§ (1) The Board of Trade shall—
- (a) in the first three months of the yeas nineteen hundred and fifty lay before both Houses of Parliament a report as to the operation of this Act up to the end of the year nineteen hundred and forty-nine; and
- (b) in the first three months of each subsequent year, lay before both Houses of Parliament a report as to the operation of this Act in the year preceding that in which the report is so laid.
§ (2) Every such report shall, amongst other things, include a review in such detail as the Board think fit of the suggestions and requests (not being suggestions and requests which appear to the Board to be frivolous) which have been made to the Board for the reference of any particular matter to the Commission under the provisions of this Act:
§ Provided that where a request has been made to the Board by a body which in the opinion of the Board could properly claim to represent, for the purposes in question, the interests of any of the following, that is to say—
- (a) consumers in Great Britain or a substantial proportion of those consumers;
- (b) the organised workers of Great Britain;
- (c) trade in Great Britain;
- (d) industry in Great Britain; agriculture in England and Wales or in Scotland;
- (f) any class of local authorities in England and Wales or in Scotland;
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. Wilson
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
The motive for this new Clause arose out of the discussions during the Committee stage and was again due to a proposal by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick). When he moved his Amendment in Committee, he had in mind the danger that some future President of the Board of Trade might wish to allow this Bill, when it becomes fin Act, to become a dead letter. He felt that if it were possible to publish at stated intervals a list of the cases which had been brought before the Board of Trade by certain responsible bodies, there might be a less danger of the Measure becoming a dead letter. I gave an assurance that I would consider that matter, and this new Clause is the result of that consideration.
What we now propose is, first, that there should be an annual report laid 2052 before the House on the general working of the Monopoly Commission and that we should further undertake to publish any request made by one of these various bodies that a case should be referred to the Commission. There was a further point on which I gave an assurance on the Committee stage which is not included in the Bill. I do not think that it needs to be. That was that I undertook to publish in the Board of Trade Journal, at intervals of less than a year, cases brought before the Board of Trade by organisations of the kind referred to in this new Clause. I hope that my hon. Friend and those of his colleagues, and indeed hon. Members on both sides, who pressed for this matter to be dealt with will feel that this new Clause deals satisfactorily with the situation.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
It seems to us that this new Clause falls not only into two Subsections but into two parts of very different merits. The first part of the Clause deals with the laying before Parliament of a report as to the operation of this Measure. With that we are in entire agreement. Perhaps I may be allowed to mention an Amendment in the names of myself, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd) as it will shorten the discussion later. In that Amendment we suggest that the report should be laid in the first two months of the year instead of the first three months as proposed in the Clause. The reason is simply that three months would bring one to the end of March, by which time this House is beginning to look towards the Budget. It is extremely difficult after that time to find a date for consideration of a matter such as this because Government time is very congested and there are the Supply days with which to deal. It is very difficult in those circumstances to find time for the discussion of a matter such as this, which we should be anxious to discuss. Therefore, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman may be able to consider laying the report in the first two months, which would give us the month of March as an additional period in which there would be an opportunity for discussion.
§ Mr. Wilson
I am very sorry that I failed to refer to this matter when I moved 2053 the Second Reading of the Clause. I fully accept the arguments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and I shall be quite happy to accept the Amendment on this point which he has mentioned, and which I understand he is to move later.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman and I am glad that we have had this opportunity of putting quite briefly before the House what was in our minds.
With regard to the second part of the Clause there is an aspect which worries me a great deal. That is why there is also an Amendment, in my name and the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot and my hon. Friend the Member for Bucklow to leave out Subsection (2). As the Clause stands at the moment the reportshall … include a review … of the suggestions and requests …which are made to the Board of Trade. The Clause itself says that the Board will except from the review suggestions which are frivolous, but it must of necessity follow, however, that there must be suggestions which the Board of Trade has not thought fit to refer to the Commission. The real question of principle in this part of the Clause is whether, when suggestions have been made, and especially when they have been made by certain bodies, they shall be referred to in the review when the Board of Trade has not seen fit to refer them to the Commission.
I quite appreciate what has operated on the minds of the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. They have seen one possible evil, which is that the Board of Trade will not refer sufficient matters and will, in the Board of Trade, stop certain matters from going forward. On the other hand, let us consider the position in which the Board of Trade has acted perfectly properly. It has considered a complaint made to it and after the preliminary investigation made by the Board of Trade, which I agree must not be exhaustive but must still be a general consideration of whether there is a prima facie case, the Board of Trade has decided not to refer the matter to the Commission.
2054 Then the report containing this review is issued showing that in the case of Snooks & Co., a suggestion was made by so and so, and that the Board of Trade did not refer it to the Commission. What is the position of Snooks & Co.? A complaint has been made, and for good reason, in this hypothetical case which I am stating, the Board of Trade has said "There is nothing in this point and we need not take up the time of the Commission with it." But so far as Snooks & Co. are concerned, the fact of the complaint is then published, and they are faced with that delightful body of people whom we all love so much, who go around saying, "There is no smoke without fire." Hon. Gentlemen in all quarters of the House know that such people are one of the greatest plagues of humanity in this as in every other age.
I agree that this is a matter in which one has to balance difficulties. I have tried to appreciate the view which the hon. Member for Uxbridge put forward. Despite that, I come down against this suggestion. I now wish to try to deal with the matter from the point of view of the hon. Member for Uxbridge, and I take a case in which the Board of Trade has acted improperly. In that event there would be nothing to prevent the hon. Gentleman from training his broadsides on the President of the Board of Trade in this House by Question, by use of the Adjournment Motion, and, if the matter were of sufficient importance, by a Motion of Censure. I do not rule that out on this hypothesis that the Board of Trade has squashed something which ought to be put before the Commission. Under such circumstances I should be glad to see put down a Motion which would censure the President of the Board of Trade who had done that, irrespective of his party.
Therefore, I feel that the hon. Gentleman has his remedy on that side, whereas in the other matters which I have ventured to put before the House, I do not think that the people affected will ever catch up with the lie. It is one of the great difficulties which we all know in public life. We get thick-skinned in experience and we are able to take it fairly easily, but we know, nevertheless, that catching up with the lie once said is a very difficult matter. Therefore, on 2055 balance, having tried to consider the matters carefully, I think this is unfair to undertakings which will have no chance of answering a complaint, and that the other matter which the hon. Member for Uxbridge so forcibly expressed in Committee can be met by Parliamentary action. Through your kindness, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I have dealt with matters which will be raised by the Amendment but which really go to the root of the Clause. I thought it convenient to deal with them on the Clause so that we could deal with the Amendment more shortly.
