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Cambridge Waterworks Order, 1962

Volume 659: debated on Tuesday 8 May 1962

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

10.12 p.m.

I beg to move,

That the Cambridge Waterworks Order, 1962, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27th March, be annulled.
By moving this Motion, I give an opportunity to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) to move the Amendment which is on the Order Paper and which, I believe, he will move if he is fortunate enough to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker. The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that a Petition of general objection which has been presented in respect of this Order should be referred, as the Act permits, to a Joint Committee of both Houses. If it should prove that the Government are so obstinate that they are not prepared to do what the hon. Gentleman will ask them to do and let the Petition be referred to a Joint Committee, then we should, from this side of the House, very strongly take the view that the Order ought to be annulled. The Government could avoid a vote on the Order being annulled if they show themselves willing to accept the proposal which will be made by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire.

However, in our view, there is a reason of major policy why, if that procedure is not followed, the Order should be annulled, namely, that it is proposed by the Order to take several public water undertakings and transfer them to a private company. It is a "giveaway" Order.

The first ground of objection to the Order is that its purpose appears to be totally against the wishes of all the persons served by the public undertakings mentioned in it. If it could be shown that those served by the water undertakings did not want to be served by public water undertakings but wished those undertakings to be handed over over to a private company, the Government might be on stronger ground, but, as will appear from the Petition, this is not so.

I would point out to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government that what it is proposed to do in this Order conflicts with one of the general principles of local government which the Government have declared themselves to favour. The Government have attempted to justify some of the things which they are doing, or attempting to do, in the field of local government, on the ground that it is desirable to make the process of local government fuller and more satisfying to those who take part in it. Yet here is an Order which will take away from certain local authorities or joint boards of local authorities useful and important functions which they now perform and which it is proposed shall be handed over to a private company.

Thirdly, this proposal is in conflict with our general idea of the proper conduct of water undertakings. The great majority of water undertakings are public concerns. There are no grounds for supposing that this is not a satisfactory arrangement, and it is a breach of that general principle to take public concerns and hand them over to a private company. It is not open to the Government to justify that proceeding solely on the ground that some of these public concerns are small and that the water undertakings in the neighbourhood ought to be regrouped. If it were thought right to do that, that could be done and the new grouping could still be a public authority, a joint authority recruited from public authorities. There is no need, merely because reorganisation is necessary, to make this transfer from a public authority to a private authority.

This action of taking public water undertakings and handing them over to a private company is a very bad augury for what any future more general policy for water undertakings may be on the part of the Government. I believe that the proposition that it is wrong to transfer public undertakings to a private company will commend itself to all of my hon. Friends and, I think, to many hon. Members who have experience of water undertakings, irrespective of party affiliations. I say that about the general question of the handing over of public properties to a private company.

We must now notice this point. If the question of handing over of public property to a private company were all that we were discussing tonight, I would agree that it could be properly dealt with by argument and vote in the House. If that were all that there were before us, we could have a straightforward debate and a vote at the end of it. But this is by no means all. Quite apart from the general principle, there are important local and detailed questions with which the Order deals. I put, therefore, to the Government the proposition that before they oblige the House to decide the main issue on whether the substance of this Order and the transfer to a private company shall be carried out, they should give an opportunity for the detailed local questions concerned in the Order to have proper examination before a Joint Committee of both Houses. While it may be reasonable to discuss a broad general issue such as public or private undertakings for water by a straight debate in the House, detailed discussions of what kind of water undertakings are suitable for a particular area of Cambridgeshire is a technical matter, the proper examination of which would require maps and plans, and could more properly be done in a Joint Committee of both Houses than in this House. No doubt the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire will develop that matter in more detail.

I wish to say a few words about the procedural questions involved. The Petition which we shall be asked to refer to a Joint Committee of both Houses is called a Petition of General Objection as distinct from a Petition of Amendment, which would merely be a request to alter one or two details in the Order. It is important that we should recognise that the phrase "Petition of General Objection" does not mean that the Petition is concerned with great national issues which should be debated merely in the House and not before a Committee. I think I am right in saying that, if only one of the local authorities concerned in this matter had objected, it would have been a Petition of Amendment only which would have been obliged to go to a Committee. If the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire does not accept that proposition, let me say this. If it had been proposed by any of the parties concerned that some small alteration should be made in the scheme, that would have been a Petition of Amendment which would, under the Act, have had to go to a Select Committee. However, because all the authorities concerned dislike the scheme, that makes it a Petition of General Objection and it therefore has not an absolute right to go to a Committee. It is for this House to decide whether it goes to a Committee.

As I say, the fact that it is called a Petition of General Objection does not mean that it can be described as dealing with a matter of great national importance. Apart from the earlier point which I mentioned about public or private ownership, it is very much a local and a detailed matter, the sort of matter which should go to a Committee, because that was clearly the view of both sides of the House in 1945 when the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, under which all these proceedings take place, was discussed.

That Act received its Second Reading on 18th October, 1945. It was recommended to the House by Mr. Herbert Morrison, as he then was, now Lord Morrison of Lambeth. He was at some pains to make clear to the House that there should be refusal to allow a Petition against an Order to go to a Committee only if very great national issues were involved. That proposition won the general assent of the House.

Lord Kilmuir, then Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, speaking from the Opposition side of the House during the Second Reading debate, said that, if it were an Order to transfer one of the great London railway termini to some other place, the Government might reasonably say that that matter was so large and expensive that it should be decided by the whole House. There was, however, great anxiety on both sides of the House that in matters of specialised local interest, matters of great concern to the people in the locality but definitely local matters, hon. Members who knew the problems of the locality should have the opportunity to present their case in detail before a Committee in a way in which it could not be presented to the House as a whole.

