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Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill (Standing Orders)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th May 1976.

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Question again proposed,That the amendment be made.

6.4 p.m.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

I think that the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) has made an ingenuous speech. Obviously it needs the closest examination.

The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the Government would be creating a new precedent if they carried out the proposal contained in the motion. He suggested that the rules were being swept away. For his benefit and that of other Members, I should point out that today I did some examination of precedent on this argument. I discovered, looking back over the past, that this situation has never arisen before in the House. We have never had a Bill reach this stage—I am not arguing with Mr. Speaker's decision—and then be declared a hybrid Bill at this juncture. In that sense, this is a precedent.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about necessity. There is another quotation about necessity: Necessity is the mother of invention". It seems to me that we have to deal with a precedent. If we look back we discover that, for example, the Electricity Supply Bill 1934 was challenged in the House before Second Reading. In fact, I can go further back. On 24th May 1921, Sir F. Banbury raised the question of the Railways Bill being a hybrid Bill before Second Reading. If we want to come more up to date, the Iron and Steel Bill was challenged by Sir John Hobson in the House before Second Reading. On each of those occasions a ruling was given by the Chair before Second Reading. In other words—this is the precedent I am arguing in reply to the right hon. Gentleman—a decision was made before Second Reading. If at that stage a Bill had been declared to be a hybrid Bill, it would have gone to the Select Committee for examination and so on. That is the precedent.

This House is based on precedent. We have Standing Orders—incidentally, I was on the Committee—which from time to time are brought up to date and presented to the House. Constant changes are taking place the whole time. This House, like the trade union movement, has something called custom and practice. It is most remarkable. Usually we have to legislate later to catch up with custom and practice.

The custom and practice in this House has been to challenge hybridity before Second Reading. After all, the history of this House shows that every Bill has gone through as a Public Bill, a hybrid Bill or a semi-Private Bill.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Surely the hon. Gentleman has not overlooked the fact that this Bill could have been declared a hybrid Bill before Second Reading if all the facts eventually brought to light this week by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) had been made known by the Government to those concerned.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

The right hon. and learned Gentleman must know that the facts were known.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

They were known. In his submission the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), who raised this matter, talked about Marathon producing the oil rig which has now been classified as a ship—[Interruption.]—or a barge-ship or ship-barge; I do not want to get involved in that kind of argument—on 21st July 1974. I have a feeling that people in the industry, particularly those in all the other yards concerned who were watching closely what was happening and knew what was likely to happen today, must have been watching the situation in the closest possible way. If they were not, it is most remarkable that this question should be raised at this particular time. Was it raised at this particular time only in order to let the Government get into the muddle into which they have got at present? I am not accusing anyone. I am making the point that it is not quite as simple as is being suggested.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

It is certainly true that there were people who knew that this vessel was being constructed, and it is certainly true that there were people who knew about hybridity; but they did not happen to be the same people. The people who knew about what was going on at the yard did not include Mr. Speaker, and the people who knew about hybridity did not know what was going on at the yard. That was why the matter could not be raised until the point in time when those two came together.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

The hon. Gentleman in no way contradicts what I have said. In fact, he has underlined the point I have been making.

I want to return to a point made by the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton). He referred to the statement made by Sir Barnett Cocks this morning. I felt that the right hon. Gentleman's remarks on radio about Sir Barnett Cocks—a transcript of which I have in my hand—were absolutely disgraceful. They only underline the rudeness of the right hon. Gentleman's character. He is renowned for his rudeness to other hon. Members and for his very funny, slick jokes, at times.

However, what did the previous Clerk say? I am only a simple, ordinary Back Bencher, and I get into a great morass of difficulties in trying to understand things. The former Clerk of the House said: I would say that the ruling on Tuesday when the Speaker said the Bill had beenexamined in the usual way and was found not to be hybrid would seem to me to be an admirable ruling. The ruling last night would be, to my mind, a somewhat astonishing one. If the former Clerk of the House felt that it was astonishing, surely hon. Members and people in the country, particularly workers in the industry——

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not criticise my ruling. [Interruption.] Order. To apply adjectives to my ruling is very questionable. It is getting very near to criticism.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Mr. Speaker, you really should have been listening to what I said. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] With due respect, I merely quoted something from a transcript of a BBC programme. I have not criticised your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and I went out of my way earlier, when you were in conversation with someone, to make it absolutely clear that I did not in any way question your ruling. I am not questioning the ruling but am merely pointing out that if there can be confusion—because that is what it means—in the mind of a former Clerk of the House, who undoubtedly helped to advise the previous Speaker, hon. Members and working people outside the House have a right to be confused as well and not to understand precisely what is happening as regards this matter.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

This point is absolutely germane. As the hon. Member will understand, you, Mr. Speaker, ruled on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the hon. Member is discussing the reasons why there was a change of ruling. The principal reason why the situation changed is that the information which was being provided to you by Department of Industry officials was found to be inaccurate.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

All that I have to say to the hon. Gentleman, as I said in the House yesterday, is that people who work in the shipbuilding and ship repairing industries understand very well what a ship is. Those who work in the oil rig business understand what an oil rig is. They understand that very well, but they do not understand the niceties of the lawyers' arguments on this question.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

No, I shall not give way. I have given way about seven times. If hon. Members do not like my speech or the points I am making, they should extend to me the same courtesy as I extended to the right hon. Member for Sidcup. They should try to get in later in the debate and make their own points in a speech. If they are incapable of doing that, perhaps they had better not be Members of this House.

I have also received a great number of telegrams from the workers on Merseyside—for example, from the General Secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions of Merseyside, covering the shipbuilding and engineering unions. I have received a telegram from all the employees of the CBS Engineering Company, of ship repairers, in Liverpool—I assume that they called a meeting this morning—saying: Situation in industry is serious. The only hope for the future is to take the industry into public ownership. I have received another telegram from the confederation stewards of Western Shiprepairers. They say: Urgent that shipbuilding and ship repairing are nationalised to avoid final elimination of the industry on Merseyside. Unemployment now at 80,000. They demand that the industry be nationalised. I have received similar telegrams from Cammell Laird shop stewards and the Merseyside Joint Construction Unions.

That is the voice of the organised working people in the shipbuilding and ship repairing industries. The telegrams that I have read out can be multiplied by my hon. Friends from Scotland, Bristol, Sheffield, the North-East Coast, and elsewhere. [An HON. MEMBER: "Glasgow."] I said Scotland. Working people want to see the Bill implemented at the earliest possible moment because they know that its their only hope of safeguarding their livelihoods in the future. In fact, there would now be no shipbuilding industry were it not for the Government pouring in money. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) should bear in mind what was said last night by Mr. Baylis, the director of the Shipbuilders' and Repairers' National Association. He said: If these proposals are not to proceed, then action must be taken without further delay to assist British shipbuilders to meet the present intensely difficult market situation. In other words, even if we do not take the industry into public ownership, companies will have to line up at the Department of Industry for more finance in order to keep themselves going. The principle of my party is that, if we are to put public money into an industry, we want public accountability and public control of that industry. That is what this issue is all about.

I noted with great interest Mr. David Wood's front-page spread in The Times of today, in which he said that all this arose because someone who was a shareholder in Yarrow's had drawn it to the attention of the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine). The hon. Member obviously did not want to raise the matter himself, because had the Bill been ruled to be not a hybrid Bill he would have looked silly; so he got his hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton to raise the matter. I understand that the hon. Gentleman gave a name, but I also understand that certain Opposition Members are involved very much with the shipbuilding and ship repairing industry.

The truth of the whole matter is that it is a ploy to stop the Government carrying out their declared election pledges. That is what it is intended to do. It has nothing to do with what was said by the right hon. Member for Sidcup and nothing to do with the protection of minorities or principles—except the principle of the acceptance of the private enterprise system, which over the last few years has been dragging this country down.

6.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

I have no interest to declare save that of Parliament. The kindest comment I can make on the observations of Sir Barnett Cocks is that confusion is not a new inhabitant of his mind, and it would have been more seemly and consistent with his past if he had left the task of advising Mr. Speaker to those who have been able to examine the evidence, a class of persons which does not include Sir Barnett Cocks.

The issue before us is not the merit of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but whether the House should take totally unprecedented steps to obviate the procedures which its Standing Orders lay down.

Hon. Members have asked the interesting, though in no way germane, question of why the hybridity of the Bill was identified after the Committee stage rather than before it. The answer is that, although there were undoubtely some people outside the House who were aware of some of the relevant facts which make the Bill a hybrid Bill, and there were undoubtedly many hon. Members on both sides of the House who were fully familiar with the rules which make the Bill a hybrid Bill rather than a Public General Bill, these two groups did not coincide. It was not until 10 minutes to three o'clock last Tuesday afternoon that both sets of knowledge were coexistent in my possession. That was the moment at which I was able to make a submission to Mr. Speaker concerning the nature of a vessel which was undeniably being constructed on the crucial date, 31st July 1974, in the shipyard owned by Marathon.

The definition which is applied is not from some obscure Act, nor is it a definition trivially imported into the argument. It is a definition chosen by the Government for their specific purpose. It is not a definition general for all purposes, and it is not a definition to govern subsequent Bills or Acts. It specifically states that it is a definition which is to be used for the relevant part of the schedule to the Bill, namely, Part II of Schedule 2 to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill.

That definition is entirely of the Government's choice, not of Parliament's choice, not of Mr. Speaker's choice, not the choice of the Officers of the House, not the choice of Yarrow, not the choice either of those parts of the industry to be nationalised or those to be excluded from nationalisation. It is the Government's choice.

If it was an incompetent choice, the incompetence is the Government's incompetence, and it does no credit to the Leader of the House that he should try to cast the allegation of incompetence and the responsibility for it on to shoulders other than those he knows perfectly well are responsible for it, namely, the Department of Industry as the sponsoring Department of the Bill. No one else in heaven or earth bears the responsibility for that.

Incidentally, those who bear the constitutional responsibility for it are those who chose to have their names endorsed on the Bill when it was presented to Parliament. That procedure is adopted so that the House shall know whom to hold accountable to Parliament for the shortcomings of a Bill. Names are endorsed on a Bill for no other reason than that. The Leader of the House need not speculate on where responsibility lies. He need not even share his thoughts with us. He need only read the face of the Bill and he will find where it lies.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

Why did not the hon. Gentleman raise this matter in the Standing Committee of which he was a member? Does he deny the story on the front page of The Times today that this is a Tory plot which the Tories have been hatching for a long time?

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

I do not believe that The Times said that. I presume that the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) has just come into the Chamber. Had he come in earlier he would have known the answer, which his hon. Friends doubtless will tell him. It would not be fair to other hon. Members who wish to address the House for me to repeat the answer for his benefit.

What else is there to be pleaded? There is no dispute on your ruling, Mr. Speaker. There is no dispute on the rules which the House has adopted and which are still extant to govern cases of this kind. There is no Standing Order which says that hybridity must be claimed after Second Reading or we must for ever hold our peace. There is no precedent for claiming that unless hybridity is alleged after Second Reading it cannot be alleged.

I would guess—it can only be a guess—that there has not been a previous occasion when the two aspects of knowledge—knowledge of our procedure and what is in the Bill on the one hand and knowledge of perceptible fact, localised in some shipyard in this case, on the other hand—have not become coincident until a later stage. That may well be without precedent. There is no reason for saying that, because this is the first occasion on which these two aspects of knowledge have apparently become coincident, the Standing Order should be suspended unless a point of order is raised after Second Reading and before Committee stage.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South

I also declare an interest in the procedures of the House. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the reason for this unprecedented motion is the point which he has just made? It is unprecedented not only in the manner he described but also on a relatively narrow matter. Does not that justify the action taken by the Leader of the House?

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

No. The Standing Order is not affected by whether the hybridity of the Bill is identified earlier or later. The essence of the Standing Order is that, once hybridity has been identified, those who are affected in a way in which others who fall in the same category are not affected shall have the opportunity of petitioning a Select Committee of the House for equal treatment before the law. That essence is not lost even at this moment in time.

If the normal procedure of the House is followed and if the amendment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) is carried, I presume that the House will order the Bill to be sent to the examiners in the normal way. After a lapse of time for the examiners to receive petitions and to examine them for locus standi, the matter will be referred to a Select Committee of the House, not so that it can duplicate the 58 sittings of the Standing Committee but so that it can examine the petitions against the Bill. That is an entirely different function. It is a function which a Standing Committee cannot, and which this particular Standing Committee has not, performed.

If the Select Committee reports to the House that the petitions are without merit and that the Bill does not require any amendment in consequence, we shall be in the same position as now. We shall have a Bill which has completed all its Committee processes and now awaits further consideration by the whole House on Report.

I mention that because there are some hon. Members who erroneously believe that, unless the motion is passed, the 58 sittings of the Standing Committee will be lost, all that time will be wasted and we shall have to go through it all again. They believe that that would be a wretched waste of parliamentary time—and so it would be if that were the case, but it is not.

Photo of Mr Ivor Clemitson Mr Ivor Clemitson , Luton East

Who will refer the Bill to the examiners, and under which Standing Order will it be referred since Standing Order No. 38 applies only to Second Reading?

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

In order to get the Bill to the examiners, there would be a motion by the Government on the Order Paper. I have never known such a motion to be disputed. It is a simple thing.

Photo of Mr Ivor Clemitson Mr Ivor Clemitson , Luton East

New rules will have to be made.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

It does not involve new rules or Standing Orders. Under the Standing Order, the Leader of the House places a motion on the Order Paper. If he looks up the Journals of the House, the hon. Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) will find them peppered with such motions. Special procedures are not required, nor need the 58 sittings of the Standing Committee be abandoned. What we have to do now need not take any longer than if the Bill had been declared hybrid after Second Reading. There is no reason why the Select Committee stage of the Bill should take longer now than it would have taken had that stage come before Second Reading. It is therefore untrue to say that, by identifying the hybridity of the Bill at this stage, in some way its passage through the House is delayed compared with what would have happened had it been identified at the Second Reading stage.

The argument that this is a device to delay the passage of the Bill is totally without foundation. The argument which has now become precious is the relevance of the hybridity being identified earlier. We would have found ourselves in severe difficulty had we not identified the hybridity until after the Report stage had been entered upon or completed. Since that is not the case, we do not have to deal with it. We must deal with the present situation in which hybridity has been identified, and ruled as such by Mr. Speaker, at a time when the rights of minority and the due process of Parliament can still be honoured.

The duty which all hon. Members owe to themselves, to the House which they serve and the community outside is to let the Bill take its normal course as a hybrid Bill by giving it to the examiners and——

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

A prima facie hybrid Bill.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

A prima facie hybrid Bill goes to the examiners of the House and thence to the Select Committee if they are satisfied that the Bill has hybridity and the petitioners have locus standi.

If the Secretary of State believes that although it is prima facie a hybrid Bill it is not in fact a hybrid Bill, he can let it go to the examiners and he will win his point within a few days. He is determined that it shall not go to the examiners because he does not believe that it is a Public General Bill. He knows that Mr. Speaker's ruling that it is prima facie a hybrid Bill will be confirmed by the examiners. That is why the right hon. Gentleman wants the House to pass a special motion denying the examiners the Bill—that is what his motion says. It states: That, in view of the serious consequences to the industries concerned and for those employed in them for further delay and uncertainty, in relation to the proceedings on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill, any Standing Orders relating to Private Business, and consideration of the application of any such Standing Orders, are dispensed with. The final words are "dispensed with." Those are words used by anyone who wishes to get rid of parliamentary processes.

Let the Leader of the House be true to his past, and what may even now be left of himself, and let the House of Commons show that it is still a Parliament and not a processing machine.

6.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

I am no less jealous of the rights of individual hon. Members and of the House itself against the Executive than any hon. Member on the Opposition Benches. I am certainly no less concerned than the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) or the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). Therefore, as an hon. Member of the House and, I hope a parliamentarian, I would be deeply concerned if I believed that a blunder of considerable proportions had been made by the Government who, while legislation was going through, belatedly endeavoured, by manoeuvre and manipulation, to change the rules of the House to establish a permanent and dubious precedent. That would be usurping the rights of the House.

The gravamen of the charge, as I understand it from what has been said by hon. Members of the Conservative Opposition and by the Leader of the Liberal Party, is that the Government have blundered and that they must take the consequences and accept that. I do not, however, accept that the difficulties have arisen from the conduct of the Government or any Department of Government.

We would place ourselves in a dangerous position if we attempted to assert that Mr. Speaker, his officers and those who serve him were creatures of any Department of State. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has rightly stressed that there is no question of Mr. Speaker or his officers being in commission to any Department of State.

We therefore have to accept that there were in existence as has become clearer all the time, ascertainable facts which would have led to the conclusion that this is prima facie a hybrid Bill. Those facts were available. Proper investigation would have brought them out. Questions could have been asked and answered, but the wrong questions, or no questions, were asked by the people upon whom the responsibility must finally fall to certify one way or the other whether a Bill is hybrid.