§ Mr. Beswick
As the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) said, this new Clause deals with two different matters. The first part embodies the principle which I put forward on the Committee stage, namely, that there should be the annual report of the working of the Commission. The President has completely met the principle behind the Clause which we put forward in his rather better worded Clause. I should like to express my appreciation of his acceptance of that principle. So far as the second part of the Clause is concerned, we did put forward other proposals. The second part of the Clause is designed to meet those proposals. Again I welcome and express our appreciation of the alternative proposals of the President.
May I say how I think the second part of the new Clause will work out? The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby said that Mr. Snooks may make a complaint to the President, and the President turn it down for reasons which may be good, or bad, or merely may be due to the indifference of the President at the time. As I see it, Mr. Snooks would then have the opportunity of going to his trade association which might be, as was said by one hon. Member, the British Chambers of Commerce. They, as I see it, would now come under the description in the new Clause. He would go to his organisation, and would say, "This is the case, as I see it. These are the relevant facts. I have put it before the President of the Board of Trade for him to pass on to the Commission, and the President has refused to pass the matter on." I imagine that the kind of organisation 2056 described in this Clause would have resources at its disposal and responsibly-minded individuals to go into the case. If they decided to back the complaint, it would be put before the President again. If, after further consideration, the President stated that he was not prepared to pass it on to the Commission, he would have to publish that fact, and publish the details appertaining to the case.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that it would be possible for Members of Parliament to raise the matter in the House, if they felt that the President had improperly prevented the matter from going before the Commission. With respect, I feel that we are sometimes too ready to say that the remedy lies in action in this House. I do not think we should expect this House to be the centre for sorting out grievances. It should be possible for us to devise machinery to enable members of society to obtain redress without in the first place coming to this House. I should have thought that was democracy, and a more efficient method of running our country. After all, we hear a lot from the Opposition Front Bench about the merits of de-centralisation. I am trying to incorporate a certain measure of de-centralisation into this matter, and to make it possible for certain bodies to ventilate grievances in the first instance without the necessity of raising them on the Floor of the House.
A matter coming from a trade association, from an important body, to the President of the Board of Trade would receive a little extra consideration. He would know that if he turned it down, he would have to publish that fact. That in itself would encourage the President of the day to give it a little extra consideration. I feel that this Clause can only do good. It will give publicity to the general working of the Commission and to those cases which the President has prevented the Commission from considering. For those reasons, I hope the House will accept the new Clause as it stands.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) has dealt entirely with the subjective aspects of this new Clause, and with some of those I am in sympathy; but he mistook what my right hon. and learned Friend said when he mentioned Snooks and Company, because he was dealing, as I am, with the objective parts of the Clause. This 2057 is my objection, which I think is valid and which should appeal to hon. Members opposite. The Board of Trade have to make a report about suggestions and requests, other than frivolous ones, that have been made to the Board for reference to the Commission. They would include as the hon. Member said, those submissions and requests which the Board of Trade had turned down. They would also include submissions and requests which the Board of Trade had, in fact, passed on to the Commission. I do not like the idea of information, if we like to put it that way, laid against certain firms, or group of firms, of monopolistic practices against the public interest, lying on the table for an indefinite time, it may be a year, before the findings of the Commission are published. That is the objection I have to that part of the Clause.
There may be a prima facie case where a matter should be inquired into, but I do not like the idea, and I think it is contrary to general principles of fair play, that an accusation which the accused person has no means of combating should lie on the table in the Commission's report for a very long time. I think that is vicious. That is the part of the Clause which I do not like. I quite agree with the hon. Member's preoccupation in trying to see that the Board of Trade do not unnecessarily filter requests which are not of a frivolous nature. That is why I said he dealt with the subjective part of the Clause. I ask the Government to deal with the objective part. Great embarrassment or injustice might be inflicted on an accused firm or trade association if requests for inquiries were made public, with perhaps allegations, before the evidence had been heard. It may be that, in its early life, the Commission will have a great deal of work to do, and all these things may lie on the table for a very long time.
§ Mr. Tiffany (Peterborough)
Without having to wait for the end of the period, surely the Board of Trade would notify the organisation which made the complaint and also the individual concerned?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I do not know whether we are talking at cross purposes. The situation I envisage is that a competitor or a consumers' organisation may lodge a complaint against certain restrictive 2058 practices which they allege have been against the public interest or against their interest, and which have been indulged in by a certain group of manufacturing companies. Under this new Clause the Board of Trade is obliged to publish the nature of the submission and request which the consumers' organisation has mentioned without any obligation either to hear the other side of the case or to put in anything else except the request. That is bad. I should have thought that the hon. Member's object would have been fully met even if this provision were kept out. At the end of every year the Board of Trade has to publish an account of what it has been doing. I do not mind in the least then if it is obligatory on the Board of Trade to say what submissions they have turned down. What I do not like is to have unanswered—from the nature of things they are unanswerable—accusations lying on the table for an indefinite period.
§ Mr. Sparks (Acton)
I should like to refer to the six sources from which suggestions and requests will be received for submission to the Commission for examination and report. I do not know in what form these requests or suggestions will be made, or precisely in what way the information will be laid and by what bodies. These six categories may be very wide in their scope There may be a good reason for them being of so wide a character, but if it is not intended to confine sources of information to these six categories, I would suggest to my right hon. Friend the consideration of one or two other additional sources of information. My right hon. Friend has the power, and I believe that he is already using it, to set up a range of development councils for various industries. The responsibilities and functions of these development councils will mean that a great deal of valuable information will be collated by them on conditions and factors which operate in certain industries.
I should like to see some liaison between the work of the development councils and the work of this Commission. I should like to see them included in this list of organisations which might refer to the Board suggestions and requests to be considered by the Commission. Obviously, they will be concerned with the welfare and the development of certain industries. In the course of their 2059 work they will come into possession of valuable information which they could request the Commission to investigate. By that means they would assist considerably the industries with which the development councils are respectively concerned.
