Clause 1.—(ESTABLISHMENT AND STATUS OF HOME GUARD.) (Hansard, 27 November 1951)
HC Deb 27 November 1951 vol 494 cc1126-393

3.44 p.m.

The Chairman

Mr. Shinwell.

Mr. Richard Adams (Wandsworth, Central)

On a point of order. While I appreciate that you are not calling the Amendment which is on the Order Paper in my name, Sir Charles, in page 1, line 5, to leave out "a force," and to insert "forces," may I explain that this Amendment is of considerable significance in the drafting of this somewhat hastily constructed Bill. Could I have your permission to move this Amendment in my name?

The Chairman

No, I did not select that Amendment.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, to leave out "male."

The reasons why we advance this claim is, first, that in our opinion the female sex should not be excluded from rendering service with the Home Guard. I would remind the Committee that on Second Reading we made it plain that, while we were not opposed to the creation of a Home Guard at some future stage, we did not consider that this was the opportune moment for actual enrolment. But when the time does come for enrolling the Home Guard it is our view that women should be permitted to associate themselves with this proposed Force. I understand after inquiry that during the last war after the Home Guard was formed women were permitted to enrol as auxiliaries to the Home Guard.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Antony Head) indicated assent.

Mr. Shinwell

The Minister assents to that view, and if he does so I cannot understand why it is proposed to exclude women from the Bill. I should have thought that, had he been aware, as apparently he is, that women were formed into an Auxiliary Force associated with the Home Guard during the war, he would have inserted in the Bill a provision to make it possible for women to enrol. However, he may have some reason why the War Office has changed its mind.

There is an additional reason which I can commend to the Minister and to hon. Members, which is that women are actively associated with Anti-Aircraft Command. That was the position in the last war, and it has remained so ever since. It is, I understand, in contemplation by the War Office that in the event of an emergency the number of women associated with Anti-Aircraft Command should be substantially increased. If, in the opinion of the War Office, it is desirable that women should be associated with Anti-Aircraft Command I see no reason why they should be excluded from associating with this voluntary Force.

There is another reason why I think that this Amendment should be acceptable to the Minister. It would mean that the wives of men could accompany their husbands.

Mr. Shinwell

I am not sure whether the hon. and gallant Member means whether it is an advantage to the wives or to the husbands. That is a matter of opinion.

But what I do say is that it might happen, occasionally, that women desire to be associated with their husbands when they are undertaking the duties which they would be called upon to assume. Besides, this may very well remove apprehensions from the minds of some of the wives. I am not myself an expert on this subject, but it is just a possibility that the wives may be more consoled in the knowledge that, at any rate, they have permission to accompany their husbands when on duty.

I come to the principle underlying this Amendment, which is that it provides for a measure of equality between the sexes, and I believe that that is a principle which women in general desire. Finally, in this list of reasons which I advance, I furnish another one, which is that I know of no good reason against this proposal. If there be any substantial reason why this Amendment should be resisted, no doubt the Minister will advise us.

If the Home Guard is to be a Force of a useful character, then we must see to it that there are enrolled all those people, whether men or women, who believe themselves capable of rendering useful service. It may be asked whether we propose that the women who are to be associated with the Home Guard, if this Amendment is agreeable to the Minister, are to be equipped with arms.

Mr. Head indicated dissent.

Mr. Shinwell

That is not my view. I should imagine that there are other duties, quasi-military duties and nonmilitary duties of great value to the Force which could be undertaken by women. When the Home Guard is enrolled, and, particularly, when it is mustered in due course, it would be a great advantage if women were associated with it. I have a suspicion, because the Minister has assented to what I said about the last war and because he looks agreeable, that he may be inclined to accept the Amendment, in support of which I have ventured to furnish what I believe to be cogent reasons why it should be accepted.

Sir T. Moore

I beg to second the Amendment.

The Chairman

The Amendment does not require a seconder.

Sir T. Moore

I suppose that this is the first time in my life, and it will possibly be the last, on which I shall ever support an Amendment which has been proposed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Very often, in fact mostly, we have disagreed with each other, but, on this particular subject, I think that the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right.

During the last war, a great deal of resentment was caused among women when they were not allowed, in its early stages to play any useful part in the national movement to defend, or be ready to defend, our country. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, it was not until later in the evolution of the Home Guard that women were issued with a special and very cheap plastic badge, and their position was officially recognised by their being allowed to enlist as auxiliaries.

The excuse which was then advanced was that there were no uniforms available for the large numbers of women who wanted to join the Home Guard. As we have been informed that there are no uniforms available for either men or women at present, that excuse falls to the ground.

I can only say from personal experience that the two most efficient members of the battalion which I had the honour to command were women. One ran the whole of the transport arrangements of the battalion, and the other ran the whole of the food arrangements, and these two were the most efficient departments in the battalion.

Therefore, I think it would be a tremendous advantage to the whole organisation if this Amendment were accepted. I would like to hear in this debate the views of the right hon. Lady the Member for Fulham, West (Dr. Summerskill), because she took a very prominent line in advocating that women should also be trained in the use of arms. Indeed, on one or two occasions, I had the privilege of speaking to her gallant band of followers at Victory Hall, off Trafalgar Square.

Whereas it may be a debatable point whether women should be trained in the use of rifles, personally, I cannot see why, if we train women to use anti-aircraft guns we should not also train them to use rifles. The whole thing seems to me to be illogical. While that may be a point in dispute, there can be no doubt about this Amendment. This is, in fact, a flatter for easy and rapid decision, and that decision should be to give the women of this country equal opportunities of taking part in this great enterprise which the men are today assuming.

Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

It seems to me to be the first indication of the extraordinary haste with which this Bill has been produced that we have to discuss this Amendment at all. If we may have his attention, I hope the Secretary of State for War will be able to tell us that it is merely because of a clerical error that the provision in this Amendment has been omitted from the Bill.

After all, since it is now clearly established that women, if given the chance, can render very great services, it is quite extraordinary that a Bill should be produced which excludes them from joining the Home Guard. From any commonsense point of view, it would seem very obvious that women should join a Force such as the Home Guard, and I hope that the Secretary of State will not merely accept the Amendment, but will tell us that it was only because of the haste with which the Bill was produced that its provision was omitted.

Mr. Head

I have listened with interest to the arguments put forward for this Amendment, and I would say straightaway that, when we produced this Bill, it was not in error that we excluded women. It was done deliberately, because, initially, the Home Guard was intended to be on a limited, and to a large extent cadre, basis, and we considered that that cadre should be restricted to males, who would be the vast preponderance of any expanded Force in peace-time.

Nevertheless, as we want to make the Bill as effective as we possibly can, I consulted the War Office on this matter, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that, in the eventually expanded Force, women have a very important part to play, as he said, as telephone operators, clerks, and so forth, and they can form a most valuable part of the organisation. I would say, in passing, however, that there was no intention whatever to arm women members of this Force.

We are quite prepared to accept this Amendment, because it is felt that, as this small cadre Force of the Home Guard gradually evolves, it may be found useful to include to a very limited extent a certain number of women in that Force. I would, however, like to make it clear to the Committee at the outset that it is not intended during the initial stages of registration to ask women to register. I think that that is only sensible.

4.0 p.m.

Let us get the male registration done first, let us see what we have got, let either the effective strength battalions or the cadre strength units build up, and then see, when we have gone that far, to what extent the help of women would be useful. At that stage we would then start to introduce a limited number of women into the Force. Therefore, so that there may be no misunderstanding, I would repeat again that when registration starts initially it will not be open to women, but that as the Force is built up it will. I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's intervention as the champion of Eve militant. I accept his Amendment, and I think that on the whole it will be of assistance to this voluntary Force.

Mr. Adams

I am sure that we were all delighted to hear from the Secretary of State for War that he proposes to accept this Amendment. It gives us hope that he will proceed to accept most of the other Amendments on the Order Paper, and it also gives me encouragement to believe that, had I been lucky enough to have my first Amendment called, he would have accepted that also. But that is by the way.

I entirely agree with what the Secretary of State said about his intentions in the immediate future, but I could not understand at any time why the word "male" was necessary from the drafting point of view. I should have thought that the qualification was on the words "as may…be accepted." In other words, this Bill—since it may be a statute for some time to come—should be drawn as generally as possible in its wording. The word "male" certainly does not add to the qualification, because the real qualification is that they should be accepted by the Home Guard authorities. Even if the Secretary of State had not been good enough to indicate that he proposed incorporating women in the new Force, I should still have maintained that the word

However, we are grateful to the Secretary of State for accepting this first Amendment, and we are quite sure, as my right hon. Friend said, that when the "male" was unnecessary from the drafting point of view. time comes for women to play their part in home defence, they will be forthcoming in as great numbers and as willingly as their male counterparts, to serve as telephonists, drivers, cooks, and suchlike. It is only appropriate that just as they play their part in the Regular Forces so, later, they should have the opportunity of serving in the Home Guard.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

I am not as grateful as my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), for the fact that the Secretary of State has accepted this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has hedged his acceptance with so many qualifying sentences, and, indeed, in my opinion, in so rather grudging a manner that his statement calls for some further examination, at least by hon. Members on this side of the Committee.

What the Minister said was that at some time or other provision would be made for women, or women would be able, to join the Home Guard. We do not know when that is to be. The women will come trailing along some time afterwards. Why the right hon. Gentleman should say that it will be difficult or impossible, or even that it will interfere with the arrangements, to allow recruiting to open for both men and women at one and the same time, I simply do not understand. All that need take place is that in the recruiting offices, or wherever the Home Guard volunteers are asked to register, there should be two columns on the piece of paper recording registrations, one for men and one for women. Why we should wait until a later and unspecified date before accepting women into the Force, I really do not understand.

I do not think that the Minister's statement or his sense of priority in this matter ought to pass without challenge from some quarter of the Committee. It is a repetition or, rather, a perpetuation of the inequality of the sexes which some of us have been trying to remedy for a considerable time. I hope that on more careful consideration the Minister will be able to say that when recruiting for the Home Guard starts, the names of women volunteers will be just as acceptable to the authorities as those of men.

Major H. Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

I wish to make one or two observations to the Committee on my right hon. Friend's statement that he is prepared to accept the Amendment. But, first, I would point out that when the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) was moving his Amendment, he said that hon. Members opposite were prepared to accept the idea of a Home Guard being raised at a date which they considered suitable. He then went on to argue a case which I should have said would certainly have applied very forcibly in the event of what he required regarding the date being acceptable to my right hon. Friend. As he knows from listening to the Second Reading debate, the date on which he wanted the Home Guard to begin to be raised was quite a different one from that suggested by my right hon. Friend.

It seems to me that there is a very big case to be made out for allowing women to be associated officially with the Home Guard in time of war, or in the likelihood of war. I would agree with the right hon. Gentleman there, and, in fact—as my right hon. Friend recounted to him while he was moving his Amendment—that was the position in the last war. The point which the right hon. Member for Easington seems to have overlooked is that it is proposed to go ahead to a limited extent as soon as this Bill becomes an Act. My right hon. Friend has at least reassured me that it is not proposed in the initial stages to accept women volunteers into the Home Guard. Personally, I think he is quite right in deciding that. My own feeling is that he should put it off even longer, and should certainly not do it until the emergency has become so great that it becomes absolutely necessary.

What I think all of us in this Committee ought to remember when we are asking women to play a part in the Forces of this country is that there is a section of the community which is always ready to answer any appeal to their patriotism, no matter what they have been through and what sort of life they are leading at the moment. They are always prepared to do that extra bit at the call of patriotism. But I would ask hon. Members, and particularly my right hon. Friend, to consider whether, remembering what the women of the country have had to put up with for so long now, it is fair to ask them in the cause of patriotism to join a Home Guard in time of peace. I agree that when the threat of war comes, then there would be every justification for calling upon them.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

How does the hon. and gallant Member relate his argument to the recruiting in peace-time to the women's Services? If it applies to one Force, it surely applies to the other.

Major Legge-Bourke

I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that, to some extent, the same argument applies, but there seems to me to be this very great difference. That particular call to join the various women's auxiliary Services has been in force for some considerable time, and it was certainly never considered as being on quite the same nation-wide basis as the Home Guard will have to be in the area where it is most wanted. The women's auxiliary Services are playing a valuable part, and I do not want to detract from that at all.

But what I am asking the Committee to consider at this moment is this. I think we could probably say, although I have not the facts before me, that the women's auxiliary Services are very largely composed of unmarried women. In his Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to call on the married women to come forward. I think there might be a case for putting into the Bill something to prevent married women being called upon. I certainly should have thought that the housewife was having quite a difficult enough time at present, and has had over the last six years, and that we should take every possible step to avoid making an additional call on her patriotism at the present time.

My right hon. Friend said that he is not proposing to accept them in the early stages of this Bill when it becomes an Act. I hope he will consider—I am not asking him to give me a definite answer this afternoon—reviewing the whole position as to when he will, in fact, make this call upon them. I put it to him that he ought to delay the call until the very last moment. I do not believe it to be necessary today, or, indeed, that it will be necessary until there is a very real threat to these islands, and even then women should be called upon only in the last resort.

I ask the right hon. Member for Easington to remember that in the Parliament before last we had some discussion about the right of the War Office to call up reservists. On that occasion, I drew the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that as I understood the Bill which we were then discussing the War Office were reserving the right to call up women before men on the Reserve.

I remember that when I protested against this power being in the possession of the War Office the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) referred to me as a "Blimp." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I know that hon. Members opposite use the term in a derogatory sense, but I always take it as a compliment.

The same argument applies in this particular case. Obviously, when the nation is fighting for its life, we are justified in calling upon every citizen to defend it, but to my way of thinking it is extremely questionable whether in time of peace we ever have the right to call upon women to act in capacities which formerly have only been performed by men in uniform. I think that we are taking a very great decision today. Quite candidly, I was rather disappointed when my right hon. Friend accepted this Amendment, and, although I recognise that there is some qualification to its acceptance. I would certainly ask him to consider making the qualification even greater, and thus ensure that no woman will be asked to go into the Home Guard until the threat to these islands becomes so great that it is absolutely necessary.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)

The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) has made it clear that he does not understand the difference of principle between the two sides of the Committee. The Opposition are not opposed to the Home Guard, but if we are to have a Home Guard, let us have a good Home Guard; let it be based on principles which we all understand and, before we start, let us work out a scheme the principles of which are understood by the highest to the lowest in the Force. Quite clearly, the Secretary of State does not understand what he is driving at, but we hope during the progress of the Committee stage to teach him.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

Is that a job for the Army Educational Corps?

Mr. Wigg

To put an end to that sort of remark during the debate, may I repeat that I joined the Tank Corps as a private soldier and that, from the time I joined, nobody ever asked me where I had to go? Let us leave that out of our argument during the debate.

The Secretary of State has accepted the Amendment for reasons which are quite wrong. He said, "We shall not do anything about it for the time being, but when we have got going we shall recruit a few telephone operators, a few orderlies, and so on, for tasks that women can do." That is the wrong way to look at it. I have been interested in the formation of the Home Guard as long as the Secretary of State has, and I have accumulated a mass of things that have been written and said about it.

In a very profitable debate in another place the Secretary of State for Air made a most enlightened speech on the formation of the Home Guard, which he related to an all-in conception of home defence. He said that, if war ever comes to this country, it will be total war and war in which we cannot separate the civilian from the National Service man, the Class Z reservist, or the Regular soldier; we shall all be in it together from the word "go". Therefore, if we are to have total defence, at some time the part-time soldier, the Home Guard, has to be integrated into Civil Defence and antiaircraft defence.

I should have thought that those of us who served with Anti-Aircraft Command during the war would have realised that from the word "go" in 1940 we moved forward stage by stage, until there was complete integration between Anti-Aircraft Command and Civil Defence. The ideal would have been for the guns to be at fixed points and to be manned part of the time by men serving full-time and part of the time in leisure time by men working in neighbouring factories. That is the kind of thing that events may force upon us. If that is to happen, from the word "go" the women have a combatant part to play.

During the summer I spent some weeks in Israel, where events have pressed on them, and I saw women being trained in the use of arms and to do the same job as men. However, I am not advocating that. It is all very well for the squeamish hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely to talk about womanhood, and so on, but what is to happen when an atom bomb has dropped?

Are the Government engaged in putting a Home Guard Bill on the Statute Book because they have no other legislation to pass, or are they doing so in order to deal with an emergency which might face the country? If the latter is the case, surely they must take the women in and integrate them, not only in the Home Guard but in the whole conception of Civil Defence. I support the Secretary of State for Air against the Secretary of State for War and hope very much that the Secretary of State for Air will win.

Sir H. Williams

I hope that my right hon. Friend will include some women in the Home Guard. What happened in the last war? From my observation of the Home Guard around Croydon, and in certain parts of the south coast, there was a great deal of clerical work to be done, such as typing and telephoning, and it was done in the main by the mothers, sisters, sweethearts and "whatnots" of the members of the Home Guard. Those women were not members of the Home Guard, and they were not subject to the Official Secrets Act. They were under no discipline at all, but they did the job as if they were members of the Home Guard.

That kind of service will be needed again. I hope very much that there will be an element of recruiting of women at the very beginning to do the kinds of jobs which women often do much better than men. It is important that women should have the chance of volunteering right from the beginning.

Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)

I cannot join in the chorus of felicitations offered to the right hon. Gentleman upon his having accepted the Amendment. Had I desired to reduce the Bill to utter absurdity, I should have placed on the Order Paper a series of Amendments of this kind. The whole of the discussion is absolutely ridiculous. It has been said that this would be regarded as the thin edge of the wedge and that women would be drawn more and more into our Armed Forces. I am not certain whether even Hitler went as far as that.

Sir T. Moore

No, but the Russians have done.

Mr. Davies

I have no information on that point. One blessing will emerge from the right hon. Gentleman's concession, and that will be another glorious legacy for our comedians and cartoonists. I am told that they have just about exhausted the subject of the old Home Guard; this will give added life to it, and I am sure that our comedians and cartoonists will not overlook it.

During the Second Reading the right hon. Gentleman anticipated certain horrific experiences in the event of a war in this country. He spoke about paratroopers coming down on one side of the mythical line which he arbitrarily drew across the map on this little island of ours. Some of us object to the hysteria which is arising in this country.

The Chairman

I should point out to the hon. Member that the Amendment enables us to deal only with males or females.

Mr. Davies

I am sure that you will agree with me, Sir Charles, that to bring females into the Bill is added evidence of the hysteria which is growing in this country.

I am amazed that a distinguished member of the Armed Forces should have been responsible for this Home Guard Bill, because he knows very well that in the event of our little island being caught in the storm of a third world war, our womenfolk will have all their work cut out to look after those who are incapable of looking after themselves. That the Bill has been introduced—apparently with the concurrence of my hon. Friends —at a time when we have in mind an atomic war makes it the worst piece of nonsense I have heard in the years I have been in the House. I can tell my right hon. Friends that quite a number of hon. Members will not join the tragedy—tragi-comedy out of which some of my right hon. Friends are apparently getting considerable pleasure this afternoon.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

I understand that in connection with his concession the Secretary of State will consider the whole question of women being allowed to join the Home Guard. Is it proposed to make the ages of enlistment the same as for men? Will women between the ages of 18 and 65 to be allowed to join the Home Guard? For example, if a young eager man of 18 comes along with his mother, his grandmother, his stepmother, and his mother-in-law, are they—

The Chairman

The hon. Member is a little ahead of the debate. The conditions of enlistment do not arise until we reach line 22 of the Bill.

Mr. Hughes

I am asking a question which arises out of the Amendment, Sir Charles.

The Chairman

I understood that the hon. Member was asking about the ages of those who were eligible to join the Home Guard.

Mr. Hughes

I am asking what categories of females are covered by the Amendment. "Male" applies to anyone between 18 and 65, and I am anxious that we should have information upon exactly what is meant by the word "female" and how the equality of the sexes relates to the concession. I see that the question has been absorbed by the Government Front Bench, so I do not wish to continue the matter.

When I see an Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and seconded by the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), I look upon it with a certain amount of suspicion, especially when I understand that one of the objects of my right hon. Friend for Easington was to ensure that nothing was done by the Tory Government to increase militaristic fervour in this country. If it is increasing militaristic fervour by bringing in men, surely it is increasing and intensifying militaristic fervour by bringing in the women. Therefore, I completely object to the Amendment.

I do not believe that in this respect the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr could have been speaking for the women of his constituency. I know a very large number of women in his constituency—[Laughter.] Oh, yes, some of the women there have more confidence in me than they have in the hon. and gallant Member who represents them—and I do not believe that any large proportion of the women there are at all interested in this Home Guard business, simply because they will not have the time for it.

Sir T. Moore

I hope that the hon. Member will realise that the women of Ayr are not affected by the Bill.

Mr. Hughes

If they are not affected by the Bill, I fail to see why the hon. and gallant Member seconded the Amendment.

Sir T. Moore

I did not second the Amendment.

Mr. Hughes

There seems to be some doubt about this. As far as I know, a large number of the womenfolk of Ayr have no homes to guard. They would be quite prepared to enlist in a "home kitchen guard" but not in the Home Guard, and they will not be prepared to do so until they have homes to guard.

I question whether the women in my constituency and in the Ayr division would have time to do any work in the Home Guard in view of the very great difficulty they have in getting food. Christmas shopping in the town of Ayr is very difficult for the housewife, and, as this Government proceeds with its work, I believe that the women of this country will have so much difficulty in getting food for their families that they will have no time, and certainly no enthusiasm, for a Home Guard.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)

I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) moved the Amendment and I am very sorry that the Secretary of State for War has seen fit to accept it. I am sorry because any addition to the Home Guard will mean added expense for the country and will thus add to the economic problems with which we are faced.

When I read the Bill I thought that there had been a reformation in the War Office and that they had come to the conclusion that women and war really do not mix. Women are the givers of life, and to some of us it seems that they should not be encouraged to take part in any organisation which is set up to destroy life, which is the purpose of the Home Guard. It might be said, as was said by the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), that women serve in the armed forces in Russia and in many Continental countries, but I long for the day when the women not only in this country but in every country in the world will say, "We are having nothing further to do with war."

