§ [No. 16]
Leave out .subsections (8) and (9) and insert—
('( ) A failure on the part of any person to observe any provision of a charter which is for the time being in force under this section shall not of itself render him liable to any proceedings, but in any proceedings—
- (a) any such charter shall he admissible in evidence, and
- (b) any provision of such a charter which appears to the court or tribunal to be relevant to any question arising in those proceedings shall be taken into account by the court or tribunal in determining that question.")
§ 6.16 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 16. This Amendment deals 936 with the fundamental question of what status the charter on Press freedom should have. In substance, Commons Amendment No. 16 proposes that it should have the same status as was originally suggested by my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby at the Committee stage of the proceedings on this Bill in your Lordships' House. There is, however, one difference. The provision of my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby gave the charter a standing in proceedings for breach of contract between a journalist and his employer, or between a member of a trade union representing journalists and their trade union, or in proceedings before an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal under Schedule 1 to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. However, in another place the Government accepted an Amendment which provides that the charter shall be admissible and must be taken into account in any proceedings before a court or tribunal in which its provisions may be relevant to the question at issue.
This Amendment, therefore, is broader than the approach of my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby. It differs from the approach adopted by the noble 937 Lord, Lord Goodman, in his Amendments Nos. 16A, 16B and 16E to which we shall shortly be turning, in that it does not provide for breaches of the charter to constitute new grounds for legal action. In other words, the provisions of the charter are not to be enforceable as such. This is, of course, a quite fundamental difference. We do not think introducing the possibility of court cases based on the charter is in any way likely to help the achievement of Press freedom, for the reasons we canvassed in the last debate. Indeed, we think that it is likely to prove disruptive in industrial relations terms and, as I ventured to submit to the House in the last debate, to be potentially dangerous for the maintenance of Press freedom.
What is proposed in this Commons Amendment is that although breach of a provision of the charter should not give rise to a cause of action in the courts, where a right of action already exists—for example, for breach of contract or on complaints to an industrial tribunal—the charter's provisions must be taken into account by a court or tribunal in any proceedings founded on these existing rights of action in which the charter may be of relevance. In other words, the charter will help to strengthen the existing case, but will not provide new grounds for a fresh cause of action. If Amendment No. 16 which I am now moving is accepted, the charter will have a status comparable to that of the Code of Industrial Relations Practice which has already proved helpful in guiding industrial tribunals. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord SHEPHERD
My Lords, I wonder whether it would be convenient to the House if the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, were to move his Amendments now and we then had a general debate. If we do not adopt that procedure we may be here for some time.
§ [Amendments to Commons Amendment No. 16]
§ [Nos. 16E, A, B and F]
Line 2, at beginning insert—
("Subject to the terms of paragraphs (c) and (d) hereof").
§ At the end of paragraph (a) leave out ("and").
After paragraph (b) insert—
("(c) any rule, agreement, act or conduct which is contrary to the provisions of the charter shall be deemed to be contrary to public policy,
(d) nothing in the charter shall be taken to restrict or abridge any right existing by statute or common law.").
At end insert—
("( ) In this section—
editor" includes any deputy of such editor;
material" includes any matter printed or intended for printing or broadcast or intended for broadcasting by television or radio.").
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Lord GOODMAN
My Lords, with the leave of the House I beg to move en bloc Amendments Nos. 16E, 16A, 16B and 16F to Commons Amendment No. 16. I respectfully agree that it would be more convenient if, in view of the hour, I said what I have to say and were as brief as possible and a general debate then ensued. May I begin by saying that since we last debated this matter very strenuous efforts have been made to see whether the difference between us, which is narrow but incredibly important, could be resolved and bridged. Unhappily, at this moment it still remains unbridged, although I do, not believe that it is unbridgable. With resolute determination I think that we shall find a way out of the dilemma that will reassure those people on my side that some effective remedy exists against injustice, which is really what this is all about.
I should like to pay a special tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, with whom I have had discussions and who I know has made the most strenuous efforts to think of ways of dealing with the matter. I have also had the very considerable assistance of discussions with the noble Lord. Lord Douglass of Cleveland, who has tried to guide me along the ways of trade unionism. Sometimes I think he slightly despaired of my intransigence in understanding—not out of any reluctance to do so, I may say. However, he has been extremely helpful to me and I think we had almost alighted on a solution, at least to one of the points still outstanding, but not to this legal point. I wish to say 939 that we have had these discussions and I hope they will continue. I should like also to make it clear that I shall press this Amendment to a Division, because I believe most firmly that unless a proper legal remedy is provided as a very last resort in these circumstances there will be no security for a number of people who are entitled to it.
I should like to ask the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, who I do not think can be enjoying his participation in these proceedings, in what other areas of social, commercial, industrial and domestic activity he now thinks the law should be abrogated. He has decided that it should be totally abrogated in relation to trade unionists. If it is the case that the law is inadequate in relation to such great institutions as trade unions, it cannot be just and fair that an inadequate system of law should be maintained for the rest of us in other directions, and its urgent reform and reconstitution is apparently called for.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, made the point that up to 1913 there were serious grounds for doubting the impartiality of His Majesty's judges (as they then were), but he made it clear—and I think he was in something of a dilemma—that having had the responsibility of appointing them for about six or seven years there could be no doubt at all about their present impartiality, and certainly not the impartiality of his own nominees. I could not understand the immediate relevance of the lack of partiality of judges before 1913. It is indeed the case—
§ Lord GARDINER
My Lords, the noble Lord will appreciate that I did not introduce this question. He himself raised it, presumably thinking it very relevant, on two occasions.
§ Lord GOODMAN
My Lords, I never at any time raised the question of the impartiality, partiality, probity or otherwise of judges before 1913, which appears to be a matter of history for historians. I was concerned with the adequacy of the courts at the present day. It may well be that Judge Jeffreys would be open to serious reproach, but I certainly do not regard him as a menace to the freedom of the Press at this moment of time. 940 I regarded a great deal of the extraordinarily interesting, persuasive and eloquent speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, as having very little to do with our discussion. The fact that he heroically maintained the innocence and purity of Lady Chatterley's Lover (with which I entirely agree) had nothing to do with this matter. What has to do with this matter is that if the late D. H. Lawrence was here and wanted to write for the Press the chances are that he might be prevented under this Bill. That, if I may say so, is the relevance of the matter so far as we are concerned.
