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Commons Chamber
22 November 1948
Volume 458

House Of Commons

Monday, 22nd November, 1948

The House met at Half-past Two o'Clock

Prayers

[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Oral Answers To Questions

Ministry Of Supply

Jet Engines (Foreign Sales)

1.

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asked the Minister of Supply when the decision to sell the Rolls Royce Nene jet engine to the U.S.S.R. was taken; how many such engines have been sold to the U.S.S.R. and, separately, to Czechoslovakia or any other country under Soviet influence; at what price they were sold; and whether it is intended to make any further deliveries to these countries.

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On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask your guidance with regard to the expression

"to Czechoslovakia or any other country under Soviet influence,"
which is an imputation that that country is under Soviet influence. In view of the fact that we are constantly told by the Clerk at the Table that any statement contained in a Question must be a statement of fact, is the expression used in this Question in Order?

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I should have thought it was a statement of fact, and is, therefore, in Order.

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Further to that point of Order. Would it not have been much more accurate had the words "dominance and domination" been used instead of "influence"?

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The next time I wish to put down a Question about Greece, a number of which have been rejected by the Clerk at the Table—will it be in Order if I use the expression: "Greece under the domination of Britain and America"?

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Certainly not, because that is not a face.

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Further to that point of Order——

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This is not a point of Order but merely a political argument, which I think ought to stop.

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With great respect, Sir——

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It is not a point of Order and I will not have it pursued.

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Messrs. Rolls Royce were given permission in September, 1946, to sell 10 Nene engines to Russia and in March, 1947, to sell a further 15. None has been sold to Czechoslovakia or to any other country which could be described as under Soviet influence. No further sales are contemplated. The selling price of the engines was fixed under a commercial contract.

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But does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the sale of this particular engine to Russia saved that country years of research; and how does he justify that sale?

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As the hon. Member is probably aware, none of these engines was on the secret list.

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In view of the rising tide of Communism, will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that no more munitions of war of any kind will be sold, but all will be kept for defence purposes? Will he give that undertaking?

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That is a very broad question. As I said in reply to the Question put down, no further sales of this engine are contemplated.

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I asked about all munitions of war.

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Did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that these engines were not on the secret list at the time of the sale?

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Yes, Sir.

7.

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asked the Minister of Supply how many British jet engines have been supplied to the U.S.S.R.; and in which years.

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Fifty-five jet engines were supplied to the U.S.S.R. during 1947.

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Can the Minister say, in view of his statement that no further sales are contemplated the reason for this change of policy?

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One of the reasons is that we have not completed our inquiries.

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Will my right hon. Friend make it quite plain that, so long as the present cold war continues, we have no intention whatsoever of supplying any kind of warlike materials either to the Soviet Union or to any of her satellites?

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This Question asks how many engines have been supplied, not about the cold war.

Iron And Steel Orders (Breaches)

4.

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asked the Minister of Supply what were the total quantities of iron and steel involved in the 11 cases constituting breaches of the Iron and Steel Orders already investigated by his price investigations office since 1st January, 1946, and in the nine cases still under investigation, respectively.

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In the 11 cases already investigated, 2,122 tons 4 cwts. of iron and steel were involved. In eight of the cases under investigation, 5,114 tons of iron and steel and an unknown quantity of steel tubing are involved. In the ninth case the quantity of material offered was not specified.

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Could the Minister say whether the steel referred to in these offers did in all cases actually exist?

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We have not even information on that.

Gas Turbine Engines

5.

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asked the Minister of Supply what expenditure has been incurred on the development of turbine engines for aircraft since 1st January, 1941; and what types of turbine engines are now in production as a result.

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I regret that it would not be in the public interest to give the amount spent on the development of gas turbine engines. The engines at present in production are, in the turbo-jet class, the Derwent V, Nene II, Goblin II and Ghost I; and, in the propeller turbine class, the Python I.

Steel Bolts (Imports)

6.

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asked the Minister of Supply in what quantity and for what purpose are steel bolts being imported from the U.S.A.

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Seven hundred and twenty-six tons, for use in the manufacture of Ferguson tractors.

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Is this permission to import steel bolts generally given, or has it only been given for the purposes the right hon. Gentleman named?

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No, Sir. It is not generally given. It is only given if a very special case is made out.

Engineering Standardisation (Committee)

8.

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asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement on arrangements for encouraging standardisation in the engineering industry.

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Yes, Sir. I realise there are limits to the extent to which this process should be carried, but I am convinced—as are my colleagues in the Government responsible for industries which use engineering products—that reduction in variety of engineering products and components could with advantage be taken very much further; I believe this will bring about increases in productivity and a saving in spares and stocks, and will effect very considerable other economies of substantial and lasting benefit to the country.

This is a matter which needs expert investigation and I have therefore decided to appoint a Committee drawn from industry to advise me. The Committee, as well as consulting with the British Standards Institution, who have promised their support, will consult with the makers of the products which come under review, and with the users whose demands for special types of goods set the pace for the makers.

Sir Ernest Lemon has accepted an invitation to be Chairman of the Committee and Sir Ewart Smith, Deputy-Chairman. The names of the other members are:
  • Mr. Stanley Harley.
  • Mr. Jack Tanner.
  • Mr. T. H. Windibank.
I am anxious that this Committee's tasks will not duplicate those of the Committee of the Anglo-American Council on Productivity, set up to examine the development of specialisation in the production of parts and components in the United States and to see to what extent it is applicable in this country. I have accordingly consulted with the British Section of the Anglo-American Council to ensure that there is no overlap and that the two Committees keep in touch. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the Committee's terms of reference.

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Is it contemplated that the standardisation envisaged will be upon the basis of American measurements or British measurements and if it is upon American measurements, will he give an assurance, in view of the possible changes in industry in this country, that British industry will be represented on this Committee?

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I do not think either is envisaged. What we have in mind is simplification of types and components and a reduction of the number at present being used.

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Does this also apply to agricultural machinery?

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Yes, Sir.

Following are the terms of reference:

"To investigate, in consultation with the British Standards Institution, and appropriate organisations, the methods by which manufacturers and users of engineering products determine whether any reduction in the variety of products manufactured is desirable in the light of technical, commercial and other considerations; to report whether these methods are adequate and what, if any, further measures should be taken by industry or by the Government to ensure that such simplifications as are determined are put into effect."

Typewriter Supplies

9.

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asked the Minister of Supply what are the present arrangements with regard to the supply of typewriters to the boards recently set up to operate nationalised industries; and to what extent these boards received more favourable treatment than private business undertakings.

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Following the revocation in July, 1948, of the Supply of Typewriters (Restriction) (No. 2) Order, 1945, there is no control over the distribution of supplies of typewriters and boards of nationalised industries do not receive more favourable treatment than private business undertakings.

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Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he anticipates larger supplies being made available in the near future, because there is still a great shortage?

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Yes, Sir. The manufacture of typewriters is increasing quite rapidly.

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How is the Minister able to say that the boards do not have more favourable treatment than other individuals?

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There is no Governmental preferential treatment of any sort.

Machine Tools (Sale)

10.

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asked the Minister of Supply what reserve was placed on items to be sold by auction at the recent sales of machine tools.

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Reserve prices were placed on certain tools to avoid uneconomic sales. Publication of these prices would prejudice sales at future auctions where similar machines were being offered.

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If there were reserve prices, will the Minister explain why, for instance, 35 highly priced machines, costing £2,000 apiece, required for aeroplane grinding, were sold at Stormy Down at an average price of £50 each?

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No, Sir—unless the hon. and gallant Member is prepared to give the details, and then I will look into it.

11.

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asked the Minister of Supply if he is satisfied that the 9,900 machine tools sold to trade purchasers and holding contractors have not been to any great extent subsequently exported.

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Practically all these machine tools were sold with a proviso that they should not be re-sold within 12 months, and, in the case of Lend-Lease tools, export was forbidden for a period of five years after the end of the war with Germany. I have no reason to believe that these conditions of sale have not been observed.

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In view of previous answers Ministers have given that these tools have not been exported, and that the only regulation the Minister has deals with tools for small arms, can the right hon. Gentleman give any guarantee that these tools have not been exported?

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I have no evidence that they have been exported, and I understand that there is practically no demand for them.

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How can the right hon. Gentleman have any evidence, since he has no power whatever to see that these tools are not disposed of?

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If the hon. and gallant Member has any evidence that the undertaking given by the purchasers of these tools has been broken, I will go into it, but in the absence of such information, I do not propose to take any steps.

Ministry Of Works

Ministry's Staff

12.

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asked the Minister of Works what steps are being taken, in view of the recent elimination of controls on a number of building materials, to reduce to the utmost the number of officials in his Department and in the regional organisation who are responsible for handling these controls; and what is the number of officials who have already been released for absorption by productive industry since the announcement of the elimination of these controls on 1st November.

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A careful review has been made of the number of staff who can be released as a result of the elimination on 1st November of the control over the distribution of building materials. Eighteen have already been released from the Ministry or transferred to vacancies on other work. More will be released shortly.

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While appreciating that reply, is my right hon. Friend aware that building merchants and other firms, including at least one written report which my right hon. Friend has seen, complain of the apparently excessive amount of staff in his Department, and is he prepared to appoint some independent experts to advise him whether any reductions can be made?

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No, Sir. I regard that as wholly unnecessary.

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Can the Minister say whether the reductions have taken place in the regions or at headquarters?

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They have taken place in the regions.

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Have you noticed, Mr. Speaker, that common sense has at last dawned upon the mind of one Socialist?

War Works (Land Restoration)

13.

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asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that numerous sites of former British and U.S. hutted camps on good agricultural land are now covered with concrete and weeds; that the clearing and restoring of such sites is practicable only for large contractors equipped with modern implements; that costs involved require clearing on a national scale; and whether he will consider undertaking such action in the national interest rather than settling the matter by payment of compensation to individuals unable to undertake this work themselves.

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I am aware that it has not yet been possible to restore considerable areas of land which have been used for camps and other war works, and I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Western Dorset (Mr. Digby) on 28th April, 1947. Where public interest is involved, and the compensation paid or payable is not enough for necessary restoration, application may be made for assistance under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. This would take the form either of increased compensation or of actual reinstatement by the Government. It is for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture to say whether land affected should be restored for agricultural purposes.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a considerable area of land is affected, and that we cannot continue to allow this land to produce neither food nor timber? Under these circumstances, why did he write to a constituent of mine saying that there are no grounds for removing temporary works at public expense?

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If compensation has been paid, it is for those people to whom it has been paid to remove the works.

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Is it not far more important to restore the land?

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When the Minister is looking into this matter, will he also bear in mind the condition of the buildings on these sites, many of which seem to have been left completely unattended? This has exposed them to deterioration and damage, of which there is at least one example in Norfolk?

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If I can be given examples, I will have them looked into, but it may be that they have already been transferred to the people who own the land in question and that therefore it is not my responsibility.

Germany

Refugee Association, Hanover

16.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what grounds permission has been given for the association of German exiles recently established at Hanover to include officials alleged to be representing German interests in Hungary, and other Balkan States.

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I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 15th November. It was stated then that the licensing and control of all German refugee associations in the British zone was now a German responsibility.

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Does my hon. Friend not realise that to allow associations to be established, which have as one of their objectives revision of the existing arrangements for the frontiers of Germany, is highly unsatisfactory, and that they must be made to concentrate on the job of looking after refugee problems if the position is to be helped?

