§ Bill, pro forma, read 1a6
§ ADDRESS IN REPLY TO HER MAJESTY'S MOST GRACIOUS SPEECH
§ The Queen's Speech reported by The LORD CHANCELLOR.
§ 2.45 p.m.
§ LORD FRANCIS-WILLIAMS
My Lords, I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.My Lords, in moving this humble Address, I feel sure that your Lordships would wish me to begin by wishing Her Majesty success and good fortune in the journeys she is to take with Prince Philip to the Caribbean and to Belgium—two more to add to those most successful international and Commonwealth visits they have made, in which a deep sense of public duty has combined with a lively personal interest in the world and the people of all races and classes within it, to produce occasions which, for their grace and charm, live long in the memory.
In moving this humble Address I am deeply conscious of the honour done me by the invitation from the Leader of the House, and I have asked myself several times why it should have been that his eye fell upon me. I finally decided that it was a compliment rather to the noble Baroness who moved this Address last year, Lady Wootton of Abinger, because she and I are close neighbours and I can only assume that it was Abinger rather than me personally that he wished to compliment. Indeed, it may well be that, remembering, as I am sure he does, the works of a former distinguished neighbour of ours, Mr. E. M. Forster, he thought of A binger Harvest and thought that he would try to get a second crop. If so, I can only assure him that the best plums were picked last year. It is probably the case that the crop is now done for some time, for although it is true that there is a Member of your Lordships' House with even longer associations with the charming village of Abinger than 7 either the noble Baroness or I have—the noble Lord, Lord Abinger—he does not have the good fortune to sit on these Benches, and therefore it is likely to be many years before he is given an opportunity to take on this particular task.
I am advised that traditionally this is a non-controversial speech—something which, on two counts, I do not find difficult. In the first case, I regard myself as always a non-controversial speaker, and I am amazed when the lucid reasoning that I have put forward on matters, which seems to me to be beyond doubt, finds disagreement on the Benches opposite. But, on the second and more important count, it seems to me that the gracious Speech is so well balanced and so well suited to the times that it would be difficult for reasonable people to be controversial about it, though I dare say that in the forthcoming days some of us will manage to be so. It seems to me well balanced both in its omissions and as to what is within it. I will steel myself against the temptation to deal particularly with any of those omissions, although I imagine that they will be referred to on future occasions. But what we are concerned with is a gracious Speech which is directed, as all acts of government must be, to a balance both of purpose and of power, and to what is most needful and most practical in the occasion before us.
My noble friend Lord Addison has kindly undertaken to deal with those parts of the gracious Speech which deal with agriculture, with medicine and with higher education—a formidable combination of expertise. I am not quite sure whether the combination makes him a dirty book doctor or an educated agriculturist, but I feel sure he will deal with those subjects with great knowledge and wisdom. I personally am very grateful to him for leaving to me what I might describe as the general pattern that seems to emerge from the gracious Speech.
I believe that even though we may disagree on methods, for undoubtedly we shall disagree on methods, yet there are many purposes and policies contained within the gracious Speech to which we can all adhere. It seems to me that in this balance there are those great issues of international affairs which are a continuing purposes of this nation and to 8 which this nation, although much smaller in terms of actual military and economic power than it used to be, has yet an enormous amount to contribute in the field of statesmanship, of practical diplomatic knowledge and of wisdom in dealing with wide affairs. I think that we must all deeply support the attempt to establish and to get agreement upon a treaty which will prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. We must all also agree with any measures that will bring us closer to Europe, remembering always that essential need, as I see it, in national and international policy, to retain our close links with the Commonwealth.
Much has been said in the past about the imperialist traditions of Great Britain, and, frankly, I confess to your Lordships that in my youth I used frequently to dabble in such waters. But I think we can say that, of all the great empires of history, the British Empire is the only one which has, of positive and deliberate purpose, created new nations as members of a multiracial community of friendly and allied countries serving together in the world. It is, of course, with those ideals before us that we have to look, as the gracious Speech looks, at the grave problems which now face us in Rhodesia, believing that the efforts which have been made, with such continuous skill and courage, by Her Majesty's Government to achieve a reasonable settlement there, must be, and can only be, inspired by the motive of creating an independent community of value, a community acceptable to all its members and rooted deeply in those great multiracial principles which have inspired so much of the progress of the Commonwealth. I am sure that noble Lords in all parts of this House will wish success in those efforts, difficult though they are.
