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Clause 12—(Accounts And Audit)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

I beg to move, in page 14, line 42, after "include," to insert:

"a copy of any notice in writing given under section six of this Act (save in so far as the Postmaster-General may certify that it is not in the national interest to disclose the contents of any such notice) and."
The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that when the annual report of the I.T.A. is published it shall include references to any directions which the Postmaster-General has given to the Authority during the period covered by the report. As we know, this provision is included in all existing nationalisation Acts. It applies in the case of the National Coal Board, the British Transport Commission, the British Electricity Authority, the Gas Council, and so on. Where the Minister gives directions to those public corporations they have to include in their report a statement of those directions. We think that it is appropriate, therefore, that similar provisions should be made in the case of the I.T.A.

We quite understand that there may be occasions when it would not be in the national interest to disclose that a direction has been given. A direction might have been given in the interest of national security or for some similar purpose. In those cases we have provided that it is not obligatory upon the Minister to disclose the direction or upon the Authority to include it in its report. In view of the fact that the Assistant Postmaster-General has accepted the previous Amendment, I see no reason whatsoever why he cannot accept this one. Throughout our discussions in Committee and on Report stage, we on this side of the House have endeavoured to put the onus upon the Postmaster-General of answering to the House for the actions of the Authority.

Here is another instance of our trying to bring more public accountability into the Bill. If the Government would accept the Amendment, it would enable us to be aware of the directives given by the Postmaster-General from time to time and it would make it easier for us to ask Questions when we considered it necessary to do so.

During the debate today the Assistant Postmaster-General has made one or two concessions in which he has disclosed that it is necessary that the Authority should be under the control of the Minister responsible; that is to say, gradually more and more safeguards have been introduced by him into the Bill. In our view, not nearly enough safeguards have been introduced. However, the Assistant Postmaster-General has accepted the necessity for public accountability. The Amendment represents merely one further small step towards increasing the degree of public accountability of the Authority.

I beg to second the Amendment.

As the Government accepted the earlier Amendment, I hope that they will consider this very modest one a suitable one to accent to end the Report stage on the Clauses. Here is an opportunity for the Government to accept an Amendment which is even more important than the one moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) in which "than" was substituted for "as."

I hope that the Government, when considering this Amendment, will also give attention to a later Amendment of ours which we may not have time to move tonight but which is nonetheless of considerable importance. These Amendments refer to the type of information which should be given in the Annual Report to enable Parliament and the public at large to judge the activities and success of the great and wonderful new venture of the Assistant Postmaster-General. If we are to be able to make a judgment we must know how far the Authority has done what it has done off its own bat and how far it has done it under the skilled direction of the Post Office. We want to be able to award credit where a good job is done. When wise directions and wise advice are given, it will be easier for us to pay the kind of compliments under which the Assistant Postmaster-General thrives and develops.

Division No. 166.]


[10.30 p.m.

Acland, Sir RichardButler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Edelman, M.
Adams, RichardCallaghan, L. J.Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)
Albu, A. H.Carmichael, J.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Castle, Mrs. B. A.Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Champion, A. JEvans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Awbery, S. S.Chetwynd, G R.Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Bacon, Miss AliceClunie, J.Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)
Baird, J.Coldrick, W.Fernyhough, E.
Bartley, P.Collick. P. H.Fianburgh, W.
Benson, G.Cove, W. G.Finch, H. J.
Beswick, F.Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)
Bing, G. H. C.Crosland, C. A. R.Follick, M.
Blackburn, F.Cullen, Mrs. A.Foot, M. M.
Blenkinsop. A.Daines, P.Forman, J C.
Blyton, W. R.Darling, George (Hillsborough)Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Boardman, H.Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)Freeman, John (Watford)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. GDavies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)Gibson, C. W.
Bowden, H. W.Davies, Harold (Leek)Gooch, E. G
Bowen, E. R.Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.
Bowles, F. Freitas, GeoffreyGreenwood, Anthony
Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethDeer, G.Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Brookway, A. F.Delargy, H. J.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Dodds, N. N.Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Donnelly, D. L.Grimond, J.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Driberg, T. E. N.Halo, Leslie
Brown, Thomas (Ince)Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Burke, W. A.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W)

of this importance, do the Government sit like dummies saying nothing, doing nothing and waiting for the Guillotine to fall? They passed the Guillotine Motion and, having got it, they are now, it is clear, going to treat the House of Commons with contempt. That is exactly what I would expect from a Government which invents a Guillotine of this monstrous character in relation to a Bill which ought never to have been guillotined.

