Orders of the Day — Greater Manchester Bill [Lords]

– in the House of Commons at 9:04 pm on 19th January 1981.

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Photo of Mr Tom Arnold Mr Tom Arnold , Hazel Grove 9:04 pm, 19th January 1981

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Silvester) on the way in which he introduced the Second Reading of the Bill and the comprehensive guide that he gave to its large number of clauses. The Bill seeks to secure for the Greater Manchester council a degree of uniformity over the whole area of the county as a result of the changes that initially took place in the local government legislation of 1972.

It was interesting that exchanges took place between my hon. Friends the Members for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) and for Withington, and subsequently Opposition Members, on the vexed question of bulls and public paths. I was also interested to hear what the Minister had to say. The debate is a forerunner of the debate on the Wildlife and Countryside Bill, which will in some respects prove a great deal more controversial than the Government appreciate. Like other hon. Members, I have received a great many representations on the issue. It is causing a great deal of local concern.

My hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) dealt most ably with the difficult question covered in clause 164 concerning the activities of the direct works department in Manchester. The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) said that my hon. Friend was not a Mancunian. However, I remember that when I lived in Manchester in the old constituency of Cheetham, the activities of the direct works department in Bessemer Street were something of a scandal in the city. The hon. Gentleman talked of efficiency, but in those days the department did not tender for competition at all. If we have grave doubts about what the hon. Member is proposing, let me state that it has something to do with the fact that at that time the activities of the department, when not shrouded in obscurity, were surrounded by a great deal of controversy. It was difficult to find out exactly what was happening. One argument that the promoters adduce in favour of the clause is that the direct works department has been reformed and that the move to allow it to compete for work elsewhere in the country will add to competition. That is doubtful.

Let us consider the housing situation in those parts of Stockport which fall under the Manchester overspill and are the responsibility of the city housing department. A great many houses there are urgently in need of repair. When one considers the work that the department could usefully be undertaking in that respect, it is clear that there is some way to go before the case is fully established that it should carry out work that at present it does not even compete for.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Eastham Mr Kenneth Eastham , Manchester, Blackley

Does the hon Gentleman know whether the money was available for the direct works department to do the maintenance work? Charges are often made against the department, but when they are checked in detail it is found that the finance is not available for the work. Otherwise, I am sure that the department would be delighted readily to recruit the necessary staff to do the work.

Photo of Mr Tom Arnold Mr Tom Arnold , Hazel Grove

That is a matter for the city of Manchester. My point is that the controversy about the direct works department has lasted for many years. The case is not proven for allowing it to extend its activities.

I wish to concentrate on the other controversial clause, that which deals with processions. The House has moved a long way from the debates that took place in early 1979 in the closing stages of the previous Parliament. The hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) contributed to the debates on both the West Midlands County Council Act and the County of Merseyside Act. I should have thought that he would be the first to recognise that the promoters of those local Acts recognised that changes were needed. It should be pointed out that, whereas the original proposal was for seven days' notice, we are now facing a request for three days' notice, which is a considerable reduction in time.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

Does the hon. Gentleman also recall that during the same period there were discussions with south and west Yorkshire and Tyne and Wear, and they have all agreed to take the clause out? There was originally a common clause, which was to be seven days. Some local authorities have now agreed to take the clause out entirely on the basis that it is totally unnecessary or that they prefer national legislation. Only a few have insisted on trying to force through some provision, which is a poor compromise and does not satisfy either side in the argument.

Photo of Mr Tom Arnold Mr Tom Arnold , Hazel Grove

There is the nub of the argument: is there, or is there not, a need in the circumstances of Greater Manchester? The burden of my case is that there is. I remind the hon. Gentleman that in the debates of 1979 the burden of the argument was that in the specific circumstances of Merseyside and the West Midlands the power was needed. I shall refer to the national case later and deal in more detail with the points that the hon. Gentleman has made.

