a very appeasing mood—that he felt very appeasing. One wonders which is the major body to which that appeasement is directed. At that particular moment it might have been one of their Lordships, but, surveying all these debates, one feels that the appeasement has been directed to the leaders of the TUC, that it is they who occupy first place in his mind.

The right hon. Gentleman has also been guilty of a great deal of twisting and turning on the arguments. He has changed his ground. That is not unusual for him—in fact, it is characteristic. On the last occasion he objected to the idea of the contents of the charter being laid down and having some legal effect. He said then: It is quite indefensible that the party concerned should be enabled to draw up its own code which would include statutory offences which could be enforceable without Parliament's having detailed scrutiny over them."—[Official Report, 15th October, 1975; Vol. 897, c. 1428.] He has thrown the whole of that argument totally overboard today. He has said not a word on that argument, which was the central core of his objection to these proposals last time.

This time we have had some new objections. The first was about the contents of the charter. He has argued that if Parliament agreed to the Lords amendments, the industry would refuse to establish a charter. He made that assertion with no evidence to support his view, and I assert a totally opposite point of view. I believe that if by a substantial majority Parliament agreed the provisions that should be in the charter, those concerned would take account of the views of Parliament and would apply them and would weld and meld their charter around them.

The right hon. Gentleman presented a lurid and somewhat horrendous picture of how these provisions would lead to an increase in cheque-book journalism, and other nasty and unpleasant practices. He prayed in aid the Lord Chancellor's having given support to this view, but when he was pressed we discovered that the speech of the Lord Chancellor to which he was referring had nothing to do with the contents of the charter. It was even made on a different day, and was concerned wholly with the question of the implementation of legal backing.

What we have seen once more today—and the speech from the hon. Member for Ladywood was perhaps the most fluent in putting this view—has been the central objection of the Government and of their supporters to any legislation involving any access to the courts in any way in support of freedom of the Press. That well-known bogy man, the Industrial Relations Act 1971, was brought out again, dusted off and shown to us all. What seemed earlier this year to be the powerful, iron-like determination of the Manifesto Group to defend effective measures has melted away.

The core of the argument seems to be that the unions and their members will always refuse to accept the decisions and jurisdictions of courts on industrial matters. I do not believe that to be so. If it were, the right hon. Gentleman and his party would bear a heavy share of the blame for creating that state of affairs by their encouragement or silence in years gone by, with the exception of the present Minister for Overseas Development and a few others who spoke out in favour of the courts and upholding the rule of law.

I do not agree that leaders of unions will not accept the verdict of the courts and due process of law on important matters. We have the recent example of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers on the question of postal ballots. On a matter central to the internal workings of that union, an aggrieved member found that the only way he could seek redress for what he thought was the wrong imposition of a method of balloting, which would give greater scope to the extremists, was to go to court. To do them credit, the leaders of the AUEW have accepted the court's decision.

On another issue, which is an internal one for the unions, the operation of the Bridlington Agreement, the courts very recently determined the APEX-ASTMS-SAGA case. I understand that the unions have accepted the courts' decision there.

I am not sure how many injunctions have been granted recently. I remember that concerning the car ferry "Eagle"—that a car and luggage should be released. The result was that they were released. One can only speculate as to whether the injunction contributed towards the agreement.

Photo of Mr Brian Walden Mr Brian Walden , Birmingham, Ladywood

I hate to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, because he does not have much time, but this is a crucial point. Does he not see the difference between the courts interpreting a union's own rules, which it has made itself, and the unions observing the normal law, as in the ferry case, and what the hon. Gentleman keeps wanting to do, which is to write the unions' rules for them? This they will never accept.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

I do not agree with that summary of the case, because the whole basis of the Government argument is that it is wrong for Parliament to seek to legislate in any way that would interfere with industrial relations. I cannot accept that sort of blanket, total restriction, because it would mean that the trade unions would be placed in a unique position of privilege, above and outside any new law that Parliament might care to make.

The truth is very different. In many matters the Government are under the thumb of the trade union leaders. It is the opposition of trade union leaders, not of rank and file trade union members, that weighs so heavily with the Secretary of State. At the heart of the matter lies the Government's refusal to accept that there must be adequate safeguards against arbitrary expulsion or exclusion from union membership, or adequate safeguards for conscience or deeply held personal convictions in a closed shop.

The Government's whole argument about the dangers and difficulties of legislation is totally inconsistent with what the hon. Member for Ladywood and some of his hon. Friends have said about their position at the end of the day. As the hon. Gentleman told us tonight, if perchance the group of mad, wild International Socialists, Marxists, of the Left within the National Union of Journalists ever gained control and sought to impose their views on the whole profession, he would be opposed to that. On Report, he spoke in slightly stronger terms, saying: if the power of the NUJ were ever misused to restrict access of non-NUJ members to the Press there would be legislation in this House."—[Official Report, 12th February 1975: Vol. 886, c. 492.] At the end of the day, there is not all that much difference between us. We accept the sincerity of the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends who take the same view. The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Magee) also said on Report that at the end of the day there might be a need for legislation.

