§ Mr. Speaker
Before the debate begins, I have to inform the House that formal notification has been received from the Government Chief Whip, the right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), that no general agreement on the specific number of days or portion of days for considering the Ports Bill in Committee or on Report has been reached.
The Chair is accordingly bound, under paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 43A, to put the Question on the Motion not more than two hours after the commencement of proceedings. The Chair will therefore be required to interrupt the debate, if it is still in progress, at 12.13 a.m.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)
I beg to move,That pursuant to Standing Order No. 43A (Allocation of time to Bills) the Standing Committee on the Bill shall report the Bill on or before Thursday, 16th April, and as respects proceedings in that Committee and on Report and Third Reading the Business Committee shall make recommendations to the House.This is a Motion under Standing Order No. 43A to bring the Committee stage on the Ports Bill to an end on or before 16th April, and asking the Business Committee to make recommendations on allocating time accordingly for proceedings in the Standing Committee and in respect of Report and Third Reading.
Any decision to use this procedure, which was agreed by the House after prolonged consideration in 1967, can never be taken lightly. I believe that no one disputes in principle the need to strike a fair balance between a Government's legitimate desire for a decision on a major Bill and the equally proper desire for legislation to be submitted to adequate critical examination. I think it is gener- 162 ally agreed, too, that there come occasions when any Government, of whatever complexion, will be faced with the difficult decision, like the present, on whether action is needed to maintain the right balance.
The principle of this procedure is not, therefore, a party issue. All hon. Members opposite will know that when they were in power they in fact made substantially greater use of the Guillotine procedure than this Administration. Between 1951 and 1964 they introduced 15 guillotine Motions. On the other hand, the Motion now before the House is the eighth introduced by a Labour Government in our eleven and a half years in office since the war.
§ Mr. Peart
I consider it essential for the maintenance of our traditions of debate here that this procedure is used only sparingly. A Government must satisfy themselves not only of the necessity for the enactment of a Measure without undue delay, but also that every reasonable effort has first been made to reach a voluntary timetable agreement.
That said, on what I hope is common ground, I trust we can all tonight avoid the charges and countercharges that tend to litter the ground on these occasions. I hope in particular that no one during the debate will equate any timetabling Motion with a gag on reasonable discussion. I am sure that the Business Committee in its recommendations will in fact provide the framework for a balanced and adequate discussion of the parts of the Bill which have yet to be reached. I have said that before introducing a Motion such as this a Government need to be satisfied on two principal counts—that the passage of the legislation concerned is of major importance, and that all reasonable attempts have been made to reach a voluntary agreement. As regards the importance of this measure, we believe that the creation of a single Ports Authority, for which it 163 provides, is essential if the necessary overall planning and co-ordination of our ports facilities is to be achieved.
§ Sir D. Glover rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way the hon. Member may not remain standing.
§ Sir D. Glover rose—
§ Mr. Peart
I will give way in a moment to the hon. Member, whom I know so well, if he will wait to let me just finish this passage of my speech. It deals with an important matter.
Amongst its other major provisions, we believe the Bill provides the framework from which we hope important advances will emerge in the vital partnership of workers and management in the docks. As my right hon. Friend has said, this legislation provides a modernised structuring and a better framework of organisation.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls rose—
§ Mr. Peart
I would say to the hon. Member that I am going to give way to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) who intervened previously. I will only say to him and to the hon. Gentleman who wishes to intervene that we regard this legislation as important. We intend to get it, and we intend to get it within a reasonable time, allowing adequate opportunity for debate.
§ Sir D. Glover
I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. In a very short debate, I appreciate how very generous he is in giving way. What 164 I would say to him is this. The Bill is a very complicated Bill, and I should have thought that the Government would have wanted to get it right. We have had a great deal of discussion on it in Committee to try to get it right. During the last five years, the Government have passed more legislation—[Hon. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—which has created controversy in the courts than any Government during the last 50 years. Would it not be wiser to give additional time to allow this very complicated Bill to be debated properly to get it right before it becomes a Statute, than to bring in a Guillotine, as the Government are doing now?
§ Mr. Peart
The hon. Member, quite rightly, intervened, but I think that he was trying to make a speech. I note his opposition. I think that the use of a Guillotine in certain circumstances is reasonable and he, as an old Parliamentarian, knows that this device has been used by previous Administrations which he has supported. I believe that we shall have adequate debate.
As I have said, we are particularly concerned to end uncertainty amongst those affected by the legislation and to ensure that the new Ports Authority is set up without undue delay. Of course this is our purpose. Otherwise, uncertainty about the future organisation of the industry is bound to cause personal anxiety and a loss of efficiency.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls rose—
§ Mr. Peart
Between the enactment of this legislation and the vesting of the country's major ports in the National Ports Authority, there is clearly a great deal of work to be done. It is, therefore, vital that the progress of the Bill is not unnecessarily delayed. This will allow the National Ports Authority to be set up and to put in hand all the preliminary steps needed to carry the reorganisation of the industry into effect.
This inevitably requires a reasonable rate of progress in Committee. This leads me to the consideration of the second criterion for a Motion of this 165 kind—that all reasonable steps shall first have been taken to reach a voluntary agreement. A substantial part of the Bill has already been dealt with in Committee; indeed, 50 of the Bill's 61 Clauses have already been taken, and I admit this.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. For the second time I remind the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) that the right hon. Member is not giving way.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, when anybody is addressing the House, should they not speak in language that can be understood? Since the right hon. Gentleman has on eight occasions used the word "reasonable" will he define what he means by "reasonable" in the context of his speech?
§ Mr. Peart
I would say to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) that here the aim was originally to have a voluntary agreement. As I have said, a substantial part of the Bill has already been dealt with in Committee and I have admitted that 50 of the Bill's 61 Clauses have already been taken, but what remains, including a number of lengthy Schedules, is not insignificant. I do not wish to occupy all the debate this evening, but many of the Schedules cover whole Parts of the Bill and are very controversial. They affect the National Ports Authority, the composition of ports boards, the advisory committees and many other matters, so we still have many important parts of the Bill yet to complete.
The proper timing of Motions such as the one before the House must inevitably be a matter of opinion and judgment. Bills introduced from both sides of the House have been guillotined even before the Committee stage has been started. I have not followed that course. The Committee considering the Bill has already had 24 sittings, some of them very lengthy and one lasting 15 hours. No one, therefore, can accuse the Government of being precipitate or impatient in putting this Motion forward. Indeed, I imagine that there might be an opposite 166 charge—that we have delayed too long. If that charge were made, I should be inclined to plead guilty. I did not follow the advice given to his leaders in 1962 by the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro)—a very distinguished Parliamentarian—when he regretted that a timetable Motion had not been introduced at the outset for a Bill introduced by his Government. He said:It would have saved a lot of our time and shattered nerves, and by now the Bill would have been on the Statute Book.He went on to say arrogantly:We are the majority in the House of Commons"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1962; Vol. 662, c. 992.]
§ Mr. Michael Heseltine (Tavistock)
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that when that occurred the Labour Opposition had permitted progress on only 11 out of 52 Clauses of that Bill?
§ Mr. Peart
No doubt that reflects the quality of hon. Members in opposition at that time.
I reject the arrogant approach. I consider it important that every effort should be made to come to some voluntary arrangement. Nevertheless, the time comes when action has to be taken. When this situation is reached, a time-table Motion has to be introduced. I assure hon. Members opposite that a timetable Motion is not the enemy but the essential foundation of proper debate. This fact was recognised, indeed proclaimed, by a number of right hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in office. It was certainly the line taken by the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) when moving a guillotine Motion on the Transport Bill in 1962.
§ Mr. Peart
The right hon. Gentleman accepts that. I could continue with extensive quotations of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but the progress of the debate does not require me to do so.
167 The House should be given a brief outline of the history of the Bill in Committee. The tactics of delay of hon. Gentlemen opposite have not been blatant, certainly not in the early stages. They were willing to come to short-term agreements. Indeed, up to the end of Clause 40 there had been reasonable progress and discussion of a considerable part of the Bill had been completed. However, on the crucial issue of reaching a voluntary agreement on the terminal date for the Committee stage, the Opposition were unwilling.
