Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st January 1976.

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In line 4, at end add 'and to provide for a charter on matters relating to the freedom of the press'.

Motion made, and Question proposed,That, pursuant to the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, the House suggests to the Lords the following Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill:Clause 1, page 1, line 16, leave out paragraph (d).—[Mr. Hayhoe.]

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

The House may possibly be relieved to learn that the suggested amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the Press charter or with Press matters. It is an amendment to delete a provision from the Bill relating to trade disputes on matters occurring outside Great Britain. It is no exaggeration to say that it is an amendment to delete a provision which would cause and encourage more strikes, none of which could possibly benefit those who took part in them.

That may seem to be an extraordinary proposition but it is the literal truth, because the amendment relates to the definition of a trade dispute. The importance of that definition is that if a person is acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute he has considerable legal immunities. Such a person cannot be sued if he induces another person to breach a contract of employment. He cannot be sued if he threatens that a contract of employment will be broken. The protection provided by the law on lawful picketing extends only to those who do so in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.

If these considerable immunities are to be provided to those who act in the course of a trade dispute, it is vital that the definition of a trade dispute should be kept to what is strictly necessary for the purpose for which it is intended. The question is whether a trade dispute should be defined in such a way as to give this immunity to a whole range of actions which might be taken, despite the fact that they relate to matters occurring wholly outside this country.

10.30 p.m.

In the 1974 Act a compromise was reached. It was suggested that if those involved in a trade dispute were entirely outside the United Kingdom, it did not make sense that people taking industrial action in this country should have the protection of the law. The compromise was that a trade dispute should be regarded as existing if it was in respect of a dispute going on outside Great Britain, as long as the person or persons whose actions in Britain were said to be in contemplation or furtherance of the trade dispute relating to matters outside Great Britain were likely to be affected in respect of one or more of a number of specified matters. A man striking in this country in support of a trade dispute in Germany would have immunity from legal action if he was likely to be affected by the outcome of that dispute.

The Government are now seeking to remove the proviso in Section 29(3) of the 1974 Act in such a way that a man in this country who strikes in support of a trade dispute overseas should have legal protection and immunity even though the outcome of the dispute will not affect him or his union if it is on strike.

Our amendment seeks to delete that provision. We think that it goes far too wide in the protection it extends. In our numerous debates on this issue there has been considerable discussion about multinational companies and how their actions in one country are likely to have important consequences for workers in other countries, but that point is well met by the proviso in the 1974 Act. If a worker in a multinational company, Ford's for instance, can truly say that negotiations taking place in Germany will have implications in this country, he will have immunity. There is no need to go further. Indeed, it would be positively harmful to go further.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

Can my hon. Friend remind the House by what criteria the effect of a trade dispute in another country on a person here will be judged?

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

That is not specified in the Act. There was some criticism of the fact that we had not made clear the extent to which people in this country would have to be affected by what was going on abroad for them to have protection.

We accepted this situation and said that, if the Government wanted to introduce wording which tidied it up, we would be prepared to consider it on its merits. We did not say that the wording was defective to the extent that it could not be given a meaning. The courts could give it a meaning on a case-by-case basis. I anticipate that, if it was held that it was reasonably to be expected that people in this country would be affected by the determination of a dispute abroad, protection would extend. If, however, it were merely a fanciful hypothesis that by some indirect chain of events there would possibly be consequences in this country, there would be no protection.

That seems an eminently reasonable arrangement. The reasonableness of it can be gauged by the arguments put forward by Labour Members. The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars), whose political position is a little uncertain, argued in the debates that we should grant protection against suit in this country for workers who were striking in favour of grape-pickers in California. If the Bill goes through unamended, it will be possible for people in this country to strike in favour of grape-pickers in California or of people in South Africa, Greece and Chile and anywhere else in the world who are involved in a trade dispute. The only situation in which I suspect that this provision will not apply will be in relation to a trade dispute in the Soviet Union, because such a dispute would not be allowed to take place. In the event of trade disputes elsewhere, strikers here would enjoy the full immunity of the law.