This point was particularly referred to by Lord Molson, then Mr. Hugh Molson, who described, I think almost prophetically, the difficult position in which the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire may find himself tonight. On 18th October, 1945, Mr. Hugh Molson, as he then was, described the position of a Member who has the opportunity to argue a specialised local issue like this only before the House as a whole and not before a Committee. As reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 18th October, 1945, column 1398, Lord Molson said,
"He has to go round and try to persuade his friends and acquaintances, who are not interested in the concerns of his constituency, to stay behind late at night when a House is being kept by the Government Whips, and then to divide against the Government, with all the opprobrium that always involves and the castigations that come afterwards, from the Front Bench."
The Government ought not to put the hon. Member in that position, and they can avoid doing so by accepting the Amendment and letting this matter go, as it should go, to a Select Committee of both Houses.

Lord Kilmuir, then Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, was even more emphatic about the undesirability of making it difficult for Petitions of this kind to be sent to a Joint Committee of both Houses, His comments, reported at column 1392, were:
"If this procedure"
—he meant the procedure which we are now operating, envisaged under the Act—
"once degenerates into one by which Orders which ought to have further consideration are pushed through on the Floor of the House by the Whips in order to save time, I do not think it will work, and it will certainly not carry out the intentions which the right hon. Gentleman"
—that was Mr. Herbert Morrison—
"has so fully and eloquently put before the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th October, 1945; Vol. 414, c. 1392–8.]
He deprecated, rightly, any attempt to push through on the Floor of the House, by an action of the Whips, Orders which ought to have further consideration.

That is our position tonight. On the one hand, there is a general objection of major policy to the Order, to the idea of taking the property of the public and handing it over to private persons. But before the House is asked to pronounce on that question there ought to be a fair opportunity for the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire and other hon. Members who have a special local interest to argue their case where it can most properly be argued—before a Select Committee.

I can see no reason why the Government should object to that. In view of what eminent Members of their party said when the (Special Procedure) Bill was debated, it would be improper for them to say that they are doing it to save time. They cannot say that this issue is vast and that this procedure is not appropriate to it. It is an issue, as we shall be told, of very great concern to the people in the locality, but it is a local, detailed and technical issue—exactly the kind of case in which, in my judgment, it was intended under the (Special Procedure) Act that the House should consent to its going before a Joint Committee of both Houses.

I think that I need say nothing further. I hope that the Government will listen to what is said in support of the Amendment, and I hope that they will consent to the procedure outlined in the Amendment being followed.

On a point of order. There is, I understand, a Petition in connection with this Order. Ought not that to be available to hon. Members?

The question before the House is quite clear. I propose to call now the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) to move his Amendment, and I think that the debate can continue on that basis.

Further to that point of order. I am interested in this Order, and I should like to know what the local authorities, who are presenting the Petition, have to say. I have not that document in front of me, and as far as I know there is no method of my obtaining it.

I am sorry that the hon. Member finds himself in a difficulty, but I understand that all the correct procedures have been complied with according to the Standing Orders and I do not think he will find that he has any justification for complaint.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. There is a Petition against the Order. We are considering the questions raised in that Petition, and they have already been mentioned by my hon. Friend. Whatever the technical position may be, surely it is not fair to this House that copies of that Petition should not be available when it so materially affects the very question that we have to consider tonight. If the procedure does not oblige us to have copies of the Petition, surely some change ought to be made. Is this a case where we ought to be denied the requisite knowledge because there is no specific Order obliging us to have it?

I take full account of what the hon. and learned Member has said, but I understand that we are proceeding in an orderly fashion, and I should like to continue.

Further to that point or order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It may be orderly but it is ill-informed. If we cannot have before us the very material which we are discussing, will you accept a Motion for the adjournment of the debate until the matter is put in order and copies of this Petition are made available, particularly to the hon. Members who for local reasons are concerned in the matter?

Further to that point of order. Is the position not this, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? What we have before us at the moment is the Cambridge Waterworks Order, 1962, against which a Prayer is moved that it be annulled, to which an Amendment is to be moved that a Petition be considered by a Committee of both Houses, and that this House is not being asked to consider the merits of the Petition? It is being asked to refer the Petition to a Joint Committee of both Houses. Subject to what you say, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, it would seem that we are perfectly in order.

I understand this to be a Prayer against a waterworks Order. I have got the waterworks Order here, and I understood the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) to be praying against it. So far it seems to me that nobody in the House could take exception to that. Is it the Petition mentioned in the Amendment that has not yet been moved that the hon. and learned Member is objecting to?

I understand so, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Perhaps you would prefer me to raise the point of order again when the Amendment has formally been moved. As the Petition has already been referred to and is necessarily, as I see it, referred to in a matter of this sort, I still submit with respect that we are entitled to have copies of the Petition made available to hon. Members. If my hon. Friend prefers to discuss the Order without discussing the Petition, he is, of course, at liberty to do so, but some of us would like to know what the objections to the Order were.

Further to that point of order. Would it help if I mentioned that I am confident that the Private Bill Office has copies of this Petition? I have acquired a number of copies from that source and have sent them to hon. Friends of mine. I have no doubt there are many copies there. I do not know if that answers the problem, but they do exist.

Further to the point of order. I think that those of us who have had a good deal of experience in dealing with private legislation know that these sorts of matters are dealt with mainly through the Private Bill Office, and although the Order is available in the Vote Office because it is a matter for the whole House, the Petition comes under Private Bill procedure, and that is why the Private Bill Office is dealing with it. If hon. Members wanted copies they could have got them there.

It would seem to me that the point of order has been met, not perhaps entirely by myself, to the satisfaction of the House to allow us to continue with the debate.

Further to that point of order. I have seen and have in my possession a copy of the Petition which I obtained from the Private Bill Office. I am not complaining on my own account, but we have just had an objection from an hon. Member who apparently, although he is a local Member, has not a copy. It is not enough to say that copies may be made available in the Private Bill Office. I submit that they should be made available at the entrance to the Chamber, exactly as the Order in question is available. I have said what I want to say, and let us for the moment leave it at that.

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Member for what he has said, but time is running out and I think that we ought to get on with the business. I call Mr. Pym to move the Amendment.

10.36 p.m.