§ Mr. Peart
When in power, the Conservatives rejected that doctrine. Indeed, they said that they wanted Government business to go through. I am merely suggesting that, without such an agreement on a terminal date, short-term agreements on the remaining Clauses are insufficient. My right hon. Friend the Minister has done all he can to reach voluntary agreement on this terminal date, but on this fundamental point the façade of reasonable co-operation which the Opposition had been at such pains to erect has slipped and their true aims have shown clearly through. I am not complaining; after all, they are politicians opposed to the Bill.
The Government have therefore been left with no certainty of completing the Committee stage within a reasonable time, and with no alternative, Mr. Speaker, but to notify you that a voluntary agreement could not be reached. That is the sole cause of the Motion—the refusal of the Opposition to make a reasonable agreement on the terminal date. I make no complaint about this. The Bill raises issues on which the Government and the Opposition are fundamentally divided—do not let us be mealy-mouthed about it.
The reorganisation of an entire industry, particularly one as important to the national economy as the ports industry, is understandably likely to cause controversy. As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport has said:The plain need is for a new organisational structure for the industry; a structure within which we can have an industry which is managerially efficient, which can plan for the 168 future, which can command the whole-hearted support and loyalty of all those who work in it, and which has stability and strength."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th December, 1969; Vol. 793, c. 1677.]By passing the Motion tonight, the House will bring this prospect nearer. I therefore commend this timetable Motion to the House in the hope that during the remainder of the passage of this legislation we will all co-operate to see that it reaches the Statute Book in the best possible shape.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) must know that when Mr. Speaker is standing, he must take his seat.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not common practice in this House that when a point has not been made in the main speech one may put a question before the right hon. Gentleman sits down? Is that not part of the usage of the House before another hon. Gentleman gets to his feet?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order. If it is within the rules of procedure, have I your permission, Mr. Speaker, to make use of that procedure now?
§ Mr. Speaker
The Question is,That pursuant to Standing Order No. 43A (Allocation of time to Bills) the Standing Committee on the Bill shall report the Bill on or before Thursday 16th April and as respects proceedings in that Committee and on report and third reading the Business Committee shall make recommendations to the House.
§ 10.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Heseltine (Tavistock)
I am sure the House will sympathise with the Leader of the House in his approach that there is a need for urgency for Bills, that they are, in the opinion of the Government, necessary, and that progress must in no way be unnecessarily delayed. This is a legitimate view for a Government to take.
The proposals to nationalise the docks were promised in the March 1966 election manifesto of the Labour Party. Throughout the life of this Government the idea 169 was picked over by the right hon. Lady the First Secretary of State, it was altered almost beyond recognition by the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh), and finally was published by the present Minister of Transport on 26th November, 1969, three and a half years after the Government were elected.
How extraordinary it is that now we should hear the great deployment of an argument about no unnecessary delay and the urgency of the situation. Indeed, even when the present Minister had finally got the bit between his teeth, we find that the Bill was promised in the Queen's Speech on 28th October. And yet the Second Reading did not take place until seven weeks and two days later. In other words, the entire pre-Christmas part of the Session was wasted when we could have been getting on with the Second Reading of the Bill. But it will be remembered that the Government were so intent on fudging the capital punishment issue at that time that they had to put off the Second Reading of the Ports Bill.
Eventually, on 27th January, 1970, the Committee stage proceedings began. From the outset I offered to sit any reasonable hours the Minister of Transport required. I believe it to be without precedent that the Opposition had not opposed any of the Sittings Motions put forward by the Minister of Transport. In the second week in Committee we agreed to move to three sittings a week as from Thursday, 12th February. We then agreed to move to four sittings a week, which the Committee has been doing since 17th March.
It is therefore untenable for the Government to argue that we have been anything but a model of co-operation in order to give this Bill the consideration that it merits. Week by week we have agreed with the Minister of Transport what progress the Committee would be able to meet and week by week the Minister has accepted our timetable. Until 3rd March it was obvious that the Minister was satisfied with the situation, to such an extent that when his hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) suggested late on a Tuesday that we should sit later, the Minister of Transport overruled him. Until 10th March, there was no dissension between the Minister and myself on 170 the progress which could reasonably be made. By that time we had considered 40 of the 61 Clauses. Having looked back at the guillotine Motions of the last 15 years, I can find no record of such a Motion being applied when a Bill had reached such an advanced stage.
It was only when we reached Clause 41 that I detected in the Minister a certain reluctance to spend much time looking at that part of the Bill. But that part was the crucial part. It dealt with the relationship between the National Ports Council and docks labour. I should have thought that the Minister would have agreed that, for the two and a half hours on Thursday, 12th March, that we discussed that part of the Bill, there was not the shred of a case that the Opposition were delaying proceedings. Indeed, at that time, I offered to assure the Minister, so that we could make progress, that, before Easter, we would have reached Clause 49, on the Tuesday night, and that he would then have been able to make further progress on the Thursday.
But any of us who sat on the Committee know that the 2½-hour sitting on Thursday, 12th March, was the crucial discussion. It was the only occasion on which we had not agreed progress with the Minister and the only occasion on which extraneous factors influencing the conduct of the Committee were not at work. It was a crucial discussion, against the background of industrial unrest in the docks, of the Bristow Report, of the Tilbury container ban, of the Devlin negotiations. In those circumstances, can any hon. Member opposite seriously question that the Opposition were wasting time in spending two and a half hours looking at these labour relations?
Before we reached the sitting on the following Tuesday there had been two new developments. First, on the Friday the dockers had announced their determination to strike unofficially to bring pressure to bear on the Standing Committee. Second, on Monday, 16th March, the Minister, having claimed that he was not capable of being coerced, had made it obvious in the House that he was so capable, and that the following day he intended to bring pressure to bear on the Committee.
Therefore, on 17th March, when the dockers were marching to the Standing 171 Committee, and while the Minister was driving from St. Christopher's House, 10 Conservative Members of the Committee determined to make it clear that Parliament could not be influenced by that sort of outside pressure. Even if the Minister believes that we did not make sufficient progress on that Thursday morning—which I do not believe—there was one clear obligation which he personally owed to Parliament on that Tuesday, and that was to make it abundantly clear that he too could not be pressured by unofficial strikers.
Even at the most charitable, the fact that he allowed his threat to pressure the Standing Committee, made on the Monday, to coincide with his action in keeping the Committee sitting for 17½ hours on the Tuesday, all at the time when the dockers were demanding pressure to be so exerted, is a coincidence for which he bears a very heavy personal responsibility.
§ Mr. Charles Mapp (Oldham, East)
The hon. Gentleman is speaking of the Tuesday. Would he recommend the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), in which he said:I can assure the hon. Gentlemen that as from now, so far as I am concerned, we certainly will be working to rule in this Committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 17th March, 1970; c. 1115.]Perhaps he would comment on that speech.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I think that he was paraphrasing the remark of the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Dobson) when he said that he wanted the Bill and was determined to get it at any price.
To revert to what I was saying—that by Easter the Committee had completed its consideration of 50 of the 61 Clauses—at that time the Leader of the House decided to impose the dockers' chop on Maundy Thursday because he knew that there would be few in the House and no national newspapers on Friday.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I can well believe that the Leader of the House wishes to reject 172 that, but that is not enough. He did it, and it is without precedent that Maundy Thursday has been used for such an event. One may admire his Machiavellian skill in so timing his announcement, but never has such skill been used in such an unreasonable circumstance.
The Guillotine can undoubtedly be justified by Governments in certain circumstances. It has been and always will be used by all Governments. But in normal circumstances it is used where there is no progress after very few Clauses. It is used when there is no progress after perhaps a quarter or half of a Bill's Clauses have been discussed. But when five-sixths of a Bill has been concluded in nine weeks, it makes no sense to guillotine the proceedings. It is too preposterous to think of the Minister bogged down in the miscellaneous Clauses whilst the Opposition ramble on for four sittings a week. It is ridiculous, except in one circumstance—the strange situation that the Government, having wasted four years before bringing the Bill before the House of Commons, know that—
§ Mr. John Lee (Reading)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that if the Bill had been introduced earlier the Opposition would have supported it?
