HC Deb 05 December 1966 vol 737 cc945-1023

3.36 p.m.

Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

I beg to move Amendment No. 12, in page 1, line 28, at the end to add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Kingston-on-Thames.

The Chairman

I think that it would be convenient to discuss, at the same time, Amendment No. 13, page 1, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Brent. Amendment No. 14, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. Amendment No. 15, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Sutton. Amendment No. 16, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Redbridge. Amendment No. 18, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Enfield. Amendment No. 19, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Bexley. Amendment No. 20, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Bromley. Amendment No. 21, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Barnet. Amendment No. 27, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Haringey. Amendment No. 28, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Ealing. Amendment No. 29, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Hillingdon. Amendment No. 32, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Hounslow. and New Clauses No. 3—(Application to education authorities)—and No. 4—(Reorganisation of secondary education).

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If I may respectfully say so, Sir Eric, I think that your intimation that it would be for the convenience of the Committee to consider all these Amendments together must be treated as a polite euphemism. Although they raise two quite separate series of issues—the issue of the position of individual boroughs, and the general issue of the effect of the Bill on arrangements for education in Outer London—I accept your Ruling. Therefore, I shall seek to confine myself to the separate position of the borough dealt with in Amendment No. 12, the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.

I understand that if my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) has the good fortune to catch your eye he may seek to open the general education issue, on which he speaks with great authority, in respect of the outer London boroughs.

I do not take this course because in the borough which I represent education is other than an issue of major importance; it most certainly is. We have several of the best schools in the country. In Kingston Grammar School, which, despite its sad lapse in producing a member of the present Cabinet, has an otherwise unblemished record, Tiffin Boys' and Tiffin Girls' Schools, we have three of the finest schools in the country. Certainly, we do not regard their future as other than a matter of the greatest possible importance.

None the less, this issue does not arise with particular sharpness in Kingston-upon-Thames for this reason. The borough has replied with its habitual courtesy to the Secretary of State for Education and Science and has told him that however many silly circulars he issues it does not propose to damage or to destroy these schools. Therefore, their future is not in issue, as is the future of schools in some other boroughs, on the question of whether the local government elections take place in 1967.

In some boroughs—Labour controlled at the moment, but which will be Conservative controlled after the next borough elections, whenever they are—the future of some schools is truly in jeopardy, but in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, thanks to the good sense of the local authority, which is also the local education authority, this issue does not arise. It therefore seems to me more convenient that I should address a few remarks to the Committee on the broad grounds as to why this borough should be excluded from the operation of the Bill.

Last Tuesday, when we last discussed the Bill, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) and I sought the exclusion of two other boroughs—Camden and Havering—from the Bill on the ground that the abuses and incompetence which were to been seen in their present administration demanded resort to the electorates as early as possible. I do not argue this case on those grounds. I do not claim—let me make this plain to the Government Front Bench—the case on those grounds. On the other hand, when we discussed Camden the Under-Secretary sought to introduce just this argument. Therefore, it is, perhaps, appropriate that I should deal with it.

I recall to the Committee what the Under-Secretary said: One wonders immediately why. Clearly, many of us can think of a variety of boroughs in London and in local government in other parts of the country where there are inadequacies in the way in which local government functions. One might have chosen the borough in which the right hon. Gentleman's constituency is and looked at the question of why the Conservative members on that Conservative-dominated council with a clear majority, in determining where the 10 alder-manic seats should go, decided to take nine for itself and give one to the opposition."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th November, 1966; Vol. 737, c. 403–4.] This is a truly remarkable point for a member of the Labour Party to take. It argues a certain insensitiveness of conscience. The Under-Secretary may be aware of the policy of the Labour Party in London where it is in control. I recall to him that in a number of boroughs, which I shall mention, the Labour Party has taken not nine but all 10 of the aldermanic seats: Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, New Ham, Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, Haringey, and Enfield. That is enough to be going on with.

Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that because the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames has made nine Conservative aldermen out of 10 that is a matter, to use his words, of inadequacy which might command the notice of the electors, I hope that at the next stage of the Bill he will table an Amendment to exclude the list of Labour-controlled boroughs that I have just read out. If he wants to be consistent, he might take a couple more—Lambeth and Greenwich, where they have taken nine out of the 10.

Therefore, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will either support me on this Amendment—I value support from all quarters—or admit that he took a thoroughly bad point the other night, explained only perhaps by the belated hour to which the Government saw fit to protect our proceedings.

Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that if Conservative and Labour-held councils have equally been guilty, the best thing is to do away with the aldermanic system altogether?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Plainly, I should be out of order if I answered that question. But I think that I am entitled to say that the point taken by the UnderSecretary—here I think I am in order—with respect to the working of the present system is a bad one. If the Under-Secretary thinks it a good one, and, as I suggested to him the other night, if he wants to put he administration of the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to the test of the electors, we shall be delighted to oblige him.

Let the hon. Gentleman support the Amendment, and then we will test whether the electors there approve this or do not approve it, whether they regard this as an inadequacy or not. But I think that, without labouring the matter further, for him to take that point in view of the background of the Labour Party on this matter, was one of the most remarkable aspects of the very remarkable debate that we had the other day.

3.45 p.m.

The argument in favour of removing the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames from the operation of the Bill and for taking it out of the Bill is, basically, as follows. It wants to be excluded. On 17th November, the town clerk, on the instructions of the council, wrote to the Home Secretary as follows:

"London Government Bill—London Borough Council and Greater London Council Elections. This Council have received a report from me concerning the provisions in the above-mentioned Bill and in noting the report asked me to express to you their strong opposition to the proposed postponement of the London Borough Council elections. Some months ago my Council was told of these proposals by the London Boroughs Committee (now the London Boroughs Association). The then London Boroughs Committee asked this authority and other London Borough Councils for their views on these proposals and were informed by this Council that although they were in favour of the Greater London Council and London Borough Council elections being held in different years they considered that the change should be effected by extending the term of office of councillors elected in 1967 to four years; subsequent elections being held triennially. My Council still hold this view and consider that it is wrong for the terms of office of councillors to be extended from three to four years without taking into account the views of electors who understood at the time of the election that the terms of office of the councillors would be for three years expiring in May 1967. It is, therefore, on record that this authority, speaking through its elected representatives, does not desire the postponement of its council elections, but, on the contrary, desires to be excluded from the Bill.

It may interest the Committee if I add that this decision was not taken on a wholly Conservative Party basis. When the matter was argued in the local authority, three Labour members of the council supported the sending of this letter and the exclusion of the borough from the Bill. Indeed, one of them described the Bill as anti-democratic. It is fair to say that another Labour councillor who opposed the sending of the letter and, therefore, supports the Bill none the less made the passing observation that the Bill involved political gerrymandering. Apparently he fully understood the way in which the London Labour Party works and was, no doubt, in tune with it. I think that his intellectual honesty, though not his vote, is to be commended.

Here we have the point that the council by a large majority, speaking, constitutionally, on its own behalf and on behalf of its electors, desired to be excluded from the Bill, desired that councillors should not be given the uncovenanted benefit of an extra year for which they had not been elected, and desired, therefore, the effect of the Amendment that I am moving to be written into the Bill.

It seems to me very wrong that in a matter of this kind affecting local government, the Government should be prepared to override not only the electors, but their elected representatives as well, and to dictate to an authority whose own council wishes its elections to take place at the due date, at the predetermined date, and whose electors undoubtedly are of the same view, and that both of them should be overridden for reasons, not already very frankly avowed, of the political policy of the Labour Party.

On an earlier Amendment it was not disputed that it is perfectly practicable to exempt one borough or a number of boroughs. There is, after all, a very obvious analogy with the situation when there are by-elections. It is perfectly practicable for the electoral machinery to operate in respect of one borough or a number of individual ones. I do not think that it will be disputed again that if the Government were willing to do this they could do it.

If they are not willing to do it, they are putting themselves in the position of defying the views of the elected representatives as well as those of the electorate. To do so is totally undemocratic. It is perhaps a little ironical that the manifesto on which the present Government came to office had the heading for a part of it which reads: Wider Democracy in the New Britain. I wonder whether those electors who were moved by that transcendent thought realised that, in practice, the first legislation on this subject would be to produce legislatively prefabricated council lors imposed by Parliament and sheltered from the vote of the people whom they are supposed to represent.

Sir Edward Boyle (Birmingham, Handsworth)

I should like to address my remarks especially to new Clause 3, which we are discussing with the Amendment that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has so ably moved.

The new Clause says: Section 1 of this Act shall not apply to any London borough being an educational authority within the meaning of section 30 of the London Government Act 1963,". In the ambit of my remarks, I also include new Clause 4.

I must say that when the Department of Education and Science issued Circular 1065 on behalf of the Secretary of State, requesting local authorities to submit plans by 12th July, 1966, for the reorganisation of secondary education on comprehensive lines, I wonder if anyone then imagined that there would be no opportunity for some millions of electors to register their opinion on these plans in the spring of 1967.

I do not intend to discuss at length the general question of secondary reorganisation. I said recently, and I stand by it, that "I think that the majority of opinion in Britain today tends to feel that the age of 11 is too early in a child's life for the most decisive act of selection to be made". It was never my policy as Minister to discourage cornprehensives where they made educational sense, nor to oppose on principle the reorganisation of existing schools.

Equally, I never took the view that, so long as one was eliminating selection, one was automatically making progress; and I think that this is highly relevant to the plans put forward by the outer London boroughs, where, I believe, there should be elections and voting next year.

On 2nd March last, I said in this House: What bothers me about the Secretary of State's speeches on this subject is his apparent belief that if we advance towards the complete elimination of all separate grammar and modern schools everywhere there will always be, in social and educational terms, a net gain and never a net loss. It is this belief that we on these benches emphatically do not share."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1966; Vol. 725, c. 1395.] In that context, one must consider and, I believe, local opinion should have an opportunity of voting upon the plans put forward by individual local education authorities. However much the Government may talk about a national policy, the fact remains that public education in Greater London, along with everywhere else, is still a local government service. It is just about the most important function still left to local government. In particular, it is still the responsibility of each local education authority to maintain a system of secondary schools—and here I quote from Section 8 of the 1944 Act— … sufficient in number, character and equipment to afford for all pupils opportunities for education offering such variety of instruction and training as may be desirable in view of their different ages, abilities and aptitudes. We say that, in view of the plans which have been sent in to the Secretary of State it is of special importance that all local authorities which are local education authorities, including the outer London boroughs, should be able to express next spring their views on how this responsibility has been exercised. May I say that so far as we on this side of the Committee are concerned, that applies equally to all schools of thought on education. We are just as much concerned with the rights of the comprehensive supporter in, say, Richmond or Croydon as with the rights of the critics of some of the schemes which I shall mention.

My other initial point is this. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield West (Mr. Iain Macleod) so rightly said, this is a matter which can only be decided on a political level. I cannot agree with those who, from time to time, say piously that education can and should be kept right out of politics. I have always regarded that as nonsense. Just as I believe that our ancestors were right to talk not about "economics", but about "political economy", so my right hon. Friend was right in saying, during the Second Reading debate: Whatever may be the arguments, in the end the future of children … in Enfield will depend on which party has the majority on the local council."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1966; Vol. 736, c. 251.] There is no expertise which can take the place of free elections. Once one gets into the realm of choice and of what is or is not worth sacrificing for the sake of what, we are dealing with a political issue, call it what we may.

Those were the two initial points that I wanted to make. I want now to particularise and to give three or four reasons why I think that it is of especial importance that local opinion in the outer London boroughs should have the opportunity of voting next year.

The first reason which I would give is because of the implications of many of these plans for sixth-form education. As the Committee will know, we on this side have always set ourselves against any watering down of sixth form standards. More than once I have said that this must be a criterion against which reorganisation plans should be judged.

If I may remind the Committee, when we debated this question in March, I said: …we need to attract first-class brains not just into teaching but into school teaching. It is no good revolutionising maths teaching and science teaching, as we are doing, unless schools can also recruit first-class staff who will want to spend at least some of their time teaching viable sixth form groups to the highest level. We simply cannot afford any let-up in the quality of our sixth form education, and the danger to sixth form standards is one of the most serious risks inherent in the drive to eliminate all selective schools."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1966; Vol. 725, c. 1398.] Hon. Members opposite might be surprised to learn of some of the quarters from which those remarks of mine have been commended. There is real concern in the country at present about gifted mathematicians and about sixth form standards.

In this context, one can justly feel anxious about a number of plans brought forward for Greater London. Circular 1065 said of all-through comprehensives, in paragraph 7: It is now clear that a six or seven form entry school can cater properly for the whole ability range and produce a viable sixth form. Let us be clear, first, what that means in terms of figures, and I will take an example from my right hon. Friend's own constituency of Enfield. At present, the Enfield Grammar School is a four form entry boys' grammar school with roughly 750 boys on roll and a sixth form of 200, with 24 different possible groupings of subjects. That means that 70 per cent. of the fifth formers of that school are staying on into the academic sixth. That is a very good record, though not a unique one, of which any four-form entry boys' grammar school can be proud.

The present plan is that this school, together with another school three-quarters of a mile away, should become a seven-form entry all-through comprehensive. I may say to hon. Members, if they feel moved to read the Enfield plan, that it is the longest of all the plans submitted to the Secretary of State. I hesitate to say that it is the best, but they will find the operative material at the end, where the proposals are set out very clearly, and the details are given.

4.0 p.m.

The Enfield report envisages a sixth form of 140 boys for this new combined seven-form entry all-through comprehensive. At the moment, as I have said, it is a four-form entry grammar school with a sixth form of 200. The Chief Education Officer for Enfield thinks that the way to calculate the sixth form after reorganisation is pretty easy—all one has to do is to multiply the number of forms of entry by 20. I believe that this over-simple calculation itself justifies the strongest inquiry, and justifies the importance which we attach to elections in Enfield next year, because this is desperately important.

I believe that those figures are over-simple, and if I were an elector in Enfield I would have many questions to ask. I would point out that if the new sixth form is to be an academic sixth—that is to say, a sixth form consisting of those doing two-year courses in the sixth governed by university requirements—the figure of 140 would imply that 30 per cent. of fifth formers from the whole ability range in the enlarged comprehensive were going to stay on into the sixth. But I look on this figure as inconceivable, because, after all, on the Ministry's own statistics, even in the South-East of England, which is the most favourable part of the country, only about 30 per cent. of children are voluntarily staying on for a full fifth year; so, as I say, the notion of 30 per cent. of the whole ability range from the fifth form staying on to do a full academic course in the sixth is really inconceivable.

In that case, what does the figure of 140 mean? It means that some of the 140 will be academic sixth formers, and some will not. Some will be staying on for one year in the sixth form and will need a different kind of sixth form course from that given at present at the Enfield Grammar School. This is a highly important point which ought to be thrashed out at election time in Enfield, namely, just how big the academic sixth form in the new combined Enfield School is really expected to be.

I hope that no one on the benches opposite will think that this is a false point. If we are to have a watering down of the academic sixth form in many of the finest of our schools, this will make it far harder for a great many boys and girls to compete for Oxbridge scholarships with those at independent schools, and I cannot see how that can be the objective of the party opposite. If I wanted to be abusive I would say that when I look at some of these plans I think that they might be described as the "minor public schools' charter". I cannot feel that this is something which should appeal to the Committee as a whole.