The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor referred to the fact that there is sitting a Press Commission. This is indeed the case. He asked why we did not wait to see what they reported, and then we could arrive at a conclusion. Well, why do we not wait to see what they report and then arrive at a conclusion? Why do we wish to pre-empt the decision by this piece of legislation in relation to the Press? I happen to know, because I was telephoned to by a member of the Press Commission who told me that I had his wholehearted support in this matter. He went further, but I think it would be wrong for me to say any more than that and I would venture to ask Her Majesty's Government to inquire of the Press Commission whether they would make an interim and urgent decision on this matter—a conclusion which could be arrived at within days. After all, we here are reaching a decision on this matter on the basis of a debate in an afternoon. They could reach a decision on this matter on the basis of an investigation within a week. It may well be that the decision would be that the Government's determination that there should be no law in these matters, that nobody should enjoy an effective means of protection, would be endorsed by that Commission. I doubt it; I doubt it very much, but why do the Government not find out?
The suggestion that there should be no law is, if I may venture to say so to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor—for whom I entertain the greatest respect and considerable sympathy in this matter—a piece of manifest hypocrisy. The law is being introduced into this matter in the most brutal and the most crude fashion. If your Lordships 941 will look at Section 5 of the 1974 Act (his own Act) you will find that the remedies were carefully prescribed. There was stated in the very first subsection of Section 5 of that Act the protection that should be given to a man who was expelled from a union, excluded from membership, expelled from a branch or a section of a trade union by way of arbitrary or unreasonable discrimination.
As one would have expected in a civilised, humane country, provision was made for this situation. That is all being swept away by the law. It is not being swept away by a private meeting in which gentlemen are saying: "It is a matter of individual choice between ourselves without any coercion of the law. We have abandoned these rights." This is a legal provision that is taking away the rights; and when we want to put back into the Bill some suggestion that there should be some slight legal redress, we are then told that this is an appalling use of the law which is unacceptable to the trade unions.
May I say one word to the trade unions. I venture to say that throughout my life I have been a great supporter, a friend and admirer of trade unions. In the areas in which I have worked I have had a great deal to do with trade unions. I have never regarded this matter as having anything to do with trade union law or industry; it is a question of whether a man who can write is permitted to write. That is what the question is about. It is not a question of industrial discipline; it is not a question of trade union organisation. It is a question of whether a small union of 20,000 members, who supposedly redeem their reputations for intolerance and capriciousness by a vote which comprised one-third of their membership and in respect of which there was a majority of something like one thousand in favour of those resolutions which could be regarded as progressive, that is to say 5 per cent. of the membership, are alleged to have redeemed the membership from any prospect of behaving in the wrong way in the future.
I invite the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor to examine the voting; to ask whether we are entitled to rely on that sort of vote and the decisions of that sort of union (for which I have the greatest respect) as placing in jeopardy the right of a man to a creative activity and occupation. That is what it is about. 942 That, if I may say so, as the noble Lord, Lord Snow, said, is the crux of the matter. It is not an industrial dispute; it is not a question of affronting trade unions by once again confronting them with legal situations that they do not like. It is a question of protecting people who want to pursue a talent and a craft in circumstances where that craft is placed in jeopardy.
I venture to ask the Government what conceivable objection there is to adopting the very moderate and minimal protections for which we have sought. What right have we to jeopardise and endanger the entitlement of a man to pursue his talent in any circumstances whatsoever because we are told it is unacceptable to the trade unions? The trade unions have acquired great rights and great powers of recent years, and I certainly do not challenge them. Nothing in any observation I have made or any proposal I have put forward suggests that any writer or any journalist should not be a member of a trade union. There are people who may hold a contrary view and their views may be open to respect, but nothing in the world that I have said relates to any such suggestion. All I have said is that nobody should be arbitrarily excluded from pursuing his craft in circumstances where he has not a redress that means something.
I do not think I take quite so slender a view of the benefits of the Amendment numbered 15. I think it may well be that they will have a considerable moral effect. I believe in an honourable industry. If honourable men get together to make a declaration that a man has been affronted, while something may come of it, it just is not good enough. We are not entitled to rely on it. It would be pure self-indulgence on our part to seek to evade this problem by saying that all men will behave well. There never was a time in the history of this country when the rule of law was in greater need. If at this moment we could say, "Everyone is flocking back to the churches and you will find on Sundays they are packed to the doors. Behaviour is changing towards morality in an absolutely unprecedented way; crime is descending at a tremendous rate", that might be a moment for saying, "All right, let us give up the protection of the law". But for Her Majesty's Lord High Chancellor now to 943 say that the law is not available in an immensely important field of human activity, when we need it more desperately than ever is, I think, an abdication of responsibility, which I find very regrettable. I do not believe that, left to themselves, the two very distinguished Lord Chancellors who have spoken in this matter in previous years would have uttered a word of the type they have this afternoon. They do it out of loyalty; they do it because they have come to believe that confrontations are more dangerous even than the abrogation of the rule of law.
My Lords, I venture to suggest to them that in this situation there is no danger of confrontation. The few aggrieved journalists will not march through the streets. We are not to have a situation where anyone is to be asked to dictate trade union policy. I venture to recommend—and it is an impertinence for me to recommend anything to do with trade unionism—a very interesting book recently published, which has been prepared by a Working Party of Warwick University. The book is called Industrial Relations and the Limit of the Law, written by four young research students. It is a very interesting book, and demonstrates quite clearly that the law has a very limited application today in relation to trade union matters. But it also demonstrates quite clearly, I venture to suggest, the arguments I have put forward for a validity in trade union matters far in excess of anything that seems to have penetrated the Government Benches at this moment.
It is of first importance that we recognise what this discussion is about. It is not an attack on trade unionism; it is not a move by the proprietors of newspapers—and I am happy to say that I have now resigned from being Chairman of the Newspaper Publishers Association so it cannot be suggested I am doing this on their behalf; I leave that onerous office on 31st December of this year and trust that I shall be bothered no more with their innumerable problems. They have my enormous sympathy on this matter, but I say that we ought to consider whether we are going to invite a constitutional confrontation on a matter about which people feel so fiercely on matters of principle.
944 Should there be a raid against trade unions, against the entire authorship and editorship, and all creative thought in the country? Is it right that the unions should provoke that sort of situation? Is it wrong that trade unions, who have always been on the side of thought, have always given support to the Arts? I remember when I was Chairman of the Arts Council, the assistance I received from creative unions, if I may call them that—Equity, and the musicians union and the like. They were the first and foremost in supporting the Arts. Is it right that now the word should go about that in order to create some industrial regimen that should relate to everybody they should cause people to believe that their right to write is imperilled? It is no use saying that that belief is fanciful. It may be in the event, but it is validly and firmly held by people who genuinely believe that this Bill will endanger their right to write, and nothing will shake that belief.