I beg to move, to leave out from "the" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

"Petition of General Objection of the Cambridgeshire County Council and the Chesterton and South Cambridgeshire Rural District Councils against the Cambridge Waterworks Order, 1962, be referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses".
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) for the broad issues on procedure which he has raised, but we must grapple with our business tonight within the limits of procedure as they now are. This Order concerns the grouping of a number of comparatively small water undertakings in my constituency into a larger group. It is made in pursuance of the duty imposed on the Minister by the Water Act, 1945, I think there is general agreement throughout the country that there are too many small organisations at present to carry out the task and that grouping together into larger units is a necessary step.

The area involved in the Order covers the City of Cambridge and the whole of Cambridgeshire, except the Newmarket rural district. The Order also extends over the border of Cambridgeshire into Huntingdonshire, to include the neighbourhood of St. Ives and of Ramsey. With the exception of the South Cambridgeshire rural district, the principle of joining these undertakings together is accepted as either desirable or inevitable, or both. The advantages that flow from a larger scale of operation are understood and accepted.

South Cambridgeshire submit that no case for a transfer of their undertaking has been made out. They say that their undertaking is adequate and, moreover, is self-sufficient.

One can quote as evidence in support of their contention a statement made in a report given to the Minister of Housing after the public inquiry that was held in Cambridge last year. Paragraph 17 (5) of the report states, of the South Cambrideshire undertaking:
"The completion of the works in hand would ensure effective distribution of the ample supply of water available and it could not be said that the undertaking at that juncture would be in any material way deficient or unsatisfactory from the consumers' or ratepayers' point of view."
South Cambridgeshire go on to submit that if their water undertaking must be swallowed up for reasons beyond their control or responsibility they share the view of the other Petitioners as to how that should be done.

Accepting, then, the principle of the merger of water undertakings involved in the Order, we come to the real dispute, which is about the nature and form of the enlarged organisation. This Order, representing the Government's proposal, is in effect a complete and compulsory take-over by the Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Company. There are no "ifs" and "buts" about it, no conditions or frills. It is a straight take-over.

This company, although a private company, is a statutory private company, and this means that certain limitations are imposed upon its activities. It is also true that it is the largest undertaking in the area envisaged in the Order, supplying as it does more than 60 per cent. of the water used in the enlarged total area covered by the Order. It is also an efficient company following a progressive policy. Whatever anyone says about this take-over, all are agreed that the company as such is an excellent organisation. But the councils in my constituency do not wish to see their undertakings devoured by this company which is, indeed, the biggest fish in the pond. This is what they are objecting to. They want it done another way, and I want to present their case briefly.

The Petitioners, who are the Cambridgeshire County Council and the two rural district councils, would prefer the operation to be carried out by a joint board, and I should like to quote a sentence from paragraph 11 of this Petition. It says:
"No good reason has been put forward as to why the local authority undertakings should not be transferred to a Joint Board rather than to a Private Company whose present area of control would be extended from an area of approximately 60 square miles to an area of approximately 450 square miles thereby leaving the local authorities concerned completely unrepresented."
In other words, they feel that the consumers in their districts should have a voice in the management of the water supply through their elected representatives. I should like to quote one more sentence from paragraph 13 of the Petition, which reads:
"If the public service of the supply of water is to be taken from local authorities, your Petitioners most strongly contend that the service must be maintained by a popularly elected representative body and not by a Company."
The Petitioners have held these views consistently from the moment when the idea behind this Order was first mooted; they maintained these views when the draft Order was published, at the public inquiry that then ensued, and again now. I think, too, that the Minister has been consistent and has not altered significantly the original proposal. Thus we have this substantial division of opinion.

It is not part of my task tonight, as I see it, to propound the merits or the demerits of any particular scheme or schemes of reorganisation. My task is to establish that sufficient grounds for objection exist to warrant the setting up of a Joint Committee. The choice is essentially between, on the one hand, control by the private company, albeit a statutory company and albeit an efficient company, and, on the other, control by a locally elected body. Speaking for myself, I cannot say that the Petitioners' idea of a joint board is necessarily the right solution, weighted as such a board must be in favour of the City of Cambridge. But local representation is the nub of this debate.

Last July, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two sides, I wrote to my right hon. Friend the then Minister of Housing and Local Government, the present Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and represented to him that the appointment to the board of directors of the company of one representative from each of the two rural district councils might be a possible and acceptable solution. The company has offered to increase the membership of its board from eight to ten, to include one new member resident in the south of the county and one new member resident in the north of the county, but these appointments would be made by and nominated by the company and not by the district councils. Naturally, therefore, the district councils, who are the Petitioners, are not satisfied with this offer, and I do not think that any one of us would expect them to be satisfied with this arrangement.

Water is a very important public utility and must always be, I am sure we are all agreed, a subject of great interest and significance to local authorities. I think that local authorities in my constituency ought to be commended for their concern about this matter.

In presenting the Petition, I should like to make two more points. The first relates to the weight and importance of this objection. Under the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945, Section 3 (3) contains the following words:
"… if the Chairmen"
That is, the Lord Chairman of Committees in another place and the Chairman of Ways and Means.
"are satisfied … that the petition discloses a substantial ground of objection to the order, they shall certify that the petition is proper to be received …".
The Chairman of Ways and Means has certified that this Petition is proper to be received. It follows, therefore, that there are substantial grounds of objection in this case. Tonight I pray in aid the action of the Chairman of Ways and Means as firm evidence that this is no light matter and is fully worthy of further consideration.

My last point is a plea for speed. There is much work to be done in the way of development and extending water supplies in Cambridgeshire. We want to get on with it, but on the right lines. It is a matter of urgency. I should have thought that it would have been possible to establish a Joint Committee and get it to complete its work within a comparatively short time—about three months—and I hope this will be done.

I have no wish, in moving the Amendment, to delay the progress of bringing water supplies to the country areas. But we want to be sure that we have the right machinery to do the job. In the last analysis, we are all concerned to bring adequate supplies of water to the maximum number of homes as quickly as possible. The Petition asks for another look to be taken at the framework upon which this work is to be built in the future. It is on the basis of the reasonableness of this request, and the modesty of it, that I move the Amendment and ask for a Joint Committee to be set up.

