I beg to move, in page 2, line 23, at the end, to insert:
This is a short Amendment but it is by no means a simple one. It will be necessary to give a little background if hon. Members who did not take part in the Committee stage are to understand it. Section 1 of the principal Act of 1946 details the functions of the Coal Board. Subsection (1, a) states that one function is:"Provided that paragraph (c) of subsection (I) of Section one of the Principal Act shall be read and have effect as if after the word 'including' there were inserted the words 'as respects supplies to any British company, firm or person.'"
Subsection (1, c) states that another function is:"Working and getting the coal in Great Britain, to the exclusion (save as in this Act provided) of any other person."
That statement of functions is modified by Section 63 (3), which says:"Making supplies of coal available, of such qualities and sizes, in such quantities and at such prices, as may seem to the best calculated to further the public interest in all respects."
There has been a certain amount of doubt as to the meaning of these words, and I understand that Clause 2 of the present Bill has been put in to try to clear up that confusion. What is certain is that up to date what is generally known as the export of coal from this country, and the many ancillary trades connected with it, have not been generally carried out by the Coal Board. The Board has sold coal free-on-board ships or free-alongside in ships, but has not merchanted it on the other side of the sea. I believe that in one case a representative of the Coal Board went abroad but it was considered that that was not within the rights of the Coal Board and there was some talk of a possible injunction. By and large, however, the Coal Board to date has not engaged in the export trade or in the ancillary trades, such as the bunker trade, or the discharge of coal in foreign ports, which is often performed by companies under British ownership, or in the grading and distribution of coal abroad, or in the making of briquettes, which is a large industry particularly in North Africa. I think that export was omitted from the Act of 1946. When that Measure was going through this House I remember well commenting on the fact that the word "export" was never used. I remember remarking on that to the present Secretary of State for War, and I believe it was deliberately left out. I think that was wise and that it is a mistake to try to insert it now. I do not think one can exaggerate the importance of the export trade which is something that should not be undertaken lightly, particularly when an organisation like the Coal Board has so much still to complete in the management and administration of its affairs at home. It requires a large staff, it requires travellers and men making personal contacts in foreign countries. It requires resident agents. It often means acquiring interests in foreign companies in countries where companies are not allowed whose capital is mainly owned in Great Britain. And it means undertaking considerable risks, not only of the chartering of ships but also exchange risks, because often one does not get paid for months. This is particularly true of some of the Northern trades where coal has to be delivered when the ports are ice free, it is not consumed until the winter, and payment is not made until then. There are credit risks, too, so I feel it would be a great pity to engage in this trade. In addition, considerable capital would be wanted, and I do not think the Coal Board has much money to spare at the moment. If I may digress, I will say what I meant to do in the first place, that I have some interest in this matter. I am a director of a company, one of whose subsidiaries is engaged in the export trade, although I am not myself engaged in it. Last, but not least, I cannot see why the National Coal Board should want to enter a trade of this kind on a falling market. Valuable as the export trade is, there is no doubt that it is today a falling market, and I do not think there is any country in Europe which is really embarrassed for want of coal to the extent we are, at any rate inside this country. It is a great pity that this matter should not have been allowed to rest as it was. 5.15 p.m. To return to the actual wording of the Amendment, I would like to call attention to another point that arises in Section 1 of the principal Act. After mentioning as a function the making available of supplies of coal, the paragraph ends:"References in this Act to activities of any kind (whether or not described by that word) shall be construed as limited to activities of that kind carried on in Great Britain, but not so as to exclude, in the case of selling or supplying, selling or supplying for export or selling or supplying imported goods in Great Britain."
If I remember aright, those words were put in after considerable pressure had been exercised by hon. and right hon. Members of this Party, because that is the only basis on which trade within this country can be allowed by a great monopoly like the Coal Board. If, however, export is to be allowed through the National Coal Board, I am not sure there is any need for those words to remain. It should definitely be possible for the National Coal Board to discriminate between buyers abroad, between different countries, and even between buyers in the same port where we may wish to help public utility companies but may not be so inclined to help a manufacturing business making goods that compete with those manufactured in this country. As I say, I am not recommending that the Government should have this weapon, let alone use it, but if the Government insist on taking it, there should be some weapon which could be used if necessary. There are dangers in any Government entering the export trade but, if they do, this point should be looked at. We raised it during earlier Debates on the Committee stage, not as an Amendment but on the question "That the Clause stand part." Possibly there was an Amendment down which was not called. I have confirmed my recollection that on that occasion the Minister referred to the matter but gave us no reply; possibly a number of other matters were also raised which appeared to him to be of greater importance. I recollect that he seemed slightly embarrassed about it. I do not know why he should have been, but anyhow we did not get an answer and I hope that today, after certain legal points are dealt with by my learned Friends, the Parliamentary Secretary will give us a full answer whether he considers that this Amendment should be accepted in the interests of the National Coal Board if it really means to take what I feel is the unfortunate step of entering the foreign coal trade."including the avoidance of any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage."