In this new Clause the categories (c), (d) and (e) relate to trade in Great Britain, industry in Great Britain and agriculture in England and Wales or in Scotland. It may be that what I am asking for is already incorporated within those categories. I should like to know. I think that to leave the development councils outside and not to give them this opportunity of making a request or suggestion to the Commission may detract, to some extent, from the full value which we hope to get from this new legislation. I should also like to mention the very valuable information and suggestion which might come from scientific and technological quarters. We know that there is a tendency on the part of established industry not to pay too much regard to scientific and technical knowledge which does not immediately affect their own interests.
§ Major Haughton
By what right does the hon. Gentleman make an accusation of that sort? The amount of money spent by private firms on research in connection with the Department completely belies that statement.
§ Mr. Sparks
I am afraid that I cannot agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman. There is ample evidence—and if time were available it could be given—where many valuable inventions have been bought up by monopolies and have not been allowed to operate.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
May we take it from those remarks that the hon. Gentleman disagrees with the Swan Report or that he has not read it?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
May I have an answer to my question? Has the hon. Member read the Swan Report, and are we to take it that his present remarks mean that he disagrees with its findings?
§ Mr. Sparks
There is no need for me to read the Swan Report. My experience of industry in this country is sufficient to justify my statement. It is well known amongst those on this side of the House, if not amongst hon. Members opposite, that what very often happens in monopoly undertakings is that inventions are bought and are put on the shelf and pigeonholed because it is not in the interests of the monopoly to adopt them in their trade.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Is that a circumlocution which means that the hon. Member has not read the official report which deals with this subject?
§ Mr. Wilson
We hear this Swan Report bandied about by the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) on every conceivable occasion.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
What does the Minister mean by saying that? I have mentioned it once before in this House.
§ Mr. Wilson
The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned it just now. He mentioned it to the Parliamentary Secretary on the last occasion when he spoke, and he mentioned it on a previous occasion.
§ Mr. Wilson
I should like to make it plain to the right hon. Gentleman who, I know, has read the Swan Report, that it does not deny what my hon. Friend has just said. It says that it asked for evidence to be brought and has not had that evidence produced. It does not make a categorical statement.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
This is a mere quibble of a most discreditable kind because the Swan Report says—I have not got it with me and I cannot give the actual words—that accusations are frequently bandied about that patents have been bought up and suppressed for the benefit of this or that group of industries. It says that they have asked that any evidence in support of these statements should be made available and that that evidence has not been made available. To 2061 ordinary blunt people that means that these accusations are without foundation, and I repeat that.
§ Mr. Sparks
I adhere to what I have said This is not the occasion where one can develop that matter to its fullest extent. But even if hon. Members opposite are correct, I feel that a valuable source of information and suggestion could come from scientific and technical bodies on matters affecting the work of this Commission. We all know the importance of scientific and technical development in this country in the years ahead because, unless we can put our industrial productivity on the highest plane scientifically and technologically, we are not likely to be able to hold our own in the markets of the world. Therefore, a case should be made for those engaged in scientific and technical research to be able to make representations to the Board that certain factors and information of which they are in possession shall be considered by this Commission. The President has the power at any time, if he thinks the request is a frivolous one, to do nothing more about it. Therefore, the point mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman opposite is adequately covered, because the President himself will not allow to be referred to the Commission matters which he considers are not of sufficient importance. However, I would ask him to say a word or two about those two valuable sources of information which can be made available to the Monopoly Commission, namely, that wealth and experience which will be gathered by the development councils, and also from scientific and technological resources.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I hope I can put shortly what seems to be the objection to Subsection (2). I do not feel sure that the objection is one which is not rebuttable, but I hope I can put it more shortly than it has been put. First, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, you know, but perhaps the rest of the House does not, what the word "frivolous" means, and it may be convenient if we get it exact before we go any further. I know because I have looked it up in the dictionary. "Frivolous" means:Of little or no weight, value or importance; not worthy of serious consideration.That is its primary meaning, and its secondary meaning, which is in connection with the law, is "manifestly insufficient."
2062 It seems to be that the objection to Subsection (2), which may not be irrebuttable, is that the effect of Subsection (2)—if we may stick to Snooks and Company—will be that the Board of Trade will certify that the charge brought against Snooks and Company was not worthy of the attention of the Commission, was of some weight and importance, but not manifestly insufficient or futile. That is what the Board of Trade is bound to do as against Snooks and Company under this Subsection, and without giving Snooks and Company any opportunity to answer the charge. If that is not the effect of Subsection (2) I hope the President will explain why; if I am right that that is the effect, then clearly it requires some defending. I do not say there is not enough defending to be done.
I do not know whether you will allow me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to refer to the Amendment standing in my name, namely, to leave out "the organised workers of Great Britain," and insert "the T.U.C."
§ Mr. Pickthorn
Then I will not refer to it later. If I read the proviso properly it says:where a request has been made to the Board by a body which … could properly claim to represent … (b) the organised workers of Great Britain;Not some of the organised workers, or organised workers, but a section who could claim to represent the organised workers. I do not know whether the draftsman meant that to refer to the Trades Union Congress and nobody else, but on the words here it seems to me that nobody but the T.U.C. could claim under paragraph (b) to represent the organised workers of Great Britain. If I am right in that, then surely it should be specifically stated here under (b) the Trades Union Congress and not left as a matter of inference. If, on the other hand, paragraph (b) is not intended to cover the Trades Union Congress and nothing else but the Trades Union Congress, the words ought to be altered. It ought to read "some organised section of the workers of Great Britain" or something of that sort, and not the words as drafted.
§ Mr. Tiffany
I wish to emphasise the point raised by the hon. Member for 2063 Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn). Even if we took the step he suggested, that the T.U.C. should be substituted for "the organised workers," there are some who are not in that organisation, so that even the T.U.C. would not cover the phrase "the organised workers of Great Britain." I fail to see why, after having specified a substantial proportion of the consumers, after having specified any class of local authorities and the trade and industry in Great Britain, we say "the organised workers." I should like to see "trade unions" instead of the T.U.C.
§ Mr. Tiffany
Or a section—but the word "the" seems to prevent that happening. I hope the President will look at this again.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I think most people have been far too kind to this Clause. It arose out of a bad Amendment, and the second part of it still remains a bad piece of work. There is no doubt that its object is purely political and there will be no real value to industry in this country as the result of the operations of the second part of the Clause. It will not make the slightest difference to the treatment of monopolistic practices; all it will do is to provide a means by which people can run a vendetta against certain firms or industries; it will merely be a mudslinging apparatus.
