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Employment Bill (Allocation Of Time)

Volume 22: debated on Tuesday 20 April 1982

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3.41 pm

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Bitten): I beg to move,

That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the bill:

Committee

1. — (1) The Standing Committee to which the Bib is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before 29th April 1982.

(2) Proceedings on the Bill at a sitting of the Standing Committee on the said 29th April may continue until Eleven p.m., whether or not the House is adjourned before that time, and if the House is adjourned before those proceedings have been brought to a conclusion the Standing Committee shall report the Bill to the House on 30th April 1982.

Report and Third Reading

2. — (1) The proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in two allotted clays and shall be brought to a conclusion at Seven o'clock on the second 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 fourth 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 may be varied by a further Report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) above, 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 moved 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 explanatiory statement from the Member who moves, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.

4. No Motion shall be moved to alter the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee but the Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in that order.

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 moved 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 two hours 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 said period of two hours.

(3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion fen 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 said period of two hours.

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 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 conclusion 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 previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  • (a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
  • (b) any Question 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);
  • (c) 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;
  • (d) 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) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

    (3) If an allotted day is one on which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) would, apart from this Order, stand over to Seven o'clock—

  • (a) that Motion shall stand over until the 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 at or before that time;
  • (b) 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 after that time shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.
  • (4) 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, 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 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 paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.

    (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 a Resolution of the Business Committee or Business Sub-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 on 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 ben agreed on a previous day or is set down for consideration on that day;
    • "the Bill" means the Employment 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.

    No Leader of the House would wish to make his first essay in debate on this sort of topic. I realise that the conciliatory qualities that are normally supposed to touch, however lightly, the Leader of the House cannot be much in evidence this afternoon. We all play many roles in our time. As Leader of the House I have to play a role of moving timetable motions as well as, I hope, taking part in other more congenial parliamentary occasions.

    Having said that—I feel that it is a ritual that is required of me—my sense of the traditions of the House tells me that timetable motions are almost as integral a part of this assembly as the Chair itself. If I wanted any reassurance, I would have only to turn to the Leader of the Opposition, who has kindly remained in the Chamber. Doubtless a sense of nostalgia brings him here to hear the House deal with a timetable motion on employment legislation. On that great day, 20 July 1976, the right hon. Gentleman managed to bag five timetable motions in one wide-ranging grapeshot. That remains a record. The right hon. Gentleman's unbridled enthusiasm worries me. Surely a man of such fastidious concern as the right hon. Gentleman should be one of the first deeply to reflect upon Talleyrand's dictum, "Pas trop de zéle". However, on 20 July 1976 there was practically nothing that was too radical or too sweeping for him. Given that precedent, I do not stand before the House with any penitential sheet.

    I shall detain the House but briefly. I am aware that a number of hon. Members wish to make speeches on this important occasion. However, I shall draw the attention of the House to three matters. The first is that, in a sense, the subject of the great debate is the Employment Bill. The second is the experience of the Bill in Committee. The third, and most important, concerns the proposals in the motion that we are formally debating.

    The subject before us is trade union legislation. The Bill addresses itself to one of the central items of debate in the democratic procedures of the House and the country: what is to be the appropriate legal framework which will provide a balance between trade union immunities and privileges and trade unions' legal obligations? There is nothing startling or new about addressing oneself to that principle. It has featured in legislation from time to time over the past few years.

    Whenever I want guidance on these topics I turn to the Leader of the Opposition for my inspiration. Admittedly, one has to go back to the days when, if there was a strong light behind him, he could be considered almost a radical. I refer to the days when, as managing director of Tribune, he became engaged in one of those fraternal dialogues with the late Arthur Deakin. On one such occasion he placed the following on record:

    "Trade union leaders are not a special breed of humanity, always to be shielded from the rough breezes of democracy, rare birds to be protected by special game laws."

    I note that the right hon. Gentleman cheers. I am glad that the same robust sentiments that were expressed a couple of decades ago still beat within his breast. That is an encouragement to us all.

    In the halcyon days to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, he will note that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was talking about trade union leaders. The Bill that is the subject of this motion is not about hamstringing trade union leaders. Its purpose is to attack the rights of 12 million trade unionists. There is no conflict on the Labour Benches with what my right hon. Friend said many years ago.

    The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) does his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition a disservice by suggesting that he can defend him rather better than the right hon. Gentleman can defend himself, and does so more disastrously by suggesting that the power of trade union leaders does not rest upon the power of the bodies that they lead. The privileges, immunities and effectiveness of the trade unions invest in the leaders of those organisations the very real power that they have in today's society.

    The Bill that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment introduced not so very long ago is a measure that touches upon matters of controversy. That is perfectly understandable. It touches upon the closed shop, the immunity of trade union funds and the determination of a trades dispute.

    I must be very gentle in responding to the interjection of my pair, the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice), who said "Touches upon?", as though I were guilty of some disgraceful underplaying or of plundering the English language of all its meaning. However, on Second Reading my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment said:

    "`The Bill … is a modest measure, in both size and purpose."—[Official Report, 8 February 1982; Vol. 17, c. 738.]

    The violence of the reaction does not tell us anything about the modesty of the measure. However, it tells us something about the mental attitudes of those who have enjoyed privileges over the decades and who are horrified at the thought that anyone might question their enjoyment of those privileges.

    We have had early warning that the Bill would be trial by verbiage. The sittings motion and order of consideration—admittedly, they were two approaches—were considered for over four hours. Clause 1 and schedule 1 were discussed for 36¼ hours, while discussion on clause 2 continued for 37½ hours. Then something happened. I am not entirely clear what happened, even after a close study of the manuscripts, but clause 3 took only 4¾ hours. However, a fairly good record was being maintained. So much so that clause 4 was eventually secured in slightly more than 10¾ hours. This morning there was suddenly a burst of speed and clause 5 was obtained in one hour.

    Clause 3 was dealt with quickly for two reasons. First, the Chairman refused to allow a debate on whether the clause should stand part of the Bill. Secondly, and more important, none of us, including the Minister, could understand the clause.

    There are important conclusions to be drawn from that intervention. However, the proceedings in Committee have reflected the conduct of parliamentary opposition on a more generous and extended scale than any Government could reasonably contemplate given their commitment to the securing of their business.

    I approach this matter in a fairly charitable mood as I know that there is a certain other worldliness about debates on timetable motions. Before the debate is over, we shall be knee-deep in tears of anger and remorse, but everyone knows perfectly well that when Governments face difficulty in securing their legislation there comes a point when they must strike a balance and secure reasonable consideration of immportant outstanding aspects of the legislation.

    Before I leave the subject of the length of time spent on the Bill, an accolade or two should be given out of sheer puzzlement at the sustained loquaciousness of certain Opposition Members. I am afraid that I shall have to disapoint the hon. Members for Bethnal Green arid Bow (Mr. Mikardo) and Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton). They are old hands at this, but the leading contestant is a newcomer who shows great promise. I refer to the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon), who will no doubt be recruited to take part in many future debates on these matters.

    I have looked again at the figures for the number of hours spent on the Bill, and I believe that the right hon. Gentleman does us an injustice. Adding up the figures that he gave, I make the total just under 60 hours. I do not wish to make the right hon. Gentleman's case for him, but I am sure that the Bill has been in Committee for longer than that. If his figures were right, we should not have been doing our job.

    That was simply the characteristic deployment of my case by understatement. I am happy to be corrected and to hear that the verbosity was on a scale beyond even what I have suggested.

    Important issues remain to be debated. For instance, there is the "union labour only" requirement in contracts, which is an oblique form of closed shop. That falls to be considered in clauses 10 and 11. The bringing of immunities of trade union funds into line with the immunities of trade union officials is dealt with in clauses 12 to 14. The definition of a trades dispute and its consequential impact on immunities is dealt with in clause 15.

    The Bill and the consideration of those matters must not be lost in a quagmire of verbosity. That is the reason for the proposals before us today.

    The purpose of the motion is to ensure that the passage of the Bill is expedited so that the remaining important clauses can be properly debated. Under paragrph 3 of the motion, it will be for the Business Sub-Committee to determine the number of sittings between now and 29 April, when the Bill must be reported to the House.

    Having had the pleasure of serving with the right hon. Gentleman on the Procedure Committee in years past, I ask him seriously to consider for the future the possibility of introducing the kind of timetable now before us at the commencement of a Bill's passage through the House, rather than after the Committee has wasted perhaps not all but a great deal of the first 100 hours of debate on the Bill? As Leader of the House, will he seriously consider the possibility of timetabling Bills in future?

    I note what the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) has said. I also note that this morning The Times—the house organ of the Social Democratic Party—carried an article in which the hon. Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) makes a broadly similar point. I hope that the hon. Member for Rochdale will acquit me of any discourtesy when I say that this is a fairly substantial sidewind, even for him to suggest, in a fairly narrow debate of this kind. He is, of course, right that we should always be attendant upon our procedures and consider ways in which they might be improved. Nevertheless, I must say straight away that what he has suggested en passant will not immediately commend itself unreservedly to all quarters of the House.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the Committee on the Bill on 9 March, as reported at col. 176 of the Official Report, I pleaded for just such a timetable for the Bill?

    Yes, indeed; and I am sure that when other opportunities arise to debate the point that the hon. Gentleman has raised he will be able to use that as evidence to sustain his case.

    The Government hope that the present four sittings a week will be retained until 29 April, when the motion will lead us to complete the Committee stage after that afternoon's sitting. The motion will therefore enable a further six sittings to take place before Report to deal with the remaining clauses and schedules. This means that the Committee will have had over 135 hours in which to debate the Bill. We believe that to be a reasonable allocation of time.

    As is usual on these occasions, it is left to the Business Sub-Committee to determine the compartments into which the Bill should be divided and the times at which debate should close.

    Proceedings on consideration and Third Reading have been allocated a day and a half, with consideration on the first day coming to a conclusion at midnight. The Business Sub-Committee will be able to decide how the time on Report is to be apportioned.

    In conclusion, I believe that four considerations underpin the virtue of these proposals.

    First, the proposals provide for measured debate on important outstanding topics.

    Secondly, the motion will secure the passage of an important, albeit modest, piece of legislation that was outlined in the Queen's Speech and which the House has every reason to expect will be secured during this Session.

    Thirdly—I add this as a consideration to appeal both to the Leader of the Opposition and to the hon. Member for Bolsover—this arrangement means that Third Reading may come tolerably soon and thus secure the tantalising spectacle of how the Social Democratic Party will actually vote on that occasion.

    Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, it should be placed on record that on the last Tory Government's Industrial Relations Bill, which was debated on the Floor of the House at far greater length than this Bill, Liberal Members who then represented the "breaking the mould" type of politics into which the Social Democratic Party has now entered, voted for the Bill until Third Reading, when they voted against it. One of my hon. Friends aptly described their position as being like a rocking horse—all motion and no progress.

    That intervention shows how avid an alliance spotter such as the hon. Member for Bolsover must be to see the arrival of Third Reading. Therefore, I am sure that with his heart, if not his boots, he will be in the Lobby with us.

    Fourthly, and finally, I revert to the ringing declamation of the Leader of the Opposition all those years ago. It is important for the House to demonstrate that there are no rare birds protected by special game laws. Today we are using a parliamentary device which in this instance will be a vindication of democratic parliamentary procedures against entrenched corporate interests.

    3.59 pm

    I regret that I congratulated the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House during business questions the other day. I should much rather have done it at this moment, on his speech today and particularly on the quality that I think every hon. Member of the House willingly accords to him—the quality of modesty.

    It is remarkable how in about a fortnight or three weeks the right hon. Gentleman has already completely immersed himself in the other spring ritual of Governments. The first is the Budget and the other is the timetable motions that Governments of both parties introduce about this time. In the debate on the last timetable motion, when his predecessor was in office, I pointed out the remarkable coincidence that with a Conservative Government the timetable motions started on the first Monday in March and went on to a Tuesday in April. The right hon. Gentleman has got it absolutely right. This is the time that he should be introducing this motion.

    The right hon. Gentleman is also engaged in the verbiage of the ritual of saying that the Government introduced the guillotine but regret that they have to do so. While plunging the knife in, they apologise to the House for having to do so. The Opposition also have their rituals. Our ritual lies in saying that fast progress has been made on the Bill. As far as I am concerned, the slower the progress that we can make on this Bill within the parliamentary rules, the better, because this is the worst Bill that has ever come on the Floor of the House since the Industrial Relations Bill of 1971. The Bill surpasses that Act in both evil and in fear, contention and division in the House.

    The right hon. Gentleman went fairly deeply into the principles of the Bill. I do not know why, as everybody knows what the Bill is about. However, as he has done so, the Opposition obviously have to keep pace and do the same. The first and most important principle is that trade union funds are attacked at such a level and in such a way as to endeavour to make trade unions impotent in our society. This is much worse than it was in 1971, when, as the House will recall, the architect of the Industrial Relations Bill was the right hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe) who is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is no wonder that the keystone of the Industrial Relations Bill fell apart soon after it was passed.

    This Bill is in more cunning hands. The architect is the same architect who flew an aircraft for many years and invariably reached his destination without crashing. He has clearly in mind what he wants—he wants to go back to the Taff Vale decision. That is what the Bill is about. Therefore, the phrase "trade dispute", for example, in the Bill has a much more restrictive meaning than the 1971 legislation. The right hon. Gentleman is well aware of that.