My hon. Friends have made a reasonable case for the Amendment. It is an Amendment of some importance. I have demonstrated that by the length of my own speech. The Government had some time in which they could have answered what my hon. Friends said. They have done nothing of the kind. They are just waiting for this brutal, horrible, ignorant Guillotine to come to their rescue because they prefer to govern not by reason, not by argument, not by consent but by this almost extra-Parliamentary method of having needless and purposeless guillotines. Therefore, I say that at this late hour we are entitled to protest against the conduct of the Government.

It being half-past Ten o'Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 251: Noes, 263.

Hamilton, W. WMarquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Skeffington, A. M.
Hannan, W.Mason, RoySlater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Hargreaves, A.Mayhew, G. P.Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)Mellish, R. J.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Hastings, S.Messer, Sir F.Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Hay man, F. H.Mikardo, IanSnow, J. W.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)Mitchison, G. R.Sorenson, R. W.
Henderson, Rt. Hon A (Rowley Regis)Monslow, W.Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Herbison, Miss M.Moody, A. S.Sparks, J. A.
Hewitson, Capt. MMorgan, Dr. H. B. WSteele, T.
Hobson, C. R.Morley, R.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Holman, P.Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Holmes, HoraceMorrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Holt, A. F.Mort, D. L.Stress, Dr. Barnett
Houghton, DouglasMoyle, A.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Hoy, J. H.Mulley, F. W.Swingler, S. T.
Hubbard, T. F.Nally, W.Sylvester, G. O.
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Oldfield, W. H.Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Oliver, G. H.Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Orbach, M.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Hynd, J. B, (Attercliffe)Oswald, T.Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Padley, W. E.Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)Paget, R. T.Thornton, E.
Isaacs, Rt, Hon, G. A.Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Timmons, J.
Janner, B.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Tomney, F.
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.Palmer, A. M. F.Turner-Samuels, M.
Jeger, George (Goole)Panned, CharlesUngoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Jeger, Mrs. LenaParglter, G. A.Viant, S. P.
Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)Parker, J.Wade, D. W.
Johnson, James (Rugby)Parkin, B. TWallace, H. W.
Jones, David (Hartlepool)Paton, J.Warbey, W. N.
Jones, Frederick Etwyn (West Ham, S.)Pearson, A.Watkins, T. E.
Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Peart, T. F.Weitzman, D.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Plummer, Sir LeslieWells, Percy (Faversham)
Keenan, W.Porter, G.Wells, William (Walsall)
Kenyan, C.Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)West, D. G.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. WPrice, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)Wheeldon, W. E.
King, Dr. H. M.Proctor, W. T.White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Kinley, J.Pryde, D. J.White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Lawson, G. M.Pursey, Cmdr. HWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lee, Frederick (Newton)Rankin, JohnWilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Reeves, J.Wilkins, W. A.
Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)Reid, William (Camlachie)Willey, F. T.
Lewis, ArthurRhodes, H.Williams, David (Neath)
Lindgren, G. S.Robens, Rt. Hon. A.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. MRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Logan, D. G.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
MacColl, J. E.Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Willis, E. G.
McInnes, J.Ross, WilliamWinterbollom, Richard (Brightside)
McLeavy, F.Royle, C.Woodburn, Rt. Hon A
McNeil, Rt. Hon. HShackleton, E. A. A.Wyatt, W. L.
Mainwaring, W. H.Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir HartleyYates, V. F.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Short, E. W.Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Mann, Mrs. JeanSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Manuel, A. C.Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Rogers.