A fair measure of compromise has been achieved. The present proposals involve reducing the period of notice from seven days to 72 hours—this is very important when dealing with the earlier arguments of the hon. Member for Stockport, North about coping with spontaneous processions and demonstrations and dealing with counter-demonstrations and processions—or, when 72 hours' notice cannot be given, giving notice as soon as reasonably practicable before a march commences. That is a considerable move from the position originally adopted in 1979 when the first of these Bills came before the House.

Notice is to be given to the chief constable and at any police station in the district affected. The exemption is for processions "commonly or customarily held", such as bona fide funeral processions. Finally, there is a requirement on the chief constable to issue a code of practice giving guidance to the organisers of processions on matters with which they will have to deal, such as the need to make arrangements with the police. There is a further requirement that a prosecution can be initiated only on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Clause 176 contains a requirement that there be a defence of diligence whereby anyone who can show that he had acted diligently and responsibly will have a defence in law against a complaint or claim brought against him. The proposed powers are now set out in a modified and extremely reasonable way.

However, the central question remains: is there a need, in the circumstances of Greater Manchester, for this additional power to be conferred upon the police? I understand that the chief constable takes the view that there is an omission from the Public Order Act 1936 with regard to the giving of notice of processions and demonstrations and it is to fill that gap that he believes that this power is necessary. In the 1979 debates we find that the Home Secretary in the Labour Government was clearly of the view that there had been incidents involving public order the requirement to give notice would have been extremely helpful. He referred to the deplorable incidents in Birmingham, Ladywood, when 97 policemen were injured, and to the National Front march at Levenshulme, which was referred to earlier.

My hon. Friend the Member for Withington, in reply to a great barrage of questions from the Labour Benches, was asked to name dates, places and incidents. He gave details of instances in recent years in Greater Manchester when notice was not required. He was right to do that and laid to rest the somewhat noisy interjections that were made. There have been a number of cases involving large numbers of demonstrators where notice was given and where, in the opinion of the chief constable, had notice not been given, the situation for the police would have been very serious. In the letter which the chief constable sent to the secretary of the Greater Manchester Council and which was subsequently circulated to all Members, he wrote: I can only stress that had any of the above similar events taken place without prior police involvement the consequences in terms of public order would have been extremely damaging to both members of the public and to property". That is a powerful argument, one that we should not ignore.

I deal finally with the point made a number of times by the hon. Member for Stockport, North. I think that the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), who is not now present, also murmured about it earlier. It is that, even if there is a proven need for this kind of legislation, it should surely be introduced nationally. I am not convinced of that. In large conurbations such as Manchester, the West Midlands and Merseyside there are particular circumstances that require that such legislation be held closely under local control. One of the great virtues of the way in which we organise our policing is that we have, not a national police force, but local police forces, and have legislation backing these arrangements up. It is best left to the discretion of chief constables and police authorities to decide how to deploy their forces and how to deal with difficult and potentially dangerous situations.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

If the hon. Gentleman thinks that it is helpful to have the power in Greater Manchester, why does he not think it necessary to have the same power in London, in South or West Yorkshire, or on Tyne and Wear?

Photo of Mr Tom Arnold Mr Tom Arnold , Hazel Grove

I should like again to take the hon. Gentleman back to the debate in 1979, in which he took part. The then Home Secretary said that, as the person responsible for the police in the Metropolis, he had examined the whole question very carefully and had come to the view that the provision was not necessary in London. However, he did not go on to say that it was therefore not necessary elsewhere. He said that he was content in the first instance to leave it to the discretion of chief constables in other cities to look at the precise circumstances that they had to deal with, and to deal with them accordingly. I believe that that was a very sensible position to take.

In contrast to what the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury suggested earlier, the then Home Secretary did not think that there was a case for amending the Public Order Act 1936. The right hon. Gentleman took the view that, if local authorities believed that such a power was needed, it was presumably on the basis of a careful examination of local circumstances, and that to the extent that our parliamentary arrangements had always recognised the validity of local Bills, so be it.