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If my hon. Friend has any evidence of revisionist propaganda, I will look into it, but so long as these associations confine themselves to their proper aims, I think they can do a very useful job.

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Are we to understand that, for whatever purpose these associations were licensed, the Allied authorities have no control over them?

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No, Sir. The Military Governor has over-riding powers.

17.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give the names and political antecedents of those Germans representing the territories and populations in Eastern Europe comprised in the association for exiles recently established at Hanover.

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As has already been explained, the licensing of these organisations is a matter for the German authorities. If my hon. Friend has information regarding the political antecedents or present activities of any of the persons concerned, which he thinks should be in the possession of the Foreign Office, I shall be glad to examine it.

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Is my hon. Friend aware that the solution of the refugee problem in Western Germany is being seriously held up because this refugee organisation is bringing pressure to bear on the German Governments not to seek a solution, because they feel that that would jeopardise their propaganda that the only solution is to send these refugees back to Eastern Europe, where they came from?

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I have no information to that effect, but I agree that it is an important subject and I should be very willing to consider any evidence which is sent to me.

Exit Permits

22.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what grounds exit permits have been refused to Inga Birgit and her father, Dr. Walter Zimmermann, of Kiel, who wish to rejoin the latter's wife now resident in Malmö.

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I am making inquiries in Germany, and will write to my hon. Friend.

Ruhr Industries

23.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give the names of the trustees who will control the Ruhr coal, iron and steel industries.

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I understand that no appointments have yet been made. The names of the trustees will be made public when they are appointed. To remove any misapprehensions I should perhaps explain that the trustees will not "control" the industries. Their function is to hold the physical and other assets (including any profits) in trust until a German Government has settled the question of future ownership. The control of the coal industry remains with the existing Anglo-American Coal Control Group. In the case of the steel industry, control is transferred from British hands to a new Anglo-American Steel Control Group.

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Although the trustees have not yet been appointed can my hon. Friend now contradict headlines in the French Press to the effect that we are handing back the industries to the Krupps family?

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That scarcely needs a denial.

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As the French reservations and fears do seem to be well founded, will my hon. Friend give an undertaking that these ordinances will not be put into effect until sympathetic consideration has been given to their representations?

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The general subject of the control of the Ruhr is under discussion with the French Government, among other subjects.

Arrests, Austria (Soviet Reply)

18.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply has been received from the Soviet authorities by the British representative on the Control Commission of Austria to his protests against the repeated abduction of representatives of the Austrian Government.

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The Soviet replies have been very unsatisfactory. The only assurance regarding the arrest of Police Inspector Marek in June which the Soviet High Commissioner would give, was that he would inform the Allied Council and the Austrian Government of the results of his investigation of the charges. When reminded of this undertaking on 10th September, apart from expressing surprise at our interest, he would only say that he had not forgotten his promise.

On 5th November, Frau Dr. Ottilinger, who is the official in charge of the Austrian Ministry of Planning, was arrested. In the Allied Council on 12th November, the British High Commissioner refused to admit the assertion of the Soviet High Commissioner that this was a matter solely within his competence, and declared that such irregular activities on the part of the Occupying Powers brought the whole Allied Administration in Austria into contempt. If any one element had cause to complain of the activities of an Austrian official, there was a perfectly simple remedy, namely, to place the matter in the hands of the Austrian authorities, and, if the action taken was not regarded as acceptable, to lay the matter before the Allied Council. General Galloway asked that Frau Dr. Ottilinger be handed over to the Austrian authorities, together with the accusations against her and any evidence supporting them.

The only reaction to this statement was a threat to continue to make such arrests, on the grounds that Austrian officials were being employed by the Western Powers for espionage against the Soviet.

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Is it not possible to take effective steps, in conjunction with the American and French representatives, to put a stop to these continual deportations and arrests, which are making the functioning of the Austrian Government quite impossible?

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We have always been supported, in the representations we have made, by the United States and French Governments. I cannot say more, however, than that we shall continue to use all the influence we have with the Soviet authorities to stop these arrests.

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Does not my hon. Friend think that this continual kidnapping of people in this area is quite intolerable? Cannot they be given proper protection?

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We are doing what we can to establish more civilised conditions.

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Could not the key members of the Austrian organisation, whose arrests have been in order to sabotage that organisation, be given protection by the other Powers?

Arab Refugees (Relief)

20.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what response he has had from other Governments to his offers that the British Government would advance £1 million for the relief of Palestinian Arabs if other Governments subscribed proportional sums.

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The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted on 19th November a resolution urging all Governments to contribute funds and supplies for the relief of Arab refugees. Before the adoption of this resolution the French Government announced that they would contribute in cash or in kind a sum of 500 million francs. So far as I am aware, no other specific commitments have been made. His Majesty's Government hope that all Governments will now announce their contributions at an early date.

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Will my hon. Friend instruct our representatives at U.N.O. to urge all those Governments who voted for partition, which has caused all this misery, to subscribe?

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We have taken the lead in urging all Governments to subscribe as much as they can to this appeal.

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Will the hon. Gentleman do everything possible to bring relief to distressed Arabs in Palestine?

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Yes, Sir; I gave an account in a recent Adjournment Debate of what His Majesty's Government have done.

Foreign Trials (British Intervention)

25.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the principles on which his Department acts in deciding whether or not to make representations to foreign Governments in relation to trials in their countries, seeing that, in October and November, 1922, the British Minister in Athens twice demanded that the Government should stop the court-martial trial of Gounaris and others, under threat of a rupture of diplomatic relations, Lord Curzon sent an officer to Athens to make the same demand, and ultimately relations were broken off, whilst in the recent case of Abatielos and others, he has refused to take any steps.

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In general, His Majesty's Government refrain from intervening in foreign trials except where British interests or their treaty obligations are involved. My right hon. Friend cannot accept as a parallel the action by Lord Curzon in 1922 referred to by the hon. and learned Member, which was concerned with the execution of Ministers on grounds of incompetence by an unconstitutional military junta.

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Is the only difference that those were Ministers and members of a particular class, whereas the people involved here are good trade unionists, and were good fighters for the Allied cause?

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Another difference is that then a junta was involved, and that now there is a properly elected Government.

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Does the hon. Gentleman say solemnly, and with a sense of responsibility, that the Government of Greece is anything but a puppet of two Great Powers?

United Nations (Soviet Disarmament Proposals)

29.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct our representatives at U.N.O. to propose the abolition of conscription in all countries as a reply to the proposals on disarmament recently put forward by Mr. Vishinsky.

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No, Sir.

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Does my hon. Friend realise that ordinary people in all countries, who are dragged into military machines against their will, would welcome such a proposal? Would he not consider it as useful counter-propaganda to the proposals of Mr. Vishinsky?

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No, Sir, when one State makes a propaganda initiative of this kind, it does not mean that others must make propaganda initiatives in reply.

Transjordan (Aircraft)

31.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assistance in the shape of planes, equipment and personnel has been given to the Transjordan Government in connection with the recent formation of a Transjordan Air Force, as announced by the Transjordan authorities on 1st November, 1948.

30.

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many planes and other aviation equipment have been sent to the Government of Transjordan from 29th May, 1948, to 15th July, 1948, and from 15th July, 1948, to date; and for what purpose.

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The answer is "None, Sir." Permission was given to Arab Airways, before the embargo resolution, to export a number of small civil passenger aircraft and spare engines.

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Does that mean that the statement that was officially made in Transjordan, that there is now an air force, is not correct?

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I believe that the term "air arm" was used by King Abdullah, but to which aircraft it referred, I do not know.

Food Supplies

Milk (Old People)

32.

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asked the Minister of Food if there is now a possibility of increasing the milk ration to old people.

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I am sorry, but our milk supplies are not yet sufficient to permit us to allow extra milk to old people.

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Does the hon. Lady appreciate that that answer is very unsatisfactory to old people? If she cannot grant an increase now, will she bear in mind this priority when milk supplies increase as a result of increased feeding-stuffs?

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I realise that it is unsatisfactory, but the hon. Gentleman must remember that there are three million people in the country over 70 years of age, and that if we made this extra allocation it would mean reducing the ration of non-priority groups.

Fish Meal

33.

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asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the production of fish meal fell by 32 per cent. between 1937 and 1947; what is the reason for this decline; and, in view of the high protein content of fish meal and the need for increasing the numbers of pigs and poultry, if he will take steps to make a greater quantity of this food available to farmers.

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Production of fish meal as a feedingstuff is now 75 per cent. of the estimated pre-war level. As to the second and third parts of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd, on 17th November.

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Will the hon. Lady tell us whether it is true that there are factories in Aberdeen, Grimsby and other places for dealing with cods' heads and other by-products of fish, and whether they are working anywhere near to capacity? Can the hon. Lady say how they could be made more useful?

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Unfortunately, there is a shortage of fish waste. A practice has grown up of beheading fish at sea, and we are trying to devise some scheme to prevent this.

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Hurry up and do it.

Fish Friers' Licences, Blackpool

35.

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asked the Minister of Food how many new licences have been issued to fish friers in Blackpool since 1st September; and how many have been given allocations of fat up to 3 cwt. and how many have been given higher allocations.

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No new fish friers' licences have been granted in Blackpool since 1st September. The second part of the hon. Member's Question does not, therefore, arise.

Sugar Ration

36.

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asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the 1948–49 world record crop of sugar and the Marshall Aid appropriation of 25 million dollars for purchase of sugar by Britain, he will increase the sugar ration.

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My right hon. Friend announced on 1st November that the weekly domestic sugar ration would be increased from eight to 10 ozs. from 5th December next, that from this date jam will be de-rationed, the sweets ration increased from three to four ozs. and that larger supplies of cakes, biscuits, syrup and other items will be available. No other increase is possible at present.

Maize Meal (Eire)

38.

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asked the Minister of Food what additional quantities of maize meal he has arranged to have exported to Eire as pig food; and whether this involves any diminution of the supply to pig producers in the United Kingdom.

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No arrangements have been made to export any maize meal to Eire, and none has been exported during recent years. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.

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Can the hon. Lady say whether we have made available to Eire any dollars for the purpose of buying maize in America?

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The hon. Gentleman is probably thinking of the arrangement made with Eire to lend her some maize which is to be returned by February, 1949.

Danish Bacon (Price)

39.

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asked the Minister of Food how the price of bacon bought from Denmark compares with that of United Kingdom bacon.

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The cost of bacon produced in the United Kingdom is at present rather more than the current cost of Danish bacon which is 225s. 0d. per cwt. f.o.b. plus freight and landing charges.

Glucose

40.

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will now decontrol the supply of glucose to manufacturers of confectionery.

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No, Sir.

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Would the hon. Lady be prepared to issue a certain proportion of the sugar allocation to small manufacturers of confectionery in the form of glucose, which would greatly increase the variety that they could manufacture?

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Certain manufacturers do have glucose, but I must remind the hon. Gentleman that the supply of glucose depends on the supply of maize and starch, which is in short supply.

Potatoes (Fish Friers)

41.

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will now allow potatoes to be supplied to the fish friers throughout the country in order to expedite the utilisation of potato stocks which will not keep in good condition for very long.

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Yes, Sir. There is no restriction on the quantity of potatoes fish friers may buy.

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Is the hon. Lady aware that many of the fish friers throughout the country still have to go through licensing channels and cannot buy direct from the farms and that in all parts of the country many of the stocks of potatoes are deteriorating and going bad? Are we to understand from her reply that they can go to any farm where there are potatoes for sale and buy them direct from that farm?