The only argument advanced in favour of that situation is the general one of international solidarity. The moment it can be shown that anyone in this country is likely to be affected by what is going on overseas, this protection, even under the proviso, applies. It seems that even when no one can benefit from what is going on overseas, the protection would still apply.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

It would be interesting to contemplate how many strikes have taken place in other countries in the past year and how many extra strikes would have taken place here if the foreign strikes had been supported as is suggested by this provision.

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

I agree with my hon. Friend. If this country was at the moment experiencing an unprecedented economic boom and was enjoying virtually a nil rate of unemployment, perhaps we could afford the luxury of passing legislation the only effect of which could be to encourage strikes on behalf of people in foreign countries and from which no one in this country could benefit.

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

I have said that I shall give way and I shall do so, but I will not be bullied by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson). My right hon. and hon. Friends will notice that whenever one mentions unemployment which is created by the Government the Left-wingers start shrieking and shouting and cannot take it. At a moment when unemployment is rising and when the Prime Minister has said how important it is to avoid strikes which are avoidable, the Government want to enact legislation which would encourage more strikes in support of international solidarity.

Photo of Mr Eddie Loyden Mr Eddie Loyden , Liverpool, Garston

The hon. Member referred to the grape-pickers in California, perhaps to under-privileged Eskimos and to other countries where strikes are taking place. I should like to hear his comments on the subject of the Lancashire cotton workers who in the nineteenth century went on strike for the abolition of slavery.

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

The relevant comment is that that situation would have been quite unaffected by this piece of legislation. The strike against slavery would have been a political strike and would not have had the protection of this Bill as amended. I do not believe that the Secretary of State, the Minister of State, the Attorney-General or Uncle Tom Cobleigh would disagree with that proposition. It really has nothing to do with the debate.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

May I put to the hon. Gentleman, who is struggling, that the definition of a trade dispute in Section 29(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act, covering the physical conditions in which any workers are required to work, would not cover a dispute over the question whether people worked as slaves or as free men?

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

I do not think it would, because the conditions relating to slavery are quite different. It is hardly necessary to bring up the issue of slavery at this stage. There were stronger reasons for being opposed to slavery than any of the reasons relating to this measure. It is not good enough to raise a dubious example from the nineteenth century when there are plenty of more valid arguments from the present day.

There is no dispute as to the extent of the Bill. The reality is that Labour Members make no secret of the fact that they wish, at a time of mounting unemployment, to encourage industrial action which is likely to put more workers out of work because of what is happening abroad. In that situation, the people in this country could not by definition benefit from such action. That seems to us to be absolute nonsense, and that is why we support the amendment.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

Following the nonsense to which we have just been listening, I want first to repudiate the suggestion—which will, I hope, be repudiated in more detail when we have a longer debate quite soon on unemployment—that unemployment is the result of what the Government are doing, when everybody knows— [Interruption.] Shouting will not throw any light on this issue. Everybody knows that the massive unemployment is the result of the economic system dominating our country, just as it dominates many other capitalist countries. There are 25 million working people unemployed in capitalist countries today.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) gave the game away when he replied to his hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Page), who has the great merit of approaching these subjects with a certain degree of drastic honesty, in the style of Thomas Hobbes. He did so again tonight, and that is why I greatly prefer what he says to the kind of hypocrisy to which we have listened from the Opposition Front Bench this evening.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby gave the game away when he made a most revealing answer to a very direct question. He made it clear that no issue concerning wage negotiations in another country, which involved an international company and which could be said to affect the interests of workers in Britain, could be regarded as coming under the definition of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. That is the real reason for the opposition to what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is trying to do.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

If I am getting under the hon. Member's intellectual shirt, he must contain himself for a moment. I listened to him carefully. He must listen to me for a moment, and then I shall give way.

10.45 p.m.

That is the reason. It has nothing to do with far-away peoples, with slavery or with people who might be on strike in cases that no one can imagine. The hon. Gentleman and his political friends are concerned about real cases which arise in the real world—in international companies, where the negotiations concerned might be interpreted by a group of shop stewards in this country as having a bearing on the interests of British workers. The hon. Gentleman would then quote himself and say to his friends among the employers "We said in the House of Commons that under existing legislation, although some people"—for example, a group of shop stewards—"might argue that the interests of their members are affected, it does not apply". This matter, therefore, must be put beyond doubt and peradventure. That is one of the reasons why it is good to make the position clear.