10.48 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
(Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

There is no dispute that the fact that this Order which comes to be made under Section 9 of the Water Act, 1945, is in accordance with a policy which has been approved and reaffirmed by the House on a number of occasions. No one doubts the need to permit the most effective use of water supplies by regrouping existing water undertakings wherever appropriate.

What the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) said on behalf of the Opposition is that it is in some way objectionable in principle and contrary to that policy to promote an Order which involves the undertakings of local authorities being handed over to a company. But it has been repeated over and over again that it is the Government's policy that this regrouping should be on the basis of the strongest existing undertaking, where such a strong undertaking exists, regardless of whether it is a company or a local authority.

It was made clear, first of all, in Circular 52 of 1956, paragraph 6 of which indicates the various possible methods of regrouping. Several local authorities may join together to form a joint board, or an existing joint board may vary its limits of supply. Two or more companies may amalgamate. It also states that:
"A local authority or a company may take over one or more neighbouring undertakings and so extend its limits of supply. This method is likely to be appropriate where the acquiring undertakings are substantially stronger than those acquired, and particularly where the acquiring undertakers are already giving sub- stantial bulk supplies to their neighbours. In such conditions this may often be the most convenient way of making full use of an existing organisation. It may involve company areas passing into local authority control, or vice versa, according to whether a local authority or a company is the major undertaking in the area".
This was reiterated in paragraph 5 (5) of Circular 41 of 1958 which stated:
"There are some areas where the most efficient regrouping would be achieved by water companies taking over the undertakings of neighbouring authorities; and elsewhere there are companies which ought to be bought out by joint boards of local authorities. The Minister will consider proposals affecting companies on their merits as they affect the efficient supply of water to the area."
This policy of looking at regrouping proposals on their merits regardless of whether it is a take-over by a company or a local authority has been followed time after time in practice. It is true that this is the first compulsory Order which has been made by which the undertakings of local authorities are absorbed in a company. We have made many Orders, on the other hand, both for the voluntary regrouping of companies and for the absorption of local authorities' undertakings by companies. Since regrouping started, forty-eight Orders have been made transferring local authority undertakings to other local authorities, forty-six have been made setting up joint boards of authorities, twenty-five extending joint boards, and sixty-two transferring local authority undertakings to companies. In addition, seventeen Orders have been made transferring companies to boards and three transferring companies to local authorities.

The reason for this policy of building up on the strongest organisation is very simple. It is much easier to build a new organisation around an existing unit rather than to amalgamate units into a totally new organisation. By this policy, which the Government have been following, it is possible to maintain to a great extent continuity of staff and practice.

I start by inviting the House to consider the merits of the Order rather than the doctrinal considerations, which I think the hon. Member for Fulham had largely in mind. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) pointed out in his admirable speech putting forward the case of his constituents, the merits of this Order, which has quite a long history, have been canvassed on many occasions. They fall to be considered under two heads, the area of the proposed undertaking and the form of the undertaking which should cover the area. The proposal in the Order stems originally from a survey undertaken in 1950 by Mr. C. H. Spens, one of the Minister's engineering inspectors. There have been developments since then. Part of the area he surveyed now forms part of the area covered by the Ely, Newmarket and Mildenhall Joint Water Board, but the bulk of the area proposed by Mr. Spens is comprised in the proposals in this Order.

The main purpose of the Order, as my hon. Friend pointed out, is to transfer to the Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Company the water undertakings of St. Ives Rural District Council, Ramsey Urban District Council, South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council, St. Ives Rural District Council, Chesterton Rural District Council, the Chesterton and St. Ives Joint Water Board, and the Ramsey and St. Ives Joint Water Board. It is relevant to say that we have now reached a stage in which we have only South Cambridgeshire and Chesterton councils maintaining their objection, supported by Cambridgeshire County Council which is not a water undertaking.

Discussions have been going on for five years among the authorities concerned and the undertakings and the Ministry, all of which now accept that the area must be considered as a whole with the exception of the South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council, which from the start has been against the proposal of any kind of transfer. The South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council claims that it is self-sufficient—it does not take water from anyone or need help from anyone. It claims with justification that it is an efficient undertaking and supplies water at reasonable charges.

My hon. Friend referred to the inspector's report but quoted only part of it. The inspector went on to say:
"There were, however, features of staffing, supervision and the conservation of water resources which in the longer term would make it to the council's and consumers' advantage to let the company take over now. In the circumstances the inclusion of the council's undertaking in the proposed group seemed wise and proper."
That is the view which my right hon. Friend has taken.

There would be no future for a water undertaking of this size in the years ahead, and it would therefore be quite wrong to postpone this necessary integration into the larger unit. In these circumstances, I suggest that there is no case for an annulment of the Order. There is, as was pointed out, agreement on the area and agreement on some form of reorganisation.

Such dispute as still remains centres on the form of the organisation and the merits of the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire. In his survey, Mr. Spens did not recommend any particular form of organisation, but if hon. Members study the matter they will see that there are only two alternatives—either the company takes over the area, or there must be a joint board. The various local authorities, again with the exception of the South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council, always opposed to regrouping, tried originally to form a joint board without the company. My right hon. Friend refused to accept this proposition on the ground that the board would not be a viable unit.

Eventually, after discussions and correspondence which went on throughout 1958 and 1960, my right hon. Friend announced his intention to make a compulsory order and decided that the best form of organisation would be the company extended to take over the local authority undertakings. My right hon. Friend based this decision on the statements in the circular, which I have already quoted, about the carrying out of regrouping on the basis of the strongest undertaking, regardless of whether it was the company or a local authority.