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No, Sir. The hon. Gentleman knows full well there are 9,500 grower retailers. He is quite right when he says that many people have to buy through a merchant, but that is a pre-war practice which we are still following. He is quite wrong when he says that potatoes are deteriorating all over the place. He need not be afraid; we are keeping an eye on his own potatoes, and we shall have them removed very shortly.

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Is the hon. Lady aware that I am not thinking of my own potatoes, but I am thinking of those potatoes throughout the country which are deteriorating every day? The Government must do something to clear up the muddle, which is getting like the fog—worse and worse.

Catering Establishments (Bacon)

42.

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asked the Minister of Food what proportion of available supplies of bacon are allocated to catering establishments and canteens in the country; and if he will give an estimate of the extent to which the curtailment of such allocations would affect the domestic ration.

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Four point nine per cent. of the total supply of bacon was allocated to catering establishments and canteens in 1947. The curtailment of such allocations would not significantly affect the weekly domestic ration.

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While appreciating that answer, may I ask whether my hon. Friend is aware that there is a very strong feeling in the country on this matter, and would it be possible for the domestic ration to be improved in this way? Would it be possible for a person with a single ration book to get some consideration? May I also ask my hon. Friend whether she is satisfied that the black market is really wiped out in the city of Birmingham?

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My hon. Friend must realise that the amount of bacon allocated to the catering establishments yearly is equivalent to a two weeks' domestic ration, so that if we did take it away from the catering establishments, it would make no appreciable difference to the ordinary domestic consumer.

Eggs

43.

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asked the Minister of Food how many eggs are produced annually to the egg stations for distribution by the 458,700 persons who are registered for pig and poultry rations; what is the total number of hens in this country; what is the annual number of eggs imported; and whether he is satisfied that the maximum number of eggs produced by the holders of pig and poultry rations are passed to his Department's egg stations for distribution to the people of this country.

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As the answer is rather long I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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Is the Minister aware that there is a very widely held belief that a large number of hen eggs are finding their way to the black market, and what steps are the Department taking to try to stop that happening?

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We realise that a number of eggs are not finding their way to the packing stations, and my hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that we are issuing a bonus ration of feeding-stuffs on the basis of the number of eggs which find their way to the stations.

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In regard to the total number of hens in this country, can my hon. Friend tell me how many of these are old hens and have no more use in our national economy and will she consider turning this category of hens over to the care of the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers)?

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I can give my hon. Friend one figure. There are 38 million hens over six months old.

Following is the statement:

One thousand seven hundred and six million eggs were handled by packing stations in Great Britain during the year to 30th September, 1948. Without a good deal of research which I do not think would be justified, I could not state the number of producers supplying these eggs or the extent to which they are registered for pig and poultry rations.

According to the 4th June, 1948, poultry census, there were then about 38 million fowls over six months old on holdings exceeding one acre in Great Britain.

The number of eggs imported into Great Britain in the year to 30th September, 1948, excluding supplies from Northern Ireland, was 1,820 million.

As regards the last part of the Question, I am certainly not satisfied that the potential maximum is being delivered to the packing stations. Every effort, however, is being made within the limits of the resources which can be spared for this work to enforce the regulations and I hope that the recent arrangement under which bonus issues of feedingstuffs will be given on the basis of the number of eggs sent in to the packing stations will have a good effect.

44.

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asked the Minister of Food if he is making arrangements for the storage of eggs bought abroad during the season of highest home production next spring so as to ensure than consumers will have a regular supply through the year.

56.

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asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the circular memorandum embodying the views of the Poultry Association of Great Britain with regard to the home egg-producing industry in relation to imports, a copy of which has been sent to him; and if he proposes to take appropriate action.

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We are already trying to arrange for eggs to be stored for us in Denmark, Holland and Poland as suggested by the Poultry Association of Great Britain, Ltd., Memorandum. This is an extension of what has been taking place in Canada for some years, but it would be premature to indicate how far it may prove to be practicable.

Special Cheese Ration

54.

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asked the Minister of Food in how many cases the extra cheese ration has been refused to self-employed workers in the building trade in rural areas who must necessarily take a packed midday meal to their work; and if he will devise some means of certifying genuine applications so that the self-employed worker may not be deprived of this necessity.

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I regret that no information is available of the number of self-employed workers who have been refused extra cheese. We have already made considerable concessions in the matter of extra cheese to rural building workers and we cannot extend the grant to self-employed workers.

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Is it not worth while making a further effort to remove this discrimination against the self-employed worker who is doing the job in exactly the same conditions as the man who has to have an employment card?

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If we made this concession we should also have to make concessions to brickmakers, market-gardeners and smallholders. [HON. MEMBERS; "Why not? "] The reason why not—and the answer is simple—is that if we continue to make concessions, we shall jeopardise the domestic ration.

Allocations

55.

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will consult the National Chamber of Trade and all other appropriate organisations which are representative of large sections of the retailers throughout the country in respect of all food allocation quotas.

59.

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asked the Minister of Food why he has abandoned the principle of consultations with representatives of the trade regarding the allocation of food supplies; and how many of these consultations have taken place in the last six months.

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My right hon. Friend cannot undertake to consult trade associations about every allocation of food; he will continue, as in the past to do so on all appropriate occasions. All commodity divisions of the Ministry are in frequent, sometimes daily, consultation with the trade, but it would be impossible to say on how many occasions the question of allocations has been discussed during the past six months.

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Are we to understand that the Government are going to persist in their arbitrary methods of food allocation? Is the hon. Lady aware of the feeling over the allocation to the co-operative societies? Why not seek information from all sources where she will really gain something?

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We do, Sir.

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Will the hon. Lady do it again.

60.

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asked the Minister of Food whether in view of his decision to increase certain allocations to co-operative societies, the former basis of allocation on a pre-war standard is no longer generally applicable to food manufacturers.

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Recent decisions in respect of co-operative societies relate only to the additional supplies of sugar made available to certain of the food manufacturing industries. Basic quotas remain unaffected except where, as in the case of preserves, a new principle of allocation has been adopted.

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Does not the hon. Lady appreciate that the basis of nearly nine years ago is becoming out of date? I sincerely hope that the hon. Lady will consider that point, in view of the decision taken lately in regard to co-operative societies, and that she may consider it worth while to reconsider the general system of the datum period.

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I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are very much concerned with the matter and that we are trying to devise another scheme.

Retailers' Licences

57.

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asked the Minister of Food when he proposes to make an order to amend S.I., 1948, No. 2319, as promised on 10th November.

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My right hon. Friend will in the next three or four days be amending this order.

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Will the hon. Lady say whether the amending order will amend the Licensing of Retailers' Order, No. 2234, in the schedule of which are some objectionable provisions?

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Yes, Sir.

Imported Snoek

58.

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asked the Minister of Food the cost of imported snoek, as compared with the cost of other imported fish and British herring, respectively.

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We are negotiating for supplies of canned fish and therefore it would not be in the public interest to disclose these prices. Snoek can be bought cheaper than Group III salmon, but costs more than herring.

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While acknowledging that under the persuasive influence of the hon. Lady's skilled cooks this substance can be made quite palatable—indeed very palatable—may I ask whether she is satisfied that the ordinary housewife, without the assistance or the gadgets which are necessary to make it palatable, can secure the same result? Furthermore, may I ask whether it is really to the advantage of the people as a whole that snoek should be taken in at the expense of the more succulent and vitamin-full herring?

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I must congratulate the hon. and gallant Member upon his ability to discard his prejudices and to judge snoek on its merits. I think that if he reads our recipes and consults our excellent cooks, he will discover that the ordinary housewife can make snoek up into agreeable dishes. Herring is bought, but snoek does provide a further variety.

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Will my hon. Friend tell the House that she proposes to stop her little game of "snoeker" and give us salmon at I lower points value?

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My hon. Friend could not have been here when my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer explained quite clearly to the House that canned salmon costs dollars. What my hon. Friend calls my "little game" is my attempt to persuade the people of this country to cat food from soft currency countries rather than from hard currency countries.

Legitimacy Declarations (Petitions)

45.

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asked the Attorney-General whether he will take steps to enable petitions for declaration of legitimacy to be heard in camera.

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I have been asked to reply. Legislation would be required to give effect to the hon. and gallant Member's proposal. Whether the proposal is desirable is a matter of opinion, but I will consider the matter.

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Will my right hon. Friend draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the remarks made by the judge in a recent case at Brenford County Court where an old lady of 73 had to give evidence about events of over 50 years ago, and whether it is not possible in those circumstances to allow the same privacy in legitimacy proceedings as is done in adoption proceedings?

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Yes, Sir; that is one of the matters which the Attorney-General has in mind.

Agriculture

Linseed Production

46.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what evidence he has received of the difficulties in harvesting linseed this year; and whether he considers that the present price is giving sufficient encouragement to farmers to grow this crop.

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There is no doubt that linseed is not an easy crop to harvest. This year's experience appears to have varied somewhat widely: but the season was exceptional, favouring strong weed growths, and harvesting in general was difficult and prolonged. It is, I think, perhaps rather soon to conclude that the present price is not sufficiently encouraging to growers in less unfavourable circumstances.

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Are the Government taking any steps to find out whether there is better machinery in the Argentine, the United States and other countries to make the harvesting of this crop an easier proposition?

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I will not tie myself to any of the examples given by the hon. Member, but we are certainly taking a wide view of what should be done to help producers of this and other crops on which we are really depending.

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Will the Minister bear in mind that if he wants to achieve the target of linseed next season, he should bring this matter up at the next February price review?

Land Commission

49.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what acreage of land is now administered by the Land Commission; what acreage of land they have taken over and re-let or re-sold; and how many people are there in their employment.

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The Agricultural Land Commission and Welsh Agricultural Land Sub-Commission have 52,059 acres of agricultural land under their control and the whole of the area is let. They employ a total staff of 35 on their management and other functions, including three land agents, an estate staff of 18 and the necessary office staff. Day-to-day management work in the field is carried out by members of the Ministry's Agricultural Land Service.

Seed Oats (Sale)

50.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will restore to farmers the right to receive coupons in exchange for oats they sell for seed.

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A farmer who as a result of selling his oats for seed is short of feedingstuffs for his livestock is allowed coupons, according to his need, up to the limit of the quantity of seed oats he has sold.

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Do the coupons allow the purchaser freedom to buy what feedingstuffs he likes, or is he now more limited than he was in former years as to the feedingstuffs with which he can replace his oats?

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They cover the whole quantity that he is allowed, but they are valid only for home-produced feeding-stuffs.

Foxes (Preservation)

51.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will inquire into the extent to which foxes are preserved for purposes of hunting; the acreage devoted to artificial coverts for the harbouring of pests; and the practice of constructing artificial earths.

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No, Sir. I have no reason to believe that foxes are preserved to any appreciable extent. Moreover, an inquiry of such a wide range and uncertain character would involve considerable expenditure of time and the results would almost certainly be inconclusive. Without strong evidence to the contrary, I am not satisfied that there is sufficient justification for diverting the pests staffs of C.A.E.Cs. from their normal duties for such a purpose.

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Is my hon. Friend aware that the Masters of Foxhounds Association and other foxhunting interests admit that foxes are preserved for purposes of sport? Is he further aware that leading poultry experts have alleged in poultry newspapers that British housewives are being robbed of millions of eggs because of this practice? Will the Government therefore take a courageous stand to deal with this fox-hunting fifth column on the food front?