§ Mr. Heseltine
No. I suggest that had the Government concentrated more on introducing Bills which they promised to introduce and spent less time introducing Bills which they promised not to introduce, a great deal more progress would have been made.
The dilemma facing the Minister is that when the Bill reaches the Statute Book he has to vest the ports in the National Ports Authority, and that will take time. He will undoubtedly try to make up time by cutting corners. But the haunting doubt exists that the imminence of a General Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—will destroy the Bill. He is, therefore, prepared to use the Guillotine to try to prevent that contingency coming about. He knows that each week could be crucial in the timing of the Bill vis-à-vis the General Election. He knows that the Labour Party has not the slightest prospect of winning that election and, therefore, the Bill must go through beforehand. The Minister is wedged between the dockers who play the piper and the electorate who very soon will call a different tune.
173 The common charge in guillotine Motions is that the Opposition have wasted time with lengthy speeches in Committee. It therefore occurred to me to find out who had spoken the longest in Committee. I should not be so discourteous as to suggest that he whom I have in mind was wasting the Committee's time. Everybody knows that no Parliamentary Committee can do its work under the pressure of 17½ hours continuous sitting. If one looks at 23 out of the 24 normal sittings of the Committee, one sees that it was the Minister himself who spoke for longer than anybody else. The right hon. Gentleman occupied 1754 column inches of HANSARD with his observations, substantially ahead of any other Motion of the Committee, and especially of any Motion of the Opposition.
I refer very carefully to the Opposition as being the Conservative Opposition, because there is no doubt that all of us on the Committee understood that the Minister had his own problems, and there must have been times when he wished that his Front Bench was a swivel chair so that he could keep an eye on the enemy behind as well as coping with the enemy in front. It will be one of the curious footnotes to this Motion that the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo)—
§ Mr. Heseltine
—spent more time explaining to the Minister what was wrong with the Bill than did any Member of the Conservative Opposition, except those speaking from the Front Bench. Indeed, if one looks at it in greater detail, one finds that in 1966 it took the hon. Member for Poplar 13,500 words in his report of the Port Transport Study Group to convert the entire Labour Party to the proposals to nationalise the ports, but it took 40,000 words in 1970 to tell the Minister what was wrong with the Bill.
This must be the first time that a Government have found it necessary to guillotine an opposition comprising largely of their own back benchers. There is no shadow of doubt that this is a Guillotine with no justification, brought in partially for fear of losing the election, partially to appease the dockers, partially to make up for their incom- 174 petent timetable, and partially to silence their own back benchers. Not one of those is a good reason, but it would be too much to expect a good reason to justify the guillotining of a bad Bill.
§ 10.48 p.m.
§ Mr. R. C. Mitchell (Southampton, Test)
I am sure that those who have listened to the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) will have a great deal of sympathy for those who are serving on the Committee. We have heard the same speech over and over again.
The hon. Gentleman referred to the normal sittings of the Committee. He left out—deliberately, of course, to make his argument—the one sitting when we went all night. I wonder why? At that sitting his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) filibustered for hour after hour throughout the night. He made a speech lasting one hour and fourteen minutes in moving an Amendment. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will say that it was a vital Amendment. Let me tell the House what it was. It was to insert the words "individual or group" after "organisation". The purpose of the Amendment was to ensure that the National Ports Authority consulted not only any organisation, but individuals and groups. The hon. Gentleman spent one hour and fourteen minutes telling the Committee the difference between an organisation, an individual, and a group.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that if I had had more intelligent Members on the Government side to speak to I could have explained the matter a great deal more speedily?
§ Mr. Mitchell
The best way for the House to judge whether or not this was a filibuster or the penetrating analysis that the hon. Member tried to pretend is for me to read the speech verbatim. I can do that a little more quickly than one hour 14 minutes. The hon. Member started off by saying—
§ Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)
On a point of order. Is it right for an hon. Member to repeat what he has already described as a filibuster? Is it right to[...] filibuster from a filibuster?
§ Sir D. Glover
Is it not a long tradition of the House that all the proceedings in Committee and in the House are supposed to be read by hon. Members, and therefore do not bear repetition?
§ Mr. Mitchell
The hon. Member for Tavistock emphatically denied that Members of the Opposition had in any way delayed the passage of the Bill. I want the House to judge whether or not that is true. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House, and not only those who were on the Committee, have read the report of the proceedings. But we had to sit through them. The House will be in a position to judge whether or not this was a filibuster. The hon. Member rose shortly after 5 a.m. to move an Amendment to insert, after "organisation" the words "individual or group". He said:This is an important group of Amendments and I hope that the Minister will be able to accept some, if not all, of them. Amendment No. 396—".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 17th March, 1970, c. 1295.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the hon. Member that it is not within the rules of order to quote a whole speech made in Committee. He may make references to it.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I shall do my best to paraphrase the speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I shall quote one or two interesting points.
§ Mr. David Waddington (Nelson and Colne)
Will the hon. Member help the House by telling hon. Members how often my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) was called to order by the Chair during the course of his lengthy contribution?
§ Mr. Mitchell
I am not saying that he was called to order. He made a masterly speech. He kept within the bounds of order. I am not disputing that. But it is rather remarkable to speak for one hour and 14 minutes in moving an Amendment to insert the words "group 176 or individual" after "organisation". About half an hour before that he had spoken for just over an hour moving another Amendment.
I want to pick out one or two of the most interesting points in his speech. He took a long time to explain the difference between a group, an individual and an organisation. He gave us an example by saying that one man eating one orange was an individual, and three men eating three oranges was a group, but that if three men got together every Tuesday afternoon to eat oranges it constituted an organisation. I could not resist interrupting him and taking up 10 minutes of the Committee's time pointing out that if three men got together every Tuesday afternoon to eat oranges they constituted an Orange Lodge, and that the Bill had nothing to do with Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor
Can the hon. Gentlemen explain the difference between an individual, an organisation and a group in fewer words than I used in my little example concerning oranges?
§ Mr. Mitchell
That occupied about five minutes of the hour and fourteen minutes.
I will quote another passage from the hon. Gentleman's speech:I suggest that hon. Members opposite represent a 'group'. In other words, they are a collection of people who have not banded together at this moment for any particular purpose.That is wrong in itself.We could go out on to the street and see a number of people waiting for taxis to go home and we could say that was a 'group', but in no sense could we say it was an 'organisation'. If the Minister were to go down to the Tea Room when we have a break and see a number of people waiting there to obtain a cup of tea, he could not in any way say, 'That is an organisation. These people waiting for a cup of tea are, of themselves, an organisation.'Then the hon. Gentleman started quoting from several books. Taking one, he said:On page 91 of that document we have the perfect example, a common enough conversation in the East End of London. 'Look, Harry,' you can say, 'look after Betty for a couple of hours. I want to go to the shops.' A simple and, indeed, obvious assertion, perhaps, but this kind of thing is never mentioned by those who complain of the 'impersonal' quality of city life, I suggest to the Minister that if someone were to come to him and say: 'Look, Minister, look after my Betty while I go 177 to the shops', he, as an individual, would be doing a charitable act. If, on the other hand, several people came to him continually, week after week, and said: 'Look after my Betty', 'Look after my Margaret', 'Look after my Jeannie' or 'Look after my Flossie', that would be the basis of an organisation of people with a continuing purpose who wished the Minister to perform a regular service for them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 17th March, 1970, cc. 1298–1306.]This goes on and on and on in the same way—[Hon. MEMBERS: "Encore!"] No, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I will respect your Ruling. This was just one speech—
§ Sir D. Glover
On a point of order. Is it permissible in the House for an hon. Member who has not an original thought in his mind to purloin all the pearls of wisdom of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor)?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
So far, the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) is still in order.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I will respect your Ruling and not quote the whole speech, though I am tempted to in order to show that the Opposition, throughout that long night, filibustered time and time again in speech after speech. We had one long speech from the hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale), in the middle of which we had a five-minute pause for giggles. The hon. Gentleman could not contain himself any longer.