There can be no doubt whatever about the strength of the company. It covers 80 per cent. of the rateable value of the area and 60 per cent. of the population. My hon. Friend referred to paragraph 11 of the Petition, which shows the disparity in area, but if he looks at the position as a whole he will see a different picture. At present, the company supplies in detail a population of about 115,000 spread over an area of about 59 square miles with an approximate rateable value of £2,235,000. If this Order becomes effective, it will supply in detail a population of about 190,000 spread over an area of 450 square miles and with an approximate rateable value of £2,910,000. There is no dispute about its being an efficient and progressive company. It has already supplies a large area of the Chesterton Rural District with bulk supplies, and it also gives bulk water supplies to the two joint water boards.

My hon. Friend also referred to that paragraph of the Petition which says that there is no good reason why there should not be a joint board. I have explained why my right hon. Friend thought that the company was the right body to take over. It would be impossible to constitute a joint board effectively. It would have to buy out the company and in this case it would mean a very substantial rate burden from the outset on the authorities concerned. Cambridge Borough Council, which was perfectly satisfied with the company and has not had any water responsibilities of its own, would, probably quite unwillingly, have to share in the responsibilities of the joint board, on which it would have almost inevitably the larger part of the representation.

The hon. Member for Fulham said that all who would be served by the proposed new undertaking objected to the Order and that if the Government could show that they were not they would be in a stronger position. I think that he now understands that the majority of undertakings concerned do not object to the Order. In the end, all of them, except the South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council, saw the force of the arguments advanced by my right hon. Friend and agreed that the company should take over their undertakings. A public inquiry was held on 11th and 12th July, as a result of which my right hon. Friend accepted the inspector's recommendations and made the Order which is now before the House substantially as drafted.

However, three authorities have persisted in their objection—Cambridge County Council, Chesterton Rural District Council and the South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council—and have invoked the special Parliamentary procedure, as they have every right to do. We have recently had two debates in the House on this procedure, one on 14th February and another on 13th March on the Llanelly and District Water Board Order, and I will not weary the House by covering the ground all over again.

The hon. Member for Fulham pointed out, quite rightly, that a Petition of Amendment goes automatically to a Joint Committee of both Houses. It could be put forward by one authority. No one has chosen to do so on this occasion. Petitions of General Objection are, however, sent to a Joint Committee only if either House so resolves. Technically, this can be a quite cumbersome procedure in any event. It can only be done by this Amendment to a Motion to annul the Order. That sometimes involves—it did in the case of the Llanelly Order—two Members in a sort of collusion. This is a little difficult when the Government and everyone else are willing that the Petition should go to a Joint Committee.

We have therefore said—it was made clear in both debates—that we are ready to introduce legislation to make the sending of Petitions of General Objection to a Joint Committee rather easier and also to extend the petitioning and the resolution periods. One of the main objects of this special Parliamentary procedure, however, is to ensure that the question of general policy should be left to be defended on the Floor of the House. I tried as far as I was able to emphasise this in both the debates to which I have referred.

Perhaps I may quote briefly what I said. I hesitate to put my views against those of Lord Kilmuir and my old friend Lord Molson, but they represent the policy which has been accepted for a good many years. I said on 15th February:
"What would certainly be wrong would be to send Petitions of general objection automatically to the Joint Committee. If the Minister regards an Order as being so critical to his policy that he is prepared to introduce a Bill, as he can under Section 6 of the 1945 Act, even if the Joint Committee upheld the Petition of general objection, it would obviously he quite wrong to put a Petitioner to the expense of going to a Committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February, 1962; Vol. 653, c. 1473.]
I said again, on the Llanelly Order on 13th March:
"The procedure gives the Minister an opportunity, in an appropriate case, to tell the House, 'I am prepared to defend this part of my policy at all costs, so I advise the House to reject the Motion and the Amendment.' In certain circumstances, that would save a lot of money …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th March. 1962; Vol. 655, c. 1275.]
The object of the procedure is not to save time, as the hon. Member for Fulham suggested, but to save money.

The position in this case is that the Minister would be prepared in any event to promote a Bill under Section 6 of the Water Act, which means that if the Joint Committee accepted a Petition of General Objection, what happens is that the Minister annexes the Order to a confirming Bill, I think it is, and it is then treated as if it had passed through all its stages up to and including Committee stage.

The principal ground of objection to the Order set up in the Petition is that the transfer of the water undertakings of these two petitioning rural district councils would be a retrograde step and that the form of organisation should be a joint board on which they should be properly represented rather than by a statutory water company on which they would not be represented.

For the reasons which I have set out, the Petition strikes at the very root of the Minister's policy that regrouping should be on the basis of the strongest undertaking, whether it is a private company or a local authority. It may be argued that the South Cambridgeshire Rural District Council should be allowed to put its detailed arguments to the Joint Committee. That would have been a proper procedure for a Petition of Amendment, which would have gone there automatically. For their own good reasons, however, the petitioning rural district councils have decided not to do that. They have all decided that they want a root and branch objection to the Government's policy. It is a general attack upon a principle which has been accepted. I therefore hope that, in these circumstances, the House will reject both the Motion and the Amendment.

11.5. p.m.

I think it rather unfortunate that the Parliamentary Secretary should have chosen to reject this very reasonable request out of hand. We do not at this stage wish to argue the merits of the particular organisation. The Minister will be aware that on this side of the House there is a good deal of objection to public undertakings of this kind being taken over. One has only to recollect the objections which were raised when some municipal electricity undertakings were absorbed to appreciate how deeply this divides the two sides of the House.

In this case we have an undertaking covering 60 square miles extending its activities to 450 square miles, and that is a salient feature. It is not a case of the strength of an undertaking. One has to look at the strength and influence it will have over such a wide area. The important question is whether it is to be a public or a private body. The Cambridgeshire County Council could not by any stretch of imagination be regarded as opposing private enterprise. But it takes the view that such a large area ought to be covered by a public authority of some kind. In that it supports the objectors, and it is on their behalf that I support the Amendment.

It is a pity that we have to go through this type of procedure. I agree that it is difficult to have to do so by way of Prayer and Amendment, but this is the only way in which it could be done. Having regard to the fact that this matter has gone on for so long, I should have thought that the necessary time for a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider the representations made would have been much less than the time already taken; so that there is no particular objection on grounds of time.