    The second part of what the right hon. Gentleman is doing is concerned with closed shops. He does not make them illegal; he is much cleverer than that. Instead he makes them virtually inoperable. The effect is much the same. Even clause 1, under which payment is made out of public funds to certain people dismissed between 1974 and 1980, is intended as a piece of deliberate shop window dressing, and a piece of deliberate destruction of trade union principles. All this is clear and has been well thought out and is one of the reasons why progress has not been as fast as the Government would wish.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther) is right. His and my mathematics make the total time the Bill has taken so far near to 100 hours. If the Government had had their way it would have been one hour. That is what they would have wanted. It is interesting to note the effect of the guillotine. We can watch the effect of the guillotine on the previous Industrial Relations Bill.

    In 1971 the result of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer's architecture was that the guillotine meant that although that Bill took longer than this, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) pointed out, the effect of it was that large sections were not the results of the measured debate about which the right hon. Gentleman is talking. Large parts were not discussed, with the result that when the Bill was enacted it was shown to be legislatively one of the worst Acts ever, and inoperable. That is what happens.

    Another result was that in the complete year following the enactment of the Bill 24 or 25 million working days were lost through industrial disputes—the worst period of loss of industrial working hours and days since the general strike of 1926. The Secretary of State for Employment is out to make records—we know that. No doubt, if this Bill becomes law and remains in operation for a year—which is highly dubious because I doubt whether the Government will exist a year from now—that 24 million lost working days will be equalled. Therefore, the last thing we shall have is measured debate.

    The second point made by the right hon. Gentleman is clear and fair. Governments want their legislation. The Labour Government next year will want their legislation and will look to the right hon. Gentleman for full support in getting it through. [Interruption.] That will certainly happen next year.

    The right hon. Gentleman's third reason in support of the guillotine tempts me. It will be interesting to see which way the Social Democrats vote—one way, two ways or three ways. If it were not for the fact that this Bill is disastrous from the point of view of uniting the country, the right hon. Gentleman would have completely convinced me. It is his most convincing argument.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman recall that since that vote on Second Reading the Social Democrats and the alliance have won the Hillhead by-election and now have 43 per cent. support in the opinion polls? Voting three ways cannot have done them a great deal of harm.

    I have a feeling that, with a few more by-elections and a few more three-way votes, the result may be different. We shall see.

    Will my right hon. Friend take note that this morning in Committee, where there were only two Members of the alliance, which inhibited a three-way split, there was only a two-way split?

    I am not sure that the presence of two Members of the alliance necessarily inhibits a three-way split. On the contrary.

    However, this argument was the most attractive and possibly the only argument that the right hon. Gentleman could give us. We shall resist the timetable motion and the Bill as it goes through the various stages. When the time comes the Bill will go into the dustbin of history as the 1971 Act did in its time.

    I should like to end on a more serious note by pointing out what an opportunity has been missed. Whatever one may think of the Bill, it is one of the most divisive Bills that we have had. The right hon. Gentleman knows and paid tribute to this. At a time when the Government are talking about national unity, to bring in a Bill such as this, carry on with it and to see that it goes through against the wishes of the whole Opposition and at least half the population of the country, possibly more, is to miss an opportunity that the right hon. Gentleman, if he had thought about it, would have been the first to grasp.

    I think that the right hon. Gentleman overstated the case when he said "against the wishes of' the whole Opposition". After all, the Government had a majority of 107 and that included several, or parts of several, of the Opposition parties.

    There is only one Opposition party, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. He had better get it clear in his mind, because a year from now, when he is sitting on the Opposition Benches, he may find himself sitting below the Gangway. I hope to tell him that, although there will be several opposition parties at that time, we shall recognise the Opposition.

    4.10 pm

    I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his first speech in his capacity as Leader of the House. His appointment was popular throughout the House and all hon. Members wish him well. I follow that with a critical point. I do not think that my right hon. Friend need have been apologetic, in the sense that he seemed to be, when he said that he would have preferred to be speaking on a different motion in making his first appearance at the Dispatch Box as Leader of the House. I support guillotine motions. I think that there should be more of them and that they should take place earlier. I agree with the proposition of the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) in his intervention. I should like to develop that argument in a moment.

    The speech of the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. Silkin) was typical of the exaggerated hysteria that has marked debate on this subject. It is an important subject. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Leader of House that it is one of the central items of debate in our time. Hon. Members should be debating in depth and carefully the role of trade unions in our society. We should be discussing properly and seriously such matters as who pays the damages in cases where there has been an action outside the proper immunities of trade union action. We should be discussing carefully how workers can liberate themselves from the closed shop if they want to get out of it. There should be a reasoned debate. We are not getting it either from the TUC or from the Opposition Benches.

    The right hon. Gentleman appears to think that I was being hysterical or slightly so. Will he not agree, when he considers the Bill that he so rigorously opposed from these Benches——

    —that he pretended to oppose rigorously—that this Bill is infinitely worse from a trade union point of view?

    That is an example—it is one that I was going to quote—of the exaggeration in which the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends indulge. I was opposed to the Industrial Relations Act 1971. In retrospect, I am still opposed to it. I do not think that we can solve the problems of or improve industrial relations through a special court with the powers that it possessed, including the power to order standstill periods in disputes and the power to order unions to hold ballots of their members. The practical experience of the early 1970s showed that the legislation was wrong. This is a matter on which both sides of the House should reflect.

    The document "In Place of Strife" in 1969 contained many of the proposals included in the Industrial Relations Act 1971. I believe that both political parties have learnt the lessons of those years. The present Government are not bringing forward a great blockbuster of an Act of that kind. In 1980, the Government produced a modest step to change the balance of industrial relations in certain ways. This is another modest step. I for one look forward to further steps on such matters as compulsory ballots before major strikes and compulsory ballots for the election of senior trade union officers.

    I believe in strong, responsible and democratic trade unionism. I believe that the trade union movement of which I have been a member since leaving school is falling short of the democratic standards that we are entitled to expect these days. It was a gross exaggeration to compare this measure with the Industrial Relations Act of the early 1970s. The right hon. Gentleman went further. He suggested that the objective of my right hon. Friends was to go back to the Taff Vale judgment. What illiterate nonsense that is. If the right hon. Gentleman is going to make statements of that kind, they should be backed by some reasoned arguments. What has been lacking in recent months has been reasoned arguments.

    The Trades Union Congress has failed to make its case on this matter. The recent special conference was a nonevent, not simply because it was overshadowed by the Falklands crisis but because everyone, including the people who were participating, knew that they were not speaking on behalf of this country's trade unionists. I was interested to hear the right hon. Gentleman's statement that perhaps half the nation was against the Bill. In other words, perhaps half is for it. Perhaps half Britain's trade unionists are for it. If a representative number of rank and file trade unionists was to be gathered together in a room of this House—I mean the genuine rank and file in the widest sense—to discuss point by point the clauses of the Bill, it would be found that the Bill had the overwhelming support of those trade unionists.

    The TUC is using such absurd tactics in denouncing not merely this Bill but so many aspects of Government policy that it robs itself of any credibility in the eyes of the public. This means that when the TUC has something worthwhile to say, it will not be listened to. That would be a pity. I want to see the TUC recovering some credibility in this country.

    The Opposition have a duty sometimes to tell the TUC when it is wrong. As someone who, 10 years ago, sat on the Labour Front Bench as Shadow Secretary of State for Employment, I can say that I was prepared to tell the unions when they were wrong. I believe that this should happen now. What has happened on this Bill and in relation to so many matters is that the Shadow Cabinet decides to find out what the TUC wants it to say and then says it hour after hour, day after day and night after night. It never takes an independent judgment on any of these matters.

    I wish to put the timetable motion in the context of the manner in which this House conducts its affairs. I have expressed myself in favour of more timetable motions. I have warned my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that I would try to bend his ear on this subject. I did so privately with both of his two predecessors, for whom I have the greatest respect. On this matter, however, they turned out to be almost as reactionary as Labour Leaders of the House over the years. In other words, they did not believe in modernising or updating our procedures.

    I believe, nevertheless, that my right hon. Friend should initiate discussions to find out the views of hon. Members on the proposition that there should be an automatic timetabling motion immediately after Second Reading of every major Bill. Those consultations should not be conducted simply through the usual channels, which tend to become blocked so easily on such matters. The consultation should take place with Back Benchers on both sides of the House, not only those who like to speak at length late at night but the majority who conduct themselves more modestly but who also have a valid view on these matters.

    I have referred to previous Leaders of the House. The one episode in the career of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) to his credit in the 1970s is the fact that he introduced more guillotine motions than anyone occupying that position had previously done. I cannot think of many other things to his credit, but that certainly is. Our parliamentary procedures, in many ways, operate badly. They have been getting worse during the last decade and they will continue to get worse unless we are prepared to make radical changes.

    The House of Commons sits twice as long as the second longest-sitting parliamentary assembly in Europe. The second longest sitting parliamentary assembly in Europe is the British House of Lords. This has been the case for many years. I believe that these excessive hours of sitting and time-wasting tactics in debate have reduced the quality of our debates and have reduced our influence on the affairs of our country. Responsibility lies mainly with successive Oppositions. I am not making a party point. I am merely saying that the extent to which Labour and Conservative Oppositions in turn have tried to make a virility symbol out of the way they can hold up Government business and keep Committees sitting late at night has got worse over the years.

    Nothing of the sort. They are supposed to make a reasoned case against Government policy. That case is not advanced by wasting time. Indeed, the case becomes weaker because of the time-wasting.

    Does the right hon. Gentleman not appreciate that one of the jobs of the Opposition is to obstruct, as he will find in all the textbooks on the British constitution? It is widely held that one of the reasons for Committees debating over a long period is that the passage of time itself is sometimes conducive to changing the nature of a Bill. The most important reason for opposing the short, sharp passage of Committee stages is that hon. Members should have time to reflect on what has happened and to see how it affects people, and so enable action to be taken inside the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman's short sharp ideas would ruin that deeply held philosophy.

    First, I am not suggesting short sharp Committee stages. I am suggesting that Committee stages should proceed on a timetable motion, which, I hope, would normally be agreed between both sides of the House. That would provide adequate time for debate, just as the motion before us provides adequate time for the remaining debates on the Bill. There is nothing short or sharp about what I am proposing.

    Secondly, the idea that an Opposition can use parliamentary time as a political weapon seems to me completely out of date. Successive Governments have used the guillotine to get their main business through. Therefore, the effect of time-wasting is not to defeat a Government's main proposals but to squeeze out of our debates smaller and non-controversial measures—possibly Private Members' Bills, possibly minor Bills that Departments want to bring forward. Many people are deprived of the benefits that can come from such minor legislation which could be dealt with if time was not wasted on measures of this kind.

    In case anyone is misled, the right hon. Gentleman should make it clear that he is not a member of the Standing Committee. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge he has not sat in on any of our proceedings. Therefore, he is hardly in a position to judge the merits of debates in that Standing Committee. If Committee members are ready and willing to continue to debate and examine the Bill carefully, why should he complain? He is not losing by it at all.

    This is a motion for decision by the House. I agree that I have not sat on the Standing Committee, but I have read its proceedings. When the right hon. Gentleman intervenes, he knows that he is speaking not for the whole Committee, but for his own side.

    Three major advantages would flow from the regular timetabling of Bills. First, it would put an end to the unhealthy and unnecessary business of excessively late sittings. At the moment, we sit excessively late. Sometimes both the House and its Committees sit all night. That is not a sensible way to do business. Members of the public say that we are foolish to conduct our business in that way, and they are right. When a Committee or the House sits all night we inflict work not merely on ourselves but on the police and other staff who have to do extra and unpredictable hours. We should have some thought for them.

    Secondly, debates are better if time is limited. Arguments will be put more briefly and crisply. Hon. Members will not seek to talk just for the sake of talking. Such debates are likely to have a bigger influence on public opinion than those which take an excessive time.

    I want to make a non-political point which I think the right hon. Gentleman will accept is true. Although the House is supposed to be fair, we all know that it is not. Some hon. Members are better treated than others. A Privy Councillor can be called when he wants, take part in a debate and walk out. He is not seen any more. Why should Privy Councillors further restrict Back Benchers, who are already restricted? The right hon. Gentleman knows that he has privileges above all others because his political antecedents give him privileges. He was born almost into the trade union movement, obtained a trade union job and went on the payroll——

    I was not born a Privy Councillor. I could give the House a different version of my career from the one that has just been heard. However, it would be unfair to take the time of the House on such matters. I am one of those Privy Councillors who do not address the House all that often. I agree that one should not abuse the privilege of being a Privy Councillor.

    Thirdly, timetabled Bills would give Government Back Benchers a genuine chance to contribute to debates. Under our present arrangements time is taken mainly—I do not say exclusively—by Opposition speeches and ministerial replies. If no timetable motion has been passed, debates in Committee or on Report tend to be debates between the Opposition and Ministers. For understandable reasons the Whips will always encourage Government Back Benchers either not to speak at all or speak briefly. Government Back Benchers are then reduced to waiting for the bell to ring. Their role is that of Lobby fodder rather than that of legislators. That is not right. That point may appeal more to Conservative Members than to the Opposition. However, if the right hon. Member for Deptford is correct in his claim that the Opposition will win the next election, they should have a view on this.

    This is one of many changes—there are others—that should be made in our parliamentary procedure. It should be made partly for our own sake, partly for the sake of our staff, but, most important of all, so that we can give better service to those we represent by the quality of our debates.