Second and hardly less important, on the international scene is the need to improve and increase the economic strength of this country. I think we all welcome the priority which is given in the gracious Speech to the need to restore the balance in external payments next year and to maintain the strength of sterling. If that balance of external payments can be restored it will be a very great achievement, and one for which the people of this country, as well as their Government, can take great credit.
9 I personally, am particularly gratified at the reference made in the gracious Speech to the efforts now being made to strengthen the world payments system. If I may be forgiven a personal story, I remember, as a very young man, writing an article on Jacob Epstein, the sculptor, who had recently produced a work called "Rima", to which the British public had reacted—as the British public do, from time to time, to works of art—by throwing mud and tar upon it. Following the appearance of this article, I was summoned to see the late Lord Beaverbrook, who said to me, "Young man, I enjoyed your article on Epstein, and I now want to persuade you to go into the City and write about finance." I was never quite sure whether this was a case of word association—of sculpture—figures—figures—finance; whether he thought that if I could write in an agreeable manner about Epstein, I could write in an equally agreeable manner about financial matters, or whether he simply wanted to do something to stop me writing about Epstein any more. But I did go to the City and spent many happy and rewarding years there.
As a result, I became (as I think happens to anybody who has been at all concerned with the City and the great financial enterprises there) deeply concerned in the necessity for finding sonic international currency system which would give world monetary stability without increasing domestic strain. That was a great, indeed, in many cases a paramount, necessity throughout the 'thirties. It is no less a necessity to-day, and it is very encouraging to know that discussions on this problem are now taking place among the Group of Ten, and that deputies hope to report to Ministers in the spring. It is encouraging, particularly, that we should find in these matters a close alliance of interests with the United States, though, perhaps not surprisingly, not quite so close an alliance of interests with France. We can but hope that success will be achieved in this direction, since in the long-term development of economic stability, not only for this country but for the whole world, finding a solution to this problem is of paramount importance.
But, of course, we have to develop our own domestic national plan, and I, for one, am encouraged to see from the 10 gracious Speech that a Bill is to be introduced todevelop the policy for productivity, prices and incomes.As I am sure your Lordships will agree, to seek to develop, in a democratic community, a policy for incomes and prices is one of the most difficult things in the world. It is enormously easy for things to go wrong. It is enormously easy, also, to criticise what is being done, and I want particularly to pay a tribute to the contribution and the attitude that is being shown in this matter by the trade unions.
I remember, some years ago, setting myself the task of writing a book on the history of the trade union movement, in terms which I hoped would be acceptable and interesting to the members of that movement themselves. When I came to decide on the title for that book I called it Magnificent Journey; and the progress of the trade unions in our history is indeed a magnificent journey: magnificent not only in its accomplishments but also in many of the great and wise men it has thrown up, some of whom we are honoured to have as Members of this House.
But in all journeys, and particularly in magnificent journeys, it often happens that the closing stages are in many ways more difficult, because they are more complicated, than the early stages. In the early stages, drama, fidelity, loyalty—all the great emotions which stir men—are called upon. In the later stages, when what is being sought is a fruitful partnership between Governments, trade unions and managements, the issues are often more complicated and infinitely more difficult to get over, in simple, understandable terms, to the men and women on the shop floor.
I think that great steps have been made. Obviously, much greater ones have still to be made, but I believe that we should all pay a tribute to the leadership of the trade union movement which is bringing the movement along in this direction. I should like, also, to add to that my tribute to the best and most enlightened of managements—and there are a great many good, enlightened managements—which are making great contributions in this national effort, for it is only by the joint effort of all concerned that we can hope to achieve success.
