Skip to main content

Industry Bill (Allocation Of Time)

Volume 892: debated on Monday 12 May 1975

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

7.1 p.m.

I beg to move,

That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining Proceedings on the Bill:—

Committee

1. The Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before the 12th day of June.

Report and Third Reading

2.—

  • (1) The Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in two allotted days and shall be brought to a conclusion at Eleven o'clock on the last of those days; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the Proceedings on Consideration such part of those days as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.
  • (2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the Proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those Proceedings and Proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the second day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.
  • (3) The resolutions in any report made under Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) may be varied by a further report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph, and whether or not the resolutions have been agreed to by the House.
  • (4) The resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which proceedings on Consideration of the Bill are taken.
  • Procedure in Standing Committee

    3.—(1) At a Sitting of the Standing Committee at which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sitting of the Committee until the Proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.

    (2) No Motion shall be made in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a Member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who makes, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.

    4. No Motion shall be made to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule, but the resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which the Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in Standing Committee.

    Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee

    5. On the conclusion of the Proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

    Dilatory motions

    6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, Proceedings on the Bill shall be made in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a Member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

    Extra time on allotted days

    7.—

  • (1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the Proceedings on the Bill for one hour after Ten o'clock.
  • (2) Any period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the period under this paragraph.
  • (3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the Proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under this paragraph, and the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day shall also be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on the Motion.
  • Private Business

    8. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by the Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill or, if those Proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the completion of those Proceedings.

    Conclusion of Proceedings

    9.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any Proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not been previously brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others) that is to say—

  • (a) the Question or Questions already proposed from the Chair, or necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including, in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
  • (b) the Question on any amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that amendment or Motion is moved by a Member of the Government;
  • (c) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;
  • and on a Motion so moved for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

    (2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

    (3) If, at Seven o'clock on an allotted day, any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time have not been concluded, any Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on definite matter of urgent public importance) which, apart from this Order, would stand over to that time shall stand over until those Proceedings have been concluded.

    (4) If a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over to Seven o'clock on an allotted day, or to any later time under sub-paragraph (3) above, the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day at any hour falling after the beginning of the Proceedings on that Motion shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on that Motion.

    Supplemental orders

    10.—

  • (1) The Proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and the last foregoing paragraph shall apply as if the Proceedings were Proceedings on the Bill on an allotted day.
  • (2) If on an allotted day on which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time, no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.
  • Saving

    11. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee or the Business Committee shall—

  • (a) prevent any Proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or
  • (b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after completion of all such Proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.
  • Re-committal

    12.—

  • (1) References in this Order to Proceedings on Consideration or Proceedings on Third Reading include references to Proceedings, at those stages, respectively, for, on or in consequence of re-committal.
  • (2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted to any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.
  • Interpretation

    13. In this Order—

    "allotted day" means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as first Government Order of the Day provided that a Motion for allotting time to the Proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day eiher has been agreed to on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day;
    "the Bill" means the Industry Bill;
    "Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee;
    "Resolution of the Business Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.

    I intend to be brief in moving this motion.

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I raise this matter with you before the Minister gets into his brief. I understand that the Prime Minister has said that he himself is now taking control of the Industry Bill. Is he coming to take part in the debate?

    Order. The hon. Member knows quite will that that is not a point of order.

    This allocation of time motion provides that the report of the Standing Committee now considering the Bill should be made to the House by 12th June, and it also provides for two days for Report and Third Reading. The motion follows a clear pattern. If the House is ready to pass it, in accordance with practice a Business Sub-Committee will meet, I believe convened by yourself, Mr. Speaker, to determine how the time allocated by the motion would be divided among the remaining clauses. We believe that the motion provides ample time for the completion of the discussions on the remaining clauses.

    The Standing Committee is now on Clause 21. There are only four clauses of substance upon which there is great controversy still to be discussed, with other citation clauses and schedules. As compared with allocation of time orders that have been made in the past, this is in our view a very generous provision of time, and we hope and intend that there will be ample opportunity for discussing all these matters.

    Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the subject of what is still outstanding, would he care to make some observations about the number of new clauses that have been tabled?

    I have not quite finished the very brief statistical passage of my speech. I was about to give the House the opportunity to consider some of the figures.

    The Committee has had 28 sittings and has been in session for 75½ hours. If 12 more sittings are provided, as would be provided if the Committee met normally from now until 12th June, there would be 108 hours for 30 clauses. I know that comparisons are invidious because some Bills are more controversial than others, but the 1972 Industry Act, which was certainly a major innovation by the Conservative Party, had 19 clauses—that is to say, two-thirds as many—and it went through Committee, after very close examination, in 44½ hours.

    I come to the number of amendments. There have been 800 amendments tabled and in Committee the Government have already accepted 33 either directly or in principle and have undertaken to consider 16 further amendments. There has, therefore, been a genuine attempt to meet points of substance made by members of the Committee.

    I want to say quite clearly, because in 25 years in the House I have heard many allocation of time motions moved by Ministers of both parties, that it is not part of the argument that there has been a deliberate filibuster on the Bill. It is a very important Bill and, with one or two lapses that I will not go back over, the contributions have been constructive. The case for the timetable is the urgency of the Bill itself and the need for it as a central part of the Government's industrial policy at the present time.

    I do not know how far it is proper to make allusion to discussions that have taken place through the usual channels, but naturally, before moving a motion of this kind, I sought as best I could some understanding that might have assisted in avoiding the need for the motion. But, quite properly—I make no complaint about it—the matter revolved around an impossible issue for the Government, namely, that there would be some balance of time against content—that is to say, amendments would be agreed ex-Committee in advance of discussion as part of an agreement for the timetable. No Government with a Bill so central to their legislative programme could have agreed to that. These matters must be resolved in the ordinary way by Divisions in Committee or, if need be, in the House.

    In saying that the Bill is urgent I must inevitably refer not to the Bill's provisions but to the fact that, as the House knows very well, the Government—any Government occupying office as we now do—are confronted with a wide range of industrial problems of one kind or another, some of which are already public knowledge, or, rather, the outcome is, while others remain within the privacy of confidential relations between the Government and industry. In our judgment it is necessary to have the Bill on the statute book as soon as possible so that we can respond to a situation that was not anticipated in 1972 when the previous Government passed their own far-reaching Industry Act.

    Clearly the relationship between the Government's capacity to respond and our capacity to safeguard jobs at a time when there is real and rising anxiety about employment makes this motion more than just a matter of political convenience for the Government. It is a matter of legitimate concern to the community as a whole.

    Broadly, we have two problems with which as a Government we have to deal. One is the problem of a continuing decline of investment prospects, not confined to this country and not new in the sense that a progressive relative decline in investment in manufacturing industry has been a problem confronting successive Governments for years. We also have, or believe we have, in the Bill an opportunity to change relationships between those at work—that is to say, workers and managers—and companies by the stimulation of a greater degree of industrial democracy through the planning agreements and in other ways. I ask the House to accept that in our judgment this is a very necessary Bill.

    I have promised and intend to be brief, but before I conclude let me make it clear that one of the reasons why the Opposition have found it hard to give the Bill the necessary speed of movement through Committee—[Interruption.] I am not seeking to be unfair and I am trying to deal with the real issues—is the suggestion that in some way this is a Bill peculiar or special to the Department of Industry and not to the Government as a whole.

    I want to make it absolutely clear, so that there is no doubt about it whatever, that every single key provision in the Bill was not only very widely and publicly discussed by the Labour Party when in opposition but was put before our conference and the electorate in two elections in 1974 and was widely discussed and widely understood by anyone who wished to study it. The White Paper, which was published last year, and the Industry Bill itself, as the House would expect but perhaps I should emphasise it, have been through the full procedures of Government committees, to which some public reference has been made, as have the Shipbuilding and Aircraft Bill, the Meriden Co-operative, the Kirkby Co-operative and the Scottish Daily News.

    Any amusement that there might be about the implication that in some way this is a Bill that divides the Government is wholly misplaced. It is the policy of the Government and I advise anyone—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Prime Minister?"] I do not know whether hon. Members wish me to impose on the House the Prime Minister's speeches on the subject of the Industry Bill, but if they would like me to choose some words from his presentation of the Bill to the Labour Party Conference in October 1973, I will happily do so.

    My right hon. Friend, then Leader of the Opposition, said:
    "It is my belief, and I speak for all of us, that the section on social ownership I submit to Conference today constitutes the most realistic, radical and relevant approach—relevant because it is socialist—to the nation's problems since 1945. This document derives its idealism from the Socialism which created and today inspires our movement—and it is brought up to date to apply to the 1970s and beyond."
    Those are the words not of the Secretary of State for Industry but of the leader of the party.

    Since I am tempted—I shall not go into it at great length—let me read one reference to what was said about the rôle of the Stock Exchange in these matters. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when Leader of the Opposition, was speaking about the Stock Exchange when he said:
    "Its purpose should be—indeed we are always told it is—to channel savings into investment. Too great a part of its work, as well as that of the financial tipsters so avidly read by investors, is, of course, to shift savings about into speculative short-term gain situations. It is not, in fact, channelling the tides of investment, so much as exaggerating the sloshing to and fro of the bilgewater of capitalism."
    My right hon. Friend quite recently had occasion to come back to that theme about speculation. It is right that the House should know that the Bill we bring forward is the policy of the Labour movement, endorsed by the electorate, by the Government and by the Cabinet, and we think it is necessary to have it upon the statute book.

    In presenting a Bill of this degree of importance it is right that there should be full consultations with both sides of industry. There have been discussions with the CBI and with the TUC at an earlier stage, and we have made it clear that after the Committee stage, in which many of these points will arise on an amendment, there will be further consultation with both the CBI and the TUC. In the course of these consultations it obviously flows and follows that a Government engaged in them will listen to what is said and will seek, in pursuit of what we say in Committee, if we think it right, to table amendments on Report. These consultations will take place after the Committee stage, when we have had an opportunity to consider the matter in the light of the Committee's deliberations.

    I come to a point which must necessarily be a matter of public comment, at least by the Conservative Party, namely, the question of whether the disclosure provisions in the Bill and the clauses which are the subject of current examination really constitute such a major innovation in the Government's relations with industry and a major change. I wish to put before the House some information on precedents in these matters. I have with me—I shall not take long—two sections of Acts passed by the Conservative Government. One was the Insurance Companies Amendment Act 1973. The House will remember that the argument is that these disclosure provisions strike at the heart of relations between Government and industry.

    Section 20 of the Insurance Companies Amendment Act 1973 states:
  • "(1) The Secretary of State may require a company to furnish him at specified times or intervals, with information about specified matters being, if he so requires, information verified in a specified manner.
  • (2) The Secretary of State may—(a) require a company to produce, at such time and place as he may specify, such books or papers as he may specify: or (b) authorise any person, on producing (if required so to do) evidence of his authority, to require a company to produce to him forthwith any books or papers which that person may specify."
  • That is not the tyranny of a Socialist Government but the legislation of the Conservative Party brought before Parliament not long ago.

    I turn to the Counter-Inflation Act 1973, and I point out to the House that I sat as Opposition spokesman on the Standing Committee on that measure. Section 15 says:
  • "(1) The Minister, or either Agency, may for the purposes of this Act by notice require any person—
  • (a) to furnish whether by periodical returns or by other means, such estimates or other information as may be specified or described in the notice, or
  • (b) to produce to an officer of the Minister, or of either Agency, being an officer duly authorised for the purpose, any documents so specified or described.
  • (2) The Minister may for the purposes of this Act by order—
  • (a) require any class of description of persons specified in the order to furnish to the Minister or, to either Agency, such periodical or other returns containing estimates or other information as may be so specified or described, or
  • (b) require any person carrying on a business or any class or description of persons who carry on a business, to keep such records as may be so specified or described."
  • Before the hon. Gentleman rises to his feet, let me make it clear that the charge I make is of rank hypocrisy by the Conservative Party throughout the whole progress of this Bill. There was no one more hypocritical than those who occupied high office in a Government that presented legislation, that took power that goes far beyond anything the present Government have sought to put before the House. The real objection of the Conservative Party is not to disclosure under force of law to the Government. The Conservatives' resentment arises because that information is to go to workers in industry. That is the source of their resentment.

    I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for allowing me to break into his great oratory and interrupt him. I know that he has been unable to attend the Standing Committee as often as he would have liked. However, can he say to the House that in the two instances he has mentioned there was any requirement for such information as was given and required to be given to the Government to be passed on not to workers but to trade unions? Can he say that?

    The hon. Gentleman has absolutely fallen into the trap of his own argument: that if it is the development of a corporate arrangement between a Conservative Government and big business, the information can flow, nobody bothers and nobody cares. When, however, we say that workers whose lives depend upon the conditions in which they work should be told what decisions may affect their future or their jobs, and when they are invited to be given information—

    The hon. Gentleman had better listen to the argument because he has a great deal to answer for. When workers ask for information about the decisions that affect their jobs, their status, their security, their employment and everything else, the Conservative Party is united in its hostility.

    Yes—So much so that it would not be an exaggeration to say that the silent majority before which they worship must in their view also be a blinded majority and a deaf majority, denied the opportunity of knowing the basic information in the firms in which they work. That is the real division between us. There is no division about Government intervention, for the Conservatives sloshed the cash into private industry and intervened up to the hilt. If, however, that information is to be shared with workers, the Conservative Party says that it is one step in the shift of power towards working people. That is where the dividing line comes.

    The right hon. Gentleman has accused me, among others, of rank hypocrisy. He would be fairer to the House if he made it plain that the disclosure provisions to which I for one was objecting concern industrial know-how, which we are about to discuss, and its likely effect on inward and outward flows of investment. I objected more particularly—and in his own amendment the right hon. Gentleman indicated some agreement—to a disclosure of personal details of private individuals. The disclosure of information required for greater industrial participation and the disclosure required by this Bill are two entirely different things.

    If the hon. Gentleman had been listening he would have heard me say that the charge of hypocrisy lies on the Opposition Front Bench, on those who introduced the legislation of which I read out full extracts. When it comes to the point about protecting the rights of individuals and protecting industrial know-how, the hon. Gentleman, who has played a very constructive part in the debate on the Bill, knows that we have provided safeguards both that the national interest should be safeguarded by a ministerial filter and that there should be independent arbitration which would protect these things. However, because he is on the Opposition side of the Committee and of the Conservative Party, he also knows that what really frightens the Conservative Party is the idea that deeper knowledge should be shared, with reserve power, by those who work in industry. That is what the whole argument is about.