Having said that, Labour Members undercut the whole of the Secretary of State's case and the case that they themselves have deployed against legislation, which is that it would he ineffective. Therefore, the House should support both the Hailsham and the Goodman amendments, which are a genuine attempt at compromise. From Lord Hailsham there is a right to redress to the aggrieved individual or organisation, a remedy to compensate for a specific injury—no more, no less. From Lord Goodman there is a declaration that such matters are matters of public policy. I should have thought that that would attract the support of the hon. Member for Ash-field (Mr. Marquand), who spoke in similar terms when we last debated the Lords amendments on 15th October.

The Secretary of State is also asking us to delete the passage in the Goodman amendment that says that common law rights should not be restricted or abridged. How can the right hon. Gentleman justify his opposition to that? Does he seek to abridge or restrict statute law rights or common law rights as they now exist? He surely cannot be massing his forces on a three-line Whip and talking about a constitutional crisis merely because he believes that another place has put in words that were not totally necessary. His attack, as I understand it, is not on tautology but on the substance of the matter.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

As I have told the hon. Gentleman in many of these debates, there is no interference whatever with common law or statute rights in this sense. The paragraph is superfluous. That is why we have paid no attention to it in the debate. The public policy issue is very different, and that is the issue on which I have laid the chief emphasis. In what we are doing there is no interference with common law rights.

7.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Hounslow Brentford and Isleworth

It has been good to get that assurance from the right hon. Gentleman, but in fact he is massing his forces to vote down that part of the Lords amendment.

Both the Hailsham and Goodman amendments deserve the support of the House. The Goodman amendments have been supported by cross-bench opinion. In another place they have been supported by the Liberals, by the Conservatives and by a former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is interesting to note how Labour Members treat those whom they used to be cheering not so long ago. What about the former widow of a highly respected leader of the Labour Party? She, too, was in support of the amendments of another place, as was a former Labour Minister.

We should take account of the weighty all-party support that the amendments have had in another place. That is why we intend to vote to sustain the Lords' view of the contents of the charter and to support both the Hailsham and Goodman amendments. The freedom of the Press demands more positive and effective action than the Government at present accept. The constitutional process is not yet complete and perhaps agreement on effective measures can yet be found.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Walsall North

On other occasions I have attacked the excesses of the Press, but I believe that the freedom of the Press is a most precious quality that we must fight to protect. I believe that on this occasion their Lordships have spoken for the public good. The House should support the Lords; amendment.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 290. Noes 241.