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There may be a good deal to be said for taking a courageous stand, but one has to be careful where one takes the courageous stand. I am not at all aware of the second allegation which my hon. Friend has made, but I would remind him that county executive committees have power under Section 98 of the 1947 Agriculture Act to require the destruction of foxes and there is no evidence that they are not in fact using that power.

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Is the Minister aware that foxes kill a very great number of rats and rabbits which do far more than equivalent harm?

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Is my hon. Friend aware also that, whatever happens in Northampton, large numbers of poultry have recently been destroyed in my constituency by foxes? Will the Minister therefore try to purge the agricultural executive committees of foxhunting interests?

Pig And Poultry Feedingstuffs

52.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement regarding the issue of bonus rations for pigs and poultry.

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Full particulars of the bonus rationing scheme were announced to the Press on 16th November and I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the announcement. I will also, with permission, include a summary statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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What proportionate increase does this amount to for commercial producers of pigs and poultry? When does the Minister think he will be able to remove any remaining restraints on the production of eggs and pig meat?

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I am not quite sure that I know what my hon. Friend means by "any remaining restraints on the production of eggs and pig meat." If he is asking when we shall be able to make further issues of feedingstuffs, the answer is "When we get them." With regard to the first part of his supplementary question, the answer is "About 10 per cent."

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While welcoming this bonus, may I ask the Minister whether he will give active consideration to the possibility of a new scheme in which the keeping of pigs and poultry before the war will not be the only criterion?

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The hon. and gallant Member will be aware that we have reopened again until the end of this month the scheme under which newcomers in this field who have not the 1939–40 basic qualification can, under certain conditions, get feedingstuffs. I hope that any constituent of the hon. and gallant Member who desires to do so will make application before 1st December.

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Will the Minister try to make his statements to the House in the first instance, because owing to the present shortage of newsprint, it may be difficult for farmers to be quite sure about these matters?

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I will think about that matter. I made the announcement at Welshpool on Saturday. I thought the interest in the announcement was so wide that it might well be made known in the country. We had already forecast its coming and the matter was widely canvassed in the Press. I am not aware that we made any breach of custom, but I will certainly think about the matter.

Following is the statement:

Issues of bonus rations for pigs and poultry will be made in January, 1949, and subsequently at intervals of four months. The January issues will be based upon deliveries of pig meat during the three calendar months ending 31st December, 1948, and of deliveries of eggs during the 13 weeks ending 29th December, 1948. Allowances will be at the rate of 1 cwt. per 160 lb. of pigmeat or 80 dozen grade-able eggs. For the two subsequent periods the allowance for eggs delivered will be at the rate of 1 cwt. per 160 dozen but the issues in respect of pigmeat will not be varied. The coupons issued will be special coupons valid for either a pig or poultry compound or for straight cereal feeding-stuffs and they will be so dated that purchases are spread over a period of four months beginning with the date of issue.

Producers will be required to make application for the bonus rations and to support their application by vouchers showing what their deliveries of eggs and pigmeat have been during the appropriate period. It has been possible to make arrangements with the egg packing stations under which the stations will furnish producers with a composite voucher showing the total deliveries of gradeable eggs during the period. Pigkeepers must attach the payment certificates they receive in respect of deliveries of pig meat.

The operation of the scheme will be reviewed at the end of the first year and may then be amended as experience dictates.

Milk And Dairies (1944 Act)

53.

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asked the Minister of Agriculture when he intends to bring the Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Act, 1944, into operation.

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I have been asked to reply. Delay has been caused by certain legal difficulties which have come to light, but the order to bring the Act into operation will be made as soon as possible. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a recent circular addressed to local authorities.

Roads

Speed Limits (Utility Cars)

61.

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asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the recent decision with reference to red or white petrol for utility cars, he will state whether these will now be classified as private vehicles for speed limit purposes, more especially where no C licence is held and they are licensed as private cars, and in view of the fact that Purchase Tax is payable on them as private vehicles, whereas commercial vehicles avoid this tax.

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No, Sir. The considerations mentioned are not relevant to the speed limit.

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Why should private cars, because they have a body suitable for luggage or shopping, be penalised as against saloon cars which may contain hangers for clothes and be used for commercial purposes? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many authorities refuse to enforce this archaic law?

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It is difficult to determine the class of vehicle here according to the use to which it is put at any particular time.

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Surely this relates only to licences for private use? It is not a commercial matter.

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Since none of these utility vehicles observes the speed limit anyhow, why not abolish this archaic regulation?

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That is an entirely different point.

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I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

Street Lighting, Hound

63.

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asked the Minister of Transport why he is delaying his consent to the street lighting application of the Hound Parish Council.

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I regret that there has been some delay in this case. I am arranging for the immediate issue of the necessary licence.

Jamaica

Illegitimate Births

64.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies approximately what percentage of all babies born in Jamaica are illegitimate.

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Of the total births registered in Jamaica in 1946, 67.71 per cent. were illegitimate.

Hospital Accommodation

65.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many public hospital beds are available free in Jamaica; and to what extent this accommodation falls short of the estimated need.

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There are at present 5,576 free beds available to meet the estimated need of 7,850.

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Could my hon. Friend urge the Government of Jamaica to try to divert to hospital building and socially useful purposes some of the vast sums of money otherwise spent in building luxury hotels?

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My hon. Friend has another question on that point.

Housing (Rural Workers)

67.

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asked the Minister of Health whether in view of the shortage of houses for agricultural workers, he is prepared to waive the present restrictions on the granting of licences to persons wishing to build houses for agricultural workers and who are prepared to make no claim for subsidy.

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No, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 11th November, of which I am sending him a copy.

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Will the Minister say what reason there is for refusing a licence for the building of a house for a farm worker when there is such a shortage of rural houses and when the builder of the cottage wants no subsidy from the country and no subsidy from the ratepayers?

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There is no advantage in adding to the number of houses on paper unless the men and the materials can be made available.

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They are there.

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I am satisfied that this is much the best way in the interests of the agricultural community.

Trade And Commerce

Furniture Controls (Relaxation)

68.

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to announce a relaxation of controls affecting the furniture industry.

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Yes, Sir. I propose to revoke the present statutory control over the manufacture and supply of furniture, and at the same time to make certain modifications in the utility furniture scheme. The necessary order has been made and will come into operation on 29th November.

Under the new scheme, manufacturers will still need a licence to apply the utility mark to furniture, and will be permitted to apply the mark only to furniture made in conformity with general specifications of quality and construction issued by the Board of Trade. These specifications are intended to maintain the standard of quality of utility furniture, but will give manufacturers freedom to make it to their own designs, and by the methods which they can most efficiently employ.

These changes do not affect the controls over acquisition and consumption of timber or steel for furniture.

Maximum prices for the various groups of new utility furniture will be fixed in a separate order which will be made shortly. Each group of articles will have its own maximum price but the highest prices will not, except in a few cases, exceed the highest now chargeable. In many instances they will be slightly lower.

As part of the new scheme, my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make a Treasury order reducing the rate of Purchase Tax on non-utility furniture now charged at 66⅔ per cent. to 33⅓ per cent. as from 29th November.

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While I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, which will give very great satisfaction, particularly to the manufacturers of non-utility furniture, may I ask him to assure us that he will retain sufficient controls to guarantee that the interests of the consumers will be uppermost at all times?

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We have had that matter very much in mind and I can assure my hon. Friend that, while giving freedom of design, we shall maintain the standard of quality and reliability of utility furniture.

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In view of the innumerable occasions on which hon. Members on this side of the House have advocated the relaxation of controls, does the right hon. Gentleman realise how grateful we are that for once he has taken our advice?

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In view of the large number of times on which we have announced relaxations of controls when they have been possible, I would like to remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we are still awaiting the long-promised advice from the other side on which controls to take off next.

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Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he has a sufficient number of inspectors to ensure that the specifications are properly carried out?

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I think the main control on this must come from the consumers themselves. We are providing in the new scheme a code number which will be applied to the furniture so that the maker can be identified, and I hope the consumers will give us all the help they can.

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Can my right hon. Friend say whether his Department are encouraging furniture manufacturers to use some of the lesser known Empire timbers which are in plentiful supply as distinct from the more popularly known, such as oak and mahogany?

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That is being done, and many new kinds of timber are now being used.

Machine Tools (Export)

69.

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will amend the Export of Goods (Control) (Amendment No. 3) Order, 1948, so as to preclude the export of all machine tools that can be used for armament purposes.

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Machine tools designed for use for armament purposes are already included in the order. I do not propose to amend the order to include machine tools generally.

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When the President of the Board of Trade says that machine tools for armament purposes generally are included within the order, can he say in what part of that order any tools except those required for small arms manufacture appear?

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I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will realise the difficulty here. In fact, practically every machine tool can be used in one way or another for armament manufacture. I am satisfied that to put them all under control would involve a very serious interference with our export drive. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman has any particular kind of machine tool in mind which he thinks should be brought under control, I hope he will let us know about it.

Undischarged Bankrupts

70.

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present number of undischarged bankrupts; what check is kept on their financial activities; and whether he will consider taking action to strengthen the existing law on the matter.

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It is estimated that there are 60,000 undischarged bankrupts. In general, no check is maintained, but if the Official Receiver obtains information suggesting that an undischarged bankrupt is committing bankruptcy offences or possesses after-acquired property, he takes whatever action is appropriate. The answer to the third part of the Question is in the negative.

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Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether some more stringent check ought to be kept on the activities of some of these gentlemen, in view of their mode of life and their financial dealings?

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Without a very large additional staff equipped with special police powers, it would be impossible to keep track of some 60,000 undischarged bankrupts.

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Would the President of the Board of Trade agree that it would be possible, without a great addition to the staff of inspectors, to insist that an undischarged bankrupt should report periodically?

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I would like to look into that. I would not agree without considering it.

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Would it not be a practicable method of making such persons reveal their position if the identity card of every undischarged bankrupt was marked "undischarged bankrupt" so that its production could be demanded by anyone who was interested?

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I do not think that would be a desirable recommendation.

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Is it not desirable that undischarged bankrupts should not frequently change their names, which leads to confusion?

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Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the register of undischarged bankrupts is available for inspection at a fee and could not greater use be made of it? No doubt it is worth looking at, but the register seems a little old-fashioned.

"Queen Elizabeth" (Strike)

( by Private Notice)

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asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to secure a resumption of work by the crew of the Cunard White Star liner "Queen Elizabeth," and whether he can give some confirmation of recent indications of a settlement?

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An officer of my Department has been in Southampton in touch with the shipping company and the trade union. I am happy to be able to inform the House that work was resumed at 12 noon today.

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May I ask the Minister of Labour whether there was any breach of contract between the men who left the ship and the Company? If so, is it proposed to take any disciplinary action for anarchy and mutiny? May I also ask whether the Minister realises that the strike at Southampton is only the last move in the Soviet game? Will the Government govern or get out?

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Will the Minister consider the danger that would be involved to many respectable business men if people who break contracts are prosecuted for anarchy and mutiny?

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Does the statement mean that the "Queen Elizabeth" will be able to sail in the near future?

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I have not been able to collect the most up-to-date information, but I understand that the Shipping Federation and the trade union met last night; that they reached some understanding which was submitted to the men this morning and that they at once resumed work. As far as I know, it is intended that the "Queen Elizabeth" will sail tomorrow, pending such information as may come from New York.