It is because I feel that this Amendment would give a start in the right direction and that the War Office might give a moral lead which might be accepted by other nations that I oppose my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), the former Minister, as well as the present Secretary of State for War.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

On a point of order. I should like to understand how the Question was put. Sir Charles.

The Chairman

In the correct way. The Amendment is to leave out the word "male," and I put the Question, "That the word proposed to be left out stand part." I collected the voices and the "Noes" had it.

Mr. F. J. Bellenger (Bassetlaw)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, to leave out "persons," and to insert: number of persons as may from time to time be provided by Parliament and. The reason why I move this Amendment is that I want the Committee to do something which Parliament has done for a considerable number of years, namely, to exercise control over the Crown in the number of people they shall enrol in the military Forces or, as this Bill terms it, the Armed Forces. Back to the days of the Bill of Rights, Parliament has been very jealous of the prerogative of the Crown to enlist or recruit or mobilise Armed Forces, and the Committee will notice that Clause 1 (2) states that the Home Guard shall he members of the armed forces of the Crown. Every year Parliament controls the number of persons who may be enlisted or enrolled in the Armed Forces by its control over the Army Estimates. In Vote A the number of Regular soldiers who are permitted to be enlisted is defined and agreed to by Parliament. The same applies to the Reserve Forces, particularly the Territorial Force, which, as the Committee knows, comes under Vote 2 of the Secretary of State's Estimate. For example, in the year 1950–51 the number of officers and men who are permitted to constitute the Territorial Army are limited to 12,000 officers and 130,000 other ranks.

All I am asking in this Amendment, which I hope will be accepted, is something that was included in the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907. In Section 6 of that Act it is provided: It shall be lawful for His Majesty to raise and maintain a force, to be called the 'Territorial Force,' consisting of such number of men as may from time to time be provided by Parliament. When the Secretary of State was introducing the Second Reading of this Bill he told us the numbers which he proposed to try to enrol for the time being. But we have no guarantee whether that number will be reached or exceeded, and it is for Parliament to say how many men—and how many women now—shall be included in the Home Guard, and not for any Minister of the Crown to state, in a Second Reading speech, the numbers which he thinks he would like to have in that Service.

I do not want to take too long over my Amendment. There are many arguments that I could advance in its support, but I would urge Parliament before passing this Amendment—which I hope will be accepted, if not in this form, in an appropriate form which will embrace the principle which I am putting before the Committee—not to allow this Clause to pass without something of this nature being incorporated in the Bill. It is a vital principle that has been well established by Parliament for hundreds of years, and I think it is a principle that we ought to continue because only thus can we exercise control over the Crown, through its Ministers, in the numbers that shall be enrolled in one of the armed forces of the Crown.

Mr. Frederick Pearl (Workington)

I support this Amendment. I raised this point as a matter of principle in the Second Reading debate, and I want to reinforce my argument by stressing again that the fact that a Bill which gives power to the Crown to recruit members of the Armed Forces without stating the number is an unusual change in our normal procedure. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) has given the reasons why we have safeguards, and has stated how, through proper constitutional procedure, we keep some check upon the power of the Crown and Ministers to recruit numbers for the Armed Forces.

1 mentioned in the Second Reading debate how that principle can be traced back to the Bill of Rights, and how, in a later period in our history, in the various annual Army Acts we incorporated that principle in our legislation. This is certainly a very important departure, and I think we should have in the Bill the safeguards which have been requested by my right hon. Friend.

The members of the Home Guard are to be members of the Armed Forces. They are to be subject to military law. They are not just some "Fred Karno's army"; they are a military organisation and they have great responsibilities. Therefore, it is important that we should have these guarantees and that they should be put in the Bill. After all, the creation of this Home Guard will involve the country in a lot of expenditure, and it will also have considerable effects upon our Civil Defence organisation. Therefore, it is only right and proper that Parliament should ask the Minister to put safeguards in a Bill which he presents to hon. Members. It is a constitutional right, and I am certain that hon. Members will accept this principle.

Mr. Swingler

I am sure that we all hope that the Under-Secretary will accept this Amendment, so as to establish proper Parliamentary control over the size of this Force and prevent any recruitment in excess of what is actually required.

I support the Amendment because I hope that the Under-Secretary or the Secretary of State, whoever is to reply, will take the opportunity of telling us something of what he has in mind about the size of this Force. We have so far heard nothing about the figure which the War Office have in mind for the recruitment of the Home Guard, and if the Government really hope to be able to recruit a certain number of men and women for this Force it is most important that there should be a definite figure of those required, and also that each county or each region in the country should know how many people are required in the Home Guard for the defence of particular areas.

This question of targets has become very general, and if we are going to have another recruiting campaign in addition to all the other recruiting campaigns going on in the country at the moment, there is a great deal of point in fixing a definite number and being able to show either the success or failure in recruiting that number of men and women in the Home Guard for a county or a region or for the country as a whole I hope that we shall be told, first of all, what is the national figure that the Government have in mind for the size of the Home Guard at the moment and also, if they have it worked out, how many they hope to recruit or will try to recruit from each region in the country.

Mr. Wigg

My right hon. Friend's instinct was sound in putting down this Amendment, but I think the Minister will be in some difficulty if he accepts it in this form. While it lays down that the Army must approve the figure, presumably the figure which the Secretary of State for War would insert would be one for a Regulation.

I think it will be found from looking at the history of this matter that it arises from our 17th century troubles, when the King saved money on ration allowance to spend on his men. What Parliament is jealous about, and what the War Office have to be jealous about, is that money which is voted on one head must not be spent on another. I think that that doctrine applies even today. The hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) knows what a serious offence it is if something is charged up to the wrong Vote.

Parliament has always been jealous of its right to control money spent on particular Votes. But here that does not arise, because these men will draw neither pay nor ration allowance. There is no conflict between the two Votes. The important point is that Parliament should know what number of men—even as a notional figure—are to be raised within a broad target.

I hope that when the Minister replies he will look not at the form of the Amendment but rather at the instinct behind it. I believe that hon. Members in all quarters of the Committee will agree that my right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger), has done a service in putting down the Amendment, although, as I say, I do not think that it can be accepted in this form.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison)

I am obliged to the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger), for having put down this Amendment, and, although I cannot recommend the Committee to accept it in its present form, I think we shall be able to give hon. Members opposite satisfaction.

First, may I deal with the point raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler)? I seem to recollect —in fact, my recollection is fairly clear—that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State did give in his Second Reading speech the total numbers which we had in mind. We propose to follow—and I hope this will satisfy hon. Members—the procedure adopted by the Territorial Army, and give an undertaking to put into the Annual Estimates the numbers to which we will adhere for that year.

It would mean, therefore, that if we wanted to vary those numbers, at any rate upwards, we would have to come back to Parliament during that year in the period between the two sets of Army Estimates. The Army Estimates will probably be coming out before we have, in fact, proceeded to the enrolment of the Home Guard, and so Parliament will have a satisfactory measure of control of the sort which the right hon. Gentleman wanted.

Mr. Bellenger

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for conceding something of what I have tried to put to the Committee, but will he tell the Committee why he cannot accept the principle of this Amendment, which was part of the 1907 Act? Surely it must have been put into that Act for some very good reason. Why should it not be put in here? I agree, of course, with the hon. Gentleman that Parliament will have considerable control over him or his right hon. Friend if the numbers are included in the Estimates.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Hutchison

Because it would mean that we should have constantly to come back to the House for a variation in numbers, whereas we already have the system in operation of showing the numbers in the Army Estimates—a system which, I believe, is followed for the Territorial Army. That creates a perfectly good precedent for giving what the right hon. Gentleman wants, but in another form. I am advised that we cannot accept the Amendment in this form because it would increase the complication of Parliamentary procedure at a time when a perfectly good Parliamentary procedure is available to us in the way I have indicated and in conformity with precedents which already exist.

For those reasons, I hope that right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite will be satisfied. I think that what I have said almost meets their case and I ask either that the right hon. Gentleman should not press the Amendment or that the House should resist it.

Amendment negatived.

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

The next Amendment, in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland), in page 1, line 8, at the end, to insert: and such other male persons whom the Secretary of State for War may direct to carry out part of their national service with the Home Guard. —goes beyond the scope of the Bill.

Commander J. F. W. Maitland (Horn-castle)

I would not, of course, argue with your Ruling, Mr. Hopkin Morris, but I should like some further information. Is not the matter covered in the long Title, "and for purposes connected therewith"?

The Deputy-Chairman

No, it deals with the National Service Act and goes beyond the scope of the Bill.

Mr. Shinwell

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, at the end, to insert: Provided that no such force shall he established until there has been full consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council. I am advised that it is the intention of the Chair to take this Amendment together with the Amendment in page 2, line 2, after "regulations" to insert: which shall be discussed with the National Joint Advisory Council before coming into effect.

The Deputy-Chairman

That is so. For the convenience of the Committee these two Amendments can be discussed together.

Mr. Shinwell

I am obliged to you, because there is an obvious relationship between the two Amendments.

Before I come to the reason which fortified myself and my right hon. and hon. Friends in presenting this Amendment, perhaps I may be permitted to say a word or two, which I think is relevant to the matter before us, on what transpired in the later stages of the Second Reading debate. It appears to me that there was some misunderstanding at that stage which ought to be cleared up. The matter arose in this way. The Under-Secretary of State, who has just left the Chamber—I presume for a good reason —said: A question was asked about the T.U.C., and I should like to say that we have been in touch with them and with the British Employers' Federation. At that point, I interjected: Since when? The Under-Secretary of State replied: Two or three days ago, and we said that the details of these Regulations will be discussed through the National Joint Advisory Council at a later stage. I understand from my right hon. Friend that the acknowledgment to that letter came within the last day or two. At this point I ventured to enter a protest and indicated that I had myself inquired at the offices of the T.U.C. and from the General Secretary whether there had been any consultation—indeed, that was the word I used when I interrupted the proceedings. This is what I said: I inquired only two days ago from Sir Vincent Tewson, the Secretary of the T.U.C., as to whether the T.U.C. had been consulted. He said 'No'."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 697–698.] Obviously, there is a difference between sending a letter to the T.U.C. asking for their comments, either on the Bill or, it may be, the Regulations—and I will come to that later—and actual consultations. Apparently my interruption and my attempt at justification did not please hon. Members opposite, who demanded that I should withdraw the statement I had made, which, of course, I was not prepared to do, because I knew I had made an accurate statement.

The matter was cleared up to a considerable extent at the end of the debate by the right hon. Gentleman himself who said: I can assure the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) that I am not trying to conceal anything in any way, and I am not making any imputation that the statement that he made was not perfectly correct. That is all very well as far as it goes. He continued: I never indicated in my statement that my letter had reached Sir Vincent Tewson before he said he had not seen or heard of it". The right hon. Gentleman continued: I would say on the Regulations and the working out of their general details, that we kept Sir Vincent Tewson and all others informed. We have guaranteed that when the detailed Regulations have been worked out they will be consulted through the National Joint Advisory Council."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 700.] When the right hon. Gentleman said—and I repeat his language— I would say on the Regulations and the working out of their general details that we kept Sir Vincent Tewson and all others informed, that was not strictly accurate. It may have been a slip on the part of the Minister. It came at the end of the debate; there was some confusion and it seems to me to have been a mistake on his part. I understand that that is the position because, having made further inquiries. I understand that Sir Vincent Tewson, who is the General Secretary of the T.U.C.and I do not know about the "others"was not informed. To use the right hon. Gentleman's language, he had not been kept informed, on the Regulations and the working out of their general details

Mr. Head

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I should like to say something at this stage because, as the right hon. Gentleman appreciates, no one is more anxious than myself that the very close contact between the National Joint Advisory Council and the War Office should be maintained. What happened in regard to this Bill was that it was put in the King's Speech, and afterwards we worked out on broad lines what the Regulations should be.

I do not think there was anything very controversial in those Regulations, since the broad lines had been worked out already, but I wrote to Sir Vincent Tewson and all others concerned giving the broad outlines and saying that the Regulations were not yet formed, but that they would be discussed in detail and that when they were the National Joint Advisory Council would previously have been consulted.

I said I hoped that he would be agreeable to that and he wrote back to me saying that they would take part in the detailed discussions but expressing regret —and I say this quite honestly to the right hon. Gentleman—that he had not been consulted at an early stage. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that an earlier stage would go back to the period before the announcement in the King's Speech that there had been a decision to enrol the Home Guard.

Mr. Shinwell

I accept what the right hon. Gentleman said, but, undoubtedly, there appears to have been a misunderstanding. I gather that the position is this. The right hon. Gentleman wrote to Sir Vincent Tewson on 19th November —last Monday. It was on the morning of the 19th that I spoke to Sir Vincent Tewson and asked him whether he had been consulted; and he replied, "No."

Sir H. Williams

What has this to do with him or the Employers' Federation?

Mr. Shinwell

That is precisely the matter to which I propose to address myself. I regard this as a point of great substance and we shall have to thresh it out. For the moment, I am dealing with the steps which led up to the discussion on the Second Reading.

Brigadier O. L. Prior-Palmer (Worthing)

May we get this point clear? I think the right hon. Gentleman gave the date as 19th November. In his speech, as reported in column 698 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, he said, I inquired only two days ago…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November. 1951; Vol. 494, c. 698.] The date of that debate was 22nd November, which would make the date of his inquiry the 20th November.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is quite right; that is what I said. I said it in passing. In fact, I inquired three days before the debate. On the 19th, the right hon. Gentleman wrote to Sir Vincent Tewson, who replied on the day of the debate. He sent a letter by hand to the right hon. Gentleman on the day of the debate and in that letter he made it perfectly plain that he could offer no comment on the submission made by the right hon. Gentleman on the Regulations, because, obviously, the Regulations were not before him. Secondly—and this is a point of some importance—Sir Vincent Tewson said he thought it was just as important to be consulted on the matter of policy as it was to be asked to enter into consultation on the Regulations themselves.

Mr. Wigg

As we are discussing the dates, I think we should get this clear. I raised this point of consultation about the Home Guard in the debate on the King's Speech on 9th November. I said this: The question I want to ask—I have given notice to the Secretary of State for War that I proposed to raise this matter— I telephoned his office and I saw him personally.

Major Guy Lloyd (Renfrew, Eastern)

On a point of order. I should like to ask your guidance, Mr. Hopkin Morris. What has the history of this singularly boring incident some days ago to do with this very important constitutional Amendment?

The Deputy-Chairman

So far I have not heard the submission.

Mr. Wigg

I had not made the point. As the Secretary of State for War is clearing up the question of consultations, it is very important to remember that I gave him verbal notice, and gave notice to his office, that I proposed to raise the question of consultation with the T.U.C. On 9th November I said this: The question I want to ask—I have given notice to the Secretary of State for War that I proposed to raise this matter—is whether the trade unions were consulted, because the formation of a Home Guard would vitally affect trade unions in regard to the conditions under which men work, overtime, and shift work."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th November, 1951; Vol. 493, c. 562.] On 13th November—

The Deputy-Chairman

I do not know whether this is a speech or not. The hon. Gentleman has had an opportunity of making his point. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) is in possession of the Committee at the moment.

Mr. Shinwell

No doubt my hon. Friend will address himself to this aspect of the subject later. Meanwhile, I should like to direct the attention of the Committee to the most remarkable utterance made by the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew, East (Major Guy Lloyd). He asked why we were discussing this boring subject—and note what the boring subject is; and the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) supports him in that view. It is just as well that the National Joint Advisory Council, consisting of employers and representatives of trade unions, and, in particular, the trade unions of the country, should understand that in the opinion of certain Tory Members of Parliament it is boring to discuss consultation on Government policy with employees and—

Major Lloyd

I made it perfectly clear. What I said was that the subject of what happened some days ago was boring, but that we wished to discuss the important constitutional Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has put down.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. and gallant Gentleman can run away as fast as his legs will carry him from the statement he made. However, that does not apply to the hon. Member for Croydon, East, who rejects with contempt the idea that the Government at any time should consult with the trade unions or employers' organisations on matters of Government policy.

Sir H. Williams

The right hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me. There are matters in which it is right and proper that those organisations should be consulted, but on this matter the only people to be consulted are the constitutionally elected representatives of the whole of the people.

Mr. Shinwell

All hon. Members are aware how quaint, grotesque and fantastic are the ideas of the hon. Member for Croydon, East—we who have been accustomed to him for a long time. [An HON. MEMBER: "Too long."] It is just as well he should indulge in these outpourings occasionally, so that the trade unions of the country may know exactly where he stands.

Now I will address myself to the subject of the Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It will be interesting to note the reactions of hon. Members opposite when I have completed my argument. The Government themselves—I think it was almost immediately after their return to power—indicated how anxious they were to enter into consultations with the trade unions on matters of Government policy which directly concerned the organised workers and, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who is more forbearing than some of his supporters behind him, and certainly more understanding on matters of this sort, has himself indicated how anxious he is to consult with these outside bodies, even on the subject of the Home Guard and the Regulations associated with the formation of the Home Guard.

Why is it that we believe, as, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman believes, that it is desirable to have consultations? I will reply at once to the question I have put. It is because the formation of any Force, whether it be a Territorial Force or an auxiliary Force of any sort or kind, including the Home Guard, which, as the right hon. Gentleman told us in the Second Reading debate, will ultimately number something like one million men—he said 900,000; but it may go beyond that; who can tell?—obviously affects the manpower of the country.

Everybody knows, and none more so than the Government themselves, how grave is the manpower situation. The rearmament programme itself is to a considerable extent impeded by shortage of manpower, and will be impeded still further unless we are able to deal in a radical way with the shortage of manpower. It will have to be dealt with, and in dealing with the problem of the shortage of manpower obviously there must be consultations with the National Joint Advisory Council, because, after all, the National Joint Advisory Council is the representative body of employers and trade union representatives to whom questions of this kind are frequently addressed and whose advice is constantly sought by the Government.

That was the position under the late Government, and I can hardly believe that, however unwise and insensible some back benchers on the Government side are on matters of this sort, the Government themselves would be so foolish as to ignore the importance of consultation with these representative bodies. The hon. Member for Croydon, East, will not mind if I speak somewhat strongly on these matters. After all, he is the last person to object.

Sir H. Williams

The right hon. Gentleman will get it back.

Mr. Shinwell

I can get it back, but hon. Members know that I have been a long time a Member of the House of Commons, and that if I hit hard I do not object to being hit around—indeed, hon. Members frequently do that to me even when I give them no reason for so doing.

That is the first reason I advance why these bodies ought to be consulted. As I have said, the manpower position is serious. What is contemplated in this Bill? It is proposed to raise a Force immediately—that is to say, by registration, and then by enrolment at a subsequent stage—of 125,000 in certain regions and some 25,000 or so in other parts of the country. I agree that that number would not have a very serious effect on the manpower position, particularly as they are to be employed part-time, but as the Force is built up—and it is intended that it should be built up—the effect on the manpower situation must become more serious.

It is true that these men are to volunteer for service of a part-time character and to undertake 60 appearances a year—rather more than one a week—and that they are to be occupied only about an hour on each occasion for training purposes; but, after all, these men have to leave their homes and go to the places where the training is to be undertaken, and after training is completed, return to their homes, and I reckon that, on the average, about two or two and a half hours will be occupied.

If that is so those men who are undertaking this duty will lose, at any rate, one night when they might be employed on overtime tasks in their various occupations. I am not going to exaggerate this because that would be foolish, but, on the other hand, as I say, as the Force is built up to 100,000, 300,000, perhaps 500,000 men at a time when the re-armament programme is gathering momentum, surely it is important that we should ascertain the views of these representative bodies as to the consequences of the enrolment of such a Force.

I have stated more than once—I said it in the Second Reading debate, and said it again on the first Amendment today to reinforce the point—that we do not register any objection to the formation of this Force at the opportune moment. But we do not think enrolment desirable now. There may be an appropriate occasion when men should be enrolled. Now is the time to consult with the representative bodies—to consult with them on general policy, to consult with them on the Regulations, to consult with them on the effects of the use of this manpower, of this reservoir of manpower, and its reactions on the re-armament programme and, indeed, on our export trade and the like.

That is the case I wish to put. I should like to say, however, that no Government—I do not care which Government it is, or whatever its political colour may be—can afford in these times or, indeed, at any time in the foreseeable future to ignore the existence of these representative bodies. There was a time when Governments—Conservative and Liberal Governments—paid no attention to the views of the industries, even on the employers' side. They were regarded as of very little consequence.

But the position has changed substantially, and to assist in the implementation of Government policy—and sometimes Government policy is agreeable to the Opposition, though it may be found to be disagreeable on many occasions—which is generally acceptable it is advisable that there should be full consultation all along the line. I am asking the right hon. Gentleman to take into account what I have said. There is no serious controversy in this Amendment, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we are not submitting this Amendment in anything but a purely objective spirit.

We are concerned about the effect of the raising of this Force on the manpower situation, on the re-armament programme, on our export trade, on the efficiency of our industry, and the like, and I would beg of him to give this very serious consideration, and, before he actually enrols the Force, to enter into consultation with these bodies.

Let me add this, so that there may be no misunderstanding. I have endeavoured to ascertain the views of my right hon. and hon. Friends so far as I could, and I believe I represent their view when I say that we should have no objection, now that the Second Reading is passed, and the House has come to a decision, to the registration of this Force; that is to say, if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to ascertain how many men are willing to join, we should have no objection. What we do object to is an early enrolment of the Force.

There is a difference—a substantial difference—between registration—that is to say, ascertaining from men whether they are willing at some time to be enrolled—and enrolment itself. To registration we offer no objection. As to enrolment, we think that that should be delayed until there has been active consultation with these bodies. I beg the right hon. Gentleman in his own interests and in the interests of the Government and of the country and of all concerned to accept this Amendment.