My Lords, I received a resolution from 42 editors of the IPC group. The noble Lord, Lord Cudlipp, made his maiden speech the other day, which I did not think was quite worthy of his distinguished career, in which he said that I would go down in history as the man who failed to save the Press but who destroyed the House of Lords. There will be worse epitaphs. If a man does that, I can think of a worse way to be remembered in history. That does not fill me with shame or ignominy, but with a belief that those who cause the destruction of the House of Lords on account of this issue will be the people really responsible for the situation.
My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, if I may say so, made an unwontedly conciliatory speech. I am anxious to do the same. I hope everybody will make conciliatory speeches. Every word I have said is a conciliatory word, because every word is a word of truth. It is often painful to hear the truth. It is often painful to find that the truth runs counter to one's ingrained prejudice and beliefs. I assert that a way should be found over this difficulty, and there should not be a refusal of the small Amendment I have sought.
May I deal briefly with the Amendment dealt with by the noble and learned 945 Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone? It is simply this: that we reassert Common Law rights such as they exist. Their nature, to some extent, is nebulous and uncertain. There was a very good article in the Financial Times, written by Mr. David Watt, which some noble Lords may have read. The article analysed the nature of the remedies which would exist if my Amendments were passed and achieved. Noble Lords will see that Mr. Watt gives a good prospect of remedy in most of the cases with which I am concerned. I ask no more than that. I am not asking for certainty of remedy, but that there shall be injected into the Common Law a shot in the arm to enable the Common Law to develop in a contemporary fashion and a fashion which is consistent with the growth of trade unionism and the enormous increase in worker power, which we recognise, welcome, and which we have all brought about. That is all we ask. We are not asking for any statutory provisions or for legislation that affronts anyone or asserts a new course of action. We are simply saying that if am an is expelled wrongly from his trade union, if he is unable to join a trade union because of circumstances of prejudice, if in circumstances which he cannot control he finds himself unable to work, the Common Law should be entitled to develop that particular theme of law.
My Lords, my position is quite simple. I am satisfied with my Amendment, and would be satisfied with the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham. I believe it likely that my Amendment would be more acceptable than his, because I assert no new right, I do not refer to damages, but merely indicate that if the Common Law right exists, it is revivified and fertilised by a declaration that the charter shall be a matter of public policy. It is little to ask. If this is acceptable, I go no further with any other Amendment. If both Amendments go back to the Commons in the event of my being successful in the Division, I still say to Her Majesty's Government that I shall be satisfied if, on reflection, they decide to accept my Amendment, and not to accept the other one, or vice versa. Neither are inflammatary Amendments. Mine can be fully and easily explained to reasonable men of any position, in any Party.
946 All I say now is that we have had a long debate. We are divided by a matter of principle. I do not believe we can rely on society being organised as a kind of coconut island. We cannot have everyone sitting around in a circle distributing coconuts to the baboons, on the footing that if a small baboon fails to get a coconut, a generous large baboon will give him one. The day may come when this will happen, and we shall then have achieved the millenium; then we shall be living in a happy and contented situation. Until that happens, we need to protect the small baboon. We need to ensure that the large baboon has one coconut taken away from him, and is left with all the rest. I do not believe that it is anything but fanciful to regard the organisation of society as possible on this footing. Because I do not believe that the weak are secure against the strong, I do not believe that the poor are secure against the rich, and that without the intervention of a system of law it is possible to protect them; so I am persuaded we ought to accept my Amendment.
My Lords, may I say a last word to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner. For seven years he was a very distinguished and brilliant Lord Chancellor who heartened us all. In that time he and I had certain differences about the organisation of the legal profession, the appointment of the Judiciary, and a number of other things where I continue to believe that if he had followed my precepts, we might not have these difficulties today. We might have had a Judiciary which would not cause such terror and alarm in the hearts of the trade unions. We might have had a Judiciary that was not so formally associated with any particular class structure, drawn—perish the thought—from 25,000 assembled solicitors and barristers instead of 2,500 barristers. We might have had a Judiciary, in short, acceptable to the people as a whole. This is a most delicate moment to deal with the matter. Feelings are inflamed, injuries are not repaired, wounds are not yet healed. Everything must be dealt with with the utmost caution and as slowly as possible. To expel the law at any moment is in my opinion total madness. Let us reform the Judiciary, and let us have a Judiciary in which the trade unions can have confidence. But let us recognise that 947 without a Judiciary we have no security. We have anarchy and no security.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the original Question was that the House doth agree with Commons Amendments No. 16 to Amendment No. 10, since when Amendments 16E, 16A, 16B and 16F have been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in the terms set out in the printed list. The Question is, therefore, that Amendments Nos. 16E, 16A, 16B and 16F be agreed to.
§ Lord DOUGLASS of CLEVELAND
My Lords, I have listened with some consternation to the whole argument this afternoon, because I feel that the code of practice is being slowly strangled by statutory obligations. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, now appears to accept the fact that a man should not have the right to join the union of his choice. He says that this is theory; that in practice he will have the right to choose between two unions. I must say that that is the strangest argument I have ever heard from a lawyer who claims to be precise; but at least we have got that point over. I am bound to reciprocate what the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said about our conversations; I have learned a lot from them about the law, about which I do not profess to know very much—only some of its effects.
But the Amendment says, "the provisions of the charter shall be deemed to be contrary to public policy". On the TUC, we argued for many years about what is in the public interest, and what is in the public interest depends upon who is deciding what is in the public interest; and at the end of the day that is something which is not clearly definable. Some judges make judgments which are decisions as men. I give one example in the last few days, in respect of the TUC Disputes Committee. I greatly regret that the judge interfered with the Disputes Committee of the TUC. A decision had been given by that Committee that one union had poached the members of another, and the judge decided that the TUC Disputes Committee was wrong, because where a staff association merged with another union that was not poaching. I suggest that that is a matter of individual opinion, and not something which the judge decided upon case law 948 or any other sort of law. This is what we on these Benches are afraid of.
The whole history of the trade union movement, to which my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner referred, is extremely relevant to this case, because this is the atmosphere in which the case is argued from these Benches. The case which is argued from the Opposition Benches is argued from the atmosphere of the law courts; they are going to make all decisions by law. I want to say here very definitely that if ever we get to the state where we believe that the law is a substitute for leadership, that will be a sad day for this country.