I believe that in the circumstances of Greater Manchester, circumstances of very difficult policing operations in recent years—and there is no reason to suppose that there will not be other demonstrations and incidents that will stretch the resources and capability of the police force to its limits—the power is needed and will be a healthy one to have on the statute book. I welcome the inclusion of the power. I hope that, to the extent that it has been modified from the original proposals that the House debated on other Bills in 1979, we recognise that it is a fair compromise.

One of the matters that have come out in tonight's debate is the extraordinary range of interests involved in such legislation. It demonstrates the tremendous variety of activity and of places that the country of Greater Manchester embraces. I wish the Bill well. I am sure that it will meet the needs of many people.

Photo of Mr Robert Litherland Mr Robert Litherland , Manchester Central 9:19 pm, 19th January 1981

My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) has covered many of the points that I wished to make. I give him my support. As ex-members of Manchester city council, we are both extremely proud of our direct labour department and its continued success. We think that the measure is another attack by the private sector, through the Tory Party, on direct labour organisations.

The case of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) was very narrow and biased. There seemed to be some confusion in the mind of the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr. Arnold), who found it hard to distinguish between maintenance and capital works.

There have always been arguments about direct labour departments. They have always been a thorn in the side of the private sector, which feels that the sooner we put an end to direct labour organisations the better. This has already happened over maintenance. Any work worth over £50,000 has to be tendered for. These are the more lucrative parts of maintenance work—the painting of estates, the rewiring and the reroofing—which have been pushed to the private sector. It is obvious that the mentors of Conservative Members who have made the proposition today are the National Federation of Building Trades Employers. We are accustomed to such attacks.

We are not arguing that every direct labour organisation should have the powers to carry out construction for other authorities. We argue that Manchester's direct labour organisation is unique. It is a large and successful department. It is the largest comprehensive public works department in the country. This is my reason for saying that the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale does not have a clue about direct labour organisations and knows nothing about Manchester's direct labour organisation.

Photo of Mr Fergus Montgomery Mr Fergus Montgomery , Altrincham and Sale

In the middle of this hymn of praise to Manchester's direct labour organisation, would the hon. Gentleman care to comment on the report of the district auditor in August 1976?

Photo of Mr Robert Litherland Mr Robert Litherland , Manchester Central

Once again, that shows the ignorance of the hon. Gentleman. That report dealt with maintenance and had nothing to do with capital works. The chief constable's report, which amounted to only four pages, showed that Manchester had nothing to answer for. It was vindicated. This shows the hon. Gentleman's confusion over direct labour organisations.

Manchester's direct labour organisation has built over 18,000 houses, schools, using traditional and other systems of building techniques, libraries, fire and police stations, and also sheltered accommodation, built by apprentices under the supervision of training staff. We have also built a large educational and recreational project. We are not amateurs in the game. We are in the big league.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Eastham Mr Kenneth Eastham , Manchester, Blackley

Will my hon. Friend illustrate to Government Members some of the catastrophes experienced by the private sector and the number of firms that went bankrupt, leaving our direct works organisation to pick up the pieces to try to complete construction jobs following those disastrous efforts?

Photo of Mr Robert Litherland Mr Robert Litherland , Manchester Central

As my hon. Friend says, there were numerous occasions when a private firm went into the tendering process, put in a low tender, could not meet the commitment and went bankrupt. Direct works had to step in.

Direct works also operates in emergencies. Following the IRA bombing of the Manchester courts, we had the courts open by the weekend. This service element is neglected in our debates.

Manchester is a regional centre in close proximity to other metropolitan districts. Manchester has the expertise needed by neighbouring authorities. When one sees the system building, the catastrophes of tower blocks and deck access building, one recognises why Manchester direct works department is needed to build traditional type housing. Why should Manchester not be invited to tender if a local authority should so determine? I do not accept the argument that the Government should decide. It should be the prerogative of an authority to invite Manchester's direct labour organisation to compete with the private sector in the tendering process. That is all that is being requested. We are discussing the right of an authority to invite in the Manchester direct labour organisation and to ask it to tender if it so desires.