Sir H. Williams

I am amazed at the speech to which we have just listened. It is a complete denial of the sovereignty of Parliament. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] A complete denial. After all, who are these people-we are supposed to consult? They are a few people who come into being through a body called the T.U.C. and who come into being through certain employers' organisations. They are not elected in any popular way. Their contact with the people is not a tenth as close as that of any hon. Member of this House, and it seems to me that the opinion of Sir Vincent Tewson or his predecessor, whom I know, or of Sir John Forbes-Watson, whom I have known for 40 years—on this issue is worth precisely nothing. We are in close touch with the electors. We see far more of the people we represent than any leader of a trade union does of the members of his organisation.

Sir H. Williams

What is the complaint in the trade union movement today, particularly in the big unions? Of lack of contact between the ordinary members and the people in the magnificent offices across the road.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

What does the hon. Gentleman know about them?

Sir H. Williams

A good deal. Quite a lot. I was associated with a trade union before the hon. Member was born.

Mr. Adams

Where is the hon. Member's card now?

Sir H. Williams

I have forgotten, because I am an employer now. I have been promoted, the same as a good many hon. Members on the other side of the Committee. After all, there is no supreme merit in having a card which may or may not show that one is fully paid up.

This Amendment is really preposterous. It suggests that the sovereign Parliament of the United Kingdom is to abrogate half of its functions.

Sir H. Williams

Certainly it does. I wish the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton), who is a solicitor, would read the case he is talking about so noisily. He is very noisy. It says: …No such force shall be established until there has been full consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council. Surely that is an abrogation; we pass an Act of Parliament which cannot be brought into force until we have consulted with a body, who, on this subject, are not experts at all.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Adams

Does the hon. Gentleman mean to imply that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is also wrong when he consults the Economic Committee of the T.U.C. in deciding his economic policy?

Sir H. Williams

When one is discussing something which affects approximately the general economic situation of the people, one consults those people who have some expert knowledge of that subject. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is what we are doing."] I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, many of whom are rather new to the House, to go into the Library, and read a speech made in 1944, I think it was—I have not had time to look it up—by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), in which he denounced the then Government with the greatest possible vigour when they were putting before the House a Bill which dealt, I think, with the Factories Acts, on the ground that Parliament was just underwriting the instructions of the T.U.C. and the British Confederation of Employers.

It would be a lamentable thing for some hon. Members opposite to think that the Messiah from that part of South Wales is the only Messiah to be followed. He expressed his views more vigorously than I am doing, and on something on which I should have thought there was more merit in consulting the Joint Advisory Council.

Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was engaged in the last war, but I was then a T.U.C. officer dealing with the subject of the Home Guard in respect of my own workers, and it was the spirit of collaboration and co-operation with the industrial officers of the trade unions that made that Force a success. The spirit which is now demonstrated by the hon. Gentleman is not the method by which we are going to get the best possible results in respect of the Bill now before the House.

Sir H. Williams

What relevance has that to the constitutional issue? When we are raising a unit of the Home Guard we may want to consult with all sorts of people, but that is not what we are discussing today. The hon. Gentleman has not even read the Amendment. The Amendment says that we cannot start it without consulting a body which has no responsibility in this matter. That, I think, is a constitutional outrage. If we put this Amendment in the Bill, we must put it into other Bills, and the sovereignty of Parliament is destroyed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] Certainly. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) has changed the title of his constituency.

Mr. Shinwell

I did not change the title of my constituency; it was changed for me.

Sir H. Williams

The right hon. Gentleman was a Member of the Government who changed it. He is surely not going to abrogate responsibility for that.

Mr. Shinwell

It was a result of the deliberations of the Boundary Commissioners on re-distribution.

Sir H. Williams

First the right hon. Gentleman wants to abrogate the sovereignty of Parliament, and now he wants to abrogate the sovereignty of the Cabinet of which he was a Member. By the time he is finished, he will want to abrogate the sovereignty of Easington.

The Deputy-Chairman

What has this to do with the Bill? Nothing whatsoever.

Sir H. Williams

I agree with you, Mr. Hopkin Morris. But when interruptions are permitted we are surely equally entitled to reply to the interruptions—and that is as much in order as the interruptions.

I am suggesting that if we put this Amendment into the Bill then, in principle, we must put similar Amendments in every Bill. It is very difficult to find any Bill in which we could not justify consultations with certain outside bodies. This is not the only important outside body. This is a body which represents some of the trade unions, but not all; and some of the employers, but not all. Three-quarters of the people who join the Home Guard will not be members of trade unions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—Oh, yes. What is the relationship of male trade unionists to the male population? About one in four or one in three. [An HON. MEMBER: "One in two."]

There are roughly eight million members of trade unions; the people who work for their living number about 22 million; that is about one in three, and there are a number of retired people competent to join the Home Guard. Call it one in three. We consult one-third of the population and deprive those who represent the whole population from making a final decision. That is what I call a constitutional outrage, and I hope that it will be resisted by the Government.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

I am very interested in the suggestion that this proposal is a constitutional outrage. As we understood the Secretary of State in his remarks, both last week and today, he claims that he did make this consultation. Therefore, was he, in the hon. Member's view, making a constitutional outrage in doing so, because, if so, the fire of his attack should be directed towards his own Front Bench? We would like to know whether he thinks that this consultation, which we have been repeatedly told was made—but which we do not think was made adequately, but certainly was made—was a constitutional outrage.

Sir H. Williams

I wish the right hon. Gentleman would take the trouble to read the Amendment. The Secretary of State can consult anyone he pleases. If he is wise, he will do so, but that is not the question which we are discussing. If the right hon. Gentleman had read the Amendment he would have seen that it says: …no such force shall be established until there has been full consultation.… That is entirely different. It means that this Government should not give effect to an Act of Parliament until it has consulted an outside body. That is a constitutional outrage.

Mr. Strachey

Surely the point was whether we considered that the consultation had been adequate, and the Secretary of State has shown that he merely informed the Trades Union Congress and did not really consult them or the Joint Advisory Council, and, therefore, the Amendment was put down to make sure that this should be done, because, in our view, it has not been done adequately. Surely that is a perfectly adequate reason for the Amendment.

Sir H. Williams

I have now come to the conclusion that the right hon. Gentleman has not only not read but cannot read the Amendment. It provides that no such force shall be 'established' "—that is the enabling word—until there has been full consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council. That means that His Majesty's Government cannot take a certain action until a body which has no constitutional basis is consulted.

Mr. Shinwell

As I pointed out at the end of my speech, we offer no objection whatever to the registration of men who would subsequently be enrolled in this Force. What we are objecting to on various grounds is the actual enrolment until there has been consultation. There is nothing to prevent the right hon. Gentleman undertaking registration.

Sir H. Williams

Even the right hon. Gentleman has not understood his own Amendment. What is the use of registering a body for a certain purpose if we cannot use it? One might as well register an old-age pensioner and say that he cannot have the old age pension until some outside body has been consulted.

Mr. Frederick Messer (Tottenham)

The hon. Gentleman was registered at birth, but it does not seem to have done him much good.

Sir H. Williams

I was not registered at birth. Owing to a family bereavement, my father forgot about it for nearly five months, and was nearly prosecuted for it.

I have never known an Amendment to be put forward which was so silly, so stupid and so unconstitutional.—[Interruption.] My experience is that when I make a speech with no point in it I am never interrupted, but when it is a speech of value, I am interrupted repeatedly.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will the hon. Gentleman still maintain his point of view if the Secretary of State for War announces that he is willing to accept the Amendment?

Sir H. Williams

If the Secretary of State for War accepts the Amendment, I think that he will be exceedingly foolish, and I doubt whether he will do so. No doubt, like right hon. Gentlemen opposite, the Secretary of State for War and the other Ministers will consult from time to time those people whose advice is valued. This is not a question of consultation; this is a pre-requisite to the establishment of a Force, and I repeat that it is a constitutional outrage.

Mr. Edward Shackleton (Preston, South)

The hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) has, I think, forgotten that he has changed sides in the House, and I am sure that his remarks have not been very much appreciated by the Secretary of State for War. It is obvious that we have now to spend several hours thrashing out a most important problem, touching deeply on constitutional matters. I am sorry that this should be so, and I am sure that the Government will be aggrieved with the hon. Gentleman if, in fact, the Recess has to be postponed. We could go on discussing this up to Christmas, because this is a serious constitutional matter. Therefore, I think that we must examine seriously the observations of the hon. Gentleman.

Let us consider in detail what he said. First, let me take him up on this point. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will show some courtesy to the Committee and listen to the hon. Member who has the fortune to follow him. He has stated that it is unconstitutional for Parliament to lay down a condition with regard to certain enactments. I would point out to him that Parliament is supreme in these matters, and that it is perfectly constitutional, if we wish, to lay down any conditions, especially when we have grave doubts as to the probability of correct action on the part of the Government.

We realise that the Minister, fresh to his job, is at least trying to carry out one of the promises which the Conservative Party made in the General Election. It was agreed that this should go into the King's Speech, and, in consequence, there was no proper discussion with suitable bodies as to what would be the consequences of a Measure which may have a serious bearing on the economic life of the nation. As a result of this Measure, we may find that a number of people engaged in industry, apprentices, for instance, may be eligible to join the Home Guard, and this may interfere with their apprenticeship, attendance at night school, and so on.

That is precisely a matter which should be considered with the N.J.A.C. That is the body which should consider a matter like this very closely, and I object to the hon. Gentleman saying that this sort of thing is an interference with the rights of Parliament, especially in view of the actions of this Government, who have done a number of very questionable things in their appointments to the Government. I am sorry, Mr. Hopkin Morris, and I realise that I should not go too far on this point; but would the hon. Gentleman consider it a breach of Parliamentary right when the Prime Minister can establish in the Cabinet a Minister like Lord Cherwell, who, in fact, is his personal advisor?

Sir H. Williams

What about the former Prime Minister appointing Lord Alexander of Hillsborough as coordinating Minister?

Mr. Shackleton

I do not know what co-ordinating Lord Cherwell is doing.

The Deputy-Chairman

We are moving a long way from the Amendment.

Mr. Shackleton

I appreciate I am a little wide of the Amendment. The hon. Member must realise that due consultation is necessary by a Government, and if we see that the Government are opposed to proper and due consultation then it is the duty of Parliament to see that that consultation is carried out. I hope, after hearing the hon. Member for Croydon, East, that my hon. Friends will take this matter to a Division in order to see that this is properly done in the future.

5.30 p.m.

Major Guy Lloyd

I am amazed, like my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), at the fact that hon. Members on the other side of the Committee have not seen our point of view. It has been suggested by the Oppo- sition that we are not in favour of consultation with the T.U.C. Nobody has suggested anything of the kind.

Mr. Shinwell

Yes, the hon. Member for Croydon, East, has.

Mr. Strachey

The hon. Member for Croydon, East, asked what had it to do with them. Is that not a perfectly clear indication that he was against consultation?

Sir H. Williams

No. I am in favour of consultation with those people whose advice the Government are entitled to listen to about any particular subject.

Mr. Strachey

But the hon. Member was against consultation in this matter with the T.U.C.

Major Lloyd

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War made it perfectly clear in the early stages of these discussions that he was in favour of consultation, and, in fact, did get into touch with this particular council. I personally, definitely welcome the right hon. Gentleman's assurance. It is highly proper that Government Departments and Ministers should get into contact with bodies whose opinion they value, and who can make a useful contribution on any subject. I have no doubt that the Secretary of State for War has been perfectly honest about the whole matter. He says that he got in touch with this body, and he explained to the Committee that there was not a great deal of time in all the circumstances to go into all the issues involved.

This is the first case of which I know when an attempt has been made to write into an Act of Parliament that it is absolutely vital that the Government must—"shall" is the word in both these Amendments we are considering—consult with a certain body, and if they fail to do so the Bill will be annulled. This is a constitutional innovation, for which there is no precedent in our history.

The whole Home Guard scheme will be cancelled unless the Government follow out what is proposed in this amazing Amendment, if it is carried, which is utterly unconstitutional, and which is without precedent. The Government will have to go to this body or that body and consult with it. It is obligatory. I have never heard such a thing in my life. I hope that under no circumstances will the Government consider accepting such an Amendment, but at the same time I trust they will pursue the path which my right hon. Friend has pursued from the beginning of this Bill and will consult with all those who have any interest in this matter.

Mr. Wigg

It ought not to be necessary to put a provision such as this in the Bill. It only becomes necessary because of the behaviour of the Secretary of State for War. Let us remove once and for all the illusion that he voluntarily went to the T.U.C. and consulted with them. He did nothing of the kind. For some reason or other, I was ruled out of order early in the debate when I raised this subject, but now apparently I can make my own speech in my own way.

On the King's Speech I gave the Secretary of State for War notice on this subject. I also gave him private notice, because I saw him personally, and I informed him that I was going to raise the question of consultation with the T.U.C. At that time I had no idea it would be necessary to include it in this Bill. If the Home Guard were to be a part of our national defence Forces and had to play its part if, unhappily, war should come right from the day when hostilities broke out, then quite clearly matters of the gravest kind affecting every aspect of our national life would fall to be considered. There is the question of men at their work and also the matter of overtime. There is also the issue of picking up works over night and transferring them to other parts of the country and starting production. It was in the interest of the right hon. Gentleman himself, and certainly of the Army and the Home Guard, that these consultations should take place.

I, therefore, went to him and, I hope, that I behaved with courtesy. I acquainted him with the nature of the question I was going to put. As there seems to be some doubt in the minds of some hon. Members I had better cover the ground again even at the risk of boring hon. Members opposite, but any educational process is a little boring, especially when one starts late in life. What I said in the King's Speech was: The question I want to ask—I have given notice to the Secretary of State for War that I propose to raise this matter—is whether the trade unions were consulted, because the formation of a Home Guard would vitally affect trade unions in regard to the conditions under which men work, overtime, and shift work"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th November. 1951; Vol. 493, c. 562.] On the 13th of November, the right hon. Gentleman answered a Question by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) on the subject of the Home Guard, and I asked this supplementary question: Could the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that he will consult the T.U.C. and the employers organisations about this matter. The right hon. Gentleman told me: I can assure the hon. Gentleman that all bodies concerned will be consulted before the Bill is introduced."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th November, 1951; Vol. 493, c. 797–8.] Clearly he had committed himself in a way which was embarrassing to his advisers, because he had promised to consult before the Bill was brought up for First Reading. He wrote a letter to Sir Vincent Tewson. Clearly, that is not enough. What we want here—and may I say again that this is in the interests of the Home Guard and of national defence—is consultation with all those who are concerned in this matter. It is vitally essential if this experiment is to be made to work—I should have thought that everybody in every part of the House wanted that to happen—that there must be consultation.

Clearly, it is our duty, if we have got any doubts about the Secretary of State for War and his intentions and ability to understand what we are driving at, that we should insist on these consultations. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) is a political play boy, and even in this serious matter he cannot avoid embarrassing his own side and getting a little bit of the limelight. He is cheap and nasty. He always was and he always will be. Let us leave it there.

The Secretary of State for War has a serious job to do. We want to help him if we can, and clearly it is our duty, if we are not sure that he understands what we are driving at, to put into the Bill the kind of provision which we propose, which would be unnecessary if it were a Minister of the Labour Party as he would act instinctively because his instincts would be sound.

Mr. Head

I think perhaps it might be to the advantage of the Committee if at this moment I were to make a few remarks on this subject. I must confess that when I saw the Amendment on the Paper my first reaction was to regret the fact that we should be discussing this matter, which, in effect, might suggest that there was any departure by His Majesty's Government or, in particular, by myself from the procedure which so far has been introduced regarding close consultation with the N.J.A.C. in matters which concerned them and those who they were representing. I will say straight away that in no case is it the intention of either His Majesty's Government or myself to lessen the close consultations which have taken place.

I have been informed at the War Office that a great deal of valuable information about the Territorial Army has been obtained by close consultation with the N.J.A.C. I hope that the same will obtain with the Home Guard. We want consultation over administrative matters and matters of detail which would be contained in the Regulations.

Another aspect of this matter dealt with in the Bill is whether or not in peace-time a voluntary and very limited Home Guard should be started, what one might almost call a large nucleus, and whether there should be consultations. We are making rather heavy weather on this matter of consultations with the N.J.A.C. Hon. Members have talked about interference in industry and with apprentices. This is a peace-time, voluntary Force. Any member who wants to do overtime or finds his work being interfered with has only to write down on a piece of paper to his commanding officer, "I want to go," and in one month he is out. It is making rather heavy weather to suggest that we are introducing a Measure which is going to interfere with industries, apprentices and overtime.

Mr. Wigg

The last thing we want is a constant turnover of these chaps. We want to get them in and make them into an effective Force, even if they are but a large nucleus, as the right hon. Gentleman said. Surely, the idea is to build up a kind of Home Guard unit in every county so that if the worst happens they can be rapidly expanded into an effective Force. If that is the intention—and it obviously is what every hon. Member in all parts of the Committee wants—then the right hon. Gentleman wants to consult with the people who have industrial experience in these matters.

Mr. Head

I do not know that the hon. Gentleman's intervention was entirely relevant. My point is that this Force is to be small, limited and purely voluntary. What I am trying to get at is that if this interference with industry or if men cannot work their overtime all they have to do is to resign. When we come to war it will be a different Force. It will be larger and will be asked to do a great deal more than it will in peace-time. At the moment we are encountering the identical position which we experienced at the beginning of the last war, and we have got to be very careful. There will be close consultation.

On Second Reading I gave to hon. Members an outline of the Regulations which it is proposed to lay before the House. I told the House then that it was an outline. Between that outline and the time when these Regulations come to be laid many matters of detail have got to be considered, and I said that throughout that stage the N.J.A.C. would be consulted. I do not feel guilty of having made any departure from precedent, nor because I did not consult in the early stages. After all, the right hon. Gentleman went one stage in the Home Guard formation when he earmarked the commanding officers for the Force and there was not any consultation at that stage.

Mr. Shinwell

But that would not have any effect on employment in industry.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Head

I agree, but by implication the right hon. Gentleman was getting it ready. If he had suddenly bumped it up to 500,000 men it would have had an effect. I think I am right in saying that at this stage there really is no appreciable effect on the industry of this country. It is purely voluntary. If a man does not want to come to a drill he need not come. I cannot see that the enrolment of about 125,000 men on a voluntary basis, who can leave when they want to, will have a big effect on the industry of the country. So much for this question of consultation. I assure the Committee that we are in favour of this consultation and that we want it to take place as much as we can.

I come now to the other aspect of this matter, and that is the Amendment which has been put down to this part of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) will probably agree with me—if he has time to listen to me—when I say that I propose to take that Amendment as intended to draw my attention to the matter under discussion. I cannot believe that he really conceives that the Amendment should be made in the Bill. It would be an absolute departure from all our principles of legislation. I am taking the Amendment as underlining the point which he has made. I have noted the point. I have in no way been, and I never have been, unaware of it. It is my intention that that consultation shall continue.

The right hon. Gentleman made a further point regarding registration and enrolment. I said to the House, I hope clearly, on the Second Reading, that it was our intention to start registration early in the New Year. By the mechanics and the administrative machinery of ibis scheme, we cannot start enrolment until a period has elapsed between registration and selection of volunteers, when they are enrolled. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there is no question of men being enrolled before the Regulations have been laid before the House. I hope that that will put his mind at rest in that respect.

Therefore, I say to the Committee, and incidentally to the N.J.A.C. through the Committee, that we are determined that the help and consultation that have so far gone on shall be continued and that we are grateful for the help that has been accorded in the past. I hope it will be continued. I hope that these discussions will not be looked upon as an indication of any departure from the principle of the consultations that have so far taken place. I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment; indeed, I hope very much that after what I have said the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw his Amendment as a gesture.

Mr. Ernest Popplewell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)

The remarks of the Secretary of State will create intense dis- appointment on this side of the Committee, having in mind the speech he made during the Second Reading debate, when he said that he would discuss the details later with the T.U.C. and the National Joint Advisory Council. There was an indication, at any rate, that it was not just a question of bringing the National Joint Advisory Council into operation as a little playboy or a mere attachment to this scheme.

We think the National Joint Advisory Council should be brought in as a real partner to get the scheme thoroughly working. Surely the right hon. Gentleman and the Government as a whole must have learned some lessons during the period since the end of World War II. What would have happened in this country, I wonder, if the trade union movement had not been brought fully into discussion on various complex economic problems?

Mr. Ian Harvey (Harrow, East)

How was it that the late Government did not bring in a similar provision when the Z Reserve scheme was formed?

Mr. Popplewell

The Z Reserve scheme is vastly different—surely the hon. Gentleman must know that—to the question of getting people to enrol in the Home Guard.

Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)

On schemes like the Z Reserve, the N.J.A.C. were consulted before the scheme was formed.

Mr. Harvey

Why was it not put into the Bill?

Mr. Popplewell

If that is the type of mind hon. Members opposite have in approaching this matter, they should think again. Tremendous assistance has been given by the trade union movement as a whole since the end of World War II, and that, surely, must have given a lesson for all of us to take home. If we want to make this scheme a success, the only possible way is to bring the trade union movement in as joint partners of the scheme.

As a trade unionist of many years' standing and knowing industrial problems from A to Z. I can assure the Government that to make the Home Guard a success in peace-time can only be brought about by taking the trade unions into full partnership, as it were. One cannot imagine the speech of the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) and the impassioned plea of the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew. East (Major Guy Lloyd) as anything but typical reactionary speeches of the 19th century. They do not—

Sir H. Williams

Does the hon. Gentleman quite appreciate the difference between a voluntary Force and an obligatory Force? The Amendment proposes to make it a condition of bringing the Force into being that there must be consultation with a non-statutory, unrepresentative body.

Mr. Popplewell

If the hon. Gentleman will only hold himself with patience perhaps I might finish my sentence.

Major Lloyd

As the hon. Gentleman has referred to me, may I ask if he can mention a single Act of Parliament since the 19th century in which this principle has been embodied?

Mr. Popplewell

How true my words really are. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have learned nothing. Theirs is a continuation of the old 19th century attitude when what was said by a certain section of the community had to go. All the lessons that we have learned in two world wars show that if we want to get the cooperation of the people as a whole we must take their elected representatives into consultation at every stage. We are suggesting that they should be brought in as joint partners to make this Home Guard scheme a success. It is a voluntary scheme. Knowing what we do about the desire for increased production and added incentives to get our maximum output, there may be many industrial complications in connection with the scheme.