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

The hon. Gentleman has deliberately, or not deliberately—I know not—flagrantly misrepresented what I said, although it was quite simple. There is no mystery about it. Under the 1974 Act as it stands unamended, if workers in this country are likely to be affected by what is going on abroad, they have the full protection of the law. If they are not likely to be affected, they do not have that protection. In interpreting the meaning of the words "likely to be affected", which is what I attempted to do, one will ask "Is that likelihood genuine or purely fanciful?" If it is genuine, workers have the protection that they should have. If it is fanciful, there is no reason why they should have the protection.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

That is the point. The hon. Gentleman is compounding the offence and confirming what I say. He was forced, in reply to the hon. Member for Harrow, West, to admit that he would regard what most people—who will be working people and trade unionists—regard as affecting the interests of workers as being not genuine. In order to put the hon. Gentleman out of his misery, in order to have him and his like not having any say or place in judging or influencing the judging of such a likely event, it is important to put the legislation beyond doubt.

The hon. Gentlemen's second point concerned the other group of causes which he referred to as not affecting the interests of British workers. He is wrong on that count as well. The examples he chose were characteristic. That was what provoked my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden) to bring up the subject of slavery. Despite the hon. Gentleman's arrogance in referring to the nineteenth century and the rest, what provoked the image of slavery in my hon. Friend's mind was the reference to South Africa.

Has the hon. Gentleman studied the conditions in which workers are forced to work in South Africa? [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Russia?"] Conservative hon. Members are in no position to give us lessons on the conditions of work in Russia. We have done more to criticise those conditions than any hon. Member opposite who shouts from ignorance. We know much more about it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—because the interesting thing is that hon. Members who are engaging in shouting have never studied working conditions. I know their range of ignorance because I know the hon. Members who are shouting. They know nothing about it.

In South Africa at present, as I have seen myself—it is admitted by many entrepreneurs and industrialists there—the workers work in conditions of slavery. They are imported to work. They have to leave their families behind. They are not allowed to live with their families. On one occasion I spent a weekend in the home of the British Ambassador—not the present one—in Pretoria. He told me of his disgust, as a Christian, at having to employ in his home a cook who was not allowed to have her husband stay with her for even 24 hours under the same roof. The husband, who was lawfully wedded to the cook, had to live 12 miles away. Those are conditions of slavery.

Photo of Mr Michael Brotherton Mr Michael Brotherton , Louth Borough

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is the hon. Gentleman's weekend with the British Ambassador in South Africa in order in this debate?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) said nothing which I know to be out of order. Indeed, if he had done so I should have called him to order.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

I have always taken the view that one practical example is more important than generalisations from any quarter. My hon. Friend the Member for Garston was provoked to use the image of slavery because when we mention South Africa we are talking about workers living under conditions of slavery. My hon. Friend was obsolutely right to mention it.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby will not understand this point because he has no feeling for it, but situations may arise in South Africa, certain parts of Chile, other countries ruled by authoritarians, the Soviet Union or Spain where strike action is taken by groups of workers connected through international companies or for international reasons with workers in this country and who may make an appeal to trade unionists in this country. In that event we want the British people who respond to such an appeal to have the same rights and protection under the law as they would have if the strike were to take place in response to an appeal by a group of workers within the United Kingdom. That is why we want the legislation improved.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) did me the honour of comparing me with Hobbes. He has always reminded me tremendously of W. G. Grace, because he has a capacity for allowing matters which he does not wish to notice to float away.

The great Dr. Grace was once in the middle of an innings at Gloucester, where he was the local coroner, when a policeman ran on to the field with a message saying that a body had just been washed up within the doctor's "coronary" area—if that is the correct expression. Dr. Grace, emulating the hon. Gentleman, said "Put it back in the river and let it float down into another area."

The hon. Member for Penistone also said that I was honest. I always feel that he is completely honest in what he says because his is the authentic voice of Marxism. We can always hear from him the true, unencumbered voice of those who do not believe in a mixed economy and who simply wish to have an ordinary Eastern European Socialist State in this country.