Division No. 388.]AYES[7.1 p.m.
Allaun, FrankCook, Robin F. (Edin C)Freeson, Reginald
Anderson, DonaldCorbett, RobinFreud, Clement
Archer, PeterCox, Thomas (Tooting)Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Armstrong, ErnestCraigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Ashley, JackCronin, JohnGeorge, Bruce
Ashton, JoeCrosland, Rt Hon AnthonyGilbert, Dr John
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Cryer, BobGinsburg, David
Atkinson, NormanCunningham, G. (Islington S)Golding, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Gould, Bryan
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Davidson, ArthurGourlay, Harry
Bates, AlfDavies, Bryan (Enfield N)Graham, Ted
Bean, R. E.Dairies, Denzil (Llanelli)Grant, George (Morpeth)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodDavies, Ifor (Gower)Grant, John (Islington C)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Bidwell, SydneyDeakins, EricGrocott, Bruce
Boardman, H.Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Hardy, Peter
Booth, AlbertDelargy, HughHarper, Joseph
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurDell, Rt Hon EdmundHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck)Dempsey, JamesHart, Rt Hon Judith
Bradley, TomDoig, PeterHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Dormand, J. D.Hatton, Frank
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Douglas-Mann, BruceHayman, Mrs. Helene
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)Dunlop, JohnHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Buchan, NormanDunn, James A.Heffer, Eric S.
Buchanan, RichardDunnett, JackHooley, Frank
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Eadle, AlexHooson, Emlyn
Cailaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Edge, GeoffHoram, John
Callagnan, Jim (Middleton & P)Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Campbell, IanEnglish, MichaelHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Canavan, DennisEnnals, DavidHoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Cant, R. B.Evan, Fred (Caerphilly)Huckfield, Les
Carmichel, NeilEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Carson, JohnEwing, Harry (Stirling)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Carter, RayFaulds, AndrewHughes, Roy (Newport)
Carter-Jones, LewisFernyhough, Rt Hon E.Hunter, Adam
Cartwright, JohnFitt, Gerard (Belfast W)Irving, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraFletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Clemitsen, IvorFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Foot, Rt Hon MichaelJackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Coleman, DonaldForrester, JohnJanner, Greville
Concannon, J. D.Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Conlan, BernardFraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Jeger, Mrs Lena
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
John, BrynmorMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Spearing, Nigel
Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Moyle, RolandSpriggs, Leslie
Jones, Alec (Rhondda)Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickStallard, A. W.
Jones, Barry (East Flint)Murray, Rt Hon Ronald KingSteel, David (Roxburgh)
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Newens, StanleyStoddart, David
Judd, FrankNoble, MikeStott, Roger
Kaufman, GeraldOakes, GordonStrang, Gavin
Kelley, RichardOgden, ErieStrauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Kerr, RussellO'Halloran, MichaelSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Kilroy-Silk, RobertO'Malley, Rt Hon BrianSwain, Thomas
Kinnock, NeilOrbach, MauriceTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Lambie, DavidOrme, Rt Hon StanleyThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lamborn, HarryOvenden, JohnThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Lamond, JamesOwen, Dr DavidThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Latham, Arthur (Paddington)Padley, WalterThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Leadbitter, TedPalmer, ArthurTierney, Sydney
Lee, JohnPardoe, JohnTinn, James
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Park, GeorgeTomlinson, John
Lever, Rt Hon HaroldParker, JohnTomney, Frank
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Parry, RobertTorney, Tom
Lipton, MarcusPeart, Rt Hon FredTuck, Raphael
Litterick, TomPendry, TomVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Lomas, KennethPenhaligon, DavidWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Loyden, EddiePowell, Rt Hon J. EnochWalden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Luard, EvanPrentice, Rt Hon RegWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lyon Alexander (York)Price, C. (Lewisham W)Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)Price, William (Rugby)Ward, Michael
Mabon, Dr J. DicksonRadice, GilesWatkins, David
McCartney, HughRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)Watkinson, John
McCusker, H.Richardson, Miss JoWeetch, Ken
McElhone, FrankRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Weitzman, David
MacFarquhar, RoderickRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Wellbeloved, James
McGuire, Michael (Ince)Robertson, John (Paisley)White, Frank R. (Bury)
Mackenzie, GregorRoderick, CaerwynWhite, James (Pollok)
Maclennan, RobertRodgers, George (Chorley)Whitehead, Phillip
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Rodgers, William (Stockton)Whitlock, William
Madden, MaxRooker, J. W.Wigley, Dafydd
Magee, BryanRoper, JohnWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
Mahon, SimonRose, Paul B.Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Marks, KennethRoss, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Marquand, DavidRoss, William (Londonderry)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Rowlands, TedWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Sandelson, NevilleWilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Maynard, Miss JoanSedgemore, BrianWilson, William (Coventry SE)
Meacher, MichaelShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)Wise, Mrs Audrey
Mellish, Rt Hon RobertSheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)Woodall, Alec