But still worse is the fact that some authorities are looking at six forms of entry not just as a minimum, but as a norm which can be temporarily disregarded. Circular 10/65 looked on six forms of entry for all-through comprehensives as the absolute minimum, but if one looks at the Ealing plan, one sees that in the Acton area they are contemplating a four-form entry all-through comprehensive for a considerable period. They say that since it will not be possible to enlarge Acton County School to a six-form entry school and have the accommodation available before September, 1969, at the earliest, it is not feasible to have a six-form entry at the school from September, 1966. The authority therefore proposes to limit the intake at Acton County School to a four form entry and "as soon as possible to submit to the Department for inclusion in the 1968–69 building programme a proposal to enlarge the school from a four-form entry to a six-form entry". This is a point which ought to be fought out as hard as possible.

Although I have doubts about a six-form entry comprehensive, it may in certain circumstances be viable, but a four-form all-through comprehensive is just a fraud on the public. When I see the way in which, in a number of these plans, when the Secretary of State says that six or seven forms of entry ought to be the minimum, the authorities then say that they can temporarily have four or five forms, I cannot help being reminded of Moliere's play "The Miser" in which Harpagon, the miser, says, "We have ten guests for dinner. If there is enough for eight, there is enough for ten, so we shall need four large soups". That is the way in which a number of authorities seem to approach this problem of reorganisation.

The same thing will happen in Ealing itself over the five-year schools followed by a sixth-form college. I have no objection in principle to this form of organisation, but I would want to fight very hard in Ealing the proposal to have a three-form entry school in a part of Ealing catering for the age range 11 to 16. This is intolerable for any able boy or girl who may be concerned, and I find it hard to believe that any responsible parent will put up with that.

Mr. Lubbock

As schemes have to be submitted to the Secretary of State for his approval, and if they do not confirm with Circular 1065, is not the Secretary of State bound to reject them?

Sir E. Boyle

That is a fair question, and I have two points to make in reply. First, I agree that the Secretary of State rejected part of the Manchester scheme, though not as much as some of us would have liked, and also part of the Liverpool scheme. I hope that this will be done not only in respect of the schemes which I have been mentioning, but also one in another to which I shall refer. If it is not, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will join me in censoring the Secretary of State for Education and Science for his omission.

But this matter is also the responsibility of the boroughs who have put these schemes forward, and I am saying that, quite irrespective of the Secretary of State's action, the electors should have a chance of expressing their verdict on these schemes in local elections next year.

The second general matter of concern which I wish to mention is that in a number of these schemes I am struck by the disregard of the legitimate interests of the primary schools. This is a point that we on this side have always recognised. Indeed it is one of the major problems of secondary reorganization—how to extend opportunity, and how to defer selection, while, at the same time, not denying badly needed resources to the primary schools.

Here I mention, in particular, the scheme for the Borough of Hillingdon, which is contemplating an extra year added on to the infant school period, and an extra year of primary education until 12. On reading the report from the borough, it seems to me that very little attention has been paid to how the real problems of the primary schools can be met. It is not until the last page of the report that one sees it admitted that the main problem of teacher recruitment will occur in the infant schools, and nothing is said about how the borough proposes to deal with this matter.

Besides, this is not only a question of the quantity of teachers. If I were an elector in Hillingdon, I would emphasise very much the need for a different type of teacher if it is proposed to extend primary school education from 11 to 12. The freeing of primary schools from the 11-plus examination should, after all, lead to a broader curriculum, including the introduction of science and foreign languages. This means better qualified teachers and smaller classes which are particularly necessary if the top forms of primary schools are to consist of 11 to 12-year olds instead of 10 to 11-year olds.

Another point relevant to a number of plans—and again I could quote Enfield—is that I am struck with the number of proposals in Greater London which involve quite a considerable amount of extra resources, extra extensions and buildings. One constantly comes across words like, "Some extension or adaptation work may prove to be necessary to provide for a mixed school.… This should be dealt with from the minor capital works programme.… Some internal adaptations may prove necessary within the minor capital works programme.… Additional classrooms will have to be provided through the minor capital works programme". This, again, is a point of crucial importance to the primary schools in the Greater London boroughs and, I may add, to other authorities as well.

As we all know, there is great pressure on the minor capital works programme. A small amount on this programme can make a great deal of difference to many primary schools, both in the cities and in the counties. Many of us are deeply concerned at the effect of all these reorganisation plans upon that share of the minor works programme which may be spared for primary improvements.

My third point concerns what we have always called the "botched-up" schemes. In view of what was said recently in a national newspaper I want to make it clear that I am not one of those who condemn every reorganisation plan involving an existing school as botched up. That would not be fair or accurate. But we have some real botch-ups in the plans proposed for Greater London. I hope that the Committee will follow my example of reading the reports of a number of these plans.

If so, hon. Members will doubtless agree that it is a bad scheme which substitutes for the names of schools numbers or letters—numbers as in Manchester, or letters as in Haringey. We all look forward to the day when we have a considerable number of hon. Members who have come here from purpose-built, all-through comprehensive schools, but I venture to express the view that it will be a long time before we have an hon. Member from "School F" or "School Group 13".

When I look at what is proposed for Haringey, I wonder whether this is what the Prime Minister can possibly have meant when he made the famous speech about his "dead body" in 1963. Let me give two instances. School F consists of Belmont and Downhills Schools, which are a little over 1¼ miles apart. The Report says that the new Downhills buildings will be within easy walking distance of Belmont and the annexe, that the Roman Catholic School of St. Ignatius and Sir Thomas Moore are approximately 1½miles apart and that the Church authorities hope to bring St. Ignatius up to standard by a series of minor works lasting over three or four years.

I do not want to labour the point, but not many of us feel happy—and there is little local opinion that feels happy—about the junction of two schools 1¼ or 1½ miles apart.

Still talking of botch-ups, I am afraid that easily the worst that I have come across—and I have many reasons to regret this—is to be found in the Borough of Bexley. It seems to be one of the most remarkable plans put forward by any authority. I want to give two examples. First, there is the proposal to amalgamate Erith Grammar School and the two Northumberland Heath secondary modern schools, only half a mile away. Not only will it be necessary for two busy roads to he crossed ddby pupils and staff "when movement between the grammar school and secondary modern schools is necessary or desirable"; two and a half pages of the Report are devoted to putting forward principles to be followed "to obtain a viable arrangement which would avoid excessive travelling of staff and pupils". It is indeed hard to see how this will be one school in anything but name.

Mr. James Wellbeloved (Erith and Crayford)

Is the right hon. Gentleman quoting from the first or second report?

Sir E. Boyle

This is the most recent report. The original plan was to implement this proposal in 1966. At least we now have some reprieve, which will enable this plan to be fought.

4.15 p.m.

When I visited Erith my greatest concern was how it could conceivably be possible to join these three school buildings to form a single school. At the least there must be a proper balance of accommodation. If the two secondary modern schools are to form the lower part of the school, at least there must be proper provision for those doing science at 11 or 12 years of age—because we cannot have a situation in which, whenever boys or girls over the whole range of ability need certain provision, they have to travel half a mile to get it. There must be a reasonable balance of accommodation, and to my certain knowledge there is not in this case. That is what causes me real concern.

But there is something more remarkable about the Bexley plan which I hope may yet be reconsidered. It is proposed to have schools for pupils of 11–16 years in the Welling and Crayford areas, and the Report says that these schools cannot be expected to develop sixth forms until well into the 'seventies. Even in 1975 or 1976, these schools are unlikely to be able to offer a full range of advanced level subjects and some pupils must be expected to transfer at 16+ to other schools.

Now, as I have said, I am not dogmatically opposed to experiments with junior colleges and with the sixth-form college idea, but of all the bogus and botched-up plans this bogus plan for sixth-form education is the worst. The idea is that boys and girls who have been at these 11–16 schools will not all be able to get academic sixth form places, and so a number will have to go on to the Bexley Heath Secondary schools, which themselves are being joined into one all-through comprehensive. But these schools would not as yet have developed an academic sixth form of thir own. It is really intolerable that children at the age of 16 should be transferred for sixth form work to a school which has not achieved an indigenous sixth form of its own, yet this is what is seriously proposed for part of the Borough of Bexley.

It is also suggested—perhaps a little frivolously—that the technical college "will be chosen by some students for full-time study." If this plan gets as far as the Secretary of State I hope that he will turn it down. Such a proposal should never have been put forward in the first place, and the electors should have an opportunity of expressing their views on it as soon as possible.

Finally, many of us feel that while in some areas—certainly in some counties and some cities—there has been a real attempt at consultation, this is not true everywhere. Much concern has been expressed by teachers. The Conservatives on the Bexley Borough Council were right in refusing to support any scheme which did not have the backing of teachers. This is not surprising. The section of the Report headed "Report on Consultation" does not mention the views of teachers. It says: The opinions expressed by members of the Working Party were not always unanimous, and it is thought that the views of teachers are best expressed through the medium of their advisory council. That remark rather reminds me of Sir Sidney Lee's euphemistic judgment on King Edward VII, that he was "a hearty eater who never toyed with his food." In plain fact, the advisory council has stated that it cannot accept the plan put forward by the borough.

I mentioned four separate reasons why we believe that the Greater London boroughs should give their electors the opportunity to express their opinion in elections next year. These reasons are our concern about sixth-form standards in many areas; the lack of concern among many boroughs for the interests of the primary schools; the number of botch-ups, and the concern felt by so many teachers.

Hon. Members opposite may say, "What is the point of continued controversy and uncertainty at a time when the national policy is known?" My first answer IS that we should never forget that the Secretary of State has no power to compel local education authorities to submit plans, least of all for the whole of their areas. I do not go along with the advice given in a letter in The Times this morning, which says that guidance by professional men must … be consonant not only with the law of the land but also with general Government policy. I object to that doctrine on both constitutional and practical grounds. I have always been a political pluralist. I have never believed that power and influence in our society should be monopolised by a Government operating through their majority in Parliament and I was greatly impressed, when younger, by the early writings of Professor Laski on this subject—writings which, I believe, even their author never satisfactorily refuted. Secondly, as a practical matter surely our political system works best, and the wisest decisions are taken, when everyone "fights his corner," as he is entitled to do. I have never urged a local authority to defy the Secretary of State, but I have stood for the rights of local education authorities not to put forward schemes that they themselves feel to be educationally unsound. I have said the same to governors of aided schools.

Anyway, to be thoroughly practical, I suggest that there is no reason to suppose that the Secretary of State will turn down all plans that do not accept a commitment here and now to reorganise the whole of a local authority area. In other words, I believe that many of these worst botched-up schemes are totally unnecessary as well as undesirable; and what- ever the pressure which the Secretary of State may be under from a section of his party I believe that it will be a very long time before he himself takes a final decision to put a time limit on the response to his circular, and says that the abolition of "separatism"—the total abolition—has to be completed within a definite time.

Finally, there is one thing which is worse than uncertainty—that is, doing anything which is damaging to education. We on this side of the Committee reserve the right not only to fight, but to reverse, any scheme which must prove educationally damaging, or just not viable, and we shall act on the principle that many of us will recall from doing Latin unseens, that if a plan "does not make sense, it cannot be right".

Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)

It is always a matter of great interest to listen to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), particularly when he speaks about education. It depends on which part of the speech one may listen to whether one might come to the wrong conclusion. He has gained the reputation of being the most notorious political figure on education in this country—a veritable political Vicar of Bray—I think that his views are likely to confuse people.

The right hon. Gentleman is at times a very strong advocate for comprehensive schools, but after he has reasserted the fact that he is a strong advocate for them, he surreptitiously slips in "cracks" and little contributions which destroy his previous argument. His "crack" about Professor Laski was more applicable to himself than to anyone else.

With regard to the London Borough of Ealing, it is true that two schemes were proposed and that in both of these schemes the position in Acton and Southall would be the same.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to Acton. The probability is that the right hon. Gentleman knows no more about the situation in Acton and Southall, about the physical educational availabilities and equipment there, than he does about the situation in Ealing generally, and he might have done some good had he made some physical examination of the problem.

There is very deep cut and thrust—not merely in relation to education—on the political scene within the council chamber, and in committees on the London Borough of Ealing. Surely this is right and proper. There is no bitterness. There is not the sort of rancour which sometimes exists in this House. There is certainly not the picture which the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) sometimes paints. Whether they be Tories or Socialists, there has been a great deal of tolerance on both sides of the political fence in Ealing on the difficult question of education.

The most ridiculous and totally incorrect comment which has ever been made about education in Ealing was that made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), who said that the parents of Ealing were at war with their council. That was quite a normal, grossly ridiculous, extravagant and, quite frankly, impertinent exaggeration, we expect on the part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Handsworth seemed to favour a scheme which affected the central part of Ealing, but he did not like the scheme which was in favour of Acton and Southall. Parents in Acton and Southall have no complaints to make. They are all in favour of the proposal. It is the parents of some parts of the old municipal Borough of Ealing from whom complaints are forthcoming. What I am saying is important, because of the ridiculous and extravagant statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone, who said that parents were at war with their council.

In point of fact, what was at stake was that a number of parents who were violently opposed to the principle of comprehensive education—though not wholly openly they were opposed to both the Tories and the Socialists in Ealing, because the Tories and Socialists support the principle of comprehensive education—saw it as their right to seek redress in a court of law in order. Their case was examined and they were defeated. But this did not represent an overwhelming majority of parents in Ealing, and I think that the record should be put right.

Mr. Anthony Royle (Richmond, Surrey)

It might not have been an over- whelming majority of parents in Ealing, but if it was only a small group then surely it is their right to have the opportunity next year to vote. So the hon. Gentleman is right in what he says.

Mr. Molloy

They had a wonderful opportunity in March of this year. This was one of the biggest issues—and I will deal with this question in a moment—during the General Election. At a joint meeting of the Liberal candidate, the Tory candidate and myself on the whole question of comprehensive education, I discovered that we all agree on principle. There was no argument about it. The only difference that divided the parties was that the Tories and Liberals were on one side regarding primary and religious education, and I was on the other. I think that all men should be united on any principle so long as it is a good one.

To explain my point, I will, if necessary, have to go back to the debate which took place at the time. I see no reason why children of a tender age who attend primary schools should be necessarily divided for ever—or perhaps, might for an initial period go to a primary school, with children of the same sort of religion. But then, certainly, later on, they should all be together to get to understand one another. Whether they are Catholics, Methodists, or member of any other religious denomination, they should be together. After a certain period they should not be separately educated along any particular religious lines. I would hope that the Committee would agree with that principle.

When the principle of comprehensive education was accepted by all the parties in the Borough of Ealing, there was no difficulty in agreeing immediately to find out which would be the best system to operate in Ealing. It was, therefore, decided to establish a working party. There was no argument against a working party being established. It consisted roughly, of 16 members. As the Labour Party was the majority party, it had six members, the Conservatives had four, and there were four representatives from four teachers' organisations, and there were two headmasters.