It is not a Bill that could easily have had imported into it perhaps some slight aspect of a hybrid nature. The schedule should have put anybody and everybody upon inquiry. No one looking at the definition mentioned by the hon. Member for Tiverton could doubt that attention was being drawn to the complexities involved in the Bill. Nobody could look at the list and category of firms involved without realising that the Bill was one which should have put Mr. Speaker and his office upon inquiry. The duty is an independent duty, and the blunder, if there has been one, is an omission or mistake which is not the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State or the Government. The responsibility must fall upon those who, performing a difficult task—they are public servants who rarely make mistakes, people to whom we are deeply indebted—on this occasion have shown that they are fallible, as we all are.

I have to decide, as a Member of the House, not as a member of the Labour Party, whether I can agree that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is suggesting a proper course. I must balance the irreparable harm that can clearly be done if we revert to the normal procedures on a hybrid Bill against encroaching upon our Standing Orders, an encroachment which the motion specifically says is confined to the Bill. There is no suggestion of broadening it into a matter of principle, as the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) suggested. There is no question of trying to create a precedent. The terms of the motion identify it with this Bill and this Bill alone. As every rational man must, I must balance the harm against a very slight, and very particular, erosion of our Standing Orders.

I have heard today and yesterday the most extraordinary accusations against my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. One would imagine from the papers this morning and what has been said on the Opposition Benches that we have a new authoritarian dictator, taking on powers comparable with those taken behind the Iron Curtain or even by the Prime Minister of India. It does the House no good to lapse into institutionalised paranoia. Party politics are the essence of democracy, but when paranoic attitudes begin to be so reinforced that we have a fiasco such as we have witnessed in the past few days we are devaluing the House and our parliamentary democracy rather than enhancing them.

I know my right hon. Friend very well. He is an old friend and neighbour of mine. I have plenty of complaints against him, all grievous complaints. The trouble with him is that, far from being a destroyer of democracy, he is trying to enforce democracy upon the Principality. The trouble is that, far from being an authoritarian Socialist, he is an old-fashioned English romantic. That is why I did not vote for him to be leader of my party. But my right hon. Friend has many merits and attributes. It does no good to the House or to us as individuals to represent one another in a distorted fashion which brings us into contempt outside, because it looks as if we are scavenging and mud slinging rather than showing proper respect for one another's views, which is what we should be doing instead of denigrating one another's personalities.

Photo of Mr David Crouch Mr David Crouch , Canterbury

As the hon. Gentleman refers to what the Leader of the House did yesterday, and to the motion, may I remind him that the right hon. Gentleman did not dispute Mr. Speaker's ruling. He merely suggested that we should dispense with it. Does not the hon. Gentleman think, on reflection, that the Leader of the House would have done better to tell the House "All right. We made a mistake. I am sorry.", and let the House consider how we should deal with the matter? As my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) said, perhaps it will not mean another 58 sittings in a Select Committee or even a Standing Committee. The usual channels might produce the answer. Does not the hon. Gentleman think that for once the Leader of the House nodded yesterday?

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

My right hon. Friend has never disputed Mr. Speaker's ruling. He has accepted it, and then put proposals before the House in an endeavour to remedy the consequences of Mr. Speaker's undisputed ruling. It does not become us to strike an attitude as though obliquely, elliptically, or in any other way we are challenging the ruling. Pershaps unlike other hon. Members, I am saying that the prime responsibility is not the Government's. The matter should and could have been ascertained before. It is wrong to try to make a scapegoat out of the Government, out of my right hon. Friends the Leader of the House and the Secretary of State. I know the difficulties and complexities in dealing with such a matter, and I know that people are fallible. I do not wish to make a scapegoat out of any individual who may be in Mr. Speaker's office. The truth is that the matter was are discussing is not——

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Royal Tunbridge Wells

Does not the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that blame lies upon an official in Mr. Speaker's office depend upon the proposition that those in Mr. Speaker's office must satisfy themselves that the statement of facts put before them by the Government is truthful? That must be nonsense.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

In the last analysis, the duty lies nominally upon Mr. Speaker himself. The decision was taken by a distinguished Conservative Speaker, who fully deserved all the praise so recently bestowed upon him. It lies upon any official who may, unfortunately, in a very difficult matter not have probed sufficiently. If they failed to do that task with the rigour which it demands, if I were pressed to say where the responsibility lay, I should say that it lay not on the Government but on a former Speaker. I say that with no disrespect to him.

There can be an air of unreality about our proceedings. Here we are engaged upon a discussion about hybridity, a term lacking any meaning to the wider community outside and to most hon. Members. It is very easy to become so locked up in our own monastery that we forget what is going on in the outside world. The outside world looking at us would say that we seem to be playing a parliamentary game which really does not in any way elevate our reputation.

In The Times today we have had not only the criticisms which have been echoed here today against the Leader of the House but also a very insidious incitement to another place, suggesting that, if this House decides to adopt the course taken by the Leader of the House, it would be the constitutional duty of those in another place to make certain, if the action recommended is taken, that the Bill does not take its normal course. We have already had today certain announcements which, in my opinion, do not add to the glamour of the other place, but its reputation would certainly suffer very severely if it attempted to take such ill-advised advice from the Editor of The Times. Those in another place need to understand that if this House takes a decision we do so having taken full account of our position as parliamentarians.

The brutal fact is that this debate is a piece of camouflage. In my judgment, sections of the House are attempting to camouflage their hostility towards the objectives of the Bill itself. In doing so they are attempting to elevate a small matter to a matter of profound principle. I do not believe that a matter of profound principle is involved. When we are snarled up in our proceedings, as we here become, we require to forget that we are ourselves party men; and we should be able to devise methods which would show to the outside world that our Parliament has elasticity and the ability in a particular situation to display an innovatory capacity which enables it to be the Mother of Parliaments.

It has been said that in this House we can make men into women by passing Acts. We have great power, which can be used on major matters, but it can be abused. This power is not being abused today. What is happening today is that rationality is being applied to a complex difficulty, and a robust common sense has come into action. It is my hope that we shall not show ourselves to be nit-picking, legalistic legislators, who are subjugating our general desire to maintain a principle to mere party politics; for if we behave in that wretched manner we shall receive praise in editorials from people who live in their own world in Fleet Street, but deserved blame from workers right throughout the country.

6.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I regret to say that the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) has, uncharacteristically in his case, fallen into error in his analysis of the responsibility for the error which has been made in this matter. I hope to deal as fully and faithfully as time allows with the underlying fallacy of his argument in that respect in the first of three propositions with which I wish to canvass with the House this evening. My first proposition is that the error that has here arisen derives from the fault of the Executive and not from any misjudgment on the part of the Officers of the House; and therefore, according to our constitutional doctrine, the error is the responsibility of Ministers and Ministers alone.

My second proposition is that though the House is master of its own procedure, the exercise of that power is subject to the inherent constraint that it must not be used in violation of the fundamental rights of the individual citizen, and that for Ministers to invite the House to act in that way is a breach of the principles of our unwritten constitution. My third proposition is that the importance of the matter before us is to be weighed in the scales not of quantum but of principle, and that the principle here involved is basic to the operation of our British form of parliamentary government, which is not subject to the safeguards of protective provisions for individual rights entrenched in the provisions of a written constitution.

On the first of those matters—the responsibility for the error that has arisen—the position is clear, thanks largely to the devoted and successful labours of my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). I would like to pay my respectful tribute to the work that he has done with his conscientious zeal, skill and diligence in this matter. He has proved himself a good servant of the House and a good servant of the democratic institutions of this place. The salient points, shortly, are these: if a Public Bill has the characteristics of a hybrid Bill it attracts special procedures designed to protect the private and property rights of the individual citizen. The criterion for inclusion in the category of hybrid Bill is that it is: a Public Bill which affects a particular private interest in a manner different from the private interests of other persons or bodies of the same category or class". The judgment as to whether the criterion as to the existence of a hybrid Bill is satisfied in any particular Bill, turns, of course, on the provisions of that Bill, which are the responsibility of Ministers in relation to matters of fact, which are or ought to be known to Ministers and which they are under a clear duty to ascertain before putting to the Officers of the House the case for Mr. Speaker's decision on the question whether it is or may be—because that is enough—a hybrid Bill; that is to say, in the idiom of these matters, that it is prima facie a hybrid Bill. It is for Ministers and their Departments to assemble the facts sufficiently and accurately to enable Mr. Speaker to interpret the position in the light of those facts.

In this case the provisions of the Bill and the relevant facts upon which turn the determination of this matter are within a narrow compass, within paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2. There, as we know, are two qualifying conditions. We are not concerned with the second, because there is no issue as to this, and presumably Mr. Speaker Selwyn Lloyd was satisfied on the second condition when the matter was originally submitted to him. So the matter turns solely and simply on the condition in paragraph 2(1)(a). It is not a matter of a three-year history but simply a question whether on a single specific date a company owned a shipyard being used for the construction of ships. This is a simple question of fact and definition. Clearly, the fact is that the "Key Victoria" was under construction at Clydebank on the material date, 31st July 1974.

Equally clearly, that vessel was, or might have been—because again that is enough—a ship within the proposed statutory definition in the Bill.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

If the matter were as clear as the right hon. and learned Gentleman makes out, why is it that recourse had to be made to the technical experts of the marine division of Lloyd's to find out the answer? Obviously the matter was not as clear as the right hon. and learned Gentleman seeks to imply.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

When the facts were known, the interpretation was clear. The reason why the interpretation was wrong in the first instance was not that the interpreters were unskilled, but because they were not given the facts—in other words, they were not given the straw with which to make the bricks. The issue was whether, on the facts as known, or as they should have been known, it came within the proposed statutory definition in the Bill. It was not a question, as the Secretary of State seemed to think in his somewhat idiosyncratic contribution to these proceedings, of this ship looking like all other ships, or of how the Inland Revenue viewed the matter in the esoteric exercise of its inscrutable wisdom, or of how it fitted in with the definition of another statute. For that to be so, the Bill would have to have included a provision by which the two measures were to be read together—and it does not contain such a provision. None of those matters was comprised in the criteria. The criteria related to the definition in the Bill, written for this particular purpose and for this particular part of the Bill.

There can be no doubt that if the facts as we now know them had been brought to the attention of the Officers of the House in the context of the qualifying conditions of the definition clause, Mr. Speaker Selwyn Lloyd would have been able to decide that prima facie this was a hybrid Bill, with the same speed and unequivocal precision as the present Speaker did when the full facts were made known to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton. It is clear, therefore, that the fault lies with Ministers.

Mr. Speaker is in the position of a judge, who can deal with matters only on the facts and evidence put before him. It is not his function, any more than it is the function of a judge, to undertake a roving commission to ascertain the facts. That is not his function, and he has not the resources to do so. If the known facts show a prima facie case—and that is enough—the assistance of the examiners can be invoked under Standing Order No. 38, but the matter can go to the examiners only if there is a prima facie case. If the mechanism is not got right at the start, it is not possible for it to proceed.

Several Hon. Members:

rose——

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I shall give way to the hon. Member for Pontypool, but it will be the last time I shall give way.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

I apologise for interrupting the rotund paragraphs of the right hon. and learned Member, but is he seriously putting forward the proposition that Mr. Speaker and his advisers have no inquisitorial capacities? In other words, is he saying that their rôle is totally passive and that they do not have a duty to ask questions brought to their attention by the nature and character of a Bill?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

They have a duty of interpretation, and also a duty to consider the facts that are brought to their attention. They do not have a duty of instituting a roving commission to inquire whether further facts are tucked away. It is the duty of Ministers to bring to their attention all relevant facts.

I have made an analogy with a court of law and the position of a judge, but a judge is in the fortunate position of having the assistance of two parties and the salutary processes of cross-examination. Mr. Speaker is dependent on the unilateral representations of Ministers.

Mr. Robert Hug:

rose——

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I made clear a little earlier that although I would give way to the hon. Member for Pontypool, he would be the last hon. Member to whom I would give way.

Because there is a unilateral representation, Mr. Speaker is dependent solely on the production of facts from Ministers. Therefore, that imposes a special duty on them just as, in a court of law, there is a duty on counsel, if he is the only counsel in the case, to bring everything before the judge.

I regret to say—and I say this in no vindictive way, because this is a matter of great principle, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) said—that I believe that Ministers have failed in this duty. Their presentation of the facts has been defective and they have thereby caused a misdirection, which has led to the proceedings on the Bill being misconceived and wrongly cast in a form that is prejudicial to the fundamental rights of the citizen.

That brings me to my second proposition. Although this error has been committed and lies at the door of ministerial responsibility, is it proper for the House now to dispense with the Standing Orders? Of course, the House is master of its own procedure. But there is a clear distinction between a variation, and a retrospective variation at that, which affects only internal procedures of the House and a variation which prejudices the rights of third parties—the rights of citizens in regard to their own property and interest.

Devil's advocates may say that there is no such distinction. They say that it is all part of the sovereignty of Parliasment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Some hon. Members shout "Hear, hear", proving that devil's advocacy is the one form of advocacy with which the Labour Benches are richly endowed.

Such a proposition is at best an oversimplification and certainly a dangerous doctrine. Though Parliament is constitutionally sovereign as a law making body, its supremacy in our unwritten constitution does not stand alone. Dicey, in his monumental work, defined the two elements in our constitution that he referred to as its pillars—namely, the sovereignty of Parliament and the rule of law. Strike away one, and the other cannot maintain unaided the fabric of a democratic constitution.

The, protection of the fundamental rights of the citizen is an important part of the rule of law. The exercise of the sovereignty of Parliament is dependent on a respect for the fundamental rights. To act in defiance of the rule of the law and for Parliament to legislate at the behest of the Executive in breach of the fundamental rights of the citizen, is to emulate the example of the Roman Senate in Imperial days—an example condemned over 2,000 years of history—and to degrade the concept of the sovereignty of Parliament to the servile rôle of an instrument of autocratic government.

Again, the devil's advocates may say that the doctrine of sovereignty of Parliament knows no such limitations. They take the view that for just ends we can employ any means and that the end justifies the means. That is a fallacious and dangerous doctrine, for many reasons. If the rule of law is to be subverted and fundamental rights are to be invaded on such a pretext, they cannot and will not survive. That doctrine is a means of ensuring that there is only one criterion of conduct—the will of the Executive—with such support as it temporarily commands in this House.

In most countries the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizen—the right not to be discriminated against, and the right of equality before the law—figure as entrenched provisions in a written constitution Such rights in these countries are enforceable at law, and any Government or legislature seeking to invade them is subject to restraint by the courts. Such is the position in most countries today which seek to exercise constitutional democratic Government.

Why, then, is Britain an exception to the general rule? Why are the fundamental rights of the citizen not entrenched and safeguarded here in the customary way? It is not because we are unaware of their importance. Indeed, in legislat- ing for newly independent countries, we have established such Constitutions, prefaced with entrenched provisions guaranteeing fundamental rights. Why have we not thought it necessary to apply to ourselves the treatment that we have prescribed for others? The reason is as important as it is clear. We have thought it unnecessary to fetter the sovereignty of Parliament with the constraints of a written constitution because it has been assumed throughout the generations that Parliament will always respect fundamental rights and will voluntarily act in accordance with the rule of law, and that, therefore, there is no need to impose a compulsory mechanism.

Voluntary acceptance of such constraints has been the practice and principle underlying the evolution of our parliamentary system and has been the condition that has enabled us to dispense with the safeguards of a written constitution.

Photo of Mr George Cunningham Mr George Cunningham , Islington South and Finsbury

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I would like to, especially to the hon. Gentleman, but when I gave way to the hon. Member for Pontypool I said that it must be the last occasion, because of the passage of time. I am genuinely sorry.

So firmly embedded is the principle of the acceptance of the rule of law and the protection of individual rights, that Montesquieu actually thought he was deriving the principle of the separation of powers aimed at safeguarding the citizen against abuses of power from the British system. He was mistaken, of course, but only as to the form of the British constitution and not as to its spirit and purpose, which he accurately identified as aiming to protect the citizen and society by the rule of law. If, therefore, exceptionally among the nations of the world, we are to continue to operate the rule of law without having the safeguarding of fundamental rights in a written constitution, we must accept that in essence that means the constraints on the Executive and the parliamentary conduct that those rights require.

If, unhappily, such acceptance, long practised, is allowed to fall into desuetude, we have either to contemplate the formulation of safeguards entrenched in a written Constitution or face the inevitability of a progressive decline in our free and democratic institutions.

That brings me to my third proposition, because what I have said establishes that it is no technicality with which we are here concerned, but something basic to our form of parliamentary Government, which is not subject to the safeguards of the protective provisions of a written constitution. What is involved here is the principle of non-discrimination among citizens. The law must apply impartially to all and must treat alike every citizen in similar circumstances. This principle lies much at the heart of the matter. It is the principle of equality before the law which is itself one of the great bastions of a free and fair society. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] I have served in 10 Parliaments over more than three decades and I never thought I would hear those great principles challenged on the Floor of the House of Commons.