I am sure that the Manchester organisation will be invited in if the need exists. It appears from the letters that have been sent from major authorities that there is a need. The neighbouring authorities already recognise the enormous benefits to be derived from Manchester's direct works organisation and they like it to be in at the tendering stage. If a direct labour organisation with the expertise possessed by the Manchester organisation submits a price, the other authority knows that it is being given a realistic and responsible price for the job. The possibility of price fixing and monopolies and cartels is eliminated.

Manchester can undertake capital works and provide back-up services of an extremely high standard. The need and the demand already exist. Neighbouring authorities already enjoy the maintenance services provided by Manchester. For example, in Salford a private contractor was maintaining lifts. They were in such a dangerous condition that it was decided to bring electrical apparatus into the chamber of the city council to prove the point. From that day onwards, the Manchester direct labour organisation has had the contract for lift maintenance in Salford.

Photo of Mr Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw

Before my hon. Friend moves away from the important issue of contracts and tenders, will he inform the House of his experience with the cement ring in Manchester and the paint contract allegations in Manchester?

Photo of Mr Robert Litherland Mr Robert Litherland , Manchester Central

It must be emphasised that the direct labour organisation does away with price fixing. We have had price fixing and allegations of price fixing in Manchester. It was Manchester that exposed massive price fixing rings for ready-mix concrete. A, smashed the price rings across the board. Clearly the ratepayers suffered. They were paying for the extra concrete that was being allocated to different jobs. It was only the direct works organisation that could take up the cudgels through the AMA to expose the price rings.

Recently there have been allegations of paint price fixing. The House is well aware of those shenanigans. As my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley said, the demand comes from authorities of varying political complexions, including Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford, which use the specialist services of lift maintenance and heating services.

The Greater Manchester police requested the Manchester direct works department to install and maintain alarm systems. There is demand for the services provided by the direct works department. The amendment would do a great disservice to the local authorities and public bodies in the area.

It is left to the discretion of a local authority to decide whether it should invite Manchester's direct labour organisation to submit a tender. That is a matter entirely for the authority concerned and it should be left to it. There is a demand for new construction and Manchester can supply that service. The Local Government, Planning and Land Act envisaged direct labour organisations carrying out maintenance and construction work for other authorities. We are talking only of Manchester.

The Bill direct labour organisations to produce detailed accounts of rates of return on capital employed. The Act emphasised that the Government wanted direct labour organisations to be competitive. It included a so-called safeguard giving the Secretary of State for the Environment power to deal with an individual local authority direct labour organisation if he decided that it was not operating in a satisfactory manner.

Manchester is in a unique position to offer its services. Its direct labour organisation has a turnover of about £52 million. It employs 4,400 operatives, 440 of whom are apprentices. It has a decasualised labour force. It has a first class record in safety, health and welfare. The spin-offs from a successful direct labour organisation are tremendous. Manchester offers local employment. It has an excellent record in training apprentices. Of the 800 apprentices at Manchester college of building, 300 come from Manchester's direct works department. Apprentices are sent to neighbouring colleges of building which, without the intake from Manchester, would have to close courses. Lecturers would also become redundant. The fact that Manchester sends its apprentices to neighbouring authorities keeps open courses in those areas.

The training benefits are good for the construction industry, especially the private sector. On completion of full training in one of many crafts, apprentices can work in the private sector. One of my fears as chairman of direct works was that Manchester would become merely a training ground for the private sector. We not only offered an apprentice a job, but we offered him a career structure built into the direct works department.

We must ask ourselves why the private sector has a great fear of competition from the Manchester direct works organisation. It is already confined within its own boundaries. Local government reorganisation meant the loss of a great deal of construction work for Manchester. It lost its right to build police and fire stations. The contract for one police station which had already been won by competitive tendering had to be abandoned because reorganisation made it ultra vires to build for other county authorities. It is nonsensical that the Manchester direct works organisation cannot build schools for its own children within its own boundaries. That piece of reorganisation was nonsensical.