    I would give way to the hon. Gentleman, but he would not accept my reply because he believes that someone else should be speaking in the debate now. Therefore, perhaps he will allow me to continue.

    There is a final point before I commend the motion to the House. One of the arguments used, and by none more vigorously than the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), who leads on these matters for the Conservative Party—if that is the correct word—is the question of the effect of the Bill on industrial confidence. I want to comment on that, because it has been argued up and down, and no doubt will be argued tonight, that there must be more time in order to provide opportunities not only for amendment but to dispel anxieties about confidence. But if there are anxieties about confidence—and of course, in any sensitive industrial structure there will be—the man responsibility for undermining confidence lies in hon. Members of the Opposition, who have systematically lied or made statements in their public utterances about the policy in such a way as to encourage the fears which they now attribute to us.

    I recall the hon. Member for Henley saying last summer that he knew that there was a secret list of companies for nationalisation. I remember him on television and on radio. He made tremendous mileage of the sudden discovery of this provision, and in fact there was no such list. It was a list under his own party's legislation of the Category I companies which were provided for under the Counter-Inflation Act for Category I treatment. When I was asked about which were the biggest 100 companies, I published them. The hon. Gentleman was ready to go on all those programmes—those which will have him still—and say that he had discovered a secret list of companies which were to be nationalised.

    The hon. Gentleman's latest effort was in Bristol last Friday, when he came along and flourished a "secret" Labour Party paper. We published it some days earlier, as a matter of fact, but he had finally got a copy, and this was some new neo-Marxist plot which he had unearthed. This Sherlock Holmes of industrial deception, this figure who has gone around shaking confidence, then said that the confidence had been shaken by the legislation, deliberately distorted by the hon. Gentleman in his public speeches.

    I believe that this is an important Bill. It is a Bill that has great potential. It is a Bill which will work when enacted only by consent—because unlike the Industrial Relations Act we shall not use Sir John Donaldson to enforce the Bill. But it is a Bill that, given the nation's crisis, invites early enactment. I invite the House to say that it should be back with us by 12th June and have two days for Report and Third Reading.

    I should like to inform the House that I have not selected either of the amendments in the name of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) and his hon. Friends.

    7.25 p.m.

    I think that the whole House will welcome back the Secretary of State for Employment, who was in the Chamber a few seconds ago, for the first time since his operation. I want to say how glad we are that he is fully recovered.

    The anxiety that the House will feel on listening to what the Secretary of State for Industry has said this evening is that it seems to be so remarkably at cross-purposes with what the Prime Minister has said both in Jamaica and on his return to this country. Some of us will be forgiven for wondering whether the Secretary of State for Industry and the Prime Minister are operating within the context of the same industrial environment as the Prime Minister is constantly talking about. However, the fact of the matter is that the Secretary of State for Industry, as is his wont, has seen fit to launch a massive series of attacks upon the opponents of his proposals although in reality he must know that some of the most bitter opponents of his ideas are to be found within the Cabinet of which he is a member.

    We shall come to the precise question whether the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Industry are at one on this legislation during the course of my speech. The reality is that this entire country's industry is now constantly exposed to one statement from the Secretary of State for Industry about his interpretation of the meaning of this legislation and then, within hours, either one of his colleagues in the Government pops up to say that the Secretary of State for Industry has got it wrong or the Prime Minister comes back to describe the right hon. Gentleman in some biblical context in order to restore confidence in the Government's strategy.

    We have listened to the Secretary of State describing the purposes for which he wants this legislation. Really, one has failed to make any impact upon his thinking, despite the fact that all the arguments he parades are the very arguments which were put before the House in order to introduce the legislation in the first place. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is necessary to safeguard jobs. But this is the Secretary of State for Industry who was arguing that under the present Government there would be an upsurge in investment and confidence. If that were so, there would be no investment problems. Now we are told that the legislation is necessary to safeguard jobs. We are then told that it is necessary in order to change the atmosphere between management and employees in their companies.

    We are told that it is so critical that this should come about that a matter of one week or another in the timing of this legislation will bring about a fundamental transformation in the attitudes in British industry, which, by the right hon. Gentleman's own statement, have bedevilled British industry for a decade or more. How guillotining a Bill will transform the atmosphere in British industry I totally fail to understand. However, what I do understand—as the Leader of the House and the Secretary of State have referred to it—is the offer of a voluntary timetable which my hon. Friends and I made to the Secretary of State in order to bring the Bill back to the Floor of the House even earlier than it will come back under the motion. All we asked was that the assurances given by the Prime Minister to the House and the CBI should be honoured by way of an amendment in the legislation. That is all that we asked. It does not seem very remarkable that an Opposition should say "Yes, we shall accept a voluntary programme and we shall help to get this legislation through. All that we ask of the Government is that they should honour the words of the Prime Minister".

    What were we told about this by the Under-Secretary taking the Bill through the Standing Committee? If the hon. Gentleman thinks that he can overturn the very serious and profound discussion now taking place on the basis of words uttered, albeit by the Prime Minister, he is very seriously understating the importance of the discussion.

    It is the end of a particular speech before there was an intervention in Committee. But if the Under-Secretary can tell me how these particular words can be interpreted in any other way except as one of the most remarkable underminings of Prime Ministerial authority by a junior Minister, I shall be fascinated to hear what he has to say.

    All that the Opposition did was to offer the Secretary of State a voluntary timetable on the basis of a firm pledge given to the House by the Prime Minister. Indeed, it was not only given to this House. It was also given to the CBI, and the President of the CBI has complained bitterly that his organisation is very disturbed about that pledge having been broken because it is bound to undermine the confidence of industry.

    No one in this House can believe that the Opposition have been obstructing this legislation—far from it. We helped to make progress in a way that few Oppositions could be expected to when dealing with such a controversial Bill. If we had obstructed the legislation, the Under-Secretary would have to explain how, time after time, when he was moving the adjournment of the Committee, he paid tribute to the speed and progress that we had made in that sitting. The House will be familiar with the quotations on this issue. On the last four occasions on which the Committee sat before the guillotine rumours began to spread, there were similar comments from the Under-Secretary. On 22nd April he spoke of the "very good progress which had been made. On 24th April he spoke of our "excellent progress". On 29th April he again spoke of "the progress" that we had made. On 1st May once again his word was "progress". Within days of that being the Government's considered view about the progress that we had made, the Government introduce this guillotine motion.

    The whole House knows that there is a major conflict about the legislation within the Government. It is a conflict which has run through all our proceedings in the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee has had to digest three ministerial views about the Bill. We have had a Prime Ministerial view, we have had the view of the sponsoring Ministers, and we have had an ex-Minister's view. None of them coincided. The Prime Minister believed that the Bill was about the White Paper. The sponsoring Ministers argued that the Bill was the Bill. The ex-Minister argued that neither was satisfactory. How it can be argued that that presents a coherent strategy for the Government's industrial policly, I fail to understand.

    The tragedy is that at no stage have we had any alternative Opposition view.

    The quickest and most effective opposition would be for the Secretary of State to leave his job, which, it is rumoured, the Prime Minister intends.

    If the Secretary of State is seeking an explanation why industrial confidence, and, therefore, investment, and, therefore, jobs are at stake, he has to go no further than the campaign which he began about a year ago when he introduced his working document for the Department of Industry and said that there needed to be a public crusade to inform and educate people about the workings of his Department.

    In that campaign the reality is that the anxiety which has spread throughout industry and which has done so much to harm its confidence was unearthed. Shortly afterwards, as proof of it, the Prime Minister made his first and most celebrated intervention when he said that he intended to take over the drafting of the Government's industrial policy so as to remove any doubt about who was in charge of that policy.

    If the Under-Secretary of State can explain later on what precedent the Prime Minister has found it necessary to take over responsibility for drafting the strategy of one of his Ministers in order to allay anxiety, I shall be extremely interested to hear about it.

    Within a short period of the General Election, it became evident that the Secretary of State had won the battle, because the Bill contained the provisions which caused the anxiety, despite the drafting of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet team. As a consequence, the battle has continued within the Government, and the Prime Minister has found it necessary to come back here with categorical assurances. In his Merseyside speech he promised that all the pressure of the Treasury and the hard nose of Sir Don Ryder would be prayed in aid to curtail the activities of the Secretary of State for Industry.

    We are told that there is no division in the Cabinet, yet we find in the Standing Committee, intended to investigate the critical distinction between the White Paper and the Bill which separates the compulsory disclosure powers from the connection with planning agreements and makes them free-standing in the name of the Secretary of State, that once again it is the Secretary of State's view and not the pledge of the Prime Minister which stands supreme. As a consequence, the anxiety emerges once again and the same precedents are set, with the Prime Minister saying in Jamaica that he intends to come back to clip the wings of the Secretary of State. In addition, the Paymaster-General is put up to say that the National Enterprise Board appointments will be made by the Prime Minister and that the administration of this legislation will be in the hands of the Prime Minister.

    By no stretch of the imagination could this be seen as a coherent strategy. There is no agreement about this legislation. The Secretary of State knows it. The national Press knows it. The British industrial scene knows it. In addition, everyone in this House knows it.

    The only moral in the falling value of the pound is to demonstrate that the efforts of the Prime Minister to clip the wings of the Secretary of State have proved to be in vain. The pound has fallen to its lowest level ever today. The people know it, and perhaps when members of the Tribune Group try to explain the rising levels of unemployment in the Midlands and the North-West their constituents will follow the precedents in the local government elections and realise that the responsibility lies on the Treasury Bench.

    Will the hon. Gentleman keep his voice down a little? He is waking his own back benchers.

    I learned to talk loudly in the Standing Committee, when I had to wake the Secretary of State, who slept through our proceedings on one occasion. The Under-Secretary is aware that I attended every sitting of the Committee, whereas the Secretary of State was present for nine out of 28 sittings.

    Is not this a case of the pot calling the pan rather sooty? The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) has been most notable for his absence, and it has been left to Dr. Watson to lead the Opposition in Committee—not Sherlock Holmes.

    Conan Doyle metaphors are being carried to extreme lengths by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle). Perhaps he has been carried away by the analogies with the Old Testament prophet about which the country heard so much yesterday. It must have come as a surprise to find the Prime Minister claiming to have placed the regeneration of British industry in the white heat of the technological revolution in the hands of an Old Testament prophet without a beard. That is a reflection on the Prime Minister's judgment in appointing the Secretary of State in the first place.

    Will the hon. Gentleman recall the Prime Minister's words to the effect that Labour's campaigns are either a crusade for Socialism or nothing?

    I am glad that we have the ex-ministerial view of this legislation. I recall an article about in the financial pages of the Guardian, headed

    "What is wrong and what is right with the Industry Bill"
    After 13 sittings of the Committee, when the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) left the Front Bench, he devoted the other 11 sittings to arguing passionately against the policies which he had been advocating in the first 13 sittings. I hope that we shall hear from him what we may expect to be contained in the 1976 working papers of the Department of Industry which we have been promised in the Tribune newspaper.

    I want now to say a few words about the guillotine motion. There is no doubt that all Governments find it necessary from time to time to resort to the use of timetable motions. I do not complain about that. The Government of which I was a member did so. But there ought to be a degree of reason related to the legislation before the Government make use of guillotine motions.

    The suspicion, which cannot be avoided in view of the way that the Opposition have co-operated on this legislation, is that nothing to do with the legislation has led to the stampeding of the motion through the House, but that pressure on the Government's parliamentary timetable has forced them to a position where they are now attempting to redress the difficulties into which their timetable has slipped. The fact of the matter is that the Government need to make way for the legislation to nationalise the aircraft and shipbuilding industries which is waiting to come into Committee.

    We have a Department of Industry which had a Minister of State who has been replaced. I pay tribute to the Under-Secretary for the way that he has carried the work load on the Industry Bill Standing Committee. But no man can carry the physical pressure of taking a Bill of this complexity and length through Committee on his own. However, that is the personal pressure to which the Prime Minister has subjected him, because he is unable to fill the noticeable gap left by the ex-Minister of State a month ago. That is another reason confronting the Government—the need to save the pressure on their Ministers by relieving the burden of attention to the Standing Committee.

    The referendum campaign, together with other legislation being introduced, has put before the Government an almost impossible timetable problem. Therefore, they have decided to take it out of the proper consideration of this Bill which ought to be the concern of all hon. Members.

    I should like to finish on the same subject as that with which the Secretary of State for Industry ended his speech. The whole smokescreen that he attempted to put before the House was that the guillotine was necessary on the disclosure powers because the Conservative Party could take almost anything as long as it did not disrupt the conspiracy that it has with industry to prevent workers getting information. Out came the worn, weary phrases to show that the Conservative Government introduced legislation in the Insurance Amendment Act and the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act which had precisely the same effect. The right hon. Gentleman knows, as well as every hon. Member here, that in reality there was no provision in either of those measures for the information to be disclosed to the Government or to the public as part of the process.

    The right hon. Gentleman said that workers in the firms were to get the information. Let us be clear that workers or employees are nowhere mentioned in the legislation that we are considering. It is trade unions, members of which may not even be employed in the company that is disclosing the information. We are worried about the damaging effect and the dangers of the information going to competitors, including overseas companies. These are the extreme levels to which the Bill goes. Our industry is being put in a more unfavourable position than industry in any industrial society in the free world. That is why the Conservative Party is so worried about the disclosure powers.

    The reality is that not only did we not do it, as the Secretary of State for Industry has tried to suggest, but that, when the chips are down and the right hon. Gentleman is confronted with a real-life situation where he could make available information of the kind that he is going to compel British industry to make available, he runs like a scalded cat from the prospects of doing so. Anyone who has considered what he has done to the figures produced by the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation understands what I am saying. Anybody who has read the Ryder Report, with all the exclusions on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, must wonder what the word "lie", which the right hon. Gentleman used with such pride, has to do with the matter. The fact is that on all the occasions when Sir Monty Finniston or Sir Don Ryder provided the Government with the facts—other people would say the truth—and the Secretary of State for Industry was given access to that information which, in his language, should have been passed on to the workers in the firms concerned so that they would know what was going on, it was the Government's decision that none should be passed on.