I shall not attempt to follow the hon. Gentleman in his emotionalism about the international solidarity of the underprivileged Eskimos. However, his speech deserves to be read and studied carefully. In effect, the hon. Gentleman said that a trade dispute anywhere in the world deserves the support of employees in this country.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

I think that when the hon. Gentleman reads his speech tomorrow and sees through the ebullience of the champagne of his words he will realise that I have given his words their true meaning.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

That is a distortion.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

It is not a distortion. It may be that the hon. Gentleman could justify or manufacture sufficient grounds for a trade dispute and strike in this country in connection with a dispute anywhere else. If I am wrong, I apologise in advance, but I think that the apology will have to come from the hon. Gentleman.

I was entirely satisfied with the criteria laid down by my hon. Friend. It is clear that if there were a dispute in Ford of Germany it might affect workers in Ford of England. However, it would be wrong to say that if there were a dispute in Ford of Germany Chrysler or British Leyland workers should be able to take part in it. It seems altogether too remote.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

I shall not give way. I have taken enough of the time of the House. I support my hon. Friend in the excellent, sensible and straightforward way in which he proposed the motion.

Photo of Mr Ronald Thomas Mr Ronald Thomas , Bristol North West

I do not have much to add to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) but I should like to make a couple of points.

The Opposition are proposing another step back to the Industrial Relations Act. They are asking that the courts should determine whether a group of workers are affected in the way suggested. Someone has to determine whether, under Section 29 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act, a group of workers are affected by the definition of a trade dispute.

Labour Members do not accept that the courts of Britain—many examples can be quoted—have any idea of what international working-class solidarity means. What kind of decision would the courts have reached when dockers recently—not back in the time of the slave trade; I do not know what Wilberforce would have had to say about that—decided to support the grape-pickers in California? There is no question that a court of law, as seen by Conservative Members, would clearly have said that that was not a trade dispute within the definition of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act before any amendment.

It would seem that international capitalism can reach all kinds of agreements to exploit any country or group of workers. It can have investment strikes here or there, share markets, fix prices and so on, and nothing happens. When we suggest that with the growth of multinational and supranational companies working people of different countries ought to get together and take industrial action to support the kind of changes they want to see, it is suggested that the courts should issue injunctions, and all the rest which obviously follows, to make workers desist from their action as we saw, for example, when certain workers took sympathetic action. That, too, was in the Industrial Relations Act. A classic example was Cousins v. Torquay Hotels. There was an injunction in that case because the courts decided that the action taken was unacceptable in terms of the Industrial Relations Act.

In terms of sympathetic action internationally, I remind the House that pro-Market Opposition Members did not hesitate to tell us that the only way that working people could deal with these large companies was to get into the Common Market, join together and fight them. Now they want to bring in the courts to examine each of these situations.

There are many Government supporters who have a million and a half good reasons for being worried about unemployment, and we have been continually advocating policies which we believe would deal with the situation. If, however, the Government take advice from the Opposition and slash public expenditure, the figure will soon be 2 million.

11.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

The effect of the amendment would be to ensure that if any strike were called in this country in support of a strike abroad it would not be subject to trade dispute legal immunities unless the United Kingdom workers taking part in the strike were likely to be affected by the outcome of the industrial dispute abroad in respect of matters specified in Section 29(1) of the 1974 Act.

My recollection of the way in which Section 29(3) came to take the form that it did is somewhat different from that of the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan). As I understand the situation, we are attempting in this Bill to restore the position to that which we had in the Bill originally presented in 1974. Therefore, it is not quite right to say that this is a compromise, because during the passage of that legislation an amendment was carried against the Government. There was a clear difference of opinion about what the position in law should be in respect of immunities for sympathetic strikers in support of workers abroad.

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

It is a compromise in the sense that it is a compromise between saying that there shall be no protection for anyone striking in support of what is going on overseas and the Government's now seeking to introduce a provision saying that there should be protection for anyone striking in any event in respect of what is going on overseas.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

Then may I proceed from that position? When the matter in the Bill now before us went to the other place, there was no objection. Therefore, we have a difference in this House about industrial disputes.

On a matter such as this it is hard to say anything new, because we have debated it so many times before. However, the issue on this amendment can be summarised by saying that what the Opposition want to retain in our legislation is a selfish strikers' charter. They want strikers who are prepared to engage in industrial action in support of workers abroad when it is in their own interests to do so and when their own interests are directly affected to have legal immunity. However, when workers in this country engage in a strike in support of workers abroad for some altruistic motive or when they do so out of a pure sense of trade union solidarity, the Opposition do not want them to have immunity. They seek to retain this position in a way which makes the law ambiguous.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

What effect does the hon. Gentleman think that a strike in this country in support of a strike in another country would possibly have upon the strike in the country of origin?