11 My Lords, there is the great area of social reform on which the gracious Speech dwells, and at this time and in this age, although pensions, education and other such matters are of great importance, it is clear that the central part of that problem of social reform lies in the field of housing and in the field of rating. The gracious Speech makes it clear that we shall be seeing a great deal of legislation on these issues. I do not for one moment expect that all that legislation will be non-controversial and wholly acceptable to everybody, but I do not believe that there can be any doubt whatever that it is necessary to take decisive action in this field and that, although there may be—and quite properly will be—some disagreement as to methods, yet nevertheless the purpose will be accepted.
We also have this great and complementary need for legal reform—a matter in which the noble and learned Lord who sits upon the Woolsack is particularly involved. We look forward with particular delight to measures in that field, because it means that we shall have the pleasure of listening to his graceful and lucid exposition of matters which are often extremely difficult—a lucidity of exposition which is balanced only by the courtesy with which he sits and listens to us, so that, certainly speaking for myself, one is often encouraged and tempted to believe that one is speaking better than one knows one is because he seems to be taking so great an interest in what one is saying.
Finally, my Lords, I would dwell only on a small but, as it seems to me, important measure: that for requiring fuller information to be given by companies, and particularly the disclosure of political contributions. I have never been able to understand the objection to this or why everyone was not prepared to take the advice of a famous Member of your Lordships' House, the Duke of Wellington, when he said, "Publish and be damned!" The only reason I could assume was that some feared that, if they did, they would be.
My Lords, in the forthcoming days we shall have a great deal to discuss. I am sure that although we shall be dealing with measures of great controversy this House will bring to them, as it always does in its best moments, that concern 12 for the public interest and that civility in debate which so distinguishes it; and that although we may from time to time disagree, yet we shall disagree as civilised people seeking utlimately a common end. My Lords, I beg to move.
Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:
Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Lord Francis-Williams.)
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ADDISON
My Lords, I am greatly privileged to have been invited to second the Motion for an humble Address to be presented to Her Majesty, and, in view of all the wealth of obvious talent among my noble friends upon these Benches, very much surprised. My noble friend Lord Francis-Williams, to whom we have all just been listening with very close attention, is of course a very worthy proposer of the Motion. He is a man who has reached your Lordships' House under his own steam—or perhaps by electrical generation might be a more appropriate way of putting it. I thought he made a magnificent speech. I can claim no such distinction, for the reason why I am here at all is, when you come to think of it, merely that an all-wise Providence failed to supply me with a brother older than myself.
It is my intention to touch upon some of those matters mentioned in the gracious Speech which have not been referred to by my noble friend. Agriculture is an industry with a key role to play in the National Plan, and it is expected to make two important contributions towards the growth of the economy and the achievement of a satisfactory balance-of-payments situation. Farmers will be asked, first, to save imports by increased production, and, secondly, to continue to release labour to other sectors of industry to try to help meet deficiencies by the extension and development of their own scientific methods. The growth in the demand for food in this country it is estimated may reach £200 millions by 1970. Our market for food 13 is expanding, and our farmers must have the opportunity to secure a major part of the expansion. The Government's policy is designed to help them to do so. The agricultural industry will be guided by a long-term plan with a clear indication of the directions in which expansion is required.
The resources needed for this selective expansion and the progress made will be examined with the Farmers' Unions at each Annual Review, when an appraisement will be made of conditions and prospects in the light of current information. The Government have already given assurances that, subject to there being no dramatic changes in circumstances, they intend to maintain the guaranteed prices for fat cattle for the next three years. Assurances have also been given that the standard quantities for wheat and barley are not to be reduced below existing levels during the same period, but will be related to the expected growth in the market. Policies are designed to deal with the question of the low-income farm, and to assist in raising farmers' income by improving productivity generally.
