§ 80 Schedule 2, page 81, leave out lines 19 to 30.
§ 81 Schedule 2, page 82, line 12, leave out "a shiprepairing company".
§ 82 Schedule 2, page 82, line 42, leave out paragraph 3.
§ The Commons disagreed to these Amendments for the following Reason:
§ 83 Because it is important that the ship repairing companies referred to in the said Amendments should come into public ownership.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, with the leave of your Lordships I beg to move that this House doth not insist on their Amendments Nos. 80 to 82 inclusive, to which the Commons have disagreed for the Reason numbered 83. We have already had our main debate on ship repairing, to which of course these three Amendments refer, and I think—I hope, at least—the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, has said almost as much as he has to say on the subject. I certainly have.
My Lords, I was asked earlier about the article which appeared in today's Guardian, and it seems right that I should take this opportunity to respond to the questions that were asked me on that occasion. As I understand it, the article is speculating on what might happen if noble Lords opposite continue to insist on deleting ship repairing from this Bill. I do not intend to speculate on what might happen should noble Lords opposite continue on that course, but I and other Ministers, both in your Lordships' House and in another place, have never made any secret of the difficulties facing the shipbuilding industry in this country and around the world at the present time. Nor have we made any secret of the major decisions facing the aircraft industry, both in this country and around the world. We have stressed again and again the very serious effects on these industries of further delay. My Lords, I also want to make it absolutely clear that the Government are committed to public 1249 ownership of all three industries covered by the Bill—aircraft, shipbuilding and ship repairing.
§ Moved, That this House doth not insist on the said Amendments Nos. 80 to 82, to which the Commons have disagreed for the Reason numbered 83.—(Lord Melchett.)
Lord CAMPBELL of CROY
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, said, we had our debate earlier, on Amendment No. 19, and I certainly do not intend to repeat the arguments that I deployed then or to extend the debate into a discussion now. These Amendments will have the effect of deleting the ship repairing companies which are at present named in Schedule 2. But, my Lords, the noble Lord took this occasion, right at the end of our proceedings today on this Bill, to say something more about the article in today's Guardian about which both my noble friend Lord Carr and I had asked him questions. What we asked him was to deny publicly that the Government were considering, if the Bill did not go through in this Session, placing special pressure on particular companies, because the article indicated that the money would be available and that the Government might then almost blackmail certain companies by withholding money so far as they were concerned. The noble Lord has not answered that question, because he has not made any denial of the Government's intentions as apparently written in this article. He has merely said that it is speculating. We were hoping that he would be able to deny this particular speculation, and I certainly think that before I sit down he ought to say something more on that.
In any case, this Bill could go through in this Session if the Government will accept that ship repairing is inappropriate and will allow ship repairing to drop out of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, was advising them very strongly about this again today. He has done so previously. We know very well that there are other noble Lords in all parts of the House who know that the ship repairing industry can be left out of this Bill without upsetting the rest of the Bill, and that this would be one small thing which the Government could accept, and one effect of the consideration of the Bill within your Lordships' House which would 1250 promote a great deal of good will towards this country and towards the Government. So there is an answer so far as the noble Lord is concerned, which is that if the Government accept the deletion of ship repairing then the Bill will not be held up. The noble Lord was speaking in terms of the Bill being held up and speculating on the consequences, but I hope that if I give him the opportunity now he can deny what the Guardian has reported about a particular line which the Government, they say, are considering.
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, I said I did not intend to speculate on what might happen in the future, but it is quite clear to me that the effects of further delay on the industries affected by this Bill will be so catastrophic that it would be thoroughly irresponsible of anyone—your Lordships' House or anyone else—to seek further to delay the Bill; and in view of that it seems to me that it would not be wise even to waste time thinking about it. I certainly hope that noble Lords opposite will ponder very carefully the serious consequences on the industries should the Bill be further delayed.
§ Lord CARR of HADLEY
My Lords, I really find this extremely disturbing. Here is a report in a major newspaper which really amounts almost to a blackmail threat as to what the effects would be to many tens of thousands of people working in this country, to say nothing of all their customers and suppliers, and all the rest of it, if Parliament chooses to take a certain course. I regard this as a very serious charge indeed. As I said at the beginning of this afternoon, I cannot believe for one moment that that can be the Government's intention, but I really do not understand, whatever the Government may feel about the actions we may or may not take, why they cannot flatly and categorically deny that charge. It is a scandalous charge, and I would have thought that they would have been only too eager to make quite clear that this report, in its implications, was wholly unfounded. If the Government persist in their failure to do that they really cannot be surprised if people outside this House, at home and abroad, draw deductions which I still believe cannot be true but which, for some obscure reason, the Government seem reluctant to deny.
1251 Perhaps I may say one more thing, and it is this. The Government really cannot get away with blaming any delay upon us. It is impossible for your Lordships' House to wreck this measure, even if they wished to do so. If we vote, as we shall in a moment or two, on these Amendments, carry them and remove ship repairing from the Bill, the Government can without further delay have the whole of the rest of their Bill to nationalise shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture and slow marine diesel engine manufacture. They can have that without any delay at all; and if they really still believe that ship repairing also must be nationalised, then they can introduce a Bill to deal with ship repairing at the beginning of the next Session of Parliament.