§ Lord DOUGLASS of CLEVELAND
My Lords, there are times when I argue better with my noble friend Lord George-Brown by silence than I do by argument.
§ Lord SHEPHERD
My Lords, there can be only one noble Lord on his feet at one time. I suggest that my noble friend should now be allowed to proceed, and then, of course, we are open to debate.
§ Lord DOUGLASS of CLEVELAND
My Lords, I will not give way, because of what was said earlier in the debate. I do not want a repetition of the argument, when I am trying to be serious about a very serious subject. When the code of practice was introduced—I am not sure whether it was introduced or continued—in the 1971 Industrial Relations Act, when the Conservatives were in power, they impressed me with its value. I did not believe it when we started to argue it, but as time went along I learned its value, because the code of practice meant that the two sides in industry were getting together 949 and agreeing about how they would proceed to avoid strikes. Today, as a consequence of that, we have leaders of employers, leaders of trade unions, writing in our national Press with one end in view, and that is the good of this country and the destruction of inflation. That is a consequence of the code of practice being allowed to go unfettered by law. I wanted to see more of this.
Nobody wants freedom of the Press more than I do; nor the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, nor indeed, I believe, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham. It is the approach to the subject which matters. It is the leadership which we are now giving in this country that matters. If that leadership breaks down at this very moment when we are trying to conquer inflation, it will be the worst day's work ever done in either House of Parliament. If I was making a speech in this House today which I would regard as the most important speech of my life, it would be to ask the Opposition to stop strangling this code of practice with their puny attempts to wind the strings, the manacles, of legal action around the voluntary agreement which is undoubtedly taking place in this country today. I could almost have gone with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, except for the fact that he is ahead of his time. We have not decided what is the public interest. We have not decided what is the best public policy, and to put it into a document with legal enforcement would be fatal at the present time. It is about the only rock on which we are divided in our long discussion. I plead with your Lordships to accept the Commons Amendment and not follow on to the tyranny which can arise if we are not very careful with regard to these other Amendments.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Lord WIGG
My Lords, I should like to support Lord Douglass in what he says; that is, in suggesting to Lord Goodman that he has second thoughts. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor made a case when he argued—indeed he went further than arguing; he gave a pledge on behalf of the Government—that if the charter that was envisaged was worked out and found to be defective, if it did not do the job the Government 950 thought should be done, the Government would come to Parliament to seek further powers. Having a specific pledge of that kind of the willingness of the Government to act promptly should the necessity arise, I must now ask Lord Goodman this question: does he not think that the prerequisite of the rule of law is respect for the law, that it is impossible to imagine that the mere putting of measures on the Statute Book is in itself the rule of law. I did not think he was very fair to my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner, because one of Lord Gardiner's principal points was that you bred disrespect for the law if measures were enacted which were then disregarded. It seems to me that is a very important point.
If I may say so, Lord Goodman was not up to his usual form. That is probably because of close association with Lord Hailsham. Be it noted that Lord Goodman did draw attention to how out of character Lord Hailsham was acting. I first struck Lord Hailsham such a long time ago in the by-election in Oxford when the great patriotic young Quintin Hogg was extolling the virtues of appeasement. I watched Lord Hailsham on that occasion and again I had a chance of seeing him in action in the 1945 Elections; then, again, subsequently, when I came to this House, and he sat on these Benches and I sat over there. The key to the character of Lord Hailsham is never conciliation, never reasonableness. If, therefore, he was reasonable today, it was because he had a little political flypaper, and I am afraid one of those he has caught is Lord Goodman. He really ought to know better than to believe that today Lord Hailsham was taking this great phalanx of conscience-stricken Tories and a few would-be Tories into that Lobby in the interests of the freedom of the Press.
The opportunity to free the Press in this country from its thralldom has existed for a long time. Our Press is a long way short of being free. It is a long way short of anything that we can be proud if. We need a free Press. I certainly join with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman—I have joined with him as an ally on many occasions—in arguing and fighting in individual cases for the principle of the upholding of the rule of law and the establishment of the rule of law. What I 951 can never do is to play a game in which the rules are altered by the other side when it suits them. In other words, if we are playing cricket, play cricket, but if, on the other hand, somebody picks up the "dry scrubber" I shall blame myself if I do not get there before him.
I want to examine the position of your Lordships on the maintenance of the historic principles of revision and delay. I have supported a second Chamber, and support a second Chamber, because I served over 20 years in the other place and see the necessity for it. I have quoted previously in this House the occasion on which noble Lords on that Bench pleaded for delay and revision, until we came to the Common Market, and then it was an issue here which the Conservative Party wanted at all price. If ever there was an issue on which there should have been delay, and the country should have been consulted, it was that one. If men forget principle when it suits them, and pop up today as sweet conciliators, do not ask me to accept their good intentions, because I do not.
This is an issue in a very delicate area. I am surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, does not see the delicacy of it. I believe that the measure which has today gone through the House, the Employment Protection Bill, will be seen to be revolutionary in character. Not revolutionary in terms of bloodshed, but revolutionary in terms of giving men the opportunity to exercise their freedom and wisdom for our common good. If that does not work, unless we can get ACAS to operate intelligently, then indeed we shall be in a sorry plight. For it to work there must be acceptance on all sides: employers, trade unions, and the like. Each must accept the good intentions of the other, and very slowly indeed build a bridge.
It may be regrettable, but the facts are that there are millions of people in this country who do not know as much about the law as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman and I certainly do not know very much about it—but who do not accept what the noble Lord is arguing; this is, that you must have the sanction of the Common Law to ensure a right. I think that, in the long run, the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, may in the event 952 prove to be right; but if he is right he has got the pledge of the Lord Chancellor in the bank on which to draw if what he wants is necessary, and then that necessity will be met. Until then it surely would be wiser to rely upon good will, and common sense, and accept the Government's pledge and not try to hasten this.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, does himself no credit. He draws on a very heavy political overdraft when he associates himself with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, and the Tories, because their purpose today, as I said earlier this afternoon, is one purpose, and one purpose only; that is, to damage the Labour Government. For the moment they are willing to wound, but they have not got the guts to strike. So, they are waiting for the day, and this is an occasion on which they think they can discredit the Government.