We all talk about competition. However, Manchester is a successful direct works department, confined within its boundaries and working under local authority rules, disciplines and committee procedures while the private sector can tender the length and breadth of the country—and can tender even within Manchester itself. What is the objection to one direct works department having limited powers to tender for another local authority? Does it make sense that the private construction industry is incapable of competing with one direct works department? During the Committee stage of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment said that the Government did not want to bash direct works organisations, but only to make them more competitive. The Government should stand by their word and allow the Manchester direct works organisation to compete with the private sector if invited to do so by a neighbouring authority.

Letters have been received from leaders of authorities in Greater Manchester expressing their opinion that it would be desirable for Manchester city council to have those powers. Maintenance is already undertaken, so why not new construction work? It will reflect badly on the Government and on the private sector if, after insisting that competition is a stimulus, they are afraid to allow a single direct labour organisation to compete. Surely the Government are not so small minded as to wish to exclude direct labour altogether, There is no justification for that unless the private sector is obsessed with the determination to rid itself of any competition, however small, from a direct labour organisation.

The hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale said that success should be proven. My hon. Friend the Member for Blackley told of the success over the last four years when the organisation showed a profit of £1,161,000 in addition to the national saving involved in the next lowest tender for a project of almost £400,000. The figures come not from the direct works department but from the city architect's final valuation and the city treasurer's costs. Manchester is successful, and we want to know why we cannot compete favourably with the private sector.

In the halcyon years the private sector abandoned Manchester. It did not want to build housing because of more lucrative projects elsewhere. However, the private sector has built some of the most diabolical deck access building in Hulme, Moss Side and Turkey Lane under negotiated tender. Some of the houses, although only eight years old, are now ready for demolition. That is why we have maintenance problems.

Some of the best property built by direct labour subsidises the rubbish built by the private sector. We say that the capital works programme is a success. It is a service that can be offered.

Manchester needs a rolling programme for apprenticeship training because of the Government's cuts in housing and the moratorium on building and modernisation. The neighbouring local authorities have a democratic right to invite Manchester to do work for them if their elected members take that decision. After the massive shift of responsibility, financial and otherwise, from local to central government inflicted by the Local Government, Planning and Land Act, that is a small concession. The need, the demand and expertise are there; the power should be there.

When the Tories took control of Manchester they held a two-year investigation in depth and came to the conclusion that the direct works department was beneficial to Manchester ratepayers. If that is so, it can be beneficial to neighbouring authorities. The National Federation of Building Trades Employers has an unfounded fear. We know that we shall always have to fight the battle, and we shall continue to fight it.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen 9:39 pm, 19th January 1981

I have been dragged here tonight by my old and hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Silvester), who quite properly pointed out that about 17,000 of my constituents live within the Greater Manchester area. I doubt whether any of them regard themselves as Mancunians, but they are considerably affected by this blockbuster of a Bill, as it was rightly described by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris).

I do not regret the three hours of education that I have had tonight, because it has opened my eyes to a remarkable development which those who follow local government more closely than I do take for granted. A great deal of this large volume deals with local conditions in a local way. The two controversial matters might be included in that. Certainly, the question of taxis at Ringway is a matter that should be dealt with by a local Bill.

There are large slabs of this proposed legislation which can in no circumstances be regarded as being peculiar to Manchester. Clause 33, to which reference has already been made, deals with acupuncturists, tattooists, ear-piercers and electrologists. There is a whole code regulating such activities and such persons. What is there special to the Mancunian acupuncturist that does not equally apply to those who come from the Tyne and the Wear, or from the Tamar, the Adur or any other part of the country? If it is necessary that such persons should be registered and regulated, why is it to be done only on a local basis? Their activities are national; they are not local. They ply their trades or professions in a particular locality, but there is nothing about them that requires or demands that they should receive anything but national treatment.