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Will the Minister confirm that the settlement of this strike does not now depend on the settlement of the strike in New York, because that was understood from the statement from New York?

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I have already indicated, in answer to the Private Notice Question, that I can only give the information I have at the moment. I have only just received confirmation that there was a meeting and that they have decided to resume work, but information of the arrangements come to has not yet come through.

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May I have a reply to my question? I asked whether there was any breach of contract——

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I think we heard the question; it need not be repeated. If the Minister does not choose to answer, that is his affair.

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May I ask whether there was any breach of contract? [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman dare not answer that one; the T.U.C. would not like it.

Bill Presented

Legal Aid And Solicitors (Scotland) Bill

"to make legal aid and advice in Scotland more readily available for persons of small or moderate means and to enable the cost of legal aid or advice for such persons to be defrayed wholly or partly out of moneys provided by Parliament; to establish a Law Society of Scotland; to amend the law relating to solicitors in Scotland; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid," presented by Mr. Woodburn; supported by the Lord Advocate, Mr. Glenvil Hall, the Solicitor-General for Scotland, Mr. Thomas Fraser and Mr. J. J. Robertson; read the First time; to be read a Second time upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 24]

Business Of The House

Motion made, and Question put,

"That the Proceedings on Government Business be exempted, at this day's Sitting, from

Division No. 10.]

AYES

3.33 p.m.

Acland, Sir RichardHaire, John E. (Wycombe)Pritt, D. N.
Adams, Richard (Balham)Hale, LeslieProctor, W. T.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Hastings, Dr. SomervillePursey, Comdr. H.
Albu, A. H.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Ranger, J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Rees-Williams, D. R.
Alpass, J. H.Hewitson, Capt MReeves, J.
Attewell, H. CHobson, C. R.Reid, T. (Swindon)
Ayles, W. H.Horabin, T. L.Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. BHoy, J.Robens, A.
Bacon, Miss AHudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Balfour, A.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Barton, C.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Battley, J. R.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Royle, C
Bechervaise, A. E.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Sargood, R.
Berry, H.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Scott-Elliott. W.
Beswick, F.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Segal, Dr. S.
Binns, J.Janner, B.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Blackburn, A. R.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Sharp, Granville
Blyton, W. R.Jenkins, R. H.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Jones, D. T (Hartlepool)Skinnard, F. W.
Bramall, E. A.Keenan, W.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Brown, George (Belper)Key, Rt Hon. C. W.Solley, L. J.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Stross, Dr. B.
Burden, T. W.Kinley, J.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Byers, FrankLawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Sylvester, G. O.
Callaghan, JamesLevy, B. W.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Lipson D. L.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Chamberlain, R. A.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Chater, D.McAdam, W.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Chetwynd, G. R.McEntee, V. La T.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Cluse, W. S.Mack, J. D.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Cocks, F. S.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Thurtle, Ernest
Colman, Miss G. M.McLeavy, F.Tolley, L.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.MacPherson, M. (Stirling)Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Cove, W. G.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Vernon, Maj W. F.
Daggar, G.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)Viant, S. P.
Daines, P.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Walker, G. H.
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)Mellish, R. J.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Deer, G.Middleton, Mrs. L.Warbey, W. N.
de Freitas, GeoffreyMillington, Wing-Comdr E. R.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Driberg, T. E. N.Monslow, W.Weitzman, D.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Dumpleton, C. W.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)Wheartey, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Moyle, A.While, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Naylor, T. E.Whitetey, Rt. Hon. W.
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Neal, H. (Claycross)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Oliver, G. H.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Fernyhough, E.Paget, R. T.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Follick, M.Parker, J.Willis, E.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Parkin, B. T.Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.
Gibson, C. W.Paton Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)Wise, Major F. J.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Paton, J. (Norwich)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Granville, E. (Eye)Pearson, A.Wyatt, W.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Peart, T. F.Yates, V. F.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Piratin, P.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Grey, C. F.Popplewell, E.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Porter, E. (Warrington)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Simmons and Mr. Wilkins.

NOES

Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Channon, H.Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)
Baird, J.Clarke, Col. R. SDuthie, W. S.
Baldwin, A. E.Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Eden, Rt. Hon A.
Birch, NigelCorbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)
Bossom, A. C.Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Grimston, R. V.
Bower, N.Crowder, Capt. John E.Harden, J. R. E.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Cuthbert, W. N.Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.De la Bère, R.Haughton, S. G.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Dodds-Parker, A. D.Head, Brig, A. H.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bullock, Capt. M.Drayson, G. B.Hogg, Hon Q.
Butcher, H. W.Drewe, C.Hollis, M. C.

the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House)."—[ Mr. H. Morrison.]

The House divided: Ayes, 172; Noes, 85.

Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Marlowe, A. A. H.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Hope, Lord J.Marples, A. E.Smithers, Sir W.
Hurd, A.Marsden, Capt. A.Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Keeling, E. H.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Sutcliffe, H.
Lambert, Hon. G.Medlicott, Brigadier F.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Langford-Holt, J.Mellor, Sir J.Taylor, Vice-Adm, E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Lennox-Boyd., A. T.Neven-Spence, Sir B.Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Touche, G. C.
Low, A. R. W.Nutting, AnthonyWard, Hon. G. R.
Lucas, Major Sir J.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Pickthorn, K.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Renton, D.
Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Sanderson, Sir F.Mr. Studholme and
Manningham-Buller, R ESavory, Prof. D. LColonel Wheatley

Orders Of The Day

Ways And Means (18Th November)

Prize Money

Resolution reported,

"That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make provision as to the payment, and the distribution or application, of any prize money granted by His Majesty out of the proceeds of prize captured in the late war, or other provision as to prize, it is expedient to authorise the payment into the Exchequer of unclaimed sums in the custody of prize courts."

Resolution agreed to.

Prize Bill

Considered in Committee.

[Major MILNER in the Chair]

Clause 1—(Aggregate Amounts Of Naval And Marine, And Raf, Prize Payments)

3.42 p.m.

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I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, to leave out "four," and to insert "six."

I think it would be convenient to the Committee if we considered at the same time the Amendment to page 2, line 3, leave out from "million," to "thousand," in line 4, and insert "eight hundred and seventy-five."

In the Second Reading Debate considerable concern was expressed about the small amount—£5¼ million—available for distribution after the last war. Indeed, that small amount was used by the Parliamentary Secretary as an argument for treating the able seaman and the boy on the same basis when Prize Money came to be distributed, and as an argument for the exclusion from the Prize Money distribution of those who were injured and killed in the course of their service before the completion of 180 days at sea, of commodores of convoys and naval ratings serving in the course of their duty on armed merchant ships, and of members of the maritime merchantmen, Royal Artillery.

In the interval that has elapsed since the Second Reading, we on our side have been considering in what way the sum available for distribution could be properly increased. That is what we are seeking to do in these two Amendments. The Committee will observe from the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill that a purely arbitrary basis has been taken for the division between Droits of the Crown and Droits of the Admiralty. It may well be that, in fact, soma, part of the Droits of the Admiralty, under the Bill as it now stands, are already finding their way into the Royal Naval and the Royal Air Force Prize Funds. The arbitrary basis is of two to one, as the hon. Gentleman said in moving the Second Reading:
"This Bill, however, differs from past Bills, in that there will be an arbitrary division—purely arbitrary, I may emphasise—of one-third Admiralty, that is Exchequer grant, and two-thirds Crown, that is for distribution. This amount is roughly the same as the proportions in the 1914–18 war. Both the Air Ministry and the Admiralty are satisfied that this division is a fair one and that the Treasury have, in fact, been most reasonable in the matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1862.]
The amount may be roughly the same as the proportions in the 1914–18 war, but the total available for distribution is very much less. Having regard to the small amount available for distribution, and the fact that that is used as an argument for excluding categories which are, in my opinion, clearly entitled to share in the distribution, I submit that Parliament should say that the total of £6 million should be made available for distribution as Prize Money. It lies upon the Government to satisfy us that, in all the circumstances, it is right for the Exchequer to take one-third of the small total that is available. I think I am right in saying that the total amount now in the Prize Fund is less than half what it was after the 1914–18 war.

Why should not the whole of this sum be made available? If it is made available, it seems possible by a slight alteration in the scale of distribution to give the able seaman, for instance, a bigger share of Prize Money than the boy. It should also be possible by a very small increase to make provision for the excluded categories to whom I have already referred. If the hon. Gentleman resists this Amendment, he really must put forward some reason, not only for this arbitrary division but also for not including in the fund available for distribution the total of £6 million now in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account. I hope that in this short speech I have made clear the purpose of the first Amendment.

The second Amendment is designed to alter, by increasing it, the amount available for the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, preserving by that alteration the same proportion between the amounts going to the Navy and to the Air Force as provided in the Bill. I hope this is clear to the hon. Gentleman. The effect of increasing the fund available for distribution will mean not only more for both, but will mean that naval ratings who were ordered to serve on armed merchant ships will not be excluded from sharing in the distribution; and that the service of a naval rating on an armed merchant ship, followed, perhaps, by service on a warship, will count towards the period of 180 days.

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I am afraid that I cannot accept the Amendment and I shall give a number of reasons. The hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) said he had been considering in what way the sum available for distribution could properly be increased. The fact is that it cannot properly be increased. Any increase under the method which he suggests would be improper. First, there is the question of precedent which, I know, carries a great deal of weight with hon. Members opposite. Throughout the centuries during which prize money has been granted, and particularly in recent times, Droits of Admiralty were considered as something which should go not to individual captors—or sailors—in the Navy, but, in fact, as I explained in my Second Reading speech, to the Exchequer. I will not go into all the history now because I have done so at some length before. The whole principle was that the Droits of Admiralty went to the Exchequer, and Droits of the Crown to the men. Therefore, on the ground of precedent we should be against accepting this Amendment. I agree that that is not enough.

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If the hon. Gentleman is relying on precedent, can he assure this Committee that under the division now contained in the Bill, no Droits of Admiralty are going into this £5¼ million? Unless he can give this assurance it would follow that under this arbitrary division the Bill itself departs from precedent.

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Of course, the Bill departs from precedent, in a sense, because we are making, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has said, an arbitrary division. But having made that division, the principle of the division is that certain sums shall be Droits of Admiralty and certain sums shall be Droits of the Crown. That is in accordance with precedent, and Droits of Admiralty are payable into the Exchequer.

I turn next to the agreement. The hon. and learned Member is perturbed; he thinks that perhaps not enough is being given by way of Droits of the Crown. He will be interested to know that we consider that by this agreement we have done better than we would have done had the division taken place as it did after the previous war; if, in fact, all the sums had been calculated as they were in the previous war, instead of fixing an arbitrary division as we have now done. For example, many ships were captured in North African ports, Massawa and elsewhere, which will be counted as Droits of the Crown and not as Droits of Admiralty. We think that by and large we are getting more in this way than we got in the division that took place after the last war, more by way of proportion.

Thirdly—and this is very important—these arrangements have been reached with the concurrence of the Dominions. If we were to alter the proportion, as the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests—and, indeed, I gather that he would remove all the Droits of Admiralty and make them into Droits of the Crown—we should have to agree with the Dominions to an entirely new basis of disposal. For all these reasons it would be impossible to accept the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment. It would make the Bill in its present form unworkable.