They said that they would not outline any scheme, that they would do nothing about schemes for comprehensive education immediately, but that, as a responsible committee, they would first of all visit every school in the Borough of Ealing. They did so and they spoke to the headmasters, to the headmistresses and to the staffs. They asked them what their problems were. The committee was united, and it generally sought information which would assist it when the time came to devise a scheme of comprehensive education.

That was done amicably, because there was no dichotomy between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party in Ealing. These were ordinary councillors, members of the teachers' organisations, and so on, and they were not paid for what they did. That being so, I am sure that all hon. Members will want to compliment them on their energy and interest in carrying out a very difficult examination, which took them some time.

4.30 p.m.

This committee then tried to devise a scheme that would be reasonably acceptable to all its members. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The divisions of opinion on some schemes cut right across both political parties in the committee. Some Tories and Socialists would support one embryo scheme and oppose another, while other Tories and Socialists went the other way. That is a sensible and reasonable way of working. They were able to act in that way because the principle had been adopted.

I sometimes get annoyed when some hon. Members opposite seem to suggest that the Tories in Ealing or anywhere else were insincere when they said that they accepted the principle, or when, later, something happened to cause them to change their minds. The real degree of difference has related to particular schemes, and not to the principle. That should be said, because there are in Ealing those who do not support any form of comprehensive education, although that view is directly opposed to both Tory and Socialist thinking in the borough.

After a great deal of examination—and all this work started in 1965—there emerged schemes A and B. In other words, the committee could not arrive at a unified scheme. Quite remarkably, when the specialist committee voted it was split right down the middle-fifty- fifty. There followed discussion on how to resolve the dilemma, as the committee could not then submit a report to the council. It was unanimously agreed to refer both schemes to a special committee of the education committee, known as the schools sub-committee. The subcommittee had 18 members—10 from the Labour Party, six from the minority Conservative Party, and teachers' representatives and representatives of the Churches. They finally came down in favour of scheme B, and we are now hoping that the Minister, too, will approve it.

The point of what I am saying is that during the period involved there has been good work done by all members of the education committee, irrespective of party. Good contributions have also been made by members of the teaching profession and the church representatives. It would be silly if Parliament were now to dissipate the good will that has existed among all those people in trying to evolve a system of education for the borough.

Mr. T. L. Iremonger (Ilford, North)

Surely the hon. Member will agree that everything he says is a most powerful argument for letting the people most concerned in this matter have a chance of saying something about it.

Mr. Molloy

Had the hon. Member been content to listen, he would have heard me deal with that point.

I recognise that very many hon. Members may have no knowledge at all of local government work—that has been revealed in some speeches—or, if they have spent some time in local authority work as councillors, they do not seem to have learnt much. It is wrong to say that on every issue there is always a good deal of bitterness between Tory and Socialist councillors.

Sir E. Boyle

As it happens, I am a co-opted member of a local education authority. We submitted, with no party division, an answer to the Secretary of State which will provide comprehensive education in one area immediately, and which, in three places, will mean comprehensive education in a few years. We did not think that it made sense to commit ourselves to plan for the whole county. I think that we were perfectly right to do as we did, and not to act further.

Mr. Molloy

It would be wrong for me to comment on the details of what the right hon. Gentleman says, because I have not studied his plan. Indeed, I have already said that it is rather "thick" of him to comment on our plan for Ealing without having studied it.

All the way along there has been a remarkable degree of collaboration by both the political parties, the teachers' associations and the representatives of the Churches in the genuine interests of the people of Ealing. That had been going on for a number of years. I am willing to admit that the complaints about and the opponents of the principles of comprehensive education have not necessarily come from the Conservative Party. They—the Tories—are either too shy, or too crafty, or do not have the guts to say that they have changed their minds. Much opposition has come wholly from a small force of people who are against the principle.

But once this particular scheme had been devised, the Conservatives in Ealing—quite within their rights in our view—opposed it. That was their right—but they were never opposed to the principle. I can quite understand that some of their arguments have appealed to people right across the political board, while others accept scheme B which has been advanced by the specialist committee that examined the issue.

The name of the chairman of the Ealing Education Committee has appeared in the newspapers and other places in connection with an alleged leak, and letting the cat out of the bag about what the Labour Party intended to do about postponing the elections. I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) is not here at the moment, but I recall that originally he thought that the blame for this terrible and iniquitous remark lay with the leader of the Ealing Borough Council. When I intervened to tell him that he was wrong, the right hon. and learned Gentleman acknowledged his error, but then went on to commit another error.

In that debate I said: I expect the right hon. and learned Gentleman to come here tomorrow to correct the allegation which he has made against the leader of the Ealing Borough Council. The right hon. and learned Gentleman at once replied: The hon. Member need not wait: it was the Labour leader of the education committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1966; Vol. 736, c. 357.] It was not. Doubtless the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be here tomorrow to correct that lapsus lingua, as he demanded previously with regard to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

It was the chairman of the Ealing Education Committee, discussing all sorts of things with parents at a public meeting, and probably answering questions from people of all political parties and none. The big debate about the forthcoming elections had been going on for years. Indeed, early in 1965 the Acton Gagette ran an article on this issue and quoted two members of the Labour Party, Councillor Michael Elliott and my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds), who were both Ealing councillors, as disagreeing with some of the proposals that were coming up.

That is quite natural in the Labour Party. There is always healthy argument, outside as well as inside. [Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to laugh, because this ruins their case about secret and villainous organisation. There was public debate and it was reported in the newspapers a couple years ago. The newspapers pointed out that Councillor Elliott had a suggestion, which has now been incorporated to a great degree in the Bill.

There is nothing odd about that. In the Labour Party it is quite possible for a person to come to one of our ward meetings and put down a proposal which ultimately finds its way to the House of Commons; and when we are in power, it may find its way to the Statute Book. There is nothing wrong in that. I know that it is difficult for right hon. and hon. Members opposite to understand this, but that is how things go on in the Labour Party. That is the normal channel of democracy, which is always kept in the open.

When this issue was discussed, it was done in the open. I know that the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. lain Macleod) laughs, but it is the laugh of the defeated. His laugh is the equivalent of whistling in the dark. This whole issue was not merely discussed in public: it was reported in public—unless hon. Members opposite are saying that the Acton Gazette is a villainous, secret newspaper. They cannot have it both ways.

Mr. A. Royle

The hon. Member bases cart of his argument on a quibble. At col. 357 on 15th November, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said: The hon. Member need not wait: it was the Labour leader of the education committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1966; Vol. 736, c. 357.] The hon. Member just said that it was not the. Labour leader of the education committee and that it was the chairman of the education committee. Is not the chairman of the education committee a member of the Labour Party, in which case it was the Labour chairman of the education committee?

Mr. Molloy

No, it was not. The hon. Member does not understand. Let me educate him in local government. There is an education committee. It has a chairman. On the one side there is the Tory leader, and on the other side the Labour leader. Looking after the whole committee is the chairman. That is not difficult to understand. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone quoted the Labour leader.

Mr. A. Royle

To which party does the chairman belong?

Mr. Molloy

It was not the Labour leader. It was the chairman of the committee. The chairman of the committee and the Labour leader are not the same person. The two posts are filled by two different people. This might sound complicated to Conservative Members, but if they struggle with it they will understand.

Before I had to divert to give that short course in local government education to hon. Members opposite, I was saying that when the statement was made it was done in public. It was reported in public. A great debate had been going on throughout London. My hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. R. W. Brown) took a deputation to see the then Conservative Home Secretary to put certain proposals before him. Some of those proposals were ultimately accepted. People knew all about this before the 1964 General Election and before the 1966 General Election. They knew full well that this had been going on and that it had not been finally decided.

Therefore, when right hon. and hon. Members opposite say that this was done for political reasons, they are acknowledging, if it exists, a remarkable power of prescience attributable to the Labour councillors who think that they will win the elections in 1968. They proved it by winning the elections for the Greater London Council, and we proved it by winning two General Elections one after another.

4.45 p.m.

Many right hon. and hon. Members opposite know that this was—I know that it does not apply to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter)—an administrative issue the difficulties of which were examined by both Tory and Labour councillors; and that some Conservative councillors as well as Labour councillors agree with the proposals of the Bill.

In addition to the argument and debate which was going on at the time, one of the proposals was not that the London borough elections should be delayed, but rather that the G.L.C. elections should be delayed. There were conflicting points of view within the Labour Party during the great debate as to which it should be. At the time, I was involved in Fulham Borough Council as its leader and later as a member of Hammersmith Borough Council. I want to be completely fair to Conservative councillors. They examined the proposals and there were differences of opinion among them. But all the people to whom I have spoken agreed that there was need for thorough examination to prevent the administrative and political snarl-up for which we were heading.

Right hon. and hon. Members opposite know very well that what was involved was an examination of a tricky administrative problem which could have defaced political standards in London by the fact that we were not prepared to examine the difficulties that were involved and did not have the courage to produce something like the Bill. We knew the sort of charges that would be levelled.

If hon. Members opposite had been putting up proposals, we on this side would have examined them. Hon. Members opposite would, no doubt, have said, "If we push this through, you know what the Labour Party will say. They will accuse us of gerrymandering and the rest." At some stage, however, we must examine the reactions of the people who are deeply involved.

From my experience, quite a number of Conservative councillors, not only in Westminster Council, but in many parts of London, support the aims and objects of the Bill. I must be equally honest and say that some Labour councillors are apprehensive about some of its proposals. The debate which is going on has cut across all political frontiers. There has been a big political debate. It has been carried on in London and on the Floor of the House. That is how it ought to be. The essential proposal of the Bill has not, as right hon. and hon. Members opposite claim, derogated in any way from the principles of democracy. Indeed, it has enhanced them.

Wing Commander Sir Eric Bullus (Wembley, North)

I wish to deal with Amendment No. 13, which seeks to exempt the London Borough of Brent from the provisions of the Bill. With equally good material, I presume to hope that I may make as good a case for the Borough of Brent as my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) made for his London borough.

Of all the London boroughs, Brent has strong claims for exemption from the provisions of the Bill. I have no desire in a short speech to repeat my Second Reading speech, which, I thought, was rather powerful, but it did not do the trick and the Bill got a Second reading. I hope, therefore, that I might be satisfied with half a loaf and secure the carrying of my Amendment.

From time to time, I am told with others that I should forget Wembley and think about the London Borough of Brent, but this is very difficult. I intend to show how very difficult it is for some of my constituents under a Labour-con- trolled Borough of Brent. Neither Wembley nor Willesden desired the merger of two years ago. Wembley was Tory-controlled, with the lowest rate in the country and its council-housing account in balance. Willesden, half as big again, was Labour dominated, with high rates and a £500,000 council-housing deficit. Wembley had little chance in the subsequent election but obtained a very sizeable minority and has since won by-elections. Today, in Brent, the rates are high and the loss on the Brent housing revenue account this year amounts to £750,000—a 10d. rate. No wonder we want elections in Brent.

I have spoken of the housing position and I have spoken in this Chamber before of the public inquiry into the compulsory purchase orders in my constituency in the Chalkhill and Barnhill Road development. The action of the Brent Council in grabbing these properties affected every ratepayer, because to subsidise these council property ratepayers will have to find £218,400 per year, equivalent to nearly a 3d. increase in rates. No wonder Brent wants the opportunity to vote Tory. The large majority of these houses and flats have been handed over by the Brent Council to the Greater London Council—both are Labour-controlled—and two-thirds of the people living in the Chalkhill and Barnhill area do not come from Brent at all.

I attended the public inquiry into the compulsory purchase orders on 22nd September and no mention was there made of the Socialist council's intention to seek further properties in the area. Yet only two weeks later the Brent Council announced that it was seeking to acquire further large blocks of property in the same roads. No wonder that Brent wants elections at once.

I turn to education. The hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) represents a part of the Borough of Brent. I am sorry that he is not in his place. I confess that I did not warn him that I would speak on his remarks because I naturally assumed that he would be here. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] But I have no compunction in referring to him, because I shall not be unkind. I am not an unkindly person, but I must take up some of his remarks.

In his Second Reading speech the hon. Member denied that the Minister of State, Department of Education and Science, had rejected the first comprehensive scheme for Brent. I did not want to bring the Minister into the argument. He has been very kind. He received a deputation of about 30 parents from the Borough of Brent and twice gave of his valuable time. In addition, he has been to the Central Lobby and addressed overflow meetings there. They are very impressed at least with his kindness, if not with h is decisions. Perhaps in an intervention today he will tell us whether he rejected that scheme.

I wanted the hon. Member for Willesden, East to be referred to a letter in his own local newspaper from one of the parents from the parents' organisation, one of those who came to see the Minister of State. She referred to my remarks and the denial by the hon. Member for Willesden, East. She writes: I would say to Alderman Freeson that his memory is extremely short. The first scheme was due to start in 1966. I am glad to see the hon. Member for Willesden, East entering the Chamber. Perhaps he would like to know that I said that I had not advised him of my intention to refer to his remarks but that I had no compunction about referring to them because I had nothing unkind to say.

The letter from this parent, writing in the hon. Member's own local newspaper, continues: A new scheme is presumably planned for 1967. The first scheme involved children shuttling back and forth over the North Circular Road at Wesley Road School. This was rejected and it is not in the proposed scheme for 1967. This confirms that there has been an original scheme. Whether this is the same scheme violently amended is splitting hairs but the first scheme was not accepted. Maybe Alderman Freeson honestly feels that the first scheme was not rejected, but as far as the parents understand it, from the mere fact that the 1966 scheme is not in operation it would appear that it was rejected, and well and truly rejected at that. She adds: I can only hope a miracle will happen to allow us parents and residents to have our local elections in 1967. I would call in aid a prominent member of the council, sitting on the same council as the hon. Member for Willesden, East, the Leader of the Conservative minority. It is not such a small minority. Speaking at a meeting the week before last, he referred to the blackmail that is being used to force comprehensive education on the country. My right hon. Friend referred to this and said that it was not blackmail because it can be resisted. But here is evidence that the Socialist Government and the Socialist-controlled local authorities advise and guide as though it were the law of the land that the Secretary of State and Minister of State have power to withhold these grants from local authorities.

The leader of the opposition on the Brent Council described the education scheme proposed in Brent as hotch-potch and an emergency measure, thereby supporting what I have said. He said that a six-month limit has been set to produce the scheme and that in his view only a select group of teachers had been consulted. He said that the public had been told of the plan, once formed, but not with the idea of being able to alter it by either suggestions or advice. Mr. Lee, Leader of the opposition, himself a headmaster, had a proposal but the council was not prepared to consider it.

Mr. Reginald Freeson (Willesden, East)

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member would tell us what is that proposal. It was certainly never presented to the education committee or to the council.

Sir E. Bullus

The Leader of the Opposition wanted to see compulsory education until the age of 16, when pupils who wanted to do so should be able to study liberal subjects, using grammar school sixth form premises. This is the suggestion made by him. He disagreed with the suggestion that new buildings would attract teachers of a higher standard and he said that the children in Brent would not necessarily be getting the best education under the new system and that a school like East Lane would be down-graded to a junior high school. No wonder that in Brent we want the elections next year.