The same argument applies to clause 56, which relates to dealers in second-hand goods. There is traditionally a great suspicion of the dealer in second-hand goods that he is also a receiver of stolen goods. Everybody knows the dangers there. But they are not peculiar to Manchester. No one suggests that second-hand dealers in Manchester are any more or less dishonest than those in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield or anywhere else. The danger of dealing locally with what are purely national problems is that one drives the dishonest second-hand dealer, the dangerous acupuncturist, or whoever it may be, to the perimeter of the locality concerned.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen

Precisely. There will be a flood of such persons to the simpler and less suspicious parts of the country on the perimeter of Manchester, where they will not be required to register because the question has not been dealt with on a national basis.

I should like to know why, when a matter is purely national and when there is nothing local about it, the practice should grow up of piecemeal legislation on something that is very controversial. I am not at all sure that the registration and structuring of these minor professions and trades are always right. Doing so produces a sort of ring, a closed shop, into which other people are not allowed, not because they are necessarily undesirable, but because they are competitive. The balance of interests is a difficult one to decide.

For years hairdressers—I think that there is something about them in the Bill as well—have tried to get a national standard, a national organisation and a national system, into which nobody is allowed without having acquired certain qualifications. The proposal is always resisted. To find it coming in, as it were, locally by the back door is a wrong use of local government legislation, because it is not a local problem.

When the Bill deals with what are truly and properly local problems, it is an admirable measure. I support 100 per cent. the stance taken by my hon. Friend the Minister on both the controversial matters.

I agree with the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) on the subject of bulls. The question of bulls in the suburban and surrounding areas of Greater Manchester raises different considerations from that of bulls in the deep countryside. I am open to persuasion on that, but he made what seemed to be a very good point. It is therefore right for it to be dealt with in a local Bill, at least to begin with.

Other than that, I regard the Bill as excellent. I hope that the little seeds that I am planting will eventually bear fruit when I say that matters that are not of a local nature, but which are necessary to be dealt with, should be dealt with on a national basis. They should not be made into a patchwork that provides asylums for the wicked acupuncturists or second-hand dealers around the areas in which they are simon pure.

Photo of Mr Tom McNally Mr Tom McNally , Stockport South 9:47 pm, 19th January 1981

The hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Sir C. Fletcher-Cooke), with his formidable legal logic, put his finger on what many of us have objected to in clause 58. If ever a patchwork was being established in the law, and if ever there was a need for a national debate on a matter, it is on the question of processions and marches. The hon. and learned Gentleman objected to piecemeal legislation on acpuncturist. It is even more important to state that the House objects to piecemeal legislation on a liberty so fundamental as that of marching, demonstrating and protesting.

The issue has been at the heart of much of our doubt about clause 58. The problems the clause seeks to deal with are not peculiar to Greater Manchester. Furthermore, they are not new problems. One of the worrying aspects of the statement by the promoters of the Bill was that it was needed because greater emphasis had been put on demonstrations and marches in recent years. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many democracies emerge with a peculiar element as part of their history. It is important for the legislators to guard them. The American town meeting is one that survives into a modem super State. The march has an honourable and radical tradition in the British system.

As long ago as 1798, the Stockport weavers set out to march to Macclesfield to try to radicalise the weavers of that town. They were stopped on the way by the police, and one might wonder whether Macclesfield would be more radically represented today had only those Stockport weavers got through.

As the hon. and learned Member so rightly said, this is a national issue that is being worked out in a piecemeal and patchwork fashion. It is right for hon. Members who represent the various parts of the country where this piecemeal approach has been implemented to express their doubt about it.

In Greater Manchester we have a double reason for doubt. The hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Silvester) gave us statistics. The need for this legislation has apparently arisen as a result of four problems during the past five years, three of which were instigated by the National Front. The people of Manchester would have greater confidence about how the powers are to be used if the police authorities had not used such an obscene show of police power some four years ago in order to protect the inalienable right of one fat little Fascist to march through parts of Greater Manchester. That single act caused a great deal of doubt in the Greater Manchester area about the judgment of the police authorities.