This great principle is directly in point here, and it is fundamental. It was recognised, as the Leader of the House well knows, by our forefathers. Indeed, the great constitutional crime laid at the door of King James II was his attempt to exercise dispensing and suspending powers—to say, in other words, as the Government seek to say, that the law shall apply to some and not to others, in some circumstances but not in all. For this constitutional crime he was properly sentenced to exile, and it will indeed be appropriate if that example is followed soon and these transgressors are equally sent into political exile.

This, then, is no technicality, still less a trivial point. Again, the devil's advocates are hard at work. All this fuss, they say, about one vessel, about the "Key Victoria" such a small thing when the nationalisation of the shipbuilding industry is such a great affair. The point on which the principle arises may be small but the principle is great and it is in the scales of principle that these things must be weighed.

I find it appropriate that this issue should arise in the context of ships. It was in a similar context that voice was first given to the great principles with which we are here concerned. It was in the context of ship money that Hampden made his great stand for the rule of law, and it was in the same context that Burke disposed of the fallacy that the smallness of the item involved can reduce matters of principle to a mere technicality or trivia. Burke said: Would twenty shillings have ruined Mr. Hampden's fortune? No! but the payment of half twenty shillings, on the principle it was demanded, would have made him a slave. Those words have become part of the imperishable literature of freedom. On us in this House today falls the same duty, and to us is entrusted the same tradition. I therefore ask the House to resist this encroachment on the rule of law and to condemn the motion that which seeks to give effect to it.

7.17 p.m.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

I must declare an interest on two counts. First, I have many aircraft workers in my constituency, and, secondly, I spent a lot of time in Standing Committee D which considered the Bill. It seems from the comments of the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), who replied to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, which have been confirmed by other Conservative Members, that the Government stand accused of ignoring, or in some way subverting, the Standing Orders of the House. At the same time, reference is constantly made by Opposition Members to the fact that there is no precedent for the situation in which the House finds itself at the present time.

I suggest that if there is no Standing Order—clearly there cannot be if no similar situation has been covered by a Standing Order before—logically no Standing Orders can have been ignored or subverted by the Government in this situation. In fact, the Government are faced with a problem created by the decision of Mr. Speaker which forces the Government, or the Lord President of the Council, to produce an answer that will permit Parliament to decide how it will proceed following the decision of Mr. Speaker after the Committee stage of the Bill and prior to Report stage, which Parliament was about to consider.

The advice that we are given is now in the form of a motion before the House, upon which Parliament will decide. All the words uttered by Conservative Members about democracy are not relevant—indeed, they have seldom been relevant—to determining the answer to the problem posed. Parliament today will give its "Yea" or "Nay" to the motion that the Government have submitted.

If we wish to hear the real voice of democracy, we should turn to a telegram which was sent yesterday to the Speaker of the House of Commons. It said: We have viewed with despair the performance of certain members who have turned the activities of Standing Committee D into marathon of irresponsible legalistic filibustering. It appears from last evening's fiasco that we are about to suffer"——

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for an hon. Member to read to the House contents of a telegram which have been sent to him which clearly are in contempt of the House? The hon. Member is reading a telegram in which it is alleged that Members of the House had indulged in filibustering and irresponsible behaviour.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

That is not a point of order.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

I am tempted to start all over again, because the gist of this message is important. I ended at the phrase "irresponsible legalistic filibustering". I continue: It appears from last evening's fiasco that we are about to suffer some unwholesome performance on the floor of the House.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that those words came to your attention. They are the clearest possible challenge to Mr. Speaker's ruling, and I believe that in those circumstances they ought to be ruled out of order.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

They can hardly be a challenge to Mr. Speaker's ruling, because at the time the telegram was sent to Mr. Speaker he had not ruled.

The telegram goes on to say: As Worker Representatives, we demand that Parliament gives full weight to the consequences of its failure to take decisions upon the workpeople in Country and in particular upon workpeople in Shipbuilding and Aerospace industries. We will not tolerate any more uncertainty"——

Photo of Mr Kenneth Warren Mr Kenneth Warren , Hastings

On a point of order——

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I submit to you that what the hon. Member is doing is a clear breach of the privileges of the House of Commons. This is a clear challenge to Mr. Speaker's ruling, and I put it to you that it is intolerable that the hon. Member should be allowed to proceed in this way.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

I think that the hon. Member for Preston. South (Mr. Thorne) had better develop his argument, and the Chair will decide in what way it is going.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

I ought to make it plain that, although this telegram was sent to Mr. Speaker, it was also sent to a number of Ministers and Members of Parliament. As one of the Members of Parliament who received it, I feel perfectly free to deal with it in order to develop the argument which arises from it. It goes on: We will not tolerate any more uncertainty and demand that Parliament be allowed to pass or reject Bill. It has already set a record of more Committee Meetings than any previous Bill. This delay has already had an adverse effect on our employment. We demand a decision. The telegram is signed by Mr. John Wareing, on behalf of all staff and all works unions at the British Aircraft Corporation, Preston, Warton and Samlesbury. It is in regard to the essence of that telegram that I wish to make a few points. Unlike previous speakers, I hope to make them briefly so that other hon. Members can get into the debate.

The Bill is about the public ownership of the industries—regrettably, two industries which are not booming and are not as prosperous as some of us would like, but industries which are vital to our economic life. Public ownership is vital if we are to plan and expand those industries in the interests of the British people as a whole. Should that aim be achieved, the workpeople in both industries will face for the first time the prospect of being involved in the decision-making processes within both industries.

The forward planning, the manpower requirements, the capital to be invested, the marketing of the products and the demands of our economy, which may require diversification within those industries—particularly in aerospace—will all provide the workers, whether blue or white collar, with the opportunity to come to grips for the first time with the task of running a major industry. It is this which is the basis of the concern expressed by Opposition Members about the Bill.

It is not new, of course, to see the vigour with which Conservative Members act on behalf of private enterprise, on behalf of private profit and on behalf of the shareholders of both these industries—but not, of course, on behalf of the workers in those industries, whom they regard purely as commodities which form part of the production processes which produce the private profits to dear to Conservative Members.

At no time in Standing Committee did Conservative Members conceal their concern about the amount of compensation to be paid to shareholders, while behaving in such a manner as to threaten the workers' prospects in those industries by the completely irresponsible way in which they filibustered and delayed the passage of the Bill.

Several interventions when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State opened this debate revealed yet again the level of class consciousness which exists among Conservative Party Members when their private economic interests are being threatened. The Bill threatens their economic interests and the interests of the class they represent in this House. The passage of the Bill is in accord with the class interests of the working people in the industries concerned.

Photo of Mr Roger Sims Mr Roger Sims , Chislehurst

Now who is talking about class?

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

It is on that basis that we on this side urge the passing of the motion. The workers in both industries have waited a long time for the passing of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Glasgow Cathcart

So did the steel workers, and look what happened to them.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

They have waited a long time in the belief that ultimately this Government would carry out their manifesto commitment in 1974 to take these two industries into public ownership. One thing which can be said about the Government in this regard is that they intend to do precisely that. It is because they intend to do precisely that that they have the overwhelming support of hon. Members on this side.

Photo of Mr Ivan Lawrence Mr Ivan Lawrence , Burton

The end justifies the means.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

What we are talking about is workers' jobs and the livelihood of their families. The Government have the support of the electorate over this measure. All that remains for us to do is to pass the motion and get on with the job.

7.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

I trust that the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) will forgive me if, in the interests of time, I do not comment on his speech, otherwise I should have to continue long enough to annoy other hon. Members who may wish to speak.

I make this brief intervention in the debate as I consider that it is necessary for the record, as well as possibly making a contribution to the democratic process, that all parties and as many interests as possible in the House should declare their attitude to the motion.

The hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) said that this should not be regarded as a precedent and that it could be a "one off" operation. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not here at the moment, but I do not think he can believe that suggestion himself. If the motion is passed, a future Conservative Government will be entitled to use this procedure against the Opposition of the day, and the then Opposition will not like it.

This is a centralising Bill. No Scottish corporation is proposed. No Scottish divisions were proposed—and this at a time when devolution is in the air. The aims of the Bill will of necessity betray the principles of decentralisation. This is the very opposite of what the situation demands.

Photo of Mr David Lambie Mr David Lambie , Ayrshire Central

Is it not correct to say that Scottish Aviation, which is included within the Bill, is now controlled by an English financial holding company based in London? Would it not be better for the workers in Scottish Aviation to be part of a Scottish unit within British Aerospace? That would give us Scottish control under British Aerospace and not English control by means of the financial holding company.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

The hon. Member should have remembered that during the discussion of the Bill. Although he indicated that he would support an amendment put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) in favour of a separate Scottish division, when it came to the push he voted with the Government.

The reference in the motion to employment being at risk has no real application. There has recently been an increase in the orders on the order books of the shipyards. If capital needs to be injected, development money should be made available under Section 8 of the Industry Act.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it possible for the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) to be asked to keep silent so that we may listen to the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart)?

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

Order. This is a matter for the Chair. If the Chair deems it necessary to do so, the Chair will intervene.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

I was referring to the number of orders on the order books of the shipyards. If money is available, it can be provided under Section 8 of the Industry Act and the Scottish Development Agency should take an equity interest in the yards.

We have heard a lot about the urgency of the Bill. Although the Bill was mentioned in the Labour Party manifesto, as has been pointed out, it took 18 months for it to come before the House, so where is all the great urgency?

The Secretary of State for Industry made a reference earlier to rationalisation. We know what this means in relation to jobs in Scotland. The Scottish steel industry was nationalised and put under the British Steel Corporation, and jobs have been disappearing ever since. That is what will happen in the shipyards and to Scottish Aviation if the Bill goes through. What guarantee will the Government give that no workers will lose their jobs in Scotland?

It was disingenuous of the Lord President to talk yesterday of getting the House to decide the matter. He knows that he will have his regiment of Lobby fodder to ensure that the motion is carried. If he really meant that a decision should be taken by the House, there should obviously be a free vote, as many hon. Members have said. That would still leave the question of pushing through a hybrid Bill, but at least it would give some credibility to the pretence of having a decision of the House.

This is the second occasion in recent weeks when the Government have resorted to bending the rules. One wonders whether there is a department of dirty tricks starting to operate—[Interruption.] I heard the response to the comment of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) when he talked about the defence of the rights of the citizen. The strong and the powerful can look after themselves. It is the weak who need the law to protect them more than anybody else.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

I shall not give way. The Secretary of State for Industry was talking of the responsibility of the Scottish National Party Members. We need no lectures from the Secretary of State or his colleagues on that point. It is because we are aware of our responsibility that we are here, with the support of the people, and there will be more of us here—[Interruption.] Needless to say, my hon. Friends and I would prefer to be working in a Scottish——

Photo of Mr Norman Buchan Mr Norman Buchan , Renfrewshire West

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As to the documents which have come to the House, when one of those documents—a telegram—was referred to, the Scottish National Party spokesman deliberately—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Winnie Ewing Dr Winnie Ewing , Moray and Nairn

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We are being deluged with bogus telegrams— [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

Order. The Chair has no knowledge of these telegrams. It is not a matter for the Chair.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for Members of the Scottish National Party to pull the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) back into her seat when she has already made such a calamitous error as to describe genuine telegrams as bogus? Is it right that her hon. Friends should pull her back in order to prevent her from making any further and more serious errors?

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

That is not a matter of order.

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

We would much prefer to be working in a Scottish Parliament——

Photo of Mr Donald Stewart Mr Donald Stewart , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

—but while we are here let us try to have some concern that the democratic processes and procedures of the House should not be diminished in any way. That is why my hon. Friends and I will vote against the motion tonight.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

I call Mr. Mendelson.

7.38 p.m.

Photo of Andrew Welsh Andrew Welsh , Angus South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for an hon. Member to use the word "traitors"?

Several Hon. Members:

rose——

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

Order. The Chair is in some difficulty here. The word was not heard by the Chair. I think that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) should be allowed to continue his speech, and then we may find out what is the position.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

Come on. Let me proceed.

Photo of Mr Keith Stainton Mr Keith Stainton , Sudbury and Woodbridge

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Apparently some word was not heard by you, but I understand that the hon. Member who used it has volunteered to repeat it for your benefit.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

That is not the impression of the Chair. I think that the hon. Member for Penistone must be allowed to continue his speech.

Photo of Dr Winnie Ewing Dr Winnie Ewing , Moray and Nairn

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Must there not be some protection when the House clearly hears a word that we think is unparliamentary, but we are not sure? We are asking for your ruling.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

The Chair is unsure also, because it did not hear the word.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West

I used the word "traitors" figuratively because, in effect, the members of the Scottish National Party are betraying the working class in Scotland.

Photo of Andrew Welsh Andrew Welsh , Angus South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May we have a ruling on this word?

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

If it was used, it was unparliamentary and must be withdrawn.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West

I would like to change my words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, by saying that the members of the Scottish National Party are anti-Scottish and anti-working class.

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

I take that as a withdrawal.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

I know that the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart), judging by my past experience of hearing him in debates on the economic affairs of Great Britain, is interested in the subject of today's debate, as is any other hon. Member. I shall therefore address myself to the subject of the decision to which we have to come and will try to persuade him, before he makes up his mind, of the decisive issue in the debate, despite all the disagreements that have arisen on other points.

I begin by making reference to a statement by the Leader of the Opposition both in the House and on television yesterday. She made an appeal to the House and to the people at large in which she tried to persuade the electorate that the Government are doing something that is undermining the constitution—not the rules of procedure, and not the established Standing Orders. She consciously and deliberately made the charge that what is being done now in the names of the Government and their supporters amounts to an attack on the constitution. That is the case we have to meet.

That theme has been echoed in a speech by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). He started to quote the heroes of the English Revolution to us in a speech that reached the peak of absurdity when he appealed to us to imitate the leaders of the English Revolution when discussing the definition of a ship. Listening to him, I concluded that if I were still teaching students of any kind, I would see to it that, with his version of history, he was kept as far away from them as possible. To produce a comparison with the causes of the leaders of the English Revolution and suggest that those causes were on all fours with or exactly the same as the issue that we are debating was so absurd that I could hardly believe my ears. What we are debating is none the less not un-imporant.

I turn now to the reticence of the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). Unfortunately, he is not here at the moment. I am not complaining about that, because he has been here for most of the time. He has been most assiduous in his attendance. I am sorry that he is not here, because I want to refer to him.

The hon. Gentleman was questioned, particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), about the timing of the raising of this case. One answer was never given, and I find it curious that it was not. The hon. Gentleman said several times that the matter had been raised so late because, although it had been known for a long time that this was a hybrid Bill—I find this a singular circumstance—unfortunately, the people outside the House and those who knew that it was a hybrid Bill were not identical with the people who knew about the rules of the House, and never the twain got together. Somehow, they remained completely separate. One lot of people knew about hybrid Bills; the other lot knew about a particular shipyard. The two never got together. How is it that, throughout a Committee stage of 58 Sittings, that knowledge was available to two sets of people but the two were never brought together? It is passing strange.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

No. How does it come about——

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack , Staffordshire South West

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sure that it was unintentional, but the hon. Gentleman has misrepresented what my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) said. My hon. Friend has never——

Photo of Mr Oscar Murton Mr Oscar Murton , Poole

Order. The hon. Gentleman is, by an ingenious method, attempting to make an intervention in the speech of the hon. Member for Penistone. If the hon. Member for Penistone does not wish to give way, that is a matter for him.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

That was not a point of order, and I shall not give way. One of the great defenders of our freedom is the editorial writer in The Times, who is so critical of other people for not having found out all the facts about the nature of this Bill, but who has himself not taken the trouble to find out this peculiar coincidence, or to underline the fact that it occurred. In face of this coincidence, we are justified in looking more closely at the history of the matter.

I know that the hon. Member for Western Isles would not lightly wish, on doctrinaire grounds, to vote a certain way this evening. There is in the procedure that the Government propose an important right of Parliament—and it does not in any way involve the peak of absurdity reached by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East. Nor does it involve the alleged right of minorities outside this House. Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman reached his remarks about the English Revolution and its leaders, he talked about the important consideration relevant to our debate. If there were minorities in the country whose rights might be harmed, and the House had deliberately adopted a special procedure, he would have a case. But the singular fact about his piece of legislation is that no harm is being done to any minority outside. If there were any question of minorities being harmed, or a precedent being created to harm minorities, one could disagree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but one would have to admit that there was substance in his attempt. However, there is no substance at all, because this question does not even arise.

The former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) also has got it wrong when he says that this is a matter of high principle. The principle that he is concerned about is not involved. He says that the Government cannot suggest a departure from the procedure when there is actually a case under debate in the House of Commons. He is wrong, because that is precisely when the House acts—when there is a case under consideration.