I beg to second the Amendment.The Amendment, which was moved so ably by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Colonel Clarke), goes right to the root of the Clause. I do not want to cover the whole of the ground but it is necessary to consider the ramifications of the Clause if we are to see the Amendment in its proper perspective. We are concerned here with Section 1 of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946. That Section has three parts which define duties, functions and powers. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that both "functions" and "powers" are limited by "the duties" defined in the first paragraph of that Section. Therefore, we are really concerned only with duties. It is important to note, however, that a duty is something which the National Coal Board are bound to do, whether they like it or not. Therefore, we must look at this matter in its mandatory context. Section 1 (1) gives the Coal Board three duties: first, to work coal in Great Britain; second, to secure the efficient development of the coalmining industry —in contrast with the previous paragraph, it is noticeable that this is in no way limited to the coalmining industry in Great Britain; third, to make supplies of coal available in the terms of the paragraph which was read out by my hon. and gallant Friend. So long as Section 63 (3) remained fully applicable, the activities of the National Coal Board were all limited to activities carried on in Great Britain, but what Clause 2 of the present Bill proposes to do is to remove that effect from Section 1 of the Act. As far as the working of coal is concerned, I think it is clear that this is expressly termed "working in Great Britain." I believe that both on the strict construction of paragraph (a), to which I have referred, and by the principle that by stating one thing other things are excluded by implication, the Coal Board would be precluded henceforward by law from working coal overseas. I understand that the view of the Government about this is different, but this is a matter, if the Government are unwilling to take it further now, which it may in due course be necessary to determine in the courts. In the light of the Amendment which the Clause effects, paragraph (b) of Section 1 (1) of the principal Act will be extraordinarily vague. I ask the Government, therefore, to give us some idea of what they mean by the "coal mining industry" when it is in no sense limited to the industry in Great Britain. Although we had some discussion about this in Committee, I should like again to put this specific point to the Government: are they satisfied that it will not be the bounden duty of the National Coal Board to have regard to the coalmining industry in, for example, Russia, France, Germany or countries anywhere else in the world in framing their policy, should the Clause as it stands become law? There is a danger that such a position may arise, and I think the House should be quite certain, before the Bill leaves here, that there is no chance that the National Coal Board should be bound in any way to have regard in the first place to interests other than those of the British coalmining industry. As regards the third paragraph of Section 1 (1) of the principal Act, so long as the activities of the Coal Board were limited to activities in Great Britain, the final words of that paragraph that the Coal Board are to avoid
were fairly clear. We on this side understood those words to mean no undue preference as between British subjects. We imagined that purchasers and others having dealings with the Coal Board would be either British companies or persons or, at any rate, people owing allegiance to the British Crown. Quite clearly, the effect of the Clause now before us will alter that completely. It takes away altogether the limitation of the activities of the Board to Great Britain, and it is perfectly plain that it is the intention of the Government that the Coal Board should go into business overseas."any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage"—
If they do that, they will have to make contracts, not only with foreign individuals, but in a number of cases with the agencies of foreign governments.
I am inclined to think that the Government share the view that wholly different considerations arise in dealings between foreign Governments than in dealings between British subjects.This matter was not raised expressly by means of an Amendment in Committee, but when discussing the Motion, "That the Clause stand part," the Minister was asked to explain the Government's attitude to this matter. It is relevant to my argument that I should refer to his reply. He said:
I interrupt this quotation to say I am not quite certain what the right hon. Gentleman meant. Obviously, if we are to export coal, we must export it from this country. What I think he meant was that the Coal Board had only power to make a sale within this country, and that he was under the impression, therefore, that it was only open to the Coal Board to make a contract which would be a contract enforceable in the courts of this country. I do not think he meant to say that it would not be possible for the Coal Board to make a sale to, say, the Government of Russia, if a Russian agency negotiated the agreement in this country. The right hon. Gentleman continued:"The simple answer to that is that the public interest has to be interpreted as the interest of this realm here, and when it comes to the interests of this realm, then, certainly the Coal Board can do anything it likes as regards prices for foreign buyers. In any case I would point out that that is not really raised specifically by the Clause or by the Bill, because in any case the Coal Board has, as the hon. Baronet will know from his close study of Section 63 (3), power to export coal; but it could do that only in this country."
5.30 p.m. I rather think the right hon. Gentleman was under the impression that we were complaining of the possibility of discrimination between foreign buyers, but that is the reverse of the position. We have always maintained that whereas between British buyers there should be no discrimination when selling overseas, it is of the utmost necessity that there should be power to discriminate. I am not saying that deliberate discrimination is proper in every case, but that it is quite wrong to tie our own hands so that we cannot discriminate when we sell coal overseas. The purpose of this Amendment is to raise that point specifically, in order that there should quite clearly be retained the power to discriminate. I do not wish to go into the question of discrimination in detail now, and you would probably rule me out of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I pursued it at great length. Power to discriminate between foreign buyers in general and foreign Governments in particular is a very dangerous power to entrust even to a Government and more particularly to a board which is only a quasi-government board. If we are to have nationalisation, we must entrust that power to someone. I cannot see if we accept the Amendment whether we are entrusting that power to the Coal Board or to the Minister and it is a power of which I have some apprehension, but I am entirely satisfied that it is essential that we should retain that power. For that reason, we seek to insert the Amendment."It could as easily have happened that there was discrimination between foreign buyers when a sale took place here as when it took place abroad. The position is not changed in that respect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 27th January, 1949, Col. 234.]
I suppose that 11 lines of a small Bill have never contained quite so much power for a Ministry, even in the life of this present Parliament. I think it rather discourteous that the Minister has not thought fit to be present to listen to the discussion. Of all the varied subjects dealt with in this Bill, this is far the widest and I think he might have spared the time to be present to listen to the arguments himself. That is no discourtesy to the Parliamentary Secretary.
Did the hon. and gallant Member give notice to the Minister that he was going to speak?
I do not think I am of sufficient importance to warrant the appearance of the Minister but I thought that the Clause was sufficiently important. Two main issues are clear. The first is that the Coal Board are trying to get rid of a restriction with which they have been faced—
Restriction of what?
Restriction on selling coal abroad. The hon. Member for West Renfrew (Mr. Scollan) has gathered that much, I hope, from the arguments put forward, if nothing else.