The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) has spoken of the comprehensive scheme in his own borough. I have teachers who are constituents of mine who teach in the Borough of Ealing and who have written to me fearing for education under the scheme from the teacher point of view, and suggesting that if this scheme is forced through in Ealing several teachers will not be prepared to teach in Ealing and will apply to be removed elsewhere.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Miss Alice Bacon)


Mr. Molloy

Will the hon. Member tell me who are the teachers who will not carry out what the council proposes? I should be interested. The teacher organisations, and particularly the N.U.T., which supply the overwhelming majority of the teachers for the London Borough of Brent, support scheme B completely.

Sir E. Bullus

The right hon. Lady says "Blackmail", but there is no question of blackmail if a woman teacher does not desire to teach in a school with which she has no sympathy. She has a right to apply to go to another school. Or does the Labour Party want direction of labour?

The hon. Member for Willesden, East spoke about the huffing and puffing over education and about democracy. I have a letter from a constituent of my hon. Friend the Member for Wembley, South (Sir R. Russell), the Secretary of the Sudbury Court Residents' Association. A copy was sent to the local newspaper. The letter refers to the huffing and puffing. The letter says: … we too can raise no enthusiasm for the kind of huffing and puffing' which goes on on both sides, not only in the House but also in our own council chamber. 5.0 p.m.

The Honorary Secretary of the Sudbury Court Residents' Association goes on to huff and puff himself on behalf of his Association and points out that when the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) had said that only members of the Conservative Party were objecting to the proposal, that was not so because the Sudbury Court Residents' Association also opposed it.

I return once again to the thing that wrankles very much with me, which is the question of re-warding. It is one reason why in Brent we want the elections to be held at once, for if they are postponed, the re-warding will have taken effect, and we are very unhappy indeed about the proposed re-warding. The right hon. Lady said on Second Reading, when referring to what I had said about the Commissioner's advice being rejected by the Home Secretary: … the Commissioner … said, 'This is the scheme that I would prefer, but there is another scheme, if the scheme that I would prefer is not accepted.' … the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been alleging for some time in Questions in the House that my right hon. Friend has not paid heed to the views of the Commissioner."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1966; vol. 736, c. 358.] Mr. Verney, the Commissioner, in fact said: My first recommendation is that no change be made to the existing wards. He stated that in paragraph 23 and, in paragraph 44, he stated: With the reservation that I do not regard the change as productive of any improvement on the existing warding, but rather the contrary, if the policy of uniformity is approved I prefer the Council scheme to that put forward by the Conservatives. That is the alternative. He categorically stated: My first recommendation is that no change be made to the existing warding. As for the Minister's remarks, that … we shall have wards with equal representation rather than, in future, a differentiation in the wards between those which belonged to the former borough of Wembley and those which belonged to the former borough of Willesden."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1966; Vol. 736, c. 359.] Mr. Verney stated, in paragraph 23(e): If uniformity is the proper aim, the Borough of Brent should be reconsidered as a whole". And in paragraph 23(g) he went even further and stated: If the Council's scheme were adopted in essence it should, in my opinion, be modified my the division of the proposed South Kenton ward into two single-member wards, and this would wholly defeat the intention to achieve uniformity. My case regarding the proposed re-warding has, I suggest, been made out and that is why we in Brent want the elections.

Miss Bacon

I do not have the Commissioner's report with me, but I remember clearly, as I explained on Second Reading, it being most unusual for a commissioner conducting an inquiry of this kind to mention a second scheme. There is usually only one recommendation. This is the only case of which I am aware where there has been an alternative scheme; a second choice, so to speak. To that extent it was unusual and I believe that Mr. Verney perhaps thought that there might be considerable objection to his first choice, so he gave an alternative scheme.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary considered the alternative as being preferable to the first proposal, in that as the years would have gone by everybody would have been able to point to a part of the Borough of Brent and say, "This is the old Wembley" and "This is the old Willesden" because the old Wembley would have had bigger wards with three councillors while Willesden would have had smaller wards with two councillors. We consider that, from that point of view, it would be better to have a borough where there was not that distinction.

Sir E. Bullus

I accept that that is what the right hon. Lady believes. I do not believe the same thing. I suggest that it is unusual indeed to have been given an alternative and I will explain why I believe there was an alternative, remembering that I endeavoured to do that on Second Reading. It is because the same Commissioner was at Northampton, and because he saw how his recommendations were treated there. [Interruption.] He thought that the Government would want a second opinion and he gave them such an opportunity. There is no slur on the Commissioner at all. He was badly treated over his recommendations regarding Northampton and we had a censure debate on that subject.

I am sometimes worried about what I regard to be the arrogance of Socialist-controlled councils and of the Socialist Government. That is why we in Brent want the elections. We have had a Socialist controlled council there for some time and that has been responsible for one or two little things. For example, there is a civic forum in Brent and there are speakers from the council and questions put to them by the audience. There are certain facts about the Borough of Brent published in a pamphlet called Civic Forum and it gives the size of the Borough, its population and the fact that it has 10 aldermen and 60 councillors, including the mayor and deputy mayor. The document states: Councillors are elected every three years, but Government legislation has extended the period of office of Councillors of the Greater London boroughs until 1968 in order that there shall be no confusion with the Greater London Council elections next year. It is a fait accompli. This is the arrogance. There will be no doubt for the Brent Socialists about this legislation being passed. The House of Commons does not matter. The majority has decided, and that is that. The Government have stated that the period of office will be extended, which is another reason why we in Brent want the elections held next year. I hope that I have made a satisfactory case to prove why that should be done.

Mr. Wellbeloved

I wish to address my remarks, first, to Amendment No. 19, standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath), in which he seeks to deprive the electors of his constituency and of mine of the benefits which will be conferred on them by the Bill, and, secondly, to the remarks of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), who dealt rather scrappily with the scheme for comprehensive education in my Borough, as the Northumberland Heath and Erith Grammar School are in my constituency.

As the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) stated on a previous occasion, the Bill raises a matter of principle. That is because if one considers the Borough to which the Amendment refers, one must remember that under the London Government Act, 1963, four areas—Erith, Crayford, the old borough of Bexley and Sidcup—were brought into the London Borough of Bexley.

That being so—and here is where an important question of principle arises—are hon. Gentlemen opposite saying that it is wrong in any circumstances to extend the elected lives of councillors? I do not believe that that is being suggested because as in my case, and throughout outer London, at least one third of the councillors of the existing authorities, before amalgamation, had their lives as elected members extended, to the detriment of the outcome of the first 18 months of the London boroughs. I know from experience that had the Chislehurst and Sidcup Council not had its life extended by the postponement under the 1963 Act, there would probably have been a change of control and the relevant transformation. If that had happened this new London Borough would have gone forward in a healthier, stronger and more joyful way. Let us have no more talk about undemocratic practices. If it is right in principle, then it is right in practice.

Questions have been raised about the counties of Essex, Kent and Surrey. They were extended, but I will not go into that matter.

I want to turn to what I consider to be the main principle involved in this Bill, and to show how my electors would feel deprived if the right hon. Member for Bexley's Amendment were carried by the Committee. It is a normal democratic tradition of local government in this country that local authorities should be elected for a three-year period, with full power in office. This is not the case for the London Borough of Bexley or indeed other London boroughs. They were elected, it is true, on 7th May, 1964, but they did not take office until April, 1965, and during that first year they were denuded of all powers, and the only money and resources they had were from a ld. or 2d. rate from the constituent authorities.

They could spend nothing, they could plan nothing with certainty, because every decision which they took had to be referred to the existing councils still in office in the extended year of life which had been conferred on them, undemocratically, by the previous Government—on the principle hon. Members opposite are trying to establish now.

Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)

Would the hon. Gentleman not admit that when they were elected it was on the basis that they would resubmit themselves for election in 1967?

Mr. Wellbeloved

I would not have said this was a factor which predominated in my own constituency or borough; this was never a factor at all. When those elections took place the confusion which had been created by the London Government Act, 1963, was such that I doubt whether anybody, electors or elected, really knew what it was all about.

They were elected, and in that first year they had no power at all. So in fact they were only to have two years of office, till May, 1967—a complete departure from what I consider to be a fundamental principle that elected members of councils should have three years in office.

Of course, that is a view that is not just mine or a view of my party or council. The Kentish Times, which circulates in the constituency of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in an editorial of 25th February, 1966, makes this point: Those in favour of a deferment could ask for it to be borne in mind that the new Council are in their first year. Their job of welding Erith, Bexley, Crayford and Sidcup into a united borough has been a tremendous task and one that cannot possibly be resolved in one year. That is insufficient time if further elections have to take place in 1967. That is why I believe the Bill is correct. The article goes on to say: We would not for one moment suggest that everything in the garden is lovely, but a complete reorganisation of this magnitude takes far longer than 12 months. We see it not from any political standpoint, but from the overall pattern. This is an editorial circulating in the right hon. Gentleman's own area.

As for the electoral implications, there is this repeated scream from hon. Members opposite, "Give the people an opportunity to express their views"—on this scheme or that scheme. How many opportunities does one really need before one can say that one has a mandate to do a particular thing? Let us take the London Borough of Bexley which gave an overwhelming endorsement to the Labour Party which, in its election manifesto, clearly said that there would be an end to selection at 11-plus and that we would introduce a system of comprehensive education within the existing framework.

On that basis there were elected to the London Borough of Bexley 39 Labour members and 17 Conservatives. I would have thought that an overwhelming mandate for us to go forward with plans for comprehensive education.

In the October General Election, 1964, in my constituency, my predecessor at his election meetings said that We must move forward nationally and locally towards comprehensive education. It may be a matter of interest to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bexley—I am sorry he is not here, but I can understand the reasons why, perhaps, he is not—just to glance at the figures in that election over the borough as a whole. Labour had a majority. At the by-election in 1965, in which I played some small part, we had an absolutely overwhelming majority of the electors in all parts of the borough in favour of the comprehensive system.

If anybody believes that in November, 1965, the comprehensive plan put forward by the London Borough of Bexley was not an election issue I suggest that he reads a speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), to whom I shall be coming later, when he spoke in my constituency, or, again, if he will look at a pamphlet put out by Erith Grammar School Amalgamation Parents Committee, and circulated during the campaign.

It asks the electors of Erith and Cray-ford to express their views, to stand up for Erith Grammar School and the Northumberland Heath schools. It said this: If you cannot attend a meeting write a strong letter of protest to your local or national newspaper. Write a strong letter of protest to your local councillor. Write a strong letter of protest to the Parliamentary candidate of your choice. It suggested that people should ask the question why it was necessary to amalgamate the schools. It concluded: In other words 'Stir it up' and make this an issue in this election. It was an issue in the election in November, 1965, and I am in this Committee because one-third, almost, of the London Borough of Bexley, an overwhelming majority of the electors, confirmed the desire to go forward to comprehensive education.

Then, of course, in 1966, we had the same repeat performance when we received a majority of votes in the borough as a whole, and greater still for Labour candidates, and the opponent of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bexley increased the vote for Labour, and every one of us, I am quite certain, made comprehensive education part of our platform in that election.

5.15 p.m.

To turn to the remarks by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hands-worth. He referred, very briefly and sceptically, to the scheme for Erith Grammar School and to the lack of provision, I believe, for proper science laboratory facilities. It may interest him to know that in fact in Erith Grammar School and in the Northumberland Heath Schools there are at the moment 13 science laboratories and in those schools also 24 rooms for practical studies in woodwork and other things. It may be that when the final decision is taken and the placing of the pupils is worked out we shall need an extra one or two science laboratories but at the moment I do not agree it can be said that the provision is inadequate or scrappy.

Sir E. Boyle

According to this second report from the Chief Education Officer I see there are eight science laboratories in Erith Grammar School and two or three in the Northumberland Heath Schools. My query was, and I still feel it very much, after reading the four pages of this report, whether there is a proper balance of provision between the various schools which make up this group, such as to make possible an all-through scheme for the children here. I think one can legitimately feel very grave doubts about this. Even if we approve the principle of a trend towards selective integration I think it is reasonable to query this scheme.

Mr. Wellbeloved

After the councillors have done all their work on this scheme, including the one for my area, it will be submitted to my right hon. Friend, and I am quite certain that he will not approve any scheme which in any way does not provide sufficient facilities to be acceptable as an approved scheme for the education of our children, and if the Secretary of State, when he considers our scheme, feels this is so, he will find no bitterness towards him by the Council of the London Borough of Bexley. We have in good faith submitted a scheme which we believe is right, is proper, and is adequate, and we would certainly bow to any suggestion for an amendment of this scheme made by the Minister.

The right hon. Member for Hands-worth spoke on 1st November at Erith Grammar School in the by-election. His language then was not the soft, smooth, syrupy language we normally hear from him when he speaks on education. Then he was on the political platform, rampaging to try to get his candidate preferred. Far from the polite language we normally hear, we had this intemperate language to inflame the passions of people who were desperately concerned about the future education of their children.

The right hon. Gentleman said today that he believed that this ought to be a political issue. Political in the sense that it is a matter of local and national government, yes; but party political, no. I regret—I said so then; I say so now—the way this matter was dragged into party politics and the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman himself dragged the matter into party politics at the by-election. He said this: I must say that the plans of the Socialist-controlled borough of Bexley for what I can only call the precipitate imposition of comprehensive secondary education at Erith are among the most ill-thought out and opportunist that I have ever encountered. … this issue is a botched-up type of proposal at its worst.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Wellbeloved

The crunch will come in a moment: My final point is that this precipitate scheme appears to have been rushed through without any proper consultation". Does the right hon. Gentleman stand by that? Does he still believe that the scheme was rushed through without consultation, or was this just something he said on a party political platform at a by-election?

Sir E. Boyle

There was probably more consultation about the second plan in April, 1966 than there had been when I spoke at the by-election in 1965; but, as I said earlier, many of the teachers in Bexley do not appear to like it very much better; and I am not surprised.

Mr. Wellbeloved

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has made that point, because I have some information to give him later about the attitude of the teachers in Bexley. The right hon. Gentleman concluded his by-election speech in this way: I cannot emphasise too strongly that a really good result for the Conservative Party in Erith will be the strongest possible intimation … that public opinion is really roused and anxious about this proposal". The public made its declaration.

I only wish that the right hon. Member for Bexley had sent his right hon. Friend another editorial which appeared in the Bexleyheath Observer before the right hon. Gentleman came to speak at that by-election. On 15th October, just 16 days before the right hon. Gentleman spoke in Erith and Crayford, the Bexleyheath Observer issued an editorial on this matter. It must have been thinking of the right hon. Gentleman when it said: A number of prominent people, however, are jumping the gun to some extent. It is abundantly clear from the Council's minutes that the discussions now going on in regard to the merging of the Erith Grammar School with the two Northumberland Heath grammar schools and, later, of the Bexleyheath Secondary Schools, are only preliminary discussions, the results of which will figure in a report to the Education Committee and subsequently the full Council. The editorial says "preliminary discussions". Where is the undue haste which we were told about 16 days later by the right hon. Gentleman? I wish that his right hon. Friend had sent him this editorial, because it might have given him a little more intimate knowledge of what was happening in fact and in reality. The editorial went on to talk about the time to criticise these proposals: Now is not the time to criticise the comprehensive schools as if this borough had been committed to them with no thought or with undue haste. Now is the time to come forward with practical proposals for alternative solutions. There have been no practical alternative proposals put forward in the London borough of Bexley by the Conservative opposition.