Throughout the proceedings on this Bill, the action of the Opposition has amply justified the Government's decision to bring forward a guillotine Motion. It is ridiculous to say that, in a Bill of 50 Clauses, there are only a few to go. There are still the Schedules, and the nature of the Schedules is such that we shall probably have all the debate on the Bill over and over again. We know that the Opposition are quite justified in their tactics to delay the Bill as long as possible. Equally, it is right for the Government to apply remedies such as this to get through what they regard as important legislation in a reasonable time.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor
The hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) and all hon. Members opposite have every reason to be ashamed of themselves tonight. The Leader of the House said that he was going to be reasonable. If he were arrested tomorrow 178 on a charge of being reasonable today, it would be very difficult to find enough evidence to convict him.
The Government have made it crystal-clear that they will use jackboot tactics to bludgeon through an act of nationalisation that is a matter of very real importance and significance. When they move a Motion like this after 50 Clauses out of 60 have been considered, they have not a shred of justification.
It is clear from what the hon. Member for Southampton, Test said that on 17th March there was a change in the Committee—a change in its pace, a change in our deliberations. What happened on that day? We know that 29,000 dockers marched on the House. That was the big change. It is becoming very clear to everyone that if some trade union leaders invited the Prime Minister to stand on his head in the middle of Downing Street he would do it at a second's notice.
§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts (Bedforshire, South)
Is the hon. Gentleman speaking as an individual or part of a group or an organisation?
§ Mr. Taylor
I am an individual within a group speaking to an organisation which will have no continuing purpose after we have a General Election.
The whole complaint has been about delay on Clause 41. But what happened on that Clause? Would the hon. Member for Southampton, Test care to look at what happened at the 21st sitting on Thursday, 19th March, on an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) to introduce port soviets into this country? This Amendment, moved by an hon. Member on the Government side, was discussed not in 10 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour, but took five solid hours. If there is any question of delay, let the Minister say where is the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), who spent so long on that matter. Is the Minister hiding him or locking him up? Has he told him not to come?
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Frederick Mulley)
My hon. Friend's wife is ill. That is why he is not here.
§ Mr. Taylor
I am very sorry. I withdraw that absolutely. I did not know that.
179 But if the Minister is complaining about delay on Clause 41 he cannot deny that five hours, including a whole morning sitting, were taken up by one Amendment, put forward not from this side of the House but from the Government side. The Clause was about labour relations, about the kind of industrial relations we shall have in the ports. Are hon. Members opposite really complaining that we spent time discussing labour relations in the docks? Do they think that this question does not matter? Is it not important? This is the first Bill in which workers' participation as such has been written in.
There has been only one nationalised industry where workers' participation has been tried, and that was the steel industry, nationalised in about 1966. In that year we lost 92,000 hours in the industry as a result of strikes. In 1967 we started workers' participation. Did the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) note an improvement then? The strike figure almost doubled to 155,000 hours. Was there an improvement in 1968? Sad to say, the figure just about doubled again to 284,000 hours. In 1969, there was an all-time high of 428,000. I do not say what is cause and what is effect, but when the Government experiment in a new kind of labour relations in one industry which result in strikes increasing five-fold in four years, we should think twice about bringing that system into another industry.
§ Mr. John Mendelson
The hon. Gentleman has introduced a serious note and has maligned an important industry. Will he also put on record the production figures of the steel industry, which are excellent now? Will he also put on record the fact that it is moving into a profitable position and that, in spite of attacks on it by hon. Members opposite, it is going from strength to strength? Will he also remember, when he blames the march of the dockers for his long speeches, that, in the Committee on the steel nationalisation Measure, when no dockers were marching in Whitehall, he could not make a speech of less than 40 minutes even when he tried?
§ Mr. Taylor
I wish that the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends has listened 180 to what we had to say about the steel industry. The hon. Gentleman is proud of the nationalised steel industry. What has happened? There have been three price increases in 18 months and £700 million has been written off the capital. Is he proud of that? Is he also proud that strikes have increased five-fold in the industry in four years? Is he likewise proud that the industry has lost £45 million?
The result of this Guillotine will be that we shall have to curtail our discussion of some of the remaining Clauses. The Leader of the House was kind enough to say that some of them were important. I plead with hon. Members opposite, before they vote for this wretched Motion, to look at what some of those Clauses do. Clause 54, for example, says that, if anyone refuses to co-operate with the Authority in enabling it to take over easily and without interruption the property, rights and liabilities of those to be taken over, they can be sent to prison for two years. Is it not important that decent, law-abiding citizens who happen to be engaged in private industry can, for the sin of refusing to give the Government papers and records, private and confidential as they may be, as quickly as the Government want, be sent to prison for two years or fined hundreds of pounds? Is the hon. Member for Penistone proud of that? Does he think that this is the kind of thing one should have in a democracy? He and the Government should be ashamed of themselves.
There are proposed new Clauses to be discussed. The hon. Member for Southampton, Test complained about me. He has put down an important new Clause which I was looking forward to supporting. It concerns the protection of the interests of the workers in the ports on the transfer to nationalisation. Now it will probably never be discussed because of this accursed Guillotine.
The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) has put down an excellent proposal for a Scottish Ports Authority and suggests that the Secretary of State for Scotland should be consulted. We shall probably never discuss his proposals. Is it suggested that, by a week on Thursday, we can get through all these Clauses and the 181 Schedules, discussing the make-up of the Authority and all that goes with it?
If we are asked as a House of Commons to send people to prison for not co-operating quickly enough with the nationalised industry, we should spend more than four mornings discussing it. No Opposition until that fateful day of 17th March have co-operated with the Government more openly than we on a controversial Bill. We have got through 50 Clauses, and there are only 10 more to go. The Government had no excuse for bringing forward this Motion, except their complaint about Clause 41. Are the Government saying that labour relations in the ports are not important? I ask them to look at "In Place of Strife", a White Paper they are probably only too glad to forget, for it was abandoned by them for the same reason—pressure from some trade union leaders. That White Paper, they said, was something that was crucial to our economy—vital and important. But they chucked it out.
In that White Paper are shown the figures for unofficial strikes for all industries, and at the top of the league by a long way is the ports industry. If hon. Members look at the recently published figures of time lost through strikes in the ports last year, they will see that hundreds of thousands of man-days were lost, and that in the ports industry is a situation that is the worst of any. I do not blame anyone in particular—this is a very serious situation that must be put right—but when the Government bring forward drastic and radical changes we should at least spend time discussing those changes, and that is precisely what we were doing.
The Government are quite right in saying that the Guillotine has been used many times before, and will probably be used again, but it is quite clear that the Government are concerned only with rushing this Bill through in a mad scramble to get it enacted before the General Election. Even those who desperately feel the need to nationalise everything that moves and everything that ticks—and we know that there are some who would indeed like to nationalise everything—should honestly ask themselves whether the right way to go about it is to rush legislation through in this way, which is precisely what is being done.
182 We have seen the Transport Bill rushed through with the aid of the Guillotine, and we have seen the consequences in some respects of that ill-digested legislation. This Motion is not the way to treat great industries, and it is certainly not the way to treat Parliament. I sincerely suggest that the Minister of Transport and the Leader of the House should stop thinking about dockers clamouring at the gates of Parliament and the industrial strife in the docks. Let them think once and for all of their country. Let them think of our ports. Let them think of what is good for the nation. If they were to do that, they would abandon this Motion and the nationalisation of the ports.
§ 11.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
I have participated in a number of debates on guillotine Motions, and I am not quite sure whether I have supported more than I have opposed. On the whole, I think that every such Motion should be seriously considered. I do not agree that measures should be taken by the House itself to truncate discussions in Committee without the House itself examining the proposition with considerable care. Therefore, I have, as I say, on a number of occasions opposed guillotine Motions proposed by the Government, and I have, as far as I can recall, on some occasions opposed guillotine Motions proposed by a Government which I support. But I must in candour say at once that I have had much more opportunity of opposing guillotine Motions moved by the Conservative Party than I have those moved by the Labour Party.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) is making a speech to a silent House, but was he in the House when the Leader of the House proposed the Motion? Does the hon. Gentleman know what he is speaking for or against in the Motion?
§ Sir D. Glover
On a point of order. Might I ask, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how it is that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) always seems to get 183 called in these debates, even when he has never heard the debate?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Member has been a Member of the House long enough to know that he should not cast any reflections upon the selection of the Chair.