The House of Commons and the British constitution are not known for calling great constitutional conventions—as is the case in France—and having the advice of great lawyers who sit together when there is no great case to be debated, and years later put forward grandiose theoretical ideas and then go to Jean Jacques Rousseau and say "This is our written Constitution". The House of Commons has always acted by advancing empirically from case to case and from experience to experience. Therefore, the right hon. Member for Sidcup is wrong on this occasion when he charges us with trying to find a solution by not proceeding in the traditional way. That is why I do not say "Hear, hear" when a right hon. Member asks whether there are hon. Members who might be devil's advocates. He is talking nonsense. There are no devil's advocates. The real tradition of this House is to advance empirically from experience to experience and from practical case to practical case, and this is one such case in point.

A lot of nonsense has been talked about my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench, but when examined this nonsense immediately falls to the ground. One might ask why my right hon. Friends have put forward this proposal. They did not sit down in their spare time, or even in official time, to think up a new rule by which they could change the standing Orders of the House. When they do not have official business to see to it is not their pastime to tamper with the Standing Orders. They have better things to do and better things to think about.

The House of Commons procedure has developed not over the years but over the centuries, in a traditional way, when there is a particular situation that must be dealt with.

The Government had two choices in this case. They could have accepted the situation, and realised that they were facing an attempt by people who were determined to destroy the legislation and were using this difficulty as a pretext to advance their own particular philosophy. They could have seen it as part of a struggle for power, and therefore abandoned all petitions and made the work done by the House of Commons over many months null and void. On the other hand, the Government could and have thought it was better to try to reach an agreement with the House in finding a solution. That is all they have done. It is nonsense to say that they are doing this without debate. They are doing it in the way that it always has been done. It is nonsense to say that our procedure is advanced by common consent, with every Member of the House agreeing to it. Anyone who reads the history of our procedures will know that many of our Standing Orders, which are now spoken of by after-dinner speakers as reflecting great glory and credit on the British Government, caused great controversy when they were first introduced. Many people felt very strongly about them, but a few years later, when it was seen that they presented no danger to democracy and had practical value, every after-dinner speaker began to say how good they were. There is no attempt to go beyond the established traditions today.

To those hon. Members who are not particularly committed to the main Opposition party and are not particularly committed on grounds of their own political tactics, or tied to particular owners in the industries concerned, but who are deliberately using this occasion to destroy the legislation that has been put to the electorate by the party in office, I say "Think carefully before making a decision." This is a question of general responsibility. Those hon. Members should ask themselves whether they are joining in merely because they want to join a cause that is popular for a day. I am quite certain that once the stiuation is examined carefully and the facts are explained calmly, in the light of history and common sense, many people will wonder why this attempt by the Government to find a practical solution, which in no way moves from the traditional path and does not endanger any established procedures, was not supported strongly in all parts of the House.

The right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) said that there was no precedent, and that he feared that if we agreed to the Government's motion we would be establishing a precedent. The important point that he overlooks is that people will want to know why the procedure was not called for at a much earlier stage. They will want to know more facts. It could be that in passing the motion we might be establishing a precedent for preventing such behaviour in the future. If people want to call on the procedure they will have to do it at the right time. It will be no use their saying "We have the knowledge but we shall keep it dark until we think fit". That might be a precedent that will be healthy for public life. Let the people know more about our procedure, and how it can be abused rather than used.

There is everything to be said for the practical solution being proposed tonight by the Government. There is nothing to be afraid of in supporting it. All those who oppose it may well have a case to answer later.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Mudd Mr David Mudd , Falmouth and Camborne

The Government motion is founded upon two basic assumptions, both of which are extremely unsound. The first is that only nationalisation can somehow, miraculously, save the aircraft and shipbuilding and ship repair industries from dire consequences. The second is that a case has been made out by the Government for recognising the proceedings so far in the Committee stage of the Bill.

Let me deal first with what is almost a guarantee from the Government that only they can create and save jobs in the shipbuilding industry. I refer to one of the Government's former shipping Mini- sters, Lord Beswick, who said, in a letter to me, that the future of the ship repair industry was largely beyond Government control. That was his plain admission. He wrote to me on 9th October 1975, replying to a letter from me dealing with the specific fears of the work force as to the future of jobs at the Silley Cox ship repair yard at Falmouth. He said: Silley Cox, like other British and some European repair yards, are finding difficulty in attracting sufficient orders in the present highly competitive world market, and there is little the Government can do to remedy this. The Government cannot, therefore, claim that somehow, miraculously, the passage of six months, during which the Bill had a Second Reading and 58 Committee Sittings, has done anything to nullify or lessen those difficulties. On the analysis of one of its own former Ministers the Government must admit that they are unable to offer the remedy put forward in the spirit of this motion.

The assumption is that a case has been made out for the nationalisation of the independent ship repair sector of the industry, but the whole reason for this debate stems from one basic error in the Government's home-work, and we cannot now accept at face value their claims for a guaranteed future for that sector. Had the Government been caught out conniving, concealing or conspiring something suspect, perhaps, ironically, I would have been inclined to support them in trying to put the record straight, because then I would respect their honesty and professionalism. But now their entire presumption is basically suspect on the grounds of haphazard research, and they must forfeit their right to proceed with the bill.

Tonight it is the Government who are the left-winged, limping lame ducks of Britain. I shall do nothing whatever to bail them out of the squalor into which they have either muddled or attempted to conspire their way.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Will the hon. Member explain why the work force in the Merseyside ship repair industry in 1947 was between 200,000 and 25,000, but has now fallen to about 4,000? There has been no public ownership since that time. How, therefore, has private enterprise in the industry proved so wonderful?

Photo of Mr David Mudd Mr David Mudd , Falmouth and Camborne

If the hon. Member will look at Hansard when it appears tomorrow at a point roughly equivalent to 6.14 p.m. in today's debate, he will find my reply to his intervention in his own words.

Tonight we shall be voting on the Government's motion, which, including the names of the sponsors, is 57 words long. There is something most appropriate and ironic in that. Those words represent one for each day since 31st March 1976. What is so magic about that date? It was then that the Government closed their first nationalised ship repair yard—it was in Sunderland—with a loss of 400 jobs. That was an action of total arrogance and inefficiency against which I shall be voting tonight.

8.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ivor Clemitson Mr Ivor Clemitson , Luton East

I was sorry to hear the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart) say that my right hon. Friends were bending the rules. I am no expert in the procedures of the House. They constantly baffle me, and in that respect I am probably among the great majority. Since, however, we are accused of bending the rules, we should give an answer.

The first question which comes to mind is "What rules?". As far as I can discover, there is only one Standing Order which deals with prima facie hybrid Bills, and that is Standing Order No. 38. That rule deals specifically and only with the situation obtaining before a Second Reading takes place. As I understand it, every Bill is examined for hybridity before it reaches Second Reading. If there is any doubt on that score, it is referred to the examiners. I presume that this procedure took place with this Bill as with every other.

We are told that we have not only rules and Standing Orders but precedents. Various precedents have been quoted, principally that of 1948 concerning what happened before the Second Reading of the Iron and Steel Bill. But none of them fits the present situation because they are all concerned with what happens before a Bill reaches Second Reading. The right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) admitted that there was no precedent for the situation. Certainly, that applies to the much-quoted action in 1948 of Sir David Maxwell Fyfe when he raised his point of order and specifically tried to relate the situation to the Standing Order.

This week we have had an attempt to raise the question of hybridity after Second Reading and after a lengthy Committee stage. Since the situation is not covered by any Standing Order and since there are no precedents for this situation, we must ask why. Have our predecessors in this place shown a singular lack of foresight? Could they have failed to foresee that this situation might occur, or did they have more sense than we give them credit for? I think that the last explanation is the correct one. The Standing Order by implication says that there is a limit on the time during which a question of hybridity can be reasonably raised—that is, up to the point of Second Reading. If it were not implicit, there would be a Standing Order to deal with the specific situation which arises when the question of hybridity is taken up after Second Reading.

The fact that there is a limit is sensible because the question of whether a Bill is hybrid is fundamentally a question of fact. The facts in question are the facts of the situation at or before publication of the Bill. In this case, the facts are about what was happening in the three years up to and including 31st July 1974—well before the Bill was published. These facts were known before the Bill reached Second Reading. It might be argued that their significance was not realised, but there was time for the facts to be brought to light.

It is necessary to have some kind of time limit. There are time limits on thousands of types of appeals, applications and procedures. For example, social security and national insurance benefits are extremely complicated and it is often very difficult for people to know their entitlement. They do not normally have access to professional and expert advice, but if they do not apply for the benefit within a prescribed period they do not get it.

We are not talking tonight about individuals without expert advice facing very complex legislative provisions. We are talking about a large company with expert advice facing legislation the complexity of which is as nothing compared with social security legislation. If they did not raise the matter before Second Reading, it is out of time.

By implication, the Standing Order says that a matter must be raised before Second Reading. In this case, that was not done. If that were not implied by the Standing Order, separate and specific provision would have been made.

I emphasise that I am not challenging Mr. Speaker's ruling. He said: After long and anxious thought, I now rule that the Bill under discussion is prima facie hybrid."—[Official Report, 26th May 1976; Vol. 912, c. 445.] I raised a point of order earlier today about who was to make the final decision. I asked whether Mr. Speaker was ruling that the Bill should go to the examiners. He replied that he had given no such ruling and that it was for the House to decide.

I submit that there is no provision in the Standing Orders for the reference of the Bill to the examiners, because Standing Order No. 38 deals only with the position before Second Reading. Therefore, as Mr. Speaker rightly said, it is for the House to decide what to do. In this casts we have no rules or precedents, so how can we be bending the rules? It is perfectly proper for us to decide to proceed with the Bill to its remaining stages.

Interested parties had proper time, within the rules, to make their objections. They did not do so. We are not trying to bend the rules. The interested parties and opponents of the Bill are trying to make new rules because they missed the bus under the existing rules.

Let us say for the sake of argument that the condition about total tonnage had been fufilled in the yard we are discussing. The question therefore hinges on the satisfaction of the condition regarding whether a ship was being built in the yard on 31st July 1974.

The hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) argues that a vessel of 3,000 tons-plus was being built there at that time. If I may misquote Oscar Wilde, the tonnage is immaterial. Suppose that a 10-ft boat or even a paddling boat for the lake at the local park had been under construction at that time. As far as I can see, either of them would have qualified as a ship under all the definitions. But if a 10-ft sailing dinghy or a paddling boat had been under construction, would this whole matter have arisen and, if so, would it not have been laughed out of court?

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack , Staffordshire South West

The hon. Gentleman is putting up an Aunt Sally.

Photo of Mr Ivor Clemitson Mr Ivor Clemitson , Luton East

I am now going to knock it down. It is not an Aunt Sally because a very important point is involved.

An element of judgment on the size of the vessel has crept in with consideration of what is big or important enough for the matter to be raised in the House. Once this is acknowledged, some of us on this side might start asking that our criteria about what is important and our standards of proportion should be applied.

Is it not right and proper for us to decide and say that the future of two great industries and the livelihood of many thousands of our fellow citizens should be put in the balance against whether a ship, of whatever tonnage, was being built in a particular yard on a particular day in 1974? We are not bending the rules. If anybody had a grievance, he had a proper opportunity within the rules to make it known before Second Reading.

The House must make up its own mind on how to proceed. Are we to be like the Scribes and Pharisees who paid tithes of mint and anise and cummin and omitted weightier matters of the law? The question answers itself.

8.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I hope that the hon. Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) will allow me to congratulate him on making a much more constructive and thoughtful speech than the other contributions we have heard from his side of the House. The hon. Member was right when he said that the question whether a Bill is hybrid is a question of fact. I shall seek to show that the facts have been available to the Government from the beginning and that the Government were the only people who had all the facts at the outset.

We say that it is the Government's fault and nobody else's that the Bill was not declared a hybrid Bill before Second Reading. We also say the Government should not now be taking advantage of their failure to draw the facts to the attention of the authorities of the House so that the Bill could be treated as hybrid from the start. But that did not happen.

The hon. Member for Luton, East, if I may have his attention, was entitled to refer to Standing Order No. 38, against which is the note: Bills which are prima facie hybrid. He drew attention to the fact that the Standing Order appears to assume that the decision as to whether a Bill is a hybrid Bill will be taken before Second Reading. I should disclose to the House that I was the Chairman of the Committee for the Revision of Standing Orders in 1963 and again in 1970. I am happy to say that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) was a helpful member of the Committee on the second occasion. He was not on the first occasion because I do not think he was a Member of the House at that time.

The duty of the Standing Orders Committee is to carry into Standing Orders any changes made by the House by amending Standing Orders since they were previously revised and to reconsider all the Standing Orders in the light of the rulings given by Mr. Speaker and for the purpose of removing ambiguities. It is not the duty of the Committee to rewrite the whole of Standing Orders afresh and, so to speak, make them up afresh, as many of us would like to do. The Committee has to be bound by what the House has decided and by what Mr. Speaker has ruled in the past.

The hon. Member for Luton, East argues that on this Bill the opportunity was missed. I say that it was missed by the Government and by no one else, because the Government have a duty to draw the facts to the attention of the authorities of the House. I bear in mind that we had an ordinary Second Reading and the completion of a fairly long Committee stage, but should we now be depriving those who would benefit from the opportunity of the Bill being treated as a hybrid Bill? Should we be depriving them of the rights which the House gives in that way? We say that they should not be so deprived, whereas Labour Members say that they should be deprived. As I see it, that is the main difference between the two sides of the House.

Photo of Mr Ivor Clemitson Mr Ivor Clemitson , Luton East

I was making the point that there must be a time limit. The time implicit in the Standing Orders is Second Reading.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

So far as the House is concerned, no time limit is laid down. There is no stage laid down at which, so to speak, the curtain falls. Surely it is in order for the House to refer a ruling of Mr. Speaker to the examiners at any stage before a Bill leaves the House. I am open to challenge on that, but that is the view I take.

Before I leave the remarks of the hon. Member for Luton, East, I take up his point about the use of the words "prima facie". Mr. Speaker, when ruling whether a Bill is or is not a hybrid Bill, has to rule that it is prima facie one way or the other. If he were merely to say "This is a hybrid Bill", that would prejudge the decision which has to be made by the examiners to whom we refer these matters. That is why, as a matter of form or of technicality, Mr. Speaker always rules on these occasions that it is prima facie a hybrid Bill. I could spend much more time answering the matters raised by the hon. Gentleman in his interesting speech, but I hope he will forgive me if I now pass on to my own remarks.

The Leader of the House may care to bear in mind the irony that today is the anniversary of the passing by Parliament of the Habeas Corpus Act 1679, which after Magna Carta was the greatest guarantee of personal fredom ever introduced by a parliamentary democracy.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

No, I am not giving way as I am taking too much time. How are the Government celebrating the glorious anniversary of habeas corpus? They are celebrating it in a most inglorious way by tabling the motion and asking the House to press it.

The rights given to our people under the hybrid Bill procedure have origins a few years older than even the Habeas Corpus Act. The rights of petitioners and the power of the House to deal with them were laid down in two resolutions of the Commons in 1669. If the House will bear with me, I shall read them as they are short and relevant to the debate. The first resolution states That it is an inherent right of every commoner in England to prepare and present petitions to the House of Commons in case ofgrievance, and the House of Commons to receive the same. The second resolution states That it is an undoubted right and privilege of the Commons to judge and determine "— I emphasise "judge and determine"— touching the nature and matter of such petitions, how far they are fit and unfit to be received. Flowing from that, the House decided in addition to its ordinary legislative process, which was internal to the House itself and in which only Members of both Houses of Parliament could take part, that there should be the further judicial process for the hearing of petitions. That became the foundation for our Private Bill procedure and in that way for our hybrid Bill procedure.

I am afraid that the latest edition of "Erskine May" is in such short supply owing to today's demand that I have had to use my own old copy, which was published when Sir Barnett Cocks was editor. I understand that the sentence I am about to read has been written into "Erskine May" for some years. and I expect it still to be there. The sentence is of great constitutional importance and the quotation is very short. [Interruption.] Perhaps I may have the attention of the hon. Member for Walton to whose speech I listened with great interest.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has asked for my attention. I was not speaking to anyone. I was listening to the right hon. and learned Gentleman as carefully as I could.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I apologise most sincerely to the hon. Gentleman. I should have looked five degrees to his left or to his right. I am most grateful to him for his intervention.

"Erskine May" states: The separation of legislative and judicial functions is a refinement in the principles of political government and jurisprudence which can only be the result of an advanced civilisation. I say to the Leader of the House that it is a sad fact that the Government seem to have such a pride in pursuing the many proposals in their manifesto—and they make Parliament the instrument of their proposals—that for party political reasons of their own they are flouting the hard won principles of parliametary democracy which I have described and which have been described more eloquently today by others. They do not seem to want to retain the "advanced civilisation" to which I have referred. State ownership and control, more and more of it all the time at any price—I note that Labour Members nod in agreement—are what matter to them, not parliamentary democracy.