§ Mr. Beswick
Would the hon. Member indicate which of the bodies described in this Clause is likely to run as he calls it, a vendetta against a particular organisation?
§ Mr. Shepherd
It is quite possible, for instance, that the Housewives League might take a part against the present Administration, and it is absolutely certain that if a Conservative Administration were in power, the organisations of the present Government and those associated with them in the industrial field would use the device of this Clause for the purpose of besmirching those against whom they had some grudge. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] I say this Clause is a thoroughly bad one, and I hope my hon. Friends will go into the Lobby against it because it can do no good. It cannot help the proper treatment of monopolies; 2064 it can only allow people to engage in mud-slinging activities.
What happens? A complaint which has some substance is put on record but has not sufficient backing to go forward, yet the names of those firms or industries are associated in the public mind with some sort of practice which is not quite clean. It is quite wrong to have these things published at all, and I hope my hon. Friends will express their determination by voting against the Clause. The only possible value attached to the latter part of it is that under this Clause we can put in complaints against the goods supplied by nationalised industries. I hope the President will correct me if I am wrong, but I hope that under this Clause it will be possible for organisations or representative trade unions to make complaints against organisations which are nationalised corporations. I hope that will be the case, because it is the only saving grace in what is a thoroughly bad Clause.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Harrison (Nottingham, East)
Are we not permitted to assume that the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. Shepherd) is perfectly in agreement with the Clause, in the main, when we read the Amendment which he has on the Order Paper? It would be possible for us to assume that he is generally in support of the Clause in view of the fact that he has only one minor Amendment down at the end of the list of Amendments.
§ Mr. Shepherd
The hon. Member would not be right in assuming that at all. I put down this minor Amendment in the hope that I was making a thoroughly bad Clause a little less bad.
§ Mr. Harrison
Is it the fact, Sir, that we are discussing all the other Amendments to the Clause at the present time?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I have allowed reference to be made to them on the understanding that those which are selected will be moved formally and that we shall not have two discussions.
§ Mr. Daines (East Ham, North)
The hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. Shepherd), as in Committee, approaches this problem from the economics of about a century ago and it is quite clear that 2065 he looks upon the work of the Commission as if it were some prisoner in the dock process, and that is the end of it. I feel that the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttleton) has a very different conception from that of the use of the Commission. I thought there was a general recognition in Committee by leading Members of the hon. Member's own party that with the growth of large-scale economic units the time would come—when we have got over the first few months—where it would be desirable, in the interests of those business corporations themselves, that they should keep close to the Commission and, if necessary, have their cases examined by the Commission.
I think a great deal of disservice is done both to large-scale capitalism in its working as well as to collectivism in other forms if the Commission is only to be visualised as a criminal procedure. Nothing was further from the views of hon. Members on my own side of the Committee and certainly my point of view was shared by the right hon. Member for Aldershot. I would plead with the hon. Member for Bucklow, and also with the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne), to wake up and realise that this is 1948, and we will never go back to 1848, however much they may desire it.
§ Mr. John Foster (Northwich)
It seems to me that the speech of the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Daines) really had nothing to do with the new Clause at all and for that reason I will not follow it. I wanted to ask the President of the Board of Trade a short question about drafting which puzzles me. It will be noted in this Clause that in Subsection (2), paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) reference is made to "Great Britain." That seems to me a little strange, which is why I am asking for clarification, because in the other new Clause which the President moved he refers to:The general economic position of the United Kingdom.In paragraph (c) of that Clause he refers to:The fullest use and best distribution of men … in the United Kingdom.We, therefore, have the position that the position that the people who are allowed to make representations should come only from "Great Britain," which is a narrower conception than that of "United Kingdom".
2066 To make my contusion even worse confounded, in Subsection (2), paragraph (e) of this new Clause there is reference toEngland and Wales or in Scotland.which I understand make up Great Britain. I do not see why three different expressions have been used. Is it intended that under paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) no representation can be taken from anybody, or any trade, industry or organised workers, who do not represent England, Wales and Scotland, while under paragraphs (e) and (f) representations from agriculture in England, Wales or Scotland are right? If that is the intention, I do not see why it is necessary. If the Commission are to have regard to thegeneral economic position of the United Kingdomand tothe fullest use and best distribution of men … in the United Kingdom,I should have thought that representation ought to be allowed from those parts of the United Kingdom which are envisaged in that way. I agree that under the Bill its application can be extended to Northern Ireland by an Order in Council, but it seems strange that these three different expressions are employed in parts which are so closely inter-connected and I would ask the President, when winding up, to explain why.
§ Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
I would agree with the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) that, undoubtedly, as soon as we have recorded the fact that a complaint has been made there will be a slur on the undertaking. I would also like to make this point clear: there is bound to be an effect on the morale of the undertaking in the meantime. That cannot be avoided. As soon as it is decided that an investigation is to be made into some particular firm, there is bound to be an effect on the morale of the firm. We have to look carefully at the countervailing advantages of this Clause, if any.
I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade this, because it will have very considerable bearing on the matter: how long are the delays likely to be? Does he visualise that it may be more than a year from the time that the fact that an investigation is to be made is recorded, before that investigation is 2067 actually made? At what stage does he intend that the suggestions and requests should be recorded? I take it, from the fact that suggestions and requests are those which do not appear to the Board to be frivolous, that he will already have examined them to see whether they are frivolous, and I assume that he will have gone on to decide, in fact, whether those requests are to be referred to the Commission or not. Is that the point at which the suggestions and requests are to be recorded? Is it when the Board of Trade has already decided that they are to be referred to the Commission? I think we should know that, and not simply know the fact that they have been filed.
It also seems to me that the advantage, such as it is, of recording them in that way is that it will be possible for Members of Parliament to see what has happened to the request. They could ask: has it been followed up; has it been passed to the hands of the Commission; where is it; what has happened to it? Is that the object? If that is so—I see the right hon. Gentleman nods his head—are we to assume that the requests and suggestions will be dealt with by the Commission in the order in which they are filed or admitted or passed to them, or will there be a priority? It seems to me that is one of the reasons why it would be as well not to record them in that way as, obviously, some might be much more important and urgent than others. The Board of Trade and, indeed, the Commission will be able to choose which to investigate first.
These are points about which we must be clear in order that we can get some idea whether there are any countervailing advantages against the certain disadvantage, which is that it will be a disadvantage to the business which is to be investigated.