Remember the simple words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham; no noble gesture, no appeal to the conscience, the kind of conscience of the noble Lord, Lord Snow. He said that the simple issue before us is that if an individual suffers a wrong and that wrong can be put right by an award of damages, what they are seeking to do is to give that individual this right. There is no question of conscience, no question of great moral issue; it is the simple issue of the Conservative Party going into the Lobby to damage the Government, and I am very sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has fallen for that nonsense.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ The Earl of DROGHEDA
My Lords, I want to say only a few words as seconder on his Amendment to my noble friend Lord Goodman. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, was rather unfair. It was certainly not the case that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has associated himself with the Conservative Party. The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, might just as well have rebuked him for associating himself with the Liberal Party, or the majority of the Cross-Bench Peers, or indeed certain Labour Peers who have had the courage to get up and say that they see a threat. The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, is a man who is very articulate and expresses himself clearly and forcefully and is a most intimidating character, 953 and for me to dare to cross swords with him at all is probably to stick my neck out a long way. In any event, in this regard I think he was unfair to my noble friend Lord Goodman.
My position is what it has been from the beginning. There is an enormous amount of fear on the part of the newspaper industry of the actual and potential threats to the freedom of the Press. It is true that prior to 1971 it was theoretically possible for closed shops to be imposed, for outside contributions to newspapers to be excluded, and so on, but nobody took the threat remotely seriously at that time. It is only because of the tremendous increase in the amount of union activity, and the very clear signs of militancy among the National Union of Journalists, that we have felt that we should seek this protection not for our industry particularly but for the country.
My own attitude, to a considerable extent, would be influenced if one could be given some indication by the Government as to whether on not the words printed in italics in the Lords Amendment No. 10 are going to be accepted by Her Majesty's Government. They spell out clearly some of the specific protections which we seek to assure. All we know is that the Government voted strongly against these Amendments at the time. I should like to feel that this form of words as shown here will be accepted. I hope that we shall not end up with a constitutional clash. I felt that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, could have made his speech about a constitutional clash many months ago, and he stayed silent at the time. To bring it out now is a tremendous pity.
This is an enormously important matter. My noble friend Lord Goodman is a most accommodating man. As your Lordships all know—noble Lords laugh, but this is a true statement—he is sometimes too accommodating. He bends over backwards to reach solutions. Therefore, I have been honoured to have my name associated with him throughout these days of debate. I hope that our Amendment will be carried or that an alternative form of words can still he evolved so that the freedom of the Press can be assured.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Lord LLOYD of HAMPSTEAD
My Lords. I draw your Lordships' attention 954 back to the words of the Amendment. of which sight has perhaps been lost. I have not previously spoken in any of the debates on this Bill. I voted against the Hailsham-Wigoder Amendment because it seemed to be open to considerable objection, but I ask the House to consider whether the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is deserving of much more careful consideration, particularly from the Government's point of view, because it seems to have great merit and, moreover, provides a basis on which a reasonable compromise could be arrived at, something which would avoid all this talk—in my view, irrelevant talk—of constitutional crisis.
The merits of the Amendment are simple; it introduces no new statutory cause of action and no new statutory right of any kind. It simply seeks to make a resounding declaration in favour of certain developments that the Common Law has been undergoing in the last 20 years or so, and gives the courts some encouragement to pursue that line. The background of the Common Law in this matter has been fully recognised by Mr. Michael Foot, because not long ago in the House of Commons he said that he had no desire to interfere with the processes of the Common Law; and, as we know, the role of the Common Law in this matter was strongly supported by the Donovan Report, something of which we must not lost sight.
The Common Law has not been standing still in the last 25 years. To venture a personal note, as long ago as 1956 I delivered a public lecture of total unimportance which I called "The right to work" and which was subsequently published. It sought to indicate the sort of developments that were going on, rather quietly, in the processes of the Common Law. It is fair to say that in the course of the subsequent 20 years there have been very substantial developments in our courts. They are still uncertain in scope, but they have to a large degree relied on the concept of public policy. It has been said by some noble Lords this afternoon that public policy is a vague idea which might mean anything to anybody, but the whole point of this Amendment is that it tells the courts specifically that in this area Parliament is saying that public policy is involved. Thereby, it clears up this uncertainty and 955 makes it easier for the courts to accept the fact that the issue of public policy arises, and that they can give effect to Common Law remedies in a number of situations, some of which have already arisen and been the subject of decisions.
I entirely agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, that the Judiciary had a rather unhappy record in trade union matters before the 1914 war, but as he recognised—and one would be surprised if he did not—the record of the Judiciary in the last 25 years in trade union matters has been not only very good but very successful. They have intervened in actions brought before them in a variety of matters and, so far as I am aware, their decisions have never aroused any particular resentment or difficulty; they have been accepted by trade unionists as fair decisions. One can perhaps make an exception in the Rookes v. Barnard case in 1964, and I agree that that was a bit of an aberration, but apart from that one case their record has been good.
Therefore, I suggest that here we have an Amendment which is of a most conciliatory kind. I do not know how anybody who knows the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, could describe him as other than conciliatory. Even in the numerous accounts one has of him he is always described as the "master conciliator", and I think everybody knows him in that capacity. He has made enormous efforts to try to produce an acceptable solution which is not open to the sort of objections that, for example, the Amendment in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, is open to; namely, that it reopens this whole area of special statutory causes of action which could lead to the same hostility as we had under the 1971 Act.
Therefore, I strongly urge the Government, with all the earnestness I can command, that this is an area where they should think very carefully as to whether the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is a platform on which a reasonable solution could be arrived at, which would reconcile without bloodshed the difficulties between our respective Houses, and which could avoid what would be a rather puerile exercise in constitutional brinkmanship, if it were carried to that length.
§ Lord GEORGE-BROWN
My Lords, I do not know how loudly one has to shout to be heard; I have risen three times in an attempt to speak. It seems that the lawyers in this House think they have a prescriptive right to talk about the affairs of trade unionists. I happen to prefer the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, to that of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, but I will vote for both. My only problem with the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman—and we had this argument some while ago—is that I wonder to myself why he thinks it is especially true of journalists and should not be applied to the rest of trade unionists. This came up clearly when my noble friend Lord Douglass of Cleveland spoke. He spoke as a manipulator, a controller, and he gave absolutely nothing to the ordinary members of trade unions. I support the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in this, and the reason why I hope his proposal will get accepted is that if we are not careful we shall be creating a new power, a new creation.
If one becomes the leader of a union, it does not really matter whether one's members are with one. One has, by definition, become "it" and, with respect to my noble friend Lord Douglass, it happened to the steel workers before it is now happening to the NUJ. It is happening to them all. I speak as a trade unionist and not as a lawyer. I do not lead or advise a trade union; I speak just as I have always spoken, as a trade unionist. It is very worrying. Bosses are arriving, the Mafia is arriving. I remember hearing the noble Lord, Lord Bernstein—who I am glad to see here tonight—saying in a debate that the one union he got along with very well was the one that was Communist controlled. He had no trouble with them, he said. That is why I support the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and why I would even have supported the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham.