I have been very patiently waiting for someone to tell us, because the Amendment does not mention that. The Amendment says:
and does not say a word about sales abroad. The hon. Member for South Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) spoke about sales abroad, but did not know if the Amendment dealt with that matter or not."as respects supplies to any British company,"
Obviously the hon. Member for West Renfrew has not read the Clause, nor the principal Act, nor could he have been here when Mr. Speaker ruled that on this Amendment a wide discussion should take place on Clause 2. If he had heard any of those three things he would not have made that interruption.There are two main issues, the first that the Coal Board are trying to get rid of a restriction and the second, and more important, that both sides of the House have to consider how best coal can be sold abroad. I think that is the only issue to which we should devote ourselves. I was a Member of the Committee upstairs and heard four reasons advocated by the Government, or their supporters, for the Government point of view. The first was that they had to deal with commitments under O.E.E.C., the second that they had to meet demands under bilateral pacts, the third that there was a lacuna in what private enterprise had obtained in providing coaling stations abroad and they wanted to fill it and, fourthly, that without these powers they could not fully develop any new coalmining industry abroad. I believe the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary made a particular case of Nigeria. Before dealing with the first three reasons, I shall deal with the fourth, which is that unless this Clause goes through the Government will have no power to help in the development of the coalmining industry abroad. That is an argument which cannot be sustained for a moment. They, or the Coal Board, have power to supply technical help, key personnel, or machinery. What they cannot do is to take over a coalmine in Nigeria. Why should they be entitled to do so? They have not advocated a reason for doing it, but say that they might want to help. We are prepared to help them, but they have all the necessary powers already and need nothing more. The argument about developing a coalmine or the coalmining industry in any Colony or Dominion can be dismissed, because they have every power requisite. I wish to say a word on the power of discrimination. When replying to the Debate, I thought the Minister was very "cagey" about what he would commit himself to. He said that we must discuss everything in relation to this Clause as being the "interest of this Realm." That is the one phrase which cannot be applied to this Clause, because we are dealing with exports of coal. We are dealing, not between British subjects and British consumers, but between a British company—whether it be private or nationalised—and some foreign concern and to say that the interests of the Realm are there to apply within the meaning of Section 1 of the principal Act of 1946 is completely impossible. One of the main things the Coal Board want to do is to be able to export directly under the bilateral pacts concluded by His Majesty's Government. If the Clause is left as it is, they would not be able to discriminate in the prices they charged for coal between one country and another under bilateral pacts. In making a new agreement with the Argentine they might find it necessary to supply coal and they might find it advantageous in the overall national interest to supply it at a cheap rate, but they could not do that without being shot at under every other pact and would be told that the terms made for the Argentine should be granted to other countries concerned. In private enterprise it has always been possible for firms to take into account economic consideration, the time for payment and the national interest. All those things are completely debarred to the National Coal Board if this Clause goes through as at present drafted. On the question of O.E.E.C. commitments; I am sure that Members on this side of the House would be only too willing, if there were any specific trading agreements like that to help the Government, to see that they went through smoothly. We have no desire to see the Coal Board or the Government hampered in the supply of coal under any agreement which will aid European recovery, and if there was a limited stipulation to that effect I am sure we would be the first to accept it. But the Government if they did that, would have to show that private enterprise, particularly private bunkering firms, had in any way hindered the movement of coal. Far from producing any evidence of that, they would have to show that private enterprise and bunkering firms had completed all the requirements that have been made under O.E.E.C. in a way which was to the mutual advantage of this country and to whichever other country in Europe might have been receiving the coal. On the question of bilateral pacts, it is easy for the Government to say "We want to take over shipments of coal under this agreement. Why should we not have the small additional profit, and it is small, on these consignments?" But do the Government realise that if they take away this job from the coal export trade there is nothing left with which flourishing British export coal trade, in small amounts and difficult contracts, can be met. If they want to block the main line, so to speak, they will find it impossible to stop those many other deals on which the whole prosperity of the coal trade abroad depends. The Government talk about coaling stations, and their desire to compete in this trade. I listened to their arguments in Committee, but they seemed to have no idea of what a bunkering station abroad consists, what are its difficulties and problems and what it can achieve. They do not seem to understand that if they went into this trade they would be competing against an established British interest. They may say, "The British interest is not doing well," but, surely, at this time, when we want to earn foreign exchange, we should not duplicate our effort. Unless there is an overwhelming case for the Government, in which they can show that private enterprise or the existing set-up has failed, they should not try to enter into competition merely because of dogma or a desire to extend their influence. Nothing could be more against the national interest as a whole. The Government have produced no example of where, how or why the existing British bunkering set-up has failed. The British Bunkering Association, with all its defects, provided coal and facilities for British shipping during the war. and have a perfect right to consider themselves as being in the front rank of those industries which have given good service. 5.45 p.m. We have not yet heard from the Government what they think would be the effect in many countries should they set up an agency in a foreign country. We know only too well what national susceptibilities are at the moment. We have not heard from the Government what they think the reaction would be if they tried to set up a bunkering station in Egypt, for instance, and tried to compete in the Suez Canal area. We have not heard how they would overcome the problems which would face them if they did that. Nor have we heard whether they think they should set up a bunkering station and rely purely on bunkering. The private firm has to go in for ancillary trades—lighterage, ships' chandlers and transhipment of bulk cargoes. Is it the Government's intention to go in for that? If it is where is the staff to come from? Apart from the vague references to the interests of the realm, the desire to see the overall picture of the Coal Board completed, and compliance with all the phrases that flow from the London School of Economics, the Government could not prove that what they have suggested is logical and profitable from the point of view of the country. I will conclude with this: In the last few months one thing has become abundantly clear. It is that if we are to solve the problems of the mining industry at home the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have enough to do without trying to go into these new fields and extend their risk without having consolidate any of their responsibility. This, in the words of many wiser people than myself, is nothing but mid-summer madness.