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I understand the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty now to have admitted that there is in this Bill no clear distinction between Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty, and to have answered my hon. and learned Friend's question by saying in effect that we are now getting away, so far as the Prize Fund is concerned, with part of the Droits of Admiralty—that they are already included in the sums which are mentioned in this Bill. If that be so, it seems to me that the first argument of the Parliamentary Secretary falls completely to the ground. If it be admitted that Droits of Admiralty can be included in the Royal Naval Prize Fund and in the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, then it is up to this House to say what sums should be included, and it should not depend upon some bargain which the Parliamentary Secretary has made outside this House.

It is wrong for any Minister of the Crown to come here and say that he has made a good bargain and to make no attempt to explain how that bargain has been arrived at, or why these sums have been fixed, and simply to rely on that simple statement to convince the House that he has done well. I suggest that the Committee should look at the consolidated Prize Fund Deposit Account. To my mind, it requires a good deal of explanation. I spent some time today trying to fathom its mysteries, but I am not much wiser than when I started. That may be due to some congenital defect on my part, or it may be due to the accounts, whichever way hon. Members care to look at the matter. I would ask hon. Members whether they have looked at the heading, "Seizures under Orders in Council"? If so they will see that a net loss has accrued of £5. That is not very large, but I fail to see why that loss should accrue to the Navy when the Navy is carrying out orders based upon Orders in Council.

If hon. Members will look at the next sub-heading, "Released to the Crown and later Released to Owners," they will see that the expenses of detention recovered amounted to £13,000, yet the expenses are shown as £28,000, again showing a net loss to the fund of £15,000. The whole of that section, showing what has happened where certain prizes have been released to the Crown, shows a net loss to the Supreme Court Fund of £5,000. I want to know how that has happened. If we are to argue about the sums available, the least the Parliamentary Secretary can do is to give us some explanation of the accounts. On the next page he will see that whereas receipts not yet allocated amount to £5 million, payments not yet allocated amount to £7 million, which would seem to imply that there is a further loss of £2 million to be borne on this account. Even if that last item alone could be adjusted in any normal business fashion, it would more than cover the sums of money we want to expropriate and add to the two Prize Funds which are under discussion.

During the Second Reading Debate I asked the Government why this account was so low. We have so far received no explanation. I should like again to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us why this account balances at the small sum of £10 million. I asked him a specific question about the whaling ship. That one ship alone must, in the Prize Courts, have had a value so far as this country is concerned, of at least £1 million. Since then another case has come to my mind. There was a ship captured off South Africa in the early days of the war which was worth £3 million. There, in the value of two ships alone, is £4 million.

When the hon. Gentleman says that he has taken in account a certain amount of shipping which was captured in one part of the globe or another, I do not believe that he can be faithfully informing this Committee. I asked about Taranto. There must be £300,000 or £400,000 of shipping concerned there. Again, in the North German ports, enormous quantities were captured. I believe that a great deal of shipping was captured, particularly in the Middle East, which the Government have seen fit to release to their previous owners. This shipping was captured, and considered as captured, in an act of war.

The Government may have thought it necessary, for political reasons, to return some ships to their previous owners. If that is so I can understand why this account is so low, though it seems to me wrong that the account should be low because a political decision has been taken by the Government in fulfilment of some political policy which they happen to be following, at the expense of the Navy and the Air Force. If that is so, and I feel it is, the least we in this Committee can do is to make up any sum which the Government have felt it necessary to spend in fulfilment of their policy by funds from the Droits of Admiralty. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry has placed the requirement very low. He has only suggested a minor addition, and one which will enable us to some very small extent to extend the range over which Prize Money will be payable, and at the same time to give to the various ranks in juster proportion what this country owes them.

There is one last argument, to which the Parliamentary Secretary did not refer. It has always been said, and I think quite rightly, that prize bounty and prize money are considered part of the pay of the Navy. It is an argument many times adduced that the rates of pay in the Navy are contained because there are bonuses, if one might use the word, of this sort on occasions. I think it very wrong if we are, in fact, to adopt this minor scale and take away from the Navy these bonuses which have been theirs, that the Government at the same time will not bring forward something to increase their rates of pay. For all these reasons I hope that the Government will think again and allow the sums mentioned in Clause 1 to be increased by the amounts mentioned in the Amendment.

4.0 p.m.

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In supporting this Amendment we are endeavouring to assist the Parliamentary Secretary. He has said from time to time that he is embarrassed by the small amount of this fund. It is much smaller than the fund in the previous war. This Amendment is designed to improve the amount available for distribution. I do not propose to go into the various inequalities and injustices produced by this Bill amongst those who are entitled to receive payments out of the Fund. I am dealing only with the Amendment. It is admitted by the Government that certain Droits of Admiralty have been included in the Prize Fund, but not all and very far from all, as I should suppose. In that respect, I think that the Government, in bringing forward this Bill, have not kept pace with modern conditions. They do not seem to realise the change of conditions in the last war compared with previous wars to which prize money applied.

I do not think that sailors should be prejudiced because of the fact, for example, that this war was premeditated and therefore the ships of hostile Powers were kept in port. Nor do I think they should be prejudiced by the fact of there being wireless telegraphy which enabled ships to be warned to go to port, or not to put to sea. We all know that it was through the efforts of the Navy that the seas were cleared of enemy merchant ships. The Navy did not clear them, as in past wars, by capturing them but, because of altered conditions, by very largely keeping them in port, or by sinking them. Therefore, although the efforts of the sailors were just as severe and dangerous—possibly more dangerous, because I do not know whether there has ever been a war when so many British sailors lost their lives—they are prejudiced, because the Government have not kept pace with modern conditions in providing for this Bill.

For example, the ships carrying supplies to Rommel's army in Libya had all to be sunk. They could not be captured. That was a series of exploits far more dangerous than if it had been possible to capture the ships. Ships that did not put to sea could not be captured. Hitler had intended to make this war and therefore ships were kept in port. Eventually those ships were captured but the reason why they were captured in port and not at sea was because they had been told to stay in port, and therefore had not put to sea. I want to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what was the value of all the German shipping captured in German ports and becoming Droits of Admiralty and why they should not be added to the present Prize Fund, which even he considers to be most inadequate.

The Bill does not take into account modern conditions, and I think that is a great injustice. As for the arguments about the agreement with the Dominions, it is better that right should be done, even if it involves postponement. I cannot suppose for a moment that the Dominions will object to such a variation of the terms and prize money. It seems very unjust that the old practice of prize money should be so affected by modern conditions and that the Government in drafting their Bill should have no consideration of how seamen have been prejudiced by modern inventions and by the deliberate intention of the hostile Powers to declare war, having warned their shipping some time before.

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The Parliamentary Secretary has already stated that the principle for the allocation of prize money has been departed from in this Bill in relation to what it was in 1914–18. He has also stated that part of the Droits of Admiralty have been put into the Prize Fund. Also it was a separate decision as to the division between Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty as between two and one and the Government have departed from the principle that has been carried out before. Already part of the Droits of Admiralty have been included in the Prize Fund and it seems to me that a further sum from the Droits of Admiralty might be added to the Prize Fund for this reason.

During the Second Reading Debate it was made quite clear on behalf of the Government that the allocation in shares between the highest and lowest was brought about owing to the small amount of money available in the Prize Fund. Of course, it is also affected by there being no prize bounty in the scheme. But the principle should be applied to the allocation of prize money available, whether the amount be large or small. There will be no difference of opinion with regard to the necessity of raising the sum of money available in the Prize Fund, if that is possible, in order that those who partake in the division of this Prize Fund shall receive more and in better proportion to their rank and responsibility than is laid down in this Bill. That will be discussed on other Amendments, but I consider that the Government are putting up a very weak case for not paying more money from the Droits of Admiralty into the Fund. That would make it a much better Bill and a much better division of what is available. Therefore, I heartily support the Amendment.

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So far as I could observe during the Second Reading Debate, the main argument of the Government for cutting out certain classes was based on the amount of money that was available. The way in which I would express my view is to prove that certain classes must indeed be included in this Bill. Because of that, a method, and a proper method, must be found to raise the actual sum that is given in this Amendment. During the Second Reading Debate the Parliamentary Secretary said:

"Many men throughout the country have been expecting to get this money. They have been expecting it for some years. They have been rightly expecting to get it. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1868.]
I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to think for a moment and to ask himself two questions. The first is, had he been afloat during the early part of the war for a very short period of time and had his vessel been sunk and he personally lost his life, under those circumstances would not any man think that he would be included for prize money under this Bill?

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I do not understand how the hon. Gentleman brings his remarks within this Amendment which merely refers to an increase of the disposable amount.

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I made my case at the beginning by saying that if the argument of His Majesty's Government is that certain classes have to be excluded from this Bill, and if the basis of that argument is the sum of money available, then a method must be found to raise that sum of money. It is in support of that method, and in support of this Amendment which raises that money, that I argue the case for the inclusion of the other two classes.

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The hon. Gentleman may be entitled to address his remarks to an increase of the sum, but he is not entitled to discuss the details of the distribution which he thinks should be made. That is the distinction.

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Surely, in putting forward arguments for raising the amount in the Prize Fund one is entitled to draw attention to the categories which are now omitted. The whole of the argument has been that the sum should be increased to make provision for these categories. Therefore, is not one entitled to point out what sums are now excluded and how indefensible it is to resist their inclusion?

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In general terms hon. Members may refer to categories but certainly not to individual ranks and so forth.

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May I seek your guidance, Major Milner, before continuing my argument, because I am not clear what the position is? If it is a matter of not going into detail over these two cases, could you suggest at what time during our consideration of this Bill, you feel that it would be better argued, so that no argument could come from the Government that it was no good pressing the case because there was not a sufficient sum of money available?

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As far as I am aware, there is no occasion on the Committee stage of this Bill for discussing the detailed distribution of the amount available. That is a matter which it is intended should be dealt with by His Majesty's Proclamation. I am afraid that there will be no opportunity of discussing these details.

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I suggest that it would be in Order under Clause 2 to discuss this question. I do not want to put the whole argument in front of you at this moment, Sir, but in the Debate on the 1918 Bill there was a discussion on the scale of distribution on an Amendment similar in form to the one we are now discussing.

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I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is in error there. There was reference to it, but certainly there was no discussion in detail. However, we will deal with Clause 2 when we come to it.

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I am bound by your Ruling, Major Milner, and I trust that I shall keep within Order although I still think that there is a certain degree of obscurity over this matter. The point to which I was referring—and I shall try to keep away from detail—was one that I had already mentioned, coupled with this other fact that, if we managed to raise the total overall sum, no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary would agree that the definition of who should receive the extra money would perhaps become larger. I imagine that at least that statement does not go into intricate details. If by this Amendment the sum is made larger, then the question would arise, who would be counted afloat and who would not. This Committee would be the first to pay due regard and recognition to the danger experienced and the gallantry shown by those who served at sea in the merchant ships, manning the guns in the D.E.M.S., especially during the period of the "phoney" war as it was called by some. Owing to your Ruling, Sir, I will not attempt to proceed any further except to say that I support this Amendment in order to make money available to those who have, I believe, every right to it.

4.15 p.m.

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As the Debate has proceeded, one thing has become clear. That is that every figure suggested on either side of the Committee is in fact an arbitrary figure. It is worth reminding the Committee that the Parliamentary Secretary in proposing his own figure admitted very frankly, and indeed emphasised the point, that he chose £4 million and that it was an arbitrary figure. It did, as has been pointed out, impinge upon some of the traditional Droits of Admiralty. It is competent, therefore, for the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) to argue, as he did, that it should have included all Droits of Admiralty and that the figure, therefore, should be increased to £6 million. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross) took the matter still further and was just as logical when he said that this should not be the limit, but that there should be a further expansion and that the negative proceeds, as it were, of shipping kept in port should also have been taken into calculation and should have increased the sum.