We are individuals. We formed trade unions because we individuals thought that we were being trodden into the ground by bosses who had too much power. Now we are in a new situation, and I beg the noble Lord, Lord Douglass of Cleveland, to understand that. One 957 can get into a new situation when one's bosses tread one into the ground. My purpose as a trade unionist is to make sure that, whether I am an editor, a journalist, a member of the Transport and General Workers Union—the least skilled of the lot—or one of the noble Lord, Lord Douglass's precious steelworkers or blast furnace men, I a in m free, free to argue and free to disrupt if need be. We created this trade union movement of ours order to be free to disrupt if need be.
We are now getting infiltration—and the noble Lords, Lord Goodman and Lord Douglass, know this as well as I do —by people who do not want us to be free and who just want to run the movement. If I may say so to the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, we do not really need any help from Colonel-Generals and we are fighting a tremendous battle ourselves to try to relieve ourselves of infiltrators who want to use our movement as a way into total control. Those infiltrators will control our money, our members and our thinking, and the noble Lord, Lord Wigg—with whom I have fought many a battle for good against chaps who do not have the courage that he and, I hope, I have—should remember that these Amendments will not do us all that much good except that, by carrying them, we shall establish something in which decent folk ought to believe.
I once had a quarrel with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, which I did not want to have. We quarrelled because I asked him why he thought it only true of newspapers and journalists and he said—rather arrogantly, I thought—"Because we are creative", meaning, I suppose, that the rest of us are non-creative. However, I am with him tonight and I do not mean to pick a fight. I want to go on from this point. My father is still alive and carrying an 1898 docker's card. He must be the only man alive who is still doing that. I speak as a trade unionist who has gone all the way through. I want freedom from all the bosses, not only those with whom we argue but those in our unions. I do not want anybody saying who is to belong to which union. I want freedom for us all and if I do not want to belong to that union I want freedom to belong to this one. I do not want an American 958 trade union situation. If I want someone to join my union, it is my business to convince him that he should belong to my union. I do not want a fixed arrangement. Speaking as an ordinary trade unionist, I urge that we should keep the law as free as we can. Leave us to sort out ourselves which union we want to choose.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Baroness GAITSKELL
My Lords, it is very difficult for someone who is not a lawyer to take part in this debate in any seriousness, be he or she layman or laywoman. I came here today full of sympathy with the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. However, when I heard him say that he agreed with the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, I did not know where I was, because that Amendment retraced the steps of the Conservative Party in their Industrial Relations Act, which was a disaster. I remain very confused.
In discussing the wide range of Press freedoms, I feel that it is necessary to find a balance between two freedoms—the freedom of association, which is the trade union freedom, and the freedom of expression. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, originally wanted a statutory code for the benefit of proprietors and editors. However, as I understand it—and I stand to be corrected by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor—in his new Amendment the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has wisely compromised and has abandoned statutory wrongs and agreed that the proposed Press charter should apply both to proprietors and editors and to the unions; in other words, that it should apply in both directions. To me, that seems to make some kind of logic and sense.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, also wants it to be made clear that the charter will be a declaration of public policy. I do not understand all the intricacies of how lawyers interpret the words "public policy", but I cannot see why, when a Labour Government are in power, they should so strongly object to the words "public policy". This seems to me to be a very important question, because unless the charter has this declaration of public policy it will be of little value in practice. 959 In the new Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, he does not wish to create new legal wrongs. He says he wishes to enable the charter to be a source of practical guidance to courts in dealing with existing wrongs. Unless the Government accept this, which I see as a reasonable approach, I believe that there is real danger of a constitutional crisis which is wholly unnecessary, because there is only a minor difference between the Government's Amendment and that of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. Therefore, while on the last occasion when we debated this matter I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was unwise in risking a constitutional crisis, today I think that the Government should not risk losing the Press charter by invoking the Parliament Act.
§ The Earl of MANSFIELD
My Lords, your Lordships' House has been considering this matter for some time now, and it may be that your Lordships will wish to cease your deliberations and decide the issue before very long. It may be worth stating, very shortly, in the absence of my noble and learned friend, what we on these Benches consider to be the way our feelings are running over the Amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and others. I say, first, that I should have thought that in all quarters of your Lordships' House it would have been admitted—probably, readily admitted—that the speech by my noble and learned friend was certainly conciliatory, and he certainly showed that he had an earnest desire to try, as far as possible, to bring the two sides together.
Since he moved his Amendment—and I will not go over that ground again—the debate has gone down several paths. But, in the end, if I may sum it up from this side of the House, the whole argument can be encapsulated (if that is the right word) in very small compass indeed. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Hampstead, put the matter very well when he was discussing the Amendments put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. No new right of action is introduced or indeed contemplated. These Amendments are merely declaratory of the law as it is at the moment.
Going back in time to the Amendments of my noble and learned friend Lord 960 Hailsham, they seek to do precisely the same, but in a different way. The question can be posed quite shortly—and so far no noble Lord on the Government Benches has sought to answer it—that if a person is wronged in the circumstances which have been outlined by several noble Lords, if a journalist is excluded from his employment, if a contributor is not allowed, by wrong action, to contribute to the paper according to the wishes of the editor, is there, first, to be are medy, and, secondly, what kind of remedy shall there be?
The answer so far as the Bill is concerned—before your Lordships voted on my noble and learned friend's Amendment—was "None". There was no remedy at all! The Amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, seek, as I think in a very similar way, to achieve much the same as the Amendments of my noble and learned friend. As I see it, that is the issue between us, and it is an argument in comparatively small compass.
When my noble and learned friend opened the debate he said, in effect, that he had certain reservations about the noble Lord's Amendments, and I shall not seek to go down that avenue now, nor shall I seek to argue about it. Nevertheless, despite those reservations, we on this side of the House think that a safety net, a remedy of whatever kind, is vital to the freedom of the Press in the future, and I hope that noble Lords on this side will support the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in his endeavour.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, at the beginning of his speech the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, indicated that there is a question of principle at issue here. We have debated that question of principle for many hours, and I apprehend that the House will not want me to occupy it very much longer. On the question as to how far legal sanctions should intrude into the sphere of industrial relations in the context of newspapers, we on the Labour side of your Lordships' House take the view that that intervention would be damaging to industrial relations—damaging by its possible disruptive consequences to the freedom of the Press itself. I am in full agreement with what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, said; that there would be 961 few things more damaging to the rule of law than the imposition of unenforceable orders by the court.