Photo of Mr Martin Flannery Mr Martin Flannery , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The shareholders matter to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

There is a petition behind Mr. Speaker's chair from Mr. Mann. I do not know whether he is an ex-shipyard worker, but he might well be. I should not have thought it beyond the bounds of possibility that even the widows of shipyard or aircraft workers might wish to present petitions. Are we to take it that if they were to do so the rights that Parliament has given them must be flouted in order that Socialism may take its course?

The Government have obviously got their priorities wrong. They put the interests of socialistic nationalisation higher than the principles of parliamentary democracy. They want their Bill so much that they are prepared to cast aside the rights of minorities outside and the rules of Parliament, and although they have to accept Mr. Speaker's ruling they are prepared to table a motion to nullify it. So much for the principles!

I come back to the facts. I turn again to the speech made by the hon. Member for Luton, East. The facts were known or could or should have been known to the Government before the Bill was drafted. The Government persuaded American investors, in order to retain or to create employment on Clydeside, to come to the rescue of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. But the Americans as we all know and as the Government have freely admitted, made it a condition that Marathon Shipbuilders (UK) Limited, in which the money was invested, would not be nationalised. That was why Marathon could not be included in Schedule 2. That was one of the reasons that made the Bill a hybrid Bill.

But it was not until Mr. Mann's petition was put into the Bag behind Mr. Speaker's Chair this week by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop, to whom great credit is due for having explored this admittedly complex situation and dragged the truth of the matter to the attention of the House, that the House and, indeed, Mr. Speaker were seized of the position. But the Government knew or could or should have known from the very beginning. They are the last people who should now be asking us to act in collusion with them to alter the situation which they created. They are asking us to join them in changing the rules at half-time.

I am sure that the Leader of the House will not mind my saying that it is his duty to apply Standing Orders and to get them changed if there is a general consensus in favour of change. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson), who is not in his place—I do not complain of that; he has listened to a great deal of the debate—said that changes were often made by majorities. But that is not my experience. The changes that have been made in Standing Orders have followed either formerly a Speaker's Conference or more recently a decision of the Procedure Committee, and when they have been made they have generally been made without Divisions. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not always."] Not always, I agree. But most important changes have been made without Divisions. I am sure that the hon. Member for Walton will bear me out that when he and I served on the Committee for the Revision of Standing Orders there was never a Division. Admittedly, we were dealing with detail to a great extent.

It is also the duty of the Leader of the House, as he knows, to uphold the traditions and dignity of the House and the rulings given by Mr. Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman can perform his duty as Leader of the House only if he is conciliatory to all parties in the House, tries to understand them, tries to meet their wishes as far as possible and remains conciliatory and calm. But I must in all candour say—I deeply regret it, because I regard him, not in the parliamentary sense but in another sense, as an old friend—that he displayed his annoyance unreasonably yesterday in, for him, an uncharacteristic way, and certainly contrary to the traditions of the Leadership of the House. Therefore, I hope that when he replies to the debate tonight he will try to re-establish himself in the minds of all those who cherish our parliamentary democracy.

8.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

I have to rub my eyes to make sure that I am in a real world, after listening to some of the speeches from Opposition Members, particularly that of the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton). What we are talking about is a real world, in which people live and want to be employed—not about the technicalities of a minor matter of whether a word refers to a ship or a rig. That is what all this fuss is about.

What has happened in the House today is really a charade. It is the kind of thing that brings this House into disrespect on the part of the public. They are not bothered about this matter. What they are concerned about is why many of us have had 58 Sittings of a Committee—the largest number of Sittings ever—and taken all that time to consider the nationalisation of the shipbuilding and aerospace industries, only to say at the end that it comes to naught because of a minor point such as that which was raised yesterday.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

Very minor, indeed. Of course it is minor. The real objective of the Opposition is to hold up the Bill. They want to prevent it from going forward in the hope that in another 12 months' time they can prevent these two vital industries passing into public ownership. The Opposition believe that there might be a change of Government. They are very hopeful. We were warned that they might try to prevent these industries passing into the hands of the public. That is what the whole argument is about.

We know that the Opposition are not in touch with the workers in these industries. They are in touch with the directors, the shareholders, those people who have put all the advertisements in the national Press, and those who have had dinners in this House, and they have done all that they possibly can to prevent the progress of the Bill. But the Opposition are certainly not in touch with the workers. I speak as the vice-president of one of the unions involved. Union representatives have been to see me on this matter. Even those of them who do not support the Labour Party politically, those of them who would regard themselves as Tory trade unionists, perhaps, are condemning the actions taking place on the Opposition Benches. The Opposition will not win any votes in this way, because while this is going on——

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

No. I shall not give way. You have spoken for far too long, and there are other hon. Members who wish to speak in the debate. You said that you would not speak for long, but you were on your feet for 20 minutes.

Photo of Sir Arthur Irvine Sir Arthur Irvine , Liverpool Edge Hill

Order. I have not even been in the Chair for 20 minutes.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

I was saying that to the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire, with due respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because he took quite a time in addressing the House and we all listened to him most carefully, so we are fully aware of what he said.

I am speaking for the people in the shipbuilding industry itself, and that is the important thing. While the Opposition are continuing to hold up progress on the Bill, in the shipbuilding industry there is a danger of more unemployment and of yards going out of business because of the uncertainty that surrounds the industry.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

We know that private investment in this industry is being withdrawn into more profitable sections, at the expense of the yards being taken into public ownership. That is the position. While that uncertainty remains the people know—they talk to us—that their jobs are at stake.

In the aerospace industry a similar position of uncertainty remains. What are the projects that will go ahead? While these discussions are taking place in the House this evening, the French are trying to make hay with the Americans at the expense of the British aerospace industry. That is not the fault of the committee that has been set up to run that industry. Indeed, a large part of the blame for the situation rests with the two airframe manufacturers themselves, for not seizing the opportunity that exists.

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

I think that in fairness the hon. Gentleman would want to remind the House that there had been no instance of the French and the Americans collaborating on any project at all. In fact, it was the British and the French who collaborated all the time—until nationalisation was brought forward in this House. From then onwards the French, knowing that the industry would be wrecked by nationalisation, went to do business with the private enterprise manufacturers in the United States. The sooner the hon. Gentleman drops this ridiculous nonsense, the sooner we shall get back to being able to do a decent deal with our American partners.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

I do not accept one word of what the hon. Gentleman said. It is the publicly-owned side of the French aircraft industry that is going across to America. While that has been going on, what have the airframe manufacturers been doing? My concern is not with the directors and the shareholders in those industries, but with the workers, and I fear for their jobs unless we get the Bill on the statute book.

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

Would my hon. Friend be surprised to learn that I have a copy of a telegram sent by a well-known active Tory trade unionist in Bristol, who is Secretary of the Joint Staff Unions Committee of BAC? The telegram was sent to the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition this morning. and, in essence it said: "Show statesmanship and get the Bill on the statute book without further delay".

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for producing that evidence, which backs up the representations that have been made to us by the trade unions.

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

He is the chap to whom the hon. Gentleman will sell his council house.

Photo of Mr Doug Hoyle Mr Doug Hoyle , Nelson and Colne

That is a cheap remark. Is that the best that can be offered from the Opposition Benches when the jobs of the people are at stake? The people who work in these industries should be here. They would know who their friends are.

At the end of the day, all the credit will go to my right hon. Friend the Lord President for putting the interests of the workers in the shipbuilding and aerospace industries before a minor procedural matter that threatens to hold up a Bill designed to safeguard their livelihood.

8.42 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

In opening the debate the Secretary of State made great play with the words "hairline hybridity" and referred to the "narrowest of technicalities". That is where the division lies between the Government and the Opposition. The Government are saying that they must put right the technicalities, whereas the Opposition are saying that the technicalities underlie the principle of parliamentary democracy.

The Secretary of State said that no new civil aircraft project had been put forward in the past two years, and that one reason why the Government were moving the motion was their great concern for the jobs of employees. Both the lack of new civil aircraft projects and the threat to the jobs of employees stem directly from the threat of nationalisation.

The Secretary of State also spoke about the lengthening dole queues. The Prime Minister said today that even if the Bill were passed into law there would be much rationalisation. That, perhaps, is a phrase to bemuse the Left wing, because much rationalisation means fewer jobs. Perhaps he thought he could kid the Left wing on that. The Secretary of State adduced in evidence a paid servant of the organising committee, who said that this was the right sort of thing to do. What else would a creature of the Minister who appointed him say? Then we heard that the Inland Revenue thought that it was right. To adduce such evidence is rather like saying that the KGB is in favour of package tours to Siberia.

I shall sum up all that lay behind the speech of the Secretary of State for Industry. It was his opening shot in the battle to succeed as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. The House will recognise that.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) based his case on the argument that so far all the challenges on the question of hybridity have come before Second Reading. The hon. Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) said the same thing. I submit that that is rather like a patient, visiting the doctor for some sort of diagnosis, who is then operated upon and opened up. That is the same as the Committee stage. The surgeon finds something wrong and tells the patient that nothing can be done, since it should have been discussed before he was opened up. That is the basis of the case of the hon. Member for Walton.

The correct argument is that which was put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). It is a matter of the supremacy of Parliament and the rule of law. I have always voted against the televising of Parliament, but it is a pity that the public could not see the crypto-Communists on the Government Benches laughing when my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East spoke of the rule of law.

The Bill has been declared hybrid, but the Government are now attempting to change the rules half-way through. Some unfair remarks and attacks were made about the Leader of the House yesterday. He was called a Fascist and leader of the Reichstag. That was most unfair. He is a distinguished constituent of mine, and living in a place like Hampstead he should know of the vast number of people who came there as refugees from Hitler, from the take-over of Poland and Hungary, after seeing their democratic Parliaments killed by changing the rules half-way through. It is therefore unfair that he should have been attacked yesterday and called a Fascist or leader of the Reichstag.

I have respected the right hon. Gentleman for many years. He used to appear on television as a proponent of parliamentary liberty and democracy, thundering forth in its defence. Next week he will go to Washington to be present at the presentation of a copy of the Magna Carta, which is to be on loan for one year. He will bask in the glory of this document.

The Secretary of State has listened to the references to the rule of law. But today and yesterday he acted in a worse manner than either King John or the barons over the signing of the Magna Carta. I do not want to be unfair to the Lord President, because tonight he will be supported in the Lobbies by other great democrats—the Home Secretary, the Paymaster-General, the Minister for Overseas Development and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. All are moderates and members of the Cabinet and they are supporting this attempt to put down the ruling of the House of Commons. Perhaps this is yet another step forward in the line that the moderates in the Cabinet are having to take.

In the case of Clay Cross the former Leader of the House changed the rules after the event. There is no difference between them. I am tired of those who talk of moderates. I said earlier that I looked upon the right hon. Gentleman as a champion of parliamentary rights. I did not think that he would go along with the sort of terminology used by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) yesterday, when he spoke about mumbo-jumbo. I was taught at school a phrase that I remember: His honour rooted in dishonour stood,And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true. If the Lord President has any conscience, if he has any sense of duty to the House—not to his party—or in general to the minorities in the House, he will try even at this late moment to act as was suggested earlier and ask leave to withdraw the motion. If he does not—if he goes on acting as a biased Leader of the House—he will forfeit the confidence of all hon. Members, and will be acting as a commissar of a Socialist manifesto.

8.51 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwick and East Lothian

It was not a very helpful speech that we have just heard from the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Finsberg). In fact, it was a rather squalid, simple speech which did not advance the argument. I hope that I shall succeed in convincing the hon. Gentleman and one or two other Opposition Members who have been shouting through the speeches that there are those of us on the Labour Benches who are as deeply concerned for parliamentary liberties as they are. Some of us have made it our major business for many years—in my case for the decade that I have been a Member of the House—to do what we can to improve and enhance the power of the House over the Executive. It is in that light that I wish to look at this case.

The most helpful explanation I have heard of the origins of the whole problem came from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer), who said that he knew, as a former Minister in the Department of Industry, that people in the Department had studied the Bill with great care to see whether it was hybrid. They had gone over it in detail. We all know the principles. They framed the Bill as any Government Department tries to frame a Bill to avoid its being hybrid—that is to say, it dealt with the rights of general categories. If the whole matter—the nationalisation of two industries—could have been dealt with on general principles and, the issue of private rights would not have arisen, because we should have accepted in the House that it was a fundamental political issue to be decided between the two parties at a General Election in the normal way and then put through the House.

Had there been no special exemptions, the question of private rights would not have arisen. No doubt people's private rights would have been affected, as happened with every nationalisation measure, but there would have been no special question of hybrid rights if this had been an across-the-board measure of nationalisation.

What happened at that point? The Government desired to exempt a particular yard. This matter has not been adequately brought out. Marathon was exempted because, I understand, a promise had been given to the American investor that if that company took over the yard on the Clyde there would be no question of nationalising the yard. I understand that it was a clear commitment by the Government.

Therefore, when the Government framed this nationalisation measure, instead of their framing it in general terms which would have avoided any question of the kind we are debating, a special method had to be found to exempt Marathon. The technique used, because Marathon was going to build oil rigs, was to say that the Bill covered shipbuilding but not oil rigs. We are now having the debate about when an oil rig is a ship and when it is not. If anyone had told the drafters of the Bill that Marathon would build an oil rig which had a continuous hull, which could float along on its own and which might be described in Lloyd's Register as a ship, they would have rephrased the Bill to exclude that kind of oil rig.

The sole object was to deal not with ships or oil rigs but with Marathon. This problem has cropped up at a late stage because it has been discovered that an oil rig was built in such a fashion that it was defined as a ship. At this late stage Mr. Speaker gave a perfectly proper ruling that the Bill was then a hybrid Bill.

I am as concerned as any hon. Member in the House with the protection of the private rights of individuals and companies under Acts of Parliament or the procedures of the House. I felt that the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) made a good point in saying that we must protect the rights of minorities and special groups. If the Bill had been declared a hybrid Bill because of the Marathon situation at the very beginning and petitions had been heard, Marathon would not have petitioned because that company did not want to be included in the Bill. The procedure is arranged to allow for this, so that those who are discriminated against should be able to petition and to get the same treatment as others. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwick and East Lothian

There would have been no petition from Marathon, which did not want it. All other shipbuilding firms would have been covered by the general proposition that the whole industry was to be nationalised and taken into public ownership. The procedure for hybrid Bills was not designed for them because they came within the general category. They were to be nationalised as a result of strong political conflict and a political decision. The hybrid procedure was designed to safeguard those, like Marathon, which were isolated for separate treatment, but in this case Marathon did not want to be separately treated.

The suggestion that other shipbuilding companies could have petitioned to get out of nationalisation is part of the political argument. They are entitled to act against proposals for nationalisation. It was a defence of private rights, the private rights of one particular company, but it applied only to the company which was excluded. At the time that company wanted to be excluded, although I do not know whether it still wants to be excluded.

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwick and East Lothian

The hon. Gentleman has spoken in the debate and has intervened on points that were raised. I respect his great contribution, but I should like to terminate as quickly as possible.

If the Bill had been a callous disregard of private rights, Marathon would have had a right to petition, but Marathon did not object to the Bill. We want to protect private rights, but we have to recognise the reality of what we are asked to protect. That is the extent of the infringement of private rights proposed by the late decision that this is a hybrid Bill, not because of the nature of the Bill but because of a failure to appreciate the kind of work that Marathon was doing at the time. It is for that reason that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House says that if given a chance he would rephrase the Bill, as he would have done at the beginning, had he known the circumstances, to include this particular area of activity.

Having tried to isolate the area of private right that is being damaged by the withdrawal or the failure to apply the hybrid Bill procedure in this House, I come to the second question. We all recognise that a mistake was made. Advice was given, or when the Bill was being drafted somebody did not know what Marathon was likely to do, otherwise it could have been excluded. Whoever was at fault, the Minister must take responsibility. Clearly, someone in the Department of Industry did not know that Marathon was to build a rig with a continuous hull and that the provision, which was carefully phrased to exclude Marathon did not do so. That undoubtedly remains a matter of ministerial responsibility.

We come to the third, most fundamental problem. I recognise that, because of the failure in drafting the Bill, Mr Speaker has been asked at this late stage to redefine the Bill, and he has said it is prima facie a hybrid Bill.

I respect Mr. Speaker's decision and think that it should deeply affect the conduct of the House. But the problem we must decide at this point is what we do with the procedures of the House in an unprecented situation. It is a situation in which, four-fifths of the way through a Bill, the Bill is redefined due to an early failure of drafting. I have pointed out that the issue does not deeply infringe private rights but creates a genuine problem of principle for Members of the House who are concerned about the House and whether this procedure could be followed again in respect of other Bills in other situations.