§ Major Haughton
With reference to the question put to the President of the Board of Trade by my hon. Friend the Member for Northwich (Mr. J. Foster), might I question the point he made that this Bill can be extended to Northern Ireland by an Order in Council? The general understanding over there is that a supplementary Bill, if it were so decided, would have to be passed through the Parliament of Northern Ireland before the Clauses of the Bill became operative over there.
§ Sir Peter Bennett (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
I wish to make only one point arising from the remarks of the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks). He said he knew. I always hesitate to use that word. I only think I know. There is a great difference. He was talking about the suppression of inventions and processes. My right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) pointed to the Swan Report, saying that that exonerated those accused. The President of the Board of Trade said, "No, not quite: it only says that no evidence could be produced." We will not quarrel about the difference there.
I should like to tell the hon. Member for Acton how these things sometimes happen. It has been my lot to inquire into a number of these allegations that inventions have been held up and processes not developed. On making these inquiries I have found that if an invention or process was not taken up immediately it was for purely commercial reasons. What happened was that a process or invention was taken to the works and discussed by a company's own scientific, experimental people, who had evidence that they had something more advanced, or would have something more advanced in a short time, that would be better. We do not alter plants at frequent, short intervals. We do that only when a favourable opportunity occurs, and we take the latest developments instead of interim ones. It is said that some of these processes or inventions would effect savings. However, it happens quite often that the capital alterations required would far outweigh in cost the savings that might be effected by a new process.
What happens is that a man who has not had his invention taken up goes around disgruntled, and he starts rumours that it is being held back for some ulterior purpose, whereas the real reason is a purely commercial one. The firms of this country do not hold back inventions in that way. Neither private firms nor nationalised undertakings will take up new ideas immediately without inquiry. It is not a matter of prejudice or log-rolling; it is only a matter of commercial considerations.
§ Mr. Sparks
I wonder if the hon. Member has read the book of the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby 2069 (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) called "Monopoly." It substantiates what I was saying, and I should like to make a short quotation from it.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
This matter is not strictly relevant but I did allow the hon. Member to whom reference has been made to intervene. I do not think, however, that we should continue to discuss the matter because it is not strictly relevant to the purpose of the proposed new Clause, which deals with the laying of a report.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member for Acton entitled to address the House twice?
§ Mr. Sparks
Further to that point of Order. I made a statement earlier, and I was challenged as to my accuracy. I think I am entitled to substantiate what I said.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I would observe that he also addressed the House more than once. However, on a matter of personal explanation, and with leave, I think the hon. Member is entitled to reply to the last speech.
§ Major Haughton
On a point of Order. I was the Member who challenged the remarks made by the hon. Member for Acton. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the abolition or the jettisoning of new inventions at all. The point he made, which I made bold to challenge, was that firms did not spend money on, and were not concerned with, scientific research. I think HANSARD will bear me out in that.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Further to that point of Order. I am not suggesting that the House would not be willing to give the hon. Member for Acton leave to address it again but I think you said, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I had addressed the House twice on this point. I did not do so. I interrupted the hon. Member to ask him a question. He is not now asking a question, but making another speech, and surely he ought to ask the leave of the House to do so?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I do not think we need be quite so meticulous as that on a question like this. The hon. Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett) raised the question again in a rather concrete form. It seems reasonable that leave should be given to the hon. Member for Acton to reply in a word or two and that was what I understood he was about to do.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
Do I understand, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you have ruled that it will be out of Order to continue to discuss what two hon. Members on the other side have debated, the question of the use and suppression of inventions?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
In my view, that question is not strictly relevant to the purpose of the proposed new Clause, which is to provide for the laying of reports at certain periods.
§ Mr. Sparks
In reply to the hon. Member who questions the veracity of my statement in regard to research and scientific information and technical knowledge, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) says in his book, at page 29:Recently a Departmental Committee was appointed to consider the cotton textile machinery, and especially the affairs of Textile Machinery Manufacturers, Ltd., which has a virtual monopoly of many kinds of machinery essential to the textile industries. The Committee … reported that … it failed to realise some advantages of its large-scale organisation, particularly in specialisation, and it was deficient in provision for research and development, both matters not merely vital to the trust itself, but affecting the efficiency of the textile industry as a whole.I suggest that that substantiates my point.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I am afraid that the quotation which the hon. Member has read is not relevant to the point at issue.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
The sole matter between the two sides of the House concerns Subsection (2). I propose to address myself shortly to a point in Subsection (2) which, I think, has not been dealt with. That Subsection was completely misunderstood in that small portion of the speech of the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) which dealt with the proposed new Clause 2071 under discussion. He supposed, quite wrongly, that the only people who could put forward suggestions and requests were the people named in the six specific classes mentioned in the Subsection, in paragraphs (a) to (f). There is, of course, no such limitation whatsoever in Subsection (2) of the proposed new Clause.
Subsection (2) says that the report:shall, amongst other things, include a review in such detail as the Board think fit of the suggestions and requests (not being suggestions and requests which appear to the Board to be frivolous) which have been made to the Board for the reference of any particular matter to the Commission.They may be suggestions made by anybody whatsoever. The only point of the proviso is that, if the person putting forward the suggestion comes in one of the six classes named in the proviso, then the fact of his having made the suggestion has to be recorded, even if it appears to be frivolous. That is the only effect of the proviso. I am not saying that there may not be an arguable case for that. If we have sufficiently well selected bodies we may assume that they are good judges. There may possibly be a certain presumption that they would not put forward anything frivolous.
Let me point out the effects of the Subsection. First, the Board has to record the suggestions made to it, if they do not appear frivolous, even though they do not think them worth putting forward to the Commission. Is it not quite obvious that a record of that character must be capable of being injurious to those concerned, and that, therefore, we should be reluctant to make such a provision unless it could be proved to be necessary?
As my right hon. and learned Friend has pointed out, it is not necessary. The evil against which it is sought to guard can be avoided without this Subsection. If everything is to be recorded, notwithstanding the fact that it is not thought by the Board of Trade to be worthy to be referred to the Commission, and yet has to be labelled "non-frivolous," it is obviously capable of being injurious to the reputation of those concerned. Let me say a word about the proviso. I think that the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Tiffany) was probably right in thinking that in paragraph (b) the initial word "the" was a mistake. I think that it is. 2072 It would probably convey the meaning intended by the Government more accurately without the word "the." It may be that an even greater alteration is required.
