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Commons Chamber
21 November 1963
Volume 684

House Of Commons

Thursday, 21st November, 1963

The House met at half-past Two o'clock

Prayers

[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Message From The Queen

THE VICE-CHAMBERLAIN OF THE HOUSEHOLD reported Her Majesty's answer to the Address, as follows:—

I have received with great satisfaction the loyal and dutiful expression of your thanks for the Speech with which I opened the present Session of Parliament.

Oral Answers To Questions

Home Department

Witchcraft

4.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to ban witchcraft and associated practices in the United Kingdom.

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:Witchcraft ceased to be a criminal offence in 1735. It is not in my mind, 228 years later, to bring in fresh legislation on the subject.

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:Has my hon. Friend seen the considerable comment in a Sunday newspaper recently of alleged practices of wichcraft in this country, and will he further look into the matter because I have reason to believe that a good deal of this witchcraft is a cover for sexual orgies and other malpractices?

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:I did see the article referred to. Acts of sexual perversion can be dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act. If there is any matter which my hon. and gallant Friend knows about and which he thinks could not be dealt with under existing legislation, I shall be grateful if he will let me know.

Parking Offences

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are taken to collect charges for parking offences before arrests are made in the police area for which he is responsible.

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Persons who have committed or are alleged to have committed parking offences are given all reasonable opportunity to pay the charge or to appear in answer to a summons, before a warrant is issued. The issue of a warrant is entirely a matter for the magistrate. Once a warrant has been issued, it is an order of the court and the police must execute it.

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:Whilst appreciating that it is a matter for the court, does my right hon. Friend agree that the police are getting unpopular with motorists over matters which do not really concern them? Will he do all he can to publicise this fact and to bring about a better understanding between the police and motorists?

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:I am anxious to do everything possible to further a better understanding between the police and not only the motorist but all members of the public. I think my hon. Friend will realise that in the last resort there is no way of bringing a person before the court except by arresting him.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman really not aware that magistrates do not issue warrants unless someone asks for them, and will he look into the practice of the Metropolitan Police asking for warrants in cases that are perfectly absurd?

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:No, Sir. If a summons is issued and repeatedly the person does not appear in court, the magistrate will, sooner or later, issue a warrant

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Only if someone asks him to do so.

Nuclear Warfare

6.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will authorise the publication of an evaluation of the effects of a nuclear attack on Great Britain, for the information of the general public as well as Civil Defence workers.

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No, Sir. The effects of a nuclear attack would depend on so many variable factors that no single estimate that could be published would be of value.

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Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a pamphlet, No. 1, issued by the Civil Defence, entitled "Nuclear Weapons", which gives a picture of these effects but which is far too technical for the general public to understand? Could not it be shortened and made less technical so that it could be issued to the general public as well?

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That pamphlet is, of course, available to the general public if they want it. There is a much simplified version also on sale to the public which eliminates all the technical language.

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Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the leaflet which has been mentioned there is a suggestion that every householder should get some bricks with which to brick upwindows? Will he give an assurance that these bricks will be available?

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:I think there would be no difficulty in carrying out the simple advice given to householders, but the pamphlet makes it perfectly clear that this advice is of no value inside areas of complete devastation. It would only be helpful to householders to take these simple precautions if their houses were outside the area of devastation.

Approved School Housemasters (Allowances)

8.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when it is proposed to award housemasters in approved schools the same extraneous duty allowances as are paid to educational staff.

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This is a matter for the Standing Joint Advisory Committee for Staffs of Children's Homes, which is an independent negotiating body.

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:That is the usual answer. The housemasters are very discontented with the present gap between their wages and the wages of the teaching staff. Will the hon. Lady do something about this matter in order to bring about conditions in which the housemasters can approach more nearly to the situation of the teachers?

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The position is as I have stated. This is an independent negotiating body, and it would be inappropriate at this stage for my right hon. Friend to interfere.

Prisons (Welfare Officers)

9.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for increasing the number of welfare officers working in Her Majesty's prisons, and for more closely associating prison officers with welfare work.

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I understand that the Central After-Care Association and the National Association of Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies, who are responsible for the appointment of prison welfare officers, propose to appoint ten more officers during the next financial year. The Prison Officers' Association has recently submitted a memorandum on the role of the prison officer in a modern penal system. This was considered at a recent meeting of the Prison Department Whitley Council, which decided to set up a joint working party to study the proposals.

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I am grateful for the hon. Lady's statement that a working party has been set up. Will the Home Office give every consideration to this most imaginative proposal from the Prison Officers' Association which could transform the whole atmosphere in the prison service?

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We certainly realise the importance of this matter.

Election Counts (Television Cameras)

10.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has given to returning officers on the admission of television cameras to the count at the next General Election; and if he will make a statement.

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:Last November my right hon. Friend issued a memorandum of guidance to returning officers on the question of admission to the count at Parliamentary elections, including the admission of representatives of the Press and broadcasting. Copies of the memorandum were placed in the Library of the House. He is not aware of any need for further guidance before a General Election.

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Is it not a good thing that public interest in electoral processes should be stimulated? Will the hon. Gentleman therefore encourage returning officers to co-operate to the maximum extent with representatives of the B.B.C. and I.T.V.?

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I have no doubt that that is in the mind of returning officers, but the matter is one for their discretion—and the premises in which the count takes place vary greatly from one part of the country to another.

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Why was it that in the recent Luton by-election television was given preference at the expense of the Press? Could they be treated similarly?

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I have seen reports to that effect. I have made inquiries from the returning officer, who was solely responsible for the count, and he has told me that representatives of the local Press and of one of the associations covering the national Press were given facilities to be present.

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That is not good enough.

Miss Christine Keeler

11.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now satisfied that all possible steps were taken by the Metropolitan Police to ensure that Miss Christine Keeler would be available to give evidence in the Edgecombe case; and if he will make a statement.

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Yes, Sir.

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Will the Home Secretary answer the last part of the Question?

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Miss Keeler gave evidence at the committal proceedings; she was bound over to give evidence at the trial and was due to appear in court on 14th March. She left the United Kingdom on 8th March. There is no power under existing law to prevent a prospective witness from leaving the country, or to compel him to return to the jurisdiction once he has left it.

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:Can the right hon. Gentleman then explain how Miss Marilyn Rice-Davies was kept in the country? Is it not the case that at least a dozen questions were asked in public by the Sunday Citizen many weeks ago and that neither the right hon. Gentleman nor his Department has made any attempt to make public answers? If I send those questions to the right hon. Gentleman, will he undertake to give detailed replies in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

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I am always ready to answer Questions put to me by hon. Members, but I am not under an obligation to answer questions by newspapers. Miss Rice-Davies was arrested at London Airport on a charge of suspected larceny, asI have told the House in great detail.

Committal Proceedings (Inquiry)

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in the current inquiry into the nature and purpose of committal proceedings; and when the report may be expected.

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:I have asked a number of interested persons and organisations to assist me by giving their views in answer to a detailed questionnaire on this matter. Several have already been good enough to send me full replies, butnot all have yet been able to do so, and I cannot yet say when the inquiry will be completed.

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:Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is now over five years since the Tucker Committee on committal proceedings reported and nearly two years since the present inquiry was announced? How much longer must we wait before we have any possibility of fresh legislation?

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I hope that the hon. and learned Member may be able to assist me. I understand that he is chairman of the Society of Labour Lawyers, which is one of the bodies which have not yet replied to my questionnaire

.

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Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that over 18 months elapsed after the announcement of this inquiry before interested bodies were asked to produce their evidence?

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As soon as I get in all this information, it will be possible for me to give it consideration and seek to reach conclusions. The replies that I have been getting up to now are somewhat contradictory.

Cardiff Prison (Psychiatric Treatment)

17.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made in Cardiff Prison for psychiatric treatment to be available for prisoners in cases recommended by magistrates' courts for such special treatment.

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:Prisoners thought to be in need of prolonged treatment may be sent to the special prison at Grendon or to psychiatric clinics in other prisons. Prisoners serving short sentences may be seen by a visiting psychiatrist, and arrangements can be made for them to undergo voluntary treatment at outside clinics on discharge from prison.

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Is the Minister alleging that there is a regular psychiatric service at the prison? If so, can she tell me how often the visits are made?

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The position is that the medical officer at the prison can prescribe visits of a psychiatrist, and in that case the psychiatrist will attend, as and when needed.

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:Is the question of psychiatric treatment included in the investigation which is taking place into the prison medical service? When can we expect a report on that investigation?

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There is a Question about that on the Order Paper.

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:Should not penal establishments now have qualified psychiatrists in strength? Although the courts still hopefully say to prisoners, "Any treatment that you require you will get in prison", is it not the case that the number of qualified psychiatrists is quite inadequate to meet that which the judges and the courts hope the prisons will accomplish?

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:This is a question that we have to face in the Health Service as a whole, but the hon. and learned Member will recognise that in the prison service at present we have an adequate psychiatric service and an adequate medical service.

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:The hon. Lady is the only one who believes that.

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That does not sound like a question.

Prisoners (Solitary Confinement)

18.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are at present in solitary confinement for more than 28 days; and whether he will make regulations that solitary confinement shall not be extended for more than 28 days without his direct sanction in each case.

27.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how long George Madsen has been kept in solitary confinement at Parkhurst.

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:The number of prisoners segregated for more than 28 days is at present 63, of whom 61 are so treated at their own request. George Madsen, a dangerous professional criminal and a determined escaper, is one of the other two. He has been segregated under Rule 36 of the Prison Rules from 4th January, 1962, to 11th April, 1962: from 13th June 1962, to 25th September, 1962: and from 8th May, 1963, to the present time—on each occasion for planning or taking part in a break-out from prison. Only Visiting Committees, Boards of Visitors or senior officers of the Prison Department can authorise such segregation, and every case is subject to continuous scrutiny.

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Is it not quite a monstrous state of affairs that a man should be kept in solitary confinement for such a length of time? Has not the moment come for the Home Secretary to reconsider the whole question of this soul-destroying punishment? No matter how criminal a man may be, can he possibly merit such soul-destroying punishment?

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This is a matter of great concern to me. In fact, the words "solitary confinement" are perhaps misleading, because the prisoner is able to watch television for one and a half hours, six days a week, and he exercises with another prisoner. This is a very difficult prisoner. But what I have in mind is to consult the Board of Visitors with a view to transferring him to another prison, where he will be less isolated.

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:Even though this prisoner appears to be difficult and tries to escape, is not it monstrous that a human being should be treated in this way? Can the right hon. Gentleman say what being kept in solitary confinement means? Is it true, as is alleged by George Madsen, that for months on end he was not even allowed to visit a lavatory? Can the right hon. Gentlemen say what are the conditions in which this prisoner is being kept?

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He is kept in a cell by himself. He exercises with another prisoner and, as I say, he is able to watch television. Twice this man has been released from segregation and in each case he has taken advantage of that to plot a fresh break-out. I have a responsibility to protect the public from dangerous criminals.

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Does the figure of 63, which the right hon. Gentleman quoted as the total number of men in solitary confinement, cover prisoners to whom Rule 36 is automatically applied as soon as they are received in prison if they are serving a sentence of more than five years?

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As I explained, 61 of the 63 are segregated at their own request because they do not wish to associate with other prisoners. If the hon. Member has a more detailed Question perhaps he would be good enough to put it on the Order Paper.

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:Will the right hon. Gentleman please answer my supplementary question more fully? He said that the prisoner was in solitary confinement. Will he say whether or not it is true that for months on end this man was not allowed to go to the lavatory?

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I do not think that that is true, but I will certainly make inquiries.

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In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Betting And Gaming (Fruit Machines)

19.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he will introduce legislation to amend the Betting and Gaming Act by increasing control of fruit machines in proprietory clubs and shops other than licensed premises; and whether he will make it obligatory on the owners of proprietory clubs to make a record of the disposal of profits.

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:I am in consultation with the local authority associations on the question whether the law relating to the grant of permits for the provision of amusements with prizes, including gaming machines, in places to which the public have access requires improvement. But I am not contemplating any change in the law under which gaming machines may be installed in places to which the public do not have access provided that the proceeds are devoted to purposes other than private gain.

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Is my right hon. Friend aware that the police are having great difficulty in enforcing the law as it now stands, having been so recently revised by Parliament?

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There arc certain difficulties. If my hon. Friend has any suggestions to make, I will gladly take them into consideration.

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Is the Minister aware that the Betting and Gaming Act has unleashed a gambling craze all over the country which is doing us no good, to say the least? Will he consider setting up some impartial committee to consider the effects of that Act on the life of the nation?

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The Betting and Gaming Act has achieved its first objective, which was to stop street betting. In my view, it would be much too early to embark on another general review of the situation, which is what the hon. Member is suggesting.

Premises, Wanstead (Police Search)

22.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will investigate the circumstances in which two Metropolitan Police officers searched the residence of Mr. Laurence Bell's parents at Wanstead on 12th May last without a search warrant.

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The Commissioner of Police informs me that consent to the search was obtained before it took place.

22

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Is the Minister aware that the giving of that consent is completely and unequivocally denied by the parents of this man? Would he not agree that it is a most dangerous and undesirable practice for police officers to pretend that they have a search warrant when they have not one at all?

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:There was no question of pretending that they had a search warrant. The man concerned was informed that it was intended to search the room. He raised no objection and his room was searched, with the consent of his mother. The question of the searching of this room was examined during the trial at the Central Criminal Court and no unfavourable comment was made by the Court on the action taken by the police.

Unlicensed Clubs (Fire Precautions)

23.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take powers to secure control, through the local authorities, of the means of escape from unlicensed clubs in the case of fire.

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:My right hon. Friend has under consideration legislative proposals designed to strengthen the control of local authorities over fire precautions in residential establishments and places of resort generally, including unlicensed clubs.

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But when is this legislation coming forward? Is the Minister aware that in my own town of Oldham—where I think the situation is typical—there are four clubs each attracting 800 people each night and that the premises are totally outside any fire precaution arrangements? Is not it overwhelmingly urgent that the necessary precautions should be taken quickly?

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I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the urgency of this matter, but it is an intricate one in which we are in consultation with the local authorities associations and I cannot enter into a commitment about the date of legislation.

Criminal Law Revision Committee (Reports)

25.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he accepts the recommendations contained in the Third and Fourth Reports of the Criminal Law Revision Committee.

41.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Her Majesty's Government intend to introduce legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the Third and Fourth Reports of the Criminal Law Revision Committee dealing respectively with the order of closing speeches in trials on indictment, the substitution of a new form of verdict for the verdict Guilty but insane, and the creation of a right of appeal against a finding of unfitness to plead.

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I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

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Can my right hon. Friend say whether the implementation of the recommendations would need legislation?

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Yes. I think that in each case it would need legislation.

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Can the right hon. Gentleman say how long it will take him on this occasion to arrive at a perfectly simple decision?

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These matters are not so simple as they seem. When a Reportlike this has been published, it is valuable to give some opportunity for public opinion, including legal opinion, to play on the matter.

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Is it not the case that a distinguished Committee has made recommendations for these two reforms in the criminal law which are very important in the administration of justice? Where the Home Secretary is in the presence of a unanimous opinion of this kind, is not it vital to get on with the process of introducing legislation, or once more is this to be one of those matters which are left for private Members to accomplish?