In making this final comment the newspaper must have had the right hon. Gentleman in mind 16 days before he spoke: Those now carping about the 'indecent haste' of decision-making might well be accused in due course of 'indecent lethargy' if all they do is criticise without constructive comment. I have here a letter I received from the local Conservative Party dealing with the question of comprehensive education. The local Association wrote to me on 19th August, 1966, telling me that it had passed a resolution condemning and rejecting outright the scheme as proposed by my Authority. I wrote back to the local Tory Association and said: I would find it helpful if you would let me know whether you are completely opposed to the whole principle of comprehensive education or whether your Association has an alternative scheme to the one proposed by the Council. I received this letter back on 28th September. The letter says briefly: "Dear Mr. Wellbeloved", Blah, blah, blah. [Laughter.] I am trying to abbreviate the Association's normal manner of exposition. The letter says: I cannot say whether my Association is completely opposed to the whole principle of comprehensive education, as the motion debated and subsequently agreed unanimously was the resolution previously submitted to you. So the local Conservative Party, like the right hon. Gentleman, has not given any practical, constructive consideration to the problems of secondary reorganisation facing the London Borough of Bexley. All it is indulging in is unjust and ill-informed criticism, which is not helpful when a matter of such importance, namely children's education, is under consideration.

In this respect I have the advantage of the right hon. Gentleman. When I am photographed with a child, it is invariably my own. When I am talking about the schools in the London Borough of Bexley, they are the schools which my own children attend. The Northumberland Heath-Erith Grammar School amalgamation is a school attended by one of my children. The Picardy amalgamation, which will take place, I hope, is a school attended by another of my children. It is a matter of great interest to people in our area. We resent this cheap party political attack.

Mr. Marcus Worsley (Chelsea)

The hon. Gentleman has said that it is a matter of great interest to people in his area. Why does he wish to prevent them from voting on it next year?

Mr. Wellbeloved

The hon. Gentleman has adequately illustrated what I meant when I said "blab, blah, blah". I meant this continuous repetition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I will indeed. If the hon. Gentleman had been in the Chamber—or, if he was in the Chamber, if he had been consciously awake—he would have heard my opening argument when I tried to develop the principle which was involved, namely, that of local authorities having a full three-year term of office with full responsibility and duty. This was denied to the London Borough of Bexley and to the 32 Greater London boroughs because, to remind the hon. Gentleman, in case he did not clearly hear the argument, in the first year of their term they had no power of responsibility. Therefore, they have had only two years in which to transform, amalgamate and build up the new community. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] They ought to have three.

Mr. Anthony Berry (Southgate) rose——

Mr. Wellbeloved

I want to continue because many hon. Members wish to get in on this debate. If the hon. Gentleman wished to make a fresh point, I would give way; but I am sure that he only wants to rehash the argument we have heard so repeatedly during the course of the debate.

The right hon. Member for Hands-worth said that this should be a party political matter. I take a completely different view. So does my Council—at least, the majority of its members. I believe that this is a vitally important subject which ought not to be party political. Local councillors make statements, like the one I shall now quote, in a debate in the council. One Conservative member referred to the scheme as the outcome of political dogma and class hatred. The expression "political dogma" is applied to people who are bringing forward schemes, not that other people's children will be involved in, but in which their own children will be involved. This is a disgraceful description.

Then there is the argument put forward by the shadow Leader of the Education Committee on Bexley Council. He is indeed a shadow leader. This is the terrible statement he makes in the context of education. He asks the parents to bombard the council and the Minister so that they will make them "hate the name of Bexley". Class hatred and dogma activate the Conservatives in this borough on the question of the educational programmes. Thank God the Conservatives are not in power in the local authority. With that sort of feeling in their hearts and minds, I am certain that they will not be in power in the London Borough of Bexley.

5.30 p.m.

When the right hon. Gentleman intervened he referred to the teachers being against the scheme. This is a monstrous distortion of the facts. Fortunately, I have with me two quotations from teachers who have had the courage to write to the Press. One of them in the Sidcup area says that as a full-time teacher he strongly protests at the way that a certain ballot was taken by the teachers in the area on the comprehensive scheme. He says that the questions which were posed to the teachers were impossible to answer other than by a simple "Yes" or "No" and that both those answers would have been construed as being against the comprehensive education scheme.

Nor is it true to say that the parents are against this scheme. I have quotations from parents from practically every school in the borough involved in the scheme, who has come out, either in the Press or at a meeting, against the attitude taken by a small minority of parents in the borough.

There is one final point that I ought to make in dealing with the strictures of the right hon. Member for Handsworth on our scheme. I refer to the question of consultation and indecent haste. The facts are as follows. Even prior to the right hon. Gentleman's election speech in Erith and Crayford, there were consultations between the council, the parents and teachers in the area. In fact, our education committee has six teachers co-opted on to it. One of those teachers is on the special sub-committee dealing with the comprehensive education plans. There is in the area a teachers' advisory council which nominated members of its choice to the working parties which were set up to inquire into the practicability and viability of our proposals.

Of the two working parties which were set up, one was to consider the broad proposals for comprehensive education. There were five meetings of this working party consisting of councillors, teachers and officials of the education authority. At those five meetings sub-groups were set up to deal with specific problems, again with teachers nominating their own representatives. The second working party dealt exclusively with the Erith Grammar-Northumberland Heath school position.

The teachers of the three schools involved and the officers had no fewer than six meetings on this one point and they set up two further groups. There have been meetings with teaching staffs, two meetings exclusively with the head teachers of the schools involved in the amalgamation, a meeting with the staff of Erith Grammar School and the other two schools involved, and a whole series of other meetings. The views of the teachers have been collected by the advisory council. They were circulated to the elected members of the London Borough of Bexley and they were considered by the education committee at a very long meeting.

The alternative plan from one of the areas involved in Bexley was circulated to the education committee and to the council and has been considered. The parents and residents have had a meeting to consider the proposals because both the first and second proposals were released to the Press in the borough and were published. Therefore, the parents and residents had an opportunity of knowing what was afoot.

The proposals were also discussed with the governing bodies of the schools concerned, and there were public meetings in five areas in the London Borough of Bexley to enable these schemes to be discussed by parents and members of the public. At not one of those five meetings did a resident or parent who wanted to gain admission fail so to do. Everybody had an opportunity to attend. There have been rotary lunches and a course of lectures, and there has been a Workers' Education Association course of lectures at an evening institute.

Amendment No. 19 is quite unjustified so far as the London Borough of Bexley is concerned. Our plans for comprehensive education have been put in detail to the people most concerned. As teachers, parents and electors they have had opportunities to discuss them. Their representations have been heard. The submission that is now before the Secretary of State will soon be given final consideration, and we may all soon know whether or not they are acceptable under Circular 10/65.

Mr. Berry

I am sure that the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) will understand if I do not follow him at this hour. The Committee has heard a lot about Bexley this afternoon and the failure of the party opposite to put the matter before the electors next year speaks for itself.

May I return to a subject which is now familiar to the Committee—the London Borough of Enfield. The Committee must appreciate what a marginal area it is, with 31 Labour representatives on the council as against 29 Conservatives, the Labour Party having taken all ten aldermanic seats.

May I refer briefly to the petition which I had the honour to present two weeks ago. Normally, when one presents a petition in this House one says a few words, watched closely by Mr. Speaker to ensure that one does not speak for too long, and one then puts the petition into the bag. That is an end of the matter.

Thanks to this Bill, my petition has had a considerable amount of publicity. In particular, may I thank the right hon. Lady the Minister of State, Home Office, who took an interest in it at an earlier stage. I should like to compliment her on the way she examined it. She said that a cursory glance would show certain factors. To take a cursory glance at 1,000 pieces of paper, each containing 10 signatures requires a computer mind. I congratulate her. Unfortunately, the dictionary defines "cursory" as "hesitating, superficial and careless". I hope to show that those adjectives are more than apt as regards her description.

The right hon. Lady suggested that because a few of the signatures came from outside the borough, the petition was of no importance. May I briefly mention some places outside the borough to which she referred? First, she referred to Cheshire. I think she must have been misinformed. There is no signature from Cheshire.

Miss Bacon

I did not refer to Cheshire. I said, "Cheshunt".

Mr. Berry

I do not know whether it has been corrected in HANSARD, where the word "Cheshire" appears. However, I accept what the right hon. Lady says.

Then she referred to Cambridge. Does she not know that there is a university there with undergraduates in residence who might use their university address when signing the petition? She referred to Surrey where there lives a person who used to live in my borough and who is shortly returning with her young children. The right hon. Lady referred to other places, which included——

Miss Bacon


Mr. Berry

Yes, Bournemouth. I hope to come back to that one later.

One in over 10,000—does that make a strong case for the right hon. Lady? She referred to Nottingham, where there is a recently married schoolteacher who is now looking for a house in my borough. In Brighton, there is a widow who has moved there after living since she was born in Enfield. In Oldham, there are two people whose daughter and five grandchildren live in Enfield.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Mr. Berry

If the hon. Gentleman were better informed, he would be cheering my right hon. Friend and not Uncle Tom Cobley.

The right hon. Lady also referred to other parts of London. There was W.9, where there is a grandparent who has two grandchildren living in the borough, and S.E.12, where there are people who used to live in the borough. The right hon. Lady mentioned Chigwell, and I spoke to the lady there who signed the petition. She is a teacher in a secondary school in the Borough of Enfield. In S.E.23, which was also mentioned, there is another teacher employed in the borough.

I received a letter this morning from a teacher who lives in Acton, W.3, who signed the petition. She has been a teacher at a grammar school in the Borough of Enfield for 21 years. She wrote: From my experience I can state categorically that the proposed comprehensive system of education in the London Borough of Enfield is unworkable and will result in a sad deterioration in the standard of education in the borough for the next ten years at least. So much for the right hon. Lady's suggestions.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) has given some reasons why the Bill affects my area, and has given details of the borough's education problems. There was absolutely no consultation with the parents before the scheme was imposed. We have excellent schools which will be jointed together in a hotch-potch way.

In my constituency two schools nearly a mile apart will be called one school, and two schools more than half a mile apart, with the Great Cambridge Road running between them, are being joined together in the constituency of the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) who has been conspicuously absent from the debate—I shall go on saying that until we hear his views on the subject. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] A policeman must be on duty in the morning and at lunchtime for the pupils who are crossing over. Will a policeman be on duty all day long when they are joined together?

Is that a comprehensive school in the Minister's wonderful way of doing things? People in my borough feel very strongly about the Bill. Even in the last election the Labour Party had a minority of the total votes. We know why the Bill is being imposed. It is one thing to talk about putting off elections, but in the Clause we are dealing with the lives of our children, and that is the most important thing of all. It will not be forgotten when those elections come.

Mr. Freeson

Unlike the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Berry), I cannot claim that all the people of Brent are very worried about the Bill one way or the other. If we were all honest in the Chamber we would stop using that kind of language, because it is not true and we know it.

I hope that somebody sends a message to the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Sir E. Bullus) because it is he who has brought me back into the debate. I had not intended to be here, because I was busy elsewhere in the building, but I want to state again shortly the position which has occurred in my own borough.

Like speeches from the Conservative Party in the borough of Brent and in the council chamber, the speeches of the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North can only do a disservice to education in the borough and to local government in general. Many speeches we hear from members of the Conservative Party in the House and throughout the country need to be greatly changed in their character. They do a grave disservice to education and to the public.

I speak from personal knowledge and I am not just concerned with trying to recapitulate and make speeches about something that has happened elsewhere, which I am seeking to rationalise and justify because certain people have given me advice. As a Member, I have been involved in local government in my area, like other Members on both sides, for many years. In the course of this I have been closely concerned with the development of the education service in my area.

Strong feelings and strong ideological differences have been expressed about the whole issue of comprehensive education for at least 20 years. But I had hoped that by this time, with the changes that are going on both among those who accept comprhensive education and those who have criticised it in the past, we would be discussing the matter rather more quietly and a little less ideologically, and dropping a great deal of the silly sloganising we get in the House and elsewhere.

5.45 p.m.

Many local authorities, both Labour-and Conservative-controlled, have spent many hours with thousands of people throughout the country in studying their schools set-up and trying to improve them along lines which we have now all come to accept are comprehensive. In the past various names have been given to them. Some of us have accepted the principle, declared it and worked out schemes accordingly, but in many areas, particularly over the past seven years, an increasing number of education authorities have been moving, whether slowly or quickly, towards what many of us generally describe as the comprehensive principle, even when they have not given lip service to that principle.

We know this on this side, and in the Labour Party, teachers know it in their organisations and schools, and if the matter were discussed a little more quietly on occasions other than consideration of the Bill, hon. Members opposite would discuss it and think along those lines. It was in this spirit, whether hon. Members opposite like to accept it or not, that members of the Brent Council, of which I am still a member, sought to study the educational system in the borough they had come to administer.

I want to go over some of the history, because the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North distorted matters not only for hon. Members but, as so many of his colleagues in the Conservative Party locally are doing, distorted matters for the parents. I want to deal with the history in the council chamber and the reaction among parents. At the very first meeting of the Education Committee of the borough of Brent the education officer was asked to prepare a report. It was moved that he should be asked to prepare a preliminary report within six months as to how the secondary education system in the borough could be reorganised on comprehensive lines. The vote in favour was then unanimous, and Mr. Lee was there.

About three weeks later, when that report was submitted to the borough council, the division came. Having voted unanimously and spoken in favour of such a report being prepared the Conservative Party, no doubt having been brought under a certain amount of pressure from its local associations, started the rather foolish storm and division that has continued ever since. I know this as a matter of fact, for I was there. The Conservatives have never satisfactorily answered the question put to them time and time again as to why they voted unanimously at the start and within a matter of weeks came to the town hall en bloc and stated that they were against the idea. They have carried on the fight ever since.

I shall not start quoting—as one of my hon. Friends quite correctly did—the kind of speeches we had to suffer in our area, but the kind of campaign waged by the Conservative Party in Brent has done a good deal of damage and caused considerable confusion among parents. Week after week people come to see me or write letters about the future education service who have a completely distorted idea of what is planned as a result of the stupid, highly political party campaign waged by the Conservative Party.

Every time a major policy decision is taken in a town hall or here it is a political decision, and I shall not distort the word "political", unlike hon. Members opposite who, from time to time, when they choose to do so, say, "Do not bring politics into it". It is a political decision. What I am asking for, even at this late stage, is that both locally and nationally we have a little more intelligent discussion about what we are proposing.

In our area we produced a scheme which has been improved as a result of consultation with the Ministry and other people in the borough. We are proceeding to establish that scheme. It will prove to be a great advance educationally for the children of the borough. As soon as we can make further steps forward in the school building programme, in school staffing and in equipment for the schools, we shall again improve the scheme submitted and approved, which, as is the case in so many other areas, is based on the facilities available.