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

That would depend to a great extent on the circumstances of the strike. If the strike in this country affected a firm supplying components to the overseas firm, it could have an immediate bearing. It may be, as has been acknowledged by some Conservative Members, that it would have a greater bearing if the strike abroad was in a multinational company.

Photo of Mr Norman Atkinson Mr Norman Atkinson , Haringey Tottenham

There are some up-to-date examples of this. There was the action at the Innocenti factories at Milan and Turin which could have affected British Leyland workers and thereby State funds.

Such action would be included in the hon. Gentleman's amendment but would none the less be referred to the courts. The point here is that the Government are trying to do no more than has been agreed between the international trade union movement—particularly the International Metal Workers' Union—and other Governments. This is an attempt to pull us into line with them.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. However, the question was what effect a strike of workers in this country would have upon a strike in a factory overseas. Neither the amendment nor the Government's proposition uses that test. The test applied by the amendment is what effect a strike abroad would have on the conditions of workers in this country. The way in which the strike abroad would have to affect the conditions of workers here for those workers to have legal immunity is precisely spelt out.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby takes a slightly different view on Section 29(1) from that which I take. He takes the view that it would not be a good enough definition to cover a dispute concerning whether workers were working as slaves. I may have been unfortunate in choosing that reference to the conditions in which people are required to work to cover slavery. Perhaps Section 29(1) (d) might appeal to the hon. Member. It could possibly cover slavery as a matter of discipline. I do not think anyone would deny that slaves have to work under slightly different conditions of discipline from those of free men.

What we have to take into account is the point put to me by the hon. and learned Member for Southport (Mr. Percival) a little earlier when he drew attention to the fact that it was not fair to suggest that we should reproach judges for differing decisions if we left the law ambiguous. I am relying on the hon. and learned Member to support me on this occasion because, whatever else it does, the amendment certainly makes the law ambiguous whereas the Bill will make the law extremely clear.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

I should like to respond to that invitation but I cannot. This is not a question of clarity. It is a question of what we are seeking to do. I hope that the Minister will address his mind to the crux of the matter. We are talking about immunities. We are talking about occasions when certain categories of people are taken outside the law. These strikes are sometimes very damaging to totally innocent people. The question is in what circumstances people who would otherwise be liable to civil process because of the damage they have caused should be immune from that process.

My hon. Friend was right. This is a compromise. We are prepared to see the immunity extend to action in connection with action outside this country, provided that there is some interest, but why should the immunity be extended beyond that point, at the expense of innocent people?

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

The hon. and learned Gentleman's précis hides an important issue. It is not sufficient that the workers have some interest. Their conditions will have to be affected in respect of the matters in Section 29(1). It is by no means clear that if Ford car workers in Germany were on strike a court would rule that that must affect, to use the words of the section, (a) terms and conditions of employment of Ford workers in Great Britain or the physical conditions in which they work. Nor is it clear that a court in this country would rule that (b) engagement or non-engagement of workers at Ford in Great Britain was affected by that dispute or that (d) matters of discipline of British workers would be affected by the dispute.

The section also speaks of the right of workers to belong to a trade union, (f) facilities for officials of trade unions and (g) machinery for negotiation". It is not clear that they would be affected. Those are the tests that the courts would be required to apply if the amendment were made.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

The Minister is right in saying that those are the questions of fact that the court would have to decide in each case. Therefore, one cannot say in advance what would be the decision in any case. If, however, a union were affected in any of those respects it should have no problem in satisfying the court that it was so affected, and on proof of those facts it would enjoy the immunity. What is wrong with that?

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

There are two things wrong with it. One is that it cannot be said that it is always a matter of fact whether terms and conditions are affected. It is often a matter of judgment. The trade union official representing the workers concerned might argue that, if the German workers succeeded by their strike in raising their wages, that would improve the chances of his workers raising their wages, and that, therefore, their terms and conditions might be affected. But it would be a matter of judgment whether he was right.