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:I would remind the hon. and learned Member that it was I who took the initiative in referring both these questions to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, a body for which I have the greatest respect. I would have thought that it would be carrying things a bit far to say that there must be immediate legislation on the Report of a Committee such as this before people have had time to study it carefuly and to say whether or not they agree with it.

Greek Royal Visit (Incidents)

26.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how soon he expects to receive the report of the special inquiry into the circumstances in which various people were charged with offences alleged to have been committed during the Greek Royal visit; and if he will make an oral statement on this matter before the Christmas Recess.

34.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will order a public inquiry into the circumstances in which certain persons were charged by the Metropolitan Police in connection with the State visit of Queen Frederika last July.

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The Commissioner of Police has instituted a special inquiry by a senior officer into the facts of certain cases in which persons were arrested on 11th July for being in possession of offensive weapons. I expect to receive a report in the near future, and after I have done so I will make a further statement.

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Can I take it that this means a further oral statement, since the right hon. Gentleman will not be reached at Question Time until February?

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indicated assent.

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Can I also ask in this connection whether he will at least publish that Report, or else consider an independent public inquiry for which there is now very strong pressure, as he must be aware? Can he also say whether the detective sergeant, who is now said to be mentally ill, was responsible for many other convictions before this particular series?

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The detective concerned undoubtedly wore himself out with overwork. He is now not said to be mentally ill—he is mentally ill. I hope that the hon. Member will not press me to answer his further question as to what subsequent action I shall take, until I have received the Report. I am anxious to keep Parliament fully informed.

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:Since it is believed that there are at least eight other cases in which this detective-sergeant was involved, regarding which people are still serving sentences in Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville, and since in another case three other officers were involved and, in any case, there were officers who witnessed and condoned these events, is it not quite clear that we shall get the true facts only through a public inquiry which will make it manifest to the public exactly what happened? After all, the rights and liberties of the public are very much involved in this really scandalous affair.

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There are, in fact, eight cases now being inquired into. I deprecate the allegation that experienced police officers are not capable of drawing up an objective and thoroughgoing report on what has been done by their subordinates. When I receive this Report, I will consider whether it is necessary for me to take further action.

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Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is very considerable public disquiet about this series of incidents? The public will not be satisfied unless either there is an independent inquiry or the Home Secretary gives an assurance that when he receives the report for which he has asked it will be published and the House will have an opportunity of discussing what is in it?

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I am very anxious to keep Parliament fully informed, but the hon. Member must not press me to make a further statement about what I will do when I receive a report which I have not yet seen.

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In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter again.

Advisory Committee On After Care (Report)

28.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his intention with respect to his Advisory Committee's Report on After Care.

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I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 18th November to a Question by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock).

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:Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is perhaps one of the most important things he could do in the next few months? When a man comes out of prison, without a home, without friends and without money, unless there is adequate aftercare he soon finds his way back to prison. How soon is the right hon. Gentleman to introduce these changes?

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I agree with the hon. Lady that this is an extremely important Report. I am very glad to have the opportunity of thanking the whole of the Committee, especially the members of the sub-committee, who gave so much time to this subject. I entirely share her view that we ought to be giving more consideration to the problem of seeking to save those who have been discharged from prison from getting back into prison. I am hoping to make an early announcement. The matter would be somewhat easier for me had there not been a minority report which I must also take into consideration.

Crimes Of Violence (Compensation For Victims)

29.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will introduce legislation to compensate the victims of crimes of violence.

37.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish as a White Paper Her Majesty's Government's proposals for the payment of compensation to the victims of crimes of violence.

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The Government intend to publish their proposals in a White Paper this Session.

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Can the Home Secretary tell the House whether the rather ambiguous words in the Queen's Speech mean that there will be a comprehensive scheme for compensating victims of crime and whether public money is going into a compensation fund? How soon does he expect to introduce a Bill on this matter? Is he aware that three times in the last four years there have been Private Members' Bills introduced on this subject from this side of the House—each time he has resisted them—and it is time some action was taken by the Government?

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:I am anxious to lose no time. A White Paper will be published as soon as possible, but I cannot give the date. The Government hope that it will be possible to devise a scheme which can be brought into operation quickly without legislation.

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:Are we to understand from his statement that the Home Secretary does not now intend to introduce legislation on this matter? Is he aware that that will be a great disappointment to many people, including those who were at the recent Conservative Party conference and were led to believe by his speech there that he would introduce legislation. Can he give in general terms some idea of the basis of the scheme? Will the compensation be on a weekly basis or lump sum payments? If so, on what basis and by whom will it be administered? Will it be by an independent compensation board?

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I do not think there will be disappointment when hon. Members and the general public see the White Paper. I ask the hon. Member to await that. I am thinking in terms of an experimental non-statutory scheme which might provide a basis for legislation later.

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When my right hon. Friend has prepared these proposals, will he take the most generous view he can, because this covers an issue which many of us have been advocating for more than 16 years and we want to see the action to be satisfactory when it appears?

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I said that I hoped to be the Home Secretary who might introduce action on these lines. I hope to introduce a White Paper which will be the subject of debate so that we can get opinions from all parts of the House.

Bingo Halls (Fire Precautions)

30.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what replies he has sent to the letters he has received from the East Ham County Borough Council and other local authorities, suggesting amendments to the law to give powers to enforce fire precautions in premises used for playing bingo similar to those exercised in respect of cinemas and theatres.

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:The local authorities in question have been told that the Government have examined the existing law relating to residential establishments and places of resort, such as clubs, and have concluded that it needs to be strengthened and rationalised. They have also been told that it is proposed to discuss with the local government associations and other interested bodies the form that suitable amending legislation might take.

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May I once again ask the Government to show some signs of urgency? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Gaumont Cinema in East Ham High Street, when it became a bingo hall, was subject to extensive alterations? Seating was taken across the gangway and the conditions there now would have been illegal when it was a cinema, but it is now in operation as a bingo club. This is repeated in many areas. It is leading to danger, particularly in the event of fire. Will the hon. Gentleman do something quickly?

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I am aware of the kind of difficulties to which the hon. Member draws attention. These are among the reasons why, as I told the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Mapp), this is an intricate problem which we regard as urgent and we cannot commit ourselves to introducing a report until we have consulted the local authority associations and other interests.

Girl (Death)

31.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to find out where and from whom an 18-year-old girl, described in a case heard at the Old Bailey on 25th and 28th October, 1963, as addicted to violence and a worshipper of Hitler, obtained the guns that were in her possession at the time of her death; and if he will make a statement on the result of these inquiries.

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:I understand that she had one pistol in her possession at the time of her death, which had been lent to her by the man who was convicted of her manslaughter.

Children And Young Persons Act

32

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which Sections of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1963, have so far been brought into force; and when he intends to bring into operation the remaining provisions of the Act.

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Sections 1, 14 and 15, 45 to 49, 54 to 56, 58 to 65 (save for subsection (2) of Section 64), and the related provisions in Schedules 3 and 5, were brought into operation on 1st October last. I intend to bring the remainder of Parts I and III (and the related provisions in the Schedules) into force early in 1964. I cannot yet be sure when it will be possible to bring Part II into force.

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:Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the nature of his Answer shows the obscurity of his policy? How is it possible for anybody to know how much of this Act is in force and what the law is? This Act of Parliament was passed unanimously by this House. Is it not rather an abuse of the right hon. Gentleman's prerogative so arbitrarily to select bits of it to be brought into force? Why not bring the rest of the Act into force; that would not cost any money?

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If the hon. Member examined Statutory Instrument 1561, made on 12th September last—he has had plenty of time to do so—he could see exactly what is in force already. I consider that I have been very expeditious in getting forward with the bringing of this Act into operation. I want to bring the remaining Sections into operation as soon as I can.

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Does the Home Secretary know that we are fully aware of what is in operation but that we are rather concerned about the parts of the Act which are not yet in operation? Is he aware that by 1964 the Act will have been passed for nearly a year and the Government will be getting credit for these things which probably will not be put into operation before the Government go out of office?

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I think the Government will be in office in plenty of time to bring this into operation.

Children (Emigration)

33.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children in the care of local authorities have been sent overseas under emigration schemes where the parents or guardians had indicated their opposition when consulted under the provisions of the Children Act. 1948.

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Since the Children Act, 1948, came into force the Secretary of State has given his consent, despite the objection of a parent, to proposals for the emigration of children in five cases, one concerning a family of five children. Two of these cases were under emigration schemes.

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:Is the Minister aware that many members of the public have been concerned when reading in the Press about these cases and very concerned that such cases can take place? Will the Minister, undertake a review of this type of incident, which is most unsatisfactory?

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I should have thought from the figures I have given that it is true to say that this permission is asked only in very rare cases. My right hon. Friend has given permission only in those cases after very extensive consideration of the factors involved.

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Is it not most unsatisfactory that these cases should take place?

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This is embodied in the 1948 Act and this continues the regulation which was in previous Acts.

Commonwealth Immigrants

35

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net influx of Commonwealth immigrants for the period 1st July to 30th September, 1963, as compared with the corresponding period of 1962.

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It was 24,117, compared with 6,048 in the same period in 1962.

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Do not these figures indicate the rising tempo of arrivals and the fact that net immigration is running at a rate of over 90,000 a year, which is higher than the average for the three years preceding the Commonwealth Immigrants Act? Can she give an assurance that the Act will be properly implemented by severely restricting arrivals in the future?

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I remind my hon. Friend that we shall be debating this subject very fully in the near future. I think that these are the sort of points which are better made in debate than in Question and Answer.

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:Will my hon. Friend assure the House that all these immigrants have fulfilled the requirements laid down by the Act that they should be seen before they come into this country?

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Yes, Sir.

36.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net influx of Commonwealth immigrants, excluding those from Australia, Canada and New Zealand for the period 1st July to 30th September 1963, as compared with the corresponding period of 1962.

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It was 23,131, compared with 9,150 in the same period in 1962.

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While thanking my hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask her whether attention has been drawn to the recent book by F. A. McClintock entitled "Crimes of Violence" which shows that Irish and Commonwealth immigrants are responsible for 33 per cent, of all attacks on the police and over 20 per cent, of all public fights? Will these factors please be taken into consideration when further action is being considered about the implementation of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act?

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I can assure my hon. Friend that all relevant factors will be taken into consideration.

Paraffin-Vending Machines

38.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what liaison exists between his Department and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in respect of the power of local authorities to grant or refuse permission for the provision of paraffin-vending machines.

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:The Ministry have been informed by the Home Office that local authorities who have inquired have been told that my right hon. Friend has no plans for statutory control of the sale of paraffin from these machines.

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Do I understand that only one Ministry has any kind of relationship to this problem? Is he aware that among some authorities it is an important problem? Can he clarify the position a little more?

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The application in the case which the hon. Member I am sure has in mind was for planning permission, and it was therefore dealt with by the Ministry of Housing. But when the Ministry drew our attention to the appeal in this case, we informed the Minister of Housing that the Home Secretary was aware of no sufficient evidence to justify control of such machines under safety legislation and it therefore rested with the Ministry of Housing alone.

Summer Time

39.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the successful experiments in other European countries, he will consider retaining Summer Time throughout the year.

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This is a possibility which is kept under review but my right hon. Friend has no immediate proposal for legislation.

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Is my hon. Friend aware that despite the fact that it may be a misnomer to speak of summertime in our climate, nevertheless I have had a surprising amount of correspondence since I tabled this Question, and that the vast majority of my correspondents are very much in favour of introducing Summer Time throughout the year? Will he not do his best to cast a little light at the end of our days?

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This is a matter on which, as my hon. Friend knows, there are divided opinions. Out of over 170 organisations which we have consulted on this matter, roughly 80 favoured going over to mid-European time but others had objection to it. Hon. Members will see that there are differences of opinion. We prefer at the moment to continue with the limited experiment of a three weeks' extension.

Undesirable Magazines And Films

40.

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has initiated with the appropriate authorities to consider further steps to prohibit undesirable magazines and films from entering this country.

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:The Customs authorities have powers to seize indecent or obscene articles and have used them in the past three years to seize many thousands of paper back novels and magazines. These are matters over which the Home Office and the Board of Customs and Excise are constantly in touch.

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:Will my right hon. Friend now deal with the other part of my Question? May I have an assurance that no film dealing with the life of Miss Keeler will be allowed to be shown in this country?

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The answer to the latter part of the Question would depend on whether the film was obscene. A few films were seized both in 1962 and in 1963.

Chancellor Of The Duchy Of Lancaster

Q2.

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asked the Prime Minister what are the Departmental responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Q6.

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asked the Prime Minister what duties he has assigned to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

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asked the Prime Minister what are the official responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and who will be responsible for answering questions in the House of Commons on matters for which he is responsible.

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It has not been customary to detail the functions discharged by senior Ministers who have no Departmental duties. The Duchy is not a Government Department and has no Vote. It has nevertheless been the practice to accept Questions put down to the Chancellor about those aspects of the Duchy administration which parallel the work of Government Departments. Such Questions will be answered by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General.

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While thanking the Prime 'Minister for that illuminating reply, may I ask him whether it means that he has no objection to the next Government appointing the Chief Executive of Transport House to the Government payroll?

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It depends what the next Government is. When the hon. Member says that the reply was illuminating, I would point out that it was almost exactly identical with that made by Lord Attlee in similar circumstances.

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Is the Prime Minister aware that, although he may be uncertain, there is no doubt on this side of the House that we shall win the next election? Does he not understand that there is a great feeling outside the House that it is rather disgraceful that the Chairman of the Conservative Party should not only be given a peerage on a plate but should also be given a job of this character, and that many people regard this as bordering on the corrupt?

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Peerages on a plate are rather a sensitive subject for me. I do not think that the hon. Member need worry at all. My right hon. Friend takes a full part in all Government business and a full part in the other place.

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Is the Prime Ministeraware that, while we may have two different views about who will win the next election, we regard it as wrong to appoint a practically full-time party chairman to the Government payroll? The right hon. Gentleman has two Ministers on the Government pay-roll who are doing Conservative Party work—the Minister Without Portfolio, who does Conservative Party propaganda, and the Chairman of the Conservative Party, in another place. Does he not feel that it is quite unwarrantable to put these charges on the taxpayer?

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What the right hon. Gentleman may feel in certain circumstances is an academic question. I have taken these steps, and I am perfectlysatisfied that my right hon. Friend takes a full part in the work of the Government and in another place. That is my answer.

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Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is simply a difference of standards between his side of the House and ours?

Lord Chancellor

Q3.

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asked the Prime Minister if he will introduce legislation to establish a head of the judiciary divorced from Government responsibilities.

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No, Sir.

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Can the right hon. Gentleman explain in what capacity the Lord Chancellor appeared on the platform at the Tory Party conference in October? Will he say in what capacity the noble Lord addressed the German judges a few months ago, a speech in which he made a violent attack on the Leader of the Opposition in this House? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is the way to teach German judges the impartiality of the judiciary?

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:Ts the hon. Gentleman making an attack on the conduct of a Member of another House? If so, it would be a matter requiring a substantive Motion.

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I am asking a question of the Prime Minister, Sir, and I should very much like an answer to it.