    4.26 pm

    I am sorry that the first motion that the Leader of the House has to move in his new capacity is part of the annual charade that the House of Commons allows itself to be subjected to. I am sorry too, if I may say so, that within three weeks he appears to have steeped himself so deeply in the office. When I read of his appointment with great pleasure, I thought "I know this man. I have sat next to him in Committee. I have listened to his points of view as expressed in the Procedure Committee. At last we have a radical as Leader of the House who will attempt to change our procedures and get a bit of sense into them." I thought that he would put forward new ideas and proposals. However, instead of that, within three weeks, we find that he is steeped in the old routine and that there will not be much change. I see that he nods his head in approval. That is a great shame.

    I sincerely believe that the time for change in the procedure of the House has long since passed. I agree with much of what the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) said. There is a need for a little bit of order in our procedure, especially in the Committee stages of Bills.

    When I intervened, the Minister tried to say that I was following some SDP line as reported in The Times this morning. He should get the order of priority correct. [Interruption.] He said that he had read the reports of the proceedings of the Committee. He may be interested to know that on 9 March, at the sixth sitting of the Committee, I pleaded for a timetable motion for the Bill so that we might properly discuss each clause.

    If it would help the hon. Gentleman, may I say that I regard the hon. Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) as very much his junior in these matters?

    That may help me, but I am not sure what it does for the hon. Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant).

    I said in Committee on that day that it was obvious that we would finish up with a guillotine on the Bill. The right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) asked me how I knew that there was to be a guillotine, and whether I was privy to some information that he did not have. I replied that experience showed that we would end up with a guillotine motion. Five or six weeks later we are faced by a guillotine motion. That motion has been moved after spending 90 hours on the Bill and after debating five clauses. One of those clauses went through in an hour this morning. As a result of the guillotine motion we have been left with three days in which to discuss the rest of the Bill.

    One of the remaining clauses is far more important to the trade union movement than all the clauses so far discussed. I refer to the clause on trade union immunities. We have not yet reached it and it will now be limited because there was no proper timetable motion at the beginning. Instead of having a proper timetable motion at the beginning we have gone through the idiotic charade of trying to carry on talking while knowing that the object of the exercise is to force the Government to introduce a guillotine motion. When that has been done we can all say that the guillotine motion is a disgrace and that the Government have not allowed sufficient discussion on the Bill.

    Such speeches will not be made in the House. There may be the odd comment in the House for the sake of putting things on the record, but the speeches will be made at TUC meetings up and down the country. The object of the exercise is to force the Government to introduce a guillotine motion so that hon. Members can go to TUC and to trade union meetings round the country and tell their comrades that the Government have made a disgraceful, vicious attack on the trade union movement and have not even allowed us the time to debate the Bill in the House. It will be said that they introduced the guillotine motion to cut the amount of time available for debate.

    I do not criticise the Opposition, because in Opposition the Conservative Party did the same thing. The same stupid, idiotic charade is played out from Government to Government. During the Committee's sixth sitting I said that there should be a timetable when Bills start their passage through the House. I called not for a rigid but for a flexibile timetable. If a Committee then found that it needed a little longer on one clause than initially agreed, there would be sufficient flexibility within the timetable—a matter of two or three weeks—to spend a little more time on one clause and to shorten the time available to discuss another clause. That is the sensible way to conduct business.

    The problem is that Oppositions have only the weapon of time.

    When the Leader of the House was a member of the Procedure Committee we took evidence from the Chief Whips of both parties. Both of them remarked—without knowing that the other had said the same thing—that the only weapon that Oppositions had was that of time. That made a deep impression on me. The party political system operated in this House is to blame. There have already been references to the SDP and its vote on Second Reading. It is considered almost hilarious and certainly politically unwise for two members of the same party to vote differently. That is deemed nonsense and stupid.

    This afternoon, the Social Democratic Party was taken to task by both Front Benches. However, it is precisely because hon. Members do not vote differently that the Opposition's only weapon is that of time. Hon. Members belonging to the party in office always vote for the Government unless they are sure that the Government will not be defeated if they do not vote for them.

    I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman because I know what he will say. He will say that he often voted against the Labour Government. Of course he did, but not when he thought that they would be defeated. I have seen the hon. Gentleman sit here during a Division, counting how many Opposition Members abstained and how many went into the Lobby. He did that before he decided whether to vote against his Government.

    The record shows that on at least half a dozen occasions I voted against the Labour Government's policies. However, 1 voted in line with Labour Party policy, when, as a result, the Government were defeated on all those issues. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman is wrong about the way in which I voted. I also voted a total of 154 times in that six-year period against the Government Whip. Does not the hon. Gentleman recall that the Scotland and Wales Bill was defeated in the House not because there were special arrangements or because a guillotine was introduced beforehand but partly because hon. Members—irrespective of party—who had often voted against Government policy decided to chuck the Bill into the dustbin?

    The House was not prepared to go along with the guillotine motion. Because the Government knew that they could not succeed with a guillotine motion, they abandoned the Bill. [Interruption.] That is the truth. The hon. Member for Bolsover and other hon. Members did not talk out the Bill. The Government were well aware that a guillotine motion would not be accepted.

    I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman said that he had voted six times or 154 times against the Government. [Interruption.] However, the Labour Government were defeated only once on a vote of no confidence. Therefore, the hon. Member for Bolsover voted against his Government only when he was sure that they would not be defeated, or when he was sure that defeat would not result in them having to go to the country for a new mandate. [Interruption.] He is not the great champion of democracy that he claims to be.

    Order. The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) must take his medicine as well as he gives it. He must listen when other hon. Members are speaking.

    I am not sure whether I understand the hon. Gentleman correctly. In the unlikely event of a Social Democratic/Liberal Government, will he retain the right to vote against that Government as he wishes, even if it brings them down?

    Of course I reserve that right. Governments should not resign merely because they are defeated. However, they should resign when they are defeated on votes of confidence. If, as a result of defeat, the Government consider that confidence in them is at stake, they should be required to come to the House the next day and to seek a vote of confidence. If they lose that vote, they should resign. I do not take the view that, because a Government lose a Bill or a vote, they should automatically go to the country.

    I wish to help the hon. Gentleman. He should have said that he and the Liberal Party brought the Conservative Party to office. The Liberals joined the Labour Party in the pact, but then reneged and voted the Labour Party out. They got the Tories in at the general election.

    The truth of the hon. Gentleman's statement depends on one's view of history. I could equally argue that the Liberal Party kept the Labour Government in power. However, I suspect that such discussion will not get us very far. However, I hope that I have at least given the Leader of the House a hint that there is the possibility of a good debate on that subject. I hope that he will not lose sight of that.

    On Second Reading I voted in favour of the Bill and advised my colleagues to do the same. I made it clear that it was not the Bill that I would have introduced then. It is on record that I said that if the Liberal Party had introduced a Bill, it would have dealt with subjects such as employee participation, industrial democracy, profit-sharing and the legalisation of works councils.

    I then went on to say that none the less we were not the Government, that the Conservatives were the Government and that this was their Bill. I hope that I shall always judge a Bill on its merit and not on the source from which it comes. Judging the Employment Bill on its merit. I said that I intended to vote for it. I am sorry to disappoint the Opposition Front Bench but I shall continue to support the Government on the Bill and I shall vote for it on Third Reading. What my colleagues do will be for them to decide but there is no question about what I shall do.

    The Bill is as much concerned with individual liberty as with trade unionism. I am concerned about individual liberty. The closed shop is obnoxious and anything I can do to help cripple it is worth doing. No one—not even the Liberal Party Council or anyone else—will change my view on the closed shop. I shall continue to support the Bill. I think I can claim in modesty that I have supported it in Committee. [Interruption.] As I indicated earlier, it is a question of what view one takes of these things. There are those who see their leaders as bosses. There are others who see them as people to be influenced. The House may judge for itself as to which category I fall into. If hon. Members are in any doubt, my right hon. Friend I he Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) could tell them.

    In regard to the motion before the House, since it is not a Bill that I would have been moving and since I vote for the Bill simply on merit, full stop, it is no part of my job to assist it procedurally through the House. In any case I do not like guillotine motions. Therefore, normally—[Interruption.] I am sorry that hon. Members find it difficult to understand. There is a great difference between a timetable motion that is introduced at the commencement of a Bill's passage and a guillotine motion. The object of the latter is to prevent discussion, whereas the object of a timetable motion is to enable discussion to take place rationally and properly over an agreed period.

    This is not a motion to approve or disapprove of the Bill. It is a motion to assist the Government procedurally to get the Bill through the House. It is not my Bill; it is their Bill. It is their job, therefore, procedurally to gel it through the House. While they are getting it through I shall vote for the Bill, but I am not prepared to vote for a guillotine that is merely a procedural mechanism to get the Bill through. I shall therefore vote against the motion before the House.

    I was genuinely surprised at the shortness of time that is being allowed for the remainder of the Bill. I was staggered when I saw that the Standing Committee is to report to the House by 29 April. I would have thought that it would have been the middle of May or the third or fourth week of that month. That is a secondary matter. It is not my principal reason for voting against the motion. It is a secondary reason and confirms my decision to vote against the motion.

    4.44 pm

    One of the good things about the Bill taking so long in Standing Committee is that it gives not only Back Benchers but Ministers an opportunity to understand it. During the Committee stage we have had revelations from the various Ministers who are representing the Government. During all the time that has been spent on the Bill in Committee we have not discussed industrial relations, because the Bill has nothing to do with industrial relations.

    I thank the Leader of the House for his comments about me in his opening remarks. I do not know whether he was trying to put the boot in by suggesting that I serve on Standing Committees. There are many other Members on the Standing Committee who have worked harder than I have on the Employment Bill.

    The guillotine is unnecessary. If there has been delay it has been because of the attitude of the Government Front Bench. We have been trying to get questions answered, but we get different answers. The Leader of the House mentioned that we have spent 36¼ hours on clause 1 and schedule 1. This is because there was no prior consultation. We debated for so long and asked many questions because we wanted to find out the attitude of various organisations. At the first sitting of the Standing Committee my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) moved an amendment that clause 1 be taken after clause 18. Had the Government accepted that, it would have given us the chance to debate the important clauses that have been referred to by hon. Members.

    Some of the provisions of the Bill will have fundamental repercussions on the trade union movement. When I talk about the trade union movement I mean trade unionists who go to work and hold a trade union card, and not the dozen general secretaries that some people refer to as the trade union movement. The Bill will hit trade unionists. That is why we are concerned that all clauses should be properly debated in Standing Committee.

    No one knew about clause 1 and schedule 1 until the Bill was printed. The clause gives the Secretary of State for Employment not only retrospective power but retroactive discretion to pay out £2 million to those free riders who lost their jobs between 1974 and 1980 because they would not pay their union dues. The clause gives the Secretary of State for Employment the right to appoint assessors, but it also gives him the right not to take any notice of those assessors. There will be no tribunals to consider the cases of the individuals who lost their jobs through not paying their union contributions between those years. It means that one individual will have the right to pay out £2 million of taxpayers' money at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are being thrown out of work because of Government policy. That is why hon. Members who serve on the Standing Committee were so concerned and debated the clause for so long. I hope that hon. Members will remember this when they talk about the length of time that has been taken on various clauses.

    Clause 1 is completely unnecessary. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Mr. Silkin) said, it was the icing on the cake. This money is to be paid to people who were martyrs during the period from 1974 to the Employment Act 1980. This is why we spent so long, rightly so, on questioning the clause.

    When my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) pressed the Minister to find out how they arrived at the sum of £2 million, we were eventually circulated with a photocopy of a newspaper article. The newspaper gave the figure of about 400 people, and a little mathematics showed that the compensation worked out at about £5,000 each. When further questions were asked, we learnt that, just as the official receiver appeared after the 1971 Act, a fellow called Professor Gennard was doing a great deal of research. Then we were told that about 325 people would qualify for the bonanza of £2 million, or £5,000 to £7,000 apiece, when the Secretary of State eventually received the retroactive discretion.

    Further questions were asked, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster was told that the Ferrybridge Six were not included in the 325, so that reduced the number to 319. The need for that questioning is the reason why it took so long to deal with clause 1 and schedule 1. If the Government wanted progress on the Bill, they should have accepted my right hon. Friend's amendment at the first sitting to discuss clause 1 after clause 18, and then we should have had a debate on the important clauses to which hon. Members have referred.

    For example, clause 10, on trade union labour only, is an important clause, bringing back lump labour on most construction sites. That is the sort of thing that Labour Members and trade unionists oppose. They will not have the clock turned back and have safety arrangements thrown out of the window with the reintroduction of lump labour. We should have dearly loved to debate the clause at length and ask the Government some important questions.

    The £2 million that the Secretary of State will dole out under clause 1 will cost £250,000 to administer. In addition to being a Member of Parliament I am a local councillor. My council is suffering Government cuts, and the whole of local government is told to cut back on administration. We have to cut the numbers of home helps, dinner ladies and so on, but the Government can pay £250,000 to meet the administration costs of doling out £2 million to those who were free riders between 1974 and 1980. That is one of the reasons why my right hon. and hon. Friends and I oppose clause 1.

    Another important clause is clause 15, which is also relevant to today's debate. An article in my local newspaper, the Evening Chronicle, of 16 April, under the heading
    "Argentine spares ban",
    stated:
    "A consignment of spares for an Argentinian ship has been `frozen' by North-East marine engineering workers.
    Men at the Killingworth factory of the British Shipbuilders company, K. & L. Marine Equipment, said they would not handle the components ordered for the repair of the vessel.
    The spares were due to be flown out to the vessel from Newcastle Airport.
    Mr. Frank Arthurs, an official of the Boilermakers Society, said: 'The lads were concerned about the order. We can't have spare parts going to Argentina to repair a ship which could be used as a supply ship against us."'
    On Second Reading my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) said that the Bill would stop any action that trade unionists wished to take in support of the Solidarity movement in Poland. If the Bill were on the statute book those boilermakers who are trying to freeze parts that could be used in a ship employed against our Navy would be breaking the law. That is the sort of nonsense that appears in the Bill. It is the reason why my right hon. and hon. Friends have opposed it at every stage.