Aitken, W. T.Braine, B. R.Crockshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.
Alport, C. J. M.Braithwaite, Sir GurneyCrouch, R. F.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)
Arbuthnot, JohnBrooman-Whiie, R. C.Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Browne, Jack (Govan)Deedes, W. F.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. MBuchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. TDigby, S. Wingfield
Baldwin, A. E.Bullard, D. G.Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Barlow, Sir JohnBullus, Wing Commander E. EDonaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
Baxter, Sir BeverleyBurden, F. F. A.Doughty, C. J. A.
Beach, Maj. HicksCampbell, Sir DavidDrayson, G. B.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Cary, Sir RobertDugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Channon, HDuncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)Duthie, W. S.
Bennett, William (Woodside)Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.
Bevins, J. R. (Texteth)Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.Eden, Rt. Hon. A.
Birch, NigelCole, NormanEden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Bishop, F. P.Colegate, W A.Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Boothby, Sir R. J. GConant, Mai Sir RogerErroll, F. J.
Bossom, Sir A. C.Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. AlbertFinlay, Graeme
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. ACooper-Key, E. M.Fisher, Nigel
Boyle, Sir EdwardCraddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.

Fletcher-Cooke, C.Low, A. R. W.Robertson, Sir David
Ford, Mrs. PatriciaLucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Robson-Brown, W.
Fort, R.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughRoper, Sir Harold
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir Davit MaxwellMcAdden, S. J.Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)McCallum, Major D.Russell, R. S.
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Gammans, L. D.Macdonald, Sir PeterSchofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Glover, D.Mackeson, Brig. Sir HarryScott, R. Donald
Godber, J. B.McKibbin, A. J.Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Shepherd, William
Cough, C. H. F.Maclay, Rt. Hon. JohnSimon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Gower, H. RMaclean, FitzroySmithers, Peter (Winchester)
Graham, Sir FargusMaclead, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Snadden, W. McN.
Hall, John (Wycombe)Macpherson, (Dumfries)Soames, Capt. C.
Hare, Hon. J. H.Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)Spearman, A. C. M
Harris, Frederic (Craydon, N)Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)Speir, R. M.
Harrison, Col. J. H (Eye)Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir ReginaldSpens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)Markham, Major Sir FrankStanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E)Marlowe, A. A. H.Stevens, Geoffrey
Hay, JohnMarples, A. E.Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelMarshall, Douglas (Bodmin)Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Heath, EdwardMaude, AngusStorey, S.
Henderson, John (Cathcart)Maudling, R.Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Higgs, J. M. C.Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.Summers, G. S.
Hilt, Dr. Charles (Luton)Medlicott, Brig. F.Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Hinchingbrooke, ViscountMellor, Sir JohnTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hirst, GeoffreyMolson, A. H. E.Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Holland-Martin, C. J.Moore, Sir ThomasTeeling, W.
Hollis, M. C.Morrison, John (Salisbury)Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Hope, Lord JohnMott-Radclyffe, C. E.Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. HenryNabarro, G. D. N.Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.Neave, AireyThompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Herobin, I. M.Nicholls, HarmarThompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)Nield, Basil (Chester)Tilney, John
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)Noble, Comdr, A. H. P.Touche, Sir Gordon
Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.Nugent, G. R. H.Turner, H. F. L.
Hurd, A. R.Oakshott, H. D.Turton, R. H.
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)Odey, G. W.Vane, W. M. F.
Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.Vosper, D. F.
Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Iremonger, T. L.Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Osborne, C.Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Page, R. G.Walker-Smith, D. C.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)Peake, Rt. Hon. O.Wall, Major Patrick
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Perkins, Sir RobertWard Hon. George (Worcester)
Kaberry, D.Pete, Brig. C. H. M.Ward, Miss J. (Tynemouth)
Kerby, Capt. H. BPeyton, J. W. W.Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
Kerr, H. W.Pickthorn, K. W. M.Watkinson, H. A.
Lambert, Hon. G.Pitman, I. J.Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Lambton, ViscountPitt, Miss E. M.Wellwood, W.
Lancaster, Col. C. G.Powell, J. EnochWilliams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Langford-Holt, J. A.Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Leather, E. H. C.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Profumo, J. D.Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Raikes, Sir VictorWilliams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Linstead, Sir H. N.Rayner, Brig. R.Wills, G.
Llewellyn, D. T.Rees-Davies, W. R.Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Remnant, Hon. P.Wood, Hon. R.
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Ronton, D. L. M.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.Ridsdale, J. E.TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Longden, GilbertRoberts, Peter (Heeley)Sir Cedric Drewe and
Mr. Studholme.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered Tomorrow.