We have all been impressed by the impassioned defence of monopoly trading by the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre). I rather feel that the Debate has divided itself, somewhat naturally, into two parts. First, the extension of the Coal Board's activities and, second, the question of preference as applicable to foreign buyers.The hon. and gallant Member for East Grinstead (Colonel Clarke) felt that the Government should not undertake bunkering for these reasons: he thought that a new organisation would be required and new capital, and that it would mean taking risks. He wanted to prevent the Coal Board from taking risks as, sometimes, people did not pay for their coal. He did not mind private exporters not being paid, but he did not want the Board to be put into that position. What do the party opposite advocate in this matter? They tell us from time to time how important it is that there should be competition and initiative, and so on. Today, when we talk of putting the Coal Board, not in any better position than anyone else in the industry, but in the same position—indeed, listening to Members opposite, it seems in a very much worse position—they say there is something wrong with that. They say that it should not be done and that we should leave this unremunerative trade to the private interests that have done it so long. The hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch made some very great mistakes. It is no use pointing to my right hon. Friend and myself and saying that we have a lot of work to do and that we have no time to set up bunkers. We do not propose to do any such thing. I thought that the hon. and gallant Member understood the Coal Act and the operations of the National Coal Board. We do not dig coal, nor do we export it. It is not our function or the function of politicians to interfere with the duties of the National Coal Board. Those duties are placed upon the National Coal Board. If they decide to enter into the bunkering trade it will be for very good business reasons. If there are any difficulties to be overcome in negotiations with foreign countries either in the Middle East or elsewhere—if they decided to have a bunker station there —it will be for them to deal with it. It will not affect my right hon. Friend and myself one little bit. We shall not negotiate anything. I do not want to reiterate all that was said on the Committee stage. All we are doing is saying to the Coal Board, "You may, if you so desire, now do your own work of exporting coal, establishing bunker stations abroad and so on." It must be remembered that the National Coal Board have within their ranks people very highly qualified in this matter, and they are very well advised. They would not be likely to enter into this type of trade if it was a question of taking away all of what has been termed the "bread and butter lines" from the exporter and leaving that exporter with absolutely unremunerative lines. Quite obviously in dealing with these matters the Board will approach it in a businesslike way.
They have not done so yet.
The National Coal Board has made a better job of coal-mining in two years than resulted from a century of private enterprise.
The public do not think so.
As I understand it now, without reference to the Ministry of Fuel and Power, the National Coal Board would be entitled to enter into foreign agreements and bunkering.
What I have said is that this Clause gives the National Coal Board the power to do work abroad that they did not have formerly and they would get on with that job in the normal business-like way. If at some time or other they wanted the advice of my right hon. Friend he would be prepared to give it. Indeed, at any time the Board are entitled, if they so desire, to have the views of my right hon. Friend.
Has the Parliamentary Secretary forgotten Section 3 of the principal Act under which the Minister is bound to give directions on all major matters of policy? Is he saying that this is a matter on which the Minister has made up his mind that he is not going to give any such direction?
I am grateful to the hon. Baronet for mentioning the matter, but it does not say anything of the kind. It says that the Minister may give directions; it does not say that he shall.
Is he going to?
Why should I, at this stage, say what the Minister is or is not going to do? He will decide when the circumstances arise.
The Parliamentary Secretary has just said specifically that the Minister was not going to give directions. All I want to know is whether that is the fact.
I did not say that at all, if the hon. Baronet—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, he did."]—it is no use hon. Members opposite nodding their heads. I know precisely what I said, and the OFFICIAL REPORT will make it clear tomorrow. What I said was that the Minister is not going to interfere in their business arrangements, and I repeat that. The question of direction does not enter into it. Very little else was raised by hon. Members opposite. There was never any arguments as to why the National Coal Board should not have the right or the power to do this work if they so desire.The other point that was raised was with regard to undue preference. That matter was dealt with quite extensively in Committee by the hon. Member for South Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth). The hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch was not correct when he said the matter had not been referred to by my right hon. Friend. In point of fact it was dealt with at column 234 of the Committee stage.
The paragraph that was read?
Yes, Sir, the paragraph that was read. The hon. and gallant Member has not even noticed that it mentioned that matter.
I wish to do justice to the Minister on this. Will he look at the speech to which I referred, which started in column 236, two columns after the Minister had spoken?
I do not think that it matters very much.
It matters for accuracy.
The hon. and gallant Member has made his point, for what it is worth.The hon. Member for South Hendon makes the specific point that when Section 63—or that part of it dealing with this matter—no longer applied to the duties of the Board in point of fact this provision about unreasonable preference would be an advantage to foreign buyers. Our advice, of course, is quite different from that. If the hon. Member would read 1 (1, c) of the principal Act again he would see that the Coal Board have to do certain things
What is the "public interest?" It is certainly not the public interest of foreign countries. Surely the public interest is the British public interest. Surely it is the public interest of the realm. If it is, in fact, in the interest of the British people that there shall be preferences in foreign sales then the Board are entitled to exercise those preferences if they so desire. As I understand it hon. Members opposite are not complaining about them exercising any preference. What they are fearful of is that if we pass this Clause as it is the Board would not have the power to exercise preference. Our view is that they would have the power to exercise preference, because all that they do must be in the public interest—the British public interest, the interest of the realm. The hon. Member for South Hendon advanced the same argument in relation to paragraphs (a) and (b). But paragraph (b)—"As may seem to them best calculated to further the public interest in all respects…"
cannot possibly apply to securing the efficient development of the coalmining industry in any other country. It must surely apply to the coalmining industry of Great Britain, because that is what the Bill is about, and we are satisfied on that point."Securing the efficient development of the coal-mining industry"—
The whole point of the Parliamentary Secretary here is that he desires that the activities of the Coal Board should be taken outside Great Britain. Why should this particular paragraph be limited to Great Britain?
I am saying that what we are securing is the efficient development of the coalmining industry in this country and not the efficient development of the coalmining industry abroad. If, on the other hand, the Nigerian Government said, "Come and work some coalmines for us"—[Interruption]—well, I referred to Nigeria, because the hon. and gallant Member made reference to that country and I thought that we might keep to the same name. If he prefers some other name I do not mind. If they were invited to go to Nigeria and work some coalmines that does not affect this duty at all. Their duty is still to develop efficient coalmining in Great Britain. Therefore we do not see the problem and the difficulty which the hon. Member for South Hendon visualises.He said that these matters would be decided finally in the Courts. That may be, but in our view there need be no fear on the part of hon. Members opposite that this question of undue preference is not within the power of the Board to operate if they so decide in relation to foreign buyers, and that in relation to paragraphs (a) and (b) these matters in the Act are relative to Great Britain. No case has been made out for this Amendment, and I ask the House to reject it.
Does not the hon. Gentleman think that the position would be strengthened, in arguing with a foreign buyer about whether it was legal under the Measure to discriminate between foreign buyers, if the words of our Amendment were inserted rather than if he had to say, "Here it is in our Act. We are bound to do what is calculated to further the public interest"?