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rose

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It is a serious point of order here. I was asking the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) to explain whether or no he was making an attack upon the conduct of a Member of the other House. If he is, it would require another form of procedure.

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:I am simply making a comment, Mr. Speaker. I am asking for information. [Hon. Members: "No."] I am making a comment and, if need be, an attack on a member of Her Majesty's Government. Surely that is in order?

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I think that on that answer I would have to say that what the hon. Member is seeking to urge does require a substantive Motion.

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:On a point of order. Surely, once a Question has been admitted to the Order Paper in this form it cannot be an attack to comment on what took place and on what the Lord Chancellor said? This surely would be an unwarranted defence of a functionary of the Government?

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:I do not defend anybody at all. I simply defend the rules of the House. The Question as tabled is in order. What I think does require a substantive Motion and is not in order as a question is the supplemental question.

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Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should very much like some clarity on this issue. In the course of my supplementary question I made what I thought was an attack or a Minister of the Crown. Surely I am entitled to do that. I should like guidance as to which rule of order indicates that such a question, made as an attack on z member of Her Majesty's Government, is out of order.

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The difficulty about it is that I do not know in which capacity the noble Lord was engaged in these activities, whether he was acting as a member of the Government or not acting as i member of the Government—[Interruption] No, this is quite complicated. 1 do not know whether he was acting a; Lord Chancellor, whether as a Member of the other place, or where the attack is directed. [Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman asked me to explain. I have the difficulty that I have a duty to protect Members of the other House. whether they are Ministers or no, from attacks on their personal conduct. That is why I was asking the hon. Member for Fife, West what form the attack took. On the answer that the hon. Gentleman gave me I thought it was one that required under our rules a substantive Motion.

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:Further to that point of order. I thought that I had made it clear in my supplementary question that I was asking the Prime Minister, first in what capacity the Lord Chancellor appeared on the platform at the Tory Party conference, and, secondly, in what capacity he addressed the German judges.

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I would not back myself at the moment to remember whether the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question did not go on in some form of comment, because it was the comment that attracted my attention. Having heard what the hon. Gentleman now says and in great hope that we may not consume Question Time with points of order, I would allow that part of the supplementary question which consisted of asking the Prime Minister in what capacity the noble Lord did these things.

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I think in the usual way; the Lord Chancellor attends party conferences, as I understand it, as a member of the Government, but he does not take part in the discussions.

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And in Germany?

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:Will the Prime Minister now answer the second part of my supplementary question? In what capacity did the Lord Chancellor address the German judges?

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The Lord Chancellor was on a tour on behalf of the British Council, meeting various people under the auspices of the British Council, which I think is a perfectly proper thing to do, talking about matters which are his proper concern in this country. As I understand it, a speech had been made by the Leader of the Opposition which seemed to suggest that a Conservative Government—[Interruption.] I know that he has tried to explain the speech, but it seemed to suggest that a Conservative Government might be tempted to tamper with the judiciary. The Lord Chancellor thought it right to answer that.

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:First, if the Prime Minister seeks to bring me into it, will he read my speech first and quote it properly in the House? Secondly, since this matter has been raised, will the right hon. Gentleman explain why a Lord Chancellor going abroad in his judicial capacity under the aegis of the British Council, speaking in his judicial capacity to German judges and lawyers, should make a party political speech? Will he also explain why right hon. Members opposite cannot do as we do and keep party politics for this country and not for other countries?

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:Of course, I have done the right hon. Gentleman the honour of reading his speech. Perhaps I might quote what he said:

"There is widespread public concern, not least in responsible organs of the Conservative Press, that Mr. Macmillan does not have the regard which his office demands for that rigid distinction between the Executive and the independent judiciary which is the foundation of British liberties."
Either that is blatant party politics, of which the right hon. Gentleman complains, or by implication the Prime Minister of Britain is interfering with the judiciary.

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rose

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rose

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The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition does not observe that another right hon. Gentleman behind him is rising to a point of order.

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Mr. Speaker, as you have just ruled that it is inappropriate or out of order for hon. Members to criticise members of the other House, might we not have reciprocal treatment from members of the other House in regard to the Leader of the Opposition or members of the Opposition?

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Let us not get involved in all these points of order. The Leader of the Opposition was on his feet seeking to ask some question, I believe.

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Yes, Sir. Since the Prime Minister wants to pursue this, is he aware—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I did not bring my name into this. The Prime Minister did. Is the Prime Minister aware that, though he regards this as a party political speech on my part—and it was made at a political meeting—it was at any rate done in this country, and it was not done under any false pretences of being a judicial or non-political speech?

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If I may say so with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, when he makes a speech in this country he ought to consider its repercussions abroad.

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rose

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Order. I am sure that the House would like to make better progress with Questions.

Tsr2 Aircraft

Q4.

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asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an independent inquiry to examine the cost of the TRS2 programme in relation to Britain's defence needs.

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No, Sir.

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:In view of the very large proportion of our defence resources which the Minister of Defence informed the House last year this project was likely to pre-empt, and as the only independent authority which has been allowed to examine the project, namely, the Conservative Government of Australia, rejected this weapon on both military and economic grounds in favour of a comparable American aircraft, does not the Prime Minister feel that it would be wise to settle one way or the other the doubts which have arisen about this project, both inside and outside the Services, by appointing an independent inquiry to consider it?

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Ido not want the hon. Gentleman or the House to be denied any facts. Any information which could be given to an independent inquiry could equally well be given to the House, so I would prefer it to be done in that way.

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Is it not a fact that much of the electrical equipment and many of the black boxes in this machine and also the engine itself have applications in other directions and in other parts of the industry? Is it not also the fact that the aircraft industry is a leader industry in this country and its continued support is vital for the technological advancement of the nation?

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My hon. Friend is right. I have said that any information which would properly be given to an independent inquiry could be given to the House, though there is certain information which could not be disclosed either to an independent inquiry or to the House.

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:With respect, is it not the case that, so far, no facts have been given to the House about costs, about the progress of the aircraft or even about the date on which it is expected to go into squadron service, except only in the most general and vague terms? Is it not also a fact that the Ministry of Defence and other Service Ministries have often set up independent inquiries of responsible persons who have been given information which possibly, and rightly, was not able to be given to the House? I have in mind the Nye Committee which inquired into the administration of the War Office. Why is it not possible to set up a similar committee in this case?

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As I said, I do not think that any facts that could be given to an independent inquiry could not also easily be given to the House. If we come to debate these matters I shall have no wish to conceal any facts that can properly be given. As to the cost of an aircraft or weapons of this kind, I do not think that such details are ever disclosed, for clearly if countries overseas know the cost they can calculate, for example, the number of aircraft we have.

Business Of The House

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May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

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Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Housing Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

And, in view of their urgency, we shall ask the House to take the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the

Zanzibar, and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills.

TUESDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Police Bill.

Motion on the Summertime Order.

WEDNESDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

THURSDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Electricity and Gas Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Motion on the Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order.

FRIDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Nigeria Republic Bill.

MONDAY, 2ND DECEMBER—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Air Corporations Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

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On Monday's business, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the proposal to take after the Housing Bill the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the Zanzibar and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills, in view of the urgency of these matters, meets with no objection to taking them at a late hour? We appreciate that they must be got through.

What arrangements are being made for a two-day debate—and it must be a debate of two days—on the distribution of industry, with particular reference to the two White Papers on the North-East Coast and Scotland?

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I am grateful for what the right hon. Gentleman has said about Monday's business. We are in some difficulty because of the dates which have been fixed for the independence of these countries.

We are discussing through the usual channels the second part of the right hon. Member's question and hope to be able to arrange for a debate to take place during the week after the week for which I have announced business.

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Is there any prospect in the near future of our being able to discuss the Denning Report?

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All I can say is, not next week.

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In view of the importance of the White Paper which was issued yesterday on the official status of the Welsh language—[Laughter.] The people v/ill hear that laughter in Wales; I will see to that—and in view of the complete absence of any reference to Wales in the White Paper, will we have an opportunity soon to discuss this official statement?

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I would like an opportunity of talking to the hon. Member about that.

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Will the Committee stage of the Police Bill be taken on the Floor of the House or upstairs?

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It will be taken upstairs.

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:Will the Leader of the House consult his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister about the practice of transferring Questions addressed to the Prime Minister to other Ministers? Could he ascertain from his right hon. Friend whether the Prime Minister vets the Questions himself; whether he looks at them and comes to a conclusion about whether or not they should be addressed to him?

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Am I in order, Mr. Speaker?

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As far as I heard the right hon. Gentleman, entirely, but I am not sure that I heard all that he said.

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:I was asking the Leader of the House to consult with the Prime Minister to ascertain whether the Prime Minister vets Questions himself, or whether someone does it for him and, the Questions having been looked at, there is any interference with the privilege of hon. Members.

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There was a Question to my right hon. Friend on the Order Paper today on this matter. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will await the Answer, which will be contained in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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Surely I am entitled to ask a question. Why must I wait until I read the Answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT, whereupon I shall not be able to put a supplementary question?

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I cannot make Ministers answer Questions if they do not want to.

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:Taking into account the nation-wide interest in the question of televising Parliament, will my right hon. and learned Friend consult the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and arrange for the House to have a discussion first, and simply, on the technical aspects of this problem?

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This is certainly a matter in which many hon. Members on both sides of the House are very interested and I am now seeking to obtain their views on it. I will also consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.

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:Is the Leader of the House aware that the Housing Bill changes the law of Scotland far more than it does the law of England and Wales, and that it contains one Schedule of 20 pages affecting Scotland? Will he consult the Secretary of State and make arrangements for a Scottish Minister to speak in the debate on Monday, and, if possible, to have the Scottish Schedule at least referred to the Scottish Grand Committee?

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:I am not sure that I agree with what the hon. Member has said, but I will certainly discuss his remarks with my right hon. Friend.

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If there is to be a debate on Government assistance to the development areas, with particular reference to the White Papers on Scotland and the North-East, as mentioned in the Gracious Speech, will my right hon. Friend make sure that the Motion is widely enough drafted to cover Northern Ireland?

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I will certainly consider what my hon. Friend has said.

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:Is the Leader of the House aware that one Schedule in the Police Bill, covering 10 pages and more than 20 paragraphs, deals with Scotland alone and transforms the law of Scotland on the basis of legislation by reference? Since this will be an exceedingly difficult part of the Bill with which to deal, will the Leader of the House put the Schedule into a separate Bill and deal with the matter separately for Scotland?

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No, Sir. I think that it is too late to do that.

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Can we expect a new Royal Warrant next week on regular Service widows' pre-1958 pensions in view of the fact that the winter is approaching and that we want these pensions to be raised without further delay?

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Not next week.

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Will the Leader of the House consider making an early statement, perhaps jointly with you, Mr. Speaker, about the possibility of setting up a Press cuttings service for hon. Members?

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As I have told the hon. Member, I will certainly consider what he said recently during an Adjournment debate.

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:Despite the discussion we had during the debate on the Gracious Speech, can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether any time will be given in the near future for a debate on the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report and the Report of the Trend Committee on Civil Science—and, as I have just heard an hon. Member say, on the Jennings report, too?

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I have no doubt that that is a matter that will be discussed through the usual channels.

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Will the Leader of the House consider making a statement at this time next week about the possibility of setting up an Accommodation Committee? Will he bear in mind that just before the Summer Recess we had a debate in which it was demonstrated that Sir William Holford's plans for Bridge Street would have to receive the consideration of the House to ensure that we got the sort of accommodation we wanted? Will he also bear in mind that the proximity of a General Election might make hon. Gentlemen opposite the principal beneficiaries of any extra accommodation?

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I have already had some conversations with hon. Gentlemen on this matter, without any forecasts included in them, and I will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

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:Will my right hon. and learned Friend try to find time in the near future for a discussion of the perfectly appalling building which the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors proposes to erect in Parliament Square?

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I will consider what my hon. Friend has said.

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Will the Leader of the House try to find time to discuss the cinematograph industry, and the serious state of British film production at present; and also the future of the British Film Finance Corporation?

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I will consider that matter, too.

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:Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider the questions put by my hon. Friends the Members of Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) and Motherwell (Mr. Lawson)? There is a growing practice of adding to United Kingdom Bills the Scottish interpretation, and it becomes ridiculous when it takes a Schedule of 20 pages to enable that to be done? Is it that the Scottish Ministers are now becoming afraid of the Scottish Members in the Scottish Grand Committee? Would it not be possible for the Leader of the House to agree to meet a deputation, to see whether we cannot do something about this, and at least get the Scottish parts of the Bills sent to a Scottish Committee?

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I will gladly meet any hon. Members who want to talk about the matter, and will go into it myself.

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:Can the Leader of the House say whether he consulted the Prime Minister before deciding to insult Scottish law in this way? Or did he consult the Scottish Law Officers, whom we have never seen? Is he aware that he is quite wrong in saying that it is too late to do a certain thing? If he consults his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary he will find that part of the Town and Country Planning Bill had to be reprinted in a special Scottish Bill.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman look at what happened to the Teachers Superannuation Bill, some years ago, when the whole of the Scottish part of that Measure was taken out and sent to the Scottish Grand Committee?

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman knew his job, and appreciated the rights of Scottish Members and of Scottish law, he would not continue with this farce of lumping matters relating to the police and housing in this way. Is he aware that, hitherto, the Scottish aspect of such Measures has always had special legislation?

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:I have said, rather more politely than has the hon. Gentleman, that I will look into the matter, and meet hon. Members who want to see me./membercontribution>

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Has the Leader of the House seen a couple of Motions on the Order Paper concerning the Church Commissioners? Does he not consider that as seven senior Ministers are members of that body it would not be a bad idea to have a debate in this Chamber from time to time on how they carry out their jobs? Before he answers that general matter, is he also aware that I want to take those Motions off the Order Paper because, in regard to the narrow issue of two or three houses and a particular course of action, the Church Estate Commissioners have taken immediate action, for which I am very grateful?

[ That, in the opinion of this House, legislation ought to be introduced to relieve Mr. Speaker of his membership, however nominal, of the Church Commissioners, in view of the fact that the activities of this body have now become controversial in regard to the management of their estates.]

[ That this House deplores the terms of letters sent by Milles Day, solicitors, claiming to act for the Church Commissioners of England, to Mr. Kerr, protected sub-tenant of 54 Warwick Avenue, W.9, and to Mr. Gilmore, of 56 Warwick Avenue, demanding possession of their flats, deplores also attempts to evict other sub-tenants, and the previous eviction of sub-tenants from 52 Warwick Avenue, and calls upon the Church Commissioners to formulate a policy directive to the Estates Commissioners and their agents more in tune with public opinion.]

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I cannot promise that I will be able to find time to discuss the Motion that remains on the Order Paper.

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If my right hon. and learned Friend cannot find the time next week, would he bear in mind that many hon. Members on both sides would like a debate in the near future on the whole policy of trading stamps?

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There are already a great many candidates for discussion in the House, and I will simply have to say to my hon. Friend that I will take note of his suggestion.