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I referred to shipping which had been kept in German ports and subsequently captured by the Allies. I said that that should be included.

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In other words, the hon. Gentleman suggested another figure and a wider scope. That was equally arbitrary. Clearly a decision cannot be arrived at on purely logical grounds. We simply have to choose a figure. No hon. Gentleman opposite has been able to show so far that the figure he has chosen is the right one and that the figure in the Bill is the wrong one. I suggest that dissent arises from a fundamental misconception of the purpose of this prize money. It is not in fact pay or a form of pay. Partly it is the fulfilment of a technical expectation, but still more it is a gesture—a very proper gesture—of sentiment.

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I find myself in agreement with much of what has been said by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) in that the two sides of the Committee are discussing two figures which he described as arbitrary. Be that as it may, we on this side of the Committee urge acceptance of the larger figure. We are endeavouring to do so in order to make the way open for certain improvements which we think are necessary. The Civil Lord, when winding up the Second Reading Debate, made it clear that one of his difficulties was that the sum available for distribution is much smaller on this occasion than it was at the conclusion of hostilities in 1918. In fact, the Civil Lord referred to this £4 million as a paltry sum. He explained that for his part he would have liked to see a very much larger global figure available. I think that at least he hinted, although he did not say it in so many words that he was sorry that certain categories had had to be excluded from the distribution. If he was not sorry he ought to have been.

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I did not hint that at all. The question of the inclusion of categories which many hon. Members have suggested has had no bearing whatever on the matter.

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Perhaps I might read to the Committee what the hon. Gentleman said:

"I have a great admiration for the D.E.M.S. and the Maritime Regiment, but they do not come into the category of those who served in commissioned ships. There are many others outside the categories laid down in the Bill who could be added, besides the D.E.M.S. and the Maritime Regiment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1935.]
I do not think it is unfair to describe that as introducing an element of regret that these people are not being brought in. However, the point I am anxious to make is that, unless this Amendment is accepted, there will be some difficulty in arguing with the same force certain Amendments which we have on the Order Paper to Clause 4, by which we are trying to bring into the distribution other categories of people such as those already mentioned. Obviously, the greater the sum for distribution, the stronger will be the argument when we come to deal with these Amendments. We are trying to smooth the path of the Government by making available the necessary sum, and, further, to induce them to yield to the very reasonable and unanswerable arguments with which they will be confronted later.

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I rise only to take up a point which has just been made. It is that, if there is a greater sum available, a greater number of categories will be included. There is no justification for that argument whatever. We have now got £5 million. In the previous war we had £14 million, and, when there was nearly three times the amount of prize money available, these categories were excluded, so that there is no justification for that argument at all.

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Surely, after the previous war, the dependants of those killed in action and those who were injured, benefited out of the prize money?

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As regards those killed in action, there is a separate Amendment on the Order Paper which will be discussed later. I leave these categories out.

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The hon. and gallant Gentleman may be leaving them out now, but he did not leave them out in what he said a moment ago. We have pointed out that they are not covered under the Bill, and, unless the fund is increased, we shall be up against the same argument which the hon. Gentleman put forward the last time.

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If the hon. and learned Gentleman had waited, he would have found that I was going on to deal with those categories. Among the categories which have been referred to on Second Reading and again today are the D.E.M.S. and people in merchant ships and so on, and I say that, so far as the Bill is concerned today, and in any comparison with the similar Bill for the previous war, the number of categories referred to were obviously excluded, even with a larger sum of money.

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Under Clause 4, the Admiralty can include these merchant ships if they wish to do so. Therefore, those categories can be included in this Bill if the Admiralty wishes.

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We can discuss that point when we come to Clause 4. What I wish to make quite clear is this. A number of the categories referred to on Second Reading and mentioned again today were not included in the Prize Bill after the first war, although there was a greater amount of prize money available, and, consequently, the argument that, if the total sum of money was increased, those categories would be included, does not follow at all. The more likely result of an increase in the amount available would be that the shares of everybody concerned would be increased, and, in fact, I think the Parliamentary Secretary said on Second Reading that if, after the first division, there was still money available, there would be a second distribution. [Interruption.] My recollection is that he did, in the same way as after the last war.

Let me take up another point which has been mentioned—this question of prize bounty. We may as well get this point clear. There is no such——

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I do not think that point arises on this Amendment, and it should not have been mentioned.

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With all respect, Major Milner, I bow to your Ruling, but it has been mentioned. Probably, an occasion will arise later, when we may deal with it. The general line of the argument about increasing the total figure is simply that of taking another arbitrary figure, but there is no basis for these figures. One might as well add the date to make a new figure and make it higher, but that would bear no relation to the matter at all. I shall vote against this Amendment if there is a Division, because I think there is no justification for increasing the amount. The Admiralty have told us that they have been able to make quite good arrangements and have got more money than they had reason to expect. From all points of view, the amount of money available, the method of distribution and the classes of people concerned are the most satisfactory that can be arranged.

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I never could quite understand the line taken by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for East Hull (Commander Pursey). Our position is quite simple. It is a difficult matter, but we only seek to get more money for the Services, and we do not take up that attitude from any party point of view, but because we think they should have it. We believe that the amount of money available should conform much more nearly to that at the end of the previous war than it does under the present Bill. I was very much impressed by the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre), who referred to one point which is worrying me. That is the smallness of the amount of prize money available. I know it is said that it is an arbitrary figure, but it must have some relation to the amount of prize money required.

I would illustrate my point by reference to one incident during the war. When the Italians chucked in their hands, there were in their ports a very large number of ships. I remember one incident in which one of our submarines went into one of these ports and ordered 24 Italian merchant ships to go to sea, and then took them to Malta. The Germans were advancing rapidly, and would have captured the whole of that fleet of merchant ships if it had not been for that action on the part of one of our submarines. As a result, 24 merchant ships fell into our hands in one catch, and if that was not a good catch, I do not know what is. It was a very gallant action and a very good catch. I want to know whether the Prize Fund that is being evolved will be available to the people who took part in the capture of those ships. I consider that, even if it is an arbitrary figure, there is a good case for making that arbitrary figure a larger one.

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I am sorry to intervene again, but I do so because the hon. and gallant Member for East Hull (Commander Pursey) and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) seem to have an impression that we have gone in for pricking a paper and taking an arbitrary sum. If hon. Members will look at HANSARD, they will see that the Minister of Defence stated that the Droits of Admiralty in this war amounted to £2,625,000. We have deliberately taken this sum so as to include the whole of the Droits of Admiralty and the Droits of the Crown for the purpose of this distribution of Prize. We have done that in order to attain a figure which we know is about right if we are to cover the requirements we have in mind.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that if we were to alter this sum, we would have to make a new agreement with the Dominions. I challenge that. It does not seem to me to have anything to do with it whatsoever. A certain sum has been allocated out of the total Prize Fund to Droits of the Crown and Droits, as far as this country is concerned, of Admiralty. All we are seeking to do is to take over our Droits of Admiralty. That has nothing to do with the Dominions. Therefore, I think that some better argument, whether of fact or fiction, had better be adduced by the Government.

4.30 p.m.

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I will deal, first, with the point raised about the first war by the hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre). He was very certain about the figures in the Prize Deposit Account. He thought they had some effect on the amount of prize money available, and that, therefore, if they were bound to be as he thought, that would be an argument in favour of giving greater sums by way of prize money. The interesting thing about this account is that it includes many sums which have nothing to do with prize money, in spite of the fact that it is called a Prize Account in this somewhat curious Bill.

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"Curious" is the word.

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It includes many other things, and I may say that the Bill introduced after the first world war was every bit as curious as this, if not more so. It includes, among other things, the values of cargoes belonging to our Allies, most of which are to be released to those Allies. It also includes certain cargoes in German ships surrendered after the close of hostilities. It does not take into account certain other items such as ships requisitioned out of prize, without payment into court, and the proceeds and value of ships and cargoes condemned in Colonial ports. In fact, it bears very little relationship to the total sum that shall be paid to the Crown by way of Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked why there were such small sums available. The answer was given to him by the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross), who had listened a little more carefully to the remarks I made in my Second Reading speech, and elaborated them. He explained to the hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch that the reason was because the Germans did, in fact, keep their ships in port, and, if they did not, that they scuttled them before there was an opportunity of capturing them. That is the main reason. I am sorry the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not understand what I then said, but I hope that now that his hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry has explained it to him he does.

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Surely, we did not have such surrenders in the first world war as we had in Italy? I should like to have an answer to that question. An enormous amount of shipping fell into the Government's hands there.

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The Parliamentary Secretary said that ships were scuttled. If he takes the case of Tobruk, there the ships were scuttled before the occupation, but we were able to sell them for £100,000. Surely, that ought to be included.

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Before I was interrupted by the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland) I was going to continue to explain the position. We are advised that this money arising from ships captured in ports in the conditions which he described—ports, incidentally, captured by the Army, and not by the Navy——

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Some of the German ports, for instance. Many of these ships were in ports, the land behind which had been over-run by our troops, and the ports then fell into our hands due to a combination of naval and military operations. We are advised that, in fact, the ships captured in ports are in no circumstances to be regarded as prize. They do not count as prize, and, for that reason, they are not available for the purpose of distribution. Had they been so captured in the first world war, they would, in the same way, not have been regarded as prize.

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The Parliamentary Secretary said that the ships captured in ports were not regarded as prize. Does he include ships surrendered to the Navy in ports?

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A few of them have been subject to prize proceedings, but a very large number captured in port are not subject to prize proceedings, and it is those which hon. Members opposite have more in mind and wish to add to those which are subject to prize proceedings. They are a comparatively small proportion of the total. I may add, incidentally, that many of these ships have actually been handed over both to the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., so that, obviously, not all of them could be used as Droits of the Crown or Droits of Admiralty.

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Why not?

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Because we have not got them, which is a perfectly good reason. They have been handed over to someone else. The hon. and gallant Member for Holderness (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) said that he wanted to smooth our path. I think he was answered by some of my hon. Friends who explained what was a very obvious point, that, in fact, the question as to whether there is more or less money available does not alter the relative rates of distribution in the classes in which the money should be distributed. I do not propose to discuss it further because I should be out of Order.

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The proportion of ten to one in the Bill is not the proportion carried out after the 1914–18 war because the amount of money was too small, and for no other reason.

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I am sure the hon. and gallant Member knows more about that war than I do, but I maintain that the people to whom it was distributed, and the categories, are not affected by the total sum. We can take any distribution of any sum we like. If we took £1,000 we could distribute it between certain categories; if it were £10 million, it would be the same thing.

I am interested in this desire of the Opposition to make out that they, and they alone, are interested in the welfare of the sailor. We on this side of the Committee do not consider that they are the only people so interested. It is an easy and very cheap way of gaining popularity to say, "Let us just give more money." We do not consider that this is the way to administer the Navy's affairs, or that the sailor believes it either. The sailor knows that certain sums are due to him and he will expect those sums, but he will not be impressed by anybody who wishes to add other sums which have no connection with the matter at all.