I do not accept that.
I should like to answer the general argument with which the Parliamentary Secretary began his speech. The Clause to which this Amendment has been put down is very wide, and he discussed its general principles. We have an objection on what I might call purely commonsense grounds. We have not yet had an opportunity to discuss Clause 1, but we shall be able to do that on Third Reading. That changes the set-up in the Coal Board and reflects agreement that the National Coal Board as it is now is not functioning properly and needs modification. Clause 2 does something quite different. It greatly extends the powers of the Board. It enables the Board to go outside the United Kingdom for the searching and winning of coal, for selling coal, for manufacturing and selling the products of coal, and for a great many other things.We have a commonsense instinctive objection to that on the ground that an industrial organisation which has not yet shaken down, which has not yet proved that it can work smoothly and perform the tasks which were originally entrusted to it, should not be given a whole new range of duties. We have that objection simply because it is a sound maxim that one must do well what one is first given to do before one can go on to do something else. That is an every day occurrence in business. Experts come to a board of directors and say that they would like to manufacture two or three more products or go into two or three more markets. They say that the disappointing results achieved so far are due to the fact that they have not had sufficient scope. Every day boards of directors have to turn down applications like that, because it is a well-known experience in business that one must confine oneself to what one really knows how to do. Up and down the country there is a feeling that the National Coal Board has not yet achieved what it was expected to do. Therefore, to put upon it a whole range of duties outside this country which must mean new departments at the head office, new branches and new functions put upon various members of the Board, is a very dangerous action to take at this moment. I would make that objection against the Clause whatever were the merits of the things which it was sought to add to the duties of the Coal Board. Time is not ripe for them: they have not yet done well what they were first entrusted to do. When we consider what are the additional duties or opportunities put upon them, we find that the first is the winning of coal outside the United Kingdom. I know that some of my hon. Friends, rightly, put up an argument in Committee that it would be bad if the National Coal Board were to go off and start mining coal with native labour somewhere or other in an overseas territory. Personally, I would leave it to the National Union of Mineworkers to restrain the pace at which the right hon. Gentleman starts winning coal abroad. I do not think that they would wish to have large new sources of coal opened up by the right hon. Gentleman. I am content to leave it with the trade union to put a brake upon that. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I am grateful for support from the hon. Gentleman opposite. The Minister said we might want to lend experts to assist in mining coal in Nigeria or some other place. I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) that the National Coal Board could do that perfectly well now without this Clause. They could second a technician. It would be within their powers. Therefore, on that score they do not need this Clause at all. I come to the important point, which is the sale of coal overseas. There was much confusion about this during the Committee stage. Hon. Members opposite were under the impression that a very large profit was made by the private exporters. The fact is that the coal is sold free-on-board by the National Coal Board who fix the price to the foreign buyer. All that the exporter gets is a commission of 6d. a ton for arranging the various bits and pieces of the business. The Minister has never denied that that was the method used. It must be well known to hon. Gentlemen opposite that the chairman of the Scottish Area Division has said that his division had made a profit because of the highly remunerative prices they were able to charge for their export coal.
On the question of the 6d. a ton commission which has been paid for a very long time, would the hon. Member not agree that when a miner down a pit was getting 9d. a ton for digging coal out and taking it away and the exporter was getting 6d. a ton for coal he never saw except on his own fire, the exporter was well over-paid?
I am afraid I would not agree. For that 6d. a ton the exporter must do a very great deal, including keeping offices abroad, fixing the insurance and arranging the freights.
In many cases all the exporter has to do is to pick up two telephones in one office.
As a matter of fact, that is possible under certain contracts where they are renewed from time to time. It is always so when one is selling to a large range of clients and some come back time and again. After a firm has established its goodwill over a long time, there is very little to be done when an order is renewed. On the other hand, there are a whole lot of customers who require to be won away from competitors. It is because the coal exporters have a whole range of business that they have been able to do the work as cheaply as 6d. a ton.What is the margin now over the home price of the price which is got for export coal? It is 25s. a ton. Two speeches were made last week, one by Lord Balfour who, I think, is the Scottish chairman, and the other by Sir Arthur Street, the deputy chairman of the National Coal Board. They both spoke of the importance of effecting reductions in the price of coal because it is becoming harder and harder to sell it. They said that it would not be possible to maintain the difference—which is up to 25s. a ton—on export coal in face of the expanding production in the Ruhr and in Poland. I cite those speeches because they show how extremely important it is that we should maintain an organisation for selling coal which is most likely to achieve the largest volume of sales. The target in the four-year plan is, I think, 40 million metric tons of coal exports by 1952. That is a tremendous target to hit, and our chief complaint against this Clause is that it is upsetting an organisation for selling coal which is working very well. I say that on the Minister's authority, because during the Commitee stage he said that the relations of the National Coal Board with the exporters were very happy, and I believe that that is confirmed by those in the trade. The Minister is asking for this power to hold it in reserve as a threat, but I say that that is simply bad business, because it destroys the confidence between himself and the exporters. It is not possible suddenly to take their places. I know that the Parliamentary Secretary has said that it is not the intention to do so, but this is a threat to take the place of people who have had these agencies for selling coal for so long. It will destroy the confidence between them and the Coal Board, and we cannot afford it. As the competition in selling coal abroad increases, as it is going to increase, and very rapidly in my view, we shall need every selling advantage we can get, and one advantage which we shall have is that the Polish mines, and I think certain others as well, sell their coal through nationalised agencies, while we do not. It may be that up to now it as been so easy to sell coal, and that the foreign buyer has not been able to pick and choose between the private selling agency and the State selling agency. I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that as soon as coal become more difficult to sell the foreigner will take it from the private agency every time. The reason is clear. The supply of fuel is basic to the economy of every country, and those countries which have no coal in their own territories to provide a supply of fuel for their own needs look with extreme jealousy upon people who have to supply them from outside. They will not want, if they can help it, to take coal from one of these bunkering stations, which sell oil as well as coal. They will not want to take it from a State agency if they can get it from a private one, because they treat the private agency like one of their own firms. It is on all fours with their own business, in the eyes of the law. Once we have a State agency coming in, if there is any trouble we cannot remedy it, exactly as His Majesty's Government cannot argue with the Argentine Government over the meat; the matter has to be dealt with through the Embassies.