In order to assist the small farmer, the new Small Farmers' Business Management Scheme has been designed to make assistance available to a further 40,000 farmers whose businesses were over the size of that dealt with in the old Small Farmers' Scheme, so a great many more farmers will now be included. It is also proposed to encourage co-operation through a new scheme of grants which will be of value to small farmers and designed to enable them to get the benefits of much larger-scale trading. Hill and upland farms and forestry will be helped by the development of these areas by means of rural development boards. Comprehensive proposals for grants towards amalgamation costs are designed to deal with those farm businesses which cannot by themselves yield a reasonable livelihood, and provision is also made for the voluntary sale of land to the State where no immediate opportunities for amalgamation exist. The Farm Improvement Scheme will be developed and extended, as well as the efficiency of marketing, by the establishment of a Meat and Livestock Commission.
These are some of the matters to be dealt with in the legislation to come be- 14 fore your Lordships, but legislation will also provide a statutory basis for new grants to encourage farm business recording and to improve facilities for agricultural credit. Progress in productivity and the solution of such basic problems as organisation, structure and marketing are the surest way of assisting the industry to improve its own income by becoming less dependent upon Exchequer assistance.
The Government have already expressed their acceptance of the proposals contained in the Molony Committee Report on Consumer Protection, and I understand that the new legislation mentioned in the gracious Speech is likely to go beyond the Molony Committee proposals in certain important respects, such as making oral, as well as written, misrepresentation an offence, and by covering the advertisement of services as well as advertisement of goods. It was envisaged in a statement made in another place last April that powers would be obtained under new legislation to require informative labelling of particular classes of goods and to issue statutory definitions of trade terms. It would lay upon local authorities a duty of enforcement. Powers to require labelling and statutory definition of trade terms and those related to advertisements of services are new powers not covered by existing legislation. Legislation relating to the advertisement of goods is designed to clear up certain obscurities in the present law.
My Lords, I am sure that a general welcome will be given to the reference in the gracious Speech to higher education. Ever since the publication of the Report of the Committee presided over by the noble Lord, Lord Robbins (whose name, I am sure, will be permanently associated or coupled in our minds with higher education), the objectives have, I think, been universally accepted: that our educational system should provide higher education for all who can profit by it and who wish to receive it, not only for the benefit of the individual but for the benefit of the community as a whole. Legislation affecting the older Scottish universities is, I am sure, the fruit of careful collaboration between the universities and the Government, following the reference to the subject in the Robbins Report. At Oxford, Cambridge, London, and in some Welsh universities, there has 15 been a good deal of such self-examination. Much credit is due to the Secretary of State for the rapidly expanding developments for teacher training and the establishment of a Royal Commission on Medical Education; and colleges of advanced technology are about to become full members of the university family. All this is, I think, evidence of a dynamic approach to these important subjects.
The gracious Speech refers tofurther advances in secondary education on comprehensive lines.Although on this matter there may be some contention, a great deal of progress has already been made by many local authorities in the development of the comprehensive organisation of secondary schools. Other local authorities will now he working out plans on the lines requested by the circular issued last July. The appointment of a Public Schools Commissionto advise on the best way of integrating the public schools with the State systemwill provide an opportunity for an intensive study of a problem of the widest public and social importance. I hope that these developments will not need to aggravate Party differences, and I hope that from the Commission, when it is appointed, will emerge proposals that will ensure that all schools are used in the most effective ways for the benefit of the young people of the nation as a whole.
The gracious Speech also refers to the introduction of legislation giving the nationalised industries powers to carry out manufacturing processes. This follows a statement made on March 31 in another place by the Minister, when he indicated that the Government intended to provide freedom for the British Railways Board and other nationalised bodies to develop their manufacturing resources to the best effect. At present, of course, such bodies are debarred from selling to private industry or for export. In the Government's view it is desirable, and in the national interest, that the best use should be made of all such resources and manufacturing ability. In the view of the Government there seems no reason why nationalised industries should not have the same scope to compete for orders as 16 private industry possesses; and I understand that new legislation will be introduced to enable this policy to be developed.
My Lords, reference is also made in the gracious Speech to road safety; and, indeed, this has become an ever-present and increasing problem. We are told that road traffic is likely to treble by the end of the century. We simply cannot contemplate a multiplication of the record figures of road casualties, amounting at present to an average of nearly 1,000 casualties every day of the year. Nobody knows the answer to this problem; but, obviously, safer and more modern roads in towns and cities are an essential feature of future policy; as are safer vehicles and better drivers. Vehicle design has undoubtedly improved. The question is whether maintenance has kept pace with it.