Is it the case that the Minister, having made up his mind, is afraid that by the objections being considered by a Joint Committee, his position might be shaken, and so, having made the Order, he is going on with it? I should consider that an unfortunate line to take, and I do not think that it would do the Government any good. At least in this matter justice should be done and be seen to be done. Because successive Governments have found it necessary to restrict the activities of private undertakings, there is no case for doing the same with public undertakings. I hope that the Minister will think about this again and allow the matter to come before both Houses so that objections may be properly considered.

11.8 p.m.

I wish to support my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym), who is also my political neighbour. I have no constituency interest in this matter, but I have had the experience of being chairman of Committees which have considered a number of water Bills. One Committee considered a water Bill for a longer period than any other Committee. As a result of my experience I have come to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to decide on the merits of a water Bill or an Order without going into the whole of the engineering problems, and having the maps and the financial figures available and giving someone the opportunity to study the matter in great detail. What I find most disturbing in this Petition is that we find in paragraph 13—and this my hon. Friend did not mention—the following words:

"Your Petitioners submit that insufficient consideration has been given to the proposals which will deprive many water consumers of any voice in the management of their water supply."
That is a fairly substantial charge. My hon. Friend did not attempt to justify it tonight, although I think that he implied much the same thing.

As far as one can see, a public inquiry was held only on 11th and 12th July, 1961—two days to consider what must be a fairly complex matter. I am very conscious of the enormous cost of promoting water Bills. If I were not so conscious of that I should be very strongly in favour of water Bills rather than water Orders, but I do not think that in a desire to save ratepayers vast expenditure on the promoting of Private Bills it would be right to be so addicted to water Orders that we allowed, for a single minute, the Minister to get away with what my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary told us tonight; namely, that even were there to be set up the Joint Committee for which the Amendment asks, the Minister has so made up his mind that he will bludgeon the Order through, anyway. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary is one of the most courteous of people, and I know that he had no intention of affronting the House or the people of Cambridgeshire, but his words were singularly unfortunate.

I know the Cambridgeshire people fairly well, and I know that they rival in their independence of mind the fen men in my constituency. Sometimes we find it very hard to coincide those two independencies of view but, on this occasion, I hope that my hon. Friend will reconsider this matter. It is not because I believe that he is necessarily wrong in saying that this amalgamation should take place—I do not challenge that for a moment—but I do say that even if the Minister and the Department are convinced that this is a just decision, to those who are likely to be affected by it, it does not seem to be just, and if this House does not stand for seeing not only that justice is done but that it is seen to be done, what else does it stand for?

I would therefore beg my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to concede the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire. I know that it is very difficult for a Parliamentary Secretary to change Government policy once that policy has been decided before a debate—that is one of the weaknesses of our procedure—but, as the Leader of the House is here, I would ask him most sincerely to see whether he could find a way of enabling the views of the Cambridgeshire people to be made more explicit, and some of their anxieties put at rest. I believe that the only way in which we can do that is by having the Joint Committee my hon. Friend has proposed.

11.13 p.m.

I agree with every word the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) has addressed to the House. I also agree with what has been said by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym). They are, in the one case, the local Member and, in the other, a Member well acquainted with local conditions, and particularly well versed, as he told us, in matters relating to Private Bills and water Bills.

This Order is about water, and what we have to consider is not who is right and who is wrong—it is not a question of whether a water company or a joint board should take over these water undertakings—but simply whether these three local authorities who have petitioned against this Ministerial Order are entitled to be heard. If the House turns down the Amendment, it will be denying to the Cambridgeshire County Council and the two other local authorities concerned the right to be heard; they will not be heard at all.

There is no question of the hearing and the conclusions of the Select Committee taking the whole matter out of the hands of the House. On the contrary, it will later come back for decision here. If hon. Members think that it is entirely governed by some general principle, they will then have an opportunity of saying so, but meanwhile the question, and the sole question, I repeat, is whether three local authorities are entitled to be heard on a matter affecting a public service in their own area, and it is very strong meat indeed for us to say tonight that because the Minister tells us so and because the Government Whips may be on, they are not to be heard on any account. That is what it comes to, and is exactly what Lord Kilmuir was apprehensive about in his speech which my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) quoted.

I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary and I noted one point—and I am sure that the House noted it, too—in his conclusions: there was a stage in the no doubt protracted negotiations about this matter at which local authorities were intent on having a joint water board. I am not saying whether they are right or wrong; that is not the question which we have to consider. But when they reached that conclusion the Minister turned it down on the ground that that arrangement would not be viable. I quote the Parliamentary Secretary. That is exactly what he said. We are in no position to consider whether that was right or wrong, but in so doing he defeated the then views not only of these local authorities but of a number of other local authorities concerned; he has over-ruled them on that point.

We have just heard from the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely that one of the things which he thinks it appropriate to consider—and I respectfully agree with him—on any matter of this sort is the financial position of the undertaking in question—in short, the viability. That is exactly the question which the Minister took it upon himself to decide without allowing the views of the local authorities concerned, including those of the three Petitioners in this case, to be heard by the House in any way.

I suggest that this is pushing Government dominance over local authorities far beyond what it ought to be. Surely hon. Members opposite, as well as my hon. Friends, are concerned in the interests of their own constituencies, and the local authorities whose districts are in their constituencies, to maintain some degree of independence for local authorities. Is there any more appropriate case than the case of a public service in which that comparatively non-Socialist body, the Cambridgeshire County Council, ardently desires that the water services should be directed and managed by authorities with local responsibility to the inhabitants?

I should have thought that it was as plain as a pikestaff that if this Government or any other Government are allowed to get away with procedure of this sort, they are over-ruling the local authorities in a matter which is primarily the concern of local authorities; under this special procedure they are denying them a right to be heard to which surely, if they were individuals, we should all agree that they were entitled, and which they ought not to be denied simply because they are representative elected local authorities standing in the shoes, as it were, of all those who use water in their areas.