    How the right hon. Gentleman can honestly use the word "hypocrite" to describe myself and my right hon. and hon. Friends I totally fail to understand. No man has so debased the coinage of Parliamentary langauge as the Secretary of State for Industry in this respect. It is because of this that industrialists are at their wits end to know how to conduct meaningful relationships with this Government. It is because of this that investment is being slashed from one end of British industry to another. Unemployment is rising because industrialists cannot get a straight answer which they can believe for five minutes on end out of the Department of Industry. The fact that unemployment in Britain is now on the verge of rising to 1 million in peace time for the first consistent period is as much the personal responsibility of the Secretary of State for Industry as any other man in this country.

    The use of the guillotine on this legislation is totally unwarranted by the evidence.

    The prospects for British industry as long as the Secretary of State for Industry remains in his current post are gloomy and depressing.

    I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He was referring to the fact that unemployment had increased and we had this trade deficit.

    Order. I understand that the hon. Gentleman has done more than give way. He has resumed his seat.

    7.46 p.m.

    Not for the first time has the Secretary of State for Industry shied away from the sickening and difficult task before him and sought the easiest and cheapest form of relief by abusing the stage army of the southern shires which goes by the name of "the party opposite" when it is referred to by Government spokesmen. I shall resist that temptation. Fascinating though I always find it in this Chamber, I prefer to spend my weekends taunting the stage army of the southern shires from a stance in Yorkshire.

    It is necessary to address ourselves to the serious motion before the House. In principle, as has been said from this bench before, the Liberal Party is not necessarily or at all times opposed to timetable motions, subject to two essential conditions which are certainly not met tonight. The first is that there shall be genuine consultation with all parties engaged on the Bill in question. That condition has certainly not been honoured in any respect. The second is that the timetable should apply, broadly speaking, from the start of proceedings on a major Bill and not be introduced at a very late stage when a great deal of the Committee work has been done. To my mind, these two points are of great and roughly equal importance.

    Regarding consultation with all those parties which are applying their minds to constructing amendments, to debating the amendments and to preparing for Report, I must remind the House that on a conservative estimate there are five organised political parties engaged on the Committee stage of the Bill and represented during all the 27 sittings which have so far taken place. I list them in order of their numbers on the Committee.

    The largest group is the Conservative Party opposition. The second largest group is the Tribune Group of the Labour Party which has made a welcome break in the usual mournful lot of Government supporters on a Standing Committee by taking a lively and, in my view, exploratory part in trying to improve the Bill. The third group in terms of numbers is the residue of the Labour spokesmen, and the fourth and fifth groups are, of course, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Party.

    I suspect that the only scrap of an excuse in the Government's mind which they may try to inflict on the House is that—I must be careful to speak only for myself as one of the two solitary party representatives—I have not been in 100 per cent. attendance on the Committee, although my record is by no means the worst.

    To anticipate a point which the Under-Secretary of State has tried to use before, I should like to point out that there is a wholly unjustified respect of persons in this matter of attendance in Committee. Apparently, to be absent for meetings of the Cabinet is so respectable a reason that it can scarcely be mentioned or, if it is, to be mentioned only in terms of the greatest awe and high regard; but for a solitary representative of a party which, at any rate last year, represented between 5 million and 6 million votes in the country to be absent on the business of his political movement is regarded somehow as a stigma of idleness or lack of stamina.

    I must make it quite plain, having checked on this, that at all times when the House has been sitting the Liberal Whips Office and representatives of my party have been available for consultation by Government representatives but they have received not so much as a whisper from Government quarters about this motion.

    There is another reason why this timetable motion is peculiarly inappropriate. We have been under an immense and peculiar disadvantage in Committee. To our great regret, at the thirteenth sitting, the Government Front Bench was deprived by an act of martyrdom of the assistance of the former Minister of State, the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and owing also to the prolonged absences from the Committee of the Secretary of State for Industry the burden has fallen upon, and been carried most gracefully by, the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Oldham. West (Mr. Meacher).

    The hon. Gentleman has not only been preoccupied and worried by the remarkable change in the political tide in Oldham itself, which has moved in two much happier directions recently, but has had the very much greater burden of being a ventriloquist's doll in Committee, not knowing which prompter to accept. Half hour by half hour, by my reckoning, he has first been the obedient voice of his Prime Minister, and when that has proved a little tedious, or the heckling from the Tribune Group has grown too loud, he has become the voice of the Secretary of State for Industry.

    This has been no way in which to carry on profitable deliberations in Committee. As a result, the Bill will arrive back in the House on Report in an extremely ragged condition, with an amazing assortment of promises, half-promises and qualified promises from the solitary Government spokesman on the Standing Committee, who has not known from where to accept orders.

    Furthermore, in recent days there have been reports of further difficulties which the House will have when it considers the Bill on Report. We understand that there is to be an intervention from the highest quarter in regard to the contents of the key clauses of the Bill after the measure has come out of Committee. It has been said that there are to be consultations between the Prime Minister and the CBI which, in a manner which understandably has not been specified, will produce further changes in the Bill which this House will have only two days in which to consider, if the motion is passed in its present form.

    It is a travesty of the procedures of the House and of the faith which some people in the country still repose in us that we shall have only two sitting days in which to consider, on the Government's own admission, at least 33 amendments which they have promised the Standing Committee and an unknown number of amendments which the Prime Minister is understood to have half-promised the CBI. This is an intolerable burden for the House, and we shall not be able to do justice to all these amendments during the limited time which the motion proposes.

    We all know the real reasons for this timetable motion at such an extraordinary stage in our proceedings. The grim spectre of by-elections wanders to and fro among the ashen faces on the Government benches. The halt and the maimed among them are beginning to wonder how long they can last before they can apply for the Chiltern Hundreds, and it is the Government's deep desire, or at any rate the view of some of their supporters, that before they finally lose their majority in this place they must get their Industry Bill through. That is an argument which the Liberals in this House firmly reject, and we intend to vote against the motion tonight.

    7.56 p.m.

    I had no intention of making a speech on this motion but I understand that some of the statements that have been made have referred to myself and I believe that on that basis alone I ought to make some comments in this debate.

    I have never spoken in a debate on a timetable motion because in the main I regard these motions as a bit of hypocrisy on both sides of the House. People get het up, and there is a lot of synthetic indignation, but the fact is that most hon. Members are delighted that there is to be a timetable and that they will be able to get the Bill through at a reasonable hour and in reasonable time.

    I believe that sooner or later the House must come to a rational view on the whole question of a timetable for each Bill before it goes into Committee. It is absurd that hon. Members should be expected to argue around perhaps one word for half an hour or three-quarters of an hour when they should be working to a timetable agreed by the House as a whole before or at the end of the Second Reading debate so that when hon. Members go into Committee they know that there is a limited time for the Bill and a set time for each clause, based upon the importance of the clauses. Opposition and Government Members, as well as Members who are not in the official Opposition, would then put down amendments that were of fundamental importance and we should discuss them properly rather than waste a lot of time as we do now and have a lot of unnecessary talking merely to delay the Bill. That is one way of dealing with the problem.

    There is another way of dealing with the matter. We have the absurd situation that all Bills must fall at the end of October or the end of the parliamentary year. I find it incredible that grown men and women, parliamentarians elected by the British people to deal with legislation, should decide that at the end of October, or whenever we decide that the parliamentary year has come to an end, anything that has not got through must automatically fall and we have to begin all over again, yet Parliament continues. If Parliament were not to continue, that would be a different matter.

    I hope that in this debate we shall not hear too much synthetic indignation from either side of the House. We have seen one sample of it from the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) who used it as an excuse again to bash my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. It is absurd that my right hon. Friend has only to make the most moderate statement and it is built up as though he is a Stalin, a Hitler or some despicable person who wants to bring about some sort of dictatorship in this country.

    Anyone who has known my right hon. Friend personally and politically over the years knows that there is no better democrat in the House. In fact, if he can be criticised at all his fault lies in the other direction. I once criticised him at a Labour Party Conference when he was in the chair and fell over backwards to be democratic. I said "When I was Chairman of the Liverpool Trades Council and Labour Party, I would never have been so democratic. When you are in the chair you have to be in charge and should not give way so much to the floor." But that is where his fault lies, not in being dictatorial and wanting to stamp his views on people. We should start discussing sensibly how to deal with amendments on an agreed timetable.

    The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) raised an important point for the House. He said that the Prime Minister had hinted, not once but many times—I do not know how these things happen, but all sorts of leaks about the Prime Minister's intentions seem to get into the papers—that amendments would be brought in to accommodate the CBI or someone else. I tell the Prime Minister now, quite bluntly, that I personally will take strong objection to amendments which are brought in on Report or through the House of Lords which have not been raised or considered by Members of this House. Secret deals outside this House are not on.

    We are not here to accommodate the CBI, the TUC or anyone else. We are elected to scrutinise legislation, and any amendments should come from us. I want it on record that I shall take strong exception to any secret deals outside the House with leaders of the CBI to introduce amendments through the back door, whether on Report or in the House of Lords. So it might as well be noted now that there will be quite a revolt of Labour Members if such deals are reached.

    Of course, despite all the talk of secret deals, this will not happen. Such things have been said in the past, but in the last analysis this House will decide on the legislation.

    Would the hon. Gentleman agree that, for the convenience of the House, it would be better for the Secretary of State to clarify right now what I understood to be the import of part of his speech—that there would be discussions with the CBI with a view to introducing amendments before Report? It was not a leak or a rumour but was specifically announced tonight by the Secretary of State. Should we not all have that confirmation now so that we know what we are debating?

    There is nothing wrong with discussions with the CBI or anyone else. Discussions should go on with all interested parties. I am talking about Press reports of accommodations reached with certain people about the introduction of amendments which have not been considered by hon. Members who spent many long hours in Committee—

    I am saying that if that happened, great objection would be taken and there would be a great deal of difficulty.

    The Bill must be got through as early as possible, although I do not expect the Opposition to agree. It needs amending and strengthening. As I said in my Guardian article which has kindly been quoted, I think that it is a watered-down version of the Labour Party's programme. It needs to be strengthened, just here and there, to bring it back into line with what the Labour Party envisaged. Strengthened or not, however, it is an absolute necessity. How else are we to deal with our problems of investment in industry? How else are we to regenerate industry in the regions and build the factories, many of them based on public ownership, which are required to create jobs on Merseyside, in Glasgow, in the North East and in Wales? We can do those things only with the kind of instruments created by the Bill.

    I would say to those who get so het up at the idea of extending public ownership, as I said in my Guardian article, that if there is any criticism of the Bill it is that we have not sufficiently defined where public ownership should be extended. I am in favour of a clear definition stage by stage. Because an argument in my party left the areas blurred, some business men were frightened. I think that they were wrong, but I can understand their feelings, which need to be overcome. I do not blame my right hon. Friend—this was a decision of the Labour Party at that time—but clarity is needed.

    If we do not get the Bill quickly, the problems of industry will get worse, not better. We have tried all the old solutions. The Prime Minister said on television yesterday that the Bill was an extension of Keynesian ideas. It is not full-blooded Socialism. It certainly does not entirely satisfy me. I should like to go much further. It is an extension of Keynes. Keynes was useful up to a point, but we are in a whole new ball game now. The old theories are no longer sufficient.

    The Bill goes beyond Keynes. It is a necessity. I would ask hon. Members not to get upset or express synthetic indignation but to accept the necessity for a timetable. After all, there are only seven or eight clauses and two schedules left. The time granted is sufficient—

    Yes, Liberal. I ask hon. Members not to get upset but to accept the timetable as reasonable. I hope that the House will vote accordingly.

    8.10 p.m.

    It is interesting to hear the former Minister of State speak about the Bill in such a reasonable manner. He speaks of the Bill as being of major importance but he does not say he wants the Bill; he says that he wants it quickly. I do not care whether the hon. Gentleman has taken part before in an allocation of time debate. I understand that he has probably never had an occasion to do so. Today he is taking part in such a debate, and his contention is that we have to get a move on, that Parliament must stop worrying about the details in the Bill, and possibly finding some mistakes, and speed up the process to put the Bill on the statute book because he and the Government want it quickly.

    We understand that the Government want to get their Bill, They have a right to get the Bill which the Opposition do not deny. We may dislike the Bill, and we may dislike some parts of it very much, but we have no power to stop the Government getting the Bill. We are given power in Parliament to oppose constructively and to put forward solutions to problems arising from the Bill; in other words, to be a constructive Opposition.

    In 28 sittings the Secretary of State has not complained once that the Committee has not been constructive, and he has been generous enough to say so. We have heard how the Under-Secretary of State on several occasions has drawn the attention of the Committee to the fact that we have been making good progress. There have been no dilatory motions and there have been no motions which could have been ruled out of order because they were wrecking motions. It is the most remarkable Standing Committee on which I have ever served—remarkable because of the progress it has made.

    The Committee has taken a long time—28 sittings—but we have not had one late night sitting. Last Thursday when the Lord President of the Council announced in the afternoon that there would be an allocation of time I expected that we might sit late that night to make up any lost time, but, no, the Secretary of State had an engagement outside the House and something more important than the Bill had to be considered. I was prepared to stay late that night, but we did not sit late. We have never sat late. We rose at 7.30 p.m. or sometimes at 8 p.m., never later, yet now we are told that the progress must be speeded up.

    The Government have not said that the Opposition have tried to trip them up. No trip wires have been put down in front of the Government. The debates have been constructive on both sides of the Committee. Long and argued amendments have been put forward by members of the Tribune Group. Although I have not agreed with them, I certainly think that they should be considered in Committee.

    Just to get the record straight, many amendments have been put forward by hon. Members who have nothing whatever to do with the Tribune Group. They may be members of the Manifesto Group—I think that some are—and there has been agreement by most back benchers on the Government side to support those amendments. I wish that Opposition Members would not keep talking about amendments put down by the Tribune Group.