Is it asking something wrong that it should be in the Bill that the representatives of the industrial workers should be fully consulted? The hon. Member for Croydon, East, suggests that we Members of Parliament—he, of course, has made his point and has left the Chamber—are closer to the industrial workers than are the trade union movement. What a lot of bunkum that is. What a lot of—

Mr. Shinwell

Poppycock.

Mr. Popplewell

Yes, "poppycock," and what a lack of appreciation of the organisation of the trade union move- ment. Our people engaged in industry are attending their branch meetings and keeping in touch with their industrial offices. We know what really is taking place.

I suggest that the Secretary of State might have another look at this matter. It is not a question of any abdication of the sovereignty of Parliament. It is a real, sincere desire to bring in the industrial workers, who, when all is said and done, will make the Home Guard a success or otherwise. If we do not bring them into full joint partnership of this scheme, what possible hope is there of its being successful in peace-time? There are no Defence Regulations to operate as there were in war-time. It is, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, a fully voluntary body.

In this type of thing, where the industrial workers are concerned, there are two ways of dealing with it. One can use the big hammer and say: "This has got to be." The result is nil. Alternatively, we can bring the workers into partnership, and we get the result, as we have proved over the last six years. It is a continuation of that partnership to which we ask the right hon. Gentleman to agree. We hope that he will not be doctrinaire about it but will agree to have another look at it. If the wording of the Amendment does not meet his requirements we hope he will alter it on the next stage of the Bill. I hope that he will give us an assurance on that point.

Sir Patrick Spens (Kensington, South)

I had not the opportunity of being here on the Second Reading, but I have read the whole of the speeches on that stage of the Bill, and it was the discussion on this point which has brought me here today. This is an important constitutional matter.

There is no question whatsoever that Parliament is supreme. There is also no question that, on occasions, Parliament has put Clauses into a Bill that this or that body shall be consulted about something. It has been put into subsidiary Clauses of a Bill. Perhaps I may speak as a lawyer and say that while the word "agreement" is something which everybody can understand—it means that you have to secure somebody's agreement—the word "consultation" has always been a matter of great doubt and difficulty.

In the kind of case which many of us have come across before, somebody at the last moment writes a letter asking for criticism, and in reply somebody makes a criticism or two. No one has ever yet decided whether that is consultation or not. I am appalled to find that in the Amendment the wording is even worse, because it talks about "full consultation." How anybody could ever decide whether there had been full consultation entirely passes my comprehension, and the comprehension of many hon. Members when they really think the matter out.

There is no doubt on the third point, which is this: The Amendment is proposed to the first, operative Clause of the Bill. The very first words of the Bill are: There shall be established a force. We have passed that Clause and we have approved of it on Second Reading, but the Amendment is now going to modify it by providing that no such Force shall be established unless something happens. That, of course, is to all intents and purposes a complete negativing of the first, operative Clause of the Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, absolutely negativing it. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said that the official Opposition does not object to registration provided that nothing further happens. Is a Force established by registering a whole number of volunteers? It is certainly a first step and a good step on the way to establishing a Force, but it is not to be established unless there is full consultation.

6.0 p.m.

As I understood him, the right hon. Gentleman has no objection to full consultation coming after registration, but before enrolment. Does one establish a Force by enrolment? Nobody can possibly say that with any certainty. The Force itself may well not be established until it has been enrolled and all the Regulations relating to it—the numbers who are to serve, the terms on which they are to serve, the number of drills and so forth—have all been laid down. In other words, it may well not be until the last of the Regulations has been made.

I appreciate, of course, that if the Force is to be a success there has to be not only the closest consultation but, I hope, the deepest sympathy from everybody connected with the T.U.C. I hope that will be obtained by the Government. As I understood from what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War said on Second Reading, the Government will undertake that every form of Regulation and detail will be fully discussed and there will be full consultation with everybody concerned. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, that is not a technical legal phrase at all. As long as it is not put into an Act of Parliament there can be no question about whether it means this or that. Both sides can go on until they are reasonably satisfied.

I have given consultations thousands of times in my life. I have not the slightest doubt that many of my clients think I did not give them a full consultation. I am quite satisfied that I have. But it is an innovation to make consultation, as in this Amendment, a condition to the first operative words of an Act of Parliament. That has never happened before. Of course we have power, if we like, to say that an Act shall not come into force until some other body has been consulted, but we have never done it.

Mr. Shinwell

I am extremely sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Member, but he is asking himself a lot of questions and then furnishing the answers. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] What he is maintaining throughout his speech is that there are no Acts of Parliament providing for consultation between the appropriate body set up by the Government, or the Government itself, and bodies outside. The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite wrong. [Interruption.] Does the hon. and learned Member want any assistance from his hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams)? Perhaps there will be full consultation, whatever that may be. There have been Acts providing for consultation. The nationalisation Acts all provided for consultation.

Sir P. Spens

I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman has not followed me. Perhaps I did not make myself clear. What I said was that quite clearly there are numbers of Acts of Parliament where provision will be found for consultation by the Government or their representatives with other bodies, but there has been no Act of Parliament where consultation is required before the first operative provisions of the Act come into being. That is the innovation.

We can make that innovation if we like, of course. Parliament is supreme. It is possible to do so, but all I would say is that then we have to think hard, because that means that we as elected Members—and here I go back to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East—representing everybody in the country, on whom lies the duty to decide what shall be the law of the land, are going to allow some other body to have the last word before something becomes law. That is a constitutional innovation which is constitutionally wrong. We are making the grandest constitutional mistake by giving away what is ultimately a decision for us Members of the House of Commons.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham, East)

Although originally we began discussion of a problem concerned with the organisation of Armed Forces in this country—if that is the correct term to apply to the projected Home Guard—we have been launched by the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) into a constitutional question which I do not think we can entirely dismiss even at this stage. He suggests that if this Amendment is added to the Bill it is an abrogation of the sovereignty of Parliament. The Amendment says, …no such force shall be established"— and I put the same emphasis on the word "shall," as did the hon. Member for Croydon, East, himself and the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew, East (Major Guy Lloyd) until there has been full consultation … That is the language of command. It is saying to the Government, "We give you the power to do this but you shall not do it until certain conditions shall be fulfilled." Parliament is saying to the Government, "You may do something but only under certain conditions." It is not Parliament that is being ordered by the Amendment, it is the Government —and Parliament is giving the order. This is not an abrogation of the sovereignty of Parliament; it is an assertion of the sovereignty of Parliament. Indeed. I am very doubtful whether the word "unconstitutional" could ever be applied to any part of an Act of Parliament. I know that the hon. Member for Croydon, East, at some time in his life has been a member of a constitutional club. Probably he uses the word "unconstitutional" to mean anything with which he disagrees.

Sir H. Williams

I am fully aware of the sovereignty of Parliament, and I did not say it would be unconstitutional. I was very careful to say it would be a constitutional outrage, which is quite different.

Mr. Stewart

I leave the hon. Member to argue out the distinction between the forms of words he has used with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens). It has been admitted now by the hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South, that there are precedents for putting into an Act of Parliament an obligation upon the Minister to consult with certain bodies before doing certain things. What we on this side of the Committee are being asked to believe is that because in the Acts of Parliament where that has been done in the past it has only been done in certain limited parts of the Act we therefore ought not to do it in this Bill in the main operative Clause of the Bill.

The doctrine that is being advanced is that the principle of telling the Government they cannot do something without consulting an outside body has been already admitted in our Statutes, and we are asked to believe that because up to date that principle has been applied only on a limited scale it cannot now be applied on a large scale.

Sir P. Spens

I did not say that it cannot, but that it should not. If we do so we shall start a complete constitutional innovation. Those were the words I used.

Mr. Stewart

I am glad to hear that what a few minutes ago was an outrage has now become an innovation. Why, when it has been applied on a limited scale, should it not be applied on a wider scale now? That there has never been anything like it before is no conclusive argument against anything new. There has never been a Home Guard in peacetime before. If the Secretary of State for War takes the view that because something has not been done before it should not be done now he had better take the Bill away again.

It was suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South, that there are difficulties in interpreting the wording of the Amendment as it now stands. I readily accept that. It is generally admitted in the Committee that the Government are often in a better position than the Opposition to know what exact legal wording will give the intent of the House. That is why when the Secretary of State for War got up to speak, although I feared he might not be able to accept the Amendment in its present wording, I hoped he might be able to say that at a later stage he would introduce an Amendment which would be correctly worded to satisfy the hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South, and other members of the legal profession and which would give us the substance of what we want.

Why do we want this consultation? I do not want to weary the Committee by repeating some of the arguments some of my hon. Friends and I used on Second Reading. We pointed out that in the organisation of this Force there would be many problems concerned with the occupations of possible members of the Home Guard. The hon. Member for Croydon, fast, said that if there were consultations with representatives of employers and workpeople we would leave unrepresented and out in the cold those members of the Home Guard who were not trade unionists or employers.

Sir H. Williams

No, I said much more than that. I said we would leave out of account three-quarters of the Home Guard.

Mr. Stewart

I am quite aware that the hon. Member said much more than that, but I do not propose to quote the whole of his speech. The little bit I am dealing with is enough to go on with. The hon. Member suggested that by adopting this Amendment we should be leaving retired persons unrepresented, but surely it will be apparent to the Committee that the entry of retired persons into the Home Guard does not create the many important occupational problems which the entry of persons who are still earning their living creates.

If entry did create special problems, no doubt there would be somebody analogous to the N.J.A.C. which could deal with those problems. It would be reasonable to include that body in our Amendment and the hon. Member for Croydon, East, would be more helpful if he conducted researches to see if there was such a body and then added it to our Amendment.

Sir H. Williams

The Housewives' League.

Mr. Stewart

On Second Reading we referred to some of the difficulties, Some of us hoped that when the Secretary of State replied to the debate he would deal with some of the difficulties raised. He preferred, unfortunately, to indulge in a string of partisan retorts to cover up his inability or his unwillingness to reply to the points made in the debate. 0049 am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman is now apparently leaving our deliberations, because I hope he will realise that he needs to do something more than deliver the speech he made a little while ago if he is to rub out the bad impression created on Second Reading, a bad impression added to by some of the speeches from hon. Members opposite below the Gangway.

Apart from flimsy attempts to dress up their objections in legal and constitutional clothes, there has been a real objection on the part of hon. Members opposite to the principle of consultation and a general contempt for organisations that represent working people. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War ought to be prepared to realise that, even if hon. Members opposite do not recognise this in the portrait which I have just painted, that is a view held not only by myself but by most of my hon. Friends and by a very large number of people in the country whom we represent.

The Secretary of State for War fights against one serious disability in that he is a member of a Government who a very large number of the working people of this country—inevitably because of the past history and association of his Party—regard with dislike and distrust. It will be part of his task to try and dissipate some of that distrust. That is why I say to him even at this juncture that if he cannot accept the Amendment in its present wording he ought to be prepared to give an undertaking that he will look at the matter again and endeavour to put down an Amendment at a later stage that will give us the important substance of that for which we have been pressing on this side of the Committee.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Peart

I hope that the Secretary of State for War will give us the assurance which has been asked for by my hon. Friends this evening. We have had to raise this matter because of the very unsatisfactory reply which we had during our discussions on the Second Reading of the Bill. It was because of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply that was then given that my hon. Friends have put down the Amendment.

We feel, quite sincerely, that the party which the right hon. Gentleman represents has no sympathy towards the trade union movement, and—[HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Certainly, from the views which have been expressed by the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), and others today, and from the history of the Tory Party. [Interruption.] I do not want to go into history—it is very sordid. There is opposite a hatred and contempt for the organised working class movement.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

The hon. Member knows his political history better than he is pretending. He knows perfectly well that the trade unions were instituted under a Tory Government.

Mr. Pearl

It would be out of order for me to follow that naïve interpretation of history. The trade union movement has all along had to fight the Tory Party. That is why today, because we have Tory Government, we are anxious to write into a very important Bill, which affects the country and the trade union movement, that there shall be full consultation.

It is because of the unsatisfactory answer that we had last week, and because of the attitude of many hon. Members opposite, even this evening, that we ask the Secretary of State for War to reconsider this matter. It is vital that the trade union movement should be consulted. It is vital that this new organisation should not be used in industrial disputes. Therefore, it is important that we should have that proper consultation.

Mr. Strachey

We ought to see the position which the Committee have now reached, largely through the agency of the vigorous constitutional intervention of the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams). [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] He is not with us for the moment, but his words have started quite a lot. He did not, of course, begin to intervene on the constitutional issue, and I draw the attention of the Committee to that.

It was perfectly clear when the hon. Member for Croydon, East, first intervened that what he was objecting to was not the constitutional issue, which has been so learnedly argued, of whether it was right or wrong to put these words into the Bill. He made it perfectly clear that what he objected to was consultation with the T.U.C. and the N.J.A.C., because he interjected the eloquent words, "What have they got to do with it?" That gave the whole show away, and speaking for myself, and, I think, for many of my right hon. and hon. Friends, if we had any inclination before not to feel that these words were unnecessary, that interjection completely removed our doubts, because it showed that a section. anyhow, of hon. Members opposite deny the advisability of the consultation.

When, in interjection, I ventured to point that out to the hon. Member, he quickly changed his ground to the learned constitutional issue of whether we could put these words into an Act of Parliament, and he said that it was a constitutional outrage to do so. That has been very learnedly argued, and it became very clear that at the most it was a constitutional innovation to do so.

I very much doubt whether it is even that. Is it a constitutional innovation for the Legislature—the House of Commons.—to put any limitation which it wishes on the Executive? On the contrary, if the Legislature wishes to do that, there is no innovation of any kind. It has always had the right, and a most jealously guarded right, of Parliament to limit the Executive in any way that it wishes to do so. We certainly think—

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

May I interrupt my right hon. Friend to say that I think he will find this very thing in the Factories Act? Certain regulations are only to be issued by the Government after consultation with this very body.

Mr. Strachey

I should think that that was highly probable, and I thank my hon. and learned Friend. But whether there are those precedents or not does not seem to me to be the main issue. The debate, certainly in the last few hours, has made me feel that in the Bill, and dealing with this situation, in this Parliament and with the present Government in office, there is now a very strong case indeed for putting this proviso—and it is a proviso, of course —into the Act.

The Secretary of State for War, in the strongest contradistinction to the hon. Member for Croydon, East, has made it perfectly clear that he believes in consultation and thinks it right and proper in principle to consult the Trades Union Congress. That is why my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), has put down his Amendment. We are bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman is carrying out what, he agrees, is that duty most inadequately.

Mr. Head

The right hon. Member is getting on to the question of the inadequacy of the consultation. What I attempted to make clear in my speech was that I felt that where that consultation must be done, and will be done, is concerning the Regulations which are to be laid before the House; and that will be done as those details are worked out, What I also stated was that prior to that stage, the actual policy decision to create a Home Guard, of this limited size and and on a voluntary basis, was not one which, I thought, deeply affected the National Joint Advisory Council, and that for that reason I did not feel that previous consultation was inadequate.

Mr. Strachey

I quite follow the Secretary of State's argument on that, which he put before the Committee a moment ago and to which I was coming. The first time, he asked why we on this side did not consult the T.U.C. and N.J.A.C. when we laid the foundations of preparation for the Home Guard. The answer to that is perfectly clear, and it answers the points which the right hon. Gentleman has just put. We think that this consultation—real consultation, and not just informing the body—was necessary at the point where the Government decided on enrolment—that is, the raising of the Home Guard. It is at that point that there begins to be an impact on the industrial and economic life of the country.

All our arguments on the Bill come back to the point of whether or not it is wise at present to go to enrolment. We are all agreed that it is wise to go up to that point, but we are most strongly disagreed as to whether it is wise to go right to that point. We shall argue that on later Clauses of the Bill, but everything that has been said today confirms us in the view that it is madness to go to the point of enrolment without the fullest consultation with the N.J.A.C. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] But the Secretary of State disputes that. [HON. MEMBERS: "He said so."] Yes. As I understand him—he will contradict me if I am wrong—he thinks that he should consult the N.J.A.C. merely about the regulations and the way in which the thing is to be done. We think that he ought to consult the N.J.A.C. as to whether enrolment should take place.

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

The right hon. Gentleman realises, of course, that the last part of the process—enrolment—will only take place after Regulations have been concluded; it is the last stage. Consequently, the Regulations will have been considered and been discussed before enrolment is proceeded with.

Mr. Strachey

I fully understand that. But the point is that the Government have taken, and are asking Parliament now to endorse, the decision to go to enrolment. We think, for the reasons we have stated, that that is unwise, and we certainly think it is a decision on which the N.J.A.C. should be most closely consulted, because that decision has very considerable repercussions on the economic and industrial life of the country.

Mr. Head

Where from?

Mr. Strachey

If we begin to enrol hundreds of thousands of men. After all, it is proposed that men will be in the Home Guard, to which they give at least an evening a week, and I should have thought that there would have been very real repercussions.

Mr. Head

With 120,000 men?

Mr. Strachey

The limit, I think, is put at 175,000 men. That is what the Secretary of State told us. We are discussing whether that will have appreciable repercussions on the economic life of the country, and we think that the N.J.A.C. is the body which can tell us most about that. Therefore, it ought to be consulted. The Secretary of State does not think that it ought to be consulted on that matter, and therefore we certainly think that this charge —and it is a charge to the right hon. Gentleman—to make that consultation before he brings the main Clause of the Bill into effect, should be, and ought to be, written into the Bill.

Mr. Lee

As one who until a few weeks ago had some responsibilities to the House as a member of the N.J.A.C., perhaps I may be forgiven for taking a few minutes of the Committee's time. I am not too sure that we are right in attacking the Secretary of State for War and attributing to him all the shortcomings of lack of consultation with the N.J.A.C. After all, the N.J.A.C. is under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Labour, and it seems to me to be the job, not of the Minister of War, but of the Minister of Labour, to make quite sure that consultation takes place with the N.J.A.C. on issues of this kind. It would therefore appear that the Prime Minister has slipped up pretty badly in that he has not appointed a co-ordinator between the Minister of War and the Minister of Labour.

The hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), did not only the Committee, but the country, a great disservice in the slighting way in which he referred to the N.J.A.C. On the constitutional point of how the Amendment ought to read, I remind the Committee that the Minister of Labour himself is the Chairman of the N.J.A.C. What we are seeking in the Amendment is that these should be full consultation between the Minister of War and the Minister of Labour. I should have thought that that was something of which even a Conservative Government would approve.

A short time ago there was a rather scathing reference from an hon. Member about the few hundred thousand man hours which would be lost as a result of the formation of the Home Guard. I pointed out that the N.J.A.C. itself, constituted as it is of the trade union movement, the employers, and the nationalised industries, under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Labour, allocates the way in which man hours shall be utilised throughout the whole of British industry. It is most astounding that any Minister could come to the House, present a Bill which will take away hundreds of thousands of man hours, and then inform us that the N.J.A.C. has not been consulted as to the manner in which those man hours should be utilised or the industries from which they should be taken.

6.30 p.m.

My right hon. Friend knows as well as I do that in a few months from now the greatest problem of the party opposite will be to find how they can get more and more man hours from the existing labour force of the country. It is most surprising that we have not had an intervention from someone on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, because it will be the job of the Minister to try to ensure that the labour force of this country is to be used in the most economical way to get all the things we require in the next few months and years.

When we find that the only machinery which exists within any Government Department for the mobilising of hundreds of thousands of men and women is the machinery within the Ministry of Labour, I consider it not only an affront to the House but crass incompetence that we should be faced with a Bill which gives no revealing Clause whatever of how we are to use the labour force to the best advantage. I hope that the Secretary of State, instead of taking on his shoulders all the reproaches of my hon. Friends, will tell us why the Minister of Labour, who is the Chairman of the N.J.A.C., has not put this matter before the N.J.A.C. and why he has not joined with him. I do not see his name in any way connected with the Bill.

I hope the Secretary of State will now either accept the principle contained in the Amendment or tell us that he will apologise to the N.J.A.C. in order that we may be sure in the future that their invaluable services will not be lost to us and then proceed to take the Bill away and ask their consultation—whether they believe the Home Guard should be raised, at this moment—and come back to the House with what I am quite sure will be a far better Bill than the one he has presented to us.

Mr. Shinwell

I am extremely disappointed that the right hon. Gentleman has not proved more responsive to the appeal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham. East (Mr. M. Stewart), but there is still time. If he would reconsider the matter and, on Report stage, find a form of words which would be appropriate to the request made from this side of the Committee, we should find it unnecessary to go to a Division, but we feel very strongly on this matter, and I venture an opinion that the case presented from this side of the Committee has been certainly very much stronger than the arguments we have heard from the Government side.

Our suspicions have been intensified as a result of some of the speeches made by hon. Members below the Gangway, particularly those of the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), and the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew, East (Major Guy Lloyd). I hardly think that the intervention of the hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens), helps us to reach a satisfactory solution. He seemed to agree that there was nothing to prevent us agreeing upon an innovation. Nor did he dissent from the view expressed on this side of the Committee that there was nothing extra-constitutional in the suggestions that were made, but he did object to introducing words into the Bill to make it obligatory on right hon. Gentlemen opposite to consult outside bodies which everyone agrees are representative in character. Our view is that there is no reason why there should not be an innovation, but certainly a substantial reason why we should consult with representative bodies at this time.

The point I should like the right hon. Gentleman to consider before coming to a decision, and in order to obviate the need for going to a Division, is this. He seemed to indicate that when the Regulations were ready for submission those outside bodies would be consulted. I would remind him, subject to what may transpire in the course of subsequent debate—there are other Amendments on the Order Paper—that when the Regulations are issued we cannot pray against them. There is no question of an Affirmative or even a Negative Resolution, whatever it may be.

All we can do when the Regulations are produced is to ask Questions about them or raise the matter on an Adjournment Debate. That is not going to be of very much value to us. Of what value will it be to representative bodies outside if the right hon. Gentleman presents them with Regulations upon which he has made up his mind quite definitely and upon which the House cannot even offer any objection except in the course of an Adjournment debate?