I suggest to the House that it is a monstrous thing if this procedure is to be used in this way. If it is, then it may well fulfil all the apprehensions and all the anxieties which were expressed by the Tory Party when this Act was being passed. What do the Tory Party believe in this matter? Do they believe what Lord Kilmuir said? Do they believe what has been said by their hon. Friends tonight about the right of a local authority to be heard in a matter of this sort? Or, on the contrary, have they no belief at all and do they simply follow blindly the Government Whips and the Minister of the day to any degree of dominance over local authorities which the Government choose to exert?

Surely we must draw the line somewhere. Have we not reached the paint of deying these people this right and therefore in effect handing over the whole business, which surely ought to be a local authority concern, to the Government of the day? Talk about some general principle in the matter! The general principle of the Government appears to me at the moment to be that if there is any question to be decided between a statutory water undertaking on the one hand, in the form of a company, and, on the other, the elected local authorities, then so long as a Tory Government are in power that question shall certainly be decided against the elected body and in favour of the company.

11.21 p.m.

There is not much time left, and I hope that we shall have another word from the Minister or from the Leader of the House. I came here particularly to "sit in" on this debate tonight because I felt some measure of concern as a matter not dissimilar to this concerning my own constituency is coming forward in due course. I must say that my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, in his usual efficient and gracious way, has led me to believe that the concern that I felt was well founded.

In view of the discussion that we have had tonight, the House is entitled to some further word on this matter because there is distinctly a principle involved. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), who has had much experience of these matters, confirmed by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). It is not the merits of the Order which are involved. It is the question whether or not these authorities should have the opportunity of having their case examined when placed under a compulsory Order.

It is not quite as it should be for the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to argue the matter of expense and to say, "Of course, we should like at some time or other to introduce legislation to make this easier, but as it is not easier people must lump it." That, in straight language which some people will understand well enough, is precisely what this means, and I say frankly that people should not "lump it" and the Tory Party should not ask people to do so. There are a few minutes left for the Government to try to save their face in the matter.

11.23 p.m.

I was hoping to hear something, if not from the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, then from the Leader of the House. If he wishes to intervene at this moment I will gladly give way.

Of course, I am ready to respond to what has been said. I have heard every word of this debate. I did not particularly mean to do so at the beginning, but I listened to it because it was extremely interesting. I heard the moving of the Motion and of the Amendment, as well as the reply given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

I think the House will admit that, whether or not they agree with the flow of the argument, and whatever conclusion may be arrived at in the Division Lobby if we divide on the matter, my hon. Friend's reply was patient, detailed and courteous, as we should expect.

We have reaffirmed the policy on these matters on a number of occasions. My hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary outlined it in his speech tonight, and I hope that the House will accept the reasons that he gave for rejecting the Motion and the Amendment.

I hope that we do not take the advice of the Leader of the House. What are the local authorities doing? They are exercising a right that was specifically put into the procedure under the 1945 Act. From all the arguments of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, no general objection should ever be sustained by this House. After all, the Order was brought forward by the Government—

The hon. Gentleman ought to be fair. Only a few weeks ago the Llanelly Water Order, after a similar debate to this, was referred to a Joint Committee after the House accepted the Amendment. We must take each case on its merits.

Yes, but what was the logic of the hon. Gentleman's argument? He did not address himself properly to the detailed points—in fact, he could not—in relation to the position of the county council which has a double objection, so far as I can see, besides the general objection.

It would be only the right and most sensible thing to do to give the local authorities concerned their right to a Joint Committee. One of the deplorable things about this is that we are governed by the ordinary rules on Motions and that we must end the debate at 11.30 p.m. without having discussed anything other than the Amendment. As has been said, there is an important principle relating to the actual Prayer against the Order itself which we have not discussed.

Division No. 177.]

AYES

[11.27 p.m.

Aliason, JamesGlover, Sir DouglasNicholls, Sir Harmer
Atkins, HumphreyGoodhart, PhilipNoble, Michael
Barter, JohnGoodhew, VictorOsborn, John (Hallam)
Batsford, BrianGreen, AlanPage, Graham (Crosby)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Bidgood, John C.Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)Peel, John
Biffen, JohnHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Pilkington, Sir Richard
Bingham, R. M.Hastings, StephenPitman, Sir James
Bishop, F. P.Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelPott, Percivall
Black, Sir CyrilHendry, ForbesPrior, J. M. L.
Bourne-Arton, A.Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)Rawlinson, Peter
Box, DonaldHocking, Philip N.Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Boyle, Sir EdwardHolland, PhilipRees, Hugh
Brooman-White, R.Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord JohnRenton, David
Brown, Alan (Tottenham)Howard, John (Southampton, Test)Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Buck, AntonyHughes-Young, MichaelRippon, Geoffrey
Bullard, DenysJohnson, Eric (Blackley)Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Kaberry, Sir DonaldRoots, William
Carr, Compton (Barons Court)Kimball, MarcusRopner, Col. Sir Leonard
Channon, H. P. G.Kirk, PeterRoyle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Chataway, ChristopherKitson, TimothyRussell, Ronald
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnScott-Hopkins, James
Collard, RichardLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Shaw, M.
Cooper-Key, Sir NeillLitchfield, Capt. JohnShepherd, William
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Longden, GilbertSkeet, T. H. H.
Cordle, JohnLoveys, Walter H.Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chlswick)
Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyMacArthur, IanSmithers, Peter
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir OliverMcLaren, MartinStodart, J. A.
Cunningham, KnoxMacleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)Studholme, Sir Henry
Curran, CharlesMcMaster, Stanley R.Summers, Sir Spencer
Currie, G. B. H.Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Tapsell, Peter
Deedes, W. F.Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.Maddan, MartinTaylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
du Cann, EdwardMarkham, Major Sir FrankTaylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestTeeling, Sir William
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)Marten, NeilTemple, John M.
Errington, Sir EricMatthews, Gordon (Meriden)Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Farr, JohnMawby, RayThompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Fisher, NigelMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Gammans, LadyMills, StrattonTurner, Colin
Gibson-Watt, DavidMiscampbell, NormanTweedsmuir, Lady
Gilmour, Sir JohnMorgan, WilliamVosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis

I address myself to the Leader of the House in connection with the Committee on Procedure in saying that this kind of thing should not be dealt with in this way.