    There have been amendments asking for the Bill to be strengthened, and to correct what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walter (Mr. Heffer) referred to as the watering down that had crept into the drafting from what he thought—presumably from a Labour Party conference or document—would emerge. Hon. Members have a right to seek to persuade their Government to accept a move to strengthen the Bill, but, equally, we have an obligation not to wreck the Bill.

    In Committee we do not make Second Reading speeches, and all Opposition parties have a right to suggest how the Bill should be amended to make better law. We have a right to put forward suggestions. Many amendments are suggestions for making the Bill correct in certain aspects. The Secretary of State knows that he has been present in Committee. I hope that what he said this afternoon is for real and that some parts of the debates upstairs will be taken on board by the Government.

    There are parts of the Bill concerning disclosure measures which are tricky. With respect, we think that the Government could be making a serious mistake, not from the Conservative Party point of view but from the national point of view. As my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) said, for the Government to require information from companies is one thing, but to insist that that information is automatically passed to trade unions not necessarily connected with the enterprise is quite another. For the Secretary of State to accuse me and the Conservative Party of muddying the water and not appreciating what is commonly called industrial democracy is a ridiculous attack to make on us. At no time have we been against disclosure to members of the enterprise, to employees. Yet that matter was raised this afternoon by the Secretary of State as a complete distortion and as a deliberate political intervention to try to confuse the issue.

    Of course we do not like the Bill, and we are seeking to amend it. The amendments that have been debated in Committee have been designed to make the Bill a better one. We have to make the best of a bad job. The debate has been controlled and the opposition has been controlled. I do not mind disclosing that it has been deliberately controlled to try to ensure that we do not waste time and that we are an example of parliamentary democracy working at its best in Committee, studying the clauses word by word and phrase by phrase.

    The Bill has been properly debated and our proceedings have been widely reported. The Bill is being watched closely throughout the country by both sides of industry and by the public at large. Each sitting has been reported and there is no lack of interest. Never once have I seen any Press commentary to the effect that anyone on either side of the Committee is dragging his feet.

    Why, therefore, do we want this allocation of time motion? It is a great mistake for the Government to suggest it. It strains the Government's character, and it is something of which they cannot be proud. The Secretary of State is sitting here tonight, and that is a mark of the respect he has for Parliament, but he made a great blunder in going to the Lord President and saying that he must get the Bill through quickly. I know why he wants it. He has the British Leyland problem and he wants to have the mechanism for handling it. All we ask is for enough time to consider the Bill seriously and to continue our constructive work. We must give time for parliamentary democracy to work and be seen to work. If that means just two or three more days in Committee, let us not give any indication outside that Parliament is ceasing to do its work at this serious and dangerous time in our history.

    The hon. Gentleman must recognise that there is a question mark over his arguments. I take it that he is concerned about EEC regulations going through the House like a dose of salts in one-and-a-half hours. He is pleading for time for a Bill that has already had many hours' discussion Will he adopt the same argument about the EEC and argue for a "No" vote on 5th June?

    I must not be drawn into that one. The Secretary of State is not even taking up the hon. Gentleman on that. That is a separate matter. The Bill is a contentious one which from our point of view could be dangerous. We suggest that we want more time in Committee. We are asking to co-operate.

    I have drafted an amendment to the motion which Mr. Speaker has not called. All I seek is further consultations to secure a further amount of time in Committee—not many days. Why is the Bill being rushed through? The Government want the Committee to report by 12th June. Will the right hon. Gentleman still be the Secretary of State after 6th June?

    The dispute between the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State is common knowledge. There are enough shots across the right hon. Gentleman's bows already.

    My sort of shots are like peas from a pea shooter compared with the shots from the Prime Minister's 15-inch gun. We may well have a new Secretary of State before the Committee finishes sitting. How do we know that the Bill will not be given a new direction and a new emphasis? It has changed its direction somewhat since the hon. Member for Walton left office. How do we know, if the present Secretary of State were to move, that the Bill would not have a different emphasis and direction, perhaps even following the Prime Minister's guidelines? What then? How foolish we would look if we had only one day in which to consider the new direction given by the new Secretary of State who was following the Prime Minister.

    We need more time. The Bill has a question mark put over it by the Prime Minister himself. Up till now the Bill has been devised and ordered by the wild men of the Left, both outside as well as inside the House. They have been cheered on by a not very virtuous crowd of foolish Fabians. It would appear that they have exhausted their arguments. They have grown tired of the opposition to the Bill. Have they grown tired? Are they trying to persuade us to accept their revolutionary ideas and their special solutions to the great industrial problems which we face? Is that why they want to close the discussion? Do they no longer want to hear another point of view? Why are they trying to stop the debate on the Industry Bill? Is their time running out? Is their Minister running out? Surely the Prime Minister would not agree that this is a time to stifle Parliament and gag Members of Parliament. Surely on a contentious Bill like this, which the Prime Minister regards as so important that he says that he will have to control it himself and nominate the members of the National Enterprise Board, he cannot intend that debates should be stifled in this way.

    The Leader of the House said last Thursday that he was going to be generous about the further time that he would give, to the Committee. I say that he is not being generous. Unless the Bill continues to be considered reasonably and as thoroughly as it has been so far, real harm can be done to industry and to the country, and it certainly will not help the Government—not even the present Labour Government. We have now reached a difficult and delicate stage in Committee when we are discussing the clause providing for compulsory disclosure to the Government and to the unions. We should be going slower at this stage, not faster. Instead of the Government wanting to put their foot down and accelerate the process as we go into this dangerous bend, they should be putting a brake on and giving us more time, because this is the very moment when we need the time.

    Can we, therefore, not come to some arrangement? Is it too late for the Secretary of State and the other right hon. Members on the Government Front Bench to consider whether this is not the time when there should be closer examination of the Bill in Committee and when Parliament should be given a chance to do its job properly? The Government are attempting to do too much and too fast. They are straining the patience of Parliament and of the people. I hope they will think again, and very soon, and then agree to give us this extra time.

    8.24 p.m.

    As a comparatively new Member of this House, having listened to the hon. Members for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) and for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) I think that we are seeing the worst of democracy in this country. Members of a sterile Opposition are working themselves into a lather in which they could not even punch holes in a paper bag. They are not dealing at all with the urgent problems which face the country.

    It is admitted on both sides of the House that there is a need for modernisation of British industry in order to get the country back on its feet, to begin the restructuring and to produce the new look that is required. It is admitted in all quarters that successive Governments have failed in their efforts, well meaning though those efforts may have been, to bring about this new look in industry. Yet here we are going through the motions, as has been done so often before when a timetable motion has been introduced. It does not matter which party is in office; the same old arguments are used. It is a wonder that the public who are listening to this debate do not walk out in disgust. When people read the account of the debate in the Press tomorrow, they will say "There they are, wasting their time, saying the same old things all over again. What we want is some action." That is what the public are demanding. They want us to get on with the job.

    The Conservative Party is not concerned with the merits of what is done here tonight. It is concerned with cheap debating points and jibes about what the Prime Minister may or may not have said to the Press, whether it was an official leak or not. The Opposition seem to spend all their time on these matters. When we have been in Committee, however, what have we heard from them? What we have heard in Committee appears to me to have been a defence of the multinational companies. We have been asked to be soft with them. We must not be hard with them or they might pack up and leave and put people out of work. We must not take measures to provide for the disclosure of information. We must not look at transfer pricing and find out what is really involved in a multinational company.

    Opposition hon. Members are not concerned with the growing powers of the multinational corporations whose only belief is in higher profits, wherever they can obtain them. If they can find lower wage rates somewhere else, they will pack up and go. They are not concerned about this country any more than they are concerned about any other. The name of the game is the maximising of profits, though one would not think so from hearing hon. Members opposite defend them in Committee.

    That is what the argument has been about. It has not been about our country's real needs, not about giving a new face to British industry, not about making sure that more information is available, not about making sure that investment goes to the right place for the modernising of industry.

    In a most constructive speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) made clear his concern about what happens in industry and about the need for more industry in the regions. That is what the Bill is about. Like my hon. Friend, I am not entirely satisfied with the Bill and I should like to see stronger measures in it. I have said so already in Committee. [HON. MEMBERS: "That needs more time.") I do not need more time for it. I have been concerned about compulsory planning agreements and about ensuring that information is made available to the Government and to employees. That is my concern—not being soft to the multinationals. I want to see a national plan so that we may make a real beginning in the regeneration of British industry.

    Coming from the North West I want to see more companies go to that region, but at the same time I want protection for some of the most efficient companies which are there already. My hon. Friend the Member for Ince (Mr. McGuire), who is in his place on the bench below me, is aware of one of the problems which multi-national companies create for us in the textile industry. A mill in his constituency which may be closed belongs to a multinational. For the moment I leave aside the question whether it is or is not to close, because what concerns me now is that the employees who work for that company have proper information so that they know whether their future is secure. That is what we are working for.

    Only by beginning anew and putting into practice the measures in the Bill can we make a good start. There are admitted defects in the present practice. I have a vested interest here, because my own union, the ASTMS, out of its concern for the future of the motor industry, our chief exporter, put a series of searching questions to the multinational companies which dominate that industry. It asked about future markets, investment plans, transfer pricing and other matters.

    As was said in Committee, two of the companies have not even deigned to reply to that request for information on behalf of our members, whose future is at stake and who want to know. The workers in that industry are concerned not about high profits but about their future, their families' future and the future of the communities in which they live. Those who have an interest in these matters go beyond the workers in the factories themselves to the shopkeepers and others in the communities round about, because their future quality of life is affected. Moreover there are the suppliers to the motor industry, those who service cars, and even those who run filling stations. All these people too want to know what the future of the multinational companies will be.

    The Industry Bill is the first honest radical attempt to restructure industry and to take both sides into partnership so that the information which goes to the director or even to the absentee shareholder is available also to the employee. That in itself would be a great step forward. It would make for a sharing of ideas because the workers would then know where they stood. Because the Bill is both urgent and vital, we are proposing this timetable motion. Hon. Members opposite do not seem to realise that. They just want to carry on spending time. The hon. Member for Canterbury seems to think that a few night sittings would be the answer to everything.

    That was what the hon. Gentleman said. He does not want the Bill to be rushed through, he wants to go into great detail, and he seems to think that the late hours of the night would be a good time to consider important legislation of this nature.

    If the hon. Gentleman had read the Order Paper he would know that an amendment which I have put down, supported by several of my hon. Friends, suggests a further six days in Committee, sitting in the daytime.

    That may well be so, but there might still be a lot of time wasting. We might still not have made much progress by the end of that time. That is why we must get down to a timetable.

    I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Walton made a very fair observation, referring not only to the Committee on this Bill but to others, when he said that a timetable should be agreed before the commencement so that everyone would know where he stood. That would be a sensible arrangement. The archaic procedures which have been followed in the House for far too long need modernising. We must bring ourselves into line with the country's needs. We have to realise that we are well into the second half of the twentieth century. We have to get down to the job, which we are urging on people outside Parliament, of modernising. Our procedures must be brought up to date. We need the Bill urgently if we are to begin carrying out what we promised when we published our election manifestos last year. We must begin the modernisation of British industry and take into account the needs of all in industry, ensuring that everybody has the information and the facts that are required.

    8.35 p.m.

    I found the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle) singularly disappointing. Not only is it quite clear that he has not read the Order Paper—if he had he would have known precisely the terms of the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch)—but it seems doubtful whether he has even attended the Standing Committee, even though he is a member of it. The gist of his speech was that in the Committee the Opposition had made their main point the defence of the multinational companies. If he reads the Official Report he will see that our constant argument concerned whether, in applying certain provisions of the Bill to these companies, there was likely to be a substantial decline in inward investment to this country, just the sort of investment we need to encourage if there is to be any regeneration of British industry.

    While the speech by the hon. Member was depressing, other hon. Members, notably the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), were kind enough to describe the Opposition in Standing Committee as "constructive". That has, indeed, been our approach. There have been many moments when we would have preferred to talk longer about individual clauses, but we were hurried on by my hon. Friends the Members for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) and Bridgwater (Mr. King) because they wanted to ensure that we got to the vital clauses on the compulsory disclosure of information with ample time to discuss them.

    I personally would have liked much more time to probe the powers and functions of the NEB and the extension of its activities into the service industries, into banking and insurance. That aspect has not been taken on board nearly enough yet by the British public. However, we were asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Henley not to spend too long on it in order that we could make progress.

    It was notable that the Secretary of State referred to the number of amendments which have been brought forward. The latest copy of the notices of amendments up to Friday 9th May shows eight new amendments, all of them in the name of the Secretary of State for Industry himself. Why has the Committee stage taken so long? All of us regard the Bill as revolutionary. That was the Under-Secretary's description of it when he was referring last Thursday morning to the changes which would result from the Bill. I agree that it is revolutionary. I think it will see a fundamental shift in the power base in industry. Power will move irreversibly towards the Government and the trade unions. I hope that managers will continue to manage, but effectively they will no longer be responsible to those to whom they are responsible now. In future they will be responsible to the Government and the trade unions.

    The Bill encapsulates this new theory, that through planning agreements with workers who man the plants, and with the trade unions and with the Government who will provide the funds, management will find itself with wholly new standards, constraints and guidelines. That is a fundamental and revolutionary change in the way in which we handle industry. It is essential that it be debated most fully.

    I do not believe that this change will work, for two substantial reasons. First, I do not believe that any Government have shown themselves to be competent providers of public funds. On past records, every Government have shown themselves extraordinarily bad investors of public funds. Nor is there any reason why it should be otherwise. Why should Ministers who are professional politicians, or civil servants who are there to interpret their wishes, be any good at all at investing in vast commercial enterprises?

    The second, and arguably the more fundamental, reason is that the sort of control which the Secretary of State envisages passing to the work force and the trade unions is not wanted by Mr. Average on the work bench. The rejection of the participation offered by the Chrysler management to its work force over the weekend is an indication of that. Certainly it is admirable to have participation in decisions where a worker's own experience is relevant, increased efficiency in his own unit, and a rotation of jobs in his own part of the production line, so that the stifling monotony of doing the same thing all the time is avoided. Those things should be the concern of every management and every works council. However, I do not believe that control of a group's forward plans, its investment decisions and its product-mix is the worry of the average man working in the factory. For those reasons I do not believe that the revolutionary process planned in the Bill will be successful.