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I must say that I think the Parliamentary Secretary's reply to this Amendment and to the speeches which have been made in favour of it, is entirely unsatisfactory, astonishing, unsympathetic, and, if I may use the adjective that he used just now, "cheap" in many respects. He said that we on this side are not the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. I should imagine that anyone listening to this Debate may well have thought that we on this side were the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. We have had not one word from the benches opposite in favour of the proposal that those who lost their lives in the last war while serving in the Navy should be——

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That has no bearing on the question.

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Indeed, it has.

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There is no basis for that assumption.

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Had the hon. Member listened to what I said in moving this Amendment, he would have heard me, right at the beginning, mention that as one of the categories which would be covered if this sum were included.

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I am perfectly well aware that the hon. and learned Member mentioned that as one category that would be included; he dragged it in, basing it on a completely unfounded and insupportable assumption that if this total sum were increased, other categories could be included. I just point out that there is no basis for that argument whatsoever.

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The hon. Member says that, but if he waits—as I hope he will—he will see that the arguments for their exclusion are completely unjustifiable.

I was saying, before that interruption, that in moving this Amendment we on this side had sought to get the total sum available for distribution increased, for the specific reason of providing for that category and other categories. They are not, as yet, provided for in the Bill. On Second Reading we were met by the argument: "The Fund is so small that we cannot do anything about it." Now, not one hon. Member opposite—not even the Parliamentary Secretary—has, as yet—perhaps they may later—said a word in favour of the inclusion of that category, which was included after the last war under the 1918 Act.

We are told by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) and other hon. Members opposite that the figure we have selected is arbitrary, and that no one can show the right figure. It depends what is meant by "arbitrary." The justification for our figure is that we know that by raising that figure to £6 million we are bringing in what are estimated to be the total amount of Droits of Admiralty. That is the basis. We are then met by the Financial Secretary putting forward three arguments. He says that it would be improper to bring in the whole amount of the Droits of Admiralty; that it would be contrary to precedent. Since when have hon. Members opposite been such enthusiastic supporters of precedent? Yet, what is clear is that this Bill itself departs from precedent, because the Bill brings in a certain proportion of the Droits of Admiralty. If it brings in a proportion, and if a case can be made out for increasing that proportion, why should not that extra amount be brought in?

In my view a case can be made out for increasing that proportion. The way we arrive at the sum—hon. Members opposite may describe it as arbritary if they like—is by bringing in all the Droits of Admiralty. If the hon. Member reads the Explanatory Memorandum he will see it there stated that traditionally
"the prerogative right to make grants of prize money has, though not limited to Droits of the Crown, been exercised by granting those droits."
It is not limited to Droits of the Crown. We say in this instance that, having re- gard to the particular circumstances—first, the exclusion of the categories I have mentioned, and secondly, the small total amount available under this Bill for distribution—an increase to £6 million is warranted so that some provision can be made for those additional categories.

4.45 p.m.

I should have thought hon. Members opposite would have joined with us in supporting this proposal. What does their opposition mean? It means merely that £1¾ million which might go in distribution to these classes—which I hope would be sufficient to enable treating them as the others have been treated—will find its way into the Exchequer. Indeed, I was astonished at the Parliamentary Secretary's reply. I could well have understood that reply had it come from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who was trying to keep something in the coffers of the Exchequer; but I was astonished to hear that coming from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, together with the statement that the Admiralty and the Air Force were very satisfied with the bargain they had made with the Treasury. I do not think that we should rest content with that when we know that the effect of that bargain is to exclude those categories.

The hon. Gentleman's final statement was even more astonishing. His observations about the total extent of the Prize Fund were, indeed, revealing. It may be—I do not know—that the prize account to which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) referred bears very little relationship to the total sum available; but before we pass from this Bill we ought to be told what, in the hon. Gentleman's opinion and in the opinion of the Admiralty, is the total value of the shipping captured in ports which could have been, even if it was not, condemned as prize. I was astonished by his observations that certain vessels captured in ports by, I understood him to say, the Navy were not condemnable as prize. I think I accurately understood him to say that. Surely, any prize shipping captured by the Navy was condemnable as prize. Did the hon. Gentleman really mean that to the extent of the value of those ships which after having been seized—and seized in such circumstances that they were condemnable as prize— were handed over by us to the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A., the amount of the Prize Fund distributable to the Navy, and now to the Air Force, is reduced?

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What I said was that many of the ships captured in ports were not included as prize money. Many of those captured in ports in the course of hostilities are included in the account; but many of them were, in fact, captured after hostilities had ceased, owing to the occupation of the ports by the Army.

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Does the hon. Gentleman say that all ships which surrendered to His Majesty's Navy are included in prize? That is a specific question I put to him in the course of his speech. He has not, as yet, answered it. Nor has he answered the further question I put to him: Am I right in concluding from his speech that the value of all ships which were captured, which could have been condemned as prize but which have been given away—I think those were his words—to the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A. has been deducted from the amount of prize distributable under this Bill? We should like an answer to that question; and we ought to have one. If that be true, then it justifies the statement of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest that this Prize Fund is, he thinks, possibly low because of the release of prizes for political reasons. Before we pass from this we ought to be told the extent to which the Prize Fund available for distribution has been diminished because of the giving away of ships which could have been condemned as prize.

I must confess, I am astonished at the attitude His Majesty's Government have taken up with regard to this extra £1¾ million. If they accepted this Amendment I am quite sure they could do justice to the categories which are now omitted, and which have, in my opinion, legitimate claims for inclusion. If they met us on his Amendment, I am sure that would show there is at any rate a little truth in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that we are not the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. In view of the entirely unsatisfactory reply we, on this side of the Committee, have no alternative but to show in the Division Lobby our opinion of the answers which the Parliamentary Secretary has given and of the Government's attitude upon this matter.

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I rise to say only a few words. First of all, I think when the Parliamentary Secretary comes to read the account of this Debate tomorrow he will find that the remarks made by myself and those made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) are not in the slightest degree in conflict.

Chiefly, I wish to allude to the uncalled for and unexpected explosion of party animus on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary. When I spoke I took particular pains to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that he and I had a common object in view—to increase the amount of this fund. Yet he now taunts us, unjustifiably, with the suggestion that under the guise of attempting to increase this fund, we are trying to steal a party march on him. That is an imputation which should never have been made. This is not a party matter; it is a matter of justice to seamen. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will now realise what an unfortunate thing it is to try to introduce party matters into a subject of this nature.

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I want to deal mainly with the final words of the Parliamentary Secretary. For some time I have noticed his methods. When he has a bad case he always falls into that sort of stuff. He said we thought we were the only party to do anything for the seamen and the Navy. Not at all. If he looks back on the years he has been in Parliament he will find that we on this side of the House have supported every Measure for the betterment of the conditions of service of the men of the Royal Navy. The only difference between us is that we have also supported the case of the officers, which has so frequently been opposed by hon. Members on the benches opposite.

Let us leave that for a moment and let me give my reasons why I propose to vote for this Amendment. I want to make my own position quite clear. The Amendment itself is clear—it is to try to increase the amount distributable out of the Prize Fund. That is all we ask. How can it be done? There are several other methods into which I will not go—for instance, not to give so much to the Royal Air Force, or to bring in the prize bounty—but there is also the procedure we suggest, which is to take money from the Droits of Admiralty and place them in the distributable Prize Fund for the benefit of the officers and men of the Royal Navy.

What are the Admiralty, or the Government, proposing to do? They take great exception to taking any money out of the Droits of Admiralty in order to increase the total amount. That is their attitude in Clause 1. But what do they do in Clause 8? In Clause 8 they say that in future there will be no money at all in the Prize Fund; it will all go into the Droits of Admiralty. I see no logic or sense in that. We are told that there is every reason—all sorts of precedence, law and traditions—why the Droits of Admiralty should go to the Admiralty, in other words, into the Exchequer. What we are asking is not

Division No. 11]

AYES

[4.56 p.m.

Acland, Sir RichardEdwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)
Albu, A. H.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Fernyhough, E.Mayhew, C. P.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Follick, M.Mellish, R. J.
Alpass, J. H.Ganley, Mrs. C. SMesser, F.
Attewell, H. C.Gibson, C. W.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Ayles, W. H.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mikardo, Ian
Ayrton Gould, Mrs B.Granville, E. (Eye)Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Bacon, Miss A.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Mitchison, G. R.
Balfour, A.Grey, C. F.Monslow, W.
Barstow, P. G.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Moody, A. S.
Barton, C.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Battley, J. R.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)
Bechervaise, A. E.Hate, LeslieMoyle, A.
Benson, G.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col R.Naylor, T. E.
Berry, H.Harrison, J.Neal, H. (Clay Cross)
Beswick, F.Haworth, J.Oliver, G. H.
Binns, J.Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)Orbach, M.
Blackburn, A. R.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paget, R. T.
Blyton, W. R.Hewitson, Capt. M.Parker, J.
Bowen, R.Hobson, C. R.Parkin, B. T.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Horabin, T. L.Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hoy, J.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Burden, T. W.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Peart, T. F.
Byers, FrankHughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)Perrins, W.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Piratin, P.
Chamberlain, R. A.Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Popplewell, E.
Chater, D.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Chetwynd, G. R.Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)Pursey, Comdr. H.
Cluse, W. S.Janner, B.Ranger, J.
Cocks, F. S.Jenkins, R. H.Reeves, J.
Collick, P.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Collindridge, F.Keenan, W.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Collins, V. J.Kay, Rt. Hon. C. W.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Colman, Miss G. M.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Kinley, J.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Cove, W. G.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Royle, C.
Crossman, R. H. S.Levy, B. W.Sargood, R.
Daggar, G.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Segal, Dr. S.
Daines, P.Lipton, Lt.-Col M.Shackleton, E. A. A.
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)Longden, F.Sharp, Granville
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)McAdam, W.Simmons, C. J.
Deer, G.McEntee, V. La T.Skeffington, A. M.
de Freitas, GeoffreyMack, J. D.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Dodds, N. N.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Skinnard, F. W.
Driberg, T. E. N.McLeavy, F.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)MacPherson, M. (Stirling)Snow, J. W.

for any money drawn from the Exchequer. It is not money which the taxpayer has to provide in any shape or form. It is a certain fund upon which, we claim, the Navy should have a proper charge.

The Government say, put it into the Exchequer. That is in Clause 1. In Clause 8, which we shall discuss later, they show that they have it clear in their minds that all the money will go into the Droits of Admiralty—in other words, into the Exchequer. It is perfectly clear which way we must vote. I hope hon. Members opposite will not take their tune from the Parliamentary Secretary but on this and other Amendments will vote for what they really think is best for the Service.

Question put, "That the word 'four' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 94.

Solley, L. J.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Williams, R. W. (Wigan)
Summerskill, Dr. EdithTurner-Samuels, M.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Sylvester, G. O.Vernon, Maj. W. F.Willis, E.
Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Viant, S. P.Wise, Major F. J.
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Walker, G. H.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Wyatt, W.
Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Yates, V. F.
Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Warbey, W. N.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Thomas, John R. (Dover)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Thurtle, ErnestWhite, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)Mr. Pearson and
Titterington, M. F.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Mr. Richard Adams.
Tolley, L.Wilkins, W. A.

NOES

Baldwin, A. E.Harden, J. R. E.Molson, A. H. E.
Birch, NigelHarris, F. W. (Croydon. N.)Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Bossom, A. C.Haughton, S. G.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P
Bower, N.Head, Brig. A. HNutting, Anthony
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Herbert, Sir A. P.Pickthorn, K.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHinchingbrooke, ViscountPitman, I. J.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hollis, M. C.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hope, Lord J.<