The right hon. Gentleman said that he had not meant to listen to the debate. Neither had I, but the matter is not just fascinating; it enshrines a principle in which every hon. Member has a right to be interested—the question whether or not a locally elected person should have some say on a matter concerned with the local authority, and that is the provision of water. This is the fundamental point of the objection, and it was to discuss it that the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) moved the Amendment. I will gladly support him in the Lobby.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 68.

Walker, PeterWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir DerekWise, A. R.Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Webster, DavidWolrige-Gordon, PatrickMr. Finlay.
Whitelaw, WilliamWorsley, Marcus

NOES

Bence, CyrilHilton, A. V.Probert, Arthur
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Hirst, GeoffreyRoss, William
Blackburn, F.Holman, PercyShort, Edward
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S. W.)Houghton, DouglasSlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Cliffe, MichaelHowell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)Small, William
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHowell, Denis (Small Heath)Spriggs, Leslie
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Hoy, James H.Steele, Thomas
Cronin, JohnJanner, Sir BarnettStewart, Michael (Fulham)
Crosland, AnthonyJones, Jack (Rotherham)Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Cullen, Mrs. AliceKerr, Sir HamiltonWainwright, Edwin
Delargy, HughKing, Dr. HoraceWard, Dame Irene
Dempsey, JamesLawson, GeorgeWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fernyhough, E.Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Forman, J. C.Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Whitlock, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Loughlin, CharlesWilkins, W. A.
Galpern, Sir MyerMacColl, JamesWilliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.McInnes, JamesWillis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Gourlay, HarryMallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Grey, CharlesMarsh, RichardWoof, Robert
Griffiths, W. (Exchange)Mellish, R. J.Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.Milne, Edward
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Mitchison, G. R.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hayman, F. H.Paget, R. T.Mr. Pym and Mr. Pargiter.
Hill, J. (Midlothian)Popplewell, Ernest

Main Question put:

Division No. 178.]

AYES

[11.36 p.m.

Bence, CyrilHill, J. (Midlothian)Ross, William
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Hilton, A. V.Short, Edward
Blackburn, F.Holman, PercySlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S. W.)Houghton, DouglasSmall, William
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHowell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)Spriggs, Leslie
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Steele, Thomas
Cronin, JohnHoy, James H.Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Crosland, AnthonyJanner, Sir BarnettWainwright, Edwin
Cullen, Mrs. AliceJones, Jack (Rotherham)Wells, William (Walsail, N.)
Delargy, HughKing, Dr. HoraceWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Dempsey, JamesLawson, GeorgeWhitlock, William
Fernyhough, E.Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Wilkins, W. A.
Forman, J. C.Loughlin, CharlesWillis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)MacColl, JamesWilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Galpern, Sir MyerMclnnes, JamesWoof, Robert
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Gourlay, HarryMellish, R. J.
Grey, CharlesMilne, EdwardTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, W. (Exchange)Mitchison, G. R.Mr. George Thomas and
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Popplewell, ErnestMr. Pargiter.
Hayman, F. H.Probert, Arthur

NOES

Allason, JamesChichester-Clark, R.Gibson-Watt, David
Atkins, HumphreyClark, William (Nottingham, S.)Gilmour, Sir John
Barter, JohnCollard, RichardGlover, Sir Douglas
Batsford, BrianCooper-Key, Sir NeillGoodhart, Philip
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Green, Alan
Bidgood, John C.Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyGrosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Biffen, JohnCrosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir OliverHamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bingham, R. M.Cunningham, KnoxHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bishop, F. P.Curran, CharlesHastings, Stephen
Black, Sir CyrilCurrie, G. B. H.Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bourne-Arton, A.Deedes, W. F.Hendry, Forbes
Box, DonaldDonaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Boyle, Sir Edwarddu Cann, EdwardHocking, Philip N.
Brooman-White, R.Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Holland, Philip
Brown, Alan (Tottenham)Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Buck, AntonyErrington, Sir EricHughes-Young, Michael
Bullard, DenysFarr, JohnJohnson, Eric (Blackley)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Finlay, GraemeKaberry, Sir Donald
Carr, Compton (Barons Court)Fisher, NigelKimball, Marcus
Channon, H. P. G.Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Kirk, Peter
Chataway, ChristopherGammans, LadyKitson, Timothy

The House divided: Ayes 58, Noes 136.

Langford-Holt, Sir JohnPage, Graham (Crosby)Summers, Sir Spencer
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)Tapsell, Peter
Litchfield, Capt. JohnPilkington, Sir RichardTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Longden, GilbertPitman, Sir JamesTaylor Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Loveys, Walter H.Pott, PercivallTaylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
MacArthur, IanPrior, J. M. L.Teeling, Sir William
McLaren, MartinRawlinson, PeterTemple, John M.
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)Redmayne, Rt. Hon. MartinThomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
McMaster, Stanley R.Rees, HughThompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Renton, DavidTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Ridley, Hon. NicholasTouche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Maddan, MartinRippon, GeoffreyTurner, Colin
Markham, Major Sir FrankRobinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)Tweedsmuir, Lady
Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestRoots, WilliamVosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Marten, NeilRopner, Col. Sir LeonardWalder, David
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)Walker, Peter
Mawby, RayRussell, RonaldWalker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Scott-Hopkins, JamesWard, Dame Irene
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Shaw, M.Webster, David
Mills, StrattonShepherd, WilliamWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Miscampbell, NormanSkeet, T. H. H.Wise, A. R.
Morgan, WilliamSmith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Nicholls, Sir HarmarSmithers, PeterWorsley, Marcus
Noble, MichaelStodart, J. A.
Osborn, John (Hallam)Studholme, Sir HenryTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Whitelaw and Mr. Peel.