    Throughout the long Committee stage we have had a theological argument like that between Luther and the Pope, with the Government stating doctrinaire and dogmatic reasons why they believe the extension of State control will work, and the Opposition saying that we are quite certain that it will not work. Just as we have reached the most difficult and most important clauses in the argument—those which bring in the element of compulsion—the guillotine has fallen. I do not believe that discussion of the Bill should be curtailed in any way, least of all at this time, when the element of compulsion has been introduced in Clauses 20 to 24. Under these clauses companies are forced to give up their secrets and to reveal their forward plans to a Ministry. At this point there is real interference with the democratic right not to ask for public funds but, as a quid pro quo, to go one's own way in planning one's corporate future without Government interference.

    This threat of compulsory disclosure of information will have a serious effect on international companies. When the companies which are thinking of investing in Britain realise that they will have to reveal the details of their forward plans, and that they cannot be certain whose hands those details will fall into, they will think twice before expanding in Britain when so many other markets are available to them.

    I am glad that the Under-Secretary is listening, because he used the word "revolutionary" to describe the Bill last week. It is because it is revolutionary that it is totally wrong for the guillotine procedure to be introduced.

    8.45 p.m.

    I had not intended to speak in the debate, but I wish to say that I very much agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said. It is not the first time that rational solutions for Bills in Committee have been put forward along the lines he suggested. It has been my painful duty to serve on some Committees which received hardly the treatment I should have liked them to receive. I hope that the House will give further consideration to this aspect.

    I do not want to join in bandying accusations across the Floor of the House. The interpretation of what is vital and what is not tends to shift as power changes hands. No doubt the Opposition still recall the vigour with which they put forward the idea that there was a vital need for reform of trade union structure and control over trade union activities. I hope they have not forgotten what vast areas of the Industrial Relations Act were not considered, the number of new clauses that remained unexamined and the vast number of amendments that were pushed on one side so that the Bill should reach the statute book. I hope they will not forget that when the Bill for our entry to the EEC was introduced not only did its drafting scandalise the then Opposition but, even though it was so short and cast in such general terms, it was allowed nothing like adequate discussion in the House.

    There is little profit to be gained from hurling accusations to and fro across the Floor of the House. But if we are to hear tones of moral indignation from the Opposition perhaps they will examine the history of the imposition of the guillotine. They will find who has made more use of this parliamentary weapon, quite legitimately.

    The Government regard the restructuring of British industry as vital. I do not believe that anyone would oppose that view. We have heard purely hypothetical arguments tonight, as in the speech of the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton), about what Mr. Average Man might or might not want. For the country's survival something must be done about industrial restructuring.

    I do not pin the blame for the present situation on any one party. I think it dates back to the tremendous sacrifices made during the last war, the bleeding of assets to fight and win that war, and, in the years after it, the inability of British industry to invest in order to modernise and place itself in a competitive position vis-à-vis the rest of the world. To this day we have not properly caught up on the backlog which resulted from the sacrifices by the whole nation.

    We have arrived at the stage that unless we do something about our industrial patterns we shall not survive. Central to this matter is the argument concerning the rôle to be played by the State in bringing about a regeneration and a resurgence of industry. The Bill will provide the Government with the means of forging one of the instruments to bring that about. That is the importance which the Government accord to the Bill.

    I regret that some aspects of the Bill will not be examined. The Government in their wisdom—or, as the Opposition think, lack of wisdom—have seen fit to employ the guillotine to ensure that a start will be made. I appeal that there should be no unctuous attitude about the matter. We must view it from a liberal point of view and realise that industry is in such a state that something must be done about it. In spite of all the criticisms, it will be seen how necessary it is to make a start on that process. I hope that the Bill will be fully supported.

    8.52 p.m.

    We are at a moment of economic and industrial crisis in Great Britain. Nothing that the Prime Minister says to reassure us, whether on television or radio or in the House, will alter the fact that we are in a state of extreme industrial and financial crisis. One of the contributions to that crisis is the profligacy of the Government. Another is the stifling extension of the Government machine.

    The Bill has two intentions—first, to extend Government profligacy, which they call investment, and secondly to extend the Government machine, which they call the revelation of information to the work force. There are two views on the matter. There is the view that the Bill will contribute to the restoration of confidence and will provide for investment and for the regeneration of British industry. I do not hold that view. It is not a view which is reinforced by the fact that the first child which fell into its anticipated lap, British Leyland, will be given enormous funds with which to remain as degenerate, fossilised and overstaffed as it has always been. That does not seem to me to be an important consideration in the regeneration of British industry.

    No Bill has contributed more to the collapse of industrial confidence. No Minister has contributed more to present public confusion and the lack of public confidence in the Government. That may be right or wrong. History will judge whether the Minister stands rightly accused and whether the Bill has contributed to industrial confusion. I am certain that the Bill is the author of that confusion. Whether it will put an end to that confusion I do not know. I believe that the Bill is bad politics. It is badly drafted and it involves a number of measures of bad law. The Under-Secretary has done his best. I make no criticism of him. He faced and held the line alone and frequently he relied on others to hand him the weapons to use.

    The Bill involves much bad law. It involves many constitutional changes, which hon. Members on both sides should understand. One of the principal constitutional changes involved is that the Bill hands a large part of the sovereignty of this House over to the Government machine. While the House may receive reports from time to time, which in theory it could negative, the Bill hands a great deal of power over the running of industry to the Government machine. That is a bad constitutional practice.

    We have had very few concessions. There are large misunderstandings in the Bill, not only on our part but on the Government's part, and those misunderstand ings will continue. We are now discussing what may be disclosed. It is fantasy to imagine that if the major concepts of the multinationals are disclosed we can suddenly say to the work force "At last we are liberated from secrecy and so we shall work hard for less and better and more efficiently". It is fantasy and it is false. It is pursuit of that fantasy to imagine that major defects and contradictions may achieve salvation.

    It is most important that the disclosure of information, wrong information and unnecessary information, which is a false concept of the regeneration of industry, to Government Departments to hand on to trade unions should be properly controlled. The coming clauses create dangerous criminal offences for the citizen. When we are making what are called revolutionary changes, it is important that we should have proper consideration of what I say without demur is shockingly loosely and badly drafted legislation. Clause after clause is incomprehensible and meaningless.

    Why do we have the guillotine? It is in order that we can get on with longer, worse-drafted Bills that will hand more of the sovereignty of the House to bigger bits of the Government machine yet to be built. The Committee has been constructive, realistic and restrained. We have had very few concessions. The House has too much legislation and too much bad legislation, and this is as bad an example of bad legislation as we have had.

    When we are extending legislation and the Government machine and bureaucracy and Government expenditure, it is important that in protection of its own sovereignty the House should not be put through the humiliating experience of having that legislation extended by those who advise the Minister without consideration for the representatives of the people, who are to be fettered by these clauses for all time to come.

    8.58 p.m.

    I shall not comment on the views of the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) on the subject of the sovereignty of the House, for I might be tempted into one or two avenues that would be irrelevant.

    Perhaps the most pertinent comment in this debate, which is not about the merits or otherwise of the Bill but about the guillotine, came from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). I entirely agree with him about the need to review the mechanism by which the motion has come about. Certainly it is somewhat ironic that this Bill, much of which is to do with consultation in industry, a point made by the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright), should have attracted a guillotine about which there has been no consultation whatever. It is shocking, and this Department especially would find it hard to justify.

    I have attended all 28 sitting of the Committee. There have been times that I have missed, but I have not missed one sitting. But the first I knew was when the general public knew that there was to be a guillotine. We have spent a considerable time on the Bill, 70 or 80 hours already, and many of the observations on amendments have sometimes been reiterated. Had we had a schedule from the start to which we knew we had to work, there might have been a better chance of spreading the work load so that the vital clauses now being discussed could have had better coverage. I have tried to speak briefly, and I think that others have. Members on all sides have withdrawn amendments rather than pressed them when they have felt that there was little point in pursuiing them and that they would not earn any great changes in the Bill.

    In the guillotine proposals the amount of time that is allowed for the Report stage is too little. Many points have been raised which have been vague and open-ended and require changes on Report but they will not be accommodated within the time allowed by the motion. I would much have preferred us to sit later in the time we have up to the limit and to have had more time on Report to make sure that the bits that need tying together are tied together adequately.

    A point which arose in Committee and which is pertinent is the way the Industry Bills fits together with the Welsh Development Agency Bill and the Scottish Development Agency Bill. That is one argument against bringing the debate on the Bill to too premature a close. Through the courtesy of Conservative Members, the Welsh and Scottish Development Agency legislation has not seen the light of day for debate. As a result there has been very little overlap between the two Bills, although there is a great overlap between the functions of these respective bodies.

    The argument about the Welsh Development Agency Bill during the past two weeks and this guillotine motion tonight reflects the fact that there is too much legislation going through the Chamber, or underlines the fact that the Chamber cannot deal with the amount of legislation that is necessary. This is a strong argument in favour of devolution for Wales.

    This matter of the Industry Bill must be cleared up as early as possible. As so many hon. Members have said, it is causing a considerable amount of industrial uncertainty. Therefore, there is a good argument in favour of having an early conclusion of the Bill. I only wish that the Government had tried to discuss this with the various parties to see whether a timetable, such as they now have in mind, could not have been accommodated by general agreement rather than by forcing it on the parties.

    I urge the Government to think again about whether they need to bring in the guillotine. Would it not be possible to consider this matter with the parties, outside the Chamber, and to draw up a practical timetable that causes no acrimony?

    9.02 p.m.

    I shall not take up much of the time of the House because I merely wish to make two brief points. I shall direct my remarks to the guillotine as such rather than contemplate any deep considerations about the content of the Bill.

    As I was not a member of the Committee I am not aware what has transpired in terms of times and sittings. It would appear that time wasting or filibustering is one of the accepted ingredients whichever party is trying to get a Bill through. In this situation, it behoves those who have control of time, in this sense, to decide the balance between making constructive amendments and proceeding with the Bill, and how much filibustering is to take place.

    That responsibility rests with the Committee, and if the Committee chooses to spend its time filibustering and not being constructive, and if the Opposition in Committee makes that decision and it does not work out, it is their responsibility.

    Time is allocated in this House for debates. We have a programme from Monday to Friday. Question Time is allocated certain periods of time and so are Private Member's Bills, and the rest. We tend not to want to do anything about Committees. I cannot see why any Bill going to Committee cannot be given time in terms of weeks or months, and then why both sides cannot agree on the number of meetings and hours they will spend on the Bill. I agree with the remarks made by my hon. Friends, that if we are in Opposition we stonewall and if we are in Government we want to press on. A great number of people are rather concerned that we get on with legislation irrespective of the contents in the Bill. It would save a great deal of time if some agreement were made on the basis of weeks and months.

    I am reminded of a report I read today about the Prime Minister "fiddling and waffling" in a speech he made yesterday. That was said of him by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior). However, I remember being in a Committee last Thursday morning listening to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues waffling on asking "When is a civil servant a civil servant?" for two and a half hours. We were told that if anyone working for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service was called a civil servant he could not be neutral in carrying out his duties. We had to listen to the Opposition for a good part of the morning.

    That sort of thing takes place irrespective of which party is in Government and irrespective of the Bill in question. It would be sensible to get agreement about a period of weeks or months for how long the discussion of a Bill should last. However, I believe that the motion should be approved tonight.

    9.6 p.m.

    I shall not follow up the remarks of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Tierney). However, I want to refer to the remarks of the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley), who has been a member of the Committee concerned and a very faithful attender, as he said—indeed, perhaps he has attended almost too frequently, from our point of view, as a supporter of the Bill. He was very fair in his criticism of the guillotine motion. He rather let the cat out of the bag regarding consultation. I am in agreement with him about that. He was aware of the prospect of the timetable only in the same way as a member of the public. That is a scandalous disregard for the consideration and courtesy which ought to be shown to hon. Members of any Opposition party.

    In considering the motion, perhaps it is relevant to look for a moment at the record of the Secretary of State. It is relevant to see whether there is justification for steamrollering the Bill through in the way that the Government apparently intend. Despite the Secretary of State's considerable talents in a party political sense, apparently being labelled as those of an Old Testament prophet, or an evangelist, or whatever one cares to call him—although he may make some of the prophets turn in their graves by some of the things he has said and done—it is worth considering whether industry is stronger now under his benign rule over the last year.

    Is industry more confident today than it was a year ago? Following the White Paper last summer "The Regeneration of British Industry", which led up to the Bill, are the prospects of regenerating British industry coming closer to fruition? We are entitled to ask these questions, because that is what the Bill is all about. Are managements and unions optimistically awaiting the passing of the Bill into law? When I hear what is said in industry, I rather doubt that. Indeed, is the Secretary of State tirelessly visiting industry to hear its point of view and what its real troubles are in 1975?

    On almost every count on which one tries to assess the right hon. Gentleman's rôle during the last year as fairly as possible, one must find him guilty of damaging industry to the most serious extent, and more than any Minister in living memory. At no time has industry had lower confidence, as my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) said earlier, than during this year. One wonders why that is so. One does not need to wonder for long. Looking at the Bill which we have been discussing for so many hours in Committee and hearing the odd replies made by the Secretary of State when he has actually attended the Committee, one can see why no one any longer believes that the Secretary of State believes in the private enterprise system. I do not think that anyone now believes that he wants that system to succeed. If what the Prime Minister said yesterday is true, apparently not even he believes that the Secretary of State wants that system to succeed, and that is why the Prime Minister is clipping the right hon. Gentleman's wings. If that is the wrong impression, the Ministers at the Department of Industry have only themselves to blame. In this Bill they have almost deliberately blurred the frontier between private enterprise and the nationalised sector of industry.

    When the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said that he would prefer to see a clear programme of nationalisation and to know exactly what was to be nationalised, I thought that he had a very good point. Perhaps, then, industrial confidence would have been higher. But it is the vagueness of this legislation and the intent that we know to be behind it which is the most damaging.

    Today no one can vouch that other segments of trade and industry will not suffer the same or similar fates as those about to be intervened in or nationalised. The very interventionist nature of the Secretary of State is the most damaging of all, whereas for some people it is the right hon. Gentleman's charm that he rushes round wanting to intervene.