Before I turn to the content of the Amendments, there are one or two matters with which I wish to deal. The noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, asked whether I could give any undertaking—because that might have affected the vote; I doubt whether it would, even if it had been a favourable answer that I was about to give—as to whether the Government would accept the words now in Amendment 10 in subsection (2) (the words printed in black), or whether we would wish to revert to the words approved in another place. The answer is that we would propose in another place to revert to the words that were approved there; so I must not mislead the noble Earl into thinking that there is any comfort for him along that road.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, raised the position of the Royal Commission on the Press. The Chairman of the Royal Commission has made his, and the Commission's, position plain. When taking oral evidence from the National Union of Journalists on 23rd September, he stated that the Commission would want to consider the major issue of the closed shop and Press freedom at a later stage. He was not prepared to do so while the question of legislation was still before Parliament, and discussions were continuing between the parties. He would take full evidence when the law was in being, and he made it clear that he would not assume that the law as it then stood would necessarily be the most desirable form. In other words, as I understand it, the present Chairman, like his predecessor, does not want to be rushed into special inquiries into that aspect of Press freedom, and he reserves the right of the Commission to make up its own mind about what is needed, irrespective of the form of law passed by Parliament on this occasion; but he wanted to consider the issues against a stable background.
My Lords, I should like to say this in regard to the general argument that has taken place. I believe that in the present climate of opinion there is a real chance that a voluntary scheme, a voluntary charter, a voluntary supervisory body can work; and if it can work, is it not the best solution? Let us try it! We have tried the other way—it failed. I beg your 962 Lordships to give this scheme a chance now, in this present climate of conciliation, which we see manifested in various ways. I do not at all share the pessimism expressed in some of the astonishing speeches we have heard in your Lordships' House tonight. There is an awareness of a need to pull together and a need to substitute agreement and conciliation for the constant in-fighting in industrial relations. So let us give it a chance. As the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, said, I have given a solemn undertaking on the part of the Government that if it fails we shall come back to seek other powers.
I come now to the content of the Amendments which the Government and I find unacceptable. The suggestion which the Amendments make, that a Statute might deem something to be contrary to public policy is, as far as I can recall, an entirely new device. The effect originally intended in the Amendment as first put down by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was, as I understand it, that a rule or agreement of a union which offended the charter should be void or possibly illegal. That limited purpose has now been greatly extended by widening the Amendment to cover acts or conduct which are contrary to the provisions of the charter, thereby incorporating an earlier Amendment.
The purpose of this exercise (if that is not too respectful a name to give it) is of course to bring the courts in. In the face of this provision becoming part of our law—that every infringement of the charter is to be treated as contrary to public policy—the intention, presumably, is that the complainant can then go to the court and seek an injunction or a declaration in order to restrain that about which complaint is made. The unusual feature of this proposal is that the courts themselves would have no discretion to determine what was contrary to public policy. That decision would be taken away from them, whereas normally, of course, it falls to the courts to consider where public policy is a relevant consideration. Once a court or a tribunal had found, on the strength of this Amendment if it became law, as a finding of fact that a rule or an agreement conflicted with the charter, the Statute would itself determine the result in law; namely, that public policy must be taken to be infringed, with the inevitable consequences that it must be 963 deemed by the court to be invalid, because the courts will not enforce that which is contrary to public policy, and the whole paraphernalia of injunctions and declarations would again flow in.
In my submission, the concept is not only unusual but fraught with difficulty and obscurity, and one is bound to ask where it would lead in practice. I would remind your Lordships that the contents of the charter as outlined in the Bill will cover a wide range of matters relating to the freedom of the Press. No doubt there will be provisions which will give precise guidance which can be applied to particular situations, but other provisions may well be couched in terms quite unsuitable for use in the way this Amendment proposes. I must tell the House that I simply do not know what limits could be foreseen to the possible scope of this Amendment, or its consequences in practice. If rules and agreements, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was originally thinking of, were to have added to them acts or conduct, the difficulties could be compounded. Noble Lords with experience of industrial relations will no doubt be able to imagine for themselves the kind of situation in which to declare invalid a trade union rule or a contract of employment, perhaps embodying a collective agreement, would have serious consequences. There must be a real risk that by its potential disruption of industrial relations this Amendment could bring in again, but this time by the back door, the difficulties which we have already experienced from introducing legal sanctions and which this Government are determined to avoid.
My Lords, there is also a second leg to Amendment No. 16B which ensures that nothing in the charter should be taken to restrict or abridge any right existing by Statute or Common Law. It is not of course the Government's intention that the charter should restrict such rights, but it is unnecessary to say this in the Statute and I cannot commend even that part of the Amendment to your Lordships. If there is any suggestion of abrogating the Common Law, that can be done only by a specific provision in a Statute. Then, as to Amendment No. 16A, in my submission it is too simple a view of the situation to 964 regard Amendment No. 16A as simply a paving Amendment for Amendment No. 16B. What it seems to do is to make it abundantly clear that the charter can, in the circumstances which are defined in paragraphs (c) and (d) of Amendment No. 16B, make a person liable to proceedings. For the reasons I have given—and I do not propose to add to the long time we have spent on this very important debate—I submit that the Amendments proposed should be rejected by your Lordships.
§ Lord GOODMAN
My Lords, I shall reply very briefly. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor really defeated his own argument when he said that the vice of my Amendment was that it might produce industrial disruption and upheaval to an extent which would make it impossible for the law to be enforced. What he is in effect saying is that if that situation arises which he has promised to rectify by legislation he will not rectify it by legislation for the very good and valid reason that he will recognise that the legislation will not be enforceable. Hence, we have the most profound doubts about the assurance he gave, not as to his good faith or integrity, but as to the possibility of an assurance that this will be put right in later legislation if it goes wrong. His very argument defeats that. If he were able to say that there was something wrong with my Amendment in legal terms because it does not operate in the right way, that is one thing: but what, in effect, he is saying is, "Look at what an up heaval might be precipitated if it is sought to enforce this charter".