The hon. Gentleman has referred to coal from the Ruhr and Poland. Which of these will provide a private agency for the sale of coal?
The hon. Gentleman entirely misses the point. The fact that the Poles are selling their coal through a State agency gives us the chance to get the business, because we are engaged in a partnership with the nationalised production here and private selling agencies abroad. Let him consider this point. These bunkering stations, with all their foreshore rights and large stopping places, are in very strategic points in harbours abroad. They can compete with the local coal merchants and also provide for oil tanks. Which of us would like to have a Russian installation of that kind in the Port of London?
Under a Conservative administration before the war, Russian Oil Products had a very valuable concession and agency in this country.
They did not enjoy foreshore rights and all the things which the bunkering stations have, and we should not like to have them now, at any rate, The foreign countries are highly suspicious of this, and I had experience of it during the first two years of the war in neutral countries. We were very fortunate indeed to have had those British bunkering stations round the world in private hands, and the services rendered by them were enormous. No foreign Government will tolerate these stations becoming an agency of another State. I do not think the Minister intends to do that, and he has often said that all he wants is to have this threat in the background. I say that he has not given us a reason for disturbing trade with a foreign power for any good purpose.Let him carry on with the situation as it is now, and let him also consider that we cannot carry out nationalisation to the very end product wherever it is going. If we try to do that every time an industry is nationalised, and we try to see that the State keeps its hand on that product until it gets to the final consumer, we shall have a totalitarian economy before we know where we are. All these basic products seep through the economy in one way or another, and we should end up by having control of everything in one hand. That is not possible. Is it not much more fruitful to marry the private sector of our economy with the public sector in a confident partnership? That is what we have today, and this Clause is a foolish one, because it strikes at the confidence which exists today, or which did exist until this Clause appeared in the Bill. I hope that the Minister will take it away. So far as the little point in the Amendment itself is concerned, it goes so small a way to correcting the evils of the Clause that I regret very much that I am unable to vote against the Clause as a whole, instead of against the Amendment, but, if the Parliamentary Secretary is correct and the power to discriminate exists already, that will satisfy me, though some of my hon. Friends who have a great deal of experience in these legal matters disagree with him. I end by saying that the coal export trade is rapidly becoming more difficult, and to introduce complications of this kind for no reason that I can see, except the theoretical reason that it would be a good thing for the nationalised industry to have control of its own products to the very last customer everywhere, will disturb that world-wide system of selling agencies that has served us so well, and, therefore, the Clause is a bad Clause.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite are not very consistent in their arguments. On the previous Amendment, the argument was that we should have a change; on this occasion, it is argued that we should not have a change. In the earlier discussions, mention was made of the 1911 Act, and, strangely enough, the man who was responsible for that Act, who was then President of the Board of Trade, is the present Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill). On this occasion, the argument is that we should not have a change and the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) has told us that the National Coal Board has not yet met its responsibilities and settled down.The National Coal Board took over the mines at a time when private enterprise had reduced the mining industry of this country to the most critical position in which it had ever been. The Coal Board took over 1,500 collieries, a million acres of land, and 100,000 houses, and it had at its disposal only 699,000 men, which was the lowest figure for something like 70 years. In view of the great economic position that coal has played in the history of this country, I suggest that, since the Coal Board have recruited men to the mines—to the old mines, the worn-out mines—because they have restored to that industry something like a workable relationship between employer and employee, they have gone a fair way. They have gone further than private enterprise at any time to- wards solving the mining problem of this country. The hon. Member for Chippenham told us that he was going to advance a common-sense argument. I say to him in all sincerity—and I am going to use his own words—that it is only common sense that the product of this most important industry should not be in the hands of private enterprise which could exercise a stranglehold on the industry at any particular time. We must, therefore, employ the philosophy of hon. Members on this side of the House—the greatest good for the greatest number. We must see that the mining industry of this country is utilised, both at home and abroad, in the interests of all the people of the Realm. As the Minister said, the National Coal Board must be endowed with power to supply the coal in order to meet the needs of this country. Nigeria has been mentioned. I have in my possession the report of a speech made by a prominent Front Bencher of the Conservative Party to the Empire Parliamentary Association of this House, in which he said:
Coal may be found in Nigeria, in the Arctic, or in the Antarctic. The time may come when it will be absolutely necessary for this country to produce more coal than we are producing today. The attitude of hon. Members opposite is simply to circumscribe the activities of the National Coal Board as the avenue for the production of coal in this country. In the course of their arguments, hon. Members opposite have mentioned prices. Upstairs in Committee we had a great argument on prices and on transfer prices. Hon. Members opposite challenged the veracity of statements made by some of my hon. Friends. I wish to refresh the memories of hon. Members. I can appreciate the position of the right hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) and his diffidence about entering into arguments with regard to a Royal Commission. But if hon. Members care to refer to the evidence submitted, and admitted, before the Samuel Commission, they will find that there were considerable differences in regard to transfer prices. Mr. Gordon, the accountant for the employees side on submitting evidence to the Commission, intimated, in contradiction to Sir William McClintock, who stated that transfer prices had reached a difference of 1s. 6d. per ton, that they had, in fact, reached a difference of 3s. 6d. a ton. Hon. Members opposite know perfectly well how that arose. We are determined that there shall never be any more cheap miners in this country, because cheap coal means cheap miners. In Scotland in 1905, we were shipping coal f.o.b. at Leith at 5s. 9d. a ton, and miners' wages were 5s. 6d. a day. Not until after 1915 did the average local price of coal in Scotland rise to 10s. a ton. Let me remind the House—"I visited Nigeria. I travelled on nationalised railways drawn by nationalised engines, and saw nationalised trains going into nationalised collieries and bringing nationalised coal to the ports and shipping it to Lagos at 19s. 6d. a ton, cheaper than private enterprise."