Another point on road safety is the problem of drink and driving, a subject on which early legislation has already been promised. A large number of fatal accidents are still caused through the effects of drink, and any action which can be taken must receive universal approval. Here perhaps I might put a personal view. There is, of course, the idea that steps should be taken to try to restore some of the road traffic to the railways. But it is difficult to see how the present policy of the Railways Board, of pulling down the railway stations and pulling up the unused track, is conducive to the future public interest. It seems to me that the Railways Board, over whom the Minister seems to have little control, may be disclosing a certain lack of responsibility in this direction.
In dealing with matters related to the National Health Service, I should first declare some personal interest, in so far as I am chairman of one of the Regional Hospital Boards; but I particularly welcome the reference in the gracious Speech to the introduction of legislation relating to general practitioners. There has been, as is well known, great unhappiness among general practitioners over their working conditions in the National Health Service; and, whatever the reasons, the two reports of the negotiations between the Minister and the doctors' representatives give ample promise of improvement both in the conditions and in the standards of practice. We all hope. I am sure, that 17 continued negotiations will lead to further developments.
A particular need, perhaps, is the setting up of a finance corporation to assist doctors to provide their own premises; and it is very heartening to know that assistance on these lines is now in prospect. It seems that one may now assume that there is unlikely to be any widespread withdrawal from the Health Service. I might add, while on the subject of provision of premises, that I hope this does not in any way inhibit the growth of interest among doctors and local authorities in the provision of health centres where family doctors and local authority services can he provided jointly, with a proper supporting staff. Such services have much in common, and common premises can go a long way to assist in concerted development.
The way in which your Lordships' business is conducted is, to my mind, a model of Parliamentary procedure. In the years when my father was Leader of the Labour Party in your Lordships' House, during the period in office of the last Labour Government, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, led the Opposition. His statesmanship and wisdom made it possible for a great programme of Parliamentary business to be passed through, although in those days in your Lordships' House there was a mere handful of supporters for the Government. My father and the noble Marquess became great friends, with a mutual respect and understanding; and it has always seemed to me that there is here an object lesson in Parliamentary Government which must be learnt—and in some cases, I am afraid, has still to be learnt—by some of the younger emergent Governments, within the British Commonwealth as well as outside it.
The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, who now leads the Opposition here, is a worthy successor to the noble Marquess. It happens that he and I have been acquainted for very many years. We on this side of the House have come to like him very much and I hope and trust that he will be able to continue to control his "heavy artillery", with the same efficiency as his noble predecessor did. It is the hope of noble Lords on these Benches that the noble Lord. Lord Carrington, will lead the Opposition for many years.
18 May I, in closing, apologise for the condition of my voice and my throat on this occasion? I congratulate the Government on the programme which lies ahead; and take the opportunity to express the hope that the new legislation may pass through your Lordships' House with the tolerance and expedition to which we have become accustomed. My Lords, I beg leave to second the Motion for the humble Address.
§ 4.31 p.m.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, it is my agreeable duty to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the humble Address. The two speeches which have to be made on this occasion are, I think, the most difficult that a politician is ever called upon to make. As a member of the Government Party, he is expected to support and welcome the policies outlined in the Queen's Speech, and support them warmly and sincerely. Indeed, if he does not, he runs the grave risk of displeasing those who sit in front of him and who have laboured long and earnestly to give birth to the proposals in the Speech. At the same time, he must so phrase his remarks as to convey to the Opposition that he is himself a most reasonable middle-of-the-road man, who does not for one moment believe that any of the proposals will be contentious, or fail to be supported by men of good will. This is often a pretty difficult balancing act, and I should be less than honest if I did not tell your Lordships that I can recollect occasions when, on this side of the House and on the other side, there was a momentary loss of equilibrium.