    It would be helpful if the hon. Gentleman would be a little more accurate. Such a strike would not break the law.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me how such a strike would not break the law if the Bill were on the statute book, in view of clause 15 with regard to disputes outside the United Kingdom?

    I am only too delighted to do so, because that will help to clear up one or two matters that arise particularly because of the loose use of words, which has become commonplace. There is no law against such a strike, but political strikes are already unprotected. That is why the strike on the so-called day of action was an unprotected dispute.

    A political strike is clearly different, which is why the day of action was unlawful. On that occasion an injunction was issued against certain newspaper unions. They ignored it, and nothing was done about it. My hon. Friend is referring to something different—to a dispute originating from outside the United Kingdom.

    No. The matter to which my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) is referring would fall foul of the provisions that the Secretary of State is introducing. They are two quite different matters.

    I am grateful for that intervention. I hope that the Secretary of State will bear in mind what has been said and give an explanation when he winds up.

    I am desperately anxious to try to clear up the matter now. Political strikes, whether about matters at home or abroad, have never been protected. No proposal in my Bill would create a situation in which a striker was breaking the law. His actions might not be protected in law, but he would not be breaking the law. Unless the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends can understand the difference between the two they will have wasted their 94¼ hours in Committee.

    None of my right hon. and hon. Friends need any lessons from the right hon. Gentleman or any other Minister about understanding the Bill. As time goes on not only Back Benchers but Ministers in the Committee become confused. Ministers do not seem to understand the Bill either.

    Perhaps one reason why the Secretary of State does not fully understand his own Bill, as he showed once or twice in Committee, is that he has spent only a tiny proportion of those 94¼ hours in the Committee.

    After listening to the Secretary of State's intervention I do not know whether that is an advantage or a disadvantage.

    Clause 15 excludes disputes on matters occurring outside the United Kingdom. Who determines whether a dispute is political? Is it the Secretary of State, the courts or Lord Denning? Does a person have to secure a judicial judgment on whether his immediate reaction to events is lawful?

    Throughout the debate so far the only examples from the Government Front Bench to justify the clauses that we have debated are the three railwaymen who went to Strasbourg, Joanna Harris from Sandwell and the live dinner ladies from Walsall. Every argument that has been put forward by the Government has appertained to those cases. The Government argue that these clauses appertain to those who have lost their jobs not only through the closed shop but through trade union activity, but no one has given an example of someone who has lost his job through trade union activity.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Evans) could give a case of someone who lost his job through trade union activities—that person is me. I lost my job in Hawthorn Leslie's shipyard because of trade union activities. The Secretary of State talks about secondary picketing. I could not get a job in that industry for almost six months. Employers do not need to dash around in cars and stand at the gates to stop anyone from going into various factories or shipyards. All they need to do is to telephone and say that in no circumstances should a factory or shipyard employ that man. That is victimisation.

    Trying to prove victimisation or trying to prove that someone has lost his job because of trade union activities is almost impossible. It is a simple matter to prove that one has lost a job because a closed shop or a union membership agreement was in operation. However, trying to prove that a trade union member lost his job because of trade union activities is almost impossible. If there has been procrastination in Committee, and if it has stopped the Bill reaching the statute book for 24 hours, it has been worthwhile. We have been told by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) that he was surprised at the speed of the introduction of the guillotine motion. He also said that Labour Members had been travelling the country making speeches about the guillotine motion. The Government did not introduce the guillotine motion earlier because they did not want to do so before the Wembley conference of trade unions. If the Government were sincere in their allegation of procrastination they would have introduced the guillotine motion before that conference.

    My hon. Friends and I have tried to get some answers and we have endeavoured to see that this legislation does not reach the statute book.

    5.2 pm

    I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on the way in which he introduced the timetable motion. As with my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice), his penitential mood was unnecessary. His reticence is perhaps one of his saving graces, but in this case justice is on his side. Those of us who have sat on the Government Benches in Committee can confirm that the charge of filibustering would not go amiss on this occasion. The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther), who has made a number of useful contributions, is way out when he talks of only 60 hours having been taken in Committee. It appears to me that the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) has taken about 60 hours, never mind other members of the Committee.

    The hon. Member has misunderstood what I said. I was disputing the estimate of the Leader of the House that we had sat for only 60 hours. I was not suggesting that we had; I was saying that we had sat for much longer.

    Perhaps my hearing is at fault. I understood the Leader of the House to say that the figure was 90 hours.

    The hon. Member must have patience.

    During the long sittings it has been possible for one or two of us to take note of how the hours have been spent. The sittings motion and the order for consideration took four and a quarter hours. Clause 1 took 19¼ hours and schedule 1 took 17 hours, making 36¼ hours. Clause 2 took 37½ hours, clause 3 took 4¾ hours and clause 4 took 10¾ hours. This morning, clause 5 took one hour. That makes a total of almost 95 hours. I am glad that the hon. Member has not tried to query our figures.

    I now know what the hon. Gentleman was doing during Committee. I realise now that the reason why he could not speak was that he was looking at his watch all the time. The hon. Member said that the term "filibustering" could be applied to what went on. What was said in those debates was either in order and relevant or it was not. If it was in order and relevant, the suggestion of filibustering is nonsense.

    If what was said was out of order or irrelevant the hon. Gentleman is casting a grave aspersion on the competence of the hon. Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes). I thought that she chaired the Committee brilliantly. Why does the hon. Member think that the Chairman permitted debate on matters which were irrelevant and out of order, and why did he not say so and challenge the hon. Lady at the time?

    I shall deal in my own time with the point about what I was doing in Committee. I should be the last person to question the capability of the hon. Lady who chaired the Committee. In all fairness, I should say she had occasion to remind Labour Members to come to order. In my part of the country, Yorkshire, a lot of what was said would be called tedious repetition. I leave it at that.

    The right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. Silkin) said that the guillotine was not necessary, and that the Committee had made fast progress. I wish that he had been sitting on the Committee, because I am certain that if he had he would not have said that. We were grateful to see my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment with us on many occasions and we valued his contributions.

    The right hon. Member for Deptford referred to delay and to national unity. He even said that the Bill would have a disastrous effect on the unity of the country. Labour Members should understand that many people believe that the unions have exactly that effect. We are having to introduce such legislation to try to prevent the disharmony in industrial relations which has gone on for far too long. We do not need lectures from the right hon. Member for Deptford about uniting the country.

    My right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry, with his wealth of experience on both sides of the House, is entirely right. The right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) may laugh, but that claim is true. My right hon. Friend is right to talk about excessive hours of sitting. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) is entirely right to oppose the closed shop root and branch. I agree with him on that. I have to agree with my Government, but I do not believe this to be the end of the story by any means. The hon. Member for Rochdale and I were present at a meeting called by the Transport and General Workers Union and the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers halfway through the Committee stage of the Bill. They did not want to talk to us before that meeting. They chose that moment to invite us and many of us went along to listen to them. It was a great shame that they were not prepared before we began the Committee stage to give us such an opportunity. That shows the lack of flexibility of the leadership of the trade union movement in their approach to the Bill.

    I come now to the comment of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo). I was among the silent majority in Committee. He should be grateful to me for that.

    There is virtue in silence. Had I intervened or had my Bill in Committee it would not have been the moderate measure before us today.

    My right hon. Friend is not a wet, although he may not be as dry as I would like.

    If the Bill is as divisive as the Opposition try to make out, why are their Benches not as full as they should be? One would assume that they would be packed.

    My acquiescence in Committee is simply because the Bill contains the minimum necessary to carry out our manifesto commitments. The proposals are moderate. The Opposition have been unable to destroy the argument that the majority of people are behind our proposals.

    The Opposition claim that they have a god-given right to speak for trade unionists. They have not. They have contacts in the trade union movement that I do not have, and they pay lip service to it. They know their paymasters. They have a working arrangement. But I object to the Opposition trying to tell me what rank and file trade unionists want. They are not the best people to speak for ordinary workers in, for instance, textiles and engineering.

    The fact that we sit quietly does not mean that we are weak in our determination to change the balance of power. I have waited with bated breath for a hint from the Opposition that a little adjustment may be needed in the way that legislation favours the unions. They have said not a word about the balance needing to be rectified. They have not even said that abuses exist.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) mentioned dinner ladies in Walsall, the National Union of Railwaymen and Joanna Harris. There is nothing wrong in mentioning individual cases. Does he really believe that they are the only people who have had grievances under existing legislation?

    Many thousands of people who never wanted to have been forced to join trade unions. They may not have had the courage or the opportunity to do what others have done.

    My own Bradford metropolitan district council sought to introduce a closed shop. One or two of us were determined to show it up for what it was, and it had to back-pedal. I have 50 or 60 letters from constituents who were forced to join the union. With the help of the previous Secretary of State for Employment we convinced the council that it was not a clever step. The threat was not only that if people did not join they would lose their jobs. It went further. There was the threat that if they did not join there would be no promotion. That is a wonderful idea! There would be no transfers between departments and no question of promotion.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow asked for examples. The examples given are just the tip of the iceberg.

    If the position is as the hon. Gentleman describes, why has he not supported our repeated pleas and demands in Committee for the thorough research of Professor Gennard to be made available? Last Sunday the Observer stated that the facts were

    "well documented in the research of the Industrial Relations Unit at Warwick University and Professor John Gennard of Glasgow University. Gennard's work has proved an embarrassment to the Department of Employment which commissioned some of it, and Ministers have suppressed publication for the time being."
    Why does the Department of Employment not do what we have repeatedly asked and make the research available, instead of suppressing it?

    The right hon. Member for Doncaster has been a Front Bench spokesman on employment for the Government and for the Opposition longer than anyone. I remember being in the House when we debated the Industrial Relations Act 1971. The right hon. Gentleman cannot tell me that we need a professor from the London School of Economics, the Bishop of Lincoln or anyone else to tell us what the abuses are. The closed shop has been around for many years. I know about it from my experience of the system.

    As my hon. Friend knows, my colleagues and I have repeatedly told the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) and his colleagues that in the professor's view his work is not yet ready for publication. It has not been suppressed by my Department.

    I understand perfectly my hon. Friend's point, as we all do. Indeed, I am pursuing the case of one of my constituents who has been viciously persecuted by her public sector employer in exactly the manner that he describes.

    My right hon. Friend has tried on a number of occasions to get through to the Opposition the fact that the studies are not complete. I am sure that when they are they will be further ammunition to support our proposed measures.

    The timetable motion is necessary. We shall have six further sittings. Now that that is settled a number of us will be happy to contribute to the debate. I look forward to my new clause on the political levy and opting in rather than opting out. I can see the excitement written on the faces of Opposition Members.

    Without the timetable motion we should not have been able to discuss a number of important matters, such as the union labour-only requirement. The hon. Member for Jarrow turns the proposal on its head. He makes it seem as if it affects only the lump. Many small companies have not forced their workers to join a union. They are often excluded from tendering for work by Labour-controlled councils.

    I said that the proposal would encourage lump labour, which we have fought against for a long time. Safety regulations on building sites are enforced through trade union representation. Denying trade union representation will encourage employers not to carry out safety regulations.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow knows that the lump is covered by other legislation. I take it as a slur on many companies which are not necessarily fully unionised when the hon. Gentleman suggests that they are careless about safety regulations. That is not true. Some are, of course, but I could claim that certain unions do not behave as responsibly as do other unions.

    I see the union labour-only requirement as a protect ion racket. I make no apology for saying that. It is a means of recruiting to the union, and increasing its membership. That often seems to be a matter of greater interest to Opposition Members than the efficiency of the company which seeks to do the work. When companies are tendering for work in local authorities, surely the interests of ratepayers and citizens are best served when the best firm does the job in terms of price and quality. It should not matter two hoots whether the firm is 100 per cent. or 56 per cent. unionised.

    I turn to the other clauses on which the timetable motion will allow debate. We should have an enjoyable debate we on trade union immunities. Under no circumstances do I believe that it is right that trade unions should have more protection than that enjoyed by individuals. Certainly, the legal position should be spelt out clearly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will have got the message from the new clauses that he should not rest on his laurels. Conservative Members do not believe that this is the end of the story. We shall support the Bill. There is no division on the Benches behind the Secretary of State in Committee, and he knows it. We welcome the Bill for what it does. As I said, it is not the complete story, but, in fairness and justice, I and my colleagues support the motion.

    5.21 pm

    I have listened with interest to what has been said in the debate, particularly to what was said about the number of hours that we have spent in Committee. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) mentioned 80 hours and four clauses, and another hon. Gentleman mentioned 95 hours in total. I am told that that is a long time, and that to spend longer in Committee would be a waste of the time of the House and the Committee. In my opinion, 80 or 95 hours are nothing compared with the amount of hours that men and women in the trade union movement and in management have spent in building up good industrial relations in this country. We are talking about years and years of devotion by both sides of industry in an endeavour to get good industrial relations.

    It appals me that the Ministers who are the Government's spokesmen in Committee have a terrible lack of knowledge of industry. It is no fault of theirs that they have not earned a living by working in industry. No one blames them for that. None the less, it would be better from the Government's point of view if those speaking for the Government in Committee could at least demonstrate that they know something about industrial relations and industry. That is what worries me.