In addition, people would have more confidence about how the police authorities intend to use these powers if the chief constable did not indulge so frequently in a predilection to back shyly into the limelight and to hold forth on matters of political, but not necessarily of police, interest.

Photo of Mr Tom Arnold Mr Tom Arnold , Hazel Grove

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the Greater Manchester police take sides in these matters?

Photo of Mr Tom McNally Mr Tom McNally , Stockport South

I am suggesting that the chief constable's increasingly bizarre interventions into the political arena could make a great number of groups question how he will exercise the powers contained in this clause. I would say that the chief constable should pay great consideration to references to the race relations industry and to unspecified political pressures being put upon him and the considerable doubts that exist within the Manchester trade union movement about how he handles his office. He holds an important office. The House is considering extending these powers and it is important that he should exercise them with the maximum concern and that he should not stray too far into the political arena.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I spy strangers. I beg to move, That strangers do withdraw.

Notice being taken that strangers were present, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to Standing Order No. 115 (Withdrawal of strangers from House), put forthwith the Question, That strangers do withdraw:

The House divided: Ayes 28, Noes 114.

Division No. 43][9.55 pm
AYES
Allaun, FrankLitherland, Robert
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P)McCartney, Hugh
Cook, Robin F.McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cowans, HarryMacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Cryer, BobMaxton, John
Davidson, ArthurMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd)Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Dormand, JackSpriggs, Leslie
Eastham, KenTinn, James
Evans, John (Newton)Welsh, Michael
Ford, BenWhite, Frank R.
Grant, George (Morpeth)Young, David (Bolton E)
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
Hardy, PeterTellers for the Ayes:
Haynes, FrankMr. Tom McNally and
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.
NOES
Alexander, RichardGummer, John Selwyn
Arnold, TomHamilton, Hon A.
Atkins, Robert (Preston N)Haselhurst, Alan
Atkinson, David (B'm'th, E)Hawkins, Paul
Banks, RobertHawksley, Warren
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyHill, James
Beith, A. J.Hunt, David (Wirral)
Berry, Hon AnthonyHurd, Hon Douglas
Biggs-Davison, JohnJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Blackburn, JohnKing, Rt Hon Tom
Boscawen, Hon RobertKnight, Mrs Jill
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W)Lang, Ian
Braine, Sir BernardLe Marchant, Spencer
Bright, GrahamLennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Brinton, TimLloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Brooke, Hon PeterMacfarlane, Neil
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnMacKay, John (Argyll)
Bulmer, EsmondMcQuarrie, Albert
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Madel, David
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n)Major, John
Chapman, SydneyMarlow, Tony
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Mather, Carol
Clegg, Sir WalterMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Colvin, MichaelMayhew, Patrick
Dean, Paul (North Somerset)Meyer, Sir Anthony
Dover, DenshoreMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Fairgrieve, RussellMills, Peter (West Devon)
Faith, Mrs SheilaMoate, Roger
Fenner, Mrs PeggyMontgomery, Fergus
Finsberg, GeoffreyMurphy, Christopher
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMyles, David
Fookes, Miss JanetNeedham, Richard
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanNeubert, Michael
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Newton, Tony
Garel-Jones, TristanNormanton, Tom
Goodlad, AlastairPage, John (Harrow, West)
Gorst, JohnPage, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Grenway, HarryPenhaligon, David
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)Peyton, Rt Hon John
Grimond, Rt Hon J.Pollock, Alexander
Proctor, K. HarveyTemple-Morris, Peter
Rees-Davies, W. R.Thompson, Donald
Rhodes James, RobertThorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Rifkind, MalcolmTownend, John (Bridlington)
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW)van Straubenzee, W. R.
Rossi, HughViggers, Peter
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Waddington, David
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Shelton, William (Streatham)Waller, Gray
Shersby, MichaelWatson, John
Silvester, FredWells, Bowen
Sims, RogerWheeler, John
Skeet, T. H. H.Wickenden, Keith
Speller, TonyWolfson, Mark
Sproat, IanYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Stainton, Keith
Stevens, MartinTellers for the Noes:
Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)Mr. John Cope and
Stradling Thomas, J.Mr. John Wakeman.