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:Is the Leader of the House aware that, just about a year ago, the Government set up a Select Committee to help them out of the difficulty occasioned by large numbers of ex-Service men standing at by-elections? Is he further aware that the Committee, under his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, met during the Recesses? An interim Report was presented to the House, and just before the Summer Recess the final Report was presented, and the then Leader of the House assured my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot)—who, we all hope, will soon be back with us—[Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."]—that an early debate would take place.

As some of us have laboured on this subject for a long time—involving, as it does, the liberty of the subject and the right of Service men to stand for Parliament—will not the Leader of the House take an early opportunity to bring the matter before the House?

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I certainly cannot do so next week, but I will bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

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Mr. William Hamilton.

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rose

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I was not asking the right hon. and learned Gentleman to bear in mind what I say, but what his predecessor said.

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Order. We cannot make progress unless I am allowed to call hon. Members without two people being on their feet at the same time.

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Can the Leader of the House say when the Hire Purchase Bill will be available, and can he give an assurance on this matter that, in view of the much greater abuses of hire purchase in Scotland—with the difference in law there—there will be a separate Scottish Bill this Session?

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The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is, "Shortly", and the answer to the second part is that 1 will consider it.

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Will the Leader of the House find time to discuss the AnnisGillie Report on General Practice? Does he recall that the Government have published ten-year plans on the other two sections of the profession, and will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health on how the Government propose to deal with this very important facet of the Health Service, and make an early statement?

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I will certainly consult my right hon. Friend. As for an early debate, I will add it to the list of possibilities.

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Further to what I have asked the Leader of the House, will he bear in mind the undertaking given not to him, but to the House of Commons?

British European Airways And British Overseas Airways Corporations

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With your permission Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, 1 should like to make a statement about the British European Airways Corporation and the British Overseas Airways Corporation.

Lord Douglas, who will be 70 in December, will be retiring from the chairmanship of B.E.A. at the end of the financial year. He will then have completed fifteen years as Chairman and I am sure the House will wish to join me in paying tribute to his great services to British aviation. Lord Douglas will be succeeded by Mr. Anthony Milward who has been Chief Executive of B.E.A. for the last seven years. Sir Matthew Slattery will be retiring from the chairmanship of B.O.A.C. in the new year. He has given B.O.A.C. great service in a very difficult period

. Sir Matthew Slattery will be succeeded as Chairman by Sir Giles Guthrie, who is a member of the board of B.E.A. and has an outstanding aviation record in peace and war.

I understand that it is Sir Giles Guthrie's intention to undertake himself some of the functions of the Managing Director. Sir Basil Smallpeice, after many years of devoted service to B.O.A.C., has agreed to retire to facilitate the changes.

I have carefully considered whether a merger between B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. would be in the best interests of British aviation, but, on balance, I have decided against it. I am convinced, however, that the two Corporations need to work more closely together than they have in the past. Sir Giles Guthrie, the Chairman-designate of B.O.A.C., will accordingly retain his seat as a part-time member of the board of B.E.A.; and Mr. Anthony Milward, the Chairman-designate of B.E.A., will also become a part-time member of the board of B.O.A.C.

Before we rose for the Summer Recess I undertook to publish a White Paper about B.O.A.C.'s financial problems, This White Paper will be available in the Vote Office when I sit down. I will not attempt to summarise it now, but the House will want to know the immediate steps the Government are proposing to take. These are set out at the end of the White Paper and are briefly as follows.

First, we have decided to strengthen the management of the Corporation.

Second, I am inviting Sir Giles Guthrie to prepare a plan during the coming year for making the Corporation financially sound. When this plan has been considered we can then decide how to deal with the accumulated deficit and how to provide for the financing of the Corporation.

Meanwhile, some losses are likely to continue before the new plan can be drawn up and put into practice. I will, therefore, shortly be asking the House for an extension of the powers I already have under the Air Corporations Act 1962, to make loans for the purpose of financing deficits on revenue account.

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I am sure that the whole House will join with the right hon. Gentleman in what he has said about the services rendered to aviation by Lord Douglas and Sir Matthew Slattery.

May I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on being able to get through a statement of this type without once mentioning the Corbett Report? I assume that when the right hon. Gentleman tells us that Sir Basil Smallpeice agreed to retire to facilitate the changes it was the kind of agreement which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the present Leader of the House made to retire a year or so ago.

In view of the concern which we all now feel about the affairs of B.O.A.C., will the right hon. Gentleman now agree to publish the Corbett Report in full? The right hon. Gentleman is to publish the White Paper. What guarantee have we that the main recommendations of the Corbett Report are even mentioned in the White Paper? Is it the case, for instance, that the Corbett Report recommended that the £80 million of accumulated deficits, most of which came about as a result of the Government's own policy, should be written off and that the Government have refused to do so, and that it is failure to agree on this point which has led to the fourth retirement, of Sir Matthew Slattery and the chief executive of B.O.A.C.?

Is it the case that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleauges are arguing that if the £80 million is to be written off it may as well be done by the incoming Labour Government and not by the present Administration? Is it also the case that the original intention in the White Paper, and the reason why we have had to wait so long for it, was an announcement that there would be a joint board of both Corporations of which Sir Matthew Slattery would be the chairman?

Finally, it is the case that during the negotiations with the B.O.A.C. board, which, I understand, did not even know the contents of the Corbett Report, the right hon. Gentleman was threatening that the whole of the southern route of B.O.A.C. might well be hived off to B.U.A., a private corporation? Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a statement in the Evening Standard today that Radio Rentals representatives have stated that a Mr. Charles E. Hardie, of Radio Rentals, has also been given a seat on the board of B.O.A.C? As the new chairman also belongs to Radio Rentals, could the Minister assure us that this is not a further take-over by that organisation? We should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman could answer these questions, because, frankly, we are thoroughly dissatisfied that a vital report made as a result of the right hon. Gentleman sending these people to B.O.A.C. is still not available to us, and we still insist that it should be made available at once.

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The hon. Gentleman has asked a number of questions and I will try to deal with them. It is quite true that Mr. Hardie, a very distinguished accountant, will be joining the board of B.O.A.C. This is a vacancy, which arises in January on the retirement of Mr. Staple, the present secretary of the company. This has nothing to do with the other changes that I have announced.

There has been no discussion whatever of hiving off the southern routes to anybody else, nor has there been any particular discussion of the southern routes with the Corporation.

Equally, there has been no discussion with the Corporation about a joint board. I took the opinions of both B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. on merger earlier on, and the White Paper contains a summary of the arguments for and against. I have already expressed the Government's views on this

The hon. Gentleman suggested that Sir Matthew Slattery had resigned on the question of writing off the deficit. It may help to clear the air on this, in view of Press statements this morning if I read to the House the letter of resignation which I received from Sit Matthew Slattery on 19th November. It reads:
"You have told me in our recent talks of your plans for reconstituting the B.O.A.C Board In particular, you expressed the view that it would be necessary, at any rate for the next couple of years, for the Chairman to undertake many, if not most, of the duties that are at present assumed by the Managing Director.
I explained that I would not myself feel disposed to attempt this double task. You then told me that in these circumstances you would propose to appoint Sir Giles Guthrie to the Chair when my term of office expired on the 28th July, 1964.
On reflection, I have come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of the Corporation if the changes you have in mind were introduced as soon as convenient rather than after a delay of some months. You will be telling Parliament about your plans in the course of this month, and to avoid leaving uncertainty in the minds of Corporation's staff it would be best, in my view, if the new appointments were made as soon as possible after your statement.
If you agree, therefore, I would propose to vacate the chairmanship of the Corporation on 31st December, 1963 and so make way for Guthrie to succeed me as Chairman."
This letter makes it plain that there was no issue of policy at stake. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Indeed, there has been no discussion of the question of writing off the deficits. The issue has been simply one of organisation and the best time for reorganisation to take place.

On the question of the deficit itself, our view is that it would be illogical and wrong to ask the House to write off £80 million of public money until we can recommend a plan to the House, which we think will put the Corporation on its feet financially. When we are in a position to do that, we can then tackle the question of the deficit and consider whether it should be written off, in whole or in part.

On the hon. Gentleman's first point concerning publication of the Corbett Report, I have already explained to the House that it was commissioned on the understanding that it would be confidential, and the evidence was given to Mr. Corbett on this understanding. I am not, therefore, prepared to publish the Report.

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Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in view of the heavy losses sustained by the Corporation, any step which could put the whole of this important national asset on a sound commercial basis would be very much welcomed by all sides of the House? Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that every encouragement will be given to Sir Giles Guthrie to proceed as rapidly as possible with his plan, which, at the same time, will bring a new spirit to the Corporation and give new opportunities to ensure that we hold our place in the forefront of this market?

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The Corporation has done a tremendous job in terms of reliability, safety and service to passengers. It has not yet been able to break even financially. I hope that under the new management it will be able to achieve this result. I am sure that both sides of the House will wish to give Sir Giles Guthrie all possible support in the task which he has undertaken.

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Does not Sir Matthew Slattery's letter show that he has reservations about the new arrangement by which the new chairman will discharge some of the functions of managing director, and is it not a fact that these reservations are widely shared? Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is to be a managing director and, if so, what breakdown of functions between him and the chairman there will be?

Is it not a fact that the Government have had the Corbett Report since July and that it would appear from the right hon. Gentleman's statement that there is still no plan whatsoever for improving the financial state of the Corporation and, meanwhile, the deficit is increasing? Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that this plan will be put into operation very quickly? Will he bear in mind that the same thing happened over the railways? We were assured for years that the deficit would not be written off, though, of course, in the end it was written off.

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:The appointment of a managing director and the functions of management are matters for the chairman of the board and not for me. Accordingly, I will leave this to Sir Giles Guthrie, though, as I said in my statement, I understand that he proposes to take on some of the functions of managing director himself. As for the plan, it can only be drawn up by the new management. There are, no doubt, sections of the Corbett Report which will be very valuable in helping the management to draw up this plan.

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Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to comments in this morning's Press and on television and the radio about serious differences of policy? Can he say whether or not these statements are correct?

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It is not in order to ask a Minister whether he has seen something in the Press in order to ask him to deny or confirm it. It is not part of his duty. I am afraid that we sometimes forget that.

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Can the Minister say whether or not he has accepted now the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Estimates as long ago as 1959 about Government interference with British Overseas Airways Corporation with regard to routes causing part of its losses and to the costs of developing British aircraft also causing losses, and whether he also took into account the Report of the Select Committee in February, 1962, which showed that the Corporation's costs were coming down substantially and had, in fact, been the subject of a much greater reduction than in many other international airlines?

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The hon. Gentleman's questions raise big subjects which I think we had better treat in the debate which will take place shortly.

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Can my right hon. Friend say when the debate on the White Paper will take place? Will he not agree that one of the greatest tasks of the new chairman is to restore the morale of B.O.A.C. which has sagged considerably, for whatever reasons, over recent years? Would he also accept the thanks of some of us who have taken an interest in these matters that there is not a merger, and that, in practice, a sharing of membership of the boards of the Corporations can produce the best possible results for the two Corporations without destroying the morale of B.E.A.?

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It is my belief that the system of interlocking boards will achieve the advantages of merger without its disadvantages. I have every confidence that Sir Giles Guthrie will be able to give a very good lead to the staff of B.O.A.C. I think that the morale of the pilots and of the operating staff is very good. I have no anxiety there. My anxiety has been on the financial side.

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:Is it not perfectly clear that there has been for some time a real crisis of confidence between the Government and the board of B.O.A.C, and that we cannot get over that crisis by some of the words used this afternoon? Is it not proved by the fact that here we have a Minister, who, no doubt, considers it right, who has been interfering a great deal more on the question of the allocation of functions between members of the board, between the chairman and the managing director, than is normal in the case of other public boards?

This being so, since there is great public anxiety about this, and since, quite clearly, there has been a clash—and whether he was sacked or has resigned in protest is a matter, to some extent, of words—is there not a real obligation on the right hon. Gentleman now to publish the Corbett Report so that the House can consider it?

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The right hon. Gentleman's assertions of a crisis of confidence are his own. They are not mine. As I have said, Iam not prepared to publish the Corbett Report. It was commissioned as a confidential document. The evidence was given on a confidential basis. I think that the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to agree that, if we are to have nationalised industries, it is important that the Government should be able to commission a consultant to make inquiries for them, without necessarily having to publish the findings on every single occasion. I believe myself that the problem of B.O.A.C. can be solved and overcome, and I believe that, with the co-operation of the new management, it can and will be achieved.

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rose

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Order. We cannot debate this now without a Question before the House.

Bill Presented

AIR CORPORATIONS

Bill to extend the powers of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and the British European Airways Corporation to borrow from the Minister of Aviation sums required by them for financing any accumulated deficits of theirs on revenue account; presented by Mr. Amery; supported by Mr. Green and Mr. Marten; read the First time; to be read a Second time Tomorrow and to be printed. [Bill 17.]

Orders Of The Day

Defence Transfer Of Functions) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

4.4 p.m.

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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to implement the Government's decision, which was announced last March, radically to reorganise the central organisation of defence and to set up a unified Ministry of Defence under a Secretary of State. The House will recall that the details of all this were published in the White Paper in July. We had what I think was a valuable debate at that time in the House and I do not want to repeat all the arguments which we then used. At the same time, I think that I should say something about the background.

We are dealing here in the Bill, albeit the effective Clause is a short one, with offices and organisations of really great historical interest and significance. The development of the Service Departments is deeply interwoven in the fabric of our history, and the reasons for some of the present forms and methods of administration and divisions of responsibility and titles are really now lost in the mists of time and in controversies the exact reasons for which have often been forgotten.

I will not try to give the House an analysis of this historical past. Those familiar with it, and there are many in the House who have taken a great interest in these affairs, have full knowledge of the obligations of the Cinque Ports and the Admirals of the North and South and the original Navy Board, which is very much associated with the name of Samuel Pepys.

All through that history there have been examinations and reports made, one or two of which are of significance in the light of our present discussion. There was Lord Howick's Report in 1837, which said:
"If the military defence of the Empire is to be conducted upon a footing of economy as well as of efficiency it appears obviously necessary and expedient that there should be some one member of the Government particularly charged with the duty of exercising a general supervision and control in all these matters."
There was the Duke of Wellington's passionate opposition to what he then regarded as a revolutionary conception, his condemnation of what he termed
"This new Leviathan, a Secretary at War …placing authority in the hands of one Member of the House of Commons and Cabinet."
And then nothing happened, because, obviously, of the opposition of the Duke of Wellington, at that time a powerful proponent on the stage of our affairs.

There was the Northbrook Committee which, in 1868, had said that
"No scheme which is not based on the accomplished fact that all the Departments of military administration are housed under the same roof can be otherwise than abortive."
More latterly, we come to the appointment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) as Minister of Defence, which carried, really, the whole conception of defence organisation from the single Service into the inter-Service field. And so to our debate today.

The history of these defence arrangements is full of colour and of controversy and it forms the basis, the foundation, on which we have to build. I would say just this about those great organisations, that whatever criticisms one can offer of the past, whatever amendments or alterations we offer now, they served their country very well, and their success rested not on administrative perfection—because they were often changed—but rested, as the success of these proposals must, on the quality of the serving officers and civil servants who are called upon to man them.