The other thing wrong with that approach is that it is not the proper test. My hon. Friends and I believe that the proper question is whether sympathetic action and the immunities that stem from it should stop at the borders of a country, or whether, if the principle is good that one should be protected when striking in sympathy with someone else, the protection should exist whether the person one is supporting is a black South African, a white Russian or a yellow Chinese.

The hon. Member who spoke for the Opposition in Committee said there that he would favour workers in this country being protected when taking strike action in support of workers in another branch of their company abroad. He argued persuasively. The only trouble is that his argument does not fit the amendment. As I have demonstrated, that test would not be covered by the amendment. If the amendment is passed, the law will be not only difficult to apply but illogical. It will be based on self-interest in an area which should be governed by unselfishness and solidarity. I therefore invite the House to reject the amendment.

11.15 p.m.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

There are always difficulties in deciding questions of fact which involve a judgment of whether certain consequences will follow. But this is a difficulty in which the House puts the courts time and time again and they deal with it pretty well. Would the Minister say something about the innocent third parties who might suffer damage and who would be prevented by these immunities from bringing the actions which they would otherwise have been entitled to bring? That is what this is all about.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

I do not agree that that is the issue here. The innocent third party issue is not changed in respect of other sympathetic strikes. It would only be changed by this in that it could arise in other cases. Therefore, this is not an issue peculiar to this amendment and that is not the basis on which it would be decided. Either Conservative Members do not understand the British trade union movement or they want to insult it by suggesting that workers decide whether to support a strike abroad only on the basis of whether they have legal immunity. That is the last thing that enters their minds when deciding whether to support fellow trade unionists out of a sense of solidarity.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

If that is so, there is no point in changing the existing law.

At 11.15 at night, on the day after we have heard that unemployment has reached between 1·2 million and 1·4 million, we are discussing whether to give legal immunity to people who strike in support of workers in another country, perhaps in a totally unrelated industry. If we think that this is Britain's problem at the moment, we are living in cloud-cuckoo-land. Our problems are how to get our industry back to work, produce our goods at a price at which we can sell them abroad and do something to raise the living standards which the present Government have done so much to lower.

Instead, the Minister tells us how further to damage our country and the interests of third parties who would have no redress. The time may have come for us to tell the Government what trade unionists are anxious to have. It is certainly not what the Government are seeking to do tonight.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 256, Noes 285.