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of Mr Fred Silvester Mr Fred Silvester , Manchester, Withington

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 118, Noes 34.

Division No. 44][10.05 pm
Alexander, RichardKing, Rt Hon Tom
Atkinson, David (B'm'th, E)Knight, Mrs Jill
Banks, RobertLang, Ian
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyLeMarchant, Spencer
Beith, A. J.Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Berry, Hon AnthonyLloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Biggs-Davison, JohnMacfarlane, Neil
Blackburn, JohnMacKay, John (Argyll)
Boscawen, Hon RobertMcQuarrie, Albert
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W)Madel, David
Braine, Sir BernardMajor, John
Bright, GrahamMarlow, Tony
Brinton, TimMates, Michael
Brooke, Hon PeterMather, Carol
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnMawby, Ray
Bulmer, EsmondMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Mayhew, Patrick
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n)Meyer, Sir Anthony
Chapman, SydneyMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)Moate, Roger
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Montgomery, Fergus
Clegg, Sir WalterMurphy, Christopher
Colvin, MichaelMyles, David
Cope, JohnNeedham, Richard
Cranborne, ViscountNeubert, Michael
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Newton, Tony
Dover, DenshoreNormanton, Tom
Fairgrieve, RussellPage, John (Harrow, West)
Faith, Mrs SheilaPage, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Fenner, Mrs PeggyPenhaligon, David
Finsberg, GeoffreyPeyton, Rt Hon John
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesPollock, Alexander
Fookes, Miss JanetProctor, K. Harvey
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanRees-Davies, W. R.
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Rhodes James, Robert
Garel-Jones, TristanRifkind, Malcolm
Goodlad, AlastairRoberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Gorst, JohnRossi, Hugh
Gow, IanShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Greenway, HarryShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)Shelton, William (Streatham)
Grimond, Rt Hon J.Shersby, Michael
Grylls, MichaelSilvester, Fred
Gummer, John SelwynSims, Roger
Hamilton, Hon A.Skeet, T. H. H.
Haselhurst, AlanSpeller, Tony
Hawkins, PaulSproat, Ian
Hawksley, WarrenStainton, Keith
Hill, JamesSteel, Rt Hon David
Hunt, David (Wirral)Stevens, Martin
Hurd, Hon DouglasStradling Thomas, J.
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelTemple-Morris, Peter
Thompson, DonaldWells, Bowen
Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)Wheeler, John
Townend, John (Bridlington)Wichenden, Keith
van Straubenzee, W. R.Wolfson, Mark
Waddington, DavidYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Wakeham, John
Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.Tellers for the Ayes:
Waller, GaryMr. Tom Arnold and
Watson, JohnMr. Robert Atkins
NOES
Abse, LeoMacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Allaun, FrankMcNally, Thomas
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp'tN)Maxton, John
Cook, Robin F.Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Cowans, HarryMorris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Cryer, BobMorton, George
Davidson, ArthurRoper, John
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd)Soley, Clive
Dewar, DonaldSpriggs, Leslie
Dormand, JackTinn, James
Evans, John (Newton)Wainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Grant, George (Morpeth)Welsh, Michael
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)White, Frank R.
Haynes, FrankWigley, Dafydd
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)Young, David (Bolton E)
Home Robertson, John
Litherland, RobertTellers for the Noes:
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)Mr. Ken Eastham and
McKay, Allen (Penistone)Mr. Jim Callaghan.

Bill read a Second time, and committed.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question, That the Bill be now read a Second time, put accordingly and agreed to.

Photo of Mr Fergus Montgomery Mr Fergus Montgomery , Altrincham and Sale

I beg to move, That it be an instuction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out clause 164.

Hon. Members:

Object.