The main point on which I intervened is to point out to the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) that he is completely wrong in thinking that the bodies with which he was particularly concerned would be prevented from putting forward suggestions which they wished to be forwarded to the Commission by the fact that they did not come into any of the classes mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (f). They will not be so debarred. For those reasons, I hope that the Government will not press this new Subsection, which is in danger of being injurious to the people concerned, which cannot be needed, and which seeks to guard against evils which can be dealt with in other ways.
§ Mr. Wilson
With the leave of the House, I should like to reply to one or two of the points raised. I cannot hope to deal with all of them. The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) made a point which has been echoed by a number of other hon. Gentlemen. I can well understand him raising this point. He took the case of a hypothetical Snooks and Company who might find themselves arraigned in the annual report because a complaint had been made against them, and it might well be, as he said, that we may never proceed to refer the case to the Commission. It may be a case which is not exactly frivolous but not such as to justify reference to the Commission, or it may be that a number of more important cases are awaiting action by the Commission. That is also the answer to the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) about timing.
I can give him this partial assurance. It would not be our intention in publishing these reports to give the names of the firms. What we should do would be to give the specific class of goods. That may lead in some cases to the identification of the firms concerned. One can think of certain monopolies in a class of goods where to specify the goods, would be to name the trading organisation against whom complaint was made, but it would not be our intention ever to state that Snooks and Co. had been the 2073 subject of complaint which might or might not be referred. It would merely be our practice, to take the case mentioned by the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) that egg baskets were the subject of a number of complaints, to refer to egg baskets but not to Messrs. Snooks & Co.
The hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) referred to the development councils. I have a great faith in those councils. I do not think it would be appropriate to specify that any individual should be specially mentioned in those cases. There are a considerable number of councils in industries, set up before the Act in question, which would be competent to speak for their industries, as a development council might do. I think that the right thing would be that any industry which felt itself aggrieved by the working of some monopoly or price-fixing arrangement, and which wanted it to go on record in this way, should make its complaint through the national employers' organisation or through the provision in the Clause for the representation of the organised workers of the country. As both sides of the development council have access in that form, I think that would be the appropriate way to do it.
A number of hon. Members mentioned the case of trade unions and questioned whether it was not a slip on our part to leave the word "the" in the phrase which deals with organised workers. The inclusion of the word "the" was deliberate. It was our intention here, just as in other parts of the Subsection, to provide that only the single national organisation representing the organised workers should have the benefit of this particular part of the Subsection, just as only the single organisation on the side of industry, and not, for instance, the very small trade union, whom we would prefer to come to us through the T.U.C. or some other similar body claiming to represent the organised workers. I cannot accept in any case, although we have not yet debated the Amendment, the proposal of the senior Burgess for Cambridge University that the phrase "T.U.C." should be substituted for organised workers, because then the Clause would speak of anybody claiming to represent the T.U.C. and that would not be what we had in mind.
2074 The hon. Member for Northwich (Mr. J. Foster) drew attention to the very different geographical areas which seem to be covered in different parts of the Bill. I do not think that there is any real contradiction in the use of the phrase "United Kingdom" in the Clause we debated earlier and the use of the phrase "Great Britain" here. It is in the public interest generally that there should be the best possible disposal of resources in the United Kingdom as a whole. Even if the operation of the Bill were in fact limited to Great Britain only, in that event it would still be our desire in Great Britain to see that there was the maximum possible production in the United Kingdom and the best possible use of resources in the United Kingdom. "Great Britain" was used in the Clause we are now dealing with about consumers in Great Britain, because it is, they who, in the present part of the Bill, would have the right of complaint. As to agriculture in England and Wales or in Scotland being stated separately, the answer is that we tried to draft this part of the Bill in relation to the particular bodies who might be making complaints. There are two separate farmers' unions, and therefore it was necessary to differentiate between them.
The hon. Member for Dumfries asked about the time that might be taken before a complaint published in the annual report was actually referred to the Commission. It may be a considerable time because of overloading of work on the Commission. His point that this may lead to some serious defect in the morale of the trade or industry or firm concerned need not be a very real one. It would always be possible for an hon. Member to put down a Question to see whether we intended to refer it, and the answer might be: "We are going to refer it," or "We are not going to refer it," or "We have referred it."
So far as morale is concerned, we are not talking about the small firm. Snooks & Co. may account for one-third of the output in question or it may not be Snooks & Co. at all; it is more likely to be the price-fixing association covering a large number of firms. These are not small private firms subject to persecution; they are generally pretty powerful bodies. The fact that somebody bad made a complaint about the activities of this body 2075 might lead to a slight improvement in the practice of that body which would make it totally unnecessary ever again to refer to the Commission anything connected with that association or industry. There might be some positive gain, although I recognise the danger to which the hon. Member referred.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The case which worries me is where a matter is referred to the Commission and is in the annual report and the Commission does not get round to considering it for perhaps six months. I do not admit the right hon. Gentleman's statement that provided the persecution is on a big enough scale, it does not matter. It is unfair that accusations should lie on the table without the organisation having the opportunity or rebutting them.
§ Mr. Wilson
I did not say that provided the persecution was on a big enough scale it did not matter. That is a slightly unwarrantable misuse of my words, but I will not pursue it. I see the point of the right hon. Gentleman, that a case might be referred to the Commission on, say, 30th December and be in the annual report and it might be six months or even longer before a final report goes out from the Commission, perhaps completely proving the innocence of the organisation. However, that would be equally true if we did not have an annual report or a publication of this kind. It might well be that on 30th December, if this House were sitting, an hon. Member might put down a Question asking whether the Board of Trade had referred to the Monopoly Commission a complaint about some organisation. The Board of Trade might say that they had done so on 20th December and then exactly the same result might apply—it might be six or nine months before the Commission produced a report. It does not mean necessarily that the organisation should not have some means of stating the case in the interval if there was a whispering campaign such as that referred to by the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe). I have no doubt that an organisation 2076 could find some way of dealing with it.
§ Mr. Speaker
Is the hon. and gallant Member going to make a speech? An hon. Member cannot speak twice. After having spoken on the Report stage, an hon. Member can only ask a question.