Mendelson, JohnShore, Rt Hon PeterWoof, Robert
Mikardo, IanShort, Rt. Hon E. (Newcastle C)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Millan, BruceShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)Young, David (Bolton E)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Molyneaux, JamesSillars, JamesMr. John Ellis and
Moorman, EricSkinner, DennisMr. James Hamilton.
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Small, William
Adley, RobertBuchanan-Smith, AlickFairgrieve, Russell
Aitken, JonathanBudgen, NickFarr, John
Alison, MichaelBulmer, EsmondFell, Anthony
Amery, Rt Hon JulianBurden, F. A.Finsberg, Geoffrey
Arnold, TomCarlisle, MarkFisher, Sir Nigel
Awdry, DanielChalker, Mrs LyndaFletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Baker, KennethChannon, PaulFletcher-Cooke, Charles
Banks, RobertChurchill, W. S.Fookes, Miss Janet
Bell, RonaldClark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Clark, William (Croydon S)Fox, Marcus
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Cockcroft, JohnFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Benyon, W.Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Fry, Peter
Berry, Hon AnthonyCope, JohnGalbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Biffen, JohnCormack, PatrickGardiner, George (Reigate)
Biggs-Davison, JohnCostain, A. P.Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Blaker, PeterCrouch, DavidGilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)
Body, RichardCrowder, F. P.Glyn, Dr Alan
Boscawen, Hon RobertDodsworth, GeoffreyGodber, Rt Hon Joseph
Bottomley, PeterDouglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesGoodhart, Philip
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Drayson, BurnabyGoodhew, Victor
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardGoodlad, Alastair
Braine, Sir BernardDurant, TonyGorst, John
Brittan, LeonEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnGow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Elliott, Sir WilliamGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Brotherton, MichaelEmery, PeterGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Eyre, ReginaldGray, Hamish
Bryan, Sir PaulFairbairn, NicholasGriffiths, Eldon
Grist, IanMcNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Grylls, MichaelMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Hall, Sir JohnMadel, DavidRoyle, Sir Anthony
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Mates, MichaelSainsbury, Tim
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Mather, CarolSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Hampson, Dr KeithMaude, AngusScott, Nicholas
Hannam, JohnMaudling, Rt Hon ReginaldShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Mawby, RayShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinShelton, William (Streatham)
Hastings, StephenMayhew, PatrickShepherd, Colin
Havers, Sir MichaelMeyer, Sir AnthonySilvester, Fred
Hawkins, PaulMills, PeterSims, Roger
Hayhoe, BarneyMiscampbell, NormanSinclair, Sir George
Heath, Rt Hon EdwardMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Skeet, T. H. H.
Heseltine, MichaelMoate, RogerSpeed, Keith
Hicks, RobertMonro, HectorSpence, John
Higgins, Terence L.Montgomery, FergusSproat, Iain
Holland, PhillipMoore, John (Croydon C)Slainton, Keith
Hordern, PeterMore, Jasper (Ludlow)Stanbrook, Ivor
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyMorgan, GeraintStanley, John
Howell, David (Guildford)Morris, Michael (Northampton S)Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Hunt, JohnMorrison, Charles (Devizes)Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hurd, DouglasMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Stokes, John
Hutchison, Michael ClarkMudd, DavidStonehouse, Rt Hon John
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Neave, AireyStradling Thomas, J.
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Nelson, AnthonyTapsell, Peter
James, DavidNeubert, MichaelTaylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Jenkin, Rt Hn P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)Newton, TonyTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Jessel, TobyNott, JohnTebbit, Norman
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Onslow, CranleyTemple-Morris, Peter
Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Oppenheim, Mrs SallyThatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Jopling, MichaelPage, John (Harrow West)Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Townsend, Cyril D.
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPattie, GeoffreyTrotter, Neville
Kershaw, AnthonyPercival, IanTugendhat, Christopher
Kimball, MarcusPeyton, Rt Hon Johnvan Straubenzee, W. R.
King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Pink, R. BonnerVaughan, Dr Gerard
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Price, David (Eastleigh)Viggers, Peter
Kitson, Sir TimothyPrior, Rt Hon JamesWakeham, John
Knight, Mrs JillPym, Rt Hon FrancisWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Knox, DavidRaison, TimothyWalker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Lamont, NormanRathbone, TimWall, Patrick
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRawlinson, Rt Hon Sir PeterWalters, Dennis
Latham, Michael (Melton)Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Warren, Kenneth
Lawrence, IvanRees-Davies, W. R.Weatherill, Bernard
Lawson, NigelRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)Wells, John
Le Marchant, SpencerRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)Wiggin, Jerry
Lloyd, IanRidley, Hon NicholasWinterton, Nicholas
Loveridge, JohnRidsdale, JulianYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Luce, RichardRifkind, MalcolmYounger, Hon George
McAdden, Sir StephenRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
McCrindle, RobertRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Macfarlane, NeilRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Mr. Adam Butler and
MacGregor, JohnRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question, That this House doth insist on its amendment to the Lords amendment to which the Lords have disagreed—[Mr. Foot]—put and agreed to.