    If the Bill were good for industrial relations, I am sure that the whole House would support it. However, it is not. It will create mistrust in industry. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) said today in Committee, when a person is given incentives and encouragement to create division between workers and management—high financial incentives, at that—there will be difficulties throughout industry.

    The closed shop has been mentioned. It is all right for Tory Members to say that the closed shop is a terrible thing, but I wonder whether any of them have worked in a closed shop.

    Some of us have actually worked in closed shops and have been members of unions in closed shops.

    The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) may be an exception to the rule. However, I should like to know how many Conservative Members have actually worked in closed shops—with the exception, of course, of the lawyers. I am talking about real closed shops—places where people earn a living.

    I cannot speak for all my colleagues on this matter, but I have worked in a closed shop, and I found it a most unpleasant experience.

    I am glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he found the closed shop a most unpleasant experience.

    Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman's union did take a lot of advantage of it. He has had a great deal of mileage in the media, attacking closed shops, but before he became Minister he was certainly not in the forefront of the attack on closed shops. Did he attack closed shops to the extent that he is attacking them now? The right hon. Gentleman nods in agreement. I have been involved in the trade union movement since I left school, and I can say that there was no publicity about him in connection with the closed shop before he was a Minister. He was not in the forefront of the attack against closed shops.

    I was a member of the trade union side of the national joint council for civil air transport, and I know a good deal about the closed shop to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged and the way in which his union used and manipulated it, cried on other unions' shoulders for aid when it was in difficulty, and offered no aid to others. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should keep quiet about his trade union experience.

    I do not want to take up the time of Back Benchers in the debate, but the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) has got it all wrong. There was not a closed shop in BALPA while I was an active member of that union, because I opposed it. I had to endure a closed shop in NATSOPA many years ago. So the hon. Gentleman has got it wrong again.

    That is a matter that the Minister can take up with my hon. Friend, who is quite capable of dealing with it.

    Long before legislation was introduced for closed shops, closed shops existed in industry and they worked well, to the advantage of the employers. I am a time-served sheet metal worker, and boilermakers have often been in dispute with the metal workers about the work that was being done in a particular shop. No employer wanted a dual union set-up if he could get all the boilermakers or sheet metal workers that suited him. He dealt with the same convener of shop stewards and the same shop stewards, and when he wanted to contact a full-time official he got a man that he knew and frequently respected in trade union negotiations. In my view, that is what industrial relations are about. Industrial relations are about both sides getting to know each other. If we put a wedge between management and trade unions by offering these incentives, we shall cause a great deal of distrust.

    The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Fox) mentioned closed shops in local government. We should clarify the position of local government. A closed shop is a shop where only one union operates, but in local government there are union membership agreements. In most cases they are multi-union agreements. As long as an individual is prepared to join a union that is a signatory to the national agreement, that is usually all that a local authority requires. That is not too much to ask for, because local government employees are covered by national agreements. For 24 hours a day, every day of the year, one union or another is negotiating at a national level on behalf of its members and everyone working in local government. It is not too much to ask someone who receives such coverage—much more than he would receive in private industry—to make the modest contribution for which the trade union asks. It is not a closed shop in the strictest sense of the word but a union membership agreement.

    How does the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) define the difference between conditions of employment and negotiations in local government and in national Government? In national Government it has never been deemed necessary for a civil servant to be a trade union member, but the machinery for agreeing wages and conditions is not dissimilar. I wonder how the hon. Gentleman can say in one breath that we should demand that all local government employees are trade union members but that national Government employees need not.

    I was taking issue only with the point made about closed shops and local government. Anyone working for national Government should be in a trade union because the same facilities are made available to those working in the Civil Service. They are covered by national councils and full-time officials who are negotiating not only for their basic pay but for every condition that they enjoy—shift allowances, overtime premiums and holiday payments. Local government employees, whether they are union members or not, do very well out of the negotiating and the work done by the trade union.

    Early in the Committee proceedings I said that I believed that this Bill was a "chancer's charter". I highlighted the point that at least one person deliberately took up employment with Strathclyde regional council several months before it entered into a union membership agreement. That individual wished to take on Strathclyde regional council by making an issue of trade union membership agreements. Many would say that that person is entitled to his point of view, but he was an ex-National Front man who used all of his spare time to attack minority and ethnic groups. When he was finished with them he went on to tackle the trade unions. It is obnoxious that that individual, because of the retroactive legislation that has been introduced, will stand to gain much money just by making an application to the Secretary of State.

    The irony is that many people, whether we agree with them or not—I do not agree with them but I do not dispute that their feelings are genuinely held—when Strathclyde regional council introduced the union membership, said that they would have nothing to do with trade unions and left the council. They lifted their books, as we say in the West of Scotland. There is no record showing why those individuals left their employment and there is no record of them leaving because of a union membership agreement. There is no way in which the Secretary of State can give them any compensation, yet the ex-National Front man can be compensated.

    If someone is sacked because he refuses to join a trade union or because of trade union activities, he stands to gain up to a maximum of £30,000. However, if someone is sacked because his employer accuses him of theft—there is no more obnoxious reason for dismissal than that—and the accusation turns out to be false, there is no way in which that individual would receive anything like £30,000 from an industrial tribunal under the same legislation. In the tabulation that we made in Committee, the difference in compensation given to someone sacked who fell into that category as opposed to the non-trade unionist was about £12,000. If we are to have compensation, it should be based on loss and not on the fact that a person is sacked because of something that the Government do not like. The Government must consider this matter.

    For the sake of good industrial relations, we should scrap this obnoxious piece of legislation and allow those who are involved in industry to get on with it. The Government should not be allowed to exploit the myth that we have bad industrial relations in every sector of industry.

    Order. It is hoped that the winding-up speeches will begin at 6.5 pm. I hope that hon. Members will bear that in mind.

    5.37 pm

    Like all opposition Members who have spoken in the debate, I object to the introduction of the timetable motion. The Leader of the House gave his estimate of the time that had been taken on the discussion of the various clauses and, incredibly, that seems to have led to some dispute even on the Floor of the House. We cannot even get the figures correct. I content myself by saying that is seems like a lifetime, whatever the exact total may be.

    I must confess at once that, in my judgment, some of the speeches that have been made in Committee have been inordinately long. I can well understand the Government introducing this motion, which, it has fairly been said, has been introduced in the past by Governments of different political complexions. I have no doubt that such a motion will be introduced again in the future.

    That is why I am much attracted to the idea put forward by the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) and reiterated by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Simth) that we should have a timetable motion at the commencement of every Bill so that we can then proceed to a rational useful and structured discussion. I realise that that is a counsel of perfection, but I hope that the Leader of the House—whom I wish well in his new post—will apply his fertile mind to the matter, because he could make a mark on history if he introduced such a useful procedural arrangement.

    We came near to something like that in the early stages of the Committee in a somewhat unofficial way. There was an outbreak of sanity from the official Opposition Benches early in the Committee proceedings, at column 188 of the sixth sitting on 9 March. The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) went so far as to suggest in a moment of candour something that sounded like the need for a voluntary timetable. He was quickly crushed by the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) who acts as a gauleiter on those occasions. He said that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should not pursue that idea so feverishly so early in the proceedings.

    However, the Minister of State was quick to see the usefulness of the point. Later that morning, he took up the suggestion and authorised his hon. Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Hunt) to hold early discussions with the official Opposition on that most useful idea with a view to making valuable progress in discussion of the Bill.

    I am no longer privy to what goes on in the Labour Party. I never have been privy to what goes on in the Conservative Party. Therefore, I do not know what discussions subsequently took place, still less what was decided. I should like to know from the Secretary of State whether those discussions ever got off the ground. What became of them? Was there any further response from the Opposition Front Bench?

    At the time, the suggestion was fairly, if somewhat tentatively, made by the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West. For me, as someone who is outside the phoney two-party warfare, that became a test of sincerity. I was disappointed to hear no more it. However, I suspect that the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West spoke out of turn. He was not only quickly corrected by the right hon. Member for Doncaster, but he was put in his place by more important and powerful figures that preside over the procedural attitudes struck by the official Opposition.

    An incredible amount of time was taken on the early clauses in the Bill. Reference has been made to the 36¼ hours spent on clause 1. However, on that occasion there was the extenuating circumstance of the introduction of a surprise clause. No one had heard of it prior to the publication of the Bill. I believe that no consultations had taken place between interested parties. Therefore, perhaps a reasonable excuse can be advanced for that amount of discussion.

    Clause 2 took up a great deal of time. All that time-consuming discussion has been to the prejudice of other weighty matters to which we have still to come in the remainder of our debate in Committee. There are weighty matters such as union-only contracts, which have been referred to this evening. There is the troublesome and contentious matter of the definition of trade disputes. There is the question of trade union immunities. All that vital and sensitive area has still to come, with little time left as a result of the timetable motion.

    In addition, a number of new clauses have been tabled. Some of them were tabled by me on the first day on which the Committee sat. They were tabled because some of us have an interest in the wider concept of trade union reform. We believe that the Bill is a paltry measure and will not improve industrial relations. Indeed, it may harm them. Many useful things could be done if we could apply our minds constructively to the purpose of trade union reform in the belief, which is one that we hold in the Social Democratic Party, that trade unions should not regard themselves as being above and beyond the law.

    Therefore, as the Leader of the House suggested this afternoon, we should try to strike a balance between a trade union's obligations and responsibilities and the question of its immunity. All those matters remain outside the scope of the Bill. Therefore, we want to use the procedure of new clauses to give them an airing. The new clauses—naturally, I place great importance on those that I tabled—would make a contribution to improving an inadequate Bill.

    Many other new clauses have been tabled in recent days by other right hon. and hon. Members on the Committee. Those clauses deal with the question of lay-offs, peaceful picketing, the handling of redundancies and so on. All those matters should be properly discussed by us in adequate time and in a properly balanced fashion. However, unfortunately, once again a controversial and contentious measure has been set against a background of artificiality, ritual abuse from the Labour movement and total misunderstanding among other sections of the community, which has created a bad atmosphere for us to conduct the debate and discussion that the nation needs on this question.

    There have been references to interpretations of the Bill by many trade union leaders and others, who have expressed themselves in the media and elsewhere. All the people to whom I have spoken about the Bill have never read it. All that they see in the Bill are not the details and propositions that are put forward but the unacceptable face of the Secretary of State. Candidly, that is not good enough. It is not the way in which we should approach serious and what could be vital legislation.

    Therefore, I regret very much that once again in the House we have reached a procedural impasse. The timetable that we are being asked to agree will prevent us from having any discussion—not just adequate discussion, but any discussion—of the new clauses that I have mentioned and of the other important matters to which many of us hoped to give an airing when we embarked on the measure. Therefore, for those reasons I have no hesitation in associating myself with the official Opposition and resisting the timetable motion. I shall invite all my right hon. and hon. Friends to do likewise.

    5.48 pm

    I am grateful to have the chance to intervene briefly in the debate.

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who is not given to flamboyant speeches, described the Bill as a modest measure in size and purpose. Some of us think that it is too modest. The proliferation of new clauses tabled by hon. Members, including me, will show how some of us think it could be a little less modest.

    In fairness to my right hon. Friend, the House should know that he missed only a few Committee sittings. That was only when he was involved in Cabinet business. For those interested in statistics—some of us have plenty of time to keep them—he was in the Committee for considerably more than 68 hours. I enjoyed his company through the long watches of the night. It was not the Secretary of State who wanted to pack up early, but the Opposition.

    We shall not be able to discuss many important matters because of the timetable motion. That has been due largely to the time that has been spent, not always profitably, on the earlier clauses. Of course everthing that was said was in order because my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Drake (Mrs. Fookes), who chaired the Committee, kept dragging back to the point under discussion certain hon. Members who seemed to have imported telephone directories. If the repetition was not tedious, it was certainly boring for those of us who were unable to join in.

    Too much has been said this afternoon about the importance of the Bill to the trade union movement. Too little has been said about its importance to the country and, above all, its importance to industry. The two-way emphasis through which we are to get this country back on the road surely concerns both sides of industry, and it is precisely because both sides of industry are involved that the Bill is so important.

    Moreover, I believe that a significant majority of trade unionists support the Bill's provisions. As the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) said, there are more than the dozen general secretaries who seem to be making the running at the moment.

    I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Fox). I hope that we can assist the Secretary of State to improve the Bill. We cannot allow the Bill to be held up any longer. Trade unions cannot escape the country's needs any more than they can escape the needs of their rank and file.

    I confess to being a subscribing member of that exclusive club, referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) and the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), who believe that we should have a timetable for all Standing Committee Bills from day one. Otherwise many important clauses will not be covered in Committee. I again commend to the Opposition the virtue that was observed in Committee by the Government that Whips do not speak, and hon. Members on the Committee will know precisely what I mean.

    If the importance of the Bill needs further illustration, Professor Minford, professor of economics at Liverpool university, says that the substantial rise in trade union powers since 1960 has raised unemployment in this country by about 1 million people. He says that this is largely caused by the monopoly created by closed shops and people trying to escape from closed shops. That is why it is essential to get this Bill on to the statute book with all speed.

    I have many friends in the trade union movement, and I say to them that if trade union relations in the rest of the country were as good as they are in my constituency there would be no need for the Bill. I ask my friends in the trade union movement whether they really need intimidation and threats of job loss to achieve their just aims. I do not think they do. Neither the House nor the country believes that they do.