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, I am grateful for the noble Lord giving way. How can the ship repairing industry be blackmailed? It is speculation. I was under the impression that the ship repairing industry was in a first-class position financially at one time. This is what they have told us. How can the Government therefore be blackmailing it?
§ Lord CARR of HADLEY
My Lords, I do not think that the noble Lord can have read the article. I did not say that the ship repairing industry has been blackmailed. I said that this report was attempting to blackmail Parliament by making threats about what would happen to us if we do something. By all means let the Government go and fight an Election on the abolition of this House. I for one should not be afraid to stump the country on such an Election in the next few weeks. Instead of taking it out on us, they are threatening to take it out on the industries for what Parliament
§ does. That is the wickedness in this report. I cannot believe that any Government would think of this. I do not understand why they do not deny what must be a false report. If they will not deny it then they cannot be surprised if some people believe that there is some truth in the report—and if there were truth in it, it would be an absolute scandal.
§ My Lords, may I reiterate that there is really no question of any action that your Lordships' House may take about these Amendments causing any delay at all as to the major part of this Bill, the greater part of this Bill. The only thing that could be delayed to some extent could be the ship repairing industry and as the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, has just pointed out there is no urgency about nationalising ship repairing even if there was some need for it.
Viscount ST. DAVIDS
My Lords, there is one small point. I might be able to help the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek. There is no question of blackmailing ship repairing. Ship repairing fights in an international field which is totally different from that in which the other industries fight. For that reason ship repairing is all right. It fights for itself. The two other industries can indeed be blackmailed because they are Government-supported and if the Government withdraw their support they are in a nasty position. That I would agree.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether this House doth not insist on their Amendments Nos. 80 to 82 to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason numbered 83?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 51; Not-Contents, 144.1253
|Allen of Fallowfield, L.||Jacques, L.||Peart, L. (L. Privy Seal.)|
|Aylestone, L.||Kaldor, L.||Peddie, L.|
|Birk, B.||Kirkhill, L.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Leatherland, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Brimelow, L.||Lee of Newton, L.||Ritchie-Calder, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Llewelyn-Davies, L.||Rusholme, L.|
|Champion, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. [Teller.]||Stedman, B.|
|Collison, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Longford, E.||Stone, L.|
|Davies of Penrhys, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||McCluskey, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor)||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Goronwy-Roberts, L.||Maelor, L.||White, B.|
|Grantchester, L.||Melchett, L.||Wilson of Radcliffe, L.|
|Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Hale, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.||Wise, L.|
|Harris of Greenwich, L.||Oram, L.|
|Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Parry, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Ferrers, E.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Gage, V.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Amory, V.||Gainsborough, E.||O'Neill of the Maine, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Gisborough, L.||Onslow, E.|
|Balerno, L.||Gladwyn, L.||Pender, L.|
|Banks, L.||Gore-Booth, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Barrington, V.||Gough, V.||Platt, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Gowrie, E.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Gray, L.||Reading, M.|
|Belstead, L.||Greenway, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Berkeley, B.||Gridley, L.||Robbins, L.|
|Blakenham, V.||Hacking, L.||Rochdale, V.|
|Bourne, L.||Hampden, V.||Rochester, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Hanworth, V.||Runciman of Doxford, V.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.|
|Broadbridge, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Sackville, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Hawke, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Burton, L.||Henley, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Byers, L.||Hereford, V.||St. Just, L.|
|Camoys, L.||Hives, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Home of the Hirsel, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Carr of Hadley, L.||Hornsby-Smith, B.||Seear, B.|
|Carrington, L.||Hunt, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Cathcart, E.||Hylton-Foster, B.||Selsdon, L.|
|Chelwood, L.||Inglewood, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Inverforth, L.||Shuttleworth, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Kemsley, V.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Killearn, L.||Somers, L.|
|Cornwallis, L.||Kings Norton, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Kinloss, Ly.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lauderdale, E.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Strathspey, L.|
|Craigton, L.||Long, V.||Sudeley, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Loudoun, C.||Suffield, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Mackie of Benshie, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Dacre, B.||Macleod of Borve, B.||Teviot, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Margadale, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Molson, L.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Deramore, L.||Monck, V.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Digby, L.||Monk Bretton, L.||Vernon, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.||Vickers, B.|
|Eccles, V.||Morris, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Elibank, L.||Mottistone, L.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Wardington, L.|
|Elles, B.||Newall, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Noel-Buxton, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Erskine of Rerrick, L.||Norfolk, D.||Wolverton, L.|
|Faithfull, B.||Northesk, E.||Young, B.|
On Question. Motion agreed to.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Lord CARRINGTON
My Lords, there seems to be a little confusion. Is it right that the Government accept that these Amendments were taken together and that they are all effective? There is no point in having a Division if it is not necessary. I should like an undertaking from the Government that they consider it all right; then we shall accept this.
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, certainly we do not consider it is all right; but I moved three Amendments en bloc, and I certainly accept that the Division 1254 which we have had covers all the Amendments.
§ Lord BYERS
My Lords, does that mean we now move on to endangered species, including the Government?
§ Baroness LLEWELYN-DAVIES of HASTOE
My Lords, there is one extinct species and that is the Liberals.