I think the hon. Gentleman ought to confine himself more to the export of coal than to the home market and the cost of coal at home.
I was referring to the export price of coal at Leith. The export price of coal in Scotland did not reach 10s. a ton until after 1915. I am referring especially to the export price, because Scotland is an exporting country.I want to point out to hon. Members that things are moving very quickly in the coalmining industry today. Already the machinery which has been put into the mines in Midlothian—American machinery—has been found to be useless, and is now being taken out again. That is why we want the Board to have full powers to meet the new, varying conditions. We firmly believe that if this Clause were not passed the National Coal Board would be entangled in such complications as would restrict its activities and make it, what hon. Members opposite have alleged it to be, a nonsuccess. This has been described as a small Bill and hon. Members said that there would be other Bills. I welcome the remarks of the right hon. Member for Epsom (Mr. McCorquodale) who spoke of a great new Bill. I think that on this occasion we can all unite in paying the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary the greatest possible compliment on the way they have piloted this Bill through Committee and for asking that the National Coal Board should be given the necessary power to meet the needs of the people of this country with regard to coal. I am sure that hon. Members opposite will also co-operate with us in this because they know perfectly well that if the National Coal Board is left to the mercy of private enterprise, it will not be able to play the important part in the country's economy that it should.
I shall not follow the hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles (Mr. Pryde) in his after-dinner eulogy of the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary, but I wish to comment on the very curious attitude which he adopted towards this Clause and the National Coal Board. In the first place, he appeared, like so many of his hon. Friends opposite, to disregard the war. He said that the coal industry was at its lowest level when the National Coal Board took over and that the labour force then available was the lowest ever. I suppose he has forgoten all about the Germans and does not remember that we were engaged in a war which resulted in many activities being brought to a very low level.
The hon. Member forgets the national stoppages in the industry in 1921 and 1922 when the party opposite played their part in bringing the industry into the condition mentioned by my hon. Friend.
If the hon. Gentleman and I are to discuss the effect of those stoppages, I think he would agree that in 1937 and 1938 we were exporting more coal than, owing to the war, we were in 1945. It is quite inadmissible for the hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles to disregard the war and to say that it was the Tories who brought the coal industry down to this low level, and that when the National Coal Board took it over it began to improve. Even under a Socialist Government, things had to improve a little bit when we stopped fighting and returned to peace-time conditions.
Would the hon. Member deny that for many years before the 1939 war there was a dwindling manpower in the in- dustry? I agree fully with my hon. Friend that it was due to the private owners and to the Governments of those days.
That brings me to the next point which was made by the hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles. He alluded to the export prices. Surely, the answer both to the hon. Lady and to the hon. Member is that it is the foreign buyer who fixes the export prices. If less coal is required for export it is due to expanding production abroad. It is in no sense the fault of this country or of any section of the industry. The hon. Gentleman seems to forget that even the National Coal Board cannot fix the export price of coal and say to people abroad, "You shall pay this price, and you shall not take coal from France or from the Ruhr where it is cheaper."The hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles, referred to Nigeria. I would only ask him whether he will make his peace with the union members of his industry on the subject of cheap coal produced abroad. It seems to me that he was advocating that the National Coal Board should go round the world getting coal produced for cheap wages. I am sure the members of his industry will not agree to that.
Let me point out to the hon. Gentleman that the union to which I have the honour to belong has never been backward in using its influence in trying to raise the standard of every worker in every part of the world.
That may be so; indeed, I am sure it is, but the hon. Gentleman seemed to have forgotten that point in his argument.I want to deal with the Parliamentary Secretary's argument about undue preference, which arises out of the question of the National Coal Board entering the export business. The Parliamentary Secretary entirely failed to make his case. He should have satisfied the House that there were strong reasons for the National Coal Board wanting to go into the export trade. The only reasons given were those given by the hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles, and his argument seemed to amount to this: here was something which was working well and, therefore, it should be nationalised, otherwise something dreadful would happen. That is probably the argument which has been applied to the nationalisation of steel. In this case the argument seems to be: "If you see anything working well, get the National Coal Board to take it over." The Parliamentary Secretary should have advanced stronger arguments. The only argument he could advance was that there should be a threat, that there should be lurking in the background this power in the hands of the National Coal Board so that people should be kept up to the mark if they were not exporting coal properly. That is a misunderstanding of the situation. The interest of the exporters is to export coal. The hon. Member for South Midlothian and Peebles alluded to the exporters strangling the coal industry. That is a complete misconception. I cannot imagine any circumstances in which exporters would try to strangle the industry which is providing their very livelihood in the export of coal. Turning to the narrow question of undue preference, as I understand it, the Parliamentary Secretary, the Minister, my hon. Friends who have moved and supported this Amendment, as well as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) all agree that it is desirable that the Board should have the power, if it wishes, to exercise an undue or unreasonable preference against a foreign buyer. Let us leave out the word "unreasonable." I understand that is borne out in column 234 of the Report of the proceedings in Committee upstairs. The Parliamentary Secretary's answer was that this Clause already makes that provision. He said that in Section 1 (1, c) of the principal Act the words "calculated to further the public interest" were included, and that if it was in the public interest to exercise a preference against a foreign buyer, then the National Coal Board had that power. This is purely a legal argument, but I submit that the hon. Gentleman's advice was wrong. It seems to me quite clear that the National Coal Board is given the duty of making supplies of coal available at such prices, in such quantities and of such quality as is in the public interest, and that the words "in the public interest" only qualify those three things—qualities, quantities and prices. The words "including the avoidance of any undue or unreasonable preference" are mandatory on the Coal Board. It does not lie in the Coal Board to decide whether a preference is or is not in the public interest. If the hon. Gentleman's argument were correct, the Coal Board would be allowed to exercise an undue preference in this country if it considered it was in the public interest. It is quite clear from the Debates of the Committee proceedings of the principal Act that it is the general understanding on both sides of the House, by all officials and all advisers, that the Coal Board cannot exercise any undue preference with regard to the consumers in this country. The reason is that the Act says that they cannot so exercise it. If the phrase was qualified by the words "provided they think it is in the public interest" they could exercise an undue preference in this country. We know they cannot do so. Therefore, as on this point we all want the same thing, I ask the Minister to look at this matter again, to see whether his advice is really correct, and to see whether the words "in the public interest" only qualify quantities, qualities and prices, and that the words "including the avoidance of any undue or unreasonable preference" are part of the duty laid on the Coal Board to avoid this in all cases. I say "in all cases" because this provision is applicable both inside and outside Great Britain, and if that is so the Coal Board cannot exercise the preference abroad. This may be a very important matter because the Government, in bargaining with another Government such as the Argentine, may
Division No. 89.]