    I welcome this sensible timetable motion that will enable my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to get the Bill on to the statute book with the speed that the electorate demands.

    5.53 pm

    The hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Ward) was clearly not conscious of being inconsistent, if not contradicting himself, when on the one hand he complained of the length of time that the Opposition took in Committee and on the other said, totally incorrectly, that it was the Opposition who sought to bring a late sitting to an early close. I cannot, for reasons that you well know, Mr. Speaker, describe that as a lie, but, to quote the immortal words of Damon Runyon, it will do until a real lie comes along——

    Order. Whoever said that was not very clever. I think that the hon. Gentleman, who became a Member of the House when I did, can find a better word than that to express his feelings.

    I can, Mr. Speaker. I can find all sorts of euphemisms to deal with the matter, but I shall not take up the time of the House.

    Turning to the motion before us, it was ever thus that in the spring a Chief Whip's fancy always lightly turns to thoughts of a guillotine. Year after year, at this time of the year, when various species of fauna are engaged in a ritual dance in preparation for courtship and mating, we are subjected to an almost equally formalised rite, the object of which is to deny to hon. Members the opportunity to examine properly the legislation that the Government are bulldozing through the House.

    For my part, in over 30 years in the House, I have never thought it worthwhile to take part in any of these exercises on either side of the argument. This is my maiden speech in a guillotine debate and I appeal for the indulgence that the House always shows to hon. Members who are breaking the ice for the first time. There is a special reason why today I am breaking the habit of a lifetime. There is something especially dangerous about this Bill going on to the statute book without being properly examined. The Bill does not stand by itself. It is the third stage in a process designed to weaken, and perhaps even destroy, the trade union movement in Great Britain.

    The first stage was the creation of 3 million unemployed so as to reduce the number of trade unionists to weaken their morale and dilute their militancy. That having been done, the next stage was to push through the 1980 Act. That Act was not enough for the really bloodthirsty anti-trade unionists on the Government Back Benches, some of whom we have heard from this afternoon. Nor was it enough for those more bloodthirsty anti-trade unionists who attend the Conservative Party conference each autumn. What was done in the 1980 Act by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) did not go far enough for those people. They just could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman, in common with the Tolpuddle Martyrs, believed it right that trade unions should exist and prosper. That is why he suffered the same fate as the Tolpuddle Martyrs of being sentenced to transportation from these shores—not, in his case, to meet his death in plantations in the West Indies, but to meet his political death in the gladiatorial arenas of Northern Ireland. That is why he has been replaced by one of the Prime Minister's strong-arm, highly dehydrated bully boys who can be relied upon to stand side by side with her on the bridge of any task force that she launches against the working class that both she and he hate and despise as much as they do.

    One of the reasons why we should have time to debate the Bill fully is that the House needs to find out the Government's intentions over implementing it. Those intentions are obscure. In Committee on 30 March the Under-Secretary said that
    "there will be a period of one or two years after enactment before these provisions will begin to bite".—[Official Report, Standing Committee G, 30 March 1982; c. 811.]
    However, when he was pressed to clarify that somewhat delphic utterance he went all coy and girlish and reserved his answer to the question. He has still not given that answer.

    Without full and proper examination of the Bill, we shall enact it without knowing what action is to be taken or when that action will be taken. It may be that the Government want to stir up an emotional spasm of anti-trade union hysteria among their supporters while at the same time delaying the operation of the measure so as to avoid a winter of discontent and, perhaps, a long hot summer before the general election in which they could suffer electorally a great deal.

    I fancy that the Secretary of State is already looking forward with appetite—perhaps a slavering appetite—to the wildly enthusiastic reception he expects when he addresses the Conservative Party conference on the Bill in the autumn—the enthusiastic response he expects to get from the well-heeled knights of the shires, the bristly ex-colonels, the flower-hatted matrons and the overambitious young hopefuls who will make up his audience on that occasion. My guess is that the right hon. Gentleman has already bought himslf a stop watch to time the length of the standing ovation that he hopes to get on that occasion.

    Let me give the right hon. Gentleman a tip. If he wants to get a standing ovation to break the record for all standing ovations, all he has to do is introduce on Report a new clause to provide that any trade union leader in breach of it shall be hanged and that any steward in breach of it shall be flogged. By doing that, the right hon. Gentleman will succeed in one fell swoop in pandering to both the eighteenth century sadism and the nineteenth century class prejudice of the members of the militant tendency within his own party.

    There is a real danger, as other hon. Members have said, that the Bill will damage our economy by precipitating, in exactly the same way as the 1971 Act, large-scale, widespread industrial confrontation. It is precisely because of that that the Bill is opposed not only by the trade unions but by many important employers as well. It will be more than a crime—it will be a monstrous error—if the Bill is now bulldozed through the House.

    6.1 pm

    I do not feel inclined to comment too much on the speech of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo), other than to say that before he made his maiden speech on a guillotine motion I imagine his difficulty was not that of deciding which aspect of the Bill to deal with but rather to which of his prejudices he should appeal.

    Having heard from a number of hon. Members about the considerable number of hours that have been devoted to the Bill—now somewhere in the region of 95—there is no doubt that it is quite proper that we should bring the debate to some foreseeable end in the way proposed in the timetable motion.

    I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on his appointment. I have great sympathy with the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice), which were echoed by my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Ward) and the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), about the introduction of a timetable motion at the start of proceedings on a Government Bill. I sincerely hope that the Leader of the House will reconsider this matter and come back to us, perhaps through one of the Committees, so that it can be looked into further.

    While, for the first time to my knowledge, this matter is being discussed rather more openly in a debate on the Floor of the House, what has been expressed here has been expressed readily in the Corridors outside the Committee rooms, when Committees are sitting deep into the night, by hon. Members on both sides. Rather than spending an average of 20 hours on the first five clauses with the prospect of only two hours on each of the remaining clauses, a timetable motion introduced after Second Reading would ensure that we could spread that time far more suitably. There is much merit in that idea.

    In the absence of the hon. Members for Rochdale and Leicester, East (Mr. Bradley), I must say that while the hon. Member for Rochdale may get a good reception among Liberal supporters in the West Country, and while without a shadow of doubt many of his comments in Committee about trade union reform will be greeted widely in the West Country, there has been concern about the nature of the alliance with the SDP. That concern has been inflamed by the comments made by the hon. Member for Leicester, East—not only on Second Reading and in Committee but today—who has shown markedly less commitment to obtaining the sort of trade union reform proposed by the Bill and which I welcome. I join those of my hon. Friends who clearly see it as a step towards further proposals that we should introduce.

    As to the alliance, many people in the West Country and elsewhere are being misled into believing that they are supporting something that will bring about further sensible and practical reforms in industrial relations law when that is far from the truth.

    I welcome the steps that my right hon. Friend is taking. I look forward to the Bill reaching the statute book. I hope that it will be part of a continuing programme to achieve a better situation in our industrial relations law.

    6.6 pm

    In a relatively short time the House will be voting on the Government's guillotine motion. I apologise to my hon. Friends who are serving on the Committee and who have not been able to take part in the debate. By that time, Parliament will have spent—or rather, wasted—three hours going through what hon. Members have described as the ritual motions that are simply a preliminary to curtailing debate on a piece of legislation that will do positive damage to industrial relations.

    I said on Second Reading on 8 February that the Opposition will
    "fight the Bill at every stage and do the very best that we can to prevent it reaching the statute book." [Official Report, 8 February 1982; Vol. 17, c. 754.]
    That is what we have been doing in the 95 hours of debate in Committee, and that is our right. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) has already pointed out, nothing we have done in Committee has been out of order and everything has been conducted in accordance with the rules of debate.

    We very much regret that this guillotine motion has been moved and that the House should have wasted three hours debating it. We should have been debating the 3 million unemployed, who in a fortnight's time will be queuing up to commemorate the third anniversary of the coming to power of a Government who campaigned during the election on the theme that unemployment was too high. We should have been debating the fact that the same Government have every intention of going into the next election with registered unemployment still around the 3 million mark. We should have been debating the fact that the Secretary of State for Employment has admitted that, while there has been a slight drop and dip under the 3 million registered unemployed level, it is only temporary. We should have been debating the fact that a year from now two teenagers out of every three will be on the dole.

    The prediction of the new Leader of the House is coming true. I think that as Chief Secretary to the Treasury he was once so indiscreet as to say that the country would have to submit itself to two years of unmitigated hardship. His prediction was right on that occasion, and we should have been debating what the right hon. Gentleman has always said would happen.

    Previously prosperous areas have become industrial wastelands, and I see nothing in the Bill that will help them. Areas that for years have suffered chronic unemployment are beginning to give up all hope of recovery. I see nothing in the Bill, which will now be speeded to the statute book, to help them. Yet the new Leader of the House and the Secretary of State for Employment have frittered away the time of the House on a piece of legislation that will not create one new job, although it will create fruitful and lucrative employment for the legal profession. I have said on previous occasions that, whoever loses out when Conservative Governments introduce anti-trade union legislation, the lawyers always win, and they will win on this occasion.

    In a sense the Government's decision to guillotine the Bill is not an attack on parliamentary decencies. Debating the Bill is so irrelevant to the genuine issues of industrial relations that it could be argued that democracy is better served by disposing of it summarily.

    The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), the right hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) and the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bradley) talked about voluntary timetables as though they would be possible for measures of the sort that we have been discussing. The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Fox) implied the same.

    The Government made it clear at the outset of the debates on the Bill that our discussions would be no more than a charade. They have asserted more than once that they are not prepared to accept any amendment. If we are to have voluntary timetables, there will have to be some flexibility. However, the Secretary of State and his two ministerial colleagues have resisted all amendments. We know that they will continue to do so until the end of the proceedings in Committee. They consider the Bill to be unamendable in every major sense. What sort of parliamentary process is it when the Government announce the result of the debate before the debate has taken place?

    The offensiveness has been compounded by the reactions of some Ministers during our debates. One of my hon. Friends asserted that the Department of Employment's ministerial team is the most arrogant team that any Department has ever fielded. Junior employment Ministers, who have no talent in other respects and certainly no talent in industrial relations, seem to have set out to prove that by comparison with them the Secretary of State is quite a nice man.

    The right hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison), the Minister of State, goes around the country during weekends telling people that we intend to defy the law and that we are akin to those in the Militant Tendency. He does not have the courage to make assertions of that sort in Committee. As I have had occasion to remark in Committee, the hon. and learned Member for Clitheroe (Mr. Waddington), the Under-Secretary of State, is God's gift to an Opposition in Committee. It is clear that he and his colleagues have no idea of how to get any proposed legislation through Committee and on to the Floor of the House.

    There are other elements in Committee. I refer to the Liberals and the Social Democrats. In some quarters they are described as the alliance. I am glad that the hon. Members for Rochdale and Leicester, East have been well enough to take part in the debate. We have spent about 95 hours in Committee and when our sittings have continued until a very late hour they have become part-time members of the Committee. On occasion we have worried about the state of their health. It has been a great kindness to them that the debate has been held at a reasonably early hour.

    On Second Reading the Social Democratic Party was all over the shop—I do not mean closed shop. In Committee the hon. Members for Rochdale and for Leicester, East have had a tendency to vote differently. I gather from what the hon. Member for Rochdale has said that that will happen until Third Reading. I gather also from what the hon. Members for Rochdale and Leicester, East have said today that they will vote with us, the Opposition, against the guillotine motion. The Leader of the House said to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) that he will be constantly tantalised in trying to discover how the Social Democrats will vote on Third Reading. They split three ways on Second Reading but with the leadership of the Social Democratic Party supporting the Tories I shall make a small wager that they will be united on Third Reading and will vote with the Opposition.

    My hon. Friend is probably right.

    I note that the hon. Member for Leicester, East has returned to the Chamber. I am sorry that he missed some of the remarks that I made about him. I shall repeat them because he may wish to respond. I tell the hon. Gentleman that I have predicted that the Social Democratic Party will be united on Third Reading and will vote with the Opposition. If he wishes to intervene, I shall give way to him. As he does not wish to intervene, I assume that his colleagues are still undecided.

    The right hon. Gentleman will have to contain himself a little longer. Everything will be revealed in the fullness of time.

    I am prepared to have a small wager that the Social Democratic Party will get all its Members into the same Lobby on Third Reading and that that will be the Opposition's Lobby.

    When the Division takes place tonight the Government will win it easily. They will bundle the Bill out of Committee and smuggle it out of the House. They will get it on to the statute book but the fight against it will continue. The fight will continue when it becomes an Act. It will be conducted within the law by trade unionists, who know more about industrial relations than the Secretary of State and his cronies ever will. The right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) once said that industrial relations are human relations. The right hon. Gentleman deviated from that principle and it fell to a Labour Government to put right his mistake. It will be our job to put right the mistakes embodied in this miserable Bill, and we shall do so.

    Now that the Bill is being rushed to the statute book by means of the guillotine motion the Government have run out of excuses. No Conservative Member will be able to say that Britain's economic performance and trade union intransigence are responsible for our difficulties. Any failure in industrial relations will now be the Government's failure. They see the enactment of the Bill as their opportunity to deal with industrial relations problems definitively. Any provocations that arise will have been created deliberately by them through the proposed legislation that is before us. The Government will run out of diversions and scapegoats.

    It will be interesting to learn from the Secretary of State when he intends to activate all the sections of the Act when the Bill becomes law. My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow has said that in clause 18 there is some delayed action. I expect that the Secretary of State knows in his heart some of the dangers enshrined in the Bill and will want to delay the implementation of certain sections of the Act when the Bill reaches the statute book.