The proposals now made represent quite formidable alterations. I explained in the summer the reasons why we considered them necessary. In essence, they were twofold: first, to make it easier to formulate and to control an integrated defence policy, that is to say, to have one defence policy which was more than a synthesis of four different themes drawn from different sources: and, secondly, and also important, to improve our control over defence spending. Those were the objectives that we had in mind.

I stated then the main principles which we intended to follow. The first was that we must set up a single unified Ministry of Defence, that there must be one Ministry with one Minister effectively in charge of all these affairs. Secondly, however much he might be in charge, he must have facilities to decentralise responsibility because, without that capacity to decentralise—which one had to build into the machine—the burden at the top would become quite intolerable.

Thirdly, whatever organisation were set up, we must make it sufficiently flexible, because, with the best will in the world, no one can today foresee precisely what the requirements of some Government may be ten years from now or what the requirements of the defences of this country may be ten years from now. Therefore, we must not set up anything so inflexible and so bounded by legislative barriers of all kinds that we cannot change it; we must have room to develop as we go along.

Fourthly, we must get a proper balance between the military, the administrative and the scientific sides of this new Ministry. Particularly on the scientific side, to which I attach great importance—there has been much discussion about the use of science in the modern age recently—I believe that in the Ministry of Defence we have already been setting something of an example in these matters. We have scientists in at every level. We have them considering problems, not only purely scientific ones, and putting their ideas forward on many aspects of strategy not solely so that we may accept the views of scientists, but so that their views may be a challenge to the views of the establishment within the Ministry. I attach the greatest importance in this new organisation to having the scientists built in with the administrators and with the military, not only at the top but at every level.

Fifthly, but perhaps as important as any, we must, whatever we do in the central organisation, preserve the individual loyalty of fighting men to their ship, to their squadron, or to their regiment. This we must always keep in mind.

Lastly, for reasons which I gave, the Ministry of Aviation is not to be part of a unified Department. If I may

borrow a word from my right hon. Friend, we are not here proposing a merger in these events, but we are proposing that the links should be closer, including moving the main echelons of the Ministry of Aviation into the same building as the Ministry of Defence.

Based on these principles, the internal structure is as follows. There will be a Secretary of State with full control over, and responsibility for, the whole Department. He will be assisted by three Ministers of State and three Parliamentary Secretaries. The Ministers of State will undertake any task over the whole defence field—I emphasise that—which may be allocated to them, and each of them will be responsible to the Secretary of State for a designated Service. There will be a Defence Council which will be established with the Secretary of State in the chair, and its main job will be to consider and weigh the main problems of defence policy and to exercise powers of command and control at present exercised by the Board of Admiralty and the Army and Air Councils.

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May I, at his stage, ask a question which is extremely important? The right hon. Gentleman has emphasised the imperative need for injecting the advice of scientists in the defence field. I accept that wholeheartedly. But the Bill provides that the Defence Council should be responsible, among other things, for the command of Her Majesty's Forces. Will the Minister explain why it is necessary to have scientific advisers determining policy in respect of the command of Her Majesty's Forces?

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t: If the right hon. Gentleman will bear with me, I shall come on to the particular Clause to which he refers and explain why.

To digress for a moment, because of the right hon. Gentleman's experience and interest in these matters, I say just this. If we are to have a central body at the top which is to decide the really big questions of defence policy, it would, I think, be mad at this point in the century to exclude the chief scientist from consideration of problems of this kind. Looking ahead, as this body will have to do, to see the kind of dangers one may face five, ten or fifteen years' hence—one knows the length of time over which problems tend to develop—and the sort of way one should meet them, one can do these things only by having the best scientific advice possible at one's disposal.

Perhaps I may develop that a little later in my remarks.

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rose

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I do not want to speak for too long. If I give way to thehon. Gentleman, may I have an understanding from the House that I shall then be allowed to proceed, since I am anxious that others should have the opportunity to intervene?

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It is rather important that we get this clear at the start. As I understood him, the right hon. Gentleman has already introduced a new principle. I thought, when we discussed the White Paper, that the three Ministers of State would operate at a lower level in the three Service Departments. Now, the right hon. Gentleman tells us something which, to me, is quite new, that they will be designated to operate over the whole field of defence, right across the Services.

There is one element of Service organisation to which I attach enormous importance, namely, the maintenance of discipline. Are we to have the administration and maintenance of discipline run by someone going right across the three Services, with three different traditions and with three different Acts, or have I misunderstood, and will it remain as at present, under the three separate Services?

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If the hon. Gentleman will wait a little for me to come to discipline and courts-martial, I shall deal with that.

On the first point he makes, which I am on now—I agree with what he says about its significance—I attach the greatest importance, as I made clear in the summer, to the Ministers of State having more than a single Service responsibility. The Ministers of State will have a responsibility right across the defence field, and they will be doing any job in the defence field which is allocated to them by the Secretary of State. Indeed, I do not think that one could have in any sense a truly integrated

Department unless one had an arrangement of that kind.

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rose

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:I shall now continue, if I may; otherwise, this will become just a cross-examination. We are to debate the matter all day. Hon. and right hon. Members will be able to make speeches, and there will be a reply.

I come now to day-to-day management. In general, this will be delegated to Navy, Army and Air Force boards which will discharge, on behalf of the Defence Council, the judicial and quasi-judicial functions—this touches on the point raised by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)—of the present board and councils. A Minister of State will normally deputise for the Secretary of State as chairman of these boards. Below board level there will be a three-prong structure, military, administrative and scientific. I shall take each of these three now and say a few words about them.

The military side will be headed by the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Chiefs of Staff, who will remain the principal military advisers to the Government. The Chiefs of Staff—I say again what I said in July—will remain as the professional heads of their respective Services.

The naval, general and air staffs and the joint Services staffs which already exist will now form a defence staff. Within that general concept, certain changes will take place and where the nature of the work is suitable a full integration of the staffs is planned, particularly in the case of intelligence and operations.

The administrative staffs will be headed by a Permanent Under-Secretary—I am talking now of the Civil Service side—assisted by four Second Permanent Under-Secretaries, one for each of the Services and one for the Defence Secretariat. These staffs will be formed from the civil administration staffs of all three Services into a single team with a direct line of responsibility to the Permanent Under-Secretary.

There is new machinery for long-term financial planning and the detailed management of the money voted will be delegated to the Second Permanent Under-Secretaries, who will be the accounting officers for their respective Departments. I know that that is a matter of particular interest to those hon. Members concerned with the Estimates Committee.

The chief scientific adviser will be in charge of all the scientific effort of all three Services in the new Department, and there are various changes in the scientific committee structure with which I need not, perhaps, detain the House at this stage.

This then, in outline, is the new organisation, and the proposals, if not acclaimed were at least, I believe, generally accepted in the House in July. Some hon. Members thought that we might be over-centralising and others thought that we were not going far enough. But I think that there was a general consensus that the reorganisation was necessary and well contrived.

Our intention, subject to the wishes of Parliament on the Bill, is that this organisation should come into effect in April next. All this, of course, has meant, and will continue to mean, a good deal of work. The staffs mainly concerned with policy clearly need to be housed together and they have been allotted the Board of Trade-Air Ministry building in Whitehall. That will hold about 3,400 of a total staff of about 25,000.

The Minister of Aviation, with the principal officers associated with his headquarters, will go into the main building. The planning of the accommodation, with each section close to the other sections with which it deals, not only those within its own Service but in sister Services, has been a major exercise. We have also had to design a new system of operations rooms and a new system of communications to take the place of the four separate departmental systems which operate at present.

All this work, which I think any hon. Member can understand is on a large scale, is making good progress, and, unless there is an unexpected hold up, the occupation of the Whitehall main building should take place on vesting day. But, if the new arrangement is to function efficiently at once, as many as possible of the new features should be put into operation beforehand.

We have, of course, already done a good deal of that work. The Defence Operations Executive has been formed. The Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff dealing with operational requirements has already been appointed and his staff has started work. The Second Permanent Under-Secretary (Defence Secretariat), whose job it is to identify particular parts of this organisation where integration might go further, has been appointed, as has the Deputy Under-Secretary (Programmes and Budget), while a great deal of consultation and study has gone on into financial techniques. We have also been studying the latest methods not only in this country but in some other countries as well, and have made progress on the scientific side.

In short, everything we can do before April is being done, but some things must wait until we move into the main building. This is a very big job. It is a vast array of administrative problems, ranging from questions like display arrangements in the new operations centre to the uniforms of the messengers. It is being done to the best of our ability.

The Bill itself is concerned solely with the reallocation of statutory powers now with the Service Ministers and Departments. It is not concerned with the prerogative powers under which many of the activities of the Service Departments are carried on. Nor is it concerned with the details of the reorganisation, the transfers of staff, the alterations in lines of responsibility, allocations of accommodation or the 1,001 administrative details I have been touching on. It has, therefore, been possible, and I hope that the House will count it to our credit, to boil down the legislative implications of what is a very large reorganisation to a comparatively simple Bill.

The Bill is part only of the process of setting up a united Ministry of Defence. The other formal step is, of course, the appointment by Her Majesty of the Secretary of State for Defence and the establishment, under the Royal prerogative, of a Defence Council and of Navy, Army and Air Force boards. Clause 1 makes it plain, starting as it does with the word "if"—which is a rather unusual beginning—that the proposed legislation is dependent upon Her Majesty being pleased to make such arrangements.

I have been authorised to say that Her Majesty has been informed of the con- tent of the Bill and has been graciously pleased to indicate that she will, in due course, be prepared to make the necessary arrangements under the prerogative powers.

Under these arrangements, the offices of First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air and Minister of Defence, together with the Board of Admiralty and the Army and Air Councils will disappear. It is necessary to transfer the statutory powers which hitherto have rested in them to the new Secretary of State for Defence and to the Defence Council. That, in brief, is what Clause 1 does.

The allocation of functions between the Secretary of State and the Defence Council is explained in paragraph 2 of the Memorandum. Briefly, what it does is to perpetuate the division of powers between the Ministers and the Councils broadly as it exists today. The powers of the Secretary of State for War and the Secretary of State for Air are transferred to the Secretary of State for Defence. The powers of the Army Council and the Air Council are transferred to the Defence Council.

The statutory powers of the Admiralty have to be dealt with rather differently because the whole of the Admiralty is in Commission, but they are being allocated on a broadly similar division. Of course, the historic office of Lord High Admiral—at present held by the Lords of Admiralty in Commission—with its title and flag will be assumed or, as some say, reassumed by Her Majesty, while the statutory and other functions will be discharged by the Secretary of State and the Defence Council.

Clause 1 (5) deals with the relationship between the Defence Council and the three Service boards. It provides that subject to any direction by the Defence Council, the boards can discharge finally—this is important,"finally"—any function of that council. The point here is, as explained in the White Paper, that the council will deal mainly with policy. The boards will deal mainly with management. I do not want to be pedantic about this because, as we all know, these overlap. The council plainly is free to intervene at any point. Meanwhile, we must make the fullest possible use of the large complex administrative structure which exists.

The real problem that faces me and my associates at this moment is to keep the shop open while we are carrying out this reorganisation, and what we have to do is to use to the full the whole of the administrative organisation and, indeed, to continue it while at the same time introducing these reforms. Many of the functions which are mainly managerial will be appropriate, and it is the Government's intention that they will continue to be discharged by the boards subject to any directions which are given.

This applies particularly—this is part of the point raised by the hon. Member for Dudley—to the judicial and quasi-judicial powers, the review of disciplinary awards, the redress of grievances, and so on. As I made clear in the White Paper, our intention is that these will be discharged finally by the boards. I do not want to interfere with the long-established practice that appeals against finding and sentence of courts-martial should be dealt with by the Service to which the accused belongs. These arrangements preserve that situation, which I am sure is the sensible thing to do.

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Could the right hon. Gentleman clear up one point? I am clear, so far as the boards of the various Services are concerned, that the existing functions will in a sense be retained, but what is the function of the Minister who is now given part-responsibility? Does he have the final political responsibility in connection with each of the Services, or is the political responsibility that of the new Secretary of State himself?

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The political responsibility is with the Secretary of State himself.

I should like in a moment to come on to discuss some of the implications of that arrangement in the House of Commons. But there is no question about the principle of the matter. The final political responsibility for the whole Department must rest with the Secretary of State. In other words, this reorganisation is not just a conglomeration of existing individual political entities under one roof. It is the creation of one new political entity or Ministry under a responsible Secretary of State

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Suppose that Private Snooks has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment and has gone through all the appeal procedure, and then the case goes to the Secretary of State for War for review. Suppose then that the Secretary of State for War, on the six-monthly review, says "No" and refuses the appeal. Would the Secretary of State for Defence set up another appeal court or would the decision of the Secretary of State for War finish the matter?

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This is the meaning of the words "finally discharged". That is to say, it will go on exactly as it does now. If Private Snooks wishes to appeal against the court-martial finding, the case will go to the Army board as it would have gone to the Army Council which would finally discharge the appeal.

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In the normal case to which my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) referred, confirmation is vested in the present political chiefs of the Service Departments. As I understand it, confirmation will finally be vested in the Secretary of State for Defence?

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The Secretary of Stale is the chairman of the Army board. There is no question about the ultimate political responsibilty. As we all know, in practice, if there is a great debate, as there occasionally is, about a court-martial, the matter having been raised in this House, the Secretary of State might have to answer. But T am dealing with the ordinary sort of case—those 99 per cent, of cases where there is an appeal from a court-martial or where the case goes to the Army Council.

So far as Private Snooks is concerned, it will go on in exactly the same way, and the important point from his point of view is that in that case the matter will be dealt with by soldiers and it will be finally discharged there. However, if hon. Members wish to develop this point further we can, no doubt, deal with it in debate.

The Secretary of State for Defence, as I have said, will be Chairman of the Defence Council and also of the Service boards, and he will be responsible to Parliament for all business that is transacted. It will be obvious to hon. Members that we shall need to consult together through the usual channels, and through any others which may be convenient, on the best way of dealing with Questions in the House of Commons. Our object here must be to ensure that hon. Members have facilities at least equal to those which exist at present for probing the problems of policy and administration over the whole of the defence field. This is a matter for discussion. I do not think that we need debate it now, but we certainly want to deal with the matter of putting Questions down, of deciding who is the best Minister to answer particular Questions, and so forth. This we should do.

Equally, at an appropriate stage we ought also to consider not only the matter of Questions, but the presentation of Estimates and the parliamentary control over defence expenditure. The Estimates will be presented in one volume, but they will continue to be debatable on separate Votes. Of course, the method whereby Parliament exercises control over expenditure within the framework of the Estimates is really a matter for Parliament itself. It is not something which anyone should or could seek to lay down from outside. Hitherto, in practice, we have concentrated during the period of March-April a series of important defence debates. We have generally had two days' debate on the Defence White Paper, and then we have had a day on each of the Service Estimates. We can, of course, continue the same pattern.

It falls for consideration whether we might not try some debates on subject matter divided by roles rather than by Services. For example, we could have a day's debate on the whole role in Europe—the British Army of the Rhine, the tactical nuclear weapon, the role of the Royal Air Force in Europe—concentrating it on a whole specific role. Or we could have a whole day's debate on the role in the Far and Middle East—Singapore, Aden, the question of the carrier force and the situation in South-East Asia. Or we could devote a day exclusively to the deterrent, instead of having the question of the deterrent raised at various moments in debate. We could have one whole day on the subject of the deterrent, the V-bomber force, Polaris, TSR2, the MLF and all that complex of questions.