§ Mr. Foot
I heartily support that observation, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
I very often find, as I am sure that the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) may have found during his period as a Member of the House, that one of the best ways to support the Government of which one happens to be a declared supporter is to make sure that one does not hear their opening speeches. It is in that spirit that I come forward to support the Motion.
I came in a much more serious frame of mind. I came feeling that I disliked guillotine Motions. I do not like to hear debate truncated, whether in the House or in Committee.
§ Mr. Foot
I listened to a considerable part of the debate, even if I did not hear the case for the Motion presented by my right hon. Friend. I heard the case against the Motion as put by the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine). That persuaded me that the speech delivered by my right hon. Friend must have been extremely powerful. Therefore, I have not the slightest qualms.
On a number of occasions, I have had qualms at supporting Motions moved by my right hon. Friend. If provoked, I could list the occasions. On this occasion, however, I believe that his arguments are absolutely right and I have not the slightest hesitation in supporting them.
That is one of the reasons why I listened with such care to the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor). If he had a good case against the Government about the Ports Bill, he would not have delivered 70 per cent. of his speech about the Steel Bill. If he had a good case against the Government about what they were doing in the ports, he would not have devoted so much of his time to 184 attacking what has been done in the steel industry. [Interruption.] If he was so incensed about that situation in the ports, he would not have indulged in such wild hostility to what has been done in the steel industry. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Perhaps the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) will interrupt from a standing position if he wishes to do so.
§ Sir D. Glover
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If an hon. Member is addressing the House when he obviously does not know what the argument is about—[Interruption.]—surely he can expect to have attention drawn to the fact.
§ Mr. Foot
The hon. Member for Ormskirk, who is not always reticent in addressing the House on a variety of topics, should take to heart the lines of Alexander Pope, who said:All hail him victor in both gifts of song Who sings so loudly and who sings so long".Having appropriated that description to himself, he should not interrupt others who happen to be considerably more relevant than he happens to have been on such occasions.
§ Mr. Foot
If ever there was a false attack on a guillotine Motion, it has been delivered here tonight. There is not the slightest sign of passion, not the slightest sign of reality or even of argument, and the hon. Member for Cathcart, who is supposed to be the most passionate on this subject, instead of devoting his time to the Ports Bill, has been furious about the steel industry, about which he knows even less than he does about the ports. Therefore, if it was in order for the hon. Member for Cathcart to speak to us at such length on the subject of the steel industry it must be in order to reply to him. It so happens that the steel industry—although it is extremely disagreeable to the expropriated hon. Member I see sitting opposite to me, and he dislikes the fact very much—is being run now in the interests of the nation 185 rather than in the interests of individuals—
§ Sir D. Glover
On a point of order. Could the hon. Member be asked to speak to the Motion we are debating?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Member is speaking to the Motion, and is replying to some of the arguments which have already been advanced.
§ Mr. Foot
I was even more strictly in order than I had suspected.
I would say to the hon. Gentleman, who is going—this is a mood we hope to induce—and who has so interrupted, and to that other hon. Member opposite who is so irritated, that they must listen to some of us who represent constituencies where there are powerful steel enterprises. We had to listen to some 10 minutes of strictures by the hon. Member for Cathcart denouncing what has happened in the steel industry. When we recall—
§ Mr. Burden
On a point of order. It seems to me that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) is turning this debate into a debate on the steel industry. As I understand it, this debate is on a Motion for a Guillotine on the Ports Bill.
§ Mr. Foot
The hon. Member for Cathcart addressed the House for some 10 minutes on what he considered to be the scandalous applications of Government policy to the steel industry, and he argued that, because of the way the Government had behaved towards the steel industry, they should not be allowed to apply the same kinds of methods to the ports. That, I understand, was his argument, and I was seeking to reply to it. What I am saying, as one representing a constituency in which the steel industry is operating powerfully, is that we believe, contrary to what is said by the hon. and expropriated Member opposite me, who is so irritated and angry because the owners of the steel industry are the nation instead of individuals—
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order. It is becoming clear to the House that this is becoming a debate on the 186 steel industry, although the Motion before the House is to impose a Guillotine on the Ports Bill. It must be within your recollection, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the whole of the hon. Member's speech so far has been about the steel industry. Can we be protected from somebody who did not even bother to hear the opening speech of the Leader of the House who moved the Motion? The hon. Member is doing himself no credit. He had a reputation as a debater until tonight. Now he will not have even that. Surely his speech is not in accordance with the usual procedure on a Motion such as this?
§ Mr. Roy Roebuck (Harrow, East) rose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I will deal with the point of order which has been raised. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) is replying to points which have been made in a previous part of the debate. The Chair will religiously protect and safeguard the rights of hon. Members of this House.
§ Mr. Roebuck
On a point of order. We have heard about protecting hon. Members, but could I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to do something to protect hon. Members on this side of the House from spurious points of order? Is it within your power to order the Serjeant at Arms to remove the braces and bootlaces of the hooligans opposite?
§ Mr. Foot
A note of flippancy is entering the debate, and for that the Opposition must claim responsibility. If they wish to make a serious attack on the Government for curtailing debate in the House of Commons which, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, is a serious accusation, they should make it in 'serious[...] terms. The hon. Member for Cathcart, far from wishing to make an attack upon the Government in serious terms, has sought to divert the whole debate on to the question of what happened in the steel industry. The House of Commons, and particularly the Opposition, does not want to know what is happening in the steel industry. Comparison has been drawn between the Measure which was being discussed in 187 Committee and the Measure dealing with public ownership of the steel industry.
What is misunderstood by hon. Gentlemen opposite—and I could quote to the expropriated hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton), who is so sour about the fact that he and his friends no longer own the steel industry of this country—
§ Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)
My concern about the steel industry was precisely expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor). The Government made such a mess of nationalisation that, irrespective of the merits of the general case, the organisational structure within 18 months had to be completely reshaped from a regional to a proper basis, and the whole scheme rewritten.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
As a result of this intervention the hon. Gentleman might embark on a debate on the steel industry. I must remind him of the Motion before us. I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) will relate his remarks more specifically to the Motion before the House.
§ Mr. Foot
I hope to do exactly that. The argument was that we should not agree to this Motion because the Government's serious failure in steel nationalisation must be applied to what they were doing about the ports. That was the argument of the hon. Member for Cathcart, and the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge has sought to renew that debate. I would be the very last person in this House to do that. In the debate a few weeks ago about steel nationalisation—
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
The hon. Gentleman has the point completely wrong. The point is that his hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) accused my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) of having spoken for too long on a particular Amendment. My hon. Friend explained that he spoke for so long because he was comparing what he was proposing in the Amendment with what was happening about steel.
§ Mr. Foot
I was not applying myself to the question whether the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart had spoken for too long. I thought that that view was universally acclaimed, that there was no dissent from that proposition in any quarter of the House, in any quarter of the Committee, in any quarter, by anyone who had ever listened to the hon. Member for Cathcart on any proposition. I do not think that the intervention of the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Geoffrey Wilson) greatly assisted his hon. Friend. I was saying that if we are to have a filibuster, we might as well listen to our hon. Friends as to hon. Members opposite.
If the Opposition wish to make a serious proposition about guillotine Motions, they should present it seriously. I am not sure, Mr. Deputy Speaker, whether you were in the Chair when my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test quoted what was said by the hon. Member for Cathcart in Committee. I cannot see why there was any possibility of his being out of order. He had only to quote a few sentences of that speech for the House to see that it was a filibuster.
Everybody recognises what the hon. Member for Cathcart was doing. Perhaps others have done it is their time? It is not the ultimate Parliamentary crime to engage in a filibuster. All we ask is that when an hon. Member is flagrantly convicted of having been guilty of this crime, he should not show such a visage of innocence as the hon. Member for Cathcart tried to portray. We all know that he has been engaged in it. We all know that he is the most talkative of his talkative friends. We all know that there is not one other hon. Member who is more garrulous than he when he sets his mind to it.