    Although the Secretary of State lectures us frequently about the Conservative 1972 Industry Act, apart from the fact that there are very clear differences between that Act and this proposed legislation, almost the most important one, leaving aside the details of the Bill, is that the 1972 Act was introduced by Ministers who believed in the private enterprise system and wanted to see it succeed, whereas this Bill is sponsored by Ministers who deliberately want to see the free side of our industry suffer the fate which apparently they plan and gradually to be taken over by the State. So we have the combination of the Draconian powers in the Bill and the interventionist judgment of the Secretary of State leading to total disaster for industry as a whole.

    How can a Bill provide confidence when it describes the reason for State intervention in the vaguest possible terms? How can such a Bill be anything but very damaging? One of my hon. Friends commented on the bad drafting of the Bill. That is one of the reasons why we have needed more time in Committee. We have had to try to look behind words to see what they meant. We needed more time to do that.

    The effect on the aircraft and shipbuilding industries demonstrates other areas where confidence has lapsed. Here we have these two great industries left in limbo. They are not concerned directly with this Bill. But if the Secretary of State is concerned with industry as a whole he should be concerned about the lack of investment in those industries. However, we read in the Press today that perhaps the Government will not proceed with the other Bill with which we have been threatened.

    The Secretary of State has other ways in which to restore confidence in industry. As we debate this motion, as the country is being dragged down steadily by the Government, as the pound slides daily in the market, and as the Secretary of State appears to be fighting the Prime Minister about the EEC rather than helping the Committee considering the Bill, all that we have is a three-hour debate in an attempt to curtail discussion of the Bill.

    In present national circumstances, this debate is a disgraceful one. It is disgraceful because we have a Secretary of State consistently damaging industry and running it down. Now he is having to curtail discussion because he wants this Bill bulldozed through Parliament.

    I make a final plea to the Under-Secretary, and I hope that he will pass it on to his right hon. Friend. I ask him to use his very considerable talents to talk to managements and unions in industry and to ask what it is in this Bill which is worrying them. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not ignore the CBI and members of middle management and talk only to miners' rallies or anti-Common Market rallies. I want him to get down to shop floor level and to talk to managements, supervisors, trade unionists and boards of directors and ask them what it is in his Bill which is undermining confidence. I believe that he would get some very interesting information from them. Perhaps he would then come back to the Committee, tell us that he has done that, and introduce the changes that he believes, from his experience of talking to industry, will restore confidence. I believe that we could then go ahead and discuss the Bill in detail, as should be done. If the Secretary of State did that, he would be well on the path to helping industry to prosper once again.

    9.15 p.m.

    Because of the short time available I shall be brief and curtail some of my intended remarks.

    It would be wrong to allow this occasion to pass without recording the total failure of the Secretary of State for Industry to justify the timetable motion. First, he said that this was a matter of urgency. In the same breath, however, he said that we had only four clauses of substance to consider. He it was who paid tribute to the constructive opposition which had taken place in Committee. In that situation, how he can turn round and say that this is now a matter of great urgency does not add up.

    The Secretary of State said that the argument had been well ventilated, and he referred to discussions at the Labour Party Conference and so on. To pursue that argument is to ignore totally that we regard the disclosure clauses as bringing out the one pre-eminent difference between the White Paper "The Regeneration of British Industry" and the Bill. Therefore, I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman has in any sense justified this motion.

    I shall move on quickly to why I think that, by definition, the Bill is so important and why time should be made available to discuss it fully. After all, we are concerned with long-term change. I do not believe that any hon. Member would regard the Bill as likely to bring speedy results. I do not think that its most fervent advocates are saying that. The Bill seeks to bring about a major structural change of industry. Surely, if there were ever an occasion when this House should be given an opportunity to consider legislation in the most careful way, it is when it effects a structural change.

    We are not considering a shopping list arising from a Budget; we are not considering the pros and cons of taxation, which I believe can often be discussed in more partisan political battles. We are discussing matters upon which there is general agreement about the nature of fundamental change.

    On all sides there has been agreement that no clear picture has emerged to show why the urgency should suddenly arise now. The argument in favour of urgency could have been applied at any time. Therefore, why should the Government come forward with this proposal now? In answering that question, we have to consider the sequence of recent events. First we had the resignation by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) as Minister of State. I believe that that was a loss to the Committee. I welcome the hon. Member for Walton on his return to the Chamber, because I think he made a most constructive speech with which many of us had considerable sympathy.

    Following the then Minister of State's departure, we undoubtedly had confusion and uncertainty in Committee on the Government's general line. I join those who have paid tribute to the Under-Secretary of State. It has been a major undertaking for a junior Minister to hold the fort, and he has certainly done that. The Under-Secretary of State and those of us who make up the Committee have been responsible for the progress that has been made and the constructive line that the Secretary of State has praised.

    Inevitably, problems have been posed by the Secretary of State's other commitments. We understand why he could not be present, but we must consider the difficulties. For example, there has been the difficulty of challenging the right hon. Gentleman. I recall a number of occasions when the right hon. Gentleman, having made particular comments at one sitting, would deny us the opportunity of taking up those points because he was not present at the succeeding sitting. I do not mean it in any personal sense when I say that these problems, arising from sources which we understand, have been problems for the Committee as a whole and touch on the very nub of the argument about lack of opportunity to discuss the matter in detail.

    The answer to the question "Why the urgency now?" when, as the right hon. Gentleman said, there are only four substantive clauses to consider must come back to the great charade that we have all had to play in recent weeks. It must be clear to all who have been in the Committee that there has been a definite plan to keep the battle rolling from the Government standpoint until we get past 5th June. In a sense, I extend my sympathy to the Secretary of State. I realise why it has been the wish of various people to keep him occupied until 5th June, and I can understand why they wish to put on all speed once they can see their way past 5th June. Having said that, however, this charade, this whole sham, is very hard to take. The Government have achieved their objective, and it is important that we should be able to consider the remainder of the Bill in a proper and balanced way.

    I summarise by saying that this motion cannot be justified. It is out of keeping with the Committee's work which has been praised by the Government. It is out of keeping with the importance of the subject—so important that the Prime Minister himself is to take personal charge of the implementation of the Bill. The only way in which the motion can be understood is in relation to the Government's own internal difficulties. Those are not our difficulties. They are not of our making. We should be given more time, and this attempt to deny us more time is getting at the very heart of parliamentary democracy in denying many hon. Members opportunities which we should rightly have for further consideration.

    9.22 p.m.

    I do not wish to dwell at length on the speech made by the Secretary of State for Industry. In my view, it was one of the most lamentable speeches that I have heard in the House, not so much because his view, quite reasonably, is so different from our own, but because of the deliberate attribution to my hon. Friends and myself of views which we do not hold on this question of disclosure. The Secretary of State did himself no good by indulging in that sort of practice.

    I thought it was lamentable that the right hon. Gentleman chose to set himself up as an object lesson in disclosure when he has been responsible for bringing to this House a report on British Lay-land which is an object of non-disclosure. It is quite clear in that report that the right hon. Gentleman recognises that there are real and practical difficulties in the whole question of disclosure, and it is because we recognise that there are real and practical difficulties that he chooses to pillory us and suggest that we hold partial and selective views, which we do not.

    I want to refer to the disclosure clauses which we are discussing because it is in the essence of these clauses that one finds the prime justification for not subjecting the Bill to a timetable for the remainder of its length.

    Three fundamental principles are raised by these clauses. First, there is the basic issue of parliamentary and public accountability. I said in Committee upstairs that in this group of clauses there are the most far-reaching powers that have been taken selectively by Ministers. They are more far-reaching than any other powers taken by Ministers in industrial policy, and I do not think there is any difference of view between us on that.

    But accompanying the taking of those powers and the use of them is the fact that accountability is virtually nonexistent. The only measure of accountability is that Ministers have to lay before the House an order saying that they wish to get information from an individual named company. No reason has to be given for the use to which the information will be put. No information has to be given about who shall have that information. There will merely be an order with the name of the company, and the House will be free, if it chooses, to try to negative the order.

    Once the order is passed there will be no further element of accountability in the use of the powers. It will be open to Ministers to issue notices under Clause 21 requiring detailed information under a list of heads in the clause. There will be no limit to the number of notices that can be applied to any one company. There is no limit on the number of Ministers who can apply notices to a single company, and there is not even a limit on the period in future for which estimates may be required.

    In other words, these are, effectively, open-ended powers to seek detailed information from a company and every one of its subsidiaries without any stitch of justification or accountability. That is a major matter, which we had hoped to have adequate time to debate.

    Second a fundamental principle is raised as to how far it is reasonable by law to compel companies to disclose commercially confidential information. We have raised this not because we see any merit in secrecy in itself but because we know—I hope the Secretary of State will at least acknowledge this—that those who will lose most from the unfortunate and unnecessary leaking of commercially confidential information are not the shareholders or the directors but the employees. That is why we attach such fundamental importance to this matter.

    The provisions to protect the confidentiality of information once it has had to be disclosed by law to Government Departments are totally inadequate. It is totally inadequate to provide for a committee to be appointed by Ministers, which will be part and parcel of the executive, and to suggest that it will be wholly independent. It cannot be independent of the executive while it is part of it.

    We believe also that the grounds for withholding information are far too limited. A company would have to show that the release of certain information would be seriously prejudicial. That is far too high a hurdle to ensure that important information which may have real significance will not be disclosed to the disadvantage of a company and, more important, of its employees.

    The final point of principle is whether it is right that we should establish new legal rights to information going to only a few selected people. Despite all the talk from the Labour Party and particularly from the Secretary of State about industrial democracy, not a stitch of industrial democracy is provided for in the disclosure clauses. The legal right to the information once it has been passed on is not that of employees generally, it is not that of union members, it is certainly not that of shareholders, although that might be expected. The legal right is confined to trade union representatives who may not even be employed by the firm in question and who themselves are under no obligation to pass on the information.

    Whatever the Labour Party's intention may have been, we believe that, if new legal rights to information are to be established in the name of industrial democracy, there should be no legal distinction between different groups of employees. They should all have the same rights, regardless of whether they are union members or not.

    Those three fundamental principles, relating to accountability, custody of commercially confidential information and ensuring that legal rights are the same among all employees in a company, are raised in the remaining clauses. Because the timetable will not necessarily allow sufficient time to discuss these matters, I hope that the House will reject the motion.

    9.29 p.m.

    I hope that I have an enviable reputation in the Committee for brevity, but I intend tonight to be as brief as I have ever been.

    We are here bartering a few clauses relating to detailed information which could affect the future of British industry against the wishes of a Government who have lost all control over their timetable. They wish to ensure not that the Industry Bill is properly considered in Committee but that they can bring other measures into Committee to suit the time-able that they have set themselves.

    When we gave the Bill a Second Reading, we thought that we were entering a planning agreement with the Standing Committee to examine every aspect carefully in the name of British industry. However, as soon as we got to anything which smacked of disclosure of information and we put down amendments, we found that we were up against the Government's intransigence in preventing us from examining the Bill as we would wish. I deplore the introduction of this motion.

    9.30 p.m.

    The debate has been concerned mainly with justification for the introduction of the timetable motion. As several hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, guillotines have been used before and will no doubt be used again, but we are concerned to see the justification for using it on this occasion.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) said that the Committee had been a strange one. The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) said that five parties—one could argue that there are six—were represented on the Committee. One feature that immediately strikes hon. Members who visit the Committee is that Government Members—if one may call them that without offence—have not been in any sense dutifully silent. Another feature of the Committee is the way in which my hon. Friends and I had to save the Government on several occasions by voting with them against their own supporters.

    The Secretary of State was generous enough to say that there have been no complaints of filibustering or any attempt to prolong debates. I am glad he did so, otherwise I would have made the claim—supported by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) when he served on the Committee as Minister of State and by the Under-Secretary of State—that there had been no attempt to filibuster on the Committee. The only complaint about a speech made in Committee was made by the Under-Secretary of State to me, and his complaint was that my speech was too short. That is a remarkable complaint to make to a Member of the Opposition. I suppose that another criticism of the speeches might be that the Under-Secretary of State was occasionally told by one or two older and wiser heads behind him that his speeches were too long. Certainly that charge has not been laid against the Opposition.

    As my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury said, the Committee has never sat late. While there is no virtue in sitting late, it is usually a yardstick of the fact that time is of the essence and that there is a certain pressure on the Bill. The latest time of sitting is 7.48 p.m. I know of no precedent for a Bill coming to the Floor of the House for a time-table motion when the Committee has never sat late at night after the dinner break.

    We are already on Clause 21 of a Bill with only 30 clauses. I fail to see that any justification has been advanced even by the Secretary of State, who generously went out of his way to try to prove that certain matters were not the reason for bringing forward the motion. It has been difficult to establish just why we are here. That point was made very well by my hon. Friends the Members for Arundel (Mr. Marshall) and Surrey, North-west (Mr. Grylls).

    When one looks to see what are the reasons, the first one that would strike any visitor to the Committee is that there is only one Minister to cope with a major Bill of considerable complexity and detail. The hon. Member for Colne Valley said that there is a convention that the Secretary of State may be absent for Cabinet business. Some Opposition Members would be forgiven for thinking that the Cabinet had been in more or less permanent session since the Committee started, judging by the presence of the Secretary of State. One understands the pressure on his time, but in the strange position in which the Committee is placed with the absence, for reasons well understood, of the hon. Member for Walton, one would have expected the Secretary of State to wish to jump into the breach. Instead he dealt with only seven amendments during the whole of the prolonged Committee stage. The Under-Secretary of State has carried a major load with diligence and courtesy—and on occasions with poor answers, as he would expect me to say.

    When I was appointed to the Committee, my job was to shadow the hon. Member for Walton. Occasionally on the sporting field I have marked opponents who have subsequently had to be carried off the field, but I have never had to mark someone whose captain sent him off the field for trying to trip him up. When we look for reasons for this, whether it is the fact that there is only one Minister to take the Bill through the Committee and the impossibility of the Committee sitting as many hours as might be possible I do not know.

    The other reason, advanced in The Times—it was not attributed directly to Ministers—is that Ministers are arguing that the parliamentary timetable is congested and there is a need to accommodate other measures. That has nothing to do with the Industry Bill, its merits and the time for consideration of proper amendments to the Bill. It is not the fault of the Committee if the Government have got themselves into such a mess in the rest of their timetable that these things have to be steamrollered aside.