§ Major Haughton
I apologise, Mr. Speaker. May I ask if the President of the Board of Trade will answer the question which I put to him about whether this Bill will apply to Northern Ireland when it becomes an Act, or whether a supplementary Bill will have to be passed over there?
§ Mr. Wilson
I should prefer to give the hon. and gallant Gentleman a full answer to that when we come to the Clause in question. I have not had time to look up the point. I think the answer is that it will require a separate Bill for Northern Ireland.
§ Clause read a Second time.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed Clause in Subsection (1, a) to leave out "three," and to insert "two."
In view of what was said by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of our discussion, I move this formally.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In Subsection (1, b), leave out "three," and insert "two."—[Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe.]
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed Clause to leave out Subsection (2).
The point of this Amendment has really been covered by the earlier discussion. With your approval, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I will move it formally and we can proceed to a Division.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out to the end of line 21 stand part of the proposed Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 94.2023
|Division No. 245.]||AYES.||[3.56 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Batham)||Cook, T. F.||Hale, Leslie|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A V.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Cove, W. G.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Crawley, A.||Hardman, D. R.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Daggar, G.||Harrison, J.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Daines, P.||Haworth, J.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Balfour, A.||Davies, Haydn (St Pancras, S.W.)||Hicks, G.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Barton, C.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Holman, P.|
|Battley, J. R.||Deer, G.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Horabin, T. L.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Delargy, H. J.||Hoy, J.|
|Benson, G.||Donovan, T.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)|
|Beswick, F.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Dumpleton, C. W.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Edelman, M.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Janner, B.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Jay, D. P. T.|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Jeger, G. (Winchester)|
|Bowen, R.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Jenkins, R. H.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Evans, John (Ogmore)||Johnston, Douglas|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Ewart, R.||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)|
|Bramall, E. A.||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Field, Capt. W. J.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Keenan, W.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Foot, M. M.||Kendall, W. D.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Forman, J. C.||Kenyon, C.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||King, E. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Kinley, J.|
|Byers, Frank||Gallacher, W.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Callaghan, James||Ganley, Mrs C. S.||Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Carmichael, James||Gilzean, A.||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Lee, F. (Hulme)|
|Champion, A. J.||Gooch, E. G.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Chaser, D.||Goodrich, H. E.||Leonard, W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Leslie, J. R.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Grey, C. F.||Lever, N. H.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Levy, B. W.|
|Collindridge, F.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Lewis, J. (Bolton)|
|Collins, V. J.||Gunter, R. J.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Guy, W. H.||Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng. Univ.)|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Lipson, D. L.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Logan, D. G.||Pearson, A.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Longden, F.||Peart, T. F.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Lyne, A. W.||Perrins, W.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|McAdam, W.||Piratin, P.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|McAllister, G.||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Popplewell, E.||Tiffany, S.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Timmons, J.|
|McGovern, J.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Titterington, M. F.|
|Mack, J. D.||Price, M. Philips||Tolley, L.|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Pritt, D. N.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon G.|
|Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Proctor, W. T.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|McKinley, A. S.||Pryde, D. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|McLeavy, F.||Randall, H. E.||Wadsworth, G.|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Ranger, J.||Walkden, E.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Walker, G. H.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rhodes, H.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Robens, A.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Marquand, H. A.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Weitzman, D.|
|Mellish, R. J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Middleton, Mrs. L.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Rogers, G. H. R.||West, D. G.|
|Monslow, W.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Moody, A. S.||Royle, C.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Scollan, T.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Sharp, Granville||Wigg, George|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Mort, D. L.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Moyle, A.||Shurmer, P.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Murray, J. D.||Skeffington, A. M.||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Nally, W.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Skinnard, F. W.||Willis, E.|
|Neal, H. (Clay Cross)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Snow, J. W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Sorensen, R. W.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Noel-Buxton, Lady||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Woods, G. S.|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Sparks, J. A.||Yates, V. F.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Steele, T.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Paget, R. T.||Stokes, R. R.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon Wilfred (Wentworth)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Parker, J.||Stross, Dr B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stubbs, A. E.||Mr. Simmons and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Paton, Mrs F. (Rushcliffe)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Elliot, Lieut.-Col, Rt. Hon. Walter||Lucas, Major Sir J.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon R.||Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Fraser H. C. P. (Stone)||MacAndrew, Cot Sir C.|
|Baldwin, A E.||Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I of Wight)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Gates, Maj. E. E.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Beattie, J. (Belfast, W.)||Glyn, Sir R.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.|
|Birch, Nigel||Grimston, R. V.||MacLeod, J.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Bower, N.||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Harris, H. Wilson (Cambridge Univ.)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Haughton, S. G.||Marples, A. E.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Head, Brig. A. H.||Marsden, Capt. A.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)|
|Carson, E.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maune, J. C.|
|Challen, C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Channon, H.||Hollis, M. C.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Howard, Hon. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cir'cester)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hurd, A.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Crowder, Cam John E.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Jarvis, Sir J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|De la Bère, R.||Jennings, R.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Keeling, E. H.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Donner, P. W.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lambert, 'Hon. G.||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Drewe, C.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Langford-Holt, J.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Legge-Bourke, Maj E. A. H.||Ramsay, Maj S.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Low, A. R. W.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Robinson, Roland||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Ropner, Col. L.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)||Teeling, William||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Sanderson, Sir F.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)||York, C.|
|Savory, Prof. D. L.||Touche, G. C.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)||Turton, R. H.|
|Smithers, Sir W.||Vane, W. M. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Snadden, W. M.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.||Mr. Studholme and|
|Spearman, A. C. M.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie||Major Conant.|
Question put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 246.]||AYES.||[6.36 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Goodrich, H. E.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Grenfell, D. R.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Grey, C. F.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Pearson, A.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Peart, T. F.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Gunter, R. J.||Perrins, W.|
|Balfour, A.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Popplewell, E.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Hale, Leslie||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Barton, C.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Battley, J. R.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Hardy, E. A.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Harrison, J.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Benson, G.||Haworth, J.||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Berry, H.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Randall, H. E.|