It seemed to me as the debate proceeded that we on this side of the Committee were more than justified in submitting the Amendment. Finally, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman, because I told him in my initial speech that we are approaching this matter in an objective spirit and with no desire to be particularly controversial about it, and I do not think there has been undue controversy on this side—[HON. MEMBERS:"Oh!"]—I hardly think so; there has been some strong speaking, but it is very natural that we should have this ebullience appearing from time to time—that generally speaking the debate has been conducted in an objective spirit.

Therefore, now the right hon. Gentleman has had an opportunity of listening to our appeal, I would like him to say whether on the Report stage tomorrow he will find a form of words which would be appropriate, or whether he would prefer to go to a Division. We would rather not go to a Division, but we are left with no alternative if the right hon. Gentleman remains as intransigent as some of his supporters on the back benches.

Mr. Head

I have listened to all the speeches which have been made on this Amendment, and I have noted a great many points which have a great diversity of opinion from one extreme to another. The main complaint of the right hon. Gentleman is in effect that we should have consulted the N.J.A.C. at an earlier stage regarding the actual policy decision to go ahead with the Home Guard enrolment. Am I correct in that?

Mr. Shinwell

No, that matter arose in the course of our discussion on Second Reading, but that is not the case I ventured to put to the right hon. Gentleman nor, indeed, has it been put by right hon. Friends beside me. The case we submit is that the right hon. Gentleman, from our view, has a perfect right, within his discretion, to proceed to registration, but, when it comes to actual enrolment, which concerns the manpower of the country and its use in the interests of our economy, he should consult with these representative bodies. Proceed with registration when it comes, but on actual enrolment have your consultations.

Mr. Head

As a matter of fact that is exactly what I said. The right hon. Gentleman complained that when we made the decision to create a Home Guard and go ahead with the enrolment we did not consult with the N.J.A.C. I am saying that what the right hon. Gentleman has complained of is that when a decision was made to create a Home Guard and enrol men—when that time arrived—there should have been consultation with the N.J.A.C. Is that correct?

Mr. Shinwell

No, I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman has got it all wrong. I am sorry, but it is better to clear up this misundersanding. [Interruption.] Someone says we will never get it straightened out. I think we had better get it straightened out; it is to our mutual advantage to do so. The position is quite clear. The right hon. Gentleman presents this Bill and it is clear that he need not enter into consultations with representative bodies outside on the policy embodied in the Bill. I am not making any complaint about that at this stage. Anyway, it is history—let it go at that. I am concerned about the future. I say the right hon. Gentleman, by virtue of the terms of the Bill, the provisions of the Bill, can proceed to registration. He makes all the necessary preparations, to which he is entitled, but, when it comes to the actual enrolment of the Force, then clearly there ought to be consultations. I am concerned not with the past, but with the future.

Mr. Head

I think the right hon. Gentleman is rather splitting hairs on this, because this Bill is the enrolment of the Force. When this Bill has passed through all its stages that is enrolment.

Mr. Shinwell

I ventured to take the right hon. Gentleman on his own ground, the ground he selected. I am within the recollection of the Committee when I say this. The right hon. Gentleman said there must be preparatory measures—

Mr. Head

I know that.

Mr. Shinwell

He agrees. Therefore, enrolment does not occur immediately—

Mr. Head

I know that.

Mr. Shinwell

He knows that; we are getting on very well. Moreover, enrolment may not occur for some time to come. He knows that also?

Mr. Head indicated assent.

Mr. Shinwell

All right. He has got several weeks, it may be several months, before he proceeds to actual enrolment. What we suggest is that he should proceed with his registration, ascertain the number of men willing to enrol when enrolment actually occurs and, meanwhile, before actual enrolment, in all those weeks and months, he should consult with the representative bodies.

Mr. Head

What the right hon. Gentleman is asking is that from now until enrolment takes place—during that period —we have full consultation with the N.J.A.C. Is that right?

Mr. Head

That is the absolute assurance I gave the right hon. Gentleman when I intervened in the middle of this discussion.

Mr. Shinwell indicated dissent.

Mr. Head

I am within the recollection of the Committee, and it will be in the record of our proceedings tomorrow. I said to the right hon. Gentleman that from now, when we are preparing these Regulations, until they are complete and laid before the House, which would be before enrolment started, but after registration, there would be full consultation. As the right hon. Gentleman is being at great pains to explain what he wanted me to say, I say again what I said before, that there will be full consultation with the N.J.A.C. on the Regulations.

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)

Put it in the Bill: accept the Amendment.

Mr. Shinwell

Surely the difference between us is quite simple—the difference between both sides of the Committee is this: We agree that at some time there should be a Home Guard created. The question for consideration is, when is the occasion when they should be enrolled, and we say they should only be enrolled after consultation with bodies who are concerned about the manpower of the country. We do not say that they should be consulted about the Bill because that has been settled on the Second Reading.

and we do not obviously object to that now. What we say is that before the Government actually decide the time of enrolment they should consult with these bodies.

The right hon. Gentleman says, "I have given an assurance to that effect." I am very sorry, assurances are one thing, but having it in the Bill so that there can be no question about it will not only satisfy hon. Members on this side of the Committee but will enable us and many of the people we represent to escape from the apprehensions which exist about assurances—I do not say this of the right hon. Gentleman—usually given by members of the Conservative Party. I do not want to introduce a note of high controversy at this time, but I must confess that I find it very difficult, after a long experience of political life, to trust the Tory Party.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Head

I cannot answer for the ability of the right hon. Gentleman to trust, or not to trust, people who give him assurances. I am now quite clear about what he means. He wishes for an assurance that between the passage of this Bill and actual enrolment there shall be consultation, that this consultation is taking place before enrolment starts. [Interruption.] I have listened to the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite, and I have also listened to what has been said by hon. Members on this side of the Committee as well.

I am aware of the anxiety which has started in this respect because of what happened at the end of the Second Reading debate—I think I am right in saying that that is what started it. I have given the Committee an assurance regarding consultation on the Regulations. I do not believe, I am only guessing about this, that in actual fact the N.J.A.C. themselves would particularly wish to be selected out of all the bodies which might be consulted in this and be stuck in the Bill.

I believe, bearing in mind the consultation which has taken place in the past so far as Service matters are concerned, and the consultation which will take place in the future, that the best thing so far as a good relationship between the N.J.A.C. and the War Office is concerned would be to rest on this assurance, and not to underline these doubts by putting the kind of thing in the Bill which is tantamount to saying that we ourselves have put this in the Bill because we are so worried that this good relationship between the N.J.A.C. and the War Office which existed in the past would now become bad. It is drawing attention to the fact that there is this feeling.

The other thing I would say to hon. Members is: Let them not, because they are worked up by what has become a political matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] All that hon. Members are trying to establish is a limited voluntary Home Guard, and this is the Bill to do it, and the less violent controversy there is over this essentially non-controversial object, the better.

Do hon. Members really believe that this limited Force, largely selected from the Eastern Counties of England, with not many large numbers of men from the industrial part of England, will interfere vastly with industry? The men have only to volunteer and can come out at once. I think we are making rather heavy weather in suggesting that it is something which, unless we are very careful, will result in putting down all overtime, and so forth.

The right hon. Gentleman has asked whether I could not suggest a form of words. I believe that the best form of words, and by far the best way to deal with this matter, is for this assurance to be accepted, and for us to avoid a Division on a matter which can result in no good to the Home Guard or the Committee, and which I do not believe would achieve the object which the right hon. Gentleman wants, that is a good relationship between the N.J.A.C. and the War Office. So let us let it go at that.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Touche)

Perhaps the Committee is now prepared to come to a decision.

Mr. Adams

In both his interventions the Secretary of State for War has shown quite clearly that he has completely failed to understand what is required by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. I shall have something more to say about both his interventions in a moment. But it is a fact that the debate on this Amendment has developed into a constitutional discussion. That was due to the fact that the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams)—if I could have his attention, having made his intervention he is now engaged in a long, dreary, conversation with his neighbour —was like a very small baby wandering into a power house and innocently touching off a switch. What he was saying was that there should be no consultation at all. He was not prepared to have it in the Bill. He was not even prepared to have a consultation—

Sir H. Williams

The hon. Member must not constantly misquote me. I have always said there ought to be consultation with the appropriate body. I do not admit that this is the appropriate body, because we are the appropriate body, and represent all the people. This is a matter of general public interest, and not the special concern of a rather narrow body of people who are not representing the general population.

Mr. Adams

Once again the hon. Gentleman is obliging by confirming what I have said. He is completely unwilling to have any consultation with this Advisory Council. As I said before, he is like a small child wandering into a power station and setting off a switch. It has lead to a tremendous constitutional argument which is not needed at all.

What did the hon. and learned Gentleman for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens), say? He said that there was no definition of "consultation" at all. Having said that, he then said that he hoped there would be the deepest consultation. I do not know what he meant by that. Then he said he often had consultations with his clients. I am sure he found some way of measuring the consultations with his clients by the amount of fee which he charged for his consultations. So there must be some way of measuring consultation.

There has not been a single useful contribution to this debate made by any hon.

Member from the other side of the Committee. The Secretary of State for War has consistently refused to answer the points made by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. What did he say in his first intervention? He said lie had no intention of lessening the consultations which already existed between the War Office and outside bodies. Then he went on to say that there was no need for close consultation on this small matter.

He obviously regards this setting up, this creation, this construction of the Home Guard as a matter not sufficiently important for consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council. There is not the slightest doubt that he failed to understand what my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) was talking about. The right hon. Gentleman said that members of the Home Guard can leave. What he fails to see is that if there is to be a continual turnover of men we shall not be successful in getting a Home Guard started.

It is because we feel that he does not understand this problem that we must insist on his consulting with the Joint Advisory Council before he decides to implement this Bill. We must insist on these words being in the Bill. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman giving an assurance, we must have them contained within the Bill itself. I hope for those reasons that my hon. Friends will join me in the Division Lobbies.

Mr. Swingler

On a point of order. May I draw attention to the fact that there has not been a single representative of the Ministry of Labour on the Treasury Bench throughout this discussion?

The Temporary Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 293.

Division No 7.] AYES 6.54 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Balfour, A. Blackburn, F.
Adams, Richard Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Blenkinsop, A.
Albu, A. H. Bartley, P. Blyton, W. R.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Boardman, H.
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Bence, C. R. Bottomley, A. G.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Benn, Wedgwood Bowden, H. W.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Benton, G. Bowles, F. G.
Awbery, S. S. Beswick, F. Braddock, Mrs Elizabeth
Bacon, Miss Alice Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Brockway, A. F.
Baird, J. Bing, G. H. C. Brook, Dryden (Halifax)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rankin, John
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Reeves, J.
Barton, Miss F. E. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Janner, B. Reid, William (Camlachie)
Callaghan, L. J. Jay, D. P. T. Rhodes, H.
Carmichael, J. Jeger, George (Goole) Richards, R.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Champion, A. J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Chapman, W. D. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Clunie, J. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Ross, William
Cocks, F. S. Kenyon, C. Royle, C.
Coldrick, W. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Collick, P. H. King, Dr. H. M. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Cook, T. F. Kinley, J. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Lee, Frederick (Newton) Short, E. W.
Cove, W. G. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Crostand, C. A. R. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lewis, Arthur Slater, J.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lindgren, G. S. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Daines, P. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Logan, D. G. Snow, J. W.
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) MacColl, J. E. Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Harold (Leek) McGhee, H. G. Sparks, J. A.
Deer, G. McGovern, J. Steele, T.
Delargy, H. J. McInnes, J. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Dodds, N. N. McKay, John (Wallsend) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Donnelly, D. L. McLeavey, F. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Driberg, T. E. N. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Stross, Dr. Barnett
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McNeil, Rt. Hon. H. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith
Edelman, M. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Swingler, S. T.
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sylvester, G. O.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mann, Mrs. Jean Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Manuel, A. C. Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda. W.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mayhew, C. P. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Messer, F. Thurtle, Ernest
Ewart, R. Mikardo, Ian Timmons, J.
Fernyhough, E. Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Field, Capt. W. J. Mitchison, G. R. Tomney, F.
Fienburgh, W. Monslow, W. Turner-Samuels, M.
Finch, H. J. Moody, A. S. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Usborne, H. C.
Follick, M. Morley, R. Viant, S. P.
Foot, M. M. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Wallace, H. W.
Forman, J. C. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Watkins, T. E.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mort, D. L. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Moyle, A. Weitzman, D.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mulley, F. W. Wells, William (Walsall)
Gibson, C. W. Murray, J. D. West, D. G.
Glanville, James Nally, W. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Neal, Harold.(Bolsover) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grey, C. F. O'Brien, T. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oldfield, W. H. Wigg, G. E. C.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Oliver, G. H. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Orbach, M. Wilkins, W. A.
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Oswald, T. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Paget, R. T. Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Hamilton, W. W. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Williams, David (Neath)
Hardy, E. A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Hastings, S. Pannell, T. C. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, G. A. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Parker, J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Herbison, Miss M. Paton, J. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Hobson, C. R. Pearson, A. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Peart, T. F. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Houghton, Douglas Plummer, Sir Leslie Wyatt, W. L.
Hubbard, T. F. Popplewell, E. Yates, V. F.
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Porter, G. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hughes, Cledwin (Anglesey) Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Proctor, W. T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pursey, Cmdr. H. Mr. Hannan and Mr. Arthur Allen.
NOES
Aitken, W. T. Arbuthnot, John Baker, P. A. D.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.
Alport, C. J. M. Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Baldwin, A. E.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Banks, Col. C.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Barber, A. P. L.
Barlow, Sir John Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Marshall, Sidney (Sutton)
Baxter, A. B. Grimston, Robert (Westbury) Maude, Angus
Bell, R. M. (Bucks, S.) Hare, Hon J. H. Maudling, R.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Harris, Reader (Heston) Medlicott, Brig. F.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye) Mellor, Sir John
Bennett, William (Woodside) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas
Birch, Nigel Harvie-Watt, Sir George Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Bishop, F. P. Hay, John Nabarro, G. D. N.
Black, C. W. Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nicholls, Harmar
Bossom, A. C. Heald, Sir Lionel Nicholson, G.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nield, Basil (Chester)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hicks-Beach. Maj. W. W. Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.
Braine, B. R. Higgs, J. M. C. Nugent, G. R. H.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Nutting, Anthony
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Oakshott, H. D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Odey, G. W.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hirst, Geoffrey O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)
Brooman-White, R. C. Holland-Martin, C, J. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. O.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Holt, A. F. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Bullard, D. G. Hope, Lord John Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)
Bullock, Capt. M. Hopkinson, Henry Partridge, E.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Burden, F. F. A. Horobin, I. M. Perkins, W. R. D.
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Carson, Hon. E. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Peyton, J. W. W.
Cary, Sir R. Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Channon, H. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Hudson, Rt. Hon. Robert (Southport) Pitman, I. J.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Powell, J. Enoch
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. Hurd, A. R. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Cole, N. J. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Profumo, J. D.
Colegate, W. A. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Raikes, H. V.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Rayner, Brig. R.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Redmayne, M.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Remnant, Hon. P.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich) Renton, D. L. M.
Cranborne, Viscount Jennings, R. Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley) Robertson, Sir David
Crouch, R. F. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Jones, A. (Hall Green) Robson-Brown, W.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Cuthbert, W. N. Kaberry, D. Roper, Sir Harold
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Keeling, E. H. Ropner, Col. L.
Davidson, Viscountess Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Russell, R. S.
Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery) Lambert, Hon. C. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
De la Bère, R. Lambton, Viscount Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Deedes, W. F. Langford-Holt, J. A. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Digby, S. Wingfield Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Savory, Prof. D. L.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Scott, R. Donald
Donner, P. W. Lindsay, Martin Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Doughty, C. J. A. Linstead, H. N. Shepherd, William
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Llewellyn, D. T. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Drayson, G. B. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Drewe, C. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Snadden, W. McN
Duthie, W. S. Low, A. R. W. Soames, Capt. C.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Spearman, A. C. M.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Speir, R. M.
Erroll, F. J. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Fell, A. McAdden, S. J. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Finlay, G. B. McCullum, Major D. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Fisher, Nigel McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Stevens, G. P.
Fletcher, Walter (Bury) Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Fort, R. McKibbin, A. J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Storey, S.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Maclay, Hon. John Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Galbraith, T, G. D. (Hillhead) MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Gammans, L. D. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Studholme, H. G.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Summers, G. S.
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Sutcliffe, H.
Glyn, Sir Ralph Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Godber, J. B. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Teeling, W.
Gough, C. F. H. Markham, Major S. F. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Gower, H. R. Marlowe, A. A. H. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Graham, Sir Fergus Marples, A. E. Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)
Gridley, Sir Arnold Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth) Walker-Smith, D. C. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Tilney, John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth) Wills, G.
Turner, H. F. L. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Turton, R. H. Watkinson, H. A. Wood, Hon. R.
Vane, W. M. F. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster) York, C.
Vaughan-Morgan, J. K. Wellwood, W.
Vosper, D. F. White, Baker (Canterbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Williams, Charles (Torquay) Mr. Butcher and Mr. Heath.
Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
The Chairman

I suggest that the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), and the following one in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) might be discussed together. Perhaps, also, the Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton, in page 2, line 27, which covers the same point, may be discussed at the same time. Mr. Adams.

Mr. Paget

The second Amendment, standing in my name, is really consequential on the other two, and it would be convenient if they could all be considered together, Sir Charles.

The Chairman

I called the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), whose Amendment to line 11 is the first on the Order Paper.

Mr. Paget

By arrangement with my hon. Friend, I wished to move the Amendment which stands in his name.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 11, to leave out from "shall," to "when," in line 12.

If I may have the attention of the learned Solicitor-General, may I point out that these are Amendments to subsection (2), which is very obscurely and uncertainly worded? We know what the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War intended this subsection to mean, because the meaning which he gave, in answer to an intervention of mine in the Second Reading debate, is this: I hoped I had made it clear that in time of peace, the volunteer in the Home Guard, when taking part in training or exercises, is under military law. He is not under military law when he is living at home and does not turn up for exercises. The hon. and learned Member will appreciate that if a man does not turn up, there is nothing in the Regulations which enables his commanding officer to take any disciplinary action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 581.] That is what the right hon. Gentleman intends this Clause to mean; that is to say, if a Home Guard is on exercises before the Home Guard has been mustered, he comes under military law. I am not at all certain that that is the effect of this Clause, which provides that members of the Home Guard shall be members of the armed forces of the Crown; I presume that the purpose of that sentence is simply to provide that, under international law, they shall be people who are entitled to be taken prisoners of war on capture and that sort of thing. I imagine that that is the purpose of that subsection, but then we read: every member of the Home Guard shall, when being trained or exercised either alone or with any portion of the regular forces… These are alternatives, and that is clear enough.

The words— when being trained or exercised are alternatives, but, when we come to the next part of the sentence, we find— or otherwise, when on duty,… I understand that to mean that we have three alternatives—either when he is being trained and, apparently, attending for the purpose of being trained—may I have the attention of the right hon. Gentleman for a moment?—or when he is being exercised or when he is otherwise on duty. I presume that that is the meaning intended.

If so, surely the comma is misplaced. I know, of course, that if we convert this Bill into an Act, there will be no punctuation in it. The punctuation is simply provided for convenience by the Stationery Office, but it is significant that either I or the Stationery Office have misunderstood the meaning of this subsection, because if that comma is rightly placed, here we have a number of conditions following each other with the conjunctive preposition "and" coming before the last "and."

Where we have a comma and the word "and" coming before the final preposition the earlier commas are substitutes for the word "and," and the reading of the subsection would be as follows: either alone or with any portion of the regular forces or otherwise— "otherwise" applying to the exercise— and when on duty which is a second condition. I do not know whether that was intended or not, but there certainly is an ambiguity whether "otherwise" applies to the words before it or to the words after it.

Then we come to a very much more serious ambiguity, which concerns the word "and" before "during," because the paragraph goes on to read: during any period during which the platoon or other part of the Home Guard to which he belongs is mustered, Normally speaking, where we have an alternative conjunction followed by a simple conjunction, it is the normal construction that the two things are intended to convey a different meaning, and the different meaning here would be that, in order to bring the man under military law, two conditions would have to be fulfilled. The first and alternative condition is either being trained or exercised, and, since the word "and" comes before it instead of the word "or," there is a second condition, both of which must be applicable before the man comes under military law.

On a strict interpretation of this paragraph, he does not come under military law simply when he is being trained or exercised; he must be "being trained or exercised" and "mustered." This, of course, is not the meaning which, in the Second Reading debate, the right hon. Gentleman intended these words to bear, and, in any event, I should have thought that the Government would have to introduce an Amendment substituting the word "or" for the word "and" before the word "during." That, at least, would be necessary to clear up this ambiguity.

Having said that, I now come to the Amendment which I have moved, which concerns the omission of the words from "when being trained" to the word "otherwise." In the case of the Amendment in my own name, the omission is down to the word "duty." I do not think it makes very much difference whether the final two words are omitted.

7.15 p.m.

The object of this Amendment is simply this. It seems to me quite absurd to provide that all the machinery of military law shall come into operation when a man turns up for a voluntary training which he can either attend or not. Where military law is wanted is where this formation, the Home Guard, which has been more or less standing by doing a little voluntary training, becomes, in the real sense of the word, a military Force, that is, when it is mustered. It certainly seems to me to be quite unnecessary to bring them under military law before that point.

Not only does that seem unnecessary, but I should have thought it exceedingly inconvenient because of the difficulty of defining what is meant. For instance, it is not an offence against military law or any other law for a man not to turn up at a parade at all. Is it an offence if he turns up late? Is it an offence if he decides to leave early? And when we look at Clause 3 (2, a), the definition Clause, it is not much help. It says: references to being on duty shall he construed as references to being present for the purpose of performing any duty required in accordance with orders or regulations, other than a duty to undergo training or exercise. Frankly, I have read those words a good many times, and I have very little idea what they mean or where to draw the difference between the words being present for the purpose of performing any duty required in accordance with orders or regulations and other than a duty to undergo training or exercise. Take this simple illustrative instance. A man is out training on one of these voluntary parades. He is told to lie down, and he says to his commanding officer, "What, in that muck? Not me; I am going home." What is the position? Is that a duty to undertake training or exercise? Surely, in those circumstances, the lying down is undergoing training or exercise. Therefore, in his refusal to do so, apparently, he is exempted from the definition and ceases to be under military law. Where do we get to?