It is possible—this is entirely a matter for the House—that broader-based debates related to specific assignments might be more interesting and more productive, and, if I may say so, might attract a rather larger audience than just spending a day mulling over the administrative details of one particular Service. However, I do not press this matter. These are matters entirely for the House of Commons, but they are suggestions which I throw out and on which we might reflect.

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I am sympathetic to the idea that my right hon. Friend has been propounding. But will he not recognise that all debates on Estimates are inevitably to some extent governed, so far as the Chair is concerned, by which Minister is responsible for the particular Vote? Therefore, if, under our present procedure, each of the Ministers of State were to present Votes for each of their Services, there would be great difficulty in enabling debates to take place on the Vote of one of the Services on matters concerning the Votes of others as well. There would be considerable procedural difficulty in the matter, unless in future the Secretary of State for Defence is to be mainly responsible for all the three Services.

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He will be mainly responsible. Also—the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend is an important one—I emphasised earlier that in future Ministers of State will be more than Ministers responsible for a single Service. They will be responsible across the whole of the defence field. So it will be possible—I am not pressing this; it is for the House of Commons, not the Government, to decide these things—to hold debates on the basis of separate assignments rather than separate Services if the House so wishes, or the House may try to do something on those lines.

Clause 2 transfers all Service property, rights and liabilities to the Secretary of State for Defence, and provides for the acquisition and use of land. The broad object of the Clause, which we shall debate in detail in Committee, is to apply one code, the Army code, to land acquisition, and to relate that code not to a single Service, but to all the purposes of the new Department.

Clause 3 contains consequential and transitional powers, and Clause 4 is, I think, self-explanatory.

This is a technical Bill, made necessary by the abolition of single Service authorities and the creation of a single unified Ministry of Defence. No new powers, broadly, are taken. The transfer is of existing powers from old authorities to the new. The basic principle of unification was, I think, broadly welcomed in July. The Bill is necessary to that unification, and I hope that the House will support it.

4.42 p.m.

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Perhaps I may begin, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, by raising a point on procedure. It is clear from what the Minister of Defence has said, and from the Bill and from the White Paper which preceded it, that this Measure is a constitutional one of major importance. It liquidates three Ministries, some of which have existed for centuries. It vests in one new Minister who does not yet exist a great concentration of power and responsibility than any Minister in our history, other than the Prime Minister himself, has ever held—responsibility for spending £2,000 million a year and for administering a force of nearly 1 million civilian and military personnel. It also, incidentally, gives the Minister power to vary the whole structure of the defence system at will from time to time without further reference to the House.

It seems to me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that this is pre-eminently the sort of Bill which, according to custom and, indeed, to the recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure of 1958 should be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House I hope that the Minister can assure us that it will so be taken I wonder whether he could clear that up right away.

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I should have thought—I am not controverting or agreeing with what has been said—that this was typically a matter which might be dealt with in discussions through the usual channels. These things are normally discussed in that way. I am sure that we shall be very happy to enter into discussions on that basis. But I should not like to give a firm answer at this moment.

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rose

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:I think that this is a subject which I might pursue myself. I understand that if the Bill is to be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House the Government are required to put forward a Motion to that effect at the end of today's business. There is not much time left. I understand that there has already been consultation through the usual channels and that an indication has been given that it is the Government's intention that the Bill should not be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House. My right hon. Friends and I would deeply deplore such a decision by the Government and would note it as a precedent for the future.

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I will treat the hon. Gentleman's proposals with all the courtesy that they deserve. He has put a proposal to me. I have spoken in reply to it. What the hon. Gentleman says indicates that discussions have gone on and are now going on through the usual channels. I shall acquaint myself with the latest position. We have several hours left. I will reflect on what the hon. Gentleman has said.

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:Before my hon. Friend accepts that offer, will he bear in mind that not only the usual channels are involved? This is a matter of great constitutional importance which affects the responsibility of every hon. Member in the House. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that it is not only a matter of the convenience of the two Front Benches.

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My hon. Friend's responsibility is, I think, well understood in the House, but I assure him that so far as this side of the House is concerned we fully recognise the importance of this issue. That is why I raised it at the beginning of the debate.

The odd thing about the Bill, as the Minister has confessed, is that it gives the Government a blank cheque. It transfers an enormous range of power and responsibility to a new Minister who has not yet been appointed. It transfers all the powers of the existing permanent heads of the Services—the Army Council, the Air Council, and the Board of Admiralty—to a new Defence Council. It also gives the Government the right to pass powers back from the Defence Council to the individual Services at any time they think fit.

There is in the Bill no commitment whatever as to the precise shape of the defence organisation when the Bill has been passed, although we have had an assurance from the Minister of Defence that the present Government propose to use the powers that they are given in order to set up an organisation along the lines indicated to the House in the White Paper on reorganisation which was discussed in July.

I should like to press the Government to clear up the matter of discipline a little further. The Opposition regard it as of fundamental importance from the points of view of the rights of the individual serving man or woman and of discipline in the individual Services that, so long as the Acts governing discipline remain separate and distinct for every Service the responsibility for discipline should be in the particular Service.

I understand from what the Minister has said that in the case of serving Service personnel it is intended that the new boards of the individual Services will be the final authorities on discipline. The point which 1 and my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) raise is whether, once the matter becomes a political matter and passes from the permanent military personnel to people who are politically responsible, a Minister with special responsibility for the Service will, as now, play a part in decision or whether the only Minister concerned will be the Minister of Defence.

I would press this matter again. I think that the Minister will agree that he did not clear it up in his reply. Perhaps he did not fully take the point. I hope that we can have an answer. The Opposition and, I am sure, many right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite take this as a matter of the greatest importance.

As the Minister said, the main purpose of the Bill is to establish machinery which it is hoped will produce, or make it easier to take, better decisions on the shape, structure and weapons system of our armed forces. The Minister said—I agree with him—that it is essential that decisions in these fields should be based on the requirements of national defence in general rather than on the interests and traditions of the individual Services. So far, I think, there is no disagreement between him and, at any rate, most of us on this side of the House, but I must say that as he deployed his description of the new machinery, enthusiasm on both sides of the House seemed to be visibly waning.

In many fields it seemed to me that the Minister had no clear view on precisely how the machinery would operate, and it was not clear whether he expected the machinery to produce decisions at all. It seems to me that if we take the new structure as he explained it in which the individual Services, in spite of the formal transfer of power, retain very many of the rights and authorities which they possess at present, the only person who can take decisions is the Minister himself. The question whether or not this new machinery represents an improvement on the existing machinery depends entirely on the will of the Minister in charge at the time to use it.

The Minister has never cleared up, either in this debate or in the debate in July, the point which many of us made, namely, that the Minister of Defence has had power to take decisions ever since the reorganisation in 1958. What we all deplore is the fact that he has not used the power, and we have absolutely no assurance that he will make better use of the additional powers which he is to get under this Bill than he has made of the powers which he already posseses and which are almost as extensive concerning decisions as the powers which he gets under the Bill.

Those of us who had some confidence in the Minister's will to use the new machinery he is asking for have been extremely depressed by the example he has given us in the last week in his handling of the PI 154 project. We all congratulated him when he came to the House on 30th July, only three months ago, and told us mat he had taken a decision that the Navy and the Air Force should have a common aircraft to replace the Sea Vixen and the Hunter. I quoted him yesterday, and I quote him again, as telling us that a decision had been taken and that the Services had already agreed on the requirements of the new aircraft. Now we gather that they have not even agreed on whether the new aircraft is to have one man or two men in the crew, a point which everyone has known from the beginning was one of the crucial matters of decision.

I believe that the right hon. Gentleman's statement in the House yesterday was a lamentable confession of his failure as Minister of Defence. If he is incapable of using the powers which he has already and of carrying out a decision which he has already taken, there is very little ground for believing that he will use any better the new powers for which he is asking in this Bill.

I have been reading his speech in the last defence reorganisation debate. He went much further even than he did when he announced his decision to the House. He said:
"The announcement yesterday"—
he was referring to his own speech—
"of the adoption of a common aircraft for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force is a significant indication of the new approach in which all Services play a role,"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1963; Vol. 682, c. 478.]
Now we are told that, so far from anything having been adopted, there is very serious trouble in the design study, and according to all the rumours we hear, there will be no common aircraft, and there is even a serious question as to whether one or both Services will get an aircraft at all—certainly a British aircraft.

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:I do not want the hon. Gentleman to be unfair to my right hon. Friend over the question of his having used or not used the powers which he has been given. Does the hon. Member appreciate that the big difference between this Bill and what has happened before is that this Bill gives my right hon. Friend financial powers in estimating which, hitherto, he has not had? One of the difficulties in the past may have been due to the fact that in the context in which the hon. Member has just been talking, it was only the Secretary of State for Air who could introduce the necessary estimate, whereas now there is the possibility of the new Secretary of State for Defence submitting an estimate which embraces more than one Service.

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I cannot accept that at all, because under the 1958 reorganisation the Minister of Defence—and I quote the terms of the White Paper—

"has authority to decide …all major matters of defence policy affecting the size, shape, organisation and disposition of the Armed Forces".
their equipment and supply, their pay and conditions of service. There is not the slightest doubt that the Minister has power, and, indeed, he has not contested that.

What the Minister has told us is that there is a fierce argument between the two Services as to whether it is possible to have a compatible aircraft. I noticed that when he expounded his latest views on this matter to the electors of Dundee he said that there was, "not a hell of an argument, but some damned hard talking." I have no doubt that he chose to use swear words to describe the situation because it might possibly give an impression of toughness and decisiveness which was totally absent from his actual behaviour in this matter. But, despite the fact that he put some false hair on his chest in his speech at Dundee, the plain fact is that the Minister has shown no toughness or decisiveness.

I put it to the Minister and to the House that either he was totally misled by his advisers in July, or that he has been totally out-manoeuvred by his advisers since. In either case it is a pathetic example of flabbiness which augurs very badly for the success of the reorganisation presented to us this afternoon.

What must be equally disturbing is the spate of rumours in the Press about the current crisis over the Defence Estimates. We have had a crisis every year over the Defence Estimates which has tended to begin about July and to reach its peak about October or November, and we know why the crisis develops. It develops because each Service is given to understand that it will have roughly a third of the Defence

Vote to play around with. When the three Services present their Estimates it turns out that they are far too large, partly because each Service tends to underestimate the cost of weapons to which it is already committed. We had the example recently revealed by the Public Accounts Committee, I think, of one weapon—I think it was Seaslug—costing forty times the original estimate.

The Minister of Defence knows very well that under-estimates of the likely cost of weapons is one of the major reasons for the current crisis. I do not blame the Minister, any more than my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition did not Thursday, for sometimes making mistakes in his sums. This is an extremely difficult problem, on which it is literally impossible to be certain in advance whether a weapon will cost a certain amount, or whether it will require modification in the course of its development and production which will vastly increase its cost.

However, I do not think that the Minister would deny that the weapons programme to which the Government are committed will add up to far more than the 7½ per cent, of the gross national product to which the Minister committed himself. We have the TSR2, with an almost unlimited cost. I will come to its actual cost later and, in view of what the Prime Minister said earlier, I hope that the Minister who replies to the debate will be a little more forthcoming on this matter. There is the commitment in respect of the ASW681 transport aircraft, the P1154 commitment and the Shackleton replacement commitment, all falling on the Royal Air Force. We have the commitment to Polaris submarines, to a new aircraft carrier and possibly to a contribution to the proposed multilateral force, all falling on the Royal Navy.

Finally, we have the commitment, I am glad to say, which is now coming to fruition, to provide the Army with new tanks, and the commitment which was not bargained for, and which, I suspect, will be extremely costly, to redeploy part of the strategic reserve in the Far East because of the unexpected difficulties in Malaysia.

Yet the Government have committed themselves to keep the defence bill down to about 7½ per cent, of the Budget, or under £2,000 million. The Prime Minister promised the country during his by-election speeches only a few weeks ago:
"I think we will be able quite shortly to begin with the physical process of reduction of armaments and use the expenditure for other more peaceful purposes."
I only hope that he is right, but I cannot help remembering that he told his party a few days later that for the next few months electioneering must have priority over all other factors in Government policy.

Whatever view one takes of the Prime Minister's statement, the Minister of Defence must agree that something in the existing programmes to which the Government are committed will have to go. He made this clear when he pointed to the financial aspects of the decision on the P1154. Will the Navy have its carrier? Will it get its Sea Vixen replacement? Will the R.A.F. get the TSR2 and the Hunter replacement for which it is asking? Will the Army get the tanks which it needs? Most important of all, will it get the married quarters on which its recruiting, in large part, depends, and the transport aircraft on which its mobility, in large part, depends?

I say this very sincerely to the Minister. I hope that, whatever decision he takes on this question, he will not cut the Army. He must know that the recruiting figures at present are highly disturbing, and there seems to be little prospect that the target which the Government set themselves only six months ago will be achieved in the immediate future, if, indeed, at all.

The Minister of Defence himself had to warn N.A.T.O. recently that it now was uncertain whether Britain would be able to fulfil the firm commitment to which it has been pledged now for, I think it is, seven years, to provide 55,000 effective soldiers in the British Army of the Rhine. I hope that the Minister will give first priority at this time to the fulfilment of this commitment and to the steps which will give us an effective Army because, whether we like it or not, the Army is at present committed all over the world, and there is very grave danger that if its needs are not given first priority—its needs both in recruiting and mobility—the elastic which is stretched so tight by commitments, expected and un- expected, will snap in the next few months, with results which could be absolutely disastrous for this country's prestige throughout the world.

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I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman again. He has made a particularly important request to my right hon. Friend. I assume that in making it he has worked out what he, if he were in the Minister's position, would himself do. If, for some reason or other, voluntary recruitment does not produce a sufficient number of men to provide 55,000 in Europe, is he saying that he would be prepared to introduce some form of national service to enable that to happen?

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That is a very hypothetical question indeed. What we have said from this side continuously is that we are determined to provide troops adequate to fulfil our commitments. The question of how we provide these troops, whether it is possible to reduce commitments, whether it is possible by changing inducements to increase regular recruiting, I cannot answer from this position at this time, but I am very conscious that I or one of my right hon. or hon. Friends may well be faced with this problem within five months. I assure the hon. Gentleman that, when we face this problem, we shall maintain the pledge which I have just repeated to him.

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:If the hon. Gentleman is contemplating that he might have to face this problem, perhaps he ought to face it a little more clearly now. He is saying, as I understand it, that he would give first priority to bringing the number of troops in Europe up to 55,000. So far as I can see, there are only two ways in which he can do it, unless he assumes some increase in recruiting. One is by introducing conscription; another is by moving troops out of the Far East, where we are under pressure, into Europe. I think that he ought to give the House some indication which of these he would prefer.

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I think that the Minister, if he is wise, will reflect on what I have said and realise that I did not say that I would give first priority to the maintenance of 55,000 troops in Europe. What I said—and what I ask him to do—is to give first priority, when he has to decide on what cuts are to be made in the current Estimate being presented, to the maintenance of the recruiting and mobility of our present Army forces over the whole field.