That was the position when we submitted our first proposals. As a result of submitting them, certain improvements were made by the Ministry in the school building programme. As a consequence of those improvements we have been able to change and modify the scheme yet further. We shall always be willing and wanting to do this. I hope that in future we shall have the co-operation instead of silly sloganising of hon. Members opposite.

I come briefly to the question of rewarding. I shall not go over the history of this; I have not the papers with me. It ill behoves any member of the Conservative Party in Wembley, in the House of Commons or elsewhere, to challenge members of the Labour Party locally or Labour Ministers about consultation on this matter or about reflecting the desires of the people. If there was one party in London which had no consultation at all about its proposals prior to the 1964 Election under the new London set-up, it was the majority Conservative Party on the council in Wembley. It prepared a scheme and submitted it to the council with no consultation with any organisation prior to approving it. I challenge denial of this. It began to get reactions afterwards, but it had made its decision.

As with comprehensive education, one rule which we laid down from the start under a Labour majority in Brent was that there would be the greatest possible consultation and that letters would go to the longest list of organisations we could establish in order to get their views. We got their views, something which the Conservatives in Wembley never did. The majority or organisations and people who have expressed views on re-warding, as on comprehensive education, have supported the council. I challenge denial of that, as well.

It has often been said by members of the Conservative Party in some of the many foolish speeches to which I have referred that we are arrogant and are not interested in the people, and that we are just interested in power for its own sake. What I ask hon. Members and people living in my borough and elsewhere is to look at the services now being prepared and being implemented in their areas and to ask themselves a few simple questions. Let them consider whether they are being improved.

I could cite many services in the northern part of my borough—that is, the old Wembley borough—which were virtually non-existent before the new set-up was created and before a Labour majority took over, such as in mental welfare, old people's welfare, health, schools, and housing. I could refer to a whole range of services on which a marked step forward has been taken. There are major programmes and plans going ahead which were not even dreamed of by the Conservatives on the Wembley part of the borough before 1964. They are now being pushed ahead.

Whether we agree with one another or not on major ideological matters, it is on this basis that I ask hon. Members and people outside to consider the future of local government. I hope that we shall go back to our boroughs and discuss the real issues facing the public and that people will not just listen to a few dissident members of a minority party. [Interruption.] I hear a few "tut tuts". Let me spell it out in greater detail. I shall be glad to see Conservative Party representatives in Brent paying more attention to local matters by being in attendance. Let us see them at local functions and local organisations instead of just hearing them making speeches here. Let them be seen to be participating in local discussions on issues facing members of the public locally. So far we have not seen this.

Mr. Reader Harris (Heston and Isleworth)

I hope that the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) will forgive me if I do not precisely take up his line of argument. I do not know what things are like in Brent, but we do not meet the same conditions in Hounslow, where all members of all parties take a great interest in what goes on. I wish to say a few words in support of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wembley, North (Sir E. Bullus), because I am interested in Amendment No. 32.

I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) say that in his area the councillors had been in control for only two years. In the borough of Hounslow the present councillors were elected in April, 1964, and did not get legal control until 1st April, 1965, but no decisions of any importance were taken by the old Heston and Isleworth Borough Council in its last year of office without reference to the "shadow" council, as we called it. The members of the Hounslow Borough Council have been in virtual control for three years, and I should not have thought it unreasonable that in 1967 the electors should have the opportunity of pronouncing on their work.

In Hounslow, when the present borough council was elected, there were 58 Labour members, including all the aldermanic seats, against 12 Conservatives. The balance has been slightly redressed to 57 against 13. This does not in any way represent the distribution of votes as between Labour and Conservative members throughout the borough; the division is very much closer than that.

I recognise that by the accident of the distribution of votes in our democratic society one can get at council and national level a very large majority for one party, but this is a situation which we can tolerate only if people have the opportunity at regular intervals to pronounce on the efforts of their elected representatives. As has been said, those elected in 1964 were elected on the understanding that there would be an election in 1967.

There is one matter on which I think the people of the Borough of Hounslow are anxious to express their views through the ballot box, and that is education. Since 1964, when the present borough council was elected, some detailed proposals have been made for changing the present education system to a comprehensive system. When the present borough council was elected, the details were not known; but now they are known.

About a year ago the borough council held a series of meetings throughout the borough to explain to parents exactly what the proposals would mean in practice. I do not think that I am exaggerating when I say that those meetings were not exactly happy. At times, they were quite stormy. Many of the parents felt that they had not had an opportunity of putting their point of view.

My opinion is that there are many parents in the borough who are not happy with the new proposals. Throughout the Borough of Hounslow, or at any rate in Heston and Isleworth, which is my constituency, there were, broadly speaking, few criticisms of the education system. Obviously, there was a desire to bring many of the buildings up to date, but, by and large, we had, and still have, some very good schools, like the Isleworth Grammar School and the Spring Grove Grammar School, which are second to none in the country. We have first-class secondary schools, such as the Heston Secondary School. We have magnificent girls' schools.

All this is to be thrown into a hotchpotch and the schools are to be divided up. We are to have comprehensive schools formed from buildings which by no stretch of the imagination can be considered to be suitable. In certain cases they are some miles apart.

6.0 p.m.

The scheme does not commend itself to many electors. All I am asking is that when 1967 comes, there should be, as the electors expected, an opportunity for them to pronounce their views through the ballot box. These are matters on which many of my electors feel strongly. It is difficult for me to know exactly what they all think. Few write to tell me that they want the new comprehensive scheme. Many write to tell me that they are against it. Surely a democratic election is the right way for them to express their views.

Finally, on the point that we do not want to have two elections so close together in one year, that has happened before and I cannot see what the objection is to having it again. Every time there is a local election, whether for the Greater London Council or for a borough council, there is enormous disturbance and dislocation at the town hall, but if it is all got through in one year instead of being spread over two years, surely the situation cannot be any worse.

Having said all that, I must point out that I fully support everything that is being said on this side of the Committee. There is no need for rancour in my borough, as there appears to be in Crayford and Erith. Nevertheless, there is a desire that we should have the elections next year as promised.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Maurice Foley)

We have been discussing a series of Amendments to delete many boroughs from the Bill. I think that the debate has reflected the concern expressed on one side and refuted on the other about arguments as to what is real and what is imaginary.

I ought to begin by making clear, as the Home Secretary did in introducing the Bill on Second Reading, that the Bill arose from representations made to the Home Office by the London Boroughs Association, and in so far as this debate is concerned with the emphasis that has been placed on comprehensive education, I must categorically refute any suggestions or imputations that the Department of Education and Science was involved, was consulted, or made representations to influence the Home Secretary's decision. So any arguments that might be advanced to suggest a conspiracy or a bulldozing attitude or a notion that somehow we shall get comprehensive education via the back door are without foundation.

In so far as the debate has largely centred around the question of comprehensive education, I think I should be right in stating, as I did the other evening when we were earlier discussing the Bill in Committee, that the nation has already spoken in general terms quite clearly on this subject. Here in London it was the major item, together with housing, in the Greater London Council elections. It figured prominently in the election campaigns of 1964 and 1966. Therefore, one could say broadly that the nation, in terms of the way it voted, reflected approval of this principle.

Then we come to the question, quite rightly raised, of the devising by individual boroughs of their proposals and representations to the Department of Education and Science. Because of what was raised this afternoon, and also because of comments made the other evening, I think I should refer to Circular 10/65, since it would seem from what many have said that they are not aware of its existence or not aware of its content.

I want to deal particularly with the question of consultation. The first sentence of paragraph 40 of the Circular reads: The smooth inception and continuing success of any scheme of reorganisation will depend on the co-operation of teachers and the support and confidence of parents. To secure this there must be a process of consultation and explanation before any scheme is approved by an authority for submission to the Secretary of State. Paragraphs 41 and 42 refer to the way in which teachers, in their associations, and parents ought to be involved in this kind of consultation.

Reference has been made by two hon. Members opposite to the progress or lack of progress in this field. The hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Sir E. Bullus) referred to the time given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Education and Science, to receive deputations and to address meetings. The hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Berry), on the other hand, referred to "a total absence of consultation". I would suggest that it might be helpful if those two hon. Members could get together and discuss how one sets about it in so far as the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North is highly satisfied with the measure of consultation or facilities provided and the hon. Member for Southgate is dissatisfied.

I turn to the comments by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hands-worth (Sir E. Boyle). In offering detailed criticisms of some of the schemes, he made a number of points which are relevant and will certainly be considered by the Secretary of State. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that we cannot at this stage prejudge the decision. Some of the criticisms made of individual schemes by right hon. Members opposite have already been conveyed to the Secretary of State directly by teachers and by parents, and these objections are being fully taken into account and carefully considered, as all submissions will be. Therefore, no hon. Member need feel that his constituency is neglected and has not access to make representations in relation to schemes proposed in their boroughs. They can make representations direct to the Department of Education and Science. Indeed, many have already done so.

In concluding his intervention, the right hon. Gentleman also referred to the fact that the Secretary of State has no powers to compel. This, I think, is a direct refutation of those who referred to bulldozing, Nazi/Fascist tactics, and so on. The Secretary of State has no powers to compel. Indeed, he publicly stated this in answer to a Question on 3rd November from the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee). The Secretary of State for the Department of Education and Science replied: On present evidence I do not foresee the need for legislation in this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd November, 1966; Vol. 734, c. 138.] So one is entitled to ask: Are the fears that are being expressed real or imaginary?

Mr. Iremonger

; But the right hon. Gentleman also said that if he saw any need for legislation he would not hesitate to introduce it.

Mr. Foley

I am sure that my right hon. Friend did not say that. If the hon. Gentleman can quote the reference for that, I will willingly withdraw, but I am sure that he is wrong. I hope that he will refer to it again for his own sake.

The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), in opening the debate, referred to my comments on a previous occasion when I was questioning the motivation in terms of the choice of Camden as a borough which should be excluded. I did not do it at all to indicate that any borough should be excluded. I illustrated the borough in the right hon. Gentleman's constituency in order to indicate the high selectivity and the motivation, or the possible motivation, in his selection of Camden as the borough on which he would argue. In the same way, the arguments put forward last time about the exclusion of a borough apply equally in this instance to the Amendments that we are considering. We believe that it would be wrong to exclude any borough from the Bill. We believe that in the interest of good administration for the political parties, for the Press and for publicity, all the boroughs should be treated in exactly the same way, and for these reasons I must reject the Amendments.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The decision which the Committee will have to make is on the Amendment to leave the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames out of the provisions of the Bill. Having heard the whole debate, I think that I am right in saying that the Under-Secretary of State and I have the lonely distinction of being the only two speakers actually to refer to that issue. The Under-Secretary himself only just did so, obviously catching a last minute glimpse of his brief. With respect to him, he gave no reasons. He merely said, "We believe that it is wrong to exclude one particular borough." He gave no grounds for that belief and he did not attempt to argue that the suggestion was impractical. He merely said, "We believe that no one should be excluded"—even though, as in this case, the particular borough has asked to be excluded, its council ask for it to be excluded, and there is no practical difficulty in doing so. With the resources of a Government Department behind him, all that the Under-Secretary can do is to say, "We believe that all should suffer alike." That is a wholly inadequate answer, and I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will be prepared shortly to go into the Lobby and express their views as to the inadequacy of that answer.

I want to comment only for a moment on the broader issues of the debate, in the course of which my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) gave such an authoritative analysis of the problems of the reorganisation of secondary education in London.

I must pick up what the Under-Secretary said. He said that at previous elections the nation has decided this. I do not know whether the Under-Secretary realises that the group of Amendments which we are considering deal with the outer London boroughs which are local education authorities. If one has any respect for the independence of local education authorities—and there are reasons for doubting whether some people in the Department of Education and Science have any respect for their independence—he will realise that it is not for the nation to decide; it is for the electors in each borough. That is precisely what they are being denied by the Bill, and it is that right which our Amendment seeks to give in the case of at least one of them.

I agree with what the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) said. The reorganisation of secondary education is a political decision. The question is, who should take it? Should it be the local electors in each borough or the central Government? That is the issue which is raised. Where it is, we are told, a political decision, in this subject-matter of the organisation of education, it is a revolutionary concept to say that it is a matter in which the local electors should be denied a voice and that it should be treated as being settled by the central Government.

The issue is not whether comprehensive education is a good thing or a bad thing. It is not even whether the schemes of particular boroughs are right and sound or unsound and ill-judged. The question is a much simpler one: is this so important a matter as to be one on which the local electors should have the right to express their view before final decisions are taken?

All the arguments which we have heard from hon. Members opposite indicate that they are well-informed on these subjects. But surely all the arguments as to why the schemes in their particular boroughs are good lead to the same conclusion as the speeches of my right hon. and hon. Friends criticising them; that is, that these are very important matters, quite difficult and controversial matters in their local application, on which the local electors should have a right to decide.

It seems curious that the Government should select the year 1967–68, which is the year of decision on these matters, as being the one year in which the normal date of election is to be postponed so that the present councils go on. I suggest that it would be a bad thing in any year, as I have said at earlier stages of the Bill. But to pick out this particular year, when a decision which all hon. Members who have spoken from both sides admit is of the greatest importance has to be taken, is one of the oddest and most extraordinary aspects of this proposed Measure.

I pick up what I took to be a personal reference in the remarks of the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved), who made the observation that, unlike the mover of this Amendment, when he was photographed with children he had the advantage of their being his own. I accept that my own children are now of an age which makes them unsuitable for a group of small infants, but I can assure the Committee that my children are at least as photogenic as their father.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. A. H. Macdonald (Chislehurst)

In defence of my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved), I am sure that he was not referring to the person or the family of the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), but to the person of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If the right hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Macdonald) is able to read the thoughts of his hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Cray-ford, I would not dispute his telepathic powers. I am only glad that he has put the record right because, as it was expressed, it appeared to be a reflection on the decorative nature of my own family.

If I may come back to the point on which we should decide, it was very well summed up in the Sunday Express of 20th November. In the leading article, these words appeared: Until last week thousands of anxious London parents had a date to look forward to: April 13, 1967. … This chance to protect their children's interests is now to be denied them.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)

April 13th?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think that the Sunday Express was wrong. If the right hon. Gentleman really attaches significance to a month's variation in this, that would seem to be a confirmation of the wholly frivolous attitude that he has adopted throughout the debate. It may be that I have misread that excellent newspaper.

Whether or not it is a month out, the point is clear. Parents had the right, under the system as it stood, to decide upon what every member of this Committee is agreed is a very important matter affecting their children. The Home Secretary thinks that a month's variation is so important. Because of a decision which he took, that decision, for better or worse, cannot be taken by the elected representatives of the people. It is because we protest against that that we shall vote for the Amendment.

Mr. Laurence Pavitt (Willesden, West)

I will not delay the Committee more than a few minutes, because, like the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) I know that we wish to decide this matter in the Lobbies and get on with our next business.

I want to respond on the question of the borough of Brent. In the course of the passage through the House of the previous Act, when we went through the long history for hours upstairs on the London Government Bill, the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Sir E. Bullus) and the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Sir R. Russell) added their names to a similar Amendment to exclude Wembley and Willesden, which I proposed at that time. I want to explain to those two hon. Members why, in my opinion, it would be wrong now to exclude the London Borough of Brent from the present proposal.