In selecting the noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams, for the honour of moving the humble Address, the noble Earl the Leader of the House chose one of the more robust controversialists among us, as he himself confessed this afternoon. Indeed, it has been one of the most refreshing things about Lord Francis-Williams that he has contributed to your Lordships' debates with vigour and originality and has put the view of his Party and himself in a most forthright and agreeable fashion. It must therefore have been doubly difficult for the noble Lord to restrain himself on this occasion, but I think your Lordships will agree that he succeeded this afternoon in making a speech which certainly followed, and 19 which indeed set, a high standard of speeches of this kind.
As your Lordships will know, the noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams, is a journalist. He has had a very distinguished career in that profession and in the allied profession of public relations. He is also an author. I have always thought him a rather cheerful person and I was not at all surprised to learn, when I looked it up, that he has written books with such optimistic titles as The Rise of the Trade Unions and The Rise of the Labour Party. But something must have happened to the noble Lord somewhere along the road, because he suddenly came out with a book called Democracy's Last Battle. I hope that his experience in your Lordships' House has revived his faith in democracy and cheered him up a bit.
For some time past the noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams, has written in various periodicals a column on the Press—a journalist writing about journalists and journalism. I read his contributions and one thing that has struck me about them is his very fair-minded attitude towards his own profession. When he thinks that the Press is wrong, when he considers that the high standards of journalism are not being maintained, he does not hesitate to say so. The fact that he, as a working journalist of great experience, has come out both in defence and in criticism of his profession has helped to maintain its reputation, and indeed the reputation of the noble Lord. The advent of Life Peers has greatly added to the strength of debate in your Lordships' House, and not least among those who have contributed to that is the noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams.
From that fashionable breed, the Life Peer, I now turn to that unfashionable species, the Hereditary Peer, in the shape of the noble Viscount, Lord Addison. I have a suspicion that the noble Viscount, however fond he was of, and however much he admired, his distinguished father (I know that he did both those things) must sometimes get a little tired of the references made to his noble father whenever the noble Viscount himself makes a speech; and so I will content myself by saying only that I am quite certain that if his father could have heard the speech made by the noble 20 Viscount this afternoon—your Lordships will remember that the noble Viscount's father was no mean performer himself, and one of the shrewdest judges of a Parliamentary performance that any of us are ever likely to know—he would have been greatly pleased by the manner and content of his son's speech.
Lord Addison has been a Member of your Lordships' House for a number of years, and, if he will forgive me for saying so—I mean this in the nicest possible way—he is the sort of Peer whom Whips pray for. He is conscientious in his attendance, and on occasions when his presence is particularly required he can always be relied on. Yet he is not, like some, always anxious to speak, and speaks only when he has something of value to contribute. Those of us who have listened to the speeches made by the noble Viscount appreciate them all the more for that. At the same time, he is not very likely to rebel against the Whips and whipping, largely, no doubt, out of a conviction that his Party is right, but also, I think, because he is essentially loyal to the organisation to which he belongs. What more could a Whip want than that—a fairly silent and very faithful supporter? My Lords, I am empowered, on behalf of my noble friend Lord St. Aldwyn to offer him a handsome transfer fee should the noble Viscount ever get restive on the Benches opposite.
There are two other matters to which I should like to refer. First, all of us must have been greatly saddened this morning to learn of the death of the noble Viscount, Lord Hall. He was a much liked and respected Member of this House, and as its Deputy Leader for a number of years, when Lord Addison's father was Leader, he played a large part in the smooth working of the House. He was proud of the fact that he was First Lord of the Admiralty for many years and he was, and is, as I know at firsthand, remembered at the Admiralty with much affection. We send our deep sympathy to his family.
The gracious Speech contains many proposals for legislation and we shall have opportunities to discuss them during the coming Session. There are, I think, some sixteen fairly major Bills outlined in the proposals. May I urge the Leader of the House to ensure that some of them 21 start in this House and that we are not left in the usual position of having no legislation until late in the summer, when, at the end of a very long Session, the Government expect us to sit long hours and to do quite a lot of overtime? It is a very unsatisfactory way of doing business and I can think of no other organisation which would do this. We on these Benches rely on the noble Earl, Lord Longford, to put the matter right.