I would not be prepared at this moment to say, especially in the light of the very substantial changes in N.A.T.O. strategy which are under discussion inside N.A.T.O. at present, and in the light, also, of the most important speech by the American Secretary of Defence, to which I shall refer—

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rose

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No, I shall not give way. I think that I have been extremely lenient in giving way to interruptions and I feel that I should get on with discussing the implications of the Bill. We have from this side of the House made several suggestions as to possible cuts in the programme in recent weeks, and we have asked questions about elements in the programme. Hon. Members opposite, and, in particular, the Minister of Aviation, every time we have raised the question, have described this as being unpatriotic for casting doubts on the viability or legitimacy of particular parts of our military expenditure.

One might think from the way they talk that the Government had never cancelled any project the whole time that they have been in office;yet the right hon. Gentleman knows very well that his first act when he became Minister of Defence was to cancel Blue Water. The Government have cancelled projects at this time of the year every year for the last twelve years. The Minister of Aviation was kind enough to give us details last June of 30 major projects on missiles or aircraft which have been cancelled during the present Administration, at a loss to the country in unfruitful expenditure of over £250 million.

I hope that the Minister realises that when we raise these questions—he knows perfectly well that these are questions which he is having to consider at this moment, as he has to consider them at this phase in the financial year every year—they are questions that it is perfectly legitimate for the Opposition to ask and that there is no question of unpatriotism when we ask them. That is why we want an inquiry into the tremendous expenditure on the TSR2 which, at the present time, is preempting such a very large proportion of the resources available for defence. No one who knows anything about this aircraft will deny that if it flies and comes up to planning and expectations it will be a superb technological achievement worthy of the greatest traditions of our aviation industry. But the question which the Minister has to decide, and the question on which the House and the country will judge him, is whether this tremendous expenditure will meet our real defence needs better than the same amount of money spent on some other defence purpose.

The Government have been extremely coy in giving us figures of the amount of money spent on the TSR2. I understand that when the project was first approved in 1959, the Government were assured that the total cost of research and development would be about £90 million. I understand that we have already spent about twice that amount and yet the aircraft has not yet flown.

Eighteen months ago, the Minister of Defence told the House that the cost of the project—he did not make it clear whether this was research and development or the total cost of the whole project—would be about £400 million. Since then, the project has fallen six months behind schedule, because we were told earlier this year that the aircraft was expected to fly in about September and now we are told that it may not fly until March next year.

The Minister of Aviation yesterday rejected, with his usual hyperbole, an estimate, which I asked him to confirm, or deny, which was printed by the Observer. I understand very well why the Observer is not the most popular authority on any matter on the benches opposite, but I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the air correspondent of the Daily Telegraph stated—rightly or wrongly, we do not know—a month ago in an article which he wrote on the TSR2 that the Government had paid £15 million for each of the first 18 aircraft which they had ordered.

The Sunday Times, which again, 1 expect, is a more acceptable source of information on these matters to hon. Members opposite, in a long and careful argument which it produced the other day on the TSR2, gave an estimate of £600 million as being the likely total cost of the project, including the special nuclear bomb which must be produced for it if it is to have a serious strategic nuclear rÔle. I do not believe that the Opposition are being unpatriotic when they ask the Government to tell us whether these estimates are right and whether expenditure of this magnitude is justified in the light of the total needs of all our Armed Forces.

We on this side resent almost as in-, tensely the shiftiness of the Minister of Aviation when he does give information as we resent his arrogance when he refuses it. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will not authorise his——

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On a point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to accuse a Minister of being a twister?

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I did not hear anything that I thought required my intervention.

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On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I called the Minister a twister.

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Further to the point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to call a Minister a twister?

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What I said was that I did not hear anything that, I thought, required interruption from the Chair, and that is how I rule.

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:When the House and the country are denied information on this project, we have to look for information where we can find it. The only hard evidence which we have about the TSR2 was the behaviour of the Australian Government when faced with a choicebetween the TSR2 and other aircraft to meet their own requirements. It is no good the Government trying to run off into fantasy as to why the Australian Government rejected the TSR2, because the Conservative Prime Minister of Australia—who, I do not think any of us on either side would deny, is British to his bootstraps—has given the following as his reasons for rejecting the TSR2.

The Prime Minister of Australia said—and I quote from The Times of 14th November—that the mission of the Australian Air Force which had examined several alternative aircraft overseas
"had reported that both the TFX and the TSR2 would meet R.A.A.F. requirements but had believed the TFX superior in range, short take-off and landing ability, weapons carrying capacity and reconnaissance capabilities."
He went on to say that the terms on which the Australian Government were buying the TFX would save Australia
"scores, literally tens of millions of pounds"
compared with the cost of two squadrons of the TSR2.

I do not know whether what the Australian Prime Minister said is true, but I do not think that the Minister could deny that the Australian Prime Minister was sincere when he gave those as his reasons for refusing to accept the aircraft. The argument from the Minister of Aviation that the Australian Government refused the TSR2 because they had heard that the Labour Party in Britain was not keen on going on with a nuclear deterrent is as intellectually ludicrous as it is morally contemptible, because if the Australian Government thought that a country without nuclear weapons would not consider the TSR2 worth while, why should the Australian Government even look at the TSR2, because the Australian Government do not have nuclear weapons and have no prospect of obtaining them in the immediate future?

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t: I do not know what relevance an Australian order or no Australian order for the TSR2 has to the central organisation of defence in this country. I did not expand on this in my speech; I thought that it would be marginal to the main subject of the debate. What I am concerned about is a constant attempt to shoot this aircraft to pieces on the ground before it ever gets off.

It is not a question of the nuclear deterrent. It is the doubts which are raised, not only in Australia, but everywhere, by speeches such as the hon. Gentleman's, which raise, or are designed to raise, every kind of doubt about this aircraft. Demands for inquiry into it and demands as to whether it is needed or will have a rÔle are making our chance of ever selling this aircraft far harder.

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If I might intervene, perhaps it would be as well for the House to remember that what we are debating is the Defence (Transfer of Functions) Bill.

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The Minister knows better than anybody else that the TSR2 project is a monument to the failure of inter-Service co-operation, because if there had been proper inter-Service cooperation at the time this aircraft was first ordered we would not have had both a naval strike aircraft and an air-force strike aircraft, performing very largely the same functions, developed totally independently with no serious attempt to render them compatible. The Minister knows this perfectly well.

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indicated dissent.

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The whole history of the TSR2 is an object lesson and is extremely relevant to the subject which is under discussion.

The question which is raised by the TSR2—and the Minister knows this, because he is at present having to decide which of the projects to which the Government are committed will be cut before the next Defence Estimates are presented to Parliament, in the same way as the 30 major projects have already been cut by the Government in the last twelve years—is the fundamental one that we cannot do everything. We cannot cover every conceivable danger with every conceivable weapon. Nobody expressed this point of view more cogently than the right hon. Gentleman himself when he resigned from his position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. I will not embarrass him by quoting his words to him again, but he knows this very well.

If we are ever to make sense of our defence expenditure at a time when the cost of replacing weapons is increasing ten times as fast as our national income is increasing—this is the problem which is at the root of our dilemma and which is the reason behind the Bill—we must decide what type of war is most likely, where it will be and what weapons and forces are most suitable for fighting or deterring it.

The first question, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted in presenting the White Paper, is a question for the Cabinet as a whole, but there is still no sign that the Government are trying to answer it. We heard a lot from the right hon. Gentleman the other day about the establishment of a joint defence and overseas committee of the Cabinet. I should like to know whether this committee, which does not depend on the Bill, has already been set up and is working.

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Yes, it is.

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:I am glad to hear it. What we want from the Government is what we had from the American Secretary of Defence in impressive measure on Monday of this week—that is, a comprehensive statement of where the Government feel that the defence problem will face us over the next ten years, so that we have a basis on which to judge the Government's proposals for meeting those needs.

I wish that occasionally the Minister of Defence would reveal his thinking, if he has any, on these matters to the House and the country. He failed to do so in this year's Defence White Paper and again today. If Mr. McNamara is right, for example, it would be much wiser for us to spend money for forces for local conventional war rather than forces for global atomic war. This is a relevant point which is worth considering.

The Prime Minister pointed out in the debate in another place on 31st July that our forces had been committed in hostilities fifty-six times since the end of the last war. Thanks to the Secretary of State for Air, I had an opportunity of seeing something of the work which those forces are doing in one of those wars, in Malaysia. What those forces are crying out for is helicopters, not TSR2s. I would not be prepared to take a decision myself on this without knowing far more about the problem than I do, but the Government must take some decisions on the type of wars we are likely to have to face, so that we have some ideas about which are the sort of weapons systems which are most likely to be appropriate to our needs.

If the Cabinet takes the right decision on this, the question is whether the proposed reorganisation will help us to choose the right pattern of arms and forces. The real trouble, as we said in July and as was said again in the debate in another place, is that the proposals presented to Parliament in July and implied in the Bill are essentially a compromise which hedges on almost every important issue. We still have four major worries about the proposals on which the Minister of Defence has done nothing by what he has said this afternoon to allay our concern.

The first is the Parkinson's Law problem. It is now clear from the Bill that the reorganisation will mean a big increase in personnel and a big increase in expenditure. In the Preamble to the Bill, the Minister of Defence says that he hopes that this increase in expenditure and in personnel will some day be offset by streamlining, but there seems to be no provision inside the organisation for this streamlining to take place. It goes against all precedents, set not only in British but in defence reorganisation all over the world, to believe that this streamlining will come about automatically.

The noble Lord Field Marshal Montgomery said in the debate in another place that what was needed was a great dose of weed killer, and there is not the slightest doubt that he was right. What worries us is that instead of producing integration, the new organisation will produce a fourth party to what has so far been a three-party argument among the three Services and that the Government will produce a penthouse, an additional storey, on the defence structure rather than pull the three existing Services together.

The Minister increased rather than allayed our concern about our second worry, which is that the downgrading of the Service Ministers while leaving the Chiefs of Staff untouched will mean less pressure for unity and a general weakening of political control throughout the system. It is absolutely intolerable that the individual Chiefs of Staff should retain not only the right of separate access to the Minister of Defence, which, I suppose, is arguable, but also the right of separate access to the Cabinet, while the only Minister with any real authority over them will be the Minister of Defence himself, and even he could be outflanked by a direct approach to the Cabinet.

It seems to me, even more from what the Minister said about giving the Ministers of State functions beyond those of supervising the individual Services, that he must either downgrade the Chiefs of Staff in the new organisation, or must upgrade the Ministers of State. It is quite unacceptable to produce an organisation which reduces the possibility of political control, because any hope of carrying thisintegration further will depend primarily on continuous and persistent pressure from the politicians. The pressure will not come in the required measure from the Services themselves.

That takes me to my third major complaint, which is that the new Secretary of State for Defence is to have such a colossal range of responsibilities to cover that the prospect of his giving the time and energy required for decision on the major political issues is almost nil. A great deal about this was said in our last debate and in another place, but nobody on this earth is superhuman enough to carry out the manifold responsibilities of policy formation and administration imposed on the Secretary of State alone, unless he has senior political assistance not provided for in the White Paper and, of course, not mentioned in the Bill in any way.

I put again to the right hon. Gentleman a proposal on which he did not comment last time and which was made simultaneously by Lord Swinton in another place—that there is a strong case for a senior assistant to the new Secretary of Defence whose prime responsibility would be the defence budget. I think this for two reasons, partly because effective political control of expenditure, multifarious and extensive as defence expenditure is, is absolutely impossible under the proposed system, and partly because it is through defence budgeting that the major advances towards functional integration are liable to take place. I do not believe that a second Permanent Under-Secretary can be made solely responsible for taking new initiatives in functional integration and a Minister of senior status—I will not say whether he should be in the Cabinet, for that raises many other questions—responsible for the defence budget is the only person likely to exert the continuing pressure for the progress in this respect which is desired.

All of us who are interested in the Bill would agree that the real question is whether it will be the first step towards continuing functional integration of the Services, or whether it is to be the; last step in an old story. The Bill will be judged not by what is in it, but by whether the Government responsible can keep up the momentum towards further integration once this proposal is carried out.

I must confess—and this is not just a party statement—that I have no confidence in the ability of the present Administration to maintain the necessary pressure in this direction. If I thought that the present Administration would last, I would strongly oppose giving it the sort of blank cheque which is provided by the Bill. But the doubts and fears about the Bill which many of us on this side of the House have are considerably reduced by the thought that even though it is a blank cheque, it will be for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House to cash it.

5.27 p.m.

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I hope that it will not tax your patience too much, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I actually spend the whole of my time discussing the Bill. The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) shares with his chief a total inability to speak for less than an hour on any subject whatever. When it comes to who is the bigger bore, I should be inclined to award the hon. Member the palm.

In its present form, the Bill isacceptable and is not really amendable. All it does is to lay foundations on which the proposed superstructure is to be built. However, as a House of Commons we have a duty to examine this matter closely, because there are many matters in which the interests of the House are concerned. Mr. Ramsay MacDonald once very sagely remarked that great words like "truth" and "justice" had serpents in their folds. It may equally be true that big words like "centralised power" and "integration "also have serpents in their folds, and I should like to set out to scotch three of them.

The reason why the Bill in general is welcomed is that it means an addition of power to the Minister of Defence. He himself referred to the old Service Ministries as fortresses and believed that those fortresses ought to be stormed. They have been successfully stormed and he now has the power. But we have to think not only about power but about the way in which advice will be tendered, because power is no good on its own unless the right thing is done.

That brings me to my first point, which is one which I made last March. I am extremely doubtful about whether it is right to have a Chief of Defence Staff. I should like him to be replaced by a military secretariat as part of the Cabinet Office. I will expand a little on that.

At the central point at the Ministry of Defence the questions that come up are not only military. It is at that point that the political, military and economic strands all meet, and, indeed, become inextricably intertwined. The problems are very complex. Lord Trenchard once said in another place that it was far harder to be Minister of Defence in peace time than in war time. I think that that is true. In war, the options are so few. One knows who one's enemy is and who one's allies are. The time to produce weapons is always now, and, obviously, economic considerations have to take bottom place. But in peace the problems are many. The political situation is always changing. One cannot tell when a war might come, and whether one ought or ought not to go in for the production of any particular weapon is always a very finely poised question. It seems to me that if we are to get the right advice on these matters we must be advised by people who have spent their lives thinking about these precise points where the military, political and economic strands meet.

The weakness about the Chief of the Defence Staff seems to be simply that our choice is very limited. He must be a very senior officer indeed. Very often there will be only one possible man, and he is always, certainly at present, someone illumined by the panache of the battlefield. He is not always the sort of man who has spent the whole of his life thinking about the intersections of the military, political and economic threads. If he were, he might not have won a battle.

Field Marshal Lord Montgomery certainly made one political pronouncement which I think caught the imagination of people in the country, and one which they approved by their votes. Hon. Gentlemen will remember that at the last Election he said that anyone who voted Labour ought to be sent to a lunatic asylum, and obviously the country very generally agreed that he was right. I think, however, that even his greatest admirers must admit that the Field Marshal's other political pronouncements have shown rather less maturity.