|Agnew, Cmdr, P. G.||Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lancaster, Col. C. G|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Eccles, D. M.||Langford-Holt, J.|
|Assheton, Rt Hon. R.||Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fraser, Sir I (Lonsdale.)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H|
|Birch, Nigel||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)|
|Bower, N.||Gage, C.||Linstead, H. N.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Gammans, L. D.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)||Low, A. R W|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H|
|Carson, E.||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon O.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Harvey, Air-Comdre, A. V.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M S|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.|
|Cuthbert, W. N||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D||Keeling, E. H.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Drewe, C.||Lambert, Hon, G.||Nicholson, G.|
want to pay for their food in coal; in fact, one has already seen something of the sort reported in the papers. The Government of the Argentine are asking for export coal. If a certain price cannot be agreed with the Argentine, it will be very awkward for the right hon. Gentleman and for the President of the Board of Trade or the Minister of Health if they find that they have made yet another mistake about Argentine food. First, they pay in advance and now they do not know whether they will get back the money owing to them; then they strike a new bargain, and they find that they cannot pay the price required because they have been wrongly advised on whether or not they can give a preference to the Argentine—a situation in which it may be to the interest of this country to give a preference.
This matter is not just a kind of lawyer's academic argument. It has a practical effect. I am aware that it would be necessary to brief the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food properly on this matter. If there is any argument about it, surely it is better that the Minister should make it clear in the Bill rather than to have an unseemly argument between himself and the Argentine Government. Therefore, I ask him to consider the reasons given by the Parliamentary Secretary. Further, he should look at the wording and see whether the phrase "including the avoidance of any undue or unreasonable preference," apart from the qualifying words, is not calculated to further the public interest in all respects.
Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
The House divided: Ayes, 76; Noes, 216.
|Nield, B. (Chester)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)||Walker-Smith, D|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L||Spearman, A. C. M.||Watt, Sir G S. Harvie|
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Studholme, H. G.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Raikes, H. V.||Thomas, J P. L. (Hereford)||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)||Thorneycroft, G. E P. (Monmouth)|
|Ropner, Col. L.||Touche, G C.|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
|Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)||Turtan, R. H.||Colonel Wheatley and|
|Sanderson, Sir F.||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Mr. Simon Wingfield Digby.|
|Savory, Prof. D. L.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Adams, Richard (Batham)||Gunter, R. J.||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Allen, A C (Bosworth)||Hale, Leslie||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Proctor, W. T.|
|Anderson, F (Whitehaven)||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R||Pryde, D. J.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Hardman, D. R.||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Hardy, E. A.||Randall, H. E.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Harrison, J||Ranger, J.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Haworth, J.||Reeves, J.|
|Barton, C.||Henderson, Rt. Hr. A. (Kingswinford)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Battley, J. R.||Herbison, Miss M.||Rhodes, H.|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Hewitson, Capt. M||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Benson, G.||Hobson, C. R.||Robens, A.|
|Berry, H||Holman, P.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Horabin, T. L.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Houghton, A. L. N. D.||Robinson, K. (St. Pancras)|
|Boardman, H.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr H. W||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Royle, C.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Hughes, H. D. (W'Iverh'pton, W.)||Scollan, T.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Sharp, Granville|
|Brooks, T J. (Rothwell)||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Bruce, Maj. D W T.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Burden, T. W.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Byers, Frank||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Solley, L. J.|
|Callaghan, James||Keenan, W||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Chater, D.||Kenyon, C||Sparks, J. A.|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Kinley, J.||Stamford, W.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Kirby, B. V||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Cocks, F S.||Lang, G.||Taylor, R. J..(Morpeth)|
|Collick, P.||Lavers, S||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Collindridge, F||Lawson, Rt. Hon, J. J.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Collins, V J.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Leslie, J. R.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Cooper, G.||Levy, B. W.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lipson, D. L.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Crawley, A.||Lipton, Lt-Col. M||Timmons, J.|
|Daggar, G.||Lyne, A. W||Tolley, L.|
|Dairies, P.||McAdam, W.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||McEntee, V La T||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||McGhee, H. G||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Mack, J. D.||Wadsworth, G|
|Davies, R J. (Westhoughton)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Walkden, E.|
|Deer, G.||Mackay, R W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Wallace, G D. (Chislehurst)|
|Delargy, H. J.||McLeavy, F.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Dodds, N. N||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mainwaring, W H.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Weitzman, D.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Edelman, M.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John.(Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Mothers, Rt. Hon. George||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Medland, H. M.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Messer, F.||Wigg, George|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Evans, John (Ogmere)||Mikardo, Ian||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Mitchison, G. R.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Farthing, W. J.||Monslow, W.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington., E.)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Follick, M.||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Foot, M. M||Murray, J. D.||Williams, W. R. (Reston)|
|Forman, J. C.||Oliver, G. H.||Willis, E.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T N.||Paget, R. T.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Paling, W. T. (Dewsbury)||Wise, Major F J|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Pargiler, G. A.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Gibson, C W.||Parker, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Glanville, J E. (Consett)||Parkin, B. T.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Pearson, A.|
|Grierson, E.||Peart, T. F.|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)||Mr. Joseph Henderson and|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Popplewell, E.||Mr. Hannan.|