He was doing his duty. He tried to talk out the Ports Bill. We all understand that he hates the Ports Bill because it will be as successful in the ports as the Steel Bill has been in the steel industry. I know that the Opposition do not like it, but the Steel Bill happens to have been one of the most successful Measures passed by the Government—and that is a very high compliment from me. It is public ownership. Hon. Members should come to Ebbw Vale, or Newport, or Port Talbot, or many other places, to discuss what is happening in the steel industry.
189 I say this to the hon. and expropriated Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge who is looking so downcast—a more melancholy figure than that denationalised steel master I never saw in my life—that since he was expropriated, the steel industry has gone from strength to strength. We are going to do as well in the ports industry as we have done in the steel industry. That is why we are determined to have the Bill in time. We shall not have it sabotaged by a lot of people who know even less about the ports than they know about steel.
The Government are doing good work tonight. It is extremely gratifying when they follow courses which we have recommended. If only they would do so until the end of their days, they would be even more successful than we suspect they will be. But I hope that tonight—they do not need any encouragement from me really—the Government will throw out with complete contumely the opposition that is coming from the opposite side of the House.
I would also tell the Opposition that if they wish to show any sense of serious opposition in the House—we all know that a General Election is coming eventually—they must come clean. I see the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber), the Conservative Party manager, looking very serious; he looks almost as if he were a steelmaster. Hon. Members opposite will never take the steel industry back into private enterprise, never take the ports into private enterprise, never take the coal mines back. We know that.
I urge my right hon. Friends to push through as many public ownership Measures as they can. Once they are pushed through, the members of the Conservative Party have not the courage to denationalise anything. But they will not dare to say it. We have been trying to get them to tell us—why do they not do so?—which industries they will denationalise. They are making a great fuss about the guillotine Motion but do not say that they will hand back the ports to private enterprise. Or do they? There is silence. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) is the only person who dares to mention the word at all, and we know that he is out. He has a majority of three, and he is the man who is furthest from 190 a port than any man in Britain—and yet he is prepared to hand the ports back.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
What a pity tonight is. Until a minute ago the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) was an ancient monument. Now he is a ruin.
§ Mr. Foot
We shall not see the hon. Member for Peterborough for very long. He would not recognise a port if he saw one. If he turned north, south, east or west he would not be able to see one.
We are not very interested in what hon. Members opposite have to say, but if they are serious in their opposition to the Motion let them say that they are proposing to hand back the steel industry, the mines and even the ports to the market economy. Do not let them tell us that the pressure from the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) is so severe and his arguments are so persuasive that they are now saying "We must have free enterprise—Adam Smith, Richard Cobden and all the rest—back in the ports industry". They know it is right that the Government should have done this, and that it should have been done, as with many other things, years ago.
§ 11.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Berry (Southgate)
At the risk of being out of order, I should like to talk about the Ports Bill.
First, I should have liked to know from the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) whether he holds the same view about the present Minister of Transport as he did about a previous Minister in the last Guillotine debate, when he described the right hon. Lady as the only good Minister in a nutty Government.
The hon. Gentleman lived up to his usual standard. He told us the last time that he approached guillotine Motions in a carefree way and voted sometimes one way and sometimes another way. I do not think that anyone in the House cares at all how he votes on this Motion.
This is the most peculiar debate that I have ever taken part in. I still fail to understand why the Leader of the House has brought in the Motion. I listened to his speech with interest. He did not seem to give any reasons why this important Bill should be guillotined 191 at this time. It is a considerable coincidence that the Second Reading debate took place on the day before we rose for the Christmas Recess and that the announcement of a guillotine Motion was made on the day before we rose for the Easter Recess.
Guillotine Motions are debated on both sides of the House, using arguments for and against the use of curtailment of democracy in the manner of free speech. The Government claim credit for not having introduced many such Motions during this Parliament. Speaking for myself, this is the second time on a Committee stage that I have been guillotined, so it seems to me that this Government take this course rather frequently.
I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House that there is a great difference between introducing a guillotine Motion in the first year or two years of a Parliament when a Government has a fresh mandate from the people to carry out the work which they have been elected to do and the use of a guillotine in the last year of a Parliament, in their dying months, when they know very well that their mandate vanished some three years ago.
§ Mr. Berry
The hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck), who interrupts from a sedentary position, is one Member of this House who speaks even longer on the Floor of the House than my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), and talks very much less sense, if any sense at all.
I would remind the Leader of the House that when the 1947 Transport Bill was guillotined it was the first Guillotine in a Standing Committee in the history of Parliament. It was guillotined together with another Bill, the Town and Country Planning Bill. At that state one of the reasons given by the then Leader of the House, Mr. Chuter Ede, was that the Committee had had 11 sittings and had obtained only five Clauses. By the time the Ports Bill had completed 11 sittings, we had completed 26 Clauses. The other reason Mr. Chuter Ede gave for bringing in a guillotine Motion was that the Gov- 192 ernment of the day wished to avoid an autumn Session. I have a feeling that this year this Government, too, would like to avoid an autumn Session.
In 1962, when a similar Motion was introduced, and again on a Transport Bill, the party opposite used very strong language indeed about curtailing free speech and also referred to the harmonious atmosphere of the Committee at that time. I suggest that Minister would not disagree that the atmosphere in the Committee on the Ports Bill has been harmonious, that we have got down to a job of work and have done it well.
I suggest that it is grossly unfair at this stage to ask for a guillotine Motion when we have only 10 more Clauses and about eight Schedules to discuss. I would point out that, although I and my how Friends have down 12 Amendments to Clause 51, some of which have been selected and some not, the Minister of Transport has 13 Amendments down to that Clause. When we last sat, on Tuesday, 24th March, I decided not to put down any more Amendments to that Clause, but I now see from the Notice Paper which appeared on 26th March, the Thursday before we rose for the Recess, that there is down a new Clause by the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell), there is a two-page new Schedule and there are another five Amendments to Clause 51 by the Minister himself. That is what we will discuss tomorrow morning.
This is a disgraceful way to treat the Committee and Parliament. We have made good progress on the Bill and where progress has been slow it has been forced by the Government because of a new Clause, a new Schedule and 16 Amendments to the Schedules. The Minister is treating Parliament disgracefully in introducing this Guillotine at this late stage.
I am very surprised that the Leader of the House has given in to this pressure from his colleagues. I think that he will look back at this day as a very shameful one in his parliamentary career. He would have earned the respect of the House and the country if, instead of giving in to his colleagues in the Cabinet, he had had the guts to say to them what he says to us at Business Question Time 193 every Thursday: "I am very sorry, but not next week."
§ 11.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Barber (Altrincham and Sale)
It is an interesting reflection on this Motion and on the party opposite that, of the two back benchers opposite who spoke, the first, the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell), spent almost all his time dealing with a speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), and the second, the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), did not even take the trouble to be here for the speech of the Leader of the House and hardly said a word in favour of the Motion.
No one enjoys more than I do the sort of fun we have in the House from time to time in this respect, but we should recognise that a Motion like this, limited to two hours, is very important. Certainly, whichever party is in power—as the Leader of the House said, each party in office uses the Guillotine—this should be treated as a serious matter, because it is an important restriction of the rights of hon. Members.
Of course, no experienced hon. Member would deny that the Guillotine, however intrinsically unattractive, is, for any Government, a device of last resort, but the right hon. Gentleman was on a bad point in referring to the statistics of past guillotine Motions. The sole issue which we should be considering is whether or not the Guillotine is justified in the particular circumstances of the Ports Bill. The answer of any objective observer, of whatever party, must surely be that it is not. For reasons which I shall give, it is in this case a wholly unwarranted curtailment of debate and a gross abuse of the power given to the majority party.
We are all agreed that this is an important Bill. When considering whether a Guillotine is justified, it is relevant to consider the importance of the Bill concerned. I do not intend to quote what anyone said on previous Guillotine debates, but there have been occasions when comparatively minor Bills have taken an undue time in Committee. To be realistic, we all know that, on occasion, this has been because the Opposition of the day thought it right or advantageous to delay a particular minor Bill for wider considerations of opposition. But no one in 194 his right senses could pretend that this Bill—although it is not one of the longest, by the standards of some we have considered in recent years—is other than of immense importance and highly controversial.