Lords Amendment No. 2A in lieu of Commons Amendment No. 2 disagreed to.

Amendment made in lieu of the Lords amendment:In subsection (3), line 7, leave out from 'draft' to end of subsection and insert ', in accordance with subsection (3A) below, a charter containing such practical guidance as is referred to in subsection (1) above, and shall lay the draft before both Houses of Parliament.(3A) Where, or so far as, there appears to the Secretary of State to be agreement among the parties referred to in subsection (1) above on any matter relating to the freedom of the press, he shall incorporate in the draft charter such practical guidance as he thinks appropriate to give effect to that agreement; and where, or so far as, there appears to the Secretary of State to be no such agreement on any of the particular matters mentioned in subsection (2) above as included in matters relating to the freedom of the press, he shall incorporate in the draft charter such practical guidance on that matter as he thinks fit'.—[Mr. Foot.]

Amendment to Lords Amendment No. 3A proposed: in paragraph (b) leave out from 'well-founded' to end of paragraph.—[Mr. Foot.]

Motion made, and Question put, That the amendment to the Lords amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 243.

Division No. 389.]AYES[7.15 p.m.
Allaun, FrankFletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)McCartney, Hugh
Anderson, DonaldFletcher, Ted (Darlington)McCusker, H.
Archer, PeterFoot, Rt Hon MichaelMcElhone, Frank
Armstrong, ErnestForrester, JohnMacFarquhar, Roderick
Ashley, JackFowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Ashton, JoeFraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Mackenzie, Gregor
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Freeson, ReginaldMaclennan, Robert
Atkinson, NormanFreud, ClementMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Garrett, John (Norwich S)Madden, Max
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Magee, Bryan
Bates, AlfGeorge, BruceMahon, Simon
Bean, R. E.Gilbert, Dr JohnMallalieu, J. P. W.
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodGinsburg, DavidMarks, Kenneth
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Golding, JohnMarquand, David
Bidwell, SydneyGould, BryanMarshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Boardman, H.Gourlay, HarryMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Booth, AlbertGraham, TedMaynard, Miss Joan
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurGrant, George (Morpeth)Meacher, Michael
Boyden, James (Bish Auck)Grant, John (Islington C)Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Bradley, TomGrimond, Rt Hon J.Mendelson, John
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Grocott, BruceMikardo Ian
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Millan, Bruce
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)Hardy, PeterMiller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Buchan, NormanHarper, JosephMiller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Buchanan, RichardHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)Molyneaux, James
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Hart, Rt Hon JudithMoonman, Eric
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Hatton, FrankMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Campbell, IanHayman, Mrs. HeleneMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Canavan, DennisHealey, Rt Hon DenisMoyle, Roland
Cant, R. B.Heffer, Eric S.Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Carmichael, NeilHooley, FrankMurray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Carson, JohnHooson, EmlynNewens, Stanley
Carter, RayHoram, JohnNoble, Mike
Carter Jones, LewisHowell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)Oakes, Gordon
Cartwright, JohnHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)Ogden, Eric
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraHoyle, Doug (Nelson)O'Halloran, Michael
Clemitson, IvorHuckfield, LesO'Malley, Rt Hon Brian
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)Orbach, Maurice
Coleman, DonaldHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Concannon, J. D.Hughes, Roy (Newport)Ovenden, John
Conlan, BernardHunter, AdamOwen, Dr David
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Padley, Walter
Corbett, RobinIrving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Palmer, Arthur
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)Pardoe, John
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)Park, George
Cronin, JohnJanner, GrevilleParker, John
Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyJay, Rt Hon DouglasParry, Robert
Cryer, BobJeger, Mrs LenaPeart, Rt Hon Fred
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Pendry, Tom
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Penhaligon, David
Davidson, ArthurJohn, BrynmorPowell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)Jones, Alec (Rhondda)Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Jones, Barry (East Flint)Price, William (Rugby)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Jones, Dan (Burnley)Radice, Giles
Deakins, EricJudd, FrankRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Kaufman, GeraldRichardson, Miss Jo
Delargy, HughKelley, RichardRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dell, Rt Hon EdmundKerr, RussellRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Dempsey, JamesKilroy-Silk, RobertRobertson, John (Paisley)
Doig, PeterKinnock, NeilRoderick, Caerwyn
Douglas-Mann, BruceLambie, DavidRodgers, George (Chorley)
Dunlop, JohnLamborn, HarryRodgers, William (Stockton)
Dunn, James A.Lamond, JamesRooker, J. W.
Dunnett, JackLatham, Arthur (Paddington)Roper, John
Eadie, AlexLeadbitter, TedRose, Paul B.
Edge, GeoffLee, JohnRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Ellis, Jonn (Brigg & Scun)Lever, Rt Hon HaroldRoss, William (Londonderry)
English, MichaelLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Rowlands, Ted
Ennals, DavidLipton, MarcusSandelson, Neville
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)Litterick, TomSedgemore, Brian
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Lomas, KennethShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling)Loyden, EddieSheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Faulds, AndrewLuard, EvanShore, Rt Hon Peter
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Lyon, Alexander (York)Short, Rt. Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Flannery, MartinLyons, Edward (Bradford W)Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Mabon, Dr J. DicksonSilkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Tinn, JamesWhitlock, William
Sillars, JamesTomlinson, JohnWigley, Dafydd
Skinner, DennisTomney, FrankWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
Small, WilliamTorney, TomWilliams, Alan (Swansea W)
Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)Tuck, RaphaelWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Spearing, NigelVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Spriggs, LeslieWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Stallard, A. W.Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Steel, David (Roxburgh)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Stott, RogerWalker, Terry (Kingswood)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Strang, GavinWard, MichaelWise, Mrs Audrey
Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.Watkins, DavidWoodall, Alec
Summerskill, Hon Dr ShirleyWatkinson, JohnWoof, Robert
Swain, ThomasWeetch, KenWrigglesworth, Ian
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)Weitzman, DavidYoung, David (Bolton E)
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)Wellbeloved, JamesTELLERS FOR THE AYES
Thomas, Milke (Newcastle E)White, Frank R. (Bury)Mr. J. D. Dormand and
Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)White, James (Pollok)Mr. David Stoddart.
Thorne, Stan (Preston South)Whitehead, Phillip
Tierney, Sydney
Adley, RobertFookes, Miss JanetLatham, Michael (Melton)
Aitken, JonathanFowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)Lawrence, Ivan
Alison, MichaelFox, MarcusLawson, Nigel
Amery, Rt Hon JulianFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Lloyd, Ian
Arnold, TomFry, PeterLoveridge, John
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.McAdden, Sir Stephen
Awdry, DanielGardiner, George (Reigate)McCrindle, Robert
Baker, KennethGardner, Edward (S Fylde)Macfarlane, Neil
Banks, RobertGilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)MacGregor, John
Bell, RonaldGlyn, Dr AlanMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Godber, Rt Hon JosephMcNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Goodhart, PhilipMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Benyon, W.Goodhew, VictorMadel, David
Berry, Hon AnthonyGoodlad, AlastairMates, Michael
Biffen, JohnGorst, JohnMather, Carol
Biggs-Davison, JohnGow, Ian (Eastbourne)Maude, Angus
Blaker, PeterGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald
Body, RichardGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)Mawby, Ray
Boscawen, Hon RobertGray, HamishMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Bottomley, PeterGriffiths, EldonMayhew, Patrick
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Grist, IanMeyer, Sir Anthony
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Grylls, MichaelMills, Peter
Braine, Sir BernardHall, Sir JohnMiscampbell, Norman
Brittan, LeonHall-Davis, A. G. F.Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Moate, Roger
Brotherton, MichaelHampson, Dr KeithMonro, Hector
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Hannam, JohnMontgomery, Fergus
Bryan, Sir PaulHarrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Moore, John (Croydon C)
Buchanan-Smith, AlickHarvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissMore, Jasper (Ludlow)
Budgen, NickHastings, StephenMorgan, Geraint
Bulmer, EsmondHavers, Sir MichaelMorris, Michael (Northampton S)
Burden, F. A.Hawkins, PaulMorrison, Charles (Devizes)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Hayhoe, BarneyMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Carlisle, MarkHeath, Rt Hon EdwardMudd, David
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHeseltine, MichaelNeave, Airey
Channon, PaulHicks, RobertNelson, Anthony
Churchill, W. S.Higgins, Terence L.Neubert, Michael
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Holland, PhillipNewton, Tony
Clark, William (Croydon S)Hordern, PeterNott, John
Cockcroft, JohnHowe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyOnslow, Cranley
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Howell, David (Guildford)Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Cope, JohnHunt, JohnPage, John (Harrow West)
Cormack, PatrickHurd, DouglasPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Costain, A. P.Hutchison, Michael ClarkParkinson, Cecil
Crouch, DavidIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Pattie, Geoffrey
Crowder, F. P.Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Percival, Ian
Dodsworth, GeoffreyJames, DavidPeyton, Rt Hon John
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesJenkin, Rt Hn P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)Pink, R. Bonner
Drayson, BurnabyJessel, TobyPrice, David (Eastleigh)
du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardJohnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Prior, Rt Hon James
Durant, TonyJones, Arthur (Daventry)Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnJopling, MichaelRaison, Timothy
Elliott, Sir WilliamJoseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRathbone, Tim
Emery, PeterKaberry, Sir DonaldRawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Eyre, ReginaldKershaw, AnthonyRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Fairbairn, NicholasKimball, MarcusRees-Davies, W. R.
Fairgrieve, RussellKing, Evelyn (South Dorset)Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Farr, JohnKing, Tom (Bridgwater)Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Fell, AnthonyKitson, Sir TimothyRidley, Hon Nicholas
Finsberg, GeoffreyKnight, Mrs JillRidsdale, Julian
Fisher, Sir NigelKnox, DavidRifkind, Malcolm
Fletcher Alex (Edinburgh N)Lamont, NormanRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesLangford-Holt, Sir JohnRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway)Sproat, Iainvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Stainton, KeithVaughan, Dr Gerard
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Stanbrook, IvorViggers, Peter
Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)Stanley, JohnWakeham, John
Royle, Sir AnthonySteen, Anthony (Wavertree)Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Sainsbury, TimStewart, Ian (Hitchin)Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
St. John-Stevas, NormanStokes, JohnWall, Patrick
Scott, NicholasStonehouse, Rt Hon JohnWalters, Dennis
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Stradling Thomas, J.Warren, Kenneth
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)Tapsell, PeterWeatherill, Bernard
Shelton, William (Streatham)Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)Wells, John
Shepherd, ColinTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)Wiggin, Jerry
Silvester, FredTebbit, NormanWinterton, Nicholas
Sims, RogerTemple-Morris, PeterYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Sinclair, Sir GeorgeThatcher, Rt Hon MargaretYounger, Hon George
Skeet, T. H. H.Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Speed, KeithTownsend, Cyril D.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Spence, JohnTrotter, NevilleMr. Spencer Le Marchan and
Spicer, Michael (S. Worcester)Tugendhat, ChristopherMr. Richard Luce.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Further amendment to Lords Amendment No. 3 A made: leave out from "Any decision" to end of subsection.—[Mr. Foot.]