    When the Secretary of State has this legislation on the statute book some stupid individual will want to use it. That is when we shall return to the Pentonville Five and all the other problems that we experienced with the Industrial Relations Act 1971. The focus will shift decisively and undeviatingly to the great crime that the Government have committed—the deliberate creation of mass unemployment, which they have left complacently to continue. The Bill concentrates on damaging industrial relations and as it is a token of the callous disregard for the misery of the 3 million unemployed we shall vote against the Government's guillotine motion.

    6.20 pm

    First, it is my duty to congratulate the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) on his maiden guillotine speech. Perhaps it was not quite a maiden. I do not think that you, Mr. Speaker, would let me get away even with a euphemism for what it really was. It was certainly no maiden.

    As ever, the hon. Gentleman's speech was grossly misleading and grossly offensive. Both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I deeply resent his absurdly untrue charges about our attitude towards the great mass of people in this country, and against the class of which I am most certainly a member, as anyone who works for a living may rightfully and proudly claim to be a member of the working classes of this country. The sooner the hon. Gentleman gets that ridiculous charge off his chest, the better.

    Yes, it did. The hon. Gentleman knows that it hurt because he knows my background and my feelings—and he knows that what he said was gratuitously offensive and downright untrue.

    There is an element of ritual about the proceedings on any timetable motion. As the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. Silkin) implied, if he did not actually say it, when the daffodils come up the guillotine comes down. I do not like guillotines. I make no pretence about that. I have never before had to use one to take a Bill through the House, although in the past two or three years I have taken some not entirely uncontroversial legislation through the House. I mention the Civil Aviation Bill and the Iron and Steel Bill, both of which were large and not uncontroversial measures.

    I assure the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bradley) that I did my best to see whether we could obtain an agreed timetable for this Bill. We approached the official Opposition and made it clear that we were always ready to discuss the matter with them. They were not interested in any form of agreed timetable, however, because they badly needed a guillotine so that they could exhibit their ghastly wounds to the Trades Union Congress. They will now be happy because they will be able to do that.

    There is also the delightful fun that we can all have on these occasions in looking up what we and others, particularly our opposite numbers, said in previous timetable debates. To my great relief, so far as I could ascertain, I was never an enthusiastic maker of speeches against such motions. I confess, however, that I enjoyed re-reading the words of the Leader of the Opposition when he opened the famous 20 July 1976 debate on the Labour Government's quintuple guillotine. What heights of productivity were reached in those days—the record of five in one day has never been attained since. I cannot always indulge myself so easily by stealing the clothes of the right hon. Gentleman, but I am tempted to quote his words on that occasion, when he said:
    "We see a Labour Government as having a right and a duty to legislate against any attempts to frustrate us in the end from exercising our rights of legislation, whether in this House or in another place—and, of course, it is a particular illustration of the malice, folly and absurdity into which right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition side have got themselves that when we exercise those ancient rights it is cheating and when they exercise them it is freedom."—[Official Report, 20 July 1976; Vol. 915, c. 1543.]
    Whatever our sartorial differences, I can certainly borrow almost all the right hon. Gentleman's words on that occasion. If one simply changed the word "Labour" to "Conservative", it would be a very good speech.

    I do not intend to argue the merits of the Bill again. The majority of 106 on Second Reading and the public support shown by every independent opinion survey argue more cogently and powerfully than mere words today.

    The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) spoke of the enormous, sad toll of unemployment. As that arises not least from the longstanding inefficiencies and defects in the way in which we employ labour in this country, legislation which sets out to remove some of the rigidities and absurdities of practices in the labour market clearly has a great bearing on how quickly we can recover and compete effectively in the world through the more effective use of our labour in our factories, in commerce and in local and national Government.

    It is not only Argentine generals who say things like that, if indeed they do. It is also the Japanese, the Social Democrats in West Germany, the Socialists in France, whatever Government there happens to be in Italy, and many other countries throughout the world. They know that their prosperity depends upon the more efficient use of their labour. They know that the more efficiently labour can be used, the better it can be paid and the better the conditions that it can enjoy. If the hon. Gentleman does not accept that, he had better go back outside and learn a bit about industry again.

    It is interesting that the Secretary of State holds out Japan as an example of higher productivity due to different labour practices. Last November, I had the good fortune to visit Japan. At every major factory that I visited, I was informed that there was a closed shop. Furthermore, it is the employers who insist on there being a closed shop.

    I assume that the right hon. Gentleman would wish to import not just that Japanese practice but all the other Japanese practices. He cannot just pick out one and leave the rest.

    The right hon. Member for Chesterfield complained that we did not accept many amendments. That may have been not least because they were almost all wrecking amendments. Nevertheless, we have accepted an amendment from the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow and another from the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer).

    I have never claimed that the Bill will put right all our industrial relations problems. I have referred to it as a modest Bill, and it would be more than a modest ambition to solve all those problems. In any case, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that even in the perfect days before the 1980 Act there were occasional industrial relations problems. The winter of discontent is one example that I am sure he would not put down to the legislation passed by the Labour Government. Above all, of course, changes in this sphere will inevitably be slow because social as well as industrial changes are involved.

    Despite the impression that one might have gained from parts of the debate today, during the 90 or more hours in Committee we had some very interesting debates—all, of course, within the due limits of order, although the bounds of order sometimes seem to grow more elastic as the hour grows later. At times, the debate was not merely interesting but downright entertaining. Sometimes, indeed, it yielded unexpected bonuses. I shall not embarrass the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice) by recalling one of the unexpected bonuses that it revealed to the authorities of the House, because we can all fall into that trap. Indeed, I checked carefully to make sure that I had not fallen into the same trap.

    The right hon. Gentleman said that all of the debates in Committee which he described with such relish were within the rules of order and debate. A little earlier, however, he said that we had moved and spent time debating wrecking amendments. A wrecking amendment is outside the rules of order, and to suggest that such an amendment was accepted for debate is a strong criticism of the Chairman.

    As the hon. Gentleman has rightly said, a wrecking amendment is out or order. If they are not wrecking amendments, however, they do very nicely as substitutes until the real wrecking amendment comes along.

    It is clear that a number of right hon. and hon. Members still misunderstand the position on political strikes, so perhaps I may put that right. Purely political strikes have never had immunity from the law. A good example was the case in 1977 of BBC v. Hearn when the technicians' union tried to prevent the transmission of the FA cup final to South Africa. The courts found that such action did not have immunity—and that was under the previous Government's Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974—because there was no trade dispute. It was a political action for a political purpose. It was outside the limits of immunity then and it would be outside the limits of immunity in future.

    Whether the dispute to which I referred would be outside political motives would have to be determined in court, by the law of the land. Whether someone who has taken what they consider patriotic action at this time—that is the boilermakers on the Tyne and the export order to Argentina—would be breaking the law would have to be determined by the court.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) persists in using this quaint expression about "breaking the law". I shall not waste the time of the House by correcting him again, but the position is exactly the same today as it was in 1977 under an Act of the hon. Gentleman's Government. If he could make a firm effort to grasp that fact it would help our proceedings.

    I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says but there is one difference. At present, in the situation described by my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon), if the workers enter into an industrial dispute their union will still have its funds protected. However, once the Bill is enacted the party that has incurred damages can sue the union and can sue against the funds of the union. That is the difference.

    The right hon. Gentleman is right. He was content with the position where an individual could be sued and his funds put at risk, but he is not content with the position where the union's funds could be at risk for precisely the same action. That is the problem.

    In introducing the motion, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House inadvertently understated the case, as has been pointed out most generously by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther). We have spent, as my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Fox) made plain in an excellent speech, some 94½ hours on the Bill. Yet we have not made 94½ hours worth of progress. My hon. Friend the Member for Shipley also drew attention to the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the Opposition to oppose the motion. When he spoke there were 11 Labour Members present, two Liberals, one SDP and 13 Government supporters. Even on this great emotional issue of the guillotine, on this great emotional day described as a big scene, a big deal and an important Bill, the Opposition could not get their supporters in to back them.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Shipley was, as ever, brief and to the point. He reminded me of a passage in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5 verses 2 and 3, to which he always lives up:
    "Be not rash with thy mouth, … let thy words be few.… a fool's voice is known by multitude of words."
    I hope that that will be remembered during the remainder of our proceedings.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow gave a scarcely recognisable account of the debates on clause 1. He has been, as my hon. Friend implied, a Stakhanovite for the Opposition. He reminded me of Lincoln's remark about a fellow lawyer:
    "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met."
    If hon. Members read the Official Report for the Standing Committee's eighth sitting, afternoon, part I, column 250, they will find a representative example of the hon. Gentleman's incisive debating style. In one speech he was called to order six times by the Chair for irrelevance and repetition. I do not want to waste the time of the House by reading sections of that speech. It was what has been described as a telephone directory of names of companies. He spent minutes at a time merely reading out a list of names of public companies. How that advanced us I do not know, and I do not think that the hon. Gentleman does.

    The companies to which I was referring in that debate were the companies that the Minister had consulted on the other parts of the Bill. The point that I was making was that these companies had not been consulted about clause 1, or schedule 1. With regard to repetition, it was used by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Mr. Waddington) about the five dinner ladies from Walsall.

    The hon. Member for Jarrow has made my point on the subject of verbosity. It was not necessary for the argument, or to make the point, to list a great long list of names published in the documents available to all Members of the Committee. That was not untypical of a great deal of what was said.

    The hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) said that the Bill would drive a wedge between employers and trades unions. This is not so. What is resented by the Opposition, I am afraid, is that we have exposed the fact that all too often it is the trades unions which have driven wedges between employers and employees, and between worker and worker. Think how often recently we have seen strike-thirsty union leaders rejected by shop floor workers. [Interruption.] Labour Members may groan but they know on how many occasions recently there have been strike calls by union leaders that have been rejected by the shop floor workers. It is one of the significant events.

    As so often happens, on these occasions, a number of hon. Members——

    Why introduce legislation if the shop floor workers are so sensible?

    Yes, the shop floor workers are sensible and I hope that the trade unions will give them every opportunity to show how sensible they are by giving them secret postal ballots to elect senior officials and executives of the union. I hope that the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) will give his support for that in the way that the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street gave his support for it. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street is a supporter of unions taking Government money for that purpose too. He was a signatory of an early-day motion that implored the previous Labour Government to make available money for secret ballots for trade unions.

    But the hon. Gentleman is clearly in favour of the unions taking the money that is available to conduct those secret postal ballots because that is what he asked his Government to do. They did not, but this Government are.

    As so often happens a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House—most noticeably in the excellent speeches made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Prentice) and my hon. Friends the Members for Poole (Mr. Ward) and Cornwall, North (Mr. Neale) and the hon. Members for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) and Leicester, East (Mr. Bradley)—said that there should be a better way than this of guillotining business. But time is the Opposition's main weapon for resisting the Government of the day's inevitably voracious appetite for legislation. What a pity that my Ten-Minute Bill on the limitation of legislation never made progress.

    It is important that the House should never become a complete pushover for legislation-hungry Governments. Nothing can entirely safeguard Parliament against itself, but at least the tactic of obstruction within reason, which can be overcome by the use of the guillotine used with decency, common sense and reason, has a long and honourable history of protecting both the Government's programme and the rights of the Opposition to oppose it.

    It was right that the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) reminded us that the Scotland and Wales Bill for devolution foundered on that rock of parliamentary time. As the hon. Member for Rochdale reminded us, the Government of the day could not command a majority for a timetable motion on that Bill. It is at least arguable that had the House formed the habit and set the precedent—and the House is bound to a considerable extent by its precedents—that Bills were timetabled as a matter of course then the Scotland and Wales Bill would have started out with a timetable and that timetable might well have expired before the full implications of the Bill had become apparent. That is why we do things this way. That is why I confidently ask my right hon. and hon. Friends and, indeed, members of the minority parties to join us in the Lobby to get this guillotine through and to get this most important Bill on the statute book as soon as possible.

    Question put:

    The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 237.