But that is not where the difficulties end. Supposing we do discover when a man is performing a duty and when he is merely deciding not to undergo training or exercise—a complicated matter—and then the military authorities decide to take action, a court-martial is convened, and the chap simply does not turn up. What is the position? Where is there power under military law or civil law to bring before a court-martial a man not subject to military law? As, at that time, he certainly is not attending exercise or attending training, he is not on duty, and, therefore, commits no offence by not doing any of these things. He is not a person who is subject to military law. Therefore, by this Clause and by the Schedule to this Bill any disciplinary action by the commanding officer is excluded. There is only court-martial procedure left.

As I understand it, a court-martial has no jurisdiction to deal with anybody who is not under military law, and, therefore, the chap who has blacked his commanding officer's eye, or who has kicked him and gone home is not subject to military law and not subject to court-martial. There is the civil law for dealing with him. Regarding a sentence, I do not see how anyone could proceed to convict the gentleman and send him to prison. What happens if a writ of habeas corpus is sought, because the military have no power to imprison anybody who is not under military law? This gentleman, not being mustered, not being on training, not being on exercise, is not under military law, and so he walks straight out of the glasshouse if he is put there.

Quite frankly, I would say this is an example of a not very carefully thought out Measure.

Mr. Head

Let the hon. and learned Member wait.

Mr. Paget

Even assuming that we could patch this up and get it into shape, is it desirable at all? These are purely volunteers, people who can leave any month and who can, in fact, leave tomorrow because they have only to write to the C.O. saying, "I am leaving in a month's time and I do not propose to attend any more parades and training until the month ends." Therefore, in fact, they have left immediately. If we get the sort of silly ass who, with that background, proceeds to "come the old soldier" and to talk about military law and courts-martial, he is not going to have a very successful platoon or company, or whatever it may be.

This is a case where we have got to get leadership through good will because there cannot be any real sanction to it. When the Home Guard becomes a real Force, then the sanction of military law is required, but in the ordinary case of this sort of voluntary parade, when those turn up who feel like it, whether the people who hold the company together attend or not depends upon the personality of the leader and not on his throwing his weight about. I believe that from a psychological point of view it is far better not to have any question of military law or courts-martial, or any nonsense of that sort in this kind of parade.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

I must say that when the hon. and learned Gentleman asked in one part of his speech when moving this Amendment, "Where do we get to?" I thought the answer was that he had got himself into a fine tangle and had really fallen into a good number of errors. Indeed, I lost count of the errors into which he had, in fact, fallen. In moving the Amendment he really made his case on two grounds, one a purely drafting ground, and the other a ground of some substance, basing his second ground, as I see it, on a misunderstanding of the effect of the Bill in its present form.

The effect of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) is to free the Home Guard from being subject to military law while being trained or exercised or when on duty. The effect of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), is slightly narrower. He would leave the Home Guard subject to military law when on duty. There is that distinction between them, and it is a very important distinction to bear in mind.

The hon. and learned Gentleman accepted the view that when the Home Guard was mustered he should certainly be subject to military law, but I think he ignored the fact that mustering will not he like the embodiment of the Territorial Army. Even after war has broken out, mustering may be for a very short period and may only be for one locality. During war-time we may have members of the Home Guard on duty guarding a vital point when that part of the Home Guard is not mustered, and I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman would agree that when members of the Home Guard are on duty in war-time in those circumstances they should be subject to military law even though the Force to which those members belong has not been mustered.

I would go further than that, and say that when a member of the Home Guard is on duty and performing an important duty in peace-time, that member of the Home Guard should be subject to military law. I should like to expand that a little. The phrase in the Bill in its present form is: …when being trained or exercised when on duty, and during any period. when he is mustered.

Mr. Adams rose

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Member said a great deal and I should like to put this as clearly as I can and then I will answer any points which he wishes to put to me.

The hon. and learned Gentleman made some play with that phrase. On considering the Amendment very carefully, my right hon. Friend has come to the conclusion that it is really unnecessary to have the words "trained or exercised" in this part of the Clause. After all, when a member of the Home Guard is being trained or exercised, he is certainly on duty. It will, we think, perhaps—although I understand there is a precedent for this form of words—lead to an easier understanding of the Measure if the reference to training or exercise in this part of the Clause is omitted. Therefore, while we cannot possibly accept the Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton, we are prepared to accept the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central, though I hope that our acceptance at this stage will not encourage him to undue loquacity.

I want to make it clear that when the Amendment is accepted the Home Guard will be subject to military law when on duty and when mustered. Whether he is on duty or not will be a question of fact in each case. He will not be on duty until he has attended in pursuance of orders, and that is covered by Clause 3 (2), to which a consequential Amend- ment will have to be moved in view of the acceptance of the Amendment.

Mr. Adams rose

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Gentleman need not be in a hurry; he may find that the consequential Amendment is accepted also when the time comes. The effect will be that, as a result of Clause 3 (2, a), the Home Guard cannot be held to be on duty until he is present for the purpose of performing any duty. Once he is present he will be on duty, and he will remain on duty until he is dismissed.

7.30 p.m.

The hon. and learned Gentleman said that a Home Guard might refuse to lie down in muck. He also suggested that that refusal would be made at a time when a man was not subject to military law. Of course, if that refusal came at a time when the man was on duty, he would be subject to military law. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman pointed out, quite rightly, that under the Schedule there is no power in the commanding officer serving on a Home Guard commission to impose a summary punishment. I did not quite gather from what he said whether he was in favour of a Home Guard commanding officer having that power or not, but, as the Bill now stands, that part of his speech was correct. The only power here is a power of court-martialling, which will, of course, only take effect in the more serious cases.

I commend to the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman an Amendment—I should be out of order in discussing it now—in the name of my right hon. Friend, in page 1, line 20, at the end, to insert: Provided that this subsection shall not render a member of the Home Guard liable to proceedings for an offence under section forty-one of the Army Act (which provides for the punishment under military law of civil offences). which goes some way to meet some of the points that he raised. The only other point the hon. and learned Gentleman raised was about the question of sentence—

Mr. Paget

Before the hon. and learned Gentleman leaves the other point, can he tell us what method there is of putting in front of a court-martial a man who is not subject to military law, or what jurisdiction the court-martial has to try him?

The Solicitor-General

The answer to the second point is that a court-martial has jurisdiction to try anyone subject to military law. As to the method of getting him before a court-martial, I suggest to the hon. and learned Member that there could be no legal flaw in this method—

Mr. Paget

But if he is not subject to military law?

The Solicitor-General

If he is on duty and he commits a serious military offence, he can be placed under arrest—

The Solicitor-General

He can be placed under arrest if he is on duty and commits a serious offence—

Mr. Hughes

At the local police station?

The Solicitor-General

He can be placed under arrest and, if need arises, he can be brought before a court-martial.

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman mean to say that the man will be kept under arrest until the court-martial meets?

Mr. Paget

May we get this clear? The man does some training in the course of which he blacks his C.O.s eye, walks out and goes home. The moment he leaves the parade or the moment the parade is over, he ceases to be subject to military law.

The Solicitor-General

The moment that man has gone he will not be, in one sense at that moment, under military law. That is quite true. It is easy for the hon. and learned Gentleman to take a rather trivial case and build on it.

Mr. Paget

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman suggest that blacking his C.O.s eye is a trivial offence?

The Solicitor-General

I am not suggesting that for one moment, but the hon. and learned Gentleman raised trivial matters about a man refusing to lie down in muck. I do not know what action that would require, but I am sure that no Home Guard would be court-martialled unless he committed a very serious offence. After all, it will not rest with the Home Guard commanding officer whether a court-martial is convened; it will rest with someone of the rank of brigadier and not below that rank. As to bringing that man before the court-martial, if we assume that it is a serious offence then there is, under military law, the power of putting a man under arrest just as there is in the case of anyone who breaks the ordinary criminal law of the land.

As to the time it will take to convene a court-martial, I should not imagine that it would take long. I am not dealing with the whole field of military law in replying to these Amendments. These Amendments are solely designed to define the period when members of the Home Guard are subject to military law. We cannot accept the Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton, but the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central, will leave members of the Home Guard subject to military law when they are on duty. In view of that, and as that would lead to a simplification of the wording, we are prepared to accept that Amendment.

Mr. Hale

The Solicitor-General seems to be dealing with an exceedingly important point. Is it being suggested that when a Home Guard is on duty for one hour at night and commits a military offence —and let me assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that disobedience of a lawful command is regarded as a very serious offence, and has resulted in people serving long terms of imprisonment—he has to be arrested and brought before a court-martial and has to be kept under arrest before a court-martial is convened because if he is let out he ceases to become subject to military law?

The Solicitor-General

I was giving an example very quickly, in answer to a question, of how a man could be brought before a court-martial. I am saying that that is obviously one way. I am not saying that there are not necessarily other ways. I am reminded that under Section 158 of the Army Act there is power to arrest a man who has committed an offence against military law, although he has ceased to be subject to military law in the intervening period. Under that Section it does not necessarily follow that the man has to be kept in arrest between the commission of the offence and trial by court-martial.

The hon. and learned Gentleman asked how a man could be brought before a court-martial, and I mentioned one way in which that could be done. Section 158, I think, provides another way. But that matter of bringing a man before a court-martial does not really arise on these two Amendments which are designed solely to define the period of time when a member of the Home Guard will be subject to military law. I hope I have made it clear to the hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central, exactly what our view is upon this matter—namely, that the Home Guard should be subject to military law when on duty and when mustered, and the effect of accepting the hon. Gentleman's Amendment will be to provide for that.

Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Birmingham, Aston)

Would he be under open arrest or close arrest? If a man were put under close arrest he might lose a lot of time from his work for an alleged offence committed during an hour's training which he had not actually committed.

The Solicitor-General

This is going back to the point which does not really relate to the Amendment at all. The answer is that he need not be kept under arrest at all, because, under Section 158 of the Army Act, he can be brought along, probably the same day, before a court-martial. It is not necessary to keep him in close arrest, and in many cases it may not be necessary to keep him in open arrest. We have the other machinery. I gave that answer because the hon. Gentleman wanted to know how a Home Guard could be brought before a court-martial. I mentioned one way, and I hope I have made it clear that there are others. I would point out, however, that those questions do not relate to the purpose of this Amendment.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Suppose that in an isolated district in my constituency there is no guard room. Does that mean that the man goes to the local police station?

The Solicitor-General

I did not refer, in my speech, to a guard room. Whether there are isolated parts in the hon. Gentleman's constituency I do not know; I thought it was very thickly populated, but, at any rate, whether there are isolated parts or not I should not think there would be any difficulty, if need arose, in keeping a man under arrest.

Mr. Adams

I should like to thank the Solicitor-General for having accepted my Amendment, which, I submit, tidies up a shocking bit of drafting. The reference to a member of the Home Guard being exercised alone conveyed to me a picture of a man wearing a collar and chain being led along by a fiery colonel. As the Solicitor-General will realise, it will be necessary for my subsequent Amendment in Clause 3 to be carried. The wording in the Bill is tantological or circumlocutory. The Clause as drafted states that when being exercised or trained a man is under military law; and when he is on duty. Then in Clause 3 (2, a) we have the words: other than a duty to undergo training or exercise"— thereby confusing what has already been stated in Clause 1.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Gentleman is not right. The Clause as it stood was effective, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Mr. Adams

I have already thanked the Solicitor-General for having accepted my Amendment, which tidies up a shocking piece of drafting. May I refer him to Section 24 of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, which deals with the point which he ought to have been able to answer? He will find the whole question of offences committed while on duty dealt with in that Section.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

I am not sure that my hon. Friend need thank the Solicitor-General for accepting this Amendment. It seems to me that the boot is on the other foot. I am very surprised that the Solicitor-General has not been gracious enough to acknowledge the help which he has been given in this Bill by my hon. Friend. I have had many Amendments accepted in my time, and I must say that this is one occasion which I shall not remember with the greatest pleasure—an occasion when a distinct improvement has been effected in the Bill by my hon. Friend, and it has been received in a spirit which I think the Solicitor-General had better improve upon if he is going to keep the good will of the Committee during the passage of this Bill.

I am sure there is a good deal to be probed here, and I think the Solicitor-General has had, so far, an easy passage. From the interjections which were made during his speech it seems clear that the Solicitor-General—I am not sure about the Secretary of State for War—has not begun to think of the consequences of applying military law to civilians who gather themselves together for an hour's voluntary training a week.

Mr. Callaghan

The Secretary of State asks me why. I should have thought it had become clear in what has already been said. A man comes home from work, removes his overalls, puts on his arm band and does an hour's duty, and then he commits some breach of military law. He is placed under arrest, shall we say, in an isolated part of the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). I am just following this example through. I think the Solicitor-General accepted that this is a possibility. But what happens at the end of the hour's drill? The Home Guard then goes home.

At least, that is the intention of the job. These people who are holding him in bondage, confining him to the corner of the bar parlour where they are doing their drills, will they say at closing time, "It is time we went home"? When the captors go home, what does the captive do? He is still under arrest. Or are they to release him?

7.45 p.m.

I am glad to say that the Secretary of State is showing more sense of comprehension of this matter than is the Solicitor-General. He seems to have it worked out. He seems to know what the position will be. I shall be glad, therefore, if the Secretary of State will tell us what the administration of this business will be. It seems to me that the Government must make up their minds that this is a voluntary Force and that the discipline which will hold it together is a voluntary discipline.

Reliance upon all the paraphernalia of military law and the Army Act and the rest, which one can perfectly well use when one is holding soldiers for 12 years or nine years or ten years or whatever the period may be, cannot be adopted here. It does not apply to a civilian volunteer who goes to a drill for an hour a week and who can resign at a month's notice if he wishes. The Solicitor-General has not much imagination and he has obviously not begun to see what the administrative defects of this may be. I have many more hopes of the Secretary of State. I am sure he will apply the humane and sensible approach to a matter of this sort.

I will give one word of advice to the Secretary of State. If he himself deals with a lot of these legal matters we shall perhaps get a little less law, but we shall get a little more common sense. I hope what we shall find, therefore, will be that reliance upon voluntary discipline, which will bind this Force together, will be accepted as the major principle by the Secretary of State—the major principle likely to weld this Force into something which will be useful. To talk in the terms which the Solicitor-General used about a body of civilians seems to be getting off on the wrong foot. I hope that we shall not hear much more of it.

Mr. Hale

The Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Adams), certainly makes for clarity, and if it is accepted it will make the Clause much easier to understand; but it seems to me that we must face the fact that it makes the position much stronger against the Home Guard, because it means that they will be subject to military law when on duty in peace time. I suppose it is out of order to refer at this stage to the subsequent definition Clause and the definition of "on duty," but I fail to understand that either, and I fail to understand the curious business of undergoing exercise, which appears to be omitted in the case of the definition in Clause 3 (2, a) and may have to be altered because of the acceptance of this Amendment.

There is no more reason for military discipline in the Home Guard in peacetime than there is in the Salvation Army or the Church Lads Brigade. It is nonsense to suggest that we can do it, and it is monstrous to think of doing it. I want to ask the Solicitor-General and the Secretary of State to consider one or two problems which will arise. What sort of orders can a commander in the Home Guard give to a member of the Home Guard? Who knows? Can he order the man to get a haircut? I was constantly ordered to have haircuts when I was in the Forces—only on one portion of the head, of course. If the man is ordered to have a haircut and fails to comply with that order, has he committed an act of indiscipline? Has he to comply with that order in his spare time or in his duty time? If he fails to go to the barber the next morning in his spare time, can he be on a charge next time he comes on parade with long hair?

These are points of importance. I appreciate that one has to quote slightly extravagant examples—but what orders can be given? If a man presents himself for his training for an hour, can he be ordered to stay for a second hour because they have decided to go on longer? If a man is late for his training because he stays at work that day and cannot get to his training in time, but reports late, has he committed an offence when he reports late, or does he not come under the law until he has started his duty—because that is precisely the point put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget)? We should know whether a man is under military law or not. Is he under military law at the time when he should be there and is not there, or does he come under military law only when he is present?

What I understand the Solictor-General to suggest is that a number of these people are under military law but that several more are not under it until the time of their arrival, and then some mystic change happens, which presumably commences with the acceptance or non-acceptance of an order which is given to the person concerned by somebody—

The Solicitor-General

If the hon. Gentleman looks at Clause 3 (2, a) that will help him in regard to the man who does not turn up for duty. It says: references to being on duty shall be construed as references to being present for the purpose of performing any duty— Unless he is present he will not be subject to military law.

Mr. Hale

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman. He is making this matter very clear. If the man decides to walk home he ceases to be under military law—or does he? He has been present; he has attended the lecture in the local pub; can he be guilty of dumb insolence while he is listening to the lecture in the local pub?

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Gentleman put to me a question about the man who was late, and I referred him to the definition Clause because I thought it would help the hon. Gentleman. The man does not become on duty until he is present. I said, in answering the hon. Gentleman, that while the man is on duty he will be subject to military law. I should have thought that that was quite clear. If, while the parade is going on, he suddenly takes it into his mind to slip off home he will obviously be breaking the law, for he will not be complying with the order. I should have thought that was so. [An HON. MEMBER: "But he is not present."] I dare say he is not present, but he becomes on duty when he first becomes present, and that duty will continue until he is dismissed.

Mr. Hale

The Solicitor-General must face up to this. We are not talking about the man who suddenly takes it into his mind to walk off parade. Even that point is arguable. But what about the man who comes along for a parade between 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock and says to the colonel, "I am sorry, but I cannot stay after a quarter-to-eight as I have promised to meet the missus from the pictures"? If he goes at a quarter-to-eight, is he subject to military law? Apparently the Solicitor-General thinks so. But people are entitled to know this.

We have been asked to give a blank cheque to the Government on every issue here. We have not been told who is going to make the Regulations or how or when or where, or anything about what is to go on, or what it is to cost; and we are now inviting people to regard themselves as being expectantly available for a form of National Service in which apparently we propose to impose the whole of King's Rules and Regulations on these people in their own villages, in their own districts, making them subject to every one of King's Regulations which applies to a member of the Armed Forces of the Crown.

Mr. Head

Again, the hon. Member is making rather heavy weather of this. What we propose is that these men, when on duty, shall be subject to military law. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the commanding officer has no power of summary punishment over these men at all, so that a great deal of King's Regulations is not applicable in that sense. But we believe there must be a sanction in the case of a very serious offence. That will happen very rarely. It was the same in the last war. The hon. Member wants to know about.02 per cent. of these cases. Normally, these men will be kept under discipline by leadership and common sense, but occasionally there will be a serious offence, and if there were no sanction it would create a very difficult position.

Mr. Hale

The right hon. Gentleman cannot get away like that. He said I am making heavy weather of this. I intervened only because of the heavy weather being made on the other side, with their reference to Section 158 of the Army Act, which deals specifically with cases of mutiny, suggesting that that was the sanction under which, by some curious means, we should be able to summon up military police from the vast deep to place these men under arrest and to keep them under arrest pending court-martial.

The right hon. Gentleman must face this quite frankly. When he talks about serious offences, there are many things which are serious offences in the Armed Forces, and the most serious, in general, with which a court-martial has to deal is mutiny. As the House knows full well, mutiny can be committed by two or three soldiers who do not like the food. It is only a question of two or three people agreeing to make a joint protest. It can bring them within the rules against mutiny.

Another very grave offence is, of course, cowardice in the face of the enemy. I agree that that cannot occur in peacetime, but I have known men court-martialled for leaving an A.A. gun under heavy fire—men who had had very little training and only short service. Military law can take a very grave view of matters which to the average man may appear to be very human failings.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take this argument quite seriously. I know one can be extravagant and one can easily make fun of a matter of this kind, but it is serious. What is the need at all for military discipline in the Home Guard in peace-time? Is there anyone here who would suggest that it is required at all? How can the Government take powers against a man causing trouble? He may resign. They can always get rid of a person causing trouble. Some such powers must exist. But what other powers are needed?

This is a really important matter and, obviously, has not been really considered at all. We have been asking question after question and cannot get an answer. How is a man in the Home Guard placed under arrest? My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) asked that question, and it has not been answered. How is a man placed under arrest when there is no one in whose custody he can be put and then there is nowhere to put him and no one to remain consistently on duty with him? If a man is placed under arrest and later may go home, how long does the effect of the arrest last, and how long must the man remain subject to it?

What is the real suggestion here? The real suggestion here is that they will have to use the civilian police every time, and I should be very surprised indeed if the civilian police were to welcome this duty or did not protest if it were placed upon them. They will have to use the civilian police every time against men in their own villages charged with military offences which occurred in the local drill hall or the local "pub" or the local fields.

I am going to repeat one sentence, because I do sincerely ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to give an answer to this. Why is it necessary at all to introduce military law into this voluntary organisation in peace-time? Have they ever known of military law of that kind operating in a loosely associated voluntary organisation of this kind before? It does seem to me that this is really a very dreadful proposal, and I sincerely urge the Government really to consider how far it is necessary to proceed with it.

Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)

I just want to support very briefly what my hon. Friends have said. I think it is neither wise nor necessary to place the Home Guard under military law when on duty in peace-time.

When the Home Guard is mustered it must obviously be under military law, but I can see neither sense nor reason for placing this voluntary Force under military law in peace-time when men turn up for only one hour a week. There is a very wide Section which gives powers for dealing with conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. That is the sort of thing that will, I think, cause a great deal of trouble in the Home Guard. If there is an over-zealous commanding officer all kinds of offences will crop up under that sort of Section.