Lords Amendment No. 3A, as amended, agreed to.

Lords Amendment No. 4A to Commons Amendment No. 4.

Motion made, and Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment—[Mr. Foot]:—

The House divided: Ayes 281, Noes 250.

Division No. 390.]AYES[7.26 p.m.
Allaun, FrankDavies, Bryan (Enfield N)Hooley, Frank
Anderson, DonaldDavies, Denzil (Llanelli)Horam, John
Archer, PeterDavies, Ifor (Gower)Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Armstrong, ErnestDavis, Clinton (Hackney C)Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Ashley, JackDeakins, EricHuckfield, Les
Ashton, JoeDean, Joseph (Leeds West)Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Delargy, HughHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Atkinson, NormanDell, Rt Hon EdmundHughes, Roy (Newport)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Dempsey, JamesHunter, Adam
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Doig, PeterIrvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Bates, AlfDormand, J. D.Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Bean, R. E.Douglas-Mann, BruceJackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodDunlop, JohnJackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Dunn, James A.Janner, Greville
Bidwell, SydneyDunnett, JackJay, Rt Hon Douglas
Boardman, H.Eadie, AlexJeger, Mrs Lena
Booth, AlbertEdge, GeoffJenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurEnglish, MichaelJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck)Ennals, DavidJohn, Brynmor
Bradley, TomEvans, Fred (Caerphilly)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Ewing, Harry (Stirling)Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)Faulds, AndrewJones, Dan (Burnley)
Buchan, NormanFernyhough, Rt Hon E.Judd, Frank
Buchanan, RichardFlannery, MartinKaufman, Gerald
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Kelley, Richard
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Kerr, Russell
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Foot, Rt Hon MichaelKilroy-Silk, Robert
Campbell, IanForrester, JohnKinnock, Neil
Canavan, DennisFowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Lambie, David
Cant, R. B.Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Lamborn, Harry
Carmichael, NeilFreeson, ReginaldLamond, James
Carson, JohnGarrett, John (Norwich S)Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Carter, RayGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Leadbitter, Ted
Carter-Jones, LewisGeorge, BruceLee, John
Cartwright, JohnGilbert, Dr JohnLestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraGinsburg, DavidLever, Rt Hon Harold
Clemitson, IvorGolding, JohnLewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Gould, BryanLipton, Marcus
Coleman, DonaldGourlay, HarryLitterick, Tom
Concannon, J. D.Graham, TedLomas, Kenneth
Conlan, BernardGrant, George (Morpeth)Loyden, Eddie
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Grant, John (Islington C)Luard, Evan
Corbett, RobinGrocott, BruceLyon, Alexander (York)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Hardy, PeterMabon, Dr J. Dickson
Cronin, JohnHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)McCartney, Hugh
Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyHart, Rt Hon JudithMcCusker, H.
Cryer, BobHattersley, Rt Hon RoyMcElhone, Frank
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Hatton, FrankMacFarquhar, Roderick
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Hayman, Mrs HeleneMcGuire, Michael (Ince)
Davidson, ArthurHealey, Rt Hon DenisMackenzie, Gregor
Heffer, Eric S.Maclennan, Robert
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Prentice, Rt Hon RegThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Madden, MaxPrice, C. (Lewisham W)Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Magee, BryanPrice, William (Rugby)Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Mahon, SimonRadice, GilesTierney, Sydney
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)Tinn, James
Marks, KennethRichardson, Miss JoTomlinson, John
Marquand, DavidRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Tomney, Frank
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Torney, Tom
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Robertson, John (Paisley)Tuck, Raphael
Maynard, Miss JoanRoderick, CaerwynVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Meacher, MichaelRodgers, George (Chorley)Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Mellish, Rt Hon RobertRodgers, William (Stockton)Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Mendelson, JohnRooker, J. W.Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mikardo, IanRoper, JohnWalker, Terry (Kingswood)
Millan, BruceRose, Paul B.Ward, Michael
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)Watkins, David
Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Ross, William (Londonderry)Watkinson, John
Molyneaux, JamesRowlands, TedWeetch, Ken
Moonman, EricSandelson, NevilleWeitzman, David
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Sedgemore, BrianWellbeloved, James
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)White, Frank R. (Bury)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)White, James (Pollok)
Moyle, RolandShore, Rt Hon PeterWhitehead, Phillip
Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickShort, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)Whitlock, William
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald KingShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)Wigley, Dafydd
Newens, StanleySilkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Noble, MikeSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Oakes, GordonSillars, JamesWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Ogden, EricSkinner, DennisWilliams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
O'Halloran, MichaelSmall, WilliamWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
O'Malley, Rt Hon BrianSmith, John (N Lanarkshire)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Orbach, MauriceSpearing, NigelWilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Orme, Rt Hon StanleySpriggs, LeslieWilson, William (Coventry SE)
Ovenden, JohnStallard, A. W.Wise, Mrs Audrey
Owen, Dr DavidStoddart, DavidWoodall, Alec
Padley, WalterStott, RogerWoof, Robert
Palmer, ArthurStrang, GavinWrigglesworth, Ian
Park, GeorgeStrauss, Rt Hon G. R.Young, David (Bolton E)
Parker, JohnSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Parry, RobertSwain, ThomasTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Peart, Rt Hon FredTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)Mr. John Ellis and