It is intolerable that, after my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) and his very able team had co-operated with the Government Front Bench in Committee to the extent of passing nearly 50 Clauses—eventually, there were 50 considered—out of 61, the Government should apply a Guillotine as they are doing now. As my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock pointed out with absolute justification—nobody will deny this, least of all the Minister of Transport who, I am sure, has all the statistics before him—there is no precedent in modern times for action of this kind.
The Bill is of immense importance and it is highly controversial. Although it may be thought by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to be desirable, I suggest that the Bill involves the wholly unnecessary payment of £76 million of the taxpayers' money and provides immediately for borrowing powers up to £600 million.
The Leader of the House referred to it as a Bill to reorganise the entire industry. The hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), who, we understand, cannot be here for personal reasons, said that this is complete nationalisation without any loophole whatsoever. Obviously, this appeals to the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and others, because this is the doctrine of the Labour Party. This is Socialism. But this is not the kind of issue which should be steamrollered through the House of Commons when five-sixths of the Clauses of the Bill have already been considered.
Therefore, we are bound to ask: why are the Government imposing a Guillotine after 50 Clauses have been considered and there are only 11 to go?
§ Mr. Barber
And the Schedules. I shall have something to say about them later.
It can be for only one of two reasons: either through the sheer inefficiency and parliamentary mismanagement of the party opposite, which has characterised the Labour Government for the past five 195 years, or, as my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock pointed out in his opening speech, as a sop to the Labour Party's paymasters outside Parliament.
§ Mr. Barber
The people who give money to the Conservative Party do not buy their votes automatically.
Let us consider the first reason: the parliamentary mismanagement of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. After five years in office the Labour Government were still not ready with a Bill to nationalise the ports, despite the announcement to do this many years ago. The Leader of the House said about two hours ago that they intended to end the uncertainty by setting up the Ports Authority without delay. But they could have done this much earlier if they had been prepared. If they had brought in the Bill at an earlier stage—if they had done what they did previously with the Steel Nationalisation Bill, which was also very controversial—they would not have got into this great difficulty.
But we recognise, because this is the reality of the situation, that they were not ready at the beginning of this Session. The result was that they could not get the Bill into Committee until some time towards the end of January. However, if they were really determined to get such an important and controversial Bill through Committee by 16th April, which is the date in the Motion, it was, to put it mildly, crass stupidity not to get it into Committee before Christmas.
If there really is a possibility of an election in June, I can understand that it would be highly relevant to bring vesting date forward in time. If the Leader of the House will give us an assurance that this is the reason, then I, and I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends would follow suit, would not oppose the Motion.
We all know—the Leader of the House and the Minister of Transport especially—that the more likely reason for the Guillotine coming at this extraordinary time after five-sixths of the Clauses have been considered is the one which has been advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock. The fact is—and this is a fact—that the decision to impose the 196 Guillotine coincided with the unofficial strike of dockers who came to the House of Commons to demonstrate. It is no good hon. Gentlemen opposite shaking their heads. That is a fact of life.
I do not blame the Minister of Transport. I have known the right hon. Gentleman for many years, and I hope that I may say this without too much disrespect. He is a very honourable man, but it did not lie with him to take a decision of this kind. The truth is that we have now reached the stage when any trade union has merely to breathe a word of protest and the Prime Minister and his colleagues run for cover.
The Leader of the House said that the sole reason for this time-table Motion is the failure to agree on a terminal date. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that there were Schedules to be considered which were most important. He also described them as most controversial. Why should my hon. Friend and his colleagues, who had been co-operating so well in the early stages of the Bill, agree on a terminal date? This is a new doctrine as far as I know. It may be possible to say that we hope to get a Bill through by Christmas, or Easter, or Whitsuntide, but there have been many Bills considered in Committee where there has been no agreement on a terminal date because nobody has known the number of new Clauses and new Schedules which may be put down by the Minister. This is an intolerable argument after the cooperation which he have had.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart referred—and this is highly relevant for anyone who values the liberties of this country—to one Clause, which is yet to be considered, which provides a heavy term of imprisonment—two years—for anyone who does not co-operate in the manner desired by the Ports Authority. The Solicitor-General is sitting there. I am sure that in his heart he would be the first to agree that this is just the sort of Clause which requires the most careful consideration. But there we are. This is now all to go under the chopper of the Guillotine.
I should like, in conclusion, to utter a word of warning. This is not a case where the Committee's proceedings were hogged unreasonably by the Opposition. One has only to look at the figures 197 to see that that is so. This is a case without precedent, where five-sixths of the Clauses were disposed of when the Guillotine was announced. As such, it is a blatant abuse of the power which is given to the Government, and I give this warning to the right hon. Gentleman. Any Government supported by a majority in this House, and supported also in the other House, if they take that view, should get their business through, but it does not necessarily follow.
It is sometimes thought that a Government with an adequate majority are bound to succeed in what they attempt to do within the rules of order. You know, Mr. Speaker, and most hon. Members know, that that is certainly not necessarily the case. There would be no problem at all for any Opposition, or indeed for a group of Members, wholly within the rules of order, completely to wreck the Governmnt's business; and it is a tribute to the toleration and responsibility of successive Oppositions, Labour and Conservative, that they have always known just how far to go, and no further.
But no Government can rely on the automatic self-denial of an Opposition. The Government have a duty to exercise their power with moderation, and with due regard to the rights of their critics. The use of the Guillotine in the circumstances of the Ports Bill is an outrageous abuse of the power of the majority. That is why we shall vote against the Motion tonight.
§ 12 midnight.
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Fred Mulley)
A time-table Motion inevitably arouses a good deal of feeling, although in my experience it has been rather less evident tonight than on some previous occasions. Inevitably, too, the Minister who sponsors such a Motion is open to criticism. I accept my responsibility in recommending the Motion, and I share to some extent the feeling of my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council that if we are open to criticism it is probably that we have been too patient before asking the House to pass this Motion.
I accept that in presenting the Motion my right hon. Friend said that we have to have a case and that that case must be tailored to the Bill and the Motion before us. Before I reinforce what has 198 already been admirably presented by my right hon. Friend I want to make it clear what has not had any bearing whatever on the decision to bring in this Motion, namely, the fact that there was a one-day strike by dockers and that some of them visited the House.
I want to make it absolutely clear that it would be a very strange way of giving in to pressure—the pressure being concerned to oppose various parts of the Bill—to take steps to proceed with the Bill more quickly. Secondly, it happens to be the case that all the Clauses about which criticisms were made by the dockers who came to the House have already been discussed, and will not be caught by the guillotine Motion.
It may be that the Opposition chose these Clauses and this time not to make short-term agreements of the kind they had done previously, and to hold up procedure, because they wanted to make the maximum political capital from the minimum factual evidence. That may explain the Opposition's change of tactics; it had nothing to do with the decision by me to ask for a guillotine Motion on this subject. I repudiate any suggestion that the Government have given way to any coercion. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) made that point tonight. I had a letter from him before the dockers came here asking—and hon. Members opposite suggested this on the Floor of the House on the Monday—that we should not meet on the Tuesday. Was it not giving way to pressure to suggest that we should not meet at all because of the dockers? We must destroy any suggestion that this has a bearing on the decision and consider the matter on its merits.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor
Would the Minister agree that the reason I wrote to him was that we were concerned that the Government would not have the guts to act normally? Instead, we had Closures and all-night sittings on the very day of the strike.
§ Mr. Mulley
I am criticising the hon Member not for writing to me, but because his reaction was to give in by suggesting that we should not sit at all.
We have had 24 sitting now—84 hours in Committee—and we have two more sittings tomorrow, probably bringing the 199 time spent on the Bill to well over 90 hours before the Guillotine falls. In parliamentary time, that is already the equivalent of three full weeks on the Floor of the House, from Monday to Thursday. Is not that enough time in which to debate the Bill? Under the Guillotine—if the Opposition want it—we have the equivalent of 20 or 30 more hours, equivalent to another full week of parliamentary time on the Floor of the House, to discuss a Bill that is by no means the longest or the most complicated presented to the House.
Let us get the statistics right. It is true that we have completed not only 50 Clauses, but two Schedules, out of 61 Clauses and 11 Schedules, but at any time the Opposition can put down numerous Amendments. They can put them down at two days' notice, and then they have to be discussed. It is not unreasonable for us to suppose that what they have done in the past they may well do again.
The hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) chose some very selective figures about who had spoken the most in the Committee. In fact, 67½ per cent. of the total time has been occupied by the Opposition, and 32½ per cent. by the Government side. The three Opposition Front Bench spokesmen together have occupied 40 per cent. of the total time, against 20 per cent. taken by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and me. While it is true that, by excluding the all night sitting and one or two other matters, the hon. Member for Cathcart is not top of the league, the House should know that he was "rested" completely for Part II of the Bill.
It is also necessary to point out the time taken on Clause 41, which I agree is important, compared with other parts of the Bill. The first Clause setting up the principle of public ownership of the ports industry, was passed in seven hours. The first Clause on the takeover of the private port businesses, was passed in about nine hours. As I understand, the Opposition's most grievous complaint about the Bill is that we are not only taking over the ports but the port businesses. The whole section dealing with port businesses, was passed in 20 hours.
200 So I suggest that, when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite spend almost twice as much time as that on the industrial relations Clause, their motivation is not to make rapid progress with the Bill. In addition, as my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) made clear, during the all-night sitting we had a speech lasting 1¼ hours about oranges which I did not think would help industrial relations in the docks.
I do not complain about the Opposition using the rules of order to delay Government business. A skilful Opposition can cause very great delay. I do not complain about it, because it is part of parliamentary procedure. But, equally, the Opposition should not complain when the Government feel bound to protect their business while allowing a reasonable time for debate, and the figures which I have given indicate that there has been reasonable time. The Government can also use Standing Orders, surely. They are available to the Government as well as to the Opposition. That is why we move this Motion under Standing Order No. 43A.
The Opposition have not been willing to agree a time-table for the Bill as a whole. It is true that we have been able to co-operate on a week to week basis when it has been convenient. But, in planning the general process of the Bill, it has been necessary to know when it would leave Committee and, without moving this Motion, it could have been several months before we got to that point.
The Opposition have not been able to agree on their complaint tonight. The hon. Member for Tavistock and the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber) said that it was a scandal to do it so near the end, whereas the hon. Member for Cathcart, out of step again, said, "Is it not the case that we shall have severe curtailment of debate?", and he went on to suggest that we were depriving the Committee of many hours of fruitful discussion. Under the Guillotine, we can already have the equivalent of a further full week on the Floor of the House, and I submit that that should be enough for anyone.
The decision to move this Motion has nothing whatever to do with the date 201 of the General Election. I do not know when the election is likely to be. It could be that vesting date will come before or after it. But, despite the grave words of the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, I know that this industry will be publicly owned. The only question as to the timing is whether we do it before
§ or after the General Election, because we shall be the Government after the election.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 267, Noes 218.205
|Division No. 91.]||AYES||[12.11 a.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Latham, Arthur|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Lawson, George|
|Alldritt, Walter||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Allen, Scholefield||Faulds, Andrew||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Anderson, Donald||Fernyhough, E.||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Archer, Peter (R'wley Regis & Tipt'n)||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Ashley, Jack||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Foley, Maurice||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Luard, Evan|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Ford, Ben||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Forrester, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Barnes, Michael||Fowler, Gerry||McCann, John|
|Barnett, Joel||Fraser, John (Norwood)||MacColl, James|
|Baxter, William||Freeson, Reginald||MacDermot, Niall|
|Beaney, Alan||Galpern, Sir Myer||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Bence, Cyril||Garrett, W. E.||McElhone, Frank|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Ginsburg, David||Mackie, John|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Golding, John||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Binns, John||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Bishop, E. S.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Blackburn, F.||Gregory, Arnold||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.)|
|Booth, Albert||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mapp, Charles|
|Boston, Terence||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hannan, William||Marquand, David|
|Bradley, Tom||Harper, Joseph||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Maxwell, Robert|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Haseldine, Norman||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hattersley, Roy||Mendelson, John|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Hazell, Bert||Mikardo, Ian|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Heffer, Eric S.||Millan, Bruce|
|Buchan, Norman||Henig, Stanley||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hilton, W. S.||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Cant, R. B.||Hobden, Dennis||Molloy, William|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hooley, Frank||Moonman, Eric|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Horner, John||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Coleman, Donald||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howie, W.||Moyle, Roland|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Huckfield, Leslie||Murray, Albert|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Newens, Stan|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Oakes, Gordon|
|Davies, E. Hudson (Conway)||Hunter, Adam||Ogden, Eric|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hynd, John||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur||O'Malley, Brian|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Oram, Bert|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Orme, Stanley|
|Delargy, H. J.||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Oswald, Thomas|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Padley, Walter|
|Dempsey, James||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Dewar, Donald||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy Stechford)||Paget, R. T.|
|Dobson, Ray||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Doig, Peter||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Dunn, James A.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Park, Trevor|
|Dunnett, Jack||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Eadie, Alex||Judd, Frank||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Edelman, Maurice||Kelley, Richard||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Kenyon, Clifford||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|English, Michael||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Pentland, Norman|
|Ennals, David||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Sillars, J.||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Silverman, Julius||Weitzman, David|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Slater, Joseph||Wellbeloved, James|
|Probert, Arthur||Small, William||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Rees, Merlyn||Snow, Julian||Whitlock, William|
|Rhodes, Geoffrey||Spriggs, Leslie||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Richard, Ivor||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Thornton, Ernest||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Roebuck, Roy||Tinn, James||Winnick, David|
|Rose, Paul||Tomney, Frank||Woodburn, Rt. Hn, A.|
|Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Tuck, Raphael||Woof, Robert|
|Rowlands, E.||Urwin, T. W.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Ryan, John||Varley, Eric G.|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Sheldon, Robert||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Mr. William Hamling and|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Mr. Ernest Perry.|
|Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Wallace, George|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Emery, Peter||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Errington, Sir Eric||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Fisher, Nigel||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Longden, Gilbert|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Fortescue, Tim||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Foster, Sir John||MacArthur, Ian|
|Balniel, Lord||Fry, Peter||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||McMaster, Stanley|
|Bell, Ronald||Glover, Sir Douglas||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Glyn, Sir Richard||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)|
|Biffen, John||Goodhart, Philip||Maddan, Martin|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gower, Raymond||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Gurden, Harold||Marten, Neil|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Maude, Angus|
|Blaker, Peter||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Mawby, Ray|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hamilton, Michael Salisbury)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Body, Richard||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Braine, Bernard||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Monro, Hector|
|Brewis, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hastings, Stephen||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hawkins, Paul||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hay, John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Murton, Oscar|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Heseltine, Michael||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Burden, F. A.||Higgins, Terence L.||Neave, Airey|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Hiley, Joseph||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hill, J. E. B.||Nott, John|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Onslow, Cranley|
|Chataway, Christopher||Holland, Philip||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hordern, Peter||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Clegg, Walter||Hornby, Richard||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Cooke, Robert||Howell, David (Guildford)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hunt, John||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Cordle, John||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Percival, Ian|
|Corfield, F. V.||Iremonger, T. L.||Peyton, John|
|Crouch, David||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Dance, James||Jopling, Michael||Prior, J. M. L.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pym, Francis|
|Dean, Paul||Kershaw, Anthony||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Kimball, Marcus||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||King, Tom||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Doughty, Charles||Kitson, Timothy||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lambton, Antony||Ridsdale, Julian|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Eden, Sir John||Lane, David||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Royle, Anthony||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Temple, John M.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Scott, Nicholas||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Tilney, John||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Sharples, Richard||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Silvester, Frederick||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Sinclair, Sir George||Vickers, Dame Joan||Worsley, Marcus|
|Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Waddington, David||Wright, Esmond|
|Speed, Keith||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Stainton, Keith||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Younger, Hn. George|
|Stodart, Anthony||Wall, Patrick|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Walters, Dennis||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Ward, Christopher (Swindon)||Mr. Jasper More and|
|Mr. Anthony Grant.|
§ That pursuant to Standing Order, No. 43A (Allocation of time to Bills) the Standing Committee on the Bill shall report the Bill on or before Thursday, 16th April, and as respects proceedings in that Committee and on Report and Third Reading the Business Committee shall make recommendations to the House.