What do we do about this situation? I repeat that I am concerned about the rights of the House. Let me tell my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House why I was deeply concerned when I heard his announcement yesterday. Again, I emphasise that this is not the deep Magna Carta-type issue which many Opposition Members assert it to be. I am deeply disturbed because in recent years I have become worried about the erosion of powers in this House. I was deeply disturbed about the referendum, which I voted against.

I have been deeply disturbed at decisions arrived at between the Executive and powerful outside groups, because those decisions are reported to this House and we have to enforce them—[Interruption.] I was deeply concerned about the referendum because, although there had been a huge majority in the House on the Common Market issue, it was said that that was not good enough. Let us remember that the majority on the Floor of the House was 226 in favour of British membership. Although so many of us voted that way, we were told that it was not good enough.

I am also disturbed at the packing of Standing Committees of the House by subservient or uninterested Members, as a result of which people with an independence of mind are deliberately excluded in case they want to vote against the Government. This has happened on many occasions. If a Standing Committee is appointed on a subject in which I am interested and on which I have undertaken some work, I know that I shall not be on it.

I was also disturbed when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, in a previous incarnation, on the matter of Press freedom, said "Don't say anything in this House because you might upset the NUJ." He did not go to the NUJ and say to its members "Don't say anything that might upset some Members of Parliament." That is the kind of situation we face.

Therefore, I was disturbed yesterday when my right hon. Friend came to the House, slapped his notes on the Dispatch Box and said "This is prima facie a case involving a hybrid Bill. Therefore, we must overrule it, change the rules and get round it." I would rather my right hon. Friend had come to the House and said "This presents a major problem for the House." He could have said that, despite the fact that we hear a great deal of humbug expressed by Opposition Members on these topics, especially because in this case it involves the rights of one yard that did not mind being excluded. Although we have heard a lot of humbug from the Opposition, my right hon. Friend could have come to the House and said "A problem has occurred. Let us take it away to a Select Committee, withdraw the Bill, change it and come back with an agreed timetable so that the matter may proceed quickly through the House."

I am sorry that my right hon. Friend came to the Dispatch Box and virtually said "In these circumstances, the majority must win." That principle frightens me. There is one thing that has tempted me not to vote for my party tonight, although I shall do so—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I shall vote on the arguments I have made. [HON. MEMBERS: "Humbug."] The one thing that worries me is that some Labour Members say that, because these things are demanded by certain blocks of the electorate, they must go through whatever the procedure might be. The procedure of this House exists to defend the shipyard workers and aircraft industry workers. The procedure of this House exists to defend the freedom of our country.

Therefore, I hope that when my right hon. Friend replies to the debate he will be able to say that he will look at this matter and proceed in a manner that will safeguard progress and take account of the time and energy already put into the Bill, but also that he will recognise the procedural problems and do nothing to flout them.

9.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

The hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) stands the argument about hybridity on its head. He certainly stood on its head the principle that he enunciated about the erosion of the rights of this House in terms of parliamentary democracy. The Government base their case on three assumptions. First, for the purposes of this Bill they do not accept that a "rig" is to be defined as a "ship". They claim that they do not challenge the ruling of Mr. Speaker but, nonetheless, they have been at pains to demonstrate that for the purposes of this Bill a rig is not to be regarded as a ship.

The second point they make is that employment prospects in this industry will be damaged unless the Bill is speedily assisted on to the statute book. Their third assumption is that whatever the precedents, procedures or practices of this House may be, the House tonight, if it so wishes, can decide to rescue the Government from their embarrassment.

In the few moments available to me I would briefly comment on those three assumptions. I read earlier today that the "Key Victoria" is now drilling off the coast of Zaire. How did it get there? Was it carried there? Did it walk? No, The answer is that it floated there. It was towed there and it floated there—and, for the purposes of this Bill, a "ship" means a floating or submersible vessel.

It was his realisation of the significance of this point, combined with his intimate knowledge of the Standing Orders of this House, which led my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) so brilliantly to make his submission to Mr. Speaker. It is true that there had been an undertaking to exclude Marathon from the Bill, but the purpose of the hybrid procedure was not just to protect those who wished to be excluded from the Bill; it was to give an opportunity to those who might have been included within the terms of the Bill to make their representations before a Select Committee.

Secondly, whatever the arguments or doubts about the rig may be, in any case Marathon is shortly to be building ships, if it is not already doing so.

In respect of employment there is no urgency for this Bill. Nationalisation as such is not what is wanted. That has been made clear not least by all the employees of the Bristol Channel Ship Repairers Ltd. They said that Nationalisation would drastically affect employment prospects in Welsh ports and endanger millions of pounds worth of exports. What is wanted is not nationalisation, but an end to uncertainty. That can be brought about under existing legislation—a point that has already been made by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the Leader of the Liberal Party, and by others. By working with the companies concerned to prepare a nation-wide plan for the industry, and by determining the degree of Government support necessary to achieve it, the Government could end uncertainty in this industry tomorrow—an uncertainty largely precipitated and sustained by the proposal for nationalisation itself.

The third point on which the Government's case seems to rest is the one that causes me, and I am sure all hon. Members on the Opposition side, most anxiety. Ian Aitken, in his article in today's Guardian, opened with these words: The future and perhaps the survival of the British shipbuilding industry hung in the balance last night". What hangs in the balance today is the maintenance of free parliamentary democracy under this Government, not just for this one decision alone, important though that may be, but for the very reasons that the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian so eloquently suggested—that there has been an accumulation of matters, small in themselves but amounting, when taken as a whole, to a serious erosion of the rights of this House.

As The Times put it: This is no mere procedural technicality. It is a matter of the denial of a right conferred by constitutional convention. The right in a hybrid Bill situation is the right of any interest affected by proposals in such a Bill to have those views represented before a Select Committee of this House. The Standing Orders of this House have been designed as protection in just such a situation.

Of all the words spoken yesterday by the Leader of the House I found the most worrying those words that are often used these days by Ministers: It is for the House to decide."—[Official Report, 26th May 1976; Vol. 912, c. 446.] Those words worry me in the context in which the right hon. Gentleman used them. Those words worry me, too, in the context of the speech of the right hon. Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart), who, like so many of her kind—I say this with respect; I mean, like so many who hold views of her kind—advanced the case for the erosion of the rights of individuals by calling in aid the practices of a free institution.

Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark

Is there anything in the speech that I made which in any way devalues the respect that I hold for the freedom of the individual? If not, will the right hon. Gentleman withdraw the remark that he just made?

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

The whole tenor of the right hon. Lady's speech was that all that was necessary was for this House to decide tonight to get the Government out of their embarrassment.

Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am grateful for the fact that the right hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir J. Eden) gave me some notice that he would be speaking about my remarks, but he has now made certain imputations. He must either withdraw them or sustain them.

Photo of Sir Arthur Irvine Sir Arthur Irvine , Liverpool Edge Hill

The imputations that I have heard seem to me to be merely matters of debate.

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

When freedom is everywhere under attack, how necessary it is that we—long and rightly regarded in this House as its champions—should be assiduous in the observance of the rule of law, in both its spirit and its letter—the rule of law which is itself the only sure foundation of that freedom. We should not connive in a parliamentary stratagem that seeks, in the words of the motion, to "dispense with" the Standing Orders of the House to suit ministerial and administrative convenience. That way lies the end of parliamentary democracy itself, and it is that end that, the country will note, so many hon. Members on the Government Benches seek to achieve.

9.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

I pay tribute first to my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) for what is without doubt one of the most remarkable Back Bench contributions since I have been in the House.

What is not in dispute tonight is your ruling, Mr. Speaker. You have quite clearly ruled in the case of the hybridity, or the prima facie hybridity, of the Bill that we are considering. The Bill is now prima facie a hybrid Bill. That means quite simply that the private rights of individual citizens might be affected by it. That is what it means.

The precise issue upon which it was raised with you, Mr. Speaker, was the exclusion of Marathon Shipbuilding (UK) Limited. The hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) was perfectly correct in drawing to our attention that it was the Government's decision—maybe following a decision of an earlier Government—that this particular company should be excluded which has led to the problem and to the drafting difficulties that the Minister and his Department face.

That is the source of the difficulty faced by the House—in other words, whether a company could and should be left out of a Public General Bill. That is the underlying issue. It does not matter why the company has been left out. It does not matter that only one has been left out. The fundamental issue is that by design one company, falling within the definition of all the other companies which are included in the Bill, has been left out.

It is not enough to say "We know that this company would not mind. It does not want to be included." By what arbitrary right has that one company been excluded when all the other companies listed in the schedule has been included? How, unless this issue is put before a Select Committee of the House, is that issue to be resolved?

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwick and East Lothian

The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well why the company has been excluded. It came to this country only on the agreement that it would be excluded. There has been no argument about that.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

I understand precisely the hon. Gentleman's point. It came to this country only on condition that it would not be nationalised. By what right did that one company do a deal which has excluded it from this Bill—a Bill which includes virtually every other company, each of which would have liked to be excluded if it had the chance?

The House must clearly understand that the purpose of hybridity, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) put it so clearly in his speech, is to recognise that there is no limit to the power of this House. We have no written constitution, and, because we therefore understand that we might do things in the generality of public policy which could have adverse effects upon individual private rights, we have traditionally over a long period had an established rule within this House to protect individuals who believe that they are adversely affected.

We have not said that they can refuse to obey the law. We have not said that they can remain outside the power of this House. What we have said is that, if we are to affect their private lives, we will limit our own power to this one extent and entitle them to come before a Select Committee of Members of this House so that their case may be heard. That is the issue we are discussing tonight.

Why should the companies listed in the Bill not have the right to have their case heard by a Select Committee of this House before we proceed? You have decided, Mr. Speaker, that the Bill entitles the companies listed in it to have their case put before examiners in order to decide whether such procedures should be adopted. That is your decision, Mr. Speaker, and it is the Government who have decided that the procedures should be set on one side.

Photo of Mr Keith Stainton Mr Keith Stainton , Sudbury and Woodbridge

They are proposing it. It has not yet been decided.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

My hon. Friend is right. They are proposing that these procedures should be set aside.

All the speeches on this side of the House, though regrettably very few from the Government Benches, have centred on the high issue of principle which is fundamental to this case. It is in no way relevant for hon. Members opposite, including the Secretary of State for Industry, who started them down this road, to say that this is only a little exception, that it is relatively unimportant, that it will not do anyone much harm or that the company which is being excluded does not mind. These are issues not of principle but only of degree of the effect of the legislation.

What the House is being asked to do is to establish a precedent in a situation which all hon. Members know to be unprecedented. There is no precedent for this circumstance. Therefore, we say that in the event of a similar circumstance arising in which there is not, as in this case, according to hon. Members opposite but not to us, a small infringement, a relatively unimportant prejudice of interest, but a large degree of infringement, the principle will nevertheless be identical to what we are dealing with now. Hon. Members on the Government side are prepared to see this precedent stand for all time.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian made the point that the Government do not accept the spirit of your ruling, Mr. Speaker. The Government do not admit that there was a difficult circumstance which, from respect for this place, should have brought them through one channel or another to a dialogue with hon. Members on both sides of the House, which is what a Leader of the House in all normal circumstances would have done. Instead, within seconds of your ruling having been given, the Leader of the House, on behalf of the Government, said that they were going to set it aside. They did that on the very day when the overwhelming majority of us, not 50 yards away from this place, listened to the Prime Minister echoing the great traditions which have made this nation's Parliament into the unique democratic institution that it is.

They ignored the possibility of even trying to find a solution with honour along the lines which have been suggested from both sides of the House.

This is, therefore, a matter of fundamental principle. We are dealing with the democratic rights and traditions of the House, and there is no escape from that clear situation. If the Government had wanted to challenge your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as you rightly pointed out on Tuesday there is a vehicle by which they could have done so. The Secretary of State today tried to suggest that he had got a lot of extra evidence or that more facts should be put before the House. That was an issue about the ruling itself. If that is what we are here to discuss, we should be discussing the ruling, but the Government have decided to accept the ruling while simply overturning it at the first convenient opportunity. That is a different matter from challenging the ruling itself.

The issue is therefore one of convenience, because the Government have found your ruling inconvenient, Mr. Speaker. The ruling would, of course, have made it difficult for them to proceed with the Bill at the speed they wished—that would suit me, and I make no apology for saying so. But we are not here dealing with the narrow convenience of the Government. We are dealing with the individual rights of citizens, and the Government's convenience should not put those rights in jeopardy.

It is on a matter of expediency rather than principle that hon. Members on the Government side are asked to vote tonight. I only hope that before they vote those who are parliamentarians before politicians will remember that the day could come when they will be sitting in circumstances with no majority in this House, and the precedent which the Leader of the House is asking them to establish tonight will be used to override rights which they think are important. That is the position in which they are putting themselves and all future Parliaments if they vote for this motion tonight.

There is a case about which we do not hear a great deal from the Secretary of State for Industry, and it is the only case he could have pleaded with honour. He could have said that the circumstances were now so overwhelmingly urgent in the two industries which he is seeking to nationalise that, despite the issue of principle, the overriding interests of the nation and the industries concerned demanded that the legislation be proceeded with. I would never accept that argument for one moment, but it is the one which the Secretary of State should have spelt out in order to justify what he intends to do tonight.

How is it that the Government tell us now that the need for this legislation is a matter of national urgency when only a few months ago they introduced identical legislation and then withdrew it because it was inconvenient for them to proceed with it in the last Session? What has so deteriorated in that period? What new facts are there and what evidence has come to light which makes them prepared to elevate above principle the progress of this legislation, which a few months ago they withdrew to suit their own convenience?

We have now reached a situation in which the Secretary of State for Industry, like his predecessor, time and again is prepared to come to the House, with all the existing legislation at his power, and explain that he has to bail out this company, take over that company or nationalise another. He has done that with many companies from Ferranti to Court Line and to British Leyland one after another. He has the power to help companies where necessary, and yet we are now being asked to elevate expediency above principle in order to facilitate legislation designed to nationalise no less than 43 companies at an expense of £300 million, and all for the sake of helping a couple of ailing shipbuilding companies. There is no need for any additional legislation at all, except the narrow need of dogma of the Labour Party.

This is all the more extraordinary because only last Christmas the Secretary of State for Industry was prepared to hawk his conscience around the nation in order to prevent his colleagues from spending £162 million on bailing out Chrysler under existing legislation. Today, however, he is saying that he has not got the power to bail out any companies of any sort in these particular industries.

It is beyond credibility that the Government are now seriously claiming that they need to nationalise the aerospace industry in order to protect jobs and in order to keep our position in the European airbus project. Only eight years ago they led this country out of the European airbus project, and the only reason why we are still in the project is because one company, which they are now proposing to nationalise, risked its own money to preserve workers' jobs and stay in. All it is getting for its trouble is that it is to be nationalised.

The Marathon company, which had the farsigntedness to say that it would not risk a penny piece unless it was left out of the Bill, is excluded, yet Hawker is not. Should not that situation be examined by the hybridity procedures of this House?

It is not just a question of the Secretary of State for Industry, because in reality the motion we are dealing with tonight is one which properly should have come from the Leader of the House. It is very curious that he has chosen to wind up the debate rather than introduce the motion, which appeared in his own name. I have never heard a speech from the Leader of the House with which I have agreed. But when he was a Back Bencher I never heard him make a speech which did not add to his reputation as a parliamentarian above that of a party politician. He is a man of great conviction. What he did not know was the extent to which that conviction could be moderated by tolerance for others' views. It is that tolerance, measured with the conviction, which is the hallmark of people who seek to lead this House. Tonight the right hon. Gentleman is about to throw away his lifetime's reputation.

9.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) began his speech with a reference to the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), and I find it in my Back Bench heart to echo what he said. Many hon. Members have quoted remarks that I made in this House in previous incarnations—if that is the right word—and I dare say that I had better recall, before someone else does, that I said on one occasion that all was fair in love, war and parliamentary procedure. I say that to the hon. Member for Tiverton. It would be churlish of any of us not to pay a tribute to his ingenuity and his assiduity in spite of all the inconvenience that he has caused to so many people. I pay tribute to him because all sections of the House must watch with the greatest care the pro. cedures of this House—[Interruption.] I hope that hon. Members will allow me to present my case. I certainly do not accept the view that the procedures of this House are unimportant, in any sense. I believe that many of our most essential freedoms are intimately linked with the procedures of the House.

In one sense it may be said that where-ever we sit, when it comes to the procedures of the House we are all in the same boat—or perhaps in the same mobile offshore drilling rig. We must seek to protect those freedoms in the best ways that we can. That is what I have said today, as I hope the House will permit me to explain.