Pendry, TomThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)Mr. Joseph Harper
Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Adley, RobertCope, JohnGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Aitken, JonathanCormack, PatrickGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Alison, MichaelCostain, A. P.Gray, Hamish
Amery, Rt Hon JulianCrouch, DavidGriffiths, Eldon
Arnold, TomCrowder, F. P.Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)Grist, Ian
Awdry, DanielDodsworth, GeoffreyGrylls, Michael
Baker, KennethDouglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesHall, Sir John
Banks, RobertDrayson, BurnabyHall-Davis, A. G. F.
Bell, Ronalddu Cann, Rt Hon EdwardHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Durant, TonyHampson, Dr Keith
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnHannam, John
Berry, Hon AnthonyElliott, Sir WilliamHarrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)
Biffen, JohnEmery, PeterHarvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss
Biggs-Davison, JohnEyre, ReginaldHastings, Stephen
Blaker, PeterFairbairn, NicholasHavers, Sir Michael
Body, RichardFairgrieve, RussellHawkins, Paul
Boscawen, Hon RobertFarr, JohnHayhoe, Barney
Bottomley, PeterFell, AnthonyHeath, Rt Hon Edward
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Finsberg, GeoffreyHeseltine, Michael
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Fisher, Sir NigelHicks, Robert
Braine, Sir BernardFletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)Higgins, Terence L.
Brittan, LeonFletcher-Cooke, CharlesHolland, Philip
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Fookes, Miss JanetHooson, Emlyn
Brotherton, MichaelFowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)Hordern, Peter
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Fox, MarcusHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Bryan, Sir PaulFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Howell, David (Guildford)
Buchanan-Smith, AlickFreud, ClementHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Budgan, NickFry, PeterHunt, John
Bulmer, EsmondGalbraith, Hon. T. G. D.Hurd, Douglas
Burden, F. A.Gardiner, George (Reigate)Hutchison, Michael Clark
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Carlisle, MarkGilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Chalker, Mrs LyndaGlyn, Dr AlanJames, David
Channon, PaulGodber, Rt Hon JosephJenkin, Rt Hn P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)
Churchill, W. S.Goodhart, PhilipJessel, Toby
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Goodhew, VictorJohnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Clark, William (Croydon S)Goodlad, AlastairJones, Arthur (Daventry)
Cockcroft, JohnGorst, JohnJopling, Michael
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Kaberry, Sir DonaldMudd, DavidSims, Roger
Kershaw, AnthonyNeave, AireySinclair, Sir George
Kimball, MarcusNelson, AnthonySkeet, T. H. H.
King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Neubert, MichaelSpeed, Keith
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Newton, TonySpence, John
Kitson, Sir TimothyNott, JohnSpicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Knight, Mrs JillOnslow, CranleySproat, Iain
Knox, DavidOppenheim, Mrs SallyStainton, Keith
Lamont, NormanPage, John (Harrow West)Stanbrook, Ivor
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Stanley, John
Latham, Michael (Melton)Pardoe, JohnSteel, David (Roxburgh)
Lawrence, IvanParkinson, CecilSteen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Lawson, NigelPattie, GeoffreyStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Le Marchant, SpencerPenhaligon, DavidStokes, John
Lloyd, IanPercival, IanStonehouse, Rt Hon John
Loveridge, JohnPeyton, Rt Hon JohnStradling Thomas, J.
Luce, RichardPink, R. BonnerTapsell, Peter
McAdden, Sir StephenPrice, David (Eastleigh)Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
McCrindle, RobertPrior, Rt Hon JamesTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Macfarlane, NeilPym, Rt Hon FrancisTebbit, Norman
MacGregor, JohnRaison, TimothyTemple-Morris, Peter
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Rathbone, TimThatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir PeterThomas, Rt. Hon P. (Hendon S)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Townsend, Cyril D.
Madel, DavidRees-Davies, W. R.Trotter, Neville
Mates, MichaelRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)Tugendhat, Christopher
Mather, CarolRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)van Straubenzee, W. R.
Maude, AngusRidley, Hon NicholasVaughan, Dr Gerard
Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldRidsdale, JulianViggers, Peter
Mawby, RayRifkind, MalcolmWakeham, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinRippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Mayhew, PatrickRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Meyer, Sir AnthonyRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Wall, Patrick
Mills, PeterRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Walters, Dennis
Miscampbell, NormanRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Warren, Kenneth
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)Weatherill, Bernard
Moate, RogerRoyle, Sir AnthonyWells, John
Monro, HectorSainsbury, TimWiggin, Jerry
Montgomery, FergusSt. John-Stevas, NormanWinterton, Nicholas
Moore, John (Croydon C)Scott, NicholasYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
More, Jasper (Ludlow)Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Younger, Hon George
Morgan, GeraintShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Morris, Michael (Northampton S)Shelton, William (Streatham)TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Morrison, Charles (Devizes)Shepherd, ColinMr. W. Benyon and
Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Silvester, FredMr. Michael Roberts

Question accordingly agreed to.

Remaining Lords amendments disagreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for insisting on a Commons amendment to a Lords amendment to which the Lords disagreed, and for disagreeing to certain Lords amendments to a Commons amendment to a Lords amendment; Mr. Thomas Cox, Mr. Secretary Foot, Mr. Hayhoe, Mr. Prior and Mr. Harold Walker; Three to be the quorum.—[Mr. Foot.]

To withdraw immediately.

Reasons for insisting on a Commons amendment to a Lords amendment to which the Lords disagreed, and for disagreeing to certain Lords amendments to a Commons amendment to a Lords amendment, reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.