Having said that, my Lords, let me say, on behalf of your Conservative Lordships, that we look forward to an agreeable Session—however long or short it may be—under the amiable leadership of the noble Earl, Lord Longford. We will do our best to assist in the proper working of the House. We will be constructive in our criticism, and I hope that we shall maintain and increase the reputation of this House which, I believe, has been rising steadily in the past few years.
§ 4.39 p.m.
My Lords, for some years I have been very conscious of the disadvantage of following the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. To have to follow him is an impossible task because he always puts so much better what one is expected to say. In however a rather weak and halting way I should like to support everything the noble Lord has said, but before I turn to the two noble Lords who have spoken, may I say that we on these Benches are equally sad at the unfortunate and sad death of the noble Viscount, Lord Hall. We all remember him as a kindly and most able man when he was Deputy Leader of your Lordships' House.
The noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams, gave us an exhibition of balancing which was a masterpiece. We must congratulate him very much on holding in check what could have spouted from his breast and what he did not allow to spout publicly. I think we must also congratulate the noble Earl the Leader of the House on having the pluck to choose the noble Lord, Lord Francis-Williams, and risking what he did risk, but we are extremely glad at how it came off. As the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said, the noble Viscount, Lord Addison, has a double claim on our affection: first, as the son of one whom I may fairly call a really loved Leader of your Lordships' House, and, secondly, in his own 22 right, for his high intelligent modesty and for his modest high intelligence, both of which we value so much. If I may touch on a personal note, many years ago, in the almost forgotten reign of Edward VII, the noble Viscount and I went to school together as small boys and ever since then I have appreciated his kindly charm which grows with the years. In congratulating both noble Lords, may I say that we on these Benches most heartily support this Motion?
§ 4.41 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF LONGFORD)
My Lords, I should like to support both the last two speakers, who have so gracefully expressed their congratulations to the Mover and Seconder of the humble Address. May I also say how much we on these Benches, and I am sure the whole House, appreciate the words that they used about Lord Hall. It seems only yesterday, though in fact it is sixteen or seventeen years, since he was playing a leading part in the Iron and Steel Bill.
I remember (though I have not been able to trace the reference to-day) a reply that was made to him by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who disagreed strongly with the content of Lord Hall's speech, but said that Lord Hall was held to a quite exceptional degree in the affection and respect of the whole House. I am sure that those words were used with deep feeling. They certainly met with a response throughout the House. I am sure that all who remember Lord Hall—and there are many in this House, in another place and in all parts of the country—will echo those words this afternoon. Lord Hall and Lord Lawson, to whom, for one reason or another, we have not had an opportunity of referring in this House, represented a kind of breakthrough in the history of your Lordships' House, in the course of which the older House, with all its strength and weakness, and its fine traditions, had begun to give way to a House of Lords in which all sections of the community have been more widely represented.
There have been references to Life Peers and Hereditary Peers, and to Peers of one kind or another. I am not the only Member of the House who is both a hereditary Peer and a Peer of first 23 creation. The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, and other noble Lords are in the same position. I think that I can say dispassionately that the welcome extended to newcomers by the older inhabitants was greatly facilitated by the fact that some of the new arrivals were men of the calibre of Lord Hall and Lord Lawson—men of extraordinary kindliness, but with a firmness of character that made them respected wherever they were encountered, either in high places or low. Lord Hall had worked up from what I might call the bottom to what I might call the top—all the more remarkably, because nobody was less self-seeking than he. He was always thinking of the community. I am sure that the whole House—if I may speak for the House for a moment—will join the noble Lords, Lord Carrington and Lord Rea, in sending our deep sympathy to his family.
Now I come to the Mover and the Seconder of the humble Address. My noble friend Lord Francis-Williams has achieved success in many fields. He has achieved success as an author. I like his last book best of them all, though some people have preferred his Last Battle. It is a penetrating and severe, though not quite merciless, exposure of a number of leading figures of our century. He has also made his mark as a Tv. star and as a controller, even as a censor, of the Press. I imagine that that is an aspect of his past on which he does not dwell so much in his latter days. And, of course, he has been a famous editor.