In the brief time that the old boroughs of Wembley and Willesden have had to become welded together, I did not think that it would be possible to go through the barrier of the North Circular Road, across which pass the only two roads connecting them. However, that has been achieved, and I pay tribute to the members of the present Council on both sides who have succeeded in doing that. The fact that this year we have a Wembley mayor and again next year the mayor will come from Wembley and not from Willesden is indicative of the union which has been achieved, and that the council thinks in Brent terms.

It is because the union is still in its early days that it would be disastrous if, next year, the council had to hold an election and risk overturning the progressive development and integration which is proceeding.

The hon. Member for Heston and Isle-worth (Mr. Reader Harris) has already mentioned the time spent in the first year in getting the new system going. Naturally we had difficulty in getting over the teething troubles, but we are now settling down. In Willesden we have had to make changes by going across the North Circular Road, and all our focal points of local administration are now not in my area but in that of the hon. Member for Wembley, South. It is because we have made that effort, and are making it, that I am anxious that we shall not disturb it next year, but that we shall be able to go forward to the year after when we can be even more successful in consolidating the gains which we have made and the building of a Brent community feeling.

There have been a number of references to comprehensive education. I would remind the Committee that we cannot have selection without rejection. In the circumstances of the borough of Brent, there is a feeling in Willesden, West, which has all the social problems, the antiquated schools, the lavatories which will be frozen next month, and so on, that it will not just be children rejected but a whole area unless we are able to reorganise the educational system. In the representations which have been made to me about education, one of the points made by parents in Wembley is that the schools in my area are not good enough for their children, but I do not accept that schools are all right for Willesden children but not good enough for Wembley. Therefore I am anxious to consolidate in a comprehensive way.

I repeat the appeal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson), that we should tackle this problem of how best to educate our children by taking it away from sloganising and consider how, with the situation which faces us, with the schools that we have, and with the excellent body of teachers which we have, we can make progress. For these reasons I say to the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North and to the hon. Member for Wembley, South that on this occasion I am sorry that I cannot support them in their Amendment, and I hope that the Committee will reject the Amendments dealing with Kingston-upon-Thames and the Borough of Brent.

Mr. Hugh Rossi (Hornsey)

The debate has ranged mostly around the question of comprehensive education, and rightly so, because this is the most vital factor in this debate, and I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) for singling out Haringey as one of the 32 London boroughs deserving particular condemnation for the type of scheme which it has put forward.

But education is not the only matter on which the electors desire to go to the polls at an early date, certainly in Hornsey. One of the matters on which they wish to express their opinions is rating. As with Wembley and Brent, in 1963, Hornsey, a Conservative-administered borough, was amalgamated with two Socialist-controlled boroughs. A low rated, well-administered, Conservative borough joined two high-rated Socialist-controlled boroughs, and it was at once apparent to everyone concerned that by the mere fact of that amalgamation rates in my constituency would increase considerably.

Thereupon, in company with the former Member for Hornsey, I went to see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. We asked that the powers contained in the London Government Act, 1963, should be invoked in so far as they gave the Minister power to order a differential rate where a low-rated borough was to be joined to a high-rated one, and the result of the marriage was that the low-rated borough was to see a dramatic increase in its rates. In such circumstances the Minister had power to order a differential rate between the areas so that the acceleration of the rate increase would be mitigated.

The Minister refused to do that, solely because the Socialist parts of the borough, the majority party, would not agree. His answer—and this is the relevance of this to the debate—was, "Wait till polling day, then the electorate will have an opportunity of commenting on the policies which are bringing about their higher rates".

Our rate in Hornsey has gone up by no less than 4s. 9d. in the pound in two years. One can well imagine the hardship which this is causing, yet we were told by the Minister, "You will soon have an opportunity to express your views on the policies which are bringing this about." Today we are told that this opportunity is to be postponed. I regard the Bill as a breach of what was said by the Parliamentary Secretary when he declined to authorise a differential rate. He fobbed us off. He refused to exercise his power by saying that we would have an opportunity to vote on the matter, and now the opportunity is being taken away from us.

What are these policies which are bringing about this disastrous increase in the rates in our area? One of them is the abandonment of the differential rent scheme. Whereas in the past lower income tenants paid a rent which they could well afford, and the higher income tenants paid a much higher rent, which was still within their incomes, this scheme has now been broken up. The result is that lower income tenants are paying 10s. a week more than they did before, while higher income tenants are paying less than before, and the ratepayers are paying through the nose.

People with higher incomes are unhappy about the present situation. They say that it is ridiculous that their rent has gone down 5s. a week, while that of the family next door, who can ill afford it, has gone up by 10s. a week, and the rates have gone up. It is a proper Fred Carno outfit. These are the comments which I received about the way in which my local authority is behaving.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite are very sensitive about housing. They are, we are told, the only people who can build houses. Last year my local authority spent £3½ million to buy a ready-built artisan estate. It has spent another £500,000 in the first six months of this financial year buying properties outside redevelopment schemes. Not one additional unit of housing accommodation has been added by this vast expenditure—not one family has been rehoused. And yet it has on its hands a large site which has lain fallow and derelict for more than a year. Not a brick has been laid on it, nor a foundation dug. This sort of thing would never have happened under a Conservative Hornsey. We had the contractors moving in at one end of the site when people had not left the other end, and yet here we have a site which has been empty for more than a year.

That is the sort of thing about which my electors are getting very concerned, and about which they want to express their opinions. They are now being told that they will have to wait another year to do so, and I can foresee a further substantial increase in our rates in the spring. They will continue to rise while we are having to sit tight under this kind of administration. It is no wonder that the people in my area wish to go to the polls at an early date.

Mr. F. P. Crowder (Ruislip-Northwood)

I shall detain the Committee for only a few moments. I speak for Ruislip and Northwood in the Borough of Hillingdon. I was somewhat surprised and worried to hear the Minister say that all boroughs should be treated in the same way. I do not agree with that. Local government knows local needs, and it should be on a local basis.

I think that it was in 1955 that we had the General Election within three or four weeks of the local elections, and that presented no difficulty whatsover in any shape or form. In my opinion no inconvenience will be caused to Hillingdon if its elections are held this year. I therefore ask that all boroughs should not be treated in the same way.

6.30 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State said that this matter was decided by the nation. If it had been decided by the nation, I can assure him that the sort of majority that I would have got at the last election would have been the sort that one gets in a place like Ebbw Vale—absolutely overwhelming and colossal. I cannot emphasise too strongly the real anxiety and apprehension felt in my constituency on the subject of comprehensive schools.

I wonder whether we can arrive at a compromise in this matter. I am sure that the Under-Secretary would be the first to agree that in this new, enthusiastic, eager Socialist Government, out to reform everything, everywhere, the right hand does not yet begin to know what the left is doing. But could we come to some arrangement on the following basis? As I said in last Tuesday's debate, I would not have raised the matter if the question of comprehensive schools was

not so urgent. If we could compromise in this way, let us ask the Ministry concerned to put off making a decision about comprehensive schools because until next year quite clearly, the Government will not give way.

This is not a great deal to ask because once the deed is done it will create a difficult situation for the teachers, parents and children concerned. If the Government are not prepared to do that they either fear their fate too much, Or their deserts are small, That puts it not unto the touch, To win or lose it all.

Question put, That those words be there added:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 139, Noes 223.

Division No. 218.] AYES [6.32 p.m.
Astor, John Goodhew, Victor Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Gower, Raymond Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Batsford, Brian Grant-Ferris, R. Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Grieve, Percy Murton, Oscar
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Hall, John (Wycombe) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Berry, Hn. Anthony Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Biggs-Davison, John Harris, Reader (Heston) Nott, John
Blaker, Peter Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bossom, Sir Clive Hawkins, Paul Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Body-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Heald Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Page, Graham (Crosby)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Braine, Bernard Heseltine, Michael Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Higgins, Terence L.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Hill, J. E. B. Percival, Ian
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Pink, R, Bonner
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Holland, Philip Pounder, Rafton
Bullus, Sir Eric Hornby, Richard Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Burden, F. A. Hornby, Richard Prior, J. M. L.
Campbell, Gordon Howell, David (Guildford) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hunt, John Ridley Hn. Nicholas
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchison, Michael Clark Ridsdale, Julian
Channon H. P. G. Iremonger, T. L. Roots, William
Cooke, Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Royle, Anthony
Cordle, John Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Russell, Sir Ronald
Corfield, F. V. Kershaw, Anthony Scott, Nicholas
Costain, A. P. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Sharples, Richard
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Knight, Mrs. Jill Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Crawley, Aidan Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sinclair, Sir George
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver Langford-Holt, Sir John Stainton, Keith
Crowder, F. P. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Cunningham, Sir Knox Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Summers, Sir Spencer
Dalkeith, Earl of Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Tapsell, Peter
Dance, James Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Longden, Gilbert Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Digby, Simon Wingfield Loveys, W. H. Tilney, John
Doughty, Charles McAdden, Sir Stephen Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. sir John
Eden, Sir John MacArthur, Ian Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Walters, Dennis
Elliott, R.W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Weatherill, Bernard
Errington, Sir Eric Mathew, Robert Whitelaw, William
Eyre, Reginald Maude, Angus Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Farr, John Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Woodnutt, Mark
Fisher, Nigel Mawby, Ray Worsley, Marcus
Gibson-Watt, David Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Glover, Sir Douglas Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Glyn, Sir Richard Miscampbell, Norman Mr. Jasper More and Mr. Anthony Grant.
Abse, Leo Armstrong, Ernest Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice
Allen, Scholefield Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Archer, Peter Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Beaney, Alan
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Hart, Mrs. Judith Owen, Will (Morpeth)
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Haseldine, Norman Padley, Walter
Bessell, Peter Hattersley, Roy Paget, R. T.
Binns, John Hazell, Bert Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Bishop, E. S. Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town) Pardoe, John
Blackburn, F. Hooley, Frank Park, Trevor
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hooson, Emlyn Parker, John (Dagenham)
Booth, Albert Horner, John Pavitt, Laurence
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Pentland, Norman
Bradley, Tom Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Brooks, Edwin Howie, W. Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hynd, John Price, William (Rugby)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Buchan, Norman Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Randall, Harry
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Rankin, John
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Janner, Sir Barnett Redhead, Edward
Carmichael, Neil Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rees, Merlyn
Carter-Jones, Lewis Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Richard, Ivor
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Chapman, Donald Jones, Dan (Burnley) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Coe, Denis Judd, Frank Robinson, Rt.Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)
Coleman, Donald Kelley, Richard Robinson, W. O. J. (Walh'stow, E.)
Concannon, J. D. Kenyon, Clifford Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Conlan, Bernard Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Roebuck, Roy
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Rose, Paul
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Lawson, George Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Leadbitter, Ted Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lester, Miss Joan Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Dalyell, Tam Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N) Sheldon, Robert
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Lipton, Marcus Shore, Peter (Stepney)
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Loughlin, Charles Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Luard, Evan Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Davies, Robert (Cambridge) Lubbock, Eric Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Dempsey, James Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Dickens, James McBride, Neil Slater, Joseph
Dobson, Ray MacColl, James Small, William
Doig, Peter Macdonald, A. H. Spriggs, Leslie
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Steel David (Roxburgh)
Eadie, Alex Mackintosh, John P. Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire,W.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Maclennan, Robert Stonehouse, John
English, Michael McNamara, J. Kevin Swain, Thomas
Ennals, David MacPherson, Malcolm Thornton, Ernest
Ensor, David Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thorpe, Jeremy
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Urwin, T. W.
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Manuel, Archie Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Faulds, Andrew Mapp, Charles Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Fernyhough, E. Marquand, David Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Wallace, George
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mason, Roy Wellbeloved, James
Foley, Maurice Mellish, Robert Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Millan, Bruce Whitaker, Ben
Ford, Ben Milne, Edward (Blyth) White, Mrs. Eirence
Fowler, Gerry Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Whitlock, William
Fraser, John (Norwood) Molloy, William Wilkins, W. A.
Freeson, Reginald Moonman, Eric Willey Rt. Hn. Frederick
Gardner, Tony Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Garrett, W. E. Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Carrow, Alex Morris, John (Aberavon) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Moyle, Roland Winnick, David
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Newens, Stan Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Gregory, Arnold Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Grey, Charles (Durham) Oakes, Gordon Woof, Robert
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Ogden, Eric Wyatt, Woodrow
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. O'Malley, Brian Zilliacus, K.
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Oram, Albert E.
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Orbach, Maurice TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hamling, William Orme, Stanley Mr. Alan Fitch and
Hannan, William Oswald, Thomas Mr. Harry Gourlay.
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Mr. William Roots: (Kensington, South)

I beg to move Amendment No. 17, in page 1, line 28, at end add: (5) This section shall not apply to the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The Chairman

It would be convenient if with Amendment No. 17 we discussed new Clause 5.—"Application to Inner London Education Authority."

Mr. Roots

The Committee will not have failed to realise that this Amendment refers specifically—and it is the only one referring specifically—to an inner London borough. No doubt that was why, in selecting it, Sir Eric, you selected also Clause 5 relating to the educational provision.

In the light of what has been said, I do not intend to indulge in repetition. The inner boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea would very much welcome an election taking place at the proper time. What is more, it would appear that the Labour Party representatives on the council consider they have something on which they would like to go to the electorate. I saw—as did many other hon. Members—a demand in the London evening papers the other day that the chairman of the finance committee should resign on a housing matter and that no doubt that would test the electorate. However, it would not do that, because that particular councillor happens to sit in a ward for which there has just been a by-election which had disastrous results for the Labour Party and even more disastrous results for the Liberal Party. If, in fact, it is desired to put the electorate to the test, the answer is to let an election take place and not have Clause 1 apply to this borough. There would not be much force about it, because the majority party would be called upon to put the issue to the electorate. I hope that the hon. Member for Kensington, North (Mr. George Rogers) will support me in that view, that the Labour Party in Kensington and Chelsea would welcome an election, as indeed would the Conservatives.

I do not intend to deal at length with the educational aspect. By reason of the organisation of the Inner London Education Authority, failure to elect borough representatives but, on the other hand, to have an election of the Greater London Council representatives completely throws out of gear the whole design of that Inner London Education Authority. That is another reason why the comprehensive issue—certainly regarding my own constituency of South Kensington—does not particularly arise, because there is already an important comprehensive school in existence. It is quite clear, so far as it affects the general representation on the education authority, that the election for the borough as well as for the Greater London Council should take place next year to allow the policies to be put before the electorate generally.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Miss Alice Bacon)

I gather that the argument here is that the postponement of the borough elections will affect education in inner London. I should like to show that this is not so. Leaving aside any argument about comprehensive education, under the Act the Inner London Education Authority is composed of 12 inner London boroughs which are largely the old L.C.C. The Inner London Education Authority is a special Committee of the G.L.C. with 53 members, of whom 40 are councillors of the Greater London Council and 12 are appointed by the inner London boroughs, one from each borough. One represents the Common Council and 12 are co-opted members. It will therefore be seen from these figures that the election to the London boroughs would not be affected to any great extent by the position of the Inner London Education Authority. At the borough council elections, even if there were changes—and I cannot foresee there being any changes—in the operation of the Inner London Education Authority, these changes could not be a decisive factor in education policy.