Civil Defence is not under military law. It works well on a voluntary basis. I do not see why the Home Guard should not work in the same way. I think the application of military law will discourage recruiting. I suggest that the Secretary of Stale should reconsider this matter to help recruiting. It will be an extremely difficult job to recruit men for the Home Guard in competition with Civil Defence, but it will be made a great deal more difficult by putting in this unnecessary military discipline. It is to be a voluntary Force, and will be held together, or should be held together, entirely by the idea of service, and it should not have this utterly inappropriate device of military law, which was never intended for such a body as the Home Guard.

8.0 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) put a fairly involved argument in moving this Amendment. I had hoped I had made it clear why it was necessary to have members of the Home Guard subject to military law when on duty in war-time. [HON. MEMBERS: "In peacetime."] I am dealing with it in stages. Certainly in war-time. I hope that that is recognised and that everyone agrees with that. Now one comes to the next stage, whether they should be subject to military law in peace-time. That is a subject about which some hon. Members opposite feel grave doubt.

My right hon. Friend has said, and said with great accuracy and brevity, that, of course, in peace-time the number of instances in which any member of the Home Guard is likely to be brought before a court-martial is likely to be absolutely infinitesimal because there is the power of notice, there is the power of dis- missal. There is no power of summary punishment. As my right hon. Friend said—and I entirely agree with him—for serious military offences—and I mean serious, for it is so easy to take—

Mr. Paget

Give us an example.

The Solicitor-General

I am sure that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) will agree, at least, that there are some extremely serious military offences that can be committed in peacetime by members of the Armed Forces, and I should say also by members of the Home Guard. They are not likely to be many.

Mr. Paget

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman give an example or invent one?

Mr. Beverley Baxter (Southgate)

I would suggest striking a superior officer.

Mr. Paget

If the Solicitor-General will permit me to answer that, I would point out that the Government themselves have got an Amendment down to exclude that because civil offences are excluded. Flitting a commanding officer is, of course, a civil offence.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. and learned Gentleman has fallen into error about that, as Section 41 does not exclude a charge being brought under an earlier Section of the Army Act for striking a superior officer. The only effect of Section 41—and I want to make this quite clear—is that under this Section persons subject to military law can be charged with an offence against the ordinary law of England—for instance, common assault or anything else like that. To give one instance, striking a superior officer can be a very serious offence.

Mr. Paget

Civil.

The Solicitor-General

No. An offence under the Army Act.

Mr. Shinwell

In the event of a member of the Home Guard striking a superior officer—the commander of his platoon or battalion, or whatever it may be—would he be subject to court-martial procedure?

The Solicitor-General

The answer to that is that he would be liable, if the superior authorities thought it was necessary, to be tried by court-martial.

Mr. Shinwell

But I understood the Secretary of State to say that it was not intended that offences in peace-time would be subject to courts-martial.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we to understand then that members of the Home Guard can be subject to court-martial procedure? Let us see where we are. To a court-martial set up by the Army and Air Force Council Act? Do we understand that is to be the case—a court-martial in the ordinary sense? This is more serious than ever—a court-martial before this Force is mustered.

The Solicitor-General

I thought that I had made clear—and I am sorry if I failed —that when on duty a member of the Home Guard would be subject to military law, and if he is subject to military law that means that if he commits an offence against military law he will be liable to court-martial; but it is one thing to be liable to court-martial and another thing to be brought before a court-martial.

I have indicated quite clearly—at least I hope I have—that the obligation of summary punishment, coupled with the power of dismissing a man, does mean—and the fact that a court-martial would have to be convened by a superior officer —that there are certain and not inconsiderable safeguards against a man being brought for trial by court-martial for any offence which is not of a serious character.

As my right hon. Friend said, during the last war the number of courts-martial of members of the Home Guard was very small indeed. I have no doubt at all that in peace-time the number of cases of military offences on duty of such a gravity as to necessitate, from the point of view of the maintenance of discipline, a court-martial will be very few, and, indeed, the position may never arise. All the same, as my right hon. Friend has said, it is necessary to maintain this sanction in case one case of such gravity arises that we ought to retain power to be able to deal with it.

Mr. Hale

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has raised one instance in respect of which he says a court-martial is necessary. I understand that it is common ground that if a member of the Home Guard at five minutes past nine, when his duty ceases at nine, strikes his commanding officer, then that can only be dealt with by the civil courts. What then is the great and mysterious advantage of being able to convene a court-martial if he strikes him at five minutes to nine?

Mr. Head

It is not a fantastic suggestion at all. It is because his relationship at five minutes to nine, when he is on parade, to the person he strikes is probably quite different from his relationship to him at five minutes past nine.

I will give an instance of two brothers. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has a brother, but if he has let us imagine these two. The hon. Gentleman, at five minutes to nine, is on parade as a private, and the commanding officer is his brother. If he strikes his brother at five minutes to nine, I suggest that is a very serious offence in any Force which we are trying to turn into a proper military body. If he strikes him at five minutes past nine, it is not an assault—it is nothing but a fraternal exchange of blows.

I beg the hon. Gentleman to visualise that this is to be a military body capable of fighting a tough fight in attack and if we treat it like a lot of Boy Scouts we shall fail in that issue, and be doing something which, I think, the Home Guard itself would not wish to have altered. None need volunteer if he does not like it. Therefore, let us have this sanction which has been common to soldiers through the centuries.

Mr. Paget

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for saying what he did, because this is absolute nonsense. The Home Guard is really standing by in peace-time. It has a weekly meeting for an hour at which there is a lecture, or an exercise, or something of that sort. The right hon. Gentleman said, "Ah, but as soon as that hour starts then the relationship between the two people—that of subordinate and C.O.—comes into existence."

That is perfectly true where there is a parade which is compulsory and formal, but when it is a parade which is entirely voluntary as to whether a chap turns up or not, he commits no offence by simply cutting the parade. That is the basis of this. He only puts himself in a position to commit an offence if he turns up. How on earth, if we have that sort of voluntary arrangement, are we to define what is a parade and what is not a parade.

Let us take the case of a C.O. and a man who falls out. The man says something rude and, "I am going home." Does that terminate his parade under military law? The learned Solicitor-General says that it does not. I ask him to read the definition: references to being on duty shall be construed as references to being present for the purpose of performing any duty required… If the chap says, "I won't do it; I am going home," being a voluntary man he can terminate his voluntary presence at a voluntary parade if he likes, or so I should have thought. At any rate, this sort of question will come before the courts. It must do. This is a matter which affects civil liberty. We try to bring this man before a court-martial. The question of whether he is subject to military law will be brought up before the High Court, and we shall have all sorts of absurd arguments which will bring this Force into ridicule.

The Solicitor-General said that what I have said has got us into a tangle. I think that the Committee is with me when I say that this has arisen because of the tangle that the Government have got us into. I think that the reason he felt that I had got myself into a tangle was because he was incapable of understanding my argument. Frankly, we do not expect the Solicitor-General to know very much about the law. We have heard him before, and that is why we were a little surprised by his appointment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Solicitor-General was very rude to me, and I have every intention of answering back. I think that if he refers to the Attorney-General, who does know something about the law, he will have a little more understanding of my argument. He has now accepted an Amendment, and the Clause now means exactly what he does not think it means.

The Clause now means that every member of the Home Guard—he had better ask the Attorney-General about this—when on duty and during any time when the platoon is mustered is subject to military law. As a matter of construction —and one which I think a judge would take, and which, I think, the Attorney-General will so advise—a man must be both on duty and mustered. That is what "and" means.

We do not use the word "or"; we use the word "and." I am perfectly satisfied that on this Clause as it now is, it means exactly what I want—that is to say, a man comes under military law when he is on duty and when mustering has taken place, and the expression 'mustered' means mustered for the purpose of resisting an actual or apprehended attack or of taking part in measures for dealing with the effects of an attack. That is when I say people ought to be under military law. Both the condition of mustering and the condition of going on duty must apply if a man is to come under military law. The Solicitor-General is apparently supporting this Clause under the delusion that it means something else. We are beholden not to his good will but to his ineptitude.

Several Hon. Members rose

The Deputy - Chairman

Colonel Lipton.

Mr. Baxter

Is it not possible for some of us on this side of the Committee to be called, Mr. Hopkin Morris?

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member did not rise in time. I have already called Colonel Lipton.

8.15 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Neither the Secretary of State for War nor the Solicitor-General has treated the Committee with the courtesy or consideration to which we are entitled when considering such a matter as this. They do not seem to have appreciated the gravity of the point put forward by my hon. and learned Friend and what we are seeking to establish. Both the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. and learned Gentleman have made it quite clear that in their view the Clause, as amended, will give the right to subject members of the Home Guard to court-martial proceedings in peace-time. There can be no doubt that is what they think the Clause does, and that that is the power that is to be vested in whoever is responsible for the conduct of this Force in peace-time.

The considerations that have been brought forward by my bon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) are sufficient in themselves to ask the Government to think again. But in my view nothing has been adduced by the Government to justify the subjection of Home Guard volunteers to court-martial proceedings in peace-time. It is true that the Solicitor-General said that there would only be a very limited number of cases in which that might happen. He did, however, find himself in difficulties when asked to produce examples of the kind of thing he had in mind, which would justify such proceeding.

The Secretary of State for War intervened, and made some point about the Home Guard being an organisation capable of fighting and carrying out its duties in an emergency. We are not talking about an emergency situation, but about a peace-time state of affairs long before any mustering has taken place. The Committee will have very seriously to consider the whole Clause after what we have been told is in the mind of the Secretary of State for War and the Solicitor-General.

If the Home Guard is mustered those serving in it will come under military law and be subject to court-martial proceedings should they commit any offence under military law. There is no argument or dispute about that, but the point made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton has not yet been met. It was on the question of construction. I agree with him that the only circumstances in which a Home Guard volunteer can become subject to military law is if he is on duty and if he is mustered for the formation of the unit to which he belongs. These two conditions have to be satisfied before he is liable to court-martial proceedings.

The Secretary of State for War and the Solicitor-General seem to be in such a state of mental confusion that it is difficult to produce an argument with which they are capable of dealing. The position has not been clarified by any means, we shall require to have some further explanation of what it is that the Government have in their minds in accepting this Amendment. I think it will be found that both the Secretary of State for War and the Solicitor-General have done more harm to any voluntary recruiting campaign for the Home Guard than anything else that has been said or done by any hon. Member during the course of these proceedings.

Mr. Baxter

I apologise to you personally, Mr. Hopkin Morris, for my ill-judged remarks. I thought some of my hon. Friends on the back benches had risen and I was slow in getting up. I ask you to accept my apology.

I have heard enough in this debate to be convinced that the party opposite are doing a disservice to the plan for reforming the Home Guard. It is they who are creating imaginary bogies and scares. Behind what they are doing is utter irresponsibility concerning something that should not have any party bias in it. If I may, I should like for a moment to go back to the days before 1914. I was then in Canada, and like many others of us joined the Territorials. We did not have to join, and we could leave them if we liked. But we took a pride in the fact that we had joined a regiment of the Territorials and we willingly placed ourselves under military discipline. This was in peace-time and we were proud of what we were doing.

Now we come to the Home Guard at the present moment. I agree that these are not troops which have to be trained as soldiers. Nevertheless, they are part of the military defences of the country. Nearly all the members of the Home Guard are men who have served as soldiers before. They will take a pride in discipline and in the fact that they are going to be used as soldiers in defence of their country if the occasion arrives.

The impression that the party opposite are giving is that this is a gathering of old fellows who do not want to go home, and if they want to insult their commanding officers that is all right and it is their business. That is all wrong, and I say that hon. Members opposite are making trouble over something they should not make trouble over. All those who join the Home Guard will be grateful to the Secretary of State for War for treating them as responsibile, voluntary Service men.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Baxter) has worked himself up into a state of frenzy and excitement.

Mr. Baxter

You have done it.

Mr. Shinwell

There is no use the hon. Member saying that I have worked him up, because I have never said a word.

Mr. Baxter

When I said "you" I meant the Socialist Party. The right hon. Gentleman is not yet the entire Socialist Party.

Mr. Shinwell

The reason for my intervention is because of the astonishing remark made by the hon. Member for Southgate about the irresponsibility of hon. Members of this side. I understand that he only interrupted the proceedings temporarily.

Mr. Baxter

I am here for the night.

Mr. Shinwell

He is going to reinforce the battalions on the other side. I have no doubt that we shall have the benefit of his observations probably about three o'clock or five o'clock in the morning. We cannot tell. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We are very anxious to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say, and we shall just go on in our time and not at the dictation of hon. Members opposite. I am a little tired of the bullying tactics of hon. Members opposite. [Laughter.] Certainly. I am the last man in this assembly to be intimidated by Tory arrogance and ignorance. As for interruptions, senseless and sometimes inaudible, from the other side, they leave me very cold indeed.

Having indulged in that parenthesis I can return to the hon. Member opposite, who is by no means a parenthesis. He indulged in a little eloquence on the subject of the alleged irresponsibility of Members on these benches. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There you are. One of these days the hon. Member will indulge in a little dramatic criticism of some of the people behind him and will put them in their proper dramatic perspective. For the moment, I want to direct his attention to what is no doubt within the recollection of hon. Members who have attended the Committee stage of this Bill—not temporarily, but throughout the proceedings.

Indeed, the fact of the matter is that this debate has been conducted in a most reasonable and objective spirit from the start. We have made it plain from the outset that we are not opposing the creation of a Home Guard. How often have I to say that in order to convince hon. Gentlemen opposite? The real trouble is that when I convince, or attempt to convince, about a score of Members who are sitting on those benches they go out and another score appears. It is a most embarrassing position to be in. I repeat, for the benefit of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that we are not opposed to the creation of a Home Guard.

All that we say is this: In peace-time, this voluntary Force, which is to be unpaid, which is to receive the miserable, pettifogging and parsimonious sum of £2 12s. 0d. for the wear and tear of clothing for a period of one year, which is to serve 60 hours a year, apart from travelling time, which is to be subject now to military discipline and may, in certain circumstances, be subjected to court-martial procedure, ought not to have imposed upon it the conditions that apply either to the Regular Army or to the Territorial Army. The hon. Gentleman advanced an argument about the Territorial Force in Canada. A similar condition of affairs prevails in this country.

The Territorial Army is subject to military discipline and military law, and each member signs on enrolment accepting all the conditions that are laid down. Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman opposite that it is intended that when the Home Guard forces are enrolled they are to sign a document subjecting themselves to all the rigours of military law and discipline, and subsequently, in the event of an offence or an alleged offence, to court-martial procedure? Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that?

Hon. Members

No.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Head

The right hon. Gentleman has asked me a question. The point is quite clearly stated in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman is making a great deal of play with this point, but let me say to the right hon. Gentleman that the attitude of the men who are going to volunteer for this Force concerning the horrors of military law is quite different to his own. They know very well what it is. They know very well that in the last war there were more than a million men in the Home Guard and there were only 200 cases of court-martial during the whole war. Why is the right hon. Gentleman playing this up in such a way? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen to shout at me; there has been a lot of shouting on the other side and playing up of fears in order to turn this proposal into a bogy, as though it is something quite different from what it really is.

Mr. Shinwell

Hon. Members can see the effect of the eloquence of the hon. Member for Southgate and of that frenzied excitement. It has infected the right hon. Gentleman. This is a remarkable metamorphosis. We were led to believe that the right hon. Gentleman was pleasant and reasonable, and so persuasive that he would never quarrel with anybody —indeed, would never say "Boo to a goose." [An HON. MEMBER: "He has said it to you."] Let me reply to the argument. We can see what the right hon. Gentleman can be like when he is provoked—and provoked not by us but as the result of a speech by his hon. Friend below the Gangway.

Be it noted what the right hon. Gentleman said just now. He talked about the men who are going to enrol. How does he know who is going to enrol? How can he tell? We could imagine he had them in his pocket at the present time, that the lists had been prepared. He does not know who is going to enrol. I say to him—and I have as much knowledge of the War Office as he has—that nobody in the War Office can say quite categorically how many men are going to enrol under these provisions and who they are going to be. It is pure assumption.

I am going to say what many of my hon. Friends have said about the Bill. I have not said it myself because I was willing to accept the view expressed from the other side that this was a necessary Measure. I am inclined to think that my hon. Friends are right, that the Government found it very difficult to produce some kind of legislation so they produced this particular Measure. The thing has nothing in it at all. It has never been properly thought out. It has been thrown at the House of Commons, and now the Government are trying to rush it through. When my hon. and learned Friends seek to interrupt the Solicitor-General, he simply takes refuge in being a bit smarmy and saying "It will be quite all right. There will be very few cases." How does he know the attitude of the men who will be enrolled in the Home Guard? It is pure assumption from start to finish.

We are not prepared to legislate on a series of assumptions, even at the bidding of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am not sure that I ought not to move to report Progress because of the unsatisfactory nature of the replies we have had from the right hon. Gentleman. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to shake his head, but it is a legitimate claim to ask for leave to report Progress and to be permitted to sit again. These are most unsatisfactory replies that we have had, and in the interests of the men for whom the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway professes so much concern, those persons who are to enrol in the Home Guard, in their true interests, we ought to know far more about what is proposed by the Government and what the Government's real intentions are, before this Committee is asked to accept the proposal that has been made.

Finally, we shall have to divide against it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We shall divide on what is legitimate and proper. I am in the hands of my hon. Friends who have put forward the Amendment—they are not quite sure whether they wish to divide or not—but if, in their opinion, at any time in the course of the Committee stage they feel it necessary to divide in order to show to the Government that we are not prepared to do just exactly what they ask and that we have minds of our own it is not because we want to do anything to make things difficult for the men who are to enrol in the Home Guard, and not because we are opposed to the principle of the Home Guard.

Mr. Baxter

That is the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's attitude.

Mr. Shinwell

It only has that effect on the wild, vicious and malicious imagination of the hon. Member. One might imagine that the hon. Member was writing his special Friday night feature in the "Evening Standard" on the Grand Guignol.

Mr. Baxter

The Grand Guignol is concerned with horrors in the theatre. I am reminded of them by the right hon. Gentleman.

The Deputy-Chairman

We are going far too wide of this Amendment.

Mr. Shinwell

Where horrors are concerned perhaps the less said the better. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] We shall divide when we think it necessary, and not because we want to prolong the proceedings. Everybody wants to get home, particularly hon. Members opposite who are seeking pairs almost on their hands and knees. There is the Patronage Secretary ready to move the Closure. We do not want to do anything to militate against the success of the Home Guard,

which in war-time is a necessary adjunct of our military Forces, but we want to ascertain what is in the mind of the Government. If the Patronage Secretary moves the Closure we shall be ready for him and will vote against him.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. P. G. T. Buchan-Hepburn) rose in his place, and claimed to move,"That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 295; Noes, 255.