|Beswick, F.||Hicks, G.||Ranger, J.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hobson, C. R.||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Binns, J.||Holman, P.||Rhodes, H.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hoy, J.||Robens, A.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Royle, C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Scollan, T.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Janner, B.||Sharp, Granville|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Jenkins, R. H.||Shurmer, P.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Johnston, Douglas||Simmons, C. J.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. G.||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Burden, T. W.||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Carmichael, James||Kendall, W. D.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Kenyon, C.||Snow, J. W.|
|Champion, A. J.||Kinley, J.||Solley, L. J.|
|Chater, D.||Kirby, B. V.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Leonard, W.||Steele, T.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Leslie, J. R.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Collindridge, F.||Lever, N. H.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Collins, V. J.||Levy, B. W.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Cook, T. F.||Logan, D. G.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Longden, F.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Lyne, A. W.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Cove, W. G.||McAdam, W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Daggar, G.||McAllister, G.||Tiffany, S.|
|Daines, P.||McEntee, V. La T.||Timmons, J.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||McGhee, H. G.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||McGovern, J.||Tolley, L.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Mack, J. D.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Diamond, J.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Viant, S. P.|
|Donovan, T.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Walker, G. H.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Dye, S.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||West, D. G.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Marquand, H. A.||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Ewart, R.||Mitchison, G. R.||Wigg, George|
|Fairhurst, F.||Monslow, W.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Follick, M.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Foot, M. M.||Mort, D. L.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Forman, J. C.||Moyle, A.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Murray, J. D.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Nally, W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Naylor, T. E.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Gilzean, A.||Neal, H. (Clay Cross)||Woods, G. S.|
|Wyatt, W.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Yates, V. F.||Zilliacus, K.||Mr. Joseph Henderson and|
|Young, Sir R. (Newton)||Mr. Hannan.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Gridley, Sir A.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Grimston, R. V.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Renton, D.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Harris, H. Wilson (Cambridge Univ.)||Ropner, Col L.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Haughton, S. G.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Boothby, R.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Bowen, R.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hurd, A.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Snadden, W. M.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Jennings, R.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Carson, E.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Challen, C.||Langford-Holt, J.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Lipson, D. L.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Turton, R. H.|
|Crowder, Capt. John E.||Low, A. R. W.||Wadsworth, G.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Digby, S. W.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Donner, P. W.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Drewe, C.||Marples, A. E.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||York, C.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Molson, A. H. E.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Fraser H. C. P. (Stone)||Nicholson, G.||Major Conant and|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Nutting, Anthony||Brigadier Mackeson.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
§ Mr. Shepherd
I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed Clause, in Subsection (2), to insert new paragraph:(g) professional workers in Great Britain.When we saw the list of persons or associations entitled to make specialised representation to the Board of Trade, representation which is to be published in the annual report, we were surprised to find that the professional worker had been excluded. One would have thought, as the Lord President of the Council was so hot in pursuit of the middle classes, that a special effect would have been made on this occasion to demonstrate that it was not merely an electioneering man œuvre, but represented a conversion to the opinion that all wealth was not produced by the workers, but that the middle classes and professional workers had some rights to existence in society. This is not a matter of mere words, but may effect vital interests.
§ Mr. Daines
The Amendment refers to organised workers of Great Britain. Could the hon. Member tell us which of the professions are not organised?
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Shepherd
As usual, the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Daines) 2080 completely misses the point. On the last occasion he interrupted me he proceeded to make a speech quite divorced from the matter under discussion, and here again he entirely fails to realise what we are talking about. This was not merely a fetish. It is a fact, for example, that doctors might believe that penicillin was being manufactured under conditions which led to a price higher than that which should obtain, and they might wish to make representation to the Board of Trade with a view to having it considered by the Monopoly Commission. Under the interpretation we place on the list, it would not be right for the Board of Trade to publish that representation in the annual report. We want to see that the position of doctors and all professional men, solicitors and accountants and so on, is in no way inferior to that of organised workers in the trade union sense.
It may well be that the Government have come to the conclusion that professional workers such as doctors and solicitors are covered by the second item in the list. If that is so, I am sure the professional workers will be gratified that they are now put on the same level as the organised workers of the trade union movement, from whom 2081 hon. Members opposite have so much support and to whom they give so much support. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to clarify our minds as to the exact position of professional workers in this matter.
§ Mr. Oliver Poole (Oswestry)
I beg to second the Amendment.
It might have been thought, and I believe the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Daines) thought, that professional workers were organised and that doctors and solicitors might be included under Subsection (2) (b). When I first read that Subsection I thought they were included, until it was pointed out to me by my hon. Friends that they were not included. When the President of the Board of Trade replied to various points in the discussion on this Subsection, he said that he would receive representations only from organised workers in the T.U.C. That would specifically exclude those organised bodies of professional workers who would not be in a position to be represented through the T.U.C. It seemed to us that, particularly in the case of doctors, dentists, and surgeons, where there might be some practices connected with medicines or patent medicines, that there was a logical basis for suggesting that those professional workers should be allowed to make representations through their own organised bodies in the same way as other organised workers.
§ Mr. Wilson
This Amendment has quite a lot to commend it, and I would not resist it in principle. But we do not want to give every independent body of professional workers the same rights in this respect; there might perhaps be some small bodies not remotely concerned with the goods in question. Subsection (2, b) says, "the organised workers of Great Britain," and that will not permit of a very small trade union, except in so far as it operates through the organisation representing the organised workers, being separately mentioned. On the other hand, the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. Shepherd) made a strong point when he referred to doctors who might be very much concerned with the supply of certain pharmaceutical products, and I would be prepared to accept the Amendment in principle, subject to having a look at its actual wording. My own not very fully 2082 considered view is that I would like, at another stage, to use some such words as, "the organised workers of Great Britain or any class of those workers specially concerned."
§ Mr. Pickthorn
The right hon. Gentleman did mention paragraph (b) of Subsection (2)—"the organised workers of Great Britain"—and I hope he will forgive me if I hark back to that for a minute, as I would like him to hear what I am going to say. Are we to believe that "the organised workers of Great Britain" is some one unity, and cannot be broken up at all? If so, does that, in fact, mean that it must be the T.U.C., and that it is not really conceivable that it should be anyone else, or does it mean that anyone claiming to represent the organised workers, either in general or in particular, can come under (b)?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I understand that, Sir, but the right hon. Gentleman explained his answer to the present point in terms of what we were to understand about (b), and as I had not fully understood that, I thought it proper to ask what it did mean.
§ Mr. Wilson
The hon. Gentleman was out of the Chamber when I dealt with that point on the previous Amendment. He himself raised it, and I answered him fairly fully, I think, in his absence.
§ Mr. Shepherd
In view of the assurance which the right hon. Gentleman has given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.