Division No. 33.]AYES[11.20 p.m.
Adley, RobertClegg, WalterGow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Aitken, JonathanCockcroft, JohnGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Alison, MichaelCooke, Robert (Bristol W)Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Amery, Rt Hon JulianCope, JohnGray, Hamish
Arnold, TomCormack, PatrickGrieve, Percy
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Costain, A. P.Griffiths, Eldon
Awdry, DanielCritchley, JulianGrimond, Rt Hon J.
Baker, KennethCrouch, DavidGrist, Ian
Banks, RobertCrowder, F. P.Grylls, Michael
Beith, A. J.Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)Hall, Sir John
Bell, RonaldDean, Paul (N Somerset)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Dodsworth, GeoffreyHampson, Dr Keith
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesHannam, John
Benyon, W.Drayson, BurnabyHarvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss
Berry, Hon Anthonydu Cann, Rt Hon EdwardHastings, Stephen
Biffen, JohnDunlop, JohnHavers, Sir Michael
Biggs-Davison, JohnDurant, TonyHawkins, Paul
Blaker, PeterDykes, HughHayhoe, Barney
Body, RichardEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnHicks, Robert
Boscawen, Hon RobertEdwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Holland, Philip
Bottomley, PeterElliott, Sir WilliamHooson, Emlyn
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Emery, PeterHordern, Peter
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Eyre, ReginaldHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Braine, Sir BernardFairbairn, NicholasHowell, David (Guildford)
Brittan, LeonFarr, JohnHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Finsberg, GeoffreyHunt, John
Brotherton, MichaelFisher, Sir NigelHurd, Douglas
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesHutchison, Michael Clark
Bryan, Sir PaulFookes, Miss JanetIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Buchanan-Smith, AlickFowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Buck, AntonyFox, MarcusJames, David
Budgen, NickFreud, ClementJenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)
Bulmer, EsmondFry, PeterJessel, Toby
Burden, F. A.Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Gardiner, George (Reigate)Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Carlisle, MarkGilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)Jopling, Michael
Carson, JohnGilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Chalker, Mrs LyndaGlyn, Dr AlanKaberry, Sir Donald
Channon, PaulGodber, Rt Hon JosephKershaw, Anthony
Churchill, W. S.Goodhart, PhilipKilfedder, James
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Goodhew, VictorKing, Evelyn (South Dorset)
Clark, William (Croydon S)Goodlad, AlastairKing, Tom (Bridgwater)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Gorst, JohnKitson, Sir Timothy
Knight, Mrs JillMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Sinclair, Sir George
Knox, DavidMudd, DavidSkeet, T. H. H.
Lamont, NormanNeave, AireySmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnNelson, AnthonySpence, John
Latham, Michael (Melton)Neubert, MichaelSpicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Lawrence, IvanNewton, TonySpicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Lawson, NigelNott, JohnSproat, Iain
Le Marchant, SpencerOppenheim, Mrs SallyStainton, Keith
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Page, John (Harrow West)Stanbrook, Ivor
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Stanley, John
Lloyd, IanPardoe, JohnSteel, David (Roxburgh)
Loveridge, JohnPattie, GeoffreyStokes, John
Luce, RichardPenhaligon, DavidStradling Thomas, J.
McCrindle, RobertPercival IanTapsell, Peter
McCusker, H.Peyton, Rt Hon JohnTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Macfarlane, NeilPink, R. BonnerTebbit, Norman
MacGregor, JohnPowell, Rt Hon J. EnochTemple-Morris, Peter
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Price, David (Eastleigh)Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Prior, Rt Hon JamesThomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Pym, Rt Hon FrancisThorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Madel, DavidRaison, TimothyTownsend, Cyril D.
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir PeterTrotter, Neville
Marten, NeilRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Tugendhat, Christopher
Mates, MichaelRees-Davies, W. R.van Straubenzee, W. R.
Mather, CarolRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Maude, AngusRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)Viggers, Peter
Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldRhys Williams, Sir BrandonWainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Mawby, RayRidley, Hon NicholasWakeham, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinRidsdale, JulianWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Mayhew, PatrickRifkind, MalcolmWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Meyer, Sir AnthonyRippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWall, Patrick
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)Walters, Dennis
Mills, PeterRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Weatherill, Bernard
Miscampbell, NormanRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Wells, John
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Ross, William (Londonderry)Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Moate, RogerRost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)Wiggin, Jerry
Molyneaux, JamesRoyle, Sir AnthonyWinterton, Nicholas
Monro, HectorSainsbury, TimWood, Rt Hon Richard
Montgomery, FergusSt. John-Stevas, NormanYoung, Sir G. (Eating, Acton)
Moore, John (Croydon C)Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
More, Jasper (Ludlow)Shelton, William (Streatham)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Morgan, GeraintShepherd, ColinMr. Cecil Parkinson and
Morris, Michael (Northampton S)Silvester, FredMr. John Corrie.
Morrison, Charles (Devizes)Sims, Roger
Abse, LeoCastle, Rt Hon BarbaraEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Allaun, FrankClemitson, IvorEwing, Harry (Stirling)
Anderson, DonaldCocks, Michael (Bristol S)Faulds, Andrew