    Division No. 123]

    [6.39 pm

    AYES

    Adley, RobertDunn,Robert(Dartford)
    Aitken,JonathanDurant,Tony
    Alexander, RichardDykes, Hugh
    Alison, Rt Hon MichaelEden, Rt Hon Sir John
    Amery, Rt Hon JulianEdwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
    Ancram,MichaelEggar,Tim
    Arnold, TomElliott,SirWilliam
    Aspinwall,JackEmery, Sir Peter
    Atkins, RtHonH.(S'thorne)Eyre,Reginald
    Atkins,Robert(PrestonN)Fairbairn, Nicholas
    Baker,Kenneth(St.M'bone,)Fairgrieve,SirRussell
    Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Faith, MrsSheila
    Banks, RobertFarr,John
    Beaumont-Dark,AnthonyFell,SirAnthony
    Bendall,VivianFenner, Mrs Peggy
    Benyon,Thomas(A 'don)Finsberg,Geoffrey
    Benyon, W.(Buckingham)Fisher,SirNigel
    Best, KeithFletcher, A. (Ed'nb gh N)
    Bevan, David GilroyFletcher-Cooke,SirCharles
    Biffen,Rt Hon JohnForman,Nigel
    Blackburn,JohnFowler, Rt Hon Norman
    Blaker,PeterFox, Marcus
    Body,RichardFry, Peter
    Bonsor,SirNicholasGardiner,George(Reigate)
    Boscawen,HonRobertGardner, Edward (SFylde)
    Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W)Garel-Jones,Tristan
    Bowden,AndrewGilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
    Boyson,DrRhodesGlyn, DrAlan
    Braine,SirBernardGoodhart,SirPhilip
    Bright,GrahamGoodlad,Alastair
    Brinton,TimGow, Ian
    Brittan,Rt. Hon. LeonGrant, Anthony (HarrowC)
    Brooke, Hon PeterGray,Hamish
    Brotherton,MichaelGreenway, Harry
    Brown, Michael(Brig&Sc'n)Grieve, Percy
    Browne,John (Winchester)Griffiths, Peter Portsm'thN)
    Bryan, Sir PaulGrist, Ian
    Buck,AntonyGrylls,Michael
    Budgen,NickGummer,JohnSelwyn
    Bulmer,EsmondHamilton, HonA.
    Burden,SirFrederickHamilton, Michael(Salisbury)
    Butcher,JohnHampson,Dr Keith
    Butler, Hon AdamHannam,John
    Cadbury,JocelynHaselhurst,Alan
    Carlisle, John (Luton West)Hastings,Stephen
    Carlisle,Kenneth(Lincoln)Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
    Chalker, Mrs. LyndaHayhoe, Barney
    Channon, Rt. Hon. PaulHeath, Rt Hon Edward
    Chapman,SydneyHeddle,John
    Churchill,W.S.Henderson,Barry
    Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)Heseltine, RtHon Michael
    Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hicks,Robert
    Clarke,Kenneth(Rushcliffe)Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
    Cockeram,EricHill,James
    Colvin,MichaelHogg,HonDouglas(Gr'fh'm,)
    Cope,JohnHolland, Philip(Carlton)
    Cormack,PatrickHooson,Tom
    Corrie,JohnHordern, Peter
    Costain,SirAlbertHowe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
    Cranborne,ViscountHowell, Rt Hon D.(G'ldfd)
    Critchley,JulianHunt, David (Wirral)
    Crouch,DavidHurti,John(Ravensbourne)
    Dean, Paul (NorthSomerset)Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
    Dickens,Geoffreylrving,Charles(Cheltenham)
    Douglas-Hamilton,LordJ.Jessel,Toby
    Dover,DenshoreJohnsonSmith,Geoffrey
    du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardJopling,RtHonMichael

    Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
    Kaberry,SirDonaldRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
    Kershaw,SirAnthonyRhodes James, Robert
    Kimball, SirMarcusRhys Williams,SirBrandon
    King, Rt Hon TomRidley,HonNicholas
    Kitson,SirTimothyRidsdale,SirJulian
    Knight, MrsJillRifkind,Malcolm
    Knox, DavidRippon,RtHonGeoffrey
    Lamont, NormanRoberts, M.(Cardiff NW)
    Lang, IanRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
    Langford-Holt.SirJohnRossi,Hugh
    Latham,MichaelRost, Peter
    Lawrence, IvanRoyle,SirAnthony
    Lawson,Rt Hon NigelSainsbury,HonTimothy
    Lee,JohnSt.John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
    LeMarchant,SpencerScott,Nicholas
    Lennox-Boyd,HonMarkShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
    Lester, Jim (Beeston)Shaw,Micbae(Scarborough)
    Lewis,Kenneth (Rutland)Shelton,William(Streatham)
    Lloyd, Ian (Havant& W'loo)Shepherd,Colin (Hereford)
    Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Shepherd,Richard
    Loveridge,JohnShersby,Michael
    Luce, RichardSilvester,Fred
    Lyell,NicholasSims, Roger
    MacKay, John (Argyll)Skeet, T. H. H.
    Macmillan,RtHonM.Speed, Keith
    McNair-Wilson,M.(N'bury)Spence,John
    McNair-Wilson, P. (NewF'st)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
    Madel, DavidSproat,Iain
    Major,JohnSquire,Robin
    Marland,PaulStanbrook,Ivor
    Marlow,AntonyStanley,John
    Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Steen,Anthony
    Marten, Rt Hon NeilStevens,Martin
    Mates,MichaelStewart,A.(ERenfrewshire)
    Maude, Rt Hon Sir AngusStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
    Mawby, RayStokes,John
    Mawhinney,DrBrianStradlingThomas,J.
    Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinTapsell, Peter
    Mayhew, PatrickTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
    Mellor,DavidTebbit, Rt Hon Norman
    Miller,Hal(B'grove)Temple-Morris, Peter
    Mills,Iain(Meriden)Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
    Mills, Peter (West Devon)Thompson,Donald
    Miscampbell,NormanThorne, Neil(IlfordSouth)
    Moate, RogerThornton,Malcolm
    Monro,SirHectorTownend,John (Bridlington)
    Montgomery,FergusTrippier,David
    Moore,JohnTrotter,Neville
    Morgan,Geraintvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
    Morris, M. (N'hamptonS)Vaughan,DrGerard
    Morrison, HonC. (Devizes)Viggers, Peter
    Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)Waddington,David
    Mudd, DavidWakeham,John
    Murphy,ChristopherWaldegrave,HonWilliam
    Myles, DavidWalker, Rt Hon P.(W'cester)
    Neale,GerrardWalker, B. (Perth)
    Needham,RichardWall,SirPatrick
    Nelson,AnthonyWaller, Gary
    Neubert,MichaelWalters,Dennis
    Newton,TonyWard, John
    Normanton,TomWarren, Kenneth
    Nott, Rt Hon JohnWatson,John
    Onslow,CranleyWells, Bowen
    Oppenheim, Rt Hon MrsS.Wells, John (Maidstone)
    Osborn,JohnWheeler,John
    Page, Richard (SW Herts)Whitelaw,RtHonWilliam
    Parris, MatthewWhitney,Raymond
    Patten,Christopher(Bath)Wickenden,Keith
    Pattie,GeoffreyWiggin,Jerry
    Pawsey, JamesWilliams, D.(Montgomery)
    Percival,SirIanWinterton,Nicholas
    Peyton, Rt Hon JohnWolfson,Mark
    Pink, R.BonnerYoung, SirGeorge(Acton)
    Pollock, AlexanderYounger, Rt Hon George
    Porter, Barry
    Prentice, Rt Hon RegTellers for the Ayes:
    Price, SirDavid (Eastleigh)Mr. Anthony Berry and Mr. Carol Mather.
    Prior, Rt Hon James
    Proctor, K. Harvey

    NOES

    Adams, AllenFreud, Clement
    Allaun, FrankGarrett, John (NorwichS)
    Alton, DavidGinsburg, David
    Anderson, DonaldGolding, John
    Archer, Rt Hon PeterGraham, Ted
    Ashley, Rt Hon JackGrant, George(Morpeth)
    Atkinson, N. (H'gey,)Grimond, Rt Hon J.
    Barnett,Guy (Greenwich)Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
    Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd)Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
    Beith, A. J.Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
    Bennett.Andrew(St'kp'tN)Haynes, Frank
    Bidwell,SydneyHealey, Rt Hon Denis
    Booth, RtHonAlbertHolland, S. (L 'b 'th, Vauxh'll)
    Boothroyd,MissBettyHomeRobertson,John
    Bottomley, RtHonA.(M'bro)Homewood,William
    Bradley,TomHooley,Frank
    Bray, Dr JeremyHoram,John
    Brocklebank-Fowler.C.Howell, Rt Hon D.
    Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Howells.Geraint
    Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)Hoyle,Douglas
    Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'yS)Huckfield,Les
    Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Hughes, Mark(Durham)
    Callaghan, Rt Hon J.Hughes, Robert (AberdeenN)
    Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n&P)Hughes, Roy (Newport)
    Campbell,IanJay, Rt Hon Douglas
    Campbell-Savours, DaleJenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hilihead)
    Canavan, DennisJohn, Brynmor
    Carmichaelm, NeilJohnson, Walter (Derby S)
    Carter-Jones, LewisJohnston, Russell (Inverness)
    Cartwright, JohnJones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh' dda)
    Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Jones, Barry (East Flint)
    Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)Jones, Dan (Burnley)
    Cohen, StanleyKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
    Coleman, DonaldKilfedder, JamesA.
    Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Kilroy-Silk, Robert
    Conlan, BernardKinnock, Neil
    Cowans, HarryLambie, David
    Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)Lamborn, Harry
    Crawshaw, RichardLamond, James
    Crowther, StanLeadbitter, Ted
    Cryer, BobLeighton, Ronald
    Cunliffe, LawrenceLestor, Miss Joan
    Cunningham, G. (IslingtonS)Lewis, Arthur (N'ham N W)
    Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
    Dalyell,TamLitherland, Robert
    Davidson,ArthurLofthouse,Geoffrey
    Davies, Ifor (Gower)Lyon.Alexander(York)
    Davis, Clinton (HackneyC)Lyons, Edward (Bradf'dW)
    Davis, Terry (B 'ham, Stechf'd)McCartney,Hugh
    Deakins, EricMcCusker, H.
    Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)McDonald,DrOonagh
    Dewar,DonaldMcGuire,Michae(Ince)
    Dixon,DonaldMcKay,Allen (Penistone)
    Dormand,JackMcKelvey,William
    Douglas,DickMacKenzie, RtHonGregor
    Dubs,AlfredMcNally,Thomas
    Duffy, A. E. P.McNamara, Kevin
    Dunlop,JohnMcTaggart,Robert
    Dunn, James A.McWilliam,John
    Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Magee, Bryan
    Eadie,AlexMarshall, Jim (LeicesterS)
    East ham, KenMartin, M(G gowS 'burn)
    Ellis,H.(NE D'bysh're)Mason, Rt Hon Roy
    Ellis.Tom (Wrexham)Maxton,John
    English,MichaelMaynard, Miss Joan
    Ennals, Rt Hon DavidMellish,Rt Hon Robert
    Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Mikardo,Ian
    Evans, John (Newton)Millan,Rt Hon Bruce
    Faulds,AndrewMiller, Dr M. S. (EKilbride)
    Field, FrankMitchell,Austin(Grimsby)
    Fitch,AlanMitchell, R.C. (Soton Itchen)
    Flannery,MartinMolyneaux,James
    Fletcher,Ted (Darlington)Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
    Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMorris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
    Ford, BenMorris, RtHonJ. (Aberavon)
    Forrester,JohnMorton,George
    Foster, DerekMoyle,Rt Hon Roland
    Foulkes,GeorgeMulley,RtHonFrederick
    Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)Newens,Stanley

    Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSpearing,Nigel
    Ogden,EricSpriggs, Leslie
    O'Halloran,MichaelStallard,A.W.
    O'Neill,MartinSteel, Rt Hon David
    Orme, Rt Hon StanleyStewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
    Palmer,ArthurStoddart,David
    Parker,JohnStott, Roger
    Parry, RobertStrang,Gavin
    Penhaligon, DavidStraw, Jack
    Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down)Summerskill,HonDrShirley
    Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
    Price, C. (Lewisham W)Thomas,Dafydd (Merioneth)
    Race, RegThomas, Mike (NewcastleE)
    Radice,GilesThomas, DrR.(Carmarthen)
    Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)Thorne, Stan (PrestonSouth)
    Richardson,JoTilley,John
    Roberts,Albert(Normanton,)Tinn, James
    Roberts,Allan (Bootle)Torney,Tom
    Roberts, Ernest (HackneyN)Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
    Roberts,Gwilym (Cannock)Wainwright,E.(DearneV)
    Robertson,GeorgeWainwright,R.(Colne V)
    Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)Walker, RtHon H.(D'caster)
    Rodgers,RtHonWilliamWatkins,David
    Rooker, J. W.Weetch, Ken
    Roper,JohnWellbeloved,James
    Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)Welsh,Michael
    Ross,Wm. (Londonderry)White, Frank R.
    Rowlands,TedWhite, J. (G'gowPollok)
    Ryman,JohnWhitlock,William
    Sandelson,NevilleWilley, RtHon Frederick
    Sever, JohnWilson, Gordon (DundeeE)
    Sheerman,BarryWilson, William (C'trySE)
    Sheldon, Rt Hon R.Winnick,David
    Shore, Rt Hon PeterWoodall,Alec
    Short, Mrs RenéeWoolmer,Kenneth
    Silkin, RtHonJ. (Deptford)Wrigglesworth,Ian
    Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)Wright,Sheila
    Silverman,Julius
    Skinner,DennisTellers for the Noes:
    Smith,Cyril (Rochdale)Dr. Edmund Marshall and Mr. James Hamilton.
    Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
    Soley,Clive

    Question accordingly agreed to.

    Resolved,

    That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Bill:

    Committee

    1. — (1) The Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before 29th April 1982.

    (2) Proceedings on the Bill at a sitting of the Standing Committee on the said 29th April may continue until Eleven p.m., whether or not the House is adjourned before that time, and if the House is adjourned before those proceedings have been brought to a conclusion the Standing Committee shall report the Bill to the House on 30th April 1982.

    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 Seven o'clock on the second 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 fourth 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 may be varied by a further Report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) above, 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 moved 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 moves, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.

    4. No Motion shall be moved to alter the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee but the Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in that order.

    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 moved 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 first allotted day

    7.—(1) On the first allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings on the Bill for two hours 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 said period of two hours.

    (3) If the first 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 said period of two hours.

    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 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 conclusion 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 previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  • (a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
  • (b) any Question 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);
  • (c) 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;
  • (d) 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) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

    (3) If an allotted day is one on which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9

    (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) would, apart from this Order, stand over to Seven o'clock—

  • (a) that Motion shall stand over until the 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 at or before that time;
  • (b) 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 after that time shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.
  • (4) 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, 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 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 paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.

    (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 a Resolution of the Business Committee or Business Sub-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 on 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 on a previous day or is set down for consideration on that day;
    "the Bill" means the Employment 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.