But he has not sought the easy way to success. He chose to edit the Daily Herald, which has never been a short cut to fame and fortune. I am sure that if any editor could have kept the Daily Herald alive, it would have been my noble friend. But it was not to be. Then he accepted the rôle of public relations officer to my noble friend Lord Attlee, when Prime Minister. I suppose that it was a somewhat arduous task to persuade Lord Attlee to court the Press and build up what would now be called an "image". However, that did not dismay my noble friend Lord Francis-Williams, and he has written about Lord Attlee in interesting ways. To-day he is not only an author but also an organiser of authors: he is trying to turn authordom into a lucrative profession. Again, I think that 24 it is the romantic streak in my noble friend which leads him to embark on these not always hopeful causes.
I agree with the noble Lords, Lord Carrington and Lord Rea, who saluted him as a controversialist. I do not mind giving away a secret. When we on the Front Bench are perhaps a little "bloody" and a little "bowed" as a result of battling with the other side, we call in my noble friend. He is what the Prison Service call the "heavy mob"—the people who are brought in to deal with the very recalcitrant prisoners. We look to him to bail us out on many difficult occasions. To-day my noble friend spoke in a very statesmanlike way. But it was difficult for such a controversialist as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, said he is, to avoid controversy. To ask him to do so would be rather like asking my noble friend Lady Summerskill to referee a professional boxing match: it would be somewhat against nature. Nevertheless, he came through extraordinarily well and made a marvellous speech.
I agree with much of what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said about my noble friend Lord Addison. It must be very trying to be continually congratulated on your father, even if you deeply admire your father, as I know my noble friend does. My noble friend is a stockbroker of eminence. Of course, stockbroking does not always go with politics. For a short, and far from successful, period, many years ago now, I was a stockbroker. I remember asking one of the partners in the firm whether he thought that stockbroking was a good preparation for politics. He replied, "I once had a partner who went in for politics, but I never heard that it did his business any good." I am sure that politics have not harmed my noble friend's business; but, equally, his knowledge of stockbroking is valuable in our debates here.
My noble friend was described as the answer to a Whip's prayer. I feel that that is the truth, but not the whole truth. His voting record is magnificent. It is still, I think, 100 per cent. Whenever there is a Division my noble friend takes part in it—and nearly always on the right side. But it might have escaped the notice of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that there was an occasion, not strictly a Party issue but one on which the Government had taken 25 a view, when my noble friend exercised his right of voting against us, in spite of a severe warning from the Whip. So noble Lords ought not to imply, however charmingly, that he is some kind of Party hack. Far from it. I recall that on that occasion, when I passed my noble friend, I asked him what he thought his father would have said to him, had he been leading the House, and my noble friend replied, "My father would have been too sensible to allow the situation to arise." My noble friend also made an admirable speech, which has been deeply appreciated.
My Lords, I will not say any more this afternoon. We shall soon be involved in controversy. I would just refer, in a sentence or two, to the great changes that we have seen in this Chamber since the day when Lord Addison led the House and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was Leader of the Opposition. On this side of the House we have seen a great influx of Members. One might say that roughly twice as many Labour Peers are now actively engaged as there have been, on the whole, in the last ten years. As I have said before, the number taking part in debates and present in the House has also doubled. So there are new problems arising the whole time, and no doubt they will be met by new solutions.
I do not think I need become involved in any problems of statesmanship. The relationship between the two Houses is probably becoming increasingly clarified; and I certainly feel that, within recognised limits, this House has as great a part to play as ever. We are all equally privileged to be allowed to be Members of the House of Lords, and as we each serve with our own contributions, it is nobody's fault but our own if we fail to make them. The only thought that I have is a salutary one. I have some information here; others may have their own information. I am sure that there was never a time when so many desired to be a Member of your Lordships' House, which of itself is an indication of the vitality of this House 26 and the value the community sets on our deliberations.
I now repeat my pleasure in congratulating the Mover and the Seconder, and move that this debate be adjourned until to-morrow.
§ Moved accordingly and, on Question, Motion agreed to.