6.45 p.m.

There are two Tory boroughs within the Inner London Education Authority. One is Kensington and Chelsea and the other is Westminster. I see that Westminster is missing from the Order Paper. That is perfectly understandable, since Westminster, a Tory borough, was one of those which were in favour of the borough elections being postponed from 1967 to 1968. The new proposals suggested for the Inner London Education Authority have not yet been submitted to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, but they are being submitted to him. I wish to point out that comprehensive schools within the Inner London Education Authority is not a new idea. There are already 77 comprehensive schools within the inner London education area. This is not by any means a new issue for what is virtually the old L.C.C. area. Comprehensive schools have been an issue at L.C.C. elections for at least 20 years. The people of London have given a decisive majority in favour of comprehensive schools within the Inner London Education Authority. This Amendment has really very little in it.

I do not wish to go into the whole question of comprehensive education. To say that the postponement of the elections for the borough councils within the Inner London Education Authority can affect in any way the issue of comprehensive schools within that area is completely untrue.

The people of the old L.C.C. have shown in no small way how much in favour they are of a comprehensive education within that area. There cannot be any substance to the argument by the party opposite that the postponement of the borough elections from 1967 to 1968 will in any way affect the future plans for education in the inner London area.

Mr. Worsley

If it were not for the announcement we are expecting soon, I would wish to speak at considerable length in reply to the right hon. Lady the Minister of State, Home Office. I was bewildered to hear a speech from a Home Office Minister which referred entirely and solely to education, as though that were the only issue at stake in the London elections which should be held next year.

I have in my hand a sheaf of issues upon which the electors of my borough—and, no doubt, of other boroughs also—would wish to vote next year. It is not only a matter of education. There is housing, for instance. It is a fantastic fact that the electors of Central London are to be denied an opportunity to vote on the housing issue, yet the right hon. Lady has spoken only about education.

I am tempted to carry on—if it were not for the clock and the present situation I would speak for some time—but, instead, I will only place on record, in support of what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington, South (Mr. Roots) has said, that the case for no postponement of elections is identically as strong with or without education, because it rests, not on the convenience of parties or of anyone else, nor on any particular issue, but on the sound

democratic principle that it is wrong to postpone elections for the convenience of any party.

Sir E. Boyle

We had a lengthy debate on the last group of Amendments, so it may be for the convenience of the Committee if we have only a short debate on this Amendment and the new Clause that we are taking with it.

The right hon. Lady the Minister of State, Home Office, said that comprehensive schools within I.L.E.A. are not a new idea. Of course they are not—indeed, they are not a new idea for the country as a whole. Their number went up by 50 per cent. in 1964, during our last year of office. The right hon. Lady will be well aware that the anxiety is not about the comprehensives within I.L.E.A., many of which have been notably successful, but about the future of the remaining schools within I.L.E.A.

London has been a unitary area ever since the school boards of 1870. There has been an enormous amount of criss-crossing of schools, and travelling wide distances, and very many schools have gained long pedigrees. It is therefore natural that there should be grave anxiety within I.L.E.A. about the future of individual schools. We on this side say that bearing in mind that anxiety, the voters in the inner London boroughs no less than in the outer London boroughs should have a chance to express their opinion next year.

We accept, as the right hon. Lady says, that the postponement of elections in London would not necessarily be decisive for Inner London or for educational policy. None the less, we hold the view that because of anxieties concerning education, and because of other factors which my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Worsley) has mentioned, the electors of the inner London boroughs should likewise have their opportunity to express their view next year. It is for that reason that we shall press this Amendment to a Division.

Question put, That those words be there inserted:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 142, Noes 226.

Division No. 219.] AYES [6.54 p.m.
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Bell, Ronald Biggs-Davison, John
Batsford, Brian Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Blaker, Peter
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Berry, Hn. Anthony Bossom, Sir Clive
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Harris, Reader (Heston) Murton, Oscar
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Braine, Bernard Hawkins, Paul Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Brinton, Sir Tatton Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Nott, John
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. Sir Walter Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Heseltine, Michael Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Higgins, Terence L. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bullus, Sir Eric Hill, J. E. B. Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Burden, F. A. Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Campbell, Gordon Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Percival, Ian
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Holland, Philip Pink, R. Bonner
Cary, Sir Robert Hornby, Richard Pounder, Rafton
Channon, H. P. G. Howell, David (Guildford) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Cooke, Robert Hunt, John Prior, J. M. L.
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hutchison, Michael Clark Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cordle, John Iremonger, T. L. Ridsdale, Julian
Corfield, F. V. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Roots, William
Costain, A. P. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Royle, Anthony
Crawley, Aidan Kershaw, Anthony Russell, Sir Ronald
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Scott, Nicholas
Crowder, F. P. Knight, Mrs. Jill Sharples, Richard
Cunningham, Sir Knox Lancaster, Col. C. G. Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dalkeith, Earl of Langford-Holt, Sir John Sinclair, Sir George
Dance, James Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stainton, Keith
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Summers, Sir Spencer
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Tapsell, Peter
Doughty, Charles Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Eden, Sir John Longden, Gilbert Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Loveys, W. H. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) McAdden, Sir Stephen Tilney, John
Errington, Sir Eric MacArthur, Ian Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Farr, John Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Fisher, Nigel Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Walters, Dennis
Gibson-Watt, David Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Weatherill, Bernard
Glover, Sir Douglas Mathew, Robert Whitelaw, William
Glyn, Sir Richard Maude, Angus Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Goodhart, Philip Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Goodhew, Victor Mawby, Ray Woodnutt, Mark
Gower, Raymond Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Worsley, Marcus
Grant, Anthony Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Grant-Ferris, R. Miscampbell, Norman TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grieve, Percy Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Mr. Jasper More and
Hall, John (Wycombe) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Mr. Reginald Eyre.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Abse, Leo Corbet, Mrs. Freda Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Allen, Scholefield Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Archer, Peter Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Gregory, Arnold
Armstrong, Ernest Cullen, Mrs. Alice Grey, Charles (Durham)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Dalyell, Tam Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Atkinson, Norman, (Tottenham) Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Beaney, Alan Davies, Harold (Leek) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Davies, Robert (Cambridge) Hamling, William
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Dempsey, James Hannan, William
Bessell, Peter Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Binns, John Dickens, James Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bishop, E. S. Dobson, Ray Haseldine, Norman
Blackburn, F. Doig, Peter Hattersley, Roy
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Hazell, Bert
Boardman, H. Eadie, Alex Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)
Booth, Albert Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hooley, Frank
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. English, Michael Hooson, Emlyn
Bradley, Tom Ennals, David Horner, John
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Ensor, David Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)
Brooks, Edwin Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Faulds, Andrew Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Brown, Bob (N'c'the-upon-Tyne, W) Fernyhough, E. Howie, W.
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)
Buchan, Norman Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Hynd, John
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Foley, Maurice Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)
Carmichael, Neil Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Ford, Ben Janner, Sir Barnett
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fowler, Gerry Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Chapman, Donald Fraser, John (Norwood) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Coe, Denis Freeson, Reginald Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Coleman, Donald Gardner, Tony Kelley, Richard
Concannon, J. D. Garrett, W. E. Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Conlan, Bernard Garrow, Alex Judd, Frank
Kenyon, Clifford Oakes, Gordon Shore, Peter (Stepney)
Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Ogden, Eric Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) O'Malley, Brian Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Oram, Albert E. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Lawson, George Orbach, Maurice Silver-man, Julius (Aston)
Leadbitter, Ted Orme, Stanley Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Lestor, Miss Joan Oswald, Thomas Slater, Joseph
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn) Small, William
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Owen, Will (Morpeth) Snow, Julian
Lipton, Marcus Padley, Walter Spriggs, Leslie
Loughlin, Charles Paget, R. T. Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Luard, Evan Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Lubbock, Eric Pardoe, John Stonehouse, John
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Park, Trevor Swain, Thomas
Mabon Dr. J. Dickson Parker, John (Dagenham) Thornton, Ernest
McBride, Neil Pavitt, Laurence Thorpe, Jeremy
MacColl, James Pentland, Norman Urwin, T. W.
Macdonald, A. H. Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.) Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mackintosh, John P. Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E. Wallace, George
Maclennan, Robert Price, Thomas (Westhoughton) Wellbeloved, James
McNamara, J. Kevin Price, William (Rugby) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
MacPherson, Malcolm Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Whitaker, Ben
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Randall, Harry White, Mrs. Eirene
Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.) Rankin, John Whitlock, William
Manuel, Archie Redhead, Edward Wilkins, W. A.
Mapp, Charles Rees, Merlyn Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marquand, David Richard, Ivor Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Mason, Roy Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Mellish, Robert Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Millan, Bruce Robertson, John (Paisley) Winnick, David
Milne, Edward (Blyth) Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as) Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Molloy, William Rodgers, William (Stockton) Woof, Robert
Moonman, Eric Roebuck, Roy Wyatt, Woodrow
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Rose, Paul Zilliacus, K.
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Morris, John (Aberavon) Rowland, Christopher (Meriden) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Moyle, Roland Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.) Mr Harry Goulay and
Newens, Stan Sheldon, Robert Mr. Ioan L. Evans.
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.

Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 229, Noes 144.

Division No. 220.] AYES [7.2 p.m.
Abse, Leo Conlan, Bernard Garrow, Alex
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Allen, Scholefield Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Archer, Peter Grossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Gregory, Arnold
Armstrong, Ernest Cullen, Mrs. Alice Grey, Charles (Durham)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Dalyell, Tam Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Barnett, Joel Davies, Harold (Leek) Hamling, William
Beaney, Alan Davies, Robert (Cambridge) Hannan, William
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Dempsey, James Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bessell, Peter Dickens, James Haseldine, Norman
Bishop, E. S. Dobson, Ray Hattersley, Roy
Blackburn, F. Doig, Peter Hazell, Bert
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b's) Heffer, Eric S.
Boardman, H. Eadie, Alex Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)
Booth, Albert Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hooley, Frank
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. English, Michael Hooson, Emlyn
Bradley, Tom Ennals, David Horner, John
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Ensor, David Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)
Brooks, Edwin Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Faulds, Andrew Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Fernyhough, E. Howie, W.
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Hoy, James
Buchan, Norman Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Hughes, Emrys (Ayshire, S.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Hynd, John
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Foley, Maurice Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Carmichael, Neil Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Ford, Ben Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fowler, Gerry Janner, Sir Barnett
Chapman, Donald Fraser, John (Norwood) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Coe, Denis Freeson, Reginald Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Coleman, Donald Gardner, Tony Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Concannon, J. D. Garrett, W. E. Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Judd, Frank Newens, Stan Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Kelley, Richard Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Shore, Peter (Stepney)
Kenyon, Clifford Oakes, Gordon Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Ogden, Eric Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) O'Malley, Brian Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Oram, Albert E. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Lawson, George Orbach, Maurice Slater, Joseph
Leadbitter, Ted Orme, Stanley Small, William
Lestor, Miss Joan Oswald, Thomas Snow, Julian
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham. N.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn) Spriggs, Leslie
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Owen, Will (Morpeth) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Lipton, Marcus Padley, Walter Steele, Thomas (Dumbartonshire, W.)
Loughlin, Charles Paget, R. T. Stonehouse, John
Luard, Evan Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Swain, Thomas
Lubbock, Eric Pardoe, John Swingler, Stephen
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Park, Trevor Taverne, Dick
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Parker, John (Dagenham) Thornton, Ernest
McBride, Neil Pavitt, Laurence. Thorpe, Jeremy
MacColl, James Pentland, Norman Urwin, T. W.
Macdonald, A. H. Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.) Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mackintosh, John P. Prentice, Rt. Hn. R, E. Wallace, George
Maclennan, Robert Price, Thomas (Westhoughton) Wellbeloved, James
McNamara, J. Kevin Price, William (Rugby) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
MacPherson, Malcolm Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Whitaker, Ben
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Randall, Harry White, Mrs. Eirene
Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Rankin, John Whitlock, William
Manuel, Archie Redhead, Edward Wilkins, W. A.
Mapp, Charles Rees, Merlyn Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marquand, David Richard, Ivor Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Mason, Roy Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Mellish, Robert Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Millan, Bruce Robertson, John (Paisley) Winnick, David
Milne, Edward (Blyth) Robinson, Rt.Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as) Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Molloy, William Rodgers, William (Stockton) Woof, Robert
Moonman, Eric Roebuck, Roy Zilliacus, K.
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Rose, Paul
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Ross, Rt. Hn. William TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Morris, Charles R, (Openshaw) Rowland, Christopher (Meriden) Mr. Harry Gourlay and
Morris, John (Aberavon) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.) Mr. Ioan L. Evans.
Moyle, Roland Sheldon, Robert
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Eden, Sir John Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Batsford, Brian Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Errington, Sir Eric Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Bell, Ronald Eyre, Reginald Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Farr, John Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'field)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Fisher, Nigel Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Biffen, John Gibson-Watt, David Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)
Biggs-Davison, John Glover, Sir Douglas Longden, Gilbert
Blaker, Peter Glyn, Sir Richard Loveys, W. H.
Bossom, Sir Clive Goodhart, Philip McAdden, Sir Stephen
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Goodhew, Victor MacArthur, Ian
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Gower, Raymond Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Braine, Bernard Grant, Anthony Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain
Brinton, Sir Tatton Grant-Ferris, R. Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter Grieve, Percy Mathew, Robert
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hall, John (Wycombe) Maude, Angus
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Bullus, Sir Eric Harris, Reader (Heston) Mawby, Ray
Burden, F. A. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Campbell, Gordon Hawkins, Paul Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Carlisle, Mark Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Miscampbell, Norman
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward More, Jasper
Cary, Sir Robert Heseltine, Michael Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Channon, H. P. G. Higgins, Terence L. Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Cooke, Robert Hill, J. E. B. Murton, Oscar
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Corfield, F. V. Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Costain, A. P. Holland, Philip Nott, John
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Hornby, Richard Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Crawley, Aidan Howell, David (Guildford) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver Hunt, John Page, Graham (Crosby)
Crowder, F. P. Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Cunningham, Sir Knox Iremonger, T. L. Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Dalkeith, Earl of Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Percival, Ian
Dance, James Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pink, R. Bonner
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pounder, Rafton
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Kershaw, Anthony Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Digby, Simon Wingfield King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Prior, J. M. L.
Doughty, Charles Knight, Mrs. Jill Quennell, Miss J. M.
Ridsdale, Julian Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon) Walters, Dennis
Roots, William Summers, Sir Spencer Weatherill, Bernard
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Tapsell, Peter Whitelaw, William
Royle, Anthony Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Russell, Sir Ronald Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Scott, Nicholas Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Woodnutt, Mark
Sharples, Richard Tilney, John Worsley, Marcus
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) van Strautaenzee, W. R.
Sinclair, Sir George Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stainton, Keith Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Mr. David Mitchell.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Iain Macleod (Enfield, West)

On a point of order. You had indicated, Sir Eric, that you would call new Clause 8, which is the last remaining Clause of this Committee stage. It raises, however, a small point, much smaller than those on which we have divided the House, and it might be for the convenience of the House if we do not move new Clause 8. That would complete the Committee stage of the Bill and make it possible for the Government to interrupt business when they wish.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the Third time Tomorrow.