Archer, PeterCohen, StanleyFernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Armstrong, ErnestColeman, DonaldFitch, Alan (Wigan)
Ashton, JoeColquhoun, Mrs MaureenFitt, Gerard (Belfast W)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Concannon, J. D.Flannery, Martin
Atkinson, NormanConlan, BernardFletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bain, Mrs MargaretCorbett, RobinFoot, Rt Hon Michael
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Ford, Ben
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Forrester, John
Bates, AlfCrawford, DouglasFowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Bean, R. E.Cronin, JohnFraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodCrosland, Rt Hon AnthonyFreeson, Reginald
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Cryer, BobGarrett, John (Norwich S)
Bishop, E. S.Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Blenkinsop, ArthurCunningham, Dr. J. (Whiteh) George, Bruce
Boardman, H.Davidson, Arthur Gilbert, Dr John
Booth, AlbertDavies Bryan (Enfield N)Ginsburg, David
Booth, Miss BettyDavies, Denzil (Llanelli)Golding, John
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurDavies, Denzil (Llanelli)Gould, Bryan
Boyden, James (Bish Auck)Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Gourlay, Harry
Bradley, TomDeakins, EricGraham, Ted
Bray, Dr JeremyDean, Joseph (Leeds W)Grant, George (Morpeth)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyGrant, John (Islington C)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Dell, Rt Hon EdmundGrocott, Bruce
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)Dempsey, JamesHamilton, James (Bothwell)
Buchan, NormanDoig, PeterHardy, Peter
Buchanan, RichardDormand, J. D.Harper, Joseph
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Douglas-Mann, BruceHarrison, Waiter (Wakefield)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Duffy, A. E, P.Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Campbell, IanDunn, James A.Hayman, Mrs Helene
Canavan, DennisDunnett, JackHeffer, Eric S.
Cant, R. B.Eadie, AlexHenderson, Douglas
Carmichael, NellEdge, GeoffHooley, Frank
Carter, RayEdwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Horam, John
Carter-Jones, LewisEllis, John (Brigg & Scun)Howeil, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Cartwright, JohnEnglish, MichaelHoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Huckfield, LesMellish, Rt Hon RobertSkinner, Dennis
Hughes, Rt Kon C. (Anglesey)Mendelson, JohnSmall, William
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Mikardo, IanSmith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Millan, BruceSpearing, Nigel
Hunter, AdamMiller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Spriggs, Leslie
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Stallard, A. W.
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Molloy, WilliamStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Stoddart, David
Janner, GrevilleMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Stott, Roger
Jeger, Mrs LenaMoyle, RolandStrong, Gavin
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Murray, Rt Hon Ronald KingStrauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Newens, StanleySummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
John, BrynmorNoble, MikeSwain, Thomas
Johnson, James (Hull West)Oakes, GordonTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Johnson, Waller (Derby S)Ogden, EricThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Jones, Alec (Rhondda)O'Halloran, MichaelThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Barry (East Flint)Orbach, MauriceThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Orme, Rt Hon StanleyThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Judd, FrankOvenden, JohnThompson, George
Kaufman, GeraldOwen, Dr DavidThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Kelley, RichardPadley, WalterTierney, Sydney
Kilroy-Silk, RobertPalmer, ArthurTinn, James
Kinnock, NeilPark, GeorgeTomlinson, John
Lambie, DavidParker, JohnTuck, Raphael
Lamborn, HarryParry, RobertUrwin, T. W.
Lamond, JamesPavitt, LaurieWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Latham, Arthur (Paddington)Peart, Rt Hon FredWalden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Leadbitter, TedPerry, ErnestWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Phipps, Dr ColinWalker, Terry (Kingswood)
Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)Prentice, Rt Kon RegWard Michael
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Price, C. (Lewisham W)Watkins David
Lipton, MarcusPrice, William (Rugby)Watkinson, John
Litterick, TomRadice, GilesWatt, Hamish
Loyden, EddieRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)Weetch Ken
Luard, EvanRichardson, Miss JoWellbeloved, James
Lyon, Alexander (York)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Welsh, Andrew
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)White Frank R (Bury)
Mabon, Dr J. DicksonRobertson, John (Paisley)White James (Pollok)
McCartney, HughRoderick, CaerwynWhitehead, Phillip
MacCormick, IainRodgers, George (Chorley)Whitlock, William
McElhone, FrankRodgers, William (Stockton)Wigley, Dafydd
MacFarquhar, RoderickRooker, J. W.Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
McGuire, Michael (Ince)Roper, JohnWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Mackenzie, GregorRose, Paul B.Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Mackintosh, John P.Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Maclennan, RobertRowlands, TedWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Sandelson, NevilleWilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
McNamara, KevinSedgemore, BrianWise Mrs Audrey
Madden, MaxSelby, HarryWoodall Alec
Magee, BryanShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)Woof Robert
Mahon, SimonSheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)Wrigglesworth Ian
Marks, KennethShort, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)Young David (Bolton E)
Marquand, DavidShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Mr. Thomas Pendry and
Maynard, Miss JoanSillars, JamesMr. Peter Snape.
Meacher, MichaelSilverman, Julius

Question accordingly negatived.