    Why does the House have to consider such a measure so quickly? Is it that there is such a pile of other legislation that everything else, regardless of its merits, has to be swept on one side so that the steamroller can keep on rolling with yet more and more legislation which is likely to be more damaging to the country? As yet no case has been made for the guillotine. The hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley), who took great exception to the lack of disclosure by the Government of their intentions to have the guillotine, made a very powerful point about the lack of time for the Report stage.

    If there is one thing which we criticise above all, it is this. It is outrageous that only two days have been allotted for the Report stage when the Government have already undertaken to bring forward 33 amendments, when we still have ahead of us the promised discussions between the Prime Minister, I suppose the Secretary of State for Industry, and the CBI, and also the deliberations on further stages of the Bill, not forgetting the rights of the Opposition and parties which were not represented in the Committee to bring forward further amendments of their own. To allocate two days for that seems to me outrageous.

    The other serious criticism of the timetable motion is that it represents appalling Government judgment. We have considered the psychology of the Government's presentation of the Bill in Committee. Here we are with a crisis which is causing great concern in the country. The hon. Member for Walton admitted this, and his article in The Guardian has been much quoted. There is genuine concern. The Secretary of State might argue that that concern is misplaced; none the less it exists. Industry sees the Bill moving towards its most sensitive point, and then the Government choose to bring down the guillotine.

    Industry's concern will be in no way alleviated by the sort of speech made by the Secretary of State this afternoon. I have great respect for his powers at the Dispatch Box and for his normal presentation of a case. Whether I agree with his argument is another matter. The second part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech today, however, was quite disgraceful. Ten years ago I not only believed in but was trying to practise some of the things which he claimed were now a revelation delivered to himself personally. I found this grossly offensive. Many of my hon. Friends share that criticism of the distortion in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The way in which he mentioned the workers had all the intellectual sophistication of somebody on a soap box saying "What about the workers?" The suggestion that we were in any way trying to prevent sensible disclosure and involvement in communications was disgraceful.

    What the outside world sees is the Secretary of State's attempt to gag the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation. They see the way in which he has turned on the BBC and the Press. They see the way in which he is attempting to gag further discussion on the Industry Bill. If the Secretary of State wonders why this gives rise to concern, he should remember two other things on which he has often laid great stress.

    I can remember the right hon. Gentleman, at the time of the Conservative Government, making great speeches in the House about the need for consent, saying that no Government could govern without consent. I was struck by the leading article in The Times of 2nd May, referring to the Bill to nationalise the aircraft and shipbuilding industries—though it applies equally to this case:
    "A strong Minister in a strong and united Government, backed by a clear electoral mandate, might well be justified in proceeding in this bulldozing fashion …. It is incumbent on a Government in the position of the present one to have some regard to the fact that, on a particular issue like arbitrary nationalisation, it does not have the support of the majority of the electors."
    When they keep claiming that they have a mandate, the Government should always remember that they had the votes of only 28 per cent. of the electorate on which to claim a mandate to impose a very Socialist policy. I am glad to see the Under-Secretary of State once again looking to see whether that figure is right. He will find that it was 39 per cent. of the votes counted and 28 per cent. of the electorate. If anyone suggests that those who did not vote should not be counted, let him remember—I am sure hon. Members on both sides will be honest enough to acknowledge this—that there were many who did not vote as a positive act of dissent, from the policies of either party perhaps, and they certainly cannot he taken as supporting Labour Party policies.

    As I say, with the support of 28 per cent. of the country, far below what I should have expected the Secretary of State to call the consent of the country, coupled with the fact that the local elections clearly show that that support is falling smartly from the 28 per cent., the Secretary of State still feels that he has a mandate to go forward.

    The other great concept to which the right hon. Gentleman has paid much lip service—no doubt we shall hear even more about it during the next two or three weeks—is the concept of parliamentary sovereignty. I hope that those who believe in free access to Parliament and the involvement of Parliament in full debate will pay attention to the right hon. Gentleman's speeches and arguments on the European question, and will at the same time note that in the House tonight he is trampling on the idea of consent by the people and by Parliament, and he is trampling on the very concept of parliamentary debate.

    Because we recognise the real hypocrisy behind this debate, because we believe that the Bill needed and should have had adequate time for discussion, we shall vote against the timetable motion.

    9.43 p.m.

    It is significant that the breakdown of the usual channels of consultation in the Standing Committee on this Bill came when we reached the information disclosure powers, for they are at the heart of the industrial strategy to which the Government have set their hand in tackling the fundamental problems of massive under-investment, low productivity and poor industrial relations which have devastated the British industrial landscape since the war.

    The bitter and unyielding Conservative opposition on this fundamental issue of getting necessary and proper information to workers shows not only how utterly unable the Opposition are to meet the industrial challenge today but how far they fail to recognise that our chronic problems cannot be solved if we stick to the secrecy of the past. They have demonstrated once again in this debate the interests which they come here to serve, the interests of management prerogative, of management supremacy and of management secrecy. For all the synthetic indignation in the opening speech of the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), it is plain that those are the interests which he is determined to serve if he can.

    Just how narrow and sectarian are those interests of the Conservative Party was fully revealed by a recent Opinion Research Centre survey of industrial attitudes, which, interestingly enough, was reported in The Times of 14th January this year. For all the Conservative remarks that have been made about the inappropriateness of the information disclosure powers, it was interesting to read on the centre page of The Times, in regard to a sample of 2,000 respondents:
    "But, again and again in the survey, what comes out is the communications gap between management and worker … what they do want is information. Information about what is happening and why. A bigger say in the day-to-day running of things and in how their own work is planned and organised."
    That makes it very clear why the Government are determined not to be prevented by the Opposition from letting the Bill go through and the solutions to problems of this kind to be provided.

    It is not the case, contrary to many comments which were made during the course of the debate and much of the propaganda which has been deliberately disseminated against the Bill in the country, that the Bill's disclosure powers are without parallel elsewhere. Perhaps I may quote from that not obvious purveyor of Socialism, The Economist, of 22nd February, which said with regard to Holland:
    "'Unless weightly interests of the enterprise are opposed thereto' they must be consulted as soon as possible' about mergers, sales of the company or parts of it, closures, major expansion, contraction or change in the company's activities or its organisation".
    That is very much the kind of thing provided in Clause 21. The article continues:
    "In Belgium, since late 1973, the previously ineffective works councils have been entitled to a wide range of information on future plans. Companies can escape disclosure on specific points if they can prove to the Ministry concerned that it would be harmful."
    That is exactly like the provisions of the Bill.

    Did the Minister quote the term "works councils", and, if so, what has he been opposing consistently in Committee recently?

    We have our own better reasons for preferring trade unions in this rôle because they are the real representatives of the work force in a way that works councils entirely separate from the trade union movement are not. They are the proper organs for consultation in this country.

    The article then deals with Austria. It says

    "Austrian employers planning major changes must discuss their effects on the labour force with the works council."
    It then goes on
    "In all three Scandinavian countries disclosure occurs both through works councils, and, much more recently, through worker directives. By and large industry has cheerfully accepted, sometimes welcomed, these developments."
    What a contrast with the British CBI and the British Conservative Party.

    Is it not the case that the Secretary of State for Industry when in Opposition admitted he had written to the management of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders suggesting that it slimmed the work force? Was that ever revealed to the work force by the right hon. Gentleman when he wrote that letter?

    As the hon. Member should know, my right hon. Friend discussed the matter with them before he wrote the letter, so that is in no way an answer to the comments I have been making.

    It is to defend these crucial policy requirements which have numerous precedents abroad and which are a pale reflection of the much wider-ranging requirements for information disclosure in previous Conservative measures that we have been forced to move this motion tonight—

    Perhaps I should go into detail about the consultative channels which have operated in the course of the Committee, because I want to make them perfectly clear. The main need for the motion arises because of the unwillingness of the Opposition to give any form of assurance that a reasonable timetable would be maintained unless the Government altered their policy on the Bill. In other words, unless we bartered time for content there would be no agreement. That is something no Government would be prepared to enter into, and we are certainly not prepared to do so. This attitude is a prerogative of the Opposition, but in taking it they must expect that the Government will also take the steps that are open to them in order to ensure that their business is completed. That is precisely what we propose to do. It is relevant, in order to give an indication of the flavour of the attitude towards the time-spinning on the Committee, to quote two Opposition Members. First, I refer to the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), who, significantly, did not speak tonight, so I shall speak for the hon. Gentleman in his silence. On 8th May he said in Committee—

    The hon. Gentleman said:

    "Let us realise that we shall not see the Bill on the statute book this Session. Why do not the Government pack it all in? They would save the time of the House on the guillotine motion."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 8th May 1975; c. 1620.]

    Order. The hon. Member can give the substance of what was said but he should not quote.

    The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury made it very clear that as far as he was concerned the Government had better take the Bill away and come back next Session. He was determined to ensure that it would not be passed this Session. That was the view of the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury in Committee.

    It is also relevant to quote the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), who on the 4th March said—

    Perhaps I should make it clear that I do not intend to quote from the Committee proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman said:

    "I have never believed that guillotine debates have been made any more interesting by the number of precedents that the introductory speeches have contained."—[Official Report, 4th March 1975; Vol. 887, c. 1293.]
    I can well understand the right hon. Gentleman's views on this, because we all know which party has resorted the most to the guillotine.

    Since the war Labour Governments have used the guillotine eight times and Conservative have used it 17 times. I am a charitable man and I do not propose to recite a list of precedents, I shall confine myself to the reasons why I am asking the House to approve the motion.

    The other relevant consideration behind the motion is that very slow progress was made on the Bill at the start. The hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) suggested in the debate today that we did not spend enough time on Clause 2. That is an indication of the attitude of the Conservatives to the time spent in Committee. We had no fewer than six and a half sittings on Clause 2, and we spent no fewer than 15 and a half hours on that clause.

    The hon. Gentleman has made the point, and I have given a completely effective reply to the kind of attitude which he illustrated.

    The Committee took no fewer than 11 sittings to examine the first three clauses of the Bill, a rate of progress which, if it had continued, would have required nearly 300 hours to complete the Bill. However, this extremely slow progress—[Interruption.] I accept that we have moved a little faster, but in view of the enormously slow progress at the start we never achieved a proper timetable.

    Analysis of the first 26 sittings shows that, of amendments taken to a Division, Conservative amendments accounted for five times the debating time of Government back bench amendments. The Opposition are concerned that they have not had enough time. The House can judge the humbug behind those comments.

    Nor can it be said that the very slow progress made on amendments that were overwhelmingly Conservative was due to the negative Government reaction in handling them. The Government accepted either in principle or absolutely, for incorporation on Report, no fewer than 33 amendments, and also offered to consider a further 16. That was a very resonable reaction by the Government.

    The slow progress of the Bill before the guillotine can be demonstrated by comparing it with similar situations under the last Conservative Government. In the case of the Housing Finance Bill in 1971 and 1972, the guillotine was introduced when 45 sittings had considered 70 clauses. In other words, each sitting covered almost two clauses. Here we are introducing a guillotine when 28 sittings have been needed to cover only 20 clauses—in other words, when each sitting has covered only about three-quarters of a clause.

    I turn to a point raised by the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright), the Liberal spokesman, and a number of Conservative Members, about the time the motion allows for debate. The Committee is considering Clause 21. Only four of the subsequent clauses and two of the Schedules could reasonably be described as giving rise to any substantial points. If the Business Sub-Committee continues the present frequency, the motion provides for the Committee to have a further 12 sittings, and even if they are no longer than previous sittings—it is entirely a matter for discussion—the total time to debate the 30 clauses will be no less than 108 hours. That makes clear how generous the Government propose to be.

    The hon. Gentleman has said that there are 49 possible Government amendments for Report. He has been talking about the Committee stage, and has now endorsed our point. Clearly, two days will be inadequate for Report.

    I am coming to the point about Report and Third Reading. Two days are allotted. The Bill has 30 clauses and four schedules. Contrary to the view the hon. Gentleman has expressed, our allocation of time compares favourably with the time permitted for the Housing Finance Bill and Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Bill when they were guillotined. The former, with 103 clauses and 11 schedules, was allocated only three days, and the latter, with 78 clauses and 11 schedules, was allocated two days. The latter Conservatime measure was two to three times longer, and was more complex, yet it was given no more time on Report than we offer for a Bill one third of the length and complexity. Therefore, we can see the Opposition's humbug over the lack of proper time under the motion.

    I remind the House that the Government have the clearest possible mandate for the Bill. A detailed White Paper setting out their intentions was published last August, a White Paper prepared under the personal direction of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. With the White Paper as one of the key planks in their platform, the Government were re-elected with a substantially increased majority. There is no question but that the Government have the right to push the Bill through.

    I regret that the hon. Member for Henley tried to pretend that his unwillingness to agree to a reasonable timetable was due to shades of difference between the Bill and the White Paper. Such a claim is complete humbug. Despite all that has been said, including all that the hon. Gentleman has said and written, about differences between the two documents, 28 sittings of the Committee have revealed only two discrepancies. One concerns a financial limit at which the National Enterprise Board is required to seek the Government's approval. The

    Division No. 202.]

    AYES

    [10.1 p.m.

    Anderson, DonaldBennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)
    Archer, PeterBidwell, SydneyCallaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)
    Armstrong, ErnestBishop, E. S.Campbell, Ian
    Ashley, JackBlenkinsop, ArthurCanavan, Dennis
    Ashton, JoeBoardman, H.Cant, R. B.
    Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)Booth, AlbertCarmichael, Neil
    Atkinson, NormanBottomley, Rt Hon ArthurCarter, Ray
    Bagier, Gordon A. T.Bray, Dr JeremyCarter-Jones, Lewis
    Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Broughton, Sir AlfredCartwright, John
    Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Castle, Rt Hon Barbara
    Bates, AlfBrown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Clemitson, Ivor
    Bean, R. E.Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)
    Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodBuchanan, RichardColeman, Donald

    other concerns the connection between the information disclosure powers and planning agreements, a change introduced to ensure that, as the hon. Gentleman himself asked when the White Paper was published, no element of compulsion was involved in planning agreements.