First, I would like to see the Minister of Defence get his advice direct from his three Chiefs of Staff, but having behind him this secretariat organised something in the way that Lord Hankey and Lord Ismay did in the past. The military Staff can be taken from any rank or service and there will be people working away year after year at these problems and having the confidence of both the military and political sides. They would, of course, have the right to sit in at meetings of the Chiefs of Staff, and so on. I think that a far better way of doing it.

If my right hon. Friend does not feel able to abolish the office of Chief of the Defence Staff, then I would wish that he would revert it to what it was when it was created in 1955 when it was simply Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, in the same way as in America. The upgrading was part of the war of nerves against the Service Departments. It seems a dangerous accretion of power in one person.

I think it particularly important because of the next point I want to raise, which is the question of the Service Ministers, Ministers of State (War) or whoever it may be. I am worried about this and am particularly worried by something which my right hon. Friend has said repeatedly, that he does not think they should be firmly attached to their Services. He considers them to be sort of deputy Defence Ministers. He sees himself hovering this clutch of six junior Ministers under his capacious wings.

I think it terribly important that they should have a local habitation and a name not in brackets. One has always to bear in mind the enormous number of human beings involved. It is not only the men and women in uniform and the civil servants but the industrial employees too. We all know the number of problems that are constantly arising for personnel employed by the Services. Of course, far more questions come up through the usual channels than through Members of Parliament. I think it psychologically important that some one person should be responsible for dealing with those things.

My right hon. Friend said in an earlier debate that no one is going to bother about the Secretary of State for Defence. He is too far away and too remote. In the past a Service Minister—he might have been liked or disliked; he might have been good at his job or less good, but he was there—could be seen, could be written to and could be kicked. I think that actually knowing who is responsible is frightfully important. My experience of taking up matters on behalf of constituents is that if they get what they want, well and good, but that if they do not get what they want they are still relieved that their case has been taken to the highest quarter. I have again and again had people say to me, "I am sorry that I did not get what I wanted, but at any rate I have done all I could and have taken it to the top".

The next reason for attaching Service Ministers firmly to their Armed Services is this. I have been a junior Minister, a Secretary of State and a junior Minister in the Ministry of Defence. A Junior or Senior Minister when visiting units and stations was welcomed everywhere. The men were glad to see him. The reason that they were glad to see him was because they wanted to talk about their work, their ideas, their hopes and their fears and they knew that the Minister would do what he could to help. On the other hand, if one went round as a representative of the Ministry of Defence they were polite but they were not forthcoming. They did not want to talk to one. They did not trust one. They thought that one might want to take something away from them and give it to another Service.

It is important for this House that there should be an easy relationship be- tween politicians in the Service Departments and the Service personnel. If we do not get that things will go very wrong. There is another reason which is even more important. The Secretary of State has all the important promotions, all the honours, all the awards at his disposal. That means that when an officer in any of the Services gets in bad with the central body he may very well be done for.

One of the big jobs of a Minister going round is to get to know as many people as he can, not only the top people but all the promising men. If the politician has a good idea that a promising man is not getting his deserts, he may be able to help him. The Secretary of State for Defence will never be able to do any of these things. He cannot possibly know more than a tiny fraction of the people who matter. That is another very important reason for attaching Ministers firmly to their Services.

Another reason is that Service Ministers have a great deal of work to do not connected with strategy. In all the Service Ministries workis decentralised. For instance, the Under-Secretary of State for Air will deal with the disposal of land, cadets and volunteers, the weather and many other things. He will not be able to deal very successfully with these matters unless he knows the man with the files and the man who works in the Department. It is no good thinking that this sort of work can be centralised.

I hope that at any rate the Ministers of State will not be called Ministers of State but that they will be known respectively as the Secretary for War, the Secretary for Air and the Secretary for the Navy—and will be paid as full Ministers. If that is not done, and if the pay and conditions are not right in future, we shall not get the right people.

The last serpent that I wish to scotch is the question of the Ministry of Aviation's remaining completely intact, I deeply regret that while all this integration is going on the one Ministry to escape should be the Ministry of Aviation. It is true that the Minister has been sent under a flag of truce to sit in the poultry house at the Ministry of Defence there to have negotiations with B.O.A.C., but that is not the same thing. The fortress of the Ministry of Aviation, like some masterpiece of Vauban, remains unsealed and unscale- able. It is all wrong. That Ministry has been responsible for more wrong things than all the three Service Ministries in their long histories.

It is entirely responsible for the long delay in the amalgamations in the aircraft industry, which was so damaging to our cause. It works under the motto that the boffins are always right, and it has always kept things to itself. It is always insanely optimistic in respect of its own projects, and it goes on with things long after it is clear that nobody wants them. The Fairey Rotadyne was a classic example. Is it not ridiculous for someone else to order one's clothes, try them on and tell one that they are what one ought to wear, and to go on producing those clothes although one says that one does not want to wear them? Yet this is the position with the British Air Force.

Does anyone suppose that the American Air Force would be in its present great position if it had had a Ministry of Aviation round its neck? To the Americans our system is laughable. I hope that the Military part of the Ministry of Aviation will be taken away. The Ministry could be sliced up in a number of different ways. All I want to see is the military part taken away and put directly under the control of the Services.

I have made three suggestions, and in the long run I believe that they will all be adopted. But as the motto of the Government is "Accelerate!" perhaps one or more of them will be adopted in the short run.

5.42 p.m.

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I gather that the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), although indulging in some mild criticism of the Bill, accepts the basic principle embodied in it. That is a remarkable conversion, because, in 1956, when proposals were made for more effective co-ordination, and even integration, in respect of our defence Services, the right hon. Gentleman, then Secretary of State for Air, said—and if there is any doubt about it let me say that I am quoting him—

"The reason why it was decided not to integrate these services was that the tasks of the Services are different."
He went on to say that integration of different organisations produced chaos and he added, in that characteristic sneering fashion with which we an familiar:
"Administrative chaos seems to be something which hon. Members opposite are very willing to create in the sacred name of integration."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th February, 1956 Vol. 549, c. 1321.]

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It is absurd to say that the three Services are integrated; the) are separate.

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I say that it is a remarkable conversion. What could have caused it I am quite unable to understand.

There have been some mild criticisms—and I agree with some of them—but the right hon. Gentleman has no right to criticise my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). My hon Friend had a legitimate right to raise a number of defence issues associated with this highly important matter of defence reorganisation. If my hon. Friend did not devote adequate attention to the provisions of the Bill, that is something we can deal with in Committee.

I regard the Bill as of fundamental importance. It is the most drastic takeover bid since 1066. The right hon. Gentleman is asking the House to agree that there should be transferred to him more than 700,000 acres of land, and a vast number of depots, storehouses, and the like. How many, I am unable to say. I made inquiries through the Research Department of the House of Commons Library—which seeks to render assistance to hon. Members who, like myself, are unable to gain the required information from other sources—as to the number of depots, storehouses, and so on, at home and overseas, which would be transferred to the right hon. Gentleman. The answer was that there was not sufficient time for the Department to produce the information. I should have thought that the information was handy, and properly tabulated. That is one of the fundamental defects which hon. Members have to deal with on defence issues. We simply do not know.

I say that with some deliberation and emphasis, because, when I hear my hon. and right hon. Friends not only dilating about the iniquities of the Government—and I agree with them generally—but also directing attention to the defects in our defence system in respect of weapons of various kinds, and aircraft—and such a point has been referred to by my hon. Friend—I confess to be in a condition of abyssmal ignorance. I simply do not know.

I am in exactly the same position as other hon. Members, except for Members of the Government—and not even all of them—those who have discussions with members of the Army and Navy Club—or perhaps the Union Jack Club, for all I know—and those who have a close association with the highly-paid defence correspondents of reputable newspaper organs.

I do not have that familiarity or association. It was only when I was in the Department that I knew about these things, and even then I did not know all that I should have liked to know. I should be surprised if the right hon. Gentleman is not in that situation. When I was Minister of Defence I was not aware of the activities associated with the production of the nuclear bomb. That was a closed shop—the close preserve of some members of the Government.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is better informed than I was—for all the good that it may do him. But I am not concerned with the position of members of the Government. I am concerned about the paucity of information available to hon. Members on both sides of the House. We ought to be much better informed and, if we were, perhaps many of the statements which are made would remain unsaid, and that might prove better in the long run.

I wish to give an example. Time and again reference has been made to deficiencies in the equipment of the Army and Air Force—not so much the Navy. I am unable to say whether these statements are true because I do not know. Indeed, when it comes to our major defence debates we indulge in rhetoric and make dialectical attacks on members of the Government. Some hon. Members preen themselves because they believe that they possess a vast knowledge of the subject. But at the end of the day we

reach a most unsatisfactory conclusion, namely, that we have learned very little indeed.

I think that we ought to know more about the defence situation—the right hon. Member for Flint, West is muttering to himself. Perhaps he would like to become a little more audible. I do not mind. Or if he finds anything objectionable in what I am saying, and if he cares to absent himself from the Chamber, I shall bear that with fortitude.

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The right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) is drowning himself in his own bile.

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The right hon. Gentleman only has the capacity to irritate me, anyhow. He is now leaving the Chamber, and we are finished with him. Now I shall do as he suggested, and address myself to the Bill.

I must confess that the provisions in this Bill alarm me, although, when the White Paper was debated in the House, and as the Minister is aware, I supported wholeheartedly the basic principle underlying the Measure. For a long time I have believed that more effective co-ordination was essential. For a long time it has been my view that if it were possible to effect complete integration, that would be more desirable than the present haphazard system. I should like to bring together the whole defence organisation, not under one roof, except metaphorically—it may be staggered about in various parts of London or the Provinces—but in respect of policy and the direction of administration.

There is a difference between direction of administration and administration itself. I would leave the administration in the hands of the Service Ministers to a very large extent. But the direction of administration and the policy must reside, in my opinion, in a centralised organisation and in a Minister charged with full responsibility for policy. Therefore, I make my position clear beyond peradventure. I support the basic principle embodied in this Bill, and the sooner it is put into operation the better I shall like it.

Now for certain reservations. The right hon. Member for Flint, West who has just departed from the scene, suggested that instead of designating the Ministers as Ministers of State we might describe them as Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of the Air Force. That is not an original suggestion. If hon. Members care to look at HANSARD they will find that that was precisely what I suggested during the debate in July on the White Paper and I still hold that view. I believe that it would add prestige to their position and, besides, it is a much more appropriate designation than that of Minister of State.

Now I come to what I regard as one of the principal issues involved in the creation of this proposed organisation. When the right hon. Gentleman was speaking, I intervened on the subject of the membership of the central board, the Defence Council. Some time ago we were presented with a document or a chart which is contained in the White Paper entitled "Central Organisation for Defence", and which provides for a Secretary of State for Defence at the top and, immediately below the Defence Council, the Ministers of State, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and Chiefs of Staff, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State and the Chief Scientific Adviser. However competent he may be in the sphere of science related to military affairs I cannot understand why the Chief Scientific Adviser should be included on a Defence Council primarily responsible—as is indicated in the Bill—for the command of Her Majesty's Forces.

In Clause I of the Bill there is a reference to the Defence Council
"…having powers of command and administration over Her Majesty's Armed Forces…"
Leaving out for the moment "the matter of administration, it is a matter of command. Of course we must avail ourselves of scientific advice in these days of alleged modernisation. But I cannot understand why a scientific adviser, however competent he may be, should be a member of a body responsible for policy. I hope that my hon. Friends will agree that during the Committee stage we should seek to eliminate that part of the provision.

Even on the matter of the Chief of the Defence Staff—much as I dislike doing so—I must say that I agree with the right hon. Member for Flint, West. I do not believe it is necessary to have, apart from the three Chiefs of Staff, a principal Chief of the Defence Staff We did not have that in our time and the office did not exist during the war, largely because the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) was Minister of Defence, and believed that he was vested with all the military knowledge necessary—but leave that aside. I cannot see why a Chief of the Defence Staff is necessary now; someone who would, or could, override the decisions, not of the Minister—although probably he might try that on—but particularly the decisions of the Chiefs of Staff. What is required is somebody with military knowledge at the disposal of the Minister of Defence with an effective liaison with the three Chiefs of Staff representing the respective Services. I believe that that would be quite sufficient.

Now I come to a matter which troubles me more than anything else. I referred to it during the debate on the White Paper. It is the danger of the overwhelming strength of the military personnel dominating the political strength. Once that happens, democracy in the defence organisation will disappear. Indeed, it might prove the beginning of the end of our democracy, and I do not want to see that happen. There may be a very tough, competent and well-informed Minister of Defence sitting alongside a Chief of the Defence Staff who regards himself as a great panjandrum regarding defence and who has more prestige in the eyes of the public, with a military personnel subordinate to him and, it may be, a chief scientific adviser, and people of that ilk. It seems that the Minister of Defence has to be more than tough to stand up to them. Policy may very readily be directed, not by the Minister of Defence himself, but by the overpowering and overbearing pressure exerted on him by his associates.

I speak with some experience in these matters. It is the easiest thing in the world to bring pressure to bear on a Minister. Every Minister knows that. The civil servants do it. The military are not the least bit behind in their endeavour to impose their will on a Service Minister, or even on the Minister of Defence. Take the case of Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery, He has been making speeches recently in the course of which he has been condemning the Labour Government for inadequate defence in his time. The trouble about Field-Marshal Montgomery—a great fighting soldier and great man in the field—is that he is ageing very rapidly.

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I am reluctant to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I hope he will endeavour to see that his remarkshave a direct bearing on the Bill we are debating.

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:The last person in the world who wishes to transgress rules of this House is myself. I am bound to say, however, after listening to some speeches which have travelled all over the place and which seemed to ignore the provisions of the Bill, that the rebuke is not entirely justified, if I may put it very mildly.

It was an illustration, purely an illustration. I was dealing with the question of Chiefs of the Defence Staff, those who bring pressure to bear on the political chiefs. I recall when Field Marshal Montgomery was Chief of the Imperial General Staff. By the way, I am very glad that a suggestion I have made from time to time to change the designation to Chief of the General Staff has now been accepted. That anachronism has now disappeared; it was about time. It had no relevance in the present situation, militarily or otherwise.

When Field Marshal Montgomery was Chief of the General Staff and, according to himself, sent a memorandum to the Cabinet demanding more adequate defence, he apparently forgot that I was Secretary of State for War because I have no recollection of receiving the memorandum. That is the kind of thing that can happen even with the Minister of Defence. Field Marshal Montgomery was wrong when he said that we did not provide adequate defence. I give this only as an illustration. There was the Korea affair when we alerted a brigade more rapidly than the present Government alerted their brigade at the time of the Suez affair, and we were able to create a Commonwealth division.

Field Marshal Montgomery got all his own way because he demanded from the then Minister of Defence—my colleague who now sits in another place, Earl Alexander of Hillsborough—two years' National Service, and he got it. He imposed his will and, if he had not got

his way, he would probably have resigned, or he might have become a candidate for Parliament because he has always regarded himself as a great politician. Here is the rub. Some of these defence people—highly intelligent, delightful people to work with, I do not dispute that for a moment—do regard themsel