I wish to underline a fact that I am sure that you will be ready to confirm, Mr. Speaker, which is that I have not in any way challenged your ruling. It would have been quite wrong of me to do so. Perhaps I can describe to the House exactly what happened in the discussions that I had with you and your advisers just before the debate yesterday. I went to see you to make representations, as others were making, and you indicated to me not a final decision, but the likely decision that you would make to the House. I then asked you whether you would give me your view about what would happen if we were to put down the kind of motion that is on the Order Paper now. [An HON. MEMBER: "Has Mr. Speaker given you permission?"] Yes, Mr. Speaker has given me his permission, so I hope that the hon. Gentleman will give me his. I wish to explain what happened, because it will dispose entirely of any accusation that I or the Government have challenged your ruling, Mr. Speaker, or been, in any sense, disrespectful to it.

I asked you, Mr. Speaker, whether, if we put on the Order Paper a motion of this character to deal with the situation that arose following your ruling, it could be regarded as a challenge to your ruling or disrespectful to you. Your answer was an immediate and unhesitating assurance that it would be nothing of the sort. You put that view in the presence of your advisers, with plenty of witnesses.

Several of those who report the affairs of the House have suggested that I was seeking in some way to challenge your ruling or to be disrespectful. That is now disposed of for ever by your statement.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I have Mr. Speaker's permission to announce it to the House. There is no question of there being a private discussion.

If your answer had been different, Mr. Speaker, I would not have made the same recommendations to my colleagues on how we should proceed.

We were left with the question of how to deal with the position left by your ruling. It was open to us to make a whole series of suggestions about the way in which the House should proceed.

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack , Staffordshire South West

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that many people will think that he is behaving in a disrespectful and cowardly manner when he seeks to take shelter behind a private conversation?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I do not think that it is necessary to answer such an interruption.

The Government and I had to decide—I do not wish to shuffle off any responsibility, because it was my recommendation that this motion should be put on the Order Paper—how to deal with the situation left by your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

As hon. Members in all parts of the House have acknowledged, we were dealing with an unprecedented situation. We had to decide how to weigh up the factors. The right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) presented the focus of the debate in his criticism of our judgment following Mr. Speaker's ruling. The right hon. Member argued that we should have taken into account the rights of the petitioners, who would be excluded if the hybridity procedures were overridden and the rights of the minorities in the House.

I acknowledge that these are some of the factors that ought to be taken into account, but there are other factors, according to the procedures of this House, and I ask hon. Members to note this carefully.

My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) expounded this aspect of the case in a way to which the House must apply its mind. We are accused of bending or breaking the rules, but there is no rule to break or bend in this respect. As my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East correctly said, Standing Orders do not refer to the unprecedented situation of the House having to deal with a ruling such as that given by Mr. Speaker at such a late stage in the progress of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I shall give way in a moment, but I must first make this point. The fact of the matter is that Standing Order No. 38 deals with the situation exactly as my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East described. It does not envisage this unprecedented situation or what would be the course proper to be taken if such a ruling were to be made in the circumstances of the case now before us. Why? Because the Standing Orders assume that if a Bill reached that stage it would be a very different state of affairs if it ever had to be referred to a Committee for hybridity. Why? Because the House at that stage would have voted on Second Reading in favour of the principle of the Bill. In response to the case of the right hon. Member for Sidcup, I say directly that the Government had to take into account the rights of minorities in the House, but we also had to take into account the rights of the majority of the House, as shown on Second Reading.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

If for one moment we accept that there are no precedents and, therefore, the need to create a new rule for the House, will the Leader of the House give one precedent whereby such a new rule has been imposed on the House without any discussion with anyone in the House other than the majority party?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

We are not seeking to impose a new rule; we are seeking to deal with an unprecedented situation. We are making a proposal to deal with it that does not set a precedent for future occasions. We are making a proposal that is specifically directed to this case, as our words on the Order Paper describe. It is specifically directed to the consequences that would follow in the two industries concerned, and specifically arising from Mr. Speaker's ruling. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that we took into account the considerations to which he referred. It is perfectly right that those considerations should be taken into account, but I believe it also to be the case that having looked at the Standing Orders, having looked at the rules, and having looked at the unprecedented situation, we had to tell the House how we were to proceed.

I give another reason that led me to think that we had to take this course. If the matter had been referred to the examiners, and if it had gone to the Standing Committee or the Select Committee—it is more of a Standing Committee than a Select Committee, but whichever Committee hon. Members like to describe it as being—and through the whole of the procedure that has been described, it would have taken a very long time. Indeed, the right hon. Member for Sidcup suggested that the Bill should be withdrawn as a whole That, too, would have taken quite a long time. If we had withdrawn the Bill, or gone to the Procedure Committee, I do not say that those procedures would have meant an interminable delay, but there would have been a very great delay.

Any Government, or anyone responsible to the House of Commons. who voted for the Bill's Second Reading, had to take into account the fact that, there having been a Second Reading, and 58 Sittings in Committee, this House had urged that we should proceed with this business. There is talk of our overriding the rights of the House of Commons, but it is the Opposition who have done so.

Mr. Michael Brother:

rose——

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

What they would have sought to do——

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. If the Minister does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.

Photo of Mr Michael Brotherton Mr Michael Brotherton , Louth Borough

Does the right hon. Gentleman therefore say that the Com- mittee is more important than the Floor of the House of Commons?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

If the hon. Gentleman had been following what I was saying as closely as I flatteringly assumed that he had been, he would have heard me say that one of the considerations that had to be taken into account was that the Bill had been through not only the Sittings upstairs, but Second Reading in this House, and that was an important relevant factor.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

As I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman is now saying that one of the factors that the Government had to take into consideration was that the Bill had had a Second Reading. I seem to remember that other Bills had Second Readings on the Floor of the House and the right hon. Gentleman had quite an affair in dealing with them and seeing that they did not get any further. The Parliament (No. 2) Bill was one. How can the right hon. Gentleman justify saying it for this Bill, but not for the others?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am not seeking to supersede any procedure of this House. I am saying that this Bill, which started out as a Public Bill and which, in our genuine belief, was a Public Bill, had been accepted as a Public Bill by the House of Commons and by everyone concerned, right up to a point in the procedure that goes far beyond anything covered by Standing Order No. 38. It is precisely because of those circumstances that this is an unprecedented situation. Therefore, we had to discover a remedy that would properly suit the situation and would not deny to the majority in this House the right to get on the statute book a measure that had passed so many parts of its procedure in this House.

Not a single example could be quoted by either the right hon. Member for Sidcup or the Leader of the Liberal Party to substantiate their claim that in any sense at all we have interfered with the rules in the middle of this game. [Interruption.] This Bill started out as a Public Bill. It was accepted by all the authorities in the House as a Public Bill. It is still, in our opinion—[Interruption]. It is still, in our opinion and in the opinion of the majority of this House on Second Reading, a Bill that should proceed as a Public Bill, but in view of Mr. Speaker's ruling it was necessary that we should take steps to put it in order.

We shall also take steps, as I indicated to the House yesterday—although I gather that there was a little noise going on at the time—to ensure the introduction of an amendment on Report which we believe will remove any element of doubt on the question of hybridity. [HON. MEMBERS: "Doubt?"] I understand that Mr. Speaker has ruled that there is doubt, and I accept that. If the House had listened a little more carefully to Mr. Speaker today it would have heard exactly what he said. Mr. Speaker did not say that this is a hybrid Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, he did."] I am afraid that hon. Members have not followed the debate as closely as they should have done. What Mr. Speaker said again today was that the reason why he had ruled that this was a prima facie case of hybridity was that there was doubt. I say, as I said yesterday, that on Report we shall be able to remove that doubt by an amendment, if the House so wishes, and the House will be able to decide the matter.

I have no doubt that when again we proceed and allow the House to decide the matter, we shall have all the charges of dictation at the same time. What we are saying is that the House of Commons, at each stage, has the right to settle this matter. It is no good Opposition Members saying that we must abide by rules that do not exist in "Erskine May "or in any of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

The right hon. Gentleman said just now that the Government had felt obliged to devise a remedy. They did so in a very precipitate manner. What I want to know is what kind of precedent the right hon. Gentleman thinks he is setting for the future, and whether he thinks that it will be generally acceptable.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

One of the reasons why we have put the motion down in this form is that it does not set any precedent for the future. It sets a precedent only if one has exactly similar conditions relating to the two industries concerned, and we specifically refer to them in the motion. So the idea that this changes the whole rule about hybrid Bills, or anything of that sort, is completely invalid.

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

The right hon. Gentleman says that there are no Standing Orders governing the business that we have before us in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and that Standing Order No. 38 does not apply. Will he, therefore, say which are the Standing Orders relating to Private Business and the other such Standing Orders that the motion would dispense with?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The motion says consideration of the application of any such Standing Orders to this measure. What we say is perfectly clear. [HON. MEMBERS:" Answer."] Anyone who reads the Standing Orders for himself—and there must be very few hon. Members who have done that—will see that Standing Order No. 38——

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Under the motion, if it is carried by the House, we say that "consideration of the application" of Standing Order No. 38 to this position will be dispensed with. We think that that is right, for the very reasons that I have described—that Standing Order No. 38, which has been invoked as the Standing Order to deal with this situation, does not deal with it at all.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

In order to be able to make quite clear to the House of Commons—[Interruption.] In order to be able to proceed with the Bill, which is necessary—[Interruption.] In order that the House of Commons should be able to proceed with this Bill and to introduce the amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheating."] The hon. Gentlemen who hurled that charge at me yesterday know perfectly well that it is false on every ground. They were called upon to withdraw it yesterday, and the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) withdrew it. But I suppose that Opposition Members think that they will get a few more cheap headlines in the Tory Press by yelling it again.

People talk about the reputation of this House of Commons, but some Opposition Members ought to have a little more regard for what will be the reputation of the House of Commons—[Interruption.] Nothing could do more injury to the House of Commons than for people outside to hear that the jobs of workers in the shipbuilding and aerospace industries are put in jeopardy by a semi-drunken Tory brawl. What the House of Commons should do—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. In the few remaining minutes, I hope that the House will come to order.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hope that you heard the remark made by the Leader of the House—[interruption.]

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I am listening to a point of order.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you heard the audible remark made by the Leader of the House just now. I hope that you will order him to withdraw it, although it is typical of the kind of argument that we expect from him.

Hon Members:

Withdraw.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I want to deal with the point of order. I know that the House will want to come to a decision on this matter in a few minutes. It is not in order to accuse anyone in this

place of being drunk. To a man in my position, to be semi-drunk is as bad as being drunk.

Hon. Members:

Withdraw.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

If you, Mr. Speaker, rule that being semi-drunk is as bad as being drunk, I suppose I have to withdraw. Yesterday, many Opposition Members tried to stop me speaking in the House when they were sober and tonight some have tried to stop me speaking when they are in a different condition, and that is perfectly parliamentary behaviour.

The right hon. Member for Yeovil tried to mislead the House as to what I said. He quoted some remarks that I made in the House on earlier occasions and tried to say that I was interfering with the rights of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman quoted what he thought I said on 17th February 1972 about the procedures of the House. I believe that the procedures of the House are here to protect not only Members of Parliament but the people outside, to look after their jobs and make sure that when we present to the country measures for dealing with these problems we should be able to get them on to the statute book, and not be thwarted by the Conservative Party.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 303.

Division No. 156.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Adley, RobertBryan, Sir PaulDodsworth, Geoffrey
Aitken, JonathanBuchanan-Smith, AlickDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Alison, MichaelBudgen, NickDrayson, Burnaby
Amery, Rt Hon JulianBulmer, Esmonddu Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Arnold, TomBurden, F. A.Dunlop, John
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Durant, Tony
Awdry, DanielCarlisle, MarkDykes, Hugh
Bain, Mrs MargaretCarson, JohnEden, Rt Hon Sir John
Baker, KennethChalker, Mrs LyndaEdwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Banks, RobertChannon, PaulElliott, Sir William
Beith, A. J.Churchill, W. S.Emery, Peter
Bell, RonaldClark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Clark, William (Croydon S)Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)
Benyon, W.Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Eyre, Reginald
Berry, Hon AnthonyClegg, WalterFairgrieve, Russell
Biffen, JohnCockcroft, JohnFarr, John
Biggs-Davison, JohnCooke, Robert (Bristol W)Fell, Anthony
Blaker, PeterCope,JohnFinsberg, Geoffrey
Body, RichardCordle, John H.Fisher, Sir Nigel
Boscawen, Hon RobertCormack, PatrickFletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bottomley, PeterCorrie, JohnFookes, Miss Janet
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Costain, A. P.Forman, Nigel
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Bradford, Rev RobertCrawford, DouglasFox, Marcus
Braine, Sir BernardCritchley, JulianFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Brittan, LeonCrouch, DavidFreud, Clement
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Crowder, F. P.Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Brotherton, MichaelDavies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Dean, Paul (N Somerset)Gardner. Edward (S Fylde)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)MacCormick, IainRoss, William (Londonderry)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)McCrindle, RobertRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Glyn, Dr AlanMcCusker, H.Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Godber, Rt Hon JosephMacfarlane, NeilRoyle, Sir Anthony
Goodhart, PhilipMacGregor, JohnSainsbury, Tim
Goodhew, VictorMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)St. John-Stevas, Norman
Goodlad, AlastairMcNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Scott, Nicholas
Gorst, JohnMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Scott-Hopkins, James
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)Madel, DavidShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)Marten, NeilShelton, William (Streatham)
Gray, HamishMates, MichaelShepherd, Colin
Grieve, PercyMather, CarolShersby, Michael
Griffiths, EldonMaude, AngusSilvester, Fred
Grimond, Rt Hon J.Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldSims, Roger
Grist, IanMawby, RaySinclair, Sir George
Grylls, MichaelMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinSkeet, T. H. H.
Hall, Sir JohnMayhew, PatrickSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Meyer, Sir AnthonySmith, Dudley (Warwick)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)Speed, Keith
Hampson, Dr KeithMills, PeterSpence, John
Hannam, JohnMiscampbell, NormanSpicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissMoate, RogerSproat, Iain
Hastings, StephenMolyneaux, JamesStainton, Keith
Havers, Sir MichaelMonro, HectorStanbrook, Ivor
Hawkins, PaulMontgomery, FergusStanley, John
Hayhoe, BarneyMoore, John (Croydon C)Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Heath, Rt Hon EdwardMore, Jasper (Ludlow)Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Henderson, DouglasMorgan, GeraintStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Heseltine, MichaelMorgan-Giles, Rear-AdmiralStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hicks, RobertMorris, Michael (Northampton S)Stokes, John
Higgins, Terence L.Morrison, Charles (Devizes)Stonehouse, Rt Hon John
Holland, PhilipMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Stradling Thomas, J.
Hooson, EmlynMudd, DavidTapsell, Peter
Hordern, PeterNeave, AireyTaylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyNelson, AnthonyTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Howell, David (Guildford)Neubert, MichaelTebbit, Norman
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Newton, TonyTemple-Morris, Peter
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)Nott, JohnThatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Hunt, David (Wirral)Onslow, CranleyThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Hunt, JohnOppenheim, Mrs SallyThomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Hurd, DouglasOsborn, JohnThompson, George
Hutchison, Michael ClarkPage, John (Harrow West)Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Townsend, Cyril D.
James, DavidPaisley, Rev IanTrotter, Neville
Jenkin, Rt Hon P.(Wanst'd & W'df'd)Pardoe, JohnTugendhat, Christopher
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Parkinson, Cecilvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Pattie, GeoffreyVaughan, Dr Gerard
Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Penhaligon, DavidViggers, Peter
Jopling, MichaelPercival, IanWainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithPeyton, Rt Hon JohnWakeham, John
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPink, R. BonnerWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElainePowell, Rt Hon J. EnochWalker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Kershaw, AnthonyPrice, David (Eastleigh)Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Kilfedder, JamesPrior, Rt Hon JamesWall, Patrick
Kilfeddcr, JamesPym, Rt Hon FrancisWalters, Dennis
Kimball, MarcusRaison, TimothyWarren, Kenneth
King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Rathbone, TimWatt, Hamish
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir PeterWeatherill, Bernard
Kirk, Sir PeterRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Wells, John
Kitson, Sir TimothyRees-Davies, W. R.Welsh, Andrew
Knox, DavidReid, GeorgeWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
Lamont, NormanRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)Wiggin, Jerry
Lane, DavidRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)Wigley, Dafydd
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRhys Williams, Sir BrandonWilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Latham, Michael (Melton)Ridley, Hon NicholasWinterton, Nicholas
Lawrence, IvanRidsdale, JulianYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Lawson, NigelRifkind, MalcolmYounger, Hon George
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Lloyd, IanRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Loveridge, JohnRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Mr. Spencer le Marchant and Mr. Jim Lester.
Luce, RichardRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
McAdden, Sir StephenRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
NOES
Abse, LeoBagier, Gordon A. T.Bishop, E. S.
Allaun, FrankBarnett, Guy (Greenwich)Blenkinsop, Arthur
Anderson, DonaldBarnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Archer, PeterBates. AlfBoardman, H.
Armstrong, ErnestBean, R. E.Booth, Rt Hon Albert
Ashley, JackBenn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodBottomley, Rt Hon Arthur
Ashton, JoeBennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Boyden, James (Bish Auck)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Bidwell, SydneyBradley, Tom
Bray, Dr JeremyGrant, John (Islington C)Molloy, William
Broughton, Sir AlfredGrocott, BruceMoonman, Eric
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Hardy, PeterMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Buchan, NormanHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Buchanan, RichardHart, Rt Hon JudithMoyle, Roland
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyMulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Hatton, FrankMurray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Hayman, Mrs HeleneNewens, Stanley
Campbell, IanHealey, Rt Hon DenisNoble, Mike
Canavan, DennisHeffer, Eric S.Oakes, Gordon
Cant, R. B.Hooley, FrankOgden, Eric
Carmichael, NeilHoram, JohnO'Halloran, Michael
Carter, RayHowell, Rt Hon DenisOrbach, Maurice
Carter-Jones, LewisHoyle, Doug (Nelson)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Cartwright, JohnHuckfield, LesOvenden, John
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraHughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)Owen, Dr David
Clemitson, IvorHughes, Mark (Durham)Padley, Walter
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Palmer, Arthur
Cohen, StanleyHughes, Roy (Newport)Park, George
Coleman, DonaldHunter, AdamParker, John
Colquhoun, Ms MaureenIrvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Parry, Robert
Concannon, J. D.Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Pavitt, Laurie
Conlan, BernardJackson, Colin (Brighouse)Perry, Ernest
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)Phipps, Dr Colin
Corbett, RobinJanner, GrevillePrentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Jay, Rt Hon DouglasPrescott, John
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Jeger, Mrs LenaPrice, C. (Lewisham W)
Crawshaw, RichardJenkins, Hugh (Putney)Price, William (Rugby)
Cronin, JohnJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Radice, Giles
Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyJohn, BrynmorRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Cryer, BobJohnson, James (Hull West)Richardson, Miss Jo
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Jones, Barry (East Flint)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Dalyell, TamJones, Dan (Burnley)Robertson, John (Paisley)
Davidson, ArthurKaufman, GeraldRobinson, Geoffrey
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)Kelley, RichardRoderick, Caerwyn
Davies, Denzil (Lianelli)Kerr, RussellRodgers, George (Chorley)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Kilroy-Silk, RobertRooker, J. W.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Kinnock, NeilRoper, John
Deakins, EricLambie, DavidRose, Paul B.
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Lamborn, HarryRoss, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyLamond, JamesRowlands Ted
Dempsey, JamesLatham, Arthur (Paddington)Sandelson, Neville
Doig, PeterLeadbitter, TedSedgemore, Brian
Dormand, J. D.Lee,JohnSelby, Harry
Douglas-Mann, BruceLestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Duffy, A. E. P.Lever, Rt Hon HaroldSeldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Dunn, James A.Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Dunnett, JackLipton, MarcusShort, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethLitterick, TomShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Eadie, AlexLomas, KennethSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Edge, GeoffLoyden, EddieSillars, James
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Luard, EvanSilverman, Julius
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)Lyon, Alexander (York)Skinner, Dennis
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)Small, William
English, MichaelMabon, Dr J. DicksonSmith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Ennals, DavidMcCartney, HughSnape, Peter
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)McElhone, FrankSpearing, Nigel
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)MacFarquhar, RoderickSpriggs, Leslie
Evans, John (Newton)McGuire, Michael (Ince)Stallard, A. W.
Ewing Harry (Stirling)Mackenzie, GregorStewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Faulds, AndrewMackintosh, John P.Stoddart, David
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Maclennan, RobertStott, Roger
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Strang, Gavin
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)McNamara, KevinStrauss, Rt Hn G. R.
Flannery, MartinMadden, MaxSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Magee, BryanSwain, Thomas
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMahon, SimonThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ford, BenMallalieu, J. P. W.Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Forrester, JohnMarks, KennethThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Marquand, DavidThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Fraser, John (Lambeth,N'w'd)Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Tierney, Sydney
Freeson, ReginaldMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)Tinn, James
Garrett, John (Norwich S)Mason, Rt Hon RoyTomlinson, John
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Maynard, Miss JoanTomney, Frank
George, BruceMeacher, MichaelTorney, Tom
Gilbert, Dr JohnMellish, Rt Hon RobertTuck, Raphael
Ginsburg, DavidMendelson, JohnUrwin, T. W.
Golding, JohnMikardo, IanVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Gould, BryanMillan, BruceWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Gourlay, HarryMiller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Graham, TedMiller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Grant, George (Morpeth)Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Ward, MichaelWhitlock, WilliamWise, Mrs Audrey
Watkins, DavidWilley, Rt Hon FrederickWoodall, Alec
Watkinson, JohnWilliams, Alan (Swansea W)Woof, Robert
Weetch, KenWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Weitzman, DavidWilliams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)Young, David (Bolton E)
Wellbeloved, JamesWilliams, Sir Thomas
White, Frank R. (Bury)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
White, James (Pollok)Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)Mr. Joseph Harper and Mr. James Hamilton.
Whitehead, PhillipWilson, William (Coventry SE)