It must also be remembered that the charter prescribes what is to be done. There is no suggestion that public policy would enlarge that in the slightest degree. Everything that is in the charter is something which is now being promised by the unions, by the employees, by the employers—by everyone concerned—as things that they will or will not do. Hence, that this should be enforceable is not only a matter of logic; it is a matter of decency and a matter of good faith, and the suggestion that to enforce it is something which nobody can achieve is really to say that the rule of law has departed, and we must accept the fact that in many areas it is impossible to 965 impose upon large elements of society the discipline which arises from legislation. If it may be so, let us say so; but, in that event, why are we apprehensive about the dissolution of the House of Lords? What is the possible point of maintaining an institution which legislates to no purpose? What is the possible point of maintaining an institution which legislates for Statutes which cannot be enforced? I do not believe that we have attained any such position. I do not believe that if decent, respectable, self-this country or of the mass of trade unionists in this country. I think the phenomenon of the Industrial Relations Act is something quite distinct, and I do not intend to try to enter into the complicated history of that matter. But I do believe that if decent, respectable self-evidently just legislation is enacted by the Legislature, by both Houses, it will be enforced by the people of this country. If I did not believe that, we would all be wise to be packing our bags.
My Lords, there were a number of other speeches. The noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, made a speech which I found very encouraging. May I explain to her why I have adopted the apparently inconsistent course of supporting the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham —support to whom has given apoplexy to the noble Lord, Lord Wigg—and at the same time supporting a measure which is at variance with it? It is quite simple. I believe that my Amendment is a moderate Amendment and that with verbal adjustments and legal discussions it ought to be acceptable to the Government. I still maintain the hope that this may be the case. I shall be immensely conciliatory, whatever other views may be expressed, in adjusting the wording, changing the emphasis, producing something which nevertheless achieves what is wanted while at the same time giving the minimum of affront.
But I am supporting the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, for the reason that if the Government intransigently refuse to accept anything, then it is reasonable that both should be on the list so that they may make a choice. But I have made it clear that if these Amendments are passed and they go to the other place, and if it is con- 966 templated. that my Amendment is possible but they will not accept the Amendment moved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, I shall abandon him without the slightest compunction. It will be one of the greatest betrayals in the history of this House. I am concerned to have something that achieves the result I think necessary. The most important result that will emerge is a declaration from both Houses that the rule of law still obtains and that it is no longer an indecency to contemplate bringing an action to vindicate your rights.
There is nothing else I need say except to address one remark to the noble Lord Lord George-Brown, who said that I could claim some special status of superciliatory and superior character for the writer and artist. I do not think that the artist, writer, painter or any creative person is a whit better than the tailor or metal beater or others engaged in industrial activities. I never said so. I said that industrial disciplines cannot apply to him; because each writer writes something different. There you have a situation which is totally at variance with the ordinary industrial routine. Whether he writes well or badly, grandly or pornographically, he is writing something different; and industrial disciplines cannot apply to that effect. The noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, has forgotten that I specially disclaimed any superior status for the writer. That I may believe that he has a superior status is a matter between me and my personal deliberations. That I claim that for him in the Legislature would be something that the writer would repudiate and disclaim.
My Lords, having said that, may I say that it is a matter of great regret that the Government have not been able to accept this very mild Amendment. It is, therefore, my hope, even at this late stage—and I do not think that we are anywhere near the constitutional crisis—there may be second thoughts about what the real issues are, and what the implications will be if it is ultimately rejected.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the original Question was that Amendment No. 16 be agreed to; since when Amendments Nos. 16E, 16A, 16B 967 and 16F have been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. The Question therefore I now put is that Amendments 16E, 16A, 16B and 16F be agreed to en bloc.
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendments (Nos. 16E, 16A, 16B and 16F) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 138; Not-Contents, 58.969
|Aberdare, L.||Falkland, V.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Ferrers, E.||Onslow, E.|
|Allerton, L.||Feversham, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Pender, L.|
|Amory, V.||Gainford, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Arran, E.||Gaitskell, B.||Perth, E.|
|Atholl, D.||Garner, L.||Platt, L.|
|Balerno, L.||George-Brown, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Gibson, L. [Teller.]||Rathcreedan, L.|
|Banks, L.||Goodman, L.||Reading, M.|
|Barrington, V.||Gore-Booth, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Gowrie, E.||Reigate, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Granville of Eye, L.||Robbins, L.|
|Berkeley, B.||Greenway, L.||Robertson of Oakridge, L.|
|Bledisloe, V.||Gridley, L.||Robson of Kiddington, B.|
|Boothby, L.||Hankey, L.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Rothermere, V.|
|Byers, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.|
|Caldecote, V.||Henley, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Hood, V.||St. Davids, V.|
|Camrose, V.||Hunt of Fawley, L.||St. Helens, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Hylton, L.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Hylton-Foster, B.||Sandford, L.|
|Chelwood, L.||Iliffe, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Clwyd, L.||Inchyra, L.||Savile, L.|
|Cole, L.||Inglewood, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Kemsley, V.||Sharples, B.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Kinnaird, L.||Snow, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Kissin, L.||Somers, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lauderdale, E.||Stamp, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Cross, V.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|de Clifford, L.||Long, V.||Swaythling, L.|
|Denham, L.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Drogheda, E. [Teller.]||Lyell, L.||Tenby, V.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Macpherson of Drumochter, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Malmesbury, E.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Eccles, V.||Mansfield, E.||Vickers, B.|
|Effingham, E.||Merrivale, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Ellenborough L.||Mersey, V.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Elles, B.||Monck, V.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Monk Bretton, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Elton, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Emmet of Amberley, B.||Netherthorpe, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Exeter, M.||Northchurch, B.||Young, B.|
|Ardwick, L.||Delacourt-Smith of Alteryn, B.||Kirkhill, L.|
|Bacon, B.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Leatherland, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||Douglass of Cleveland, L.||Lee of Newton, L.|
|Birk, B.||Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Llewelyn-Davies, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Fisher of Camden, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.|
|Brockway, L.||Fisher of Rednal, B.||Lovell-Davis, L. [Teller.]|
|Brown, L.||Gardiner, L.||Lyons of Brighton, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Goronwy-Roberts, L.||Maelor, L.|
|Burton of Coventry, B.||Greene of Harrow Weald, L.||Maybray-King, L.|
|Champion, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Melchett, L.|
|Collison, L.||Hale, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Harris of Greenwich, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.|
|Crook, L.||Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Paget of Northampton, L.|
|Crowther-Hunt, L.||Jacques, L. [Teller.]||Pannell, L.|
|Cudlipp, L.||Janner, L.||Peddie, L.|
|Phillips, B.||Stedman, B.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Popplewell, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B.||Wigg, L.|
|Sainsbury, L.||Strabolgi, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal.)||Taylor of Mansfield, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendments agreed to accordingly.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the Question is, That the House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 16, as amended, to the Lords Amendment No. 10.