    Those changes, which were made with the approval of the Prime Minister, whose name is printed on the Bill, in no way qualify the mandate which the people have given to our policy. The need to ensure reasonable progress for this Bill, and hence the need for this motion, arises not from the needs of the Government legislative programme but because the measures contained in the Bill represent the fulcrum of a new industrial policy.

    I recognise that the Opposition do not accept these ideas, as indeed is their right. However no one has the right to obstruct a Government from implementing a set of proposals on the basis of which they were elected. That would be wrong at any time. I believe that in the light of our present industrial and economic problems it would be unforgivable.

    In view of the overriding need, which is now widely recognised throughout the country, for measures now desperately needed to reverse the decades of industrial neglect in industry, I believe that we have a right to ask Parliament for the authority to prevent the Bill from being withheld from the statute book.

    It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded to put the Question necessary to dispose of them, pursuant to Standing Order No. 44 ( Allocation of time to Bills).

    Question put:

    The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 266.

    Colquhoun, Mrs MaureenIrvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Perry, Ernest
    Concannon, J. D.Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Phipps, Dr Colin
    Conlan, BernardJackson, Colin (Brighouse)Prescott, John
    Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Janner, GrevillePrice, C. (Lewisham W)
    Corbett, RobinJay, Rt Hon DouglasPrice, William (Rugby)
    Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Jeger, Mrs LenaRadice, Giles
    Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
    Crosland, Rt Hon AnthonyJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)Richardson, Miss Jo
    Cryer, BobJohn, BrynmorRoberta, Albert (Normanton)
    Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Johnson, James (Hull West)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
    Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Jones, Alec (Rhondda)Robertson, John (Paisley)
    Dalyell, TamJones, Barry (East Flint)Roderick, Caerwyn
    Davidson, ArthurJones, Dan (Burnley)Rodgers, George (Chorley)
    Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)Judd, FrankRodgers, William (Stockton)
    Davies, Denzil (Llaneill)Kaufman, GeraldRooker, J. W.
    Davies, Ifor (Gower)Kelley, RichardRoss, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
    Deakins, EricKerr, RussellRowlands, Ted
    Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Kilroy-Silk, RobertRyman, John
    de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyKinnock, NeilSandelson, Neville
    Delargy, HughLambie, DavidSedgemore, Brian
    Dell, Rt Hon EdmundLamborn, HarrySelby, Harry
    Dempsey, JamesLamond, JamesShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
    Doig, PeterLeadbitter, TedSheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
    Dormand, J. D.Lee, JohnShore, Rt Hon Peter
    Douglas-Mann, BruceLester, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
    Duffy, A. E. P.Lever, Rt Hon HaroldShort, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
    Dunn, James A.Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
    Dunnett, JackLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
    Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethLipton, MarcusSillars, James
    Eadie, AlexLomas, KennethSilverman, Julius
    Edelman, MauriceLoyden, EddieSkinner, Dennis
    Edge, GeoffLyon, Alexander (York)Small, William
    Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
    Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)Mabon, Dr J. DicksonSnape, Peter
    Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)McCartney, HughSpearing, Nigel
    English, MichaelMcElhone, FrankSpriggs, Leslie
    Ennals, DavidMacFarquhar, RoderickStallard, A. W.
    Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)McGuire, Michael (Ince)Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
    Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Mackenzie, GregorStoddart, David
    Evans, John (Newton)Mackintosh, John P.Stott, Roger
    Ewing, Harry (Stirling)Maclennan, RobertStrang, Gavin
    Faulds, AndrewMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow C.)Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
    Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.McNamara, KevinSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
    Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Madden, MaxSwain, Thomas
    Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)Magee, BryanTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
    Flannery, MartinMaguire, Frank (Fermanagh)Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
    Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Mahon, SimonThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
    Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Mallalieu, J. P. W.Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
    Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMarks, KennethThorne, Stan (Preston South)
    Ford, BenMarquand, DavidTierney, Sydney
    Forrester, JohnMarshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Tinn, James
    Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Tomlinson, John
    Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Mason, Rt Hon RoyTomney, Frank
    Freeson, ReginaldMaynard, Miss JoanTorney, Tom
    Garrett, John (Norwich S)Meacher, MichaelUrwin, T. W.
    Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Mellish, Rt Hon RobertVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
    George, BruceMendelson, JohnWainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
    Gilbert, Dr. JohnMillan, BruceWalden, Brian (B'harn, L'dyw'd)
    Ginsburg, DavidMiller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
    Golding, JohnMitchell, R. C. (Solon, Itches)Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
    Gould, BryanMolloy, WilliamWatkins, David
    Gourlay, HarryMoonman, EricWatkinson, John
    Graham, TedMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Weetch, Ken
    Grant, John (Islington C)Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Weitzman, David
    Grocott, BruceMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Wellbeloved, James
    Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Moyle, RolandWhite, Frank R. (Bury)
    Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickWhite, James (Pollok)
    Hardy, PeterMurray, Rt Hon Ronald KingWhitehead, Phillip
    Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Newens, StanleyWhitlock, William
    Hart, Rt Hon JudithNoble, MikeWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
    Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyOakes, GordonWilliams, Alan (Swansea W)
    Hatton, FrankOgden, EricWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
    Hayman, Mrs HeleneO'Halloran, MichaelWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
    Healey, Rt Hon DenisO'Malley, Rt Hon BrianWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
    Heffer, Eric S.Orbach, MauriceWilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
    Hooley, FrankOrme, Rt Hon StanleyWilson William (Coventry SE)
    Horam, JohnOvenden, JohnWise, Mrs Audrey
    Howell, Denis (B'harn, Sm H)Owen, Dr DavidWoodall, Alec
    Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)Padley, WalterWoof, Robert
    Huckfield, LesPalmer, ArthurWrigglesworth, Ian
    Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)Park, GeorgeYoung, David (Bolton E)
    Hughes, Mark (Durham)Parry, Robert
    Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Pavitt, LaurieTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Hughes, Roy (Newport)Peart, Rt Hon FredMr. Joseph Harper and
    Hunter, AdamPendry, TomMiss Margaret Jackson.

    NOES

    Adley, RobertGoodlad, AlastairMore, Jasper (Ludlow)
    Aitken, JonathanGorst, JohnMorgan, Geraint
    Alison, MichaelGow, Ian (Eastbourne)Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral
    Amery, Rt Hon JulianGower, Sir Raymond (Barry)Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
    Arnold, TomGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
    Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Gray, HamishMorrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
    Awdry, DanielGriffiths, EldonMudd, David
    Bain, Mrs MargaretGrimond, Rt Hon J.Neave, Airey
    Baker, KennethGrist, IanNelson, Anthony
    Banks, RobertGrylls, MichaelNeubert, Michael
    Bell, RonaldHall, Sir JohnNewton, Tony
    Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Hall-Davis, A. G. F. MichaelNott, John
    Benyon, W.Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Onslow, Cranley
    Berry, Hon AnthonyHampson, Dr KeithOppenheim, Mrs Sally
    Biffen, JohnHannam, JohnPage, John (Harrow West)
    Biggs-Davison, JohnHarrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
    Blaker, PeterHarvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissPaisley, Rev Ian
    Body, RichardHavers, Sir MichaelPardoe, John
    Boscawen, Hon RobertHayhoe, BarneyPattie, Geoffrey
    Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)Henderson, DouglasPenhaligon, David
    Braine, Sir BernardHeseltine, MichaelPercival, Ian
    Brittan, LeonHicks, RobertPeyton, Rt Hon John
    Brotherton, MichaelHiggins, Terence L.Pink, R. Bonner
    Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Holland, PhilipPowell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
    Bryan, Sir PaulHooson, EmlynPrior, Rt Hon James
    Buchanan-Smith, AlickHordern, PeterRaison, Timothy
    Buck, AntonyHowe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyRathbone, Tim
    Budgen, NickHowell, David (Guildford)Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
    Bulmer, EsmondHunt, JohnRees-Davies, W. R.
    Burden, F. A.Hurd, DouglasReid, George
    Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Hutchison, Michael ClarkRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
    Carlisle, MarkIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
    Carr, Rt Hon RobertIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
    Carson, JohnJames, DavidRidley, Hon Nicholas
    Channon, PaulJenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)Ridsdale, Julian
    Churchill, W. S.Jessel, TobyRifkind, Malcolm
    Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
    Clark, William (Croydon S)Jones, Arthur (Daventry)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
    Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Jopling, MichaelRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
    Clegg, WalterJoseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
    Cockcroft, JohnKaberry, Sir DonaldRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
    Cope, JohnKershaw, AnthonyRoss, William (Londonderry)
    Cordle, John H.King, Evelyn (South Dorset)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
    Cormack, PatrickKing, Tom (Bridgwater)Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
    Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)Kitson, Sir TimothyRoyle, Sir Anthony
    Critchley, JulianKnight, Mrs JillSainsbury, Tim
    Crouch, DavidKnox, DavidSt. John-Stevas, Norman
    Crowder, F. P.Lane, DavidScott, Nicholas
    Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutstord)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
    Dean, Paul (N Somerset)Latham, Michael (Melton)Shelton, William (Streatham)
    Dodsworth, GeoffreyLawrence, IvanShepherd, Colin
    Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLawson, NigelShersby, Michael
    Drayson, BurnabyLe Marchant, SpencerSilvester, Fred
    du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardLester, Jim (Beeston)Sims, Roger
    Dunlop, JohnLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Sinclair, Sir George
    Durant, TonyLloyd, IanSkeet, T. H. H.
    Dykes, HughLoveridge, JohnSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
    Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnMcAdden, Sir StephenSmith, Dudley (Warwick)
    Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)MacCormick, IainSpeed, Keith
    Elliott, Sir WilliamMcCrindle, Robert.Spence, John
    Emery, PeterMcCusker, H.Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
    Eyre, ReginaldMacfarlane, NeilSproat, Iain
    Fairbairr, NicholasMacGregor, JohnStainton, Keith
    Fairgrieve, RussellMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Stanbrook, Ivor
    Farr, JohnMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Stanley, John
    Fell, AnthonyMcNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Steel, David (Roxburgh)
    Finsberg, GeoffreyMadel, DavidSteen, Anthony (Wavertree)
    Fisher, Sir NigelMarshall Michael (Arundel)Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
    Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)Marten, NeilStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
    Fookes, Miss JanetMates, MichaelStokes, John
    Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)Mather, CarolStradling Thomas, J.
    Fox, MarcusMaude, AngusTapsell, Peter
    Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldTaylor, R. (Croydon NW)
    Freud, ClementMawby, RayTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
    Fry, PeterMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinTebbit, Norman
    Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.Mayhew, PatrickTemple-Morris, Peter
    Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
    Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)Miscampbell, NormanThomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
    Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Mitchell David (Basingstoke)Thompson, George
    Glyn, Dr AlanMoate RogerThorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
    Godber, Rt Hon JosephMolyneaux, JamesTownsend, Cyril D.
    Goodhart, PhilipMonro, HectorTrotter, Neville
    Goodhew, VictorMontgomery, FergusTugendhat, Christopher

    van Straubenzee, W. R.Warren, KennethWinterton, Nicholas
    Vaughan, Dr GerardWatt, HamishYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
    Viggers, PeterWeatherill, BernardYounger, Hon George
    Wainwright, Richard (Colne y)Wells, John
    Wakeham, JohnWelsh, AndrewTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Wall, PatrickWhitelaw, Rt Hon WilliamMr. Richard Luce and
    Walters, DennisWiggin, JerryMr. Cecil Parkinson.

    Question accordingly agreed to.

    Ordered,

    That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining Proceedings on the Bill:—

    Committee

    1. The Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before the 12th day of June.

    Report and Third Reading

    2.—

  • (1) The Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in two allotted days and shall be brought to a conclusion at Eleven o'clock on the last of those days; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the Proceedings on Consideration such part of those days as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.
  • (2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the Proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those Proceedings and Proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the second day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.
  • (3) The resolutions in any report made under Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) may be varied by a further report so made, whethter or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph, and whether or not the resolutions have been agreed to by the House.
  • (4) The resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which proceedings on Consideration of the Bill are taken.
  • Procedure in Standing Committee

    3.—(1) At a Sitting of the Standing Committee at which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the Proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.

    (2) No Motion shall be made in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a Member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who makes, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.

    (4) No Motion shall be made to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule, but the resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which the Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee.

    Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee

    5. On the conclusion of the Proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

    Dilatory motions

    6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, Proceedings on the Bill shall be made in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a Member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

    Extra time on allotted days

    7.—

  • (1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the Proceedngs on the Bill for one hour after Ten o'clock.
  • (2) Any period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the period under this paragraph.
  • (3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the Proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under this paragraph, and the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day shall also be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on the Motion.
  • Private Business

    8. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by the Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (I) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill or, if those Proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the completion of those Proceedings.

    Conclusion of Proceedings

    9.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any Proceedings which are to be

    brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not been previously brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others) that is to say—

  • (a) the Question or Questions already proposed from the Chair, or necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including, in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
  • (b) the Question on any amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that amendment or Motion is moved by a Member of the Government;
  • (c) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;
  • and on a Motion so moved for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

    (2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

    (3) If, at Seven o'clock on an allotted day, any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time have not been concluded, any Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on definite matter of urgent public importance) which, apart from this Order, would stand over to that time shall stand over until those Proceedings have been concluded.

    (4) If a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over to Seven o'clock on an allotted day, or to any later time under sub-paragraph (3) above, the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day at any hour falling after the beginning of the Proceedings on that Motion shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on that Motion.

    Supplemental orders

    10.—

  • (1) The Proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and the last foregoing paragraph shall apply as if the Proceedings were Proceedings on the Bill on an allotted day.
  • (2) If on an allotted day on which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time, no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.
  • Saving

    11. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee or the Business Committee shall—

  • (a) prevent any Proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or
  • (b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such Proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.
  • Re-committal

    12.—

  • (1) References in this Order to Proceedings on Consideration or Proceedings on Third Reading include references to Proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of re-committal.
  • (2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted to any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.
  • Interpretation

    13. In this Order—

    "allotted day "means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as first Government Order of the Day provided that a Motion for allotting time to the Proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed to on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day;
    "the Bill" means the Industry Bill;
    "Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee;
    "Resolution of the Business Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.