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I am following the precedent laid down by Mr. Speaker Denison, a precedent which has been followed to this time. He said that the principle of the Question upon which he was called upon to give his casting vote was one of great importance, and, if affirmed by a majority of the House, it would have much force. It should, however, be affirmed by a majority of the

House, and not merely by the casting vote of its presiding officer. For these reasons, my vote has to go with the Noes and I declare that the Noes have it.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 304, Noes 303.

Division No. 157.]AYES[10.17 p.m.
Abse, LeoCunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Allaun, FrankDalyell, TamHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Anderson, DonaldDavidson, ArthurHatton, Frank
Archer, PeterDavies, Bryan (Enfield N)Hayman, Mrs Helene
Armstrong, ErnestDavies, Denzil (Llanelli)Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Ashley, JackDavies, Ifor (Gower)Heffer, Eric S.
Ashton, JoeDavis, Clinton (Hackney C)Hooley, Frank
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Deakins, EricHoram, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Howell, Rt Hon Denis
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyHoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Dempsey, JamesHuckfield, Les
Bates, AlfDoig, PeterHughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Bean, R. E.Dormand, J. D.Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodDouglas-Mann, BruceHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Duffy, A. E. P.Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bidwell, SydneyDunn, James A.Hunter, Adam
Bishop, E. S.Dunnett, JackIrvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Blenkinsop. ArthurDunwoody, Mrs GwynethIrving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Boardman, H.Eadie, AlexJackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertEdge, GeoffJackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Boothroyd, Miss BettyEdwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Janner, Greville
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurEllis, John (Brigg & Scun)Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Boyden, James (Bish Auck)Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)Jeger, Mrs Lena
Bradley, TomEnglish, MichaelJenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Bray, Dr JeremyEnnals, DavidJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)
Broughton, Sir AlfredEvans, Fred (Caerphilly)John, Brynmor
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Johnson, James (Hull West)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Evans, John (Newton)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Buchan, NormanEwing Harry (Stirling)Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Buchanan, RichardFaulds, AndrewJones, Dan (Burnley)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Kaufman, Gerald
Casllaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Kelley, Richard
Callaghan, Jim (Mlddleton & P)Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)Kerr, Russell
Campbell, IanFlannery, MartinKilroy-Silk, Robert
Canavan, DennisFletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Kinnock, Neil
Cant, R. B.Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Lambie, David
Carmichael, NeilFoot, Rt Hon MichaelLamborn, Harry
Carter, RayFord, BenLamond, James
Carter-Jonas, LewisForrester, JohnLatham, Arthur (Paddington)
Cartwright, JohnFowler, Gerald (The WrekinLeadbitter, Ted
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraFraser, John (Lambeth,N'w'd)Lee, John
Clemitson, IvorFreeson, ReginaldLestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Garrett, John (Norwich S)Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Cohen, StanleyGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Coleman, DonaldGeorge, BruceLipton, Marcus
Colquhoun, Ms MaureenGilbert, Dr JohnLitterick, Tom
Concannon, J. D.Ginsburg, DavidLomas, Kenneth
Conlan, BernardGolding, JohnLoyden, Eddie
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Gould, BryanLuard, Evan
Corbett, RobinGourlay, HarryLyon, Alexander (York)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Graham, TedLyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Grant, George (Morpeth)Mabon, Dr J. Dickson
Crawshaw, RichardGrant, John (Islington C)McCartney, Hugh
Cronin, JohnGrocott, BruceMcElhone, Frank
Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)MacFarquhar, Roderick
Cryer, BobHardy, PeterMcGuire, Michael (Ince)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mackenzie, Gregor
Mackintosh, John P.Pendry, TomSwain, Thomas
Maclennan, RobertPerry, ErnestTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)Phipps, Dr ColinThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
McNamara, KevinPrentice, Rt Hon RegThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Madden, MaxPrescott, JohnThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Magee, BryanPrice, C. (Lewisham W)Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)Price, William (Rugby)Tierney, Sydney
Mahon, SimonRadice, GilesTinn, James
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)Tomlinson, John
Marks, KennethRichardson, Miss JoTomney, Frank
Marquand, DavidRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Torney, Tom
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Tuck, Raphael
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Robertson, John (Paisley)Urwin, T. W.
Mason, Rt Hon RoyRobinson, GeoffreyVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Maynard, Miss JoanRoderick, CaerwynWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Meacher, MichaelRodgers, George (Chorley)Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Mellish, Rt Hon RobertRodgers, William (Stockton)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mendelson, JohnRooker, J. W.Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Mikardo, IanRoper, JohnWard, Michael
Millan, BruceRose, Paul B.Watkins, David
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)Watkinson, John
Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Rowlands, TedWeetch, Ken
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Sandelson, NevilleWeitzman, David
Molloy, WilliamSedgemore, BrianWellbeloved, James
Moonman, EricSelby, HarryWhite, Frank R. (Bury)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)White, James (Pollok)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)Whitehead, Phillip
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Shore, Rt Hon PeterWhitlock, William
Moyle, RolandShort, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald KingSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Newens, StanleySillars, JamesWilliams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Noble, MikeSilverman, JuliusWilliams, Sir Thomas
Oakes, GordonSkinner, DennisWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Ogden, EricSmall, WilliamWilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
O'Halloran, MichaelSmith, John (N Lanarkshire)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Orbach, MauriceSnape, PeterWise, Mrs Audrey
Orme, Rt Hon StanleySpearing, NigelWoodall, Alec
Ovenden, JohnSpriggs, LeslieWoof, Robert
Owen, Dr DavidStallard, A. W.Wrigglesworth, Ian
Padley, WalterStewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)Young, David (Bolton E)
Palmer, ArthurStoddart, David
Park, GeorgeStott, RogerTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Parker, JohnStrang, GavinMr. James Hamilton and Mr. Joseph Harper.
Parry, RobertStrauss, Rt Hn G. R.
Pavitt, LaurieSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
NOES
Adley, RobertCarson, JohnFairgrieve, Russell
Aitken, JonathanChalker, Mrs LyndaFarr, John
Alison, MichaelChannon, PaulFell, Anthony
Amery, Rt Hon JulianChurchill, W. S.Finsberg, Geoffrey
Arnold, TomClark, Alan (Plymouth, Sulton)Fisher, Sir Nigel
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Clark, William (Croydon S)Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Awdry, DanielClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Fookes, Miss Janet
Bain, Mrs MargaretClegg, WalterForman, Nigel
Baker, KennethCockcroft, JohnFowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Banks, RobertCooke, Robert (Bristol W)Fox, Marcus
Beith, A. J.Cope, JohnFraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Bell, RonaldCordle, John H.Freud, Clement
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)Cormack, PatrickGalbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Benyon, W.Corrie, JohnGardiner, George (Reigate)
Berry, Hon AnthonyCostain, A. P.Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Biffen, JohnCraig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)
Biggs-Davison, JohnCrawford, DouglasGilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Blaker, PeterCritchley, JulianGlyn, Dr Alan
Body, RichardCrouch, DavidGodber, Rt Hon Joseph
Boscawen, Hon RobertCrowder, F. P.Goodhart, Philip
Bottomley, PeterDavies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)Goodhew, Victor
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Dean, Paul (N Somerset)Goodlad, Alastair
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Dodsworth, GeoffreyGorst, John
Bradford, Rev RobertDouglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesGow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Braine, Sir BernardDrayson, BurnabyGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Brittan, Leondu Cann, Rt Hon EdwardGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Dunlop, JohnGray, Hamish
Brotherton, MichaelDurant, TonyGrieve, Percy
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Dykes, HughGriffiths, Eldon
Bryan, Sir PaulEden, Rt Hon Sir JohnGrimond, Rt Hon J.
Buchanan-Smith, AlickEdwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Grist, Ian
Budgen, NickElliott, Sir WilliamGrylls, Michael
Bulmer, EsmondEmery, PeterHall, Sir John
Burden, F. A.Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Carlisle, MarkEyre, ReginaldHampson, Dr Keith
Hannam, JohnMaude, AngusScott-Hopkins, James
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissMawby, RayShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Hastings, StephenMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinShelton, William (Streatham)
Havers, Sir MichaelMayhew, PatrickShepherd, Colin
Hawkins, PaulMeyer, Sir AnthonyShersby, Michael
Hayhoe, BarneyMiller, Hal (Bromsgrove)Silvester, Fred
Heath, Rt Hon EdwardMills, PeterSims, Roger
Henderson, DouglasMiscampbell, NormanSinclair, Sir George
Heseltine, MichaelMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Skeet, T. H. H.
Hicks, RobertMoate, RogerSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Higgins, Terence L.Molyneaux, JamesSmith, Dudley (Warwick)
Holland, PhilipMonro, HectorSpeed, Keith
Hooson, EmlynMontgomery, FergusSpence, John
Hordern, PeterMoore, John (Croydon C)Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyMore, Jasper (Ludlow)Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Howell, David (Guildford)Morgan, GeraintSproat, Iain
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Morgan-Giles, Rear-AdmiralStainton, Keith
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)Morris, Michael (Northampton S)Stanbrook, Ivor
Hunt, David (Wirral)Morrison, Charles (Devizes)Stanley, John
Hunt, JohnMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Hurd, DouglasMudd, DavidSteen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Hutchison, Michael ClarkNeave, AireyStewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Nelson, AnthonyStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
James, DavidNeubert, MichaelStokes, John
Jenkin, Rt Hon P.(Wanst'd & W'df'd)Newton, TonyStonehouse, Rt Hon John
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Nott, JohnStradling Thomas, J
Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Onslow CranleyTapsell, Peter
Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Oppenheim Mrs SallyTaylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Osborn, JohnTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Jopling, MichaelPage, John (Harrow West)Tebbit, Norman
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)Temple-Morris, Peter
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPaisley, Rev IanThatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElainePardoe, JohnThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Kershaw, AnthonyPattie, GeoffreyThomas,Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Kilfedder, JamesPenhaligon, DavidThompson, George
Kimball, MarcusPercival, IanThorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Peyton, Rt Hon JohnTownsend, Cyril D.
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Pink, R. BonnerTrotter, Neville
Kirk, Sir PeterPowell, Rt Hon J. EnochTugendhat, Christopher
Kitson, Sir TimothyPrice, David (Eastleigh)van Straubenzee, W.R.
Knox, DavidPrior Rt Hon JamesVaughan Dr Gerard
Lamont, NormanPym, Rt Hon FrancisViggers, Peter
Lane, DavidRaison, TimothyWainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRathbone, TimWakeham, John
Latham, Michael (Melton)Rawlinson Rt Hon Sir PeterWalder David (Clitheroe)
Lawrence, IvanRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Lawson, NigelRees-Davies, W. R.Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Reid, GeorgeWall, Patrick
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Ronton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)Walters, Dennis
Lloyd, IanRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)Warren, Kenneth
Loveridge, JohnRhys Williams, Sir BrandonWatt, Hamish
Luce, RichardRidley, Hon NicholasWeatherill, Bernard
McAdden, Sir StephenRidsdale, JulianWells, John
MacCormick, IainRifkind, MalcolmWelsh, Andrew
McCrindle, RobertRippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
McCusker, H.Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)Wiggin, Jerry
Macfarlane, NeilRoberts, Wyn (Conway)Wigley, Dafydd
MacGregor, JohnRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Winterton, Nicholas
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Ross, William (Londonderry)Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Younger, Hon George
Madel, DavidRost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Royle, Sir AnthonyTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Marten, NeilSainsbury, TimMr. Spencer Le Marchant and Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Mates, MichaelSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Mather, CarolScott, Nicholas

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved,That, in view of the serious consequences to the industries concerned and for thoseemployed in them of further delay and uncertainty, in relation to the proceedings on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill, any Standing Orders relating to Private Business, and consideration of the application of any such Standing Orders, are dispensed with.