Division No. 8.] AYES [8.38 p.m.
Aitken W. T. Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hirst, Geoffrey
Alport, C. J. M. Cuthbert, W. N. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Davidson, Viscountess Holt, A. F.
Arbuthnot, John Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hope, Lord John
Ashton, H. (Chelsmford) De la Bère, R. Hopkinson, Henry
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Deedes, W. F. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Digby, S. Wingfield Horobin, I. M.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence
Baker, P. A. D. Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Baldock, Lt. Cmdr J. M. Donner, P. W. Howard, Graville (St. Ives)
Baldwin, A. E. Doughty, C. J. A. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Banks, Col. C. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Hudson, Rt. Hon. Robert (Southport)
Barber, A. P. L. Drayson, G. B. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Barlow, Sir John Drewe, C. Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.
Baxter, A. B. Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hurd, A. R.
Bell, P. I. (Bolton, E.) Duncan, Capt J. A. L. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Bell, R. M. (Bucks, S.) Duthie, W. S. Hutchison, Lt.-Cmdr. Clark (E'd'rgh W.)
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Erroll, F. J. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Fell, A. Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Finlay, G. B. Jennings, R.
Birch, Nigel Fisher, Nigel Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley)
Bishop, F. P. Fletcher, Walter (Bury) Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Black, C. W. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Bossom, A. C. Fort, R. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Kaberry, D.
Boyle, Sir Edward Gage, C. H. Keeling, E. H.
Braine, B. R. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Lambert, Hon. G.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Gammans, L. D. Lambton, Viscount
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. W. H. Garner-Evans, E. H. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Brooman-White, R. C. Glyn, Sir Ralph Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Godber, J. B. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Lindsay, Martin
Bullard, D. G. Gough, C. F. H. Linstead, H. N.
Bullock, Capt. M. Gower, H. R. Llewellyn, D. T.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Graham, Sir Fergus Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)
Burden, F. F. A. Gridley, Sir Arnold Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Carson, Hon. E. Grimston, Robert (Westbury) Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W)
Cary, Sir R. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Low, A. R. W.
Channon, H. Harris, Reader (Heston) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth. S)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Harrison, Lt. Col. J. H. (Eye) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Harvey, Air Cmdr. A. V. (Macclesfield) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) McAdden, S. J.
Clyde, Rt Hon. J. L. Harvie-Watt, Sir George McCallum, Major D.
Cole, N. J. Hay, John MoCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.
Colegate, W. A. Head, Rt. Hon. A H. Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Heald, Sir Lionel Mackeson, Brig. H. R.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Heath, Edward McKibbin, A. J.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Henderson, John (Cathcart) McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Maclay, Hon. John
Cranbourne, Viscount Higgs, J. M. C. MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) MacLead, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Crouch, R. F. Hill, Mrs E. (Wythenshawe) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Powell, J. Enoch Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Prior-Palmer, Brig, O. L. Studholme, H. G.
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Profumo, J. D. Summers, G. S.
Markham, Major S. F. Raikes, H. V. Sutcliffe, H.
Marlowe, A. A H. Rayner, Brig. R. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Marples, A. E. Remnant, Hon. P. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Renton, D. L. M. Teeling, W.
Marshall, Sidney (Sutton) Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Maude, Angus Robertson, Sir David Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Maudling, R. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Robson-Brown, W. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Medlicott, Brig. F. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Mellor, Sir John Roper, Sir Harold Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Molson, A. H. E. Ropner, Col. L. Tilney, John
Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Russell, R. S. Turner, H. F. L.
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Turton, R. H.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Vane, W. M. F.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Nicholls, Harmar Savory, Prof. D. L. Vosper, D. F.
Nicholson, G. Schofield, Lt.-Col W. (Rochdale) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Nield, Basil (Chester) Scott, R. Donald Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Nugent, G. R. H. Shepherd, William Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Nutting, Anthony Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Oakshott, H. D. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon C.
Odey, G. W. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Watkinson, H. A.
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Snadden, W. McN Wellwood, W.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Soames, Capt. C. White, Baker (Canterbury)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Spearman, A. C. M. Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Orr-Ewing, Ian. L. (Weston-super-Mare) Speir, R. M. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Partridge, E. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Perkins, W. R. D. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wills, G.
Peto, Brig. C. H. W. Stevens, G. P. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Peyton, J. W. W. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Wood, Hon. R.
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.) York, C.
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Pitman, I. J. Storey, S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Butcher and Mr. Redmayne.
NOES
Acland, Sir Richard Chetwynd, G. R. Gibson, C. W.
Adams, Richard Clunie, J. Glanville, James
Albu, A. H. Cocks, F. S. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Coldrick, W. Grey, C. F.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Collick, P. H. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Cook, T. F. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Cove, W. G. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Awbery, S. S. Craddook, George (Bradford, S.) Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)
Bacon, Miss Alice Crosland, C. A. R. Hamilton, W. W.
Baird, J. Crossman, R. H. S. Hannan, W.
Balfour, A. Cullen, Mrs. A. Hardy, E. A.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Daines, P. Hargreaves, A.
Bartley, P. Dalton, Rt. Hon H. Hastings, S.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Hayman, F. H.
Bence, C. R. Davies, Harold (Leek) Henderson, Rt. Hon A. (Rowley Regis)
Benn, Wedgwood Deer, G. Herbison, Miss M.
Benson, G. Delargy, H. J. Hobson, C. R.
Beswick, F. Dodds, N. N. Houghton, Douglas
Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale) Donnelly, D. L. Hubbard, T. F.
Bing G. H. C. Driberg, T. E. N. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
Blackburn, F. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Blenkinsop, A. Edelman, M. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Blyton, W. R. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Boardman, H. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Bottomley, A. G. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Bowden, H. W. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Bowles, F. G. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Ewart, R. Janner, B.
Brockway, A. F. Fernyhough, E. Jay, D. P. T.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Field, Capt. W. J. Jeger, George (Goole)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Fienburgh, W. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Finch, H. J. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
Burton, Miss F. E. Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Johnson, James (Rugby)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Follick, M. Johnson, Douglas (Paisley)
Callaghan, L. J. Foot, M. M. Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Carmichael, J. Forman, J. C. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Kenyon, C.
Champion, A. J. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Chapman, W. D. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. King, Dr. H. M.
Kinley, J. Paget, R. T. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Stross, Dr. Barnett
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Pannell, T. C. Swingler, S. T.
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Pargiter, G. A. Sylvester, G. O.
Lewis, Arthur Parker, J. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Lindgren, G. S. Paton, J. Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Peart, T. F. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Logan, D. G. Plummer, Sir Leslie Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Longden, Fred (Small Heath) Popplewell, E. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
MacColl, J. E. Porter, G. Thurtle, Ernest
McGhee, H. G. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Timmons, J.
McGovern, J. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Tomney, F.
McInnes, J. Proctor, W. T. Turner-Samuels, M.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Pursey, Cmdr. H. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
McLeavy, F. Rankin, John Usborne, H. C.
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Reeves, J. Viant, S. P.
McNeil, Rt. Hon. H. Raid, Thomas (Swindon) Wallace, H. W.
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Reid, William (Camlachie) Watkins, T. E.
Mainwaring, W. H. Rhodes, H. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Richards, R. Weitzman, D.
Mann, Mrs. Jean Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wells, William (Walsall)
Manuel, A. C. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) West, D. G.
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Mayhew, C. P. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Messer, F. Ross, William White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Mikardo, Ian Royle, C. Whiteley, Rt. Hon W.
Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J. Schofield, S. (Barnsley) Wigg, G. E. C.
Mitchison, G. R. Shackleton, E. A. A. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Monslow, W. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Wilkins, W. A.
Moody, A. S. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Short, E. W. Willey, Octavious (Cleveland)
Morley, R. Shurmer, P. L. E. Williams, David (Neath)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Mort, D. L. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Moyle, A. Slater, J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Mulley, F. W. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Murray, J. D. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Nally, W. Snow, J. W. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Sorensen, R. W. Wyatt, W. L.
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Yates, V. F.
Oldfield, W. H. Sparks, J. A. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Oliver, G. H. Steele, T.
Orbach, M. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Oswald, T. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, accordingly and negatived.

Mr. Head

I beg to move, in page 1, line 20, at the end, to insert: Provided that this subsection shall not render a member of the Home Guard liable to proceedings for an offence under section forty-one of the Army Act (which provides for the punishment under military law of civil offences). This Amendment will, I hope, to some extent reassure hon. Members concerning doubts expressed in the discussion which immediately preceded it. The object of this Amendment is to ensure that no member of the Home Guard shall be tried under military law for an offence which could conceivably come within the normal civil code. As hon. Members probably know, there is within the Army Act a Section—Section 41—which provides for the punishment under military law of civil offences. This Amendment is to ensure that no man who comes under military law while on duty, or when mustered, should be tried under any circumstances within that Section of the Army Act.

I would say to hon. Members who have expressed a great deal of anxiety about this question of military law that this was done during the last war in the case of the Home Guard. I have an analysis of all the convictions by courts-martial of members of the Home Guard, and the vast majority of these cases were those of insubordination or disobedience. Hon. Members will realise that these offences are utterly different when committed in a military formation than under civil conditions, and I would also point out that these volunteers who join the Home Guard are particularly jealous of the efficiency and the discipline of their units.

Unless they take pride in that aspect of the matter half the benefit of this preliminary training has gone. It is their object to prepare themselves to play their part, at very short notice, in war and the fact that they are under military discipline not only makes it easier for officers who have, I agree, to a large extent to rely on their own personality, but also gives them the normal status of Armed Forces of the Crown. We would find there is no desire on the part of the Home Guard to be treated as Boy Scouts.

Mr. Head

The hon. Member is not very well acquainted with military matters—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Not from the point of view of service, anyway. I would say this to the hon. Member: Most of his remarks in the House —and he will agree with me—have been directed towards the suggestion that anything military is not only unnecessary but usually stupid. I assure him that opinions in the Home Guard are not likely to coincide with his own.

Mr. Hughes rose

Mr. Head

No, I think it best—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I shall give way to the hon. Member in a moment, as I have done on very many occasions before, but I think it best to finish my point. What I am saying to the hon. Member is that these men who are joining should be able to make a job of the battalions they join and produce units which are efficient. Anyone who has had anything to do with these battalions knows that if the unit is going well there is very little likelihood of having a court-martial, but they accept this because they are part of the Armed Forces of the Crown. In the entire last war there were practically no cases, except for insubordination and disobedience, and those cases came out at 02 of the whole Force. If the hon. Member is trying to suggest that the fact that they are under military law is going to victimise these volunteers and put them under a Prussian system, he is searching for scares that do not exist.

Mr. Hughes

The Secretary of State for War referred to my lack of experience in military matters. Unfortunately, I have had a considerable amount of experience in the very matters which are under consideration. The right hon. Gentleman may have attained higher rank than I did in the Army, but I wish to point out that probably I am the only hon. Member of this House who has been court-martialled five times. I claim that in my own sphere I am as much an authority on courts-martial as Sir Erskine May is on matters of Parliamentary procedure. I did not mean to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman irreverently at all, but what I object to is that twice in this debate he has made casual references to the Boy Scouts as if they were not a respectable and honourable company.

Mr. Head

I do not want the hon. Gentleman to stick on to me any disrespect for the Boy Scouts. I was myself a Boy Scout, and I am not at all ashamed of it; in fact, I am very proud of it. My reason for mentioning the Boy Scouts is because there is no sanction in the Boy Scouts and because it is a very different form of body from this Home Guard which we are proposing to start. I say to the hon. Gentleman that the Home Guard will take pride in the fact that they are members of the Armed Forces of the Crown and under military discipline.

Mr. Hughes

Yes, Sir. Now I am glad we have had the amende honorable to the Boy Scouts, because I am quite sure that the Boy Scouts in my constituency, when they read the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in HANSARD, will very strongly object to him saying that the Home Guard is not to be like the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts in my constituency are a very respectable body, and if the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Baxter) had been brought up in the Boy Scouts in South Ayrshire he would not have made the remarks which he has made in this debate this evening.

I want to put some points from my experience as one who has appeared—unsuccessfully I admit—before five different courts-martial. I can foresee the possibility that out of the.02 per cent., the 200 people in the Home Guard who may be brought before a court-martial, there is a remote possibility that one may be court-martialled in South Ayrshire. What happens then? He comes to his M.P. and says, "You know most about court-martial procedure, will you defend me before this court-martial?"

I want to know where I am. I want to know exactly under what circumstances a member of the Home Guard may be court-martialled and for what offences, and exactly what is going to happen. I have had to defend soldiers before. On one occasion I had to defend soldiers who trespassed on military property and they were threatened with eviction. They came to me and I successfully defended these men. I can foresee that if any of these Boy Scouts—[Laughter.]—any of these Home Guards get into trouble with their commanding officer in South Ayrshire the first thing they will do will be to come to me.

Supposing there is an unfortunate difference of opinion between a member of the Home Guard and his commanding officer. This Home Guard is to have duties imposed upon it that were not imposed on the Home Guard in the last war, because I gather from the speeches of the Secretary of State for War that it will be concerned with sabotage, with subversive activities, and I do not know exactly what kind of instructions may be issued to members of the Home Guard in their hours of duty. They may have to discuss the question of Communists, and I would like to know, supposing the local Communist gets into the Home Guard—

9.0 p.m.

Sir H. Williams

May I draw your attention, Mr. Thomas, to the fact that we are discussing a Clause providing that people shall not be liable to courts-martial. The hon. Gentleman is talking about something for which they will be liable. Surely, his speech has no relevance to the subject under discussion?

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. George Thomas)

The hon. Gentleman is asking for what offences members of the Home Guard may be liable to court-martial, and I think he is quite in order.

Sir H. Williams

If the Bill says that they are not to be liable, how can we discuss their liability?

The Temporary Chairman

I do not think I need argue the question with the hon. Member.

Mr. Hughe

May I take this opportunity of congratulating you, Mr. Thomas, on your elevation to the Chair? I am quite confident that your decisions will be as wise in the future as on this occasion.

Let us suppose that there is a hypothetical dispute between the local Communist who gets into the Home Guard and his Tory colonel, and this results in a difference of opinion. The colonel is of opinion that the Communist should be court-martialled for using disrespectful language to a superior officer. I ask again, what is going to be the procedure? There is no guard room, and the man, presumably, will be taken to the police station. In such circumstances, let us suppose that other people in the Home Guard—say, half a dozen of them—think that the colonel is wrong and the Communist right. If we get six of these people doing this, it ceases to be insubordination and becomes mutiny. I see the dangers coming; I have been through them, and there is the possibility—indeed, I challenge hon. Members—

Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)

I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not like to mislead the Committee. It is not really necessary, when an offence has been committed—and I have a little experience of these matters—to put anybody under close arrest. They are not always under close arrest, but can be placed under open arrest, and that procedure was, in fact, used in the Home Guard. Surely, the hon. Gentleman will concede that?

Mr. Hughes

Will the Secretary of State deny that if there is a case of insubordination, which may become mutiny, members of the Home Guard may be sentenced to a term of detention in what is politely known as the "glasshouse"? If that is so, I want that provision entirely removed from the Bill, because I believe that the "glasshouse" is an institution that ought to be abolished. So I want that clear statement incorporating in the Bill, and I hope that the matter will be made clear when the reply for the Government is made.

Mr. Callaghan

I should like to take the opportunity, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, of congratulating you, Mr. Thomas, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, West, on the first occasion on which you appear in the Chair, and to say that I am sure the whole Committee will enjoy and benefit from your occupation of the Chair in the time that lies ahead of us.

As I understand the new Amendment which the Secretary of State has moved, it is intended to provide that those who, while subject to military law—that is to say, presumably mustered and on duty— and who commit civil offences, shall be tried in civilian courts.

Mr. Head indicated assent.

Mr. Callaghan

The Secretary of State nods his head in assent. If that is the case, then I can only congratulate my hon. Friend on the speech he has just made, because this is clearly a very proper Amendment which ought to be made to provide that those who are civilians and who don uniform for a short time every week should not be subject to military law when it comes to trying any civilian offences that they may have committed when they have been on duty and are mustered. In those circumstances, I feel that I would recommend to my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee that we should accept the Amendment and pass on to some of the other matters in which we shall not be able to give the Secretary of State such a complete clearance as I am prepared to give him on this particular occasion.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Head

I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, to leave out from the beginning, to "(including," in line 23, and to insert: (3) The following provisions shall have effect as to the enrolment, re-engagement and resignation of members of the Home Guard—

  1. (a) a person volunteering and accepted for service in the Home Guard shall he enrolled for a period of two years;
  2. (b) a member of the Home Guard may if he so desires and is accepted for re-engagement re-engage from time to time for a period of one year;
  3. (c) a member of the Home Guard may if he so desires cease to be a member thereof upon giving not less than one month's notice in writing to his commanding officer.
(4) Subject to the provisions of the last foregoing subsection the conditions for the acceptance of persons as members of the Home Guard and the conditions of service of members thereof.

Mr. Swingler

On a point of order. May I seek your guidance, Mr. Thomas, in regard to this Amendment? Some hon. Friends and myself have a very similar Amendment to this one in the name of the Secretary of State for War. It is in page 2, line 11. But there are a number of important differences between the two Amendments. Should we discuss these two Amendments together, or is it your intention to call our Amendment later?

The Temporary Chairman

It is not the intention to call the Amendment in the name of the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends, but I think it would suit the convenience of the Committee if we discussed that Amendment whilst discussing the one in the name of the Secretary of State for War.

Mr. Head

May I, Mr. Thomas, for the first time from this side of the Committee, express my congratulations to you on your first appearance in the Chair and express the hope that your Rulings will be as satisfactory to this side of the Committee as they were to the hon. Member for Ayrshire, South (Mr. Emrys Hughes)? If you are as successful in future in maintaining order, I do not think that anyone on this side will have any criticism to make of your tenure of the Chair.

This Amendment has been devised because there were genuine expressions in many quarters of the House of anxiety regarding this question of the certain matters which would be laid down by Regulation and laid before Parliament. There were certain of those matters of a more important and far-reaching kind which hon. Members felt should be included in the Bill itself. I refer, first, to the matter like the term of service, second, to the terms of re-engagement, and, third, in particular, to the right of any volunteer in this Force to terminate his engagement by giving notice in writing to his commanding officer and a month after that date being able to gain his discharge.

Hon. Members felt that these particular, so to speak, safeguards regarding the terms of service and the conditions of discharge ought to be included in the Bill rather than included in the Regulations which will be laid before Parliament after the Bill has become law. I thought there was an argument for that in so far as there would be natural anxiety by hon. Members if such far-reaching measures were included in the Regulations. For that reason, and in view of the expressions of anxiety which were made during the Second Reading, we have included the matters concerning conditions of service and powers of discharge in the Bill, and I hope that hon.

Members will agree that in that respect we have met their complaints and that that is clearly laid down and will not be subject to Regulations.

Mr. Wyatt

If a member of the Home Guard resigns and joins up again later, does he have to complete that part of the two years which he had not completed when he first resigned or does he start another two years?

Mr. Head

That somewhat hypothetical question at this stage is not one that I am able to answer here and now. I do not know whether that will please the hon. Member or not. It is obviously a technical matter which will have to be laid down in the Regulations. How it will be worked out I cannot tell, but I can assure the hon. Member that he will have full particulars of it before enrolment into the Home Guard starts.

Mr. Wigg

No doubt the Secretary of State for War has very good intentions, but he must agree that the words in the Amendment in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) are better than his own words. They should be, for they are taken from the Territorial Army Act. They contain proper safeguards for the man in relation to the matter of the restoration of accoutrements left in the man's possession. The Secretary of State will see that a man may give a month's notice in writing.

The man then knows that, having given the month's notice and having delivered up the equipment in his charge, at the end of that time he ceases to be a member of the Home Guard. Of course, he ought to remain financially liable for the equipment which he may have. It is true that to start with it is only a steel helmet and an arm-band, but we are making provisions still to be in force when the Secretary of State is able to provide his Men with uniform.

We ought not to allow men to join the Home Guard for just a short period and then go off. During my Regular service I was at one time engaged on the administration of Territorial Army units, and it was a common practice to find that recruitment to the Territorial Army grew in the early part of the year and then dwindled off because the men had by that time worn out their uniforms. They were using a temporary service in the Territorial Army to gain improper possession of valuable equipment. There ought to be safeguards about that. If the Secretary of State cannot accept words taken from the Territorial Army Act, he ought to be prepared between now and the Report stage to add something to the words he is inserting.

The Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend contains provisions under which a man can be discharged for disobedience to orders, neglect of duty, misconduct or other sufficient cause, the commanding officer to be the sole judge. The words of the subsection are taken from the Territorial Army Act. They are very proper words. The man knows exactly where he stands. He knows—this is very important—that he has a right of appeal to the Army Council. That is a right which the man ought to have.

I should have thought that, from the point of view of the efficiency of the service and the safeguarding of the rights of the individual, it would have been possible for the Secretary of State to take our form of words, which are words which have been in operation in the Territorial Army Act since 1907 and have stood the test of two wars and what happened between the two wars. He ought not to fall back upon words which have been very hurriedly thought out and have not stood the tests which the other words have. I hope, therefore, that between now and the Report stage he will give an assurance that he will accept the form of words, or something very near them, in the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton.

9.15 p.m.

Sir H. Williams

I am glad that my right hon. Friend is not accepting the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton), but, at the same time, I think there is a lot in what the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) has just said. I think this has substantially solved the problem which some of us had in mind when we tabled the Amendment to Clause 3, page 3, line 3, because that proposes that all Regulations should be the subject of a Prayer. What we were worried about was that the things which affect men in civil life should be subject to Regulations which we could not debate. In view of what has been said, I do not think my hon. Friends and I would desire to move our Amendment to Clause 3—

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

We have not reached that yet.

Sir H. Williams

I am entitled to indicate my future intentions. I am saying that I think my hon. Friends and I will not desire to move our Amendment to Clause 3, page 3, line 3. I hope that that may facilitate the work of the Secretary of State in getting the Bill through.

Mr. Ian Harvey

The experience of finding myself in complete agreement with the observations of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) tempts me to ask my right hon. Friend to accept the views which he has expressed this evening, because I think it is very true that the lessons of the Territorial Army will be invaluable in strengthening and developing the Home Guard.

As one who has been closely associated with the Territorial Army, I searched very carefully to see where I could disagree with the hon. Member for Dudley and, having failed to do so, I would urge upon my right hon. Friend to accept the substance of the Amendment.

Major Legge-Bourke

I feel that what the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) said he wished to see done certainly ought to be done, but the question is whether the requirement for those things to be done ought to be placed in this Bill. That seems to be the issue here. When the hon. Member for Dudley was speaking I could not help feeling that he had in mind the old form G 1098 of the Regular Army and that he had obviously had to be very careful in the past in checking his own stores.

I certainly realise that any organisation as free as the Home Guard will be will lend itself to considerable abuses in this matter. I should have thought that most of the matters which the hon. Member for Dudley has mentioned could very well be covered by the Regulations. Although Parliament ought to be careful to see that the Executive are not given undue powers, I do not believe Parliament wants to be bothered every other day with whether or not a rifle has been returned or whether stores are missing.

Mr. Wigg

The Amendment in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) is in the T.A. Regulations, and it is also in the Territorial Army Act.

Major Legge-Bourke

Then I would agree at once that the argument of the hon. Member has more force than I thought it had. Certainly, I feel that what he has said should be brought to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Wyatt

I think it is quite clear that unless this Amendment is made the person who is discharged from the Home Guard will not have any redress or right of appeal to the Army Council. This is an important point, because we know that when the Home Guard battalions are formed they may be formed on rather a local and personal basis, and there may be cases when someone quite unfairly and wrongly is discharged from the Home Guard as a result of the report of his commanding officer, who has known him in the past and happens not to like him. Such a man has no redress and no right of appeal to the Army Council, and nothing more will be heard of the matter; yet he will justifiably nourish a grievance.

If we are to call upon people to volunteer to give up their spare time without any payment or reward, the very least we can do is to give them some court of appeal to which they can go if they feel they have been wrongly discharged. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should accept this Amendment. After all, it is practically word for word with that which applies to the Territorial Army. It has worked extremely well and has been adapted here to meet Home Guard requirements. I think the right hon. Gentleman would be unduly and unnecessarily obstinate to stick to the rather second-rate Amendment which he has put down rather than accept this excellent Amendment, based on excellent precedents.

Mr. Head

I can assure the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) that it is not our intention wilfully to omit anything from this new Amendment, which has been moved for the specific purpose of providing a safeguard in the matter of terms of service and discharge. It is not at present our intention within the Regulations to make the Home Guard subject to (5, b) in the Amendment which the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) has put down, because we intended to rely, if necessary, on procedure through the civil courts for the recovery of arms. It was also our intention not to make that a condition for discharge.

I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman would necessarily wish that included in the case of the Home Guard. In the case of the Territorial Army very much more, and more valuable, equipment is concerned. In this case it was our intention that the month's notice should be given and that the recovery of equipment should be dealt with through the civil courts. I hope hon. Gentlemen will agree that that matter need not be included in the Bill.

With regard to subsection (6), however, if the hon. Member for Dudley, wishes it, I am quite prepared to consider putting it into the Bill. I suggest that I should move the Amendment down in my name, and I will give an undertaking to the Committee that I will consider the matter before the Report stage.

Mr. Wigg

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, but I still think he would be well advised to have second thoughts about the provision dealing with equipment. It is quite true that the man starts off with a steel helmet and an arm band. While his equipment is confined to those two articles the problem is relatively of little importance, but the next step will be the issue of a pair of boots, and then perhaps a couple of pairs of boots—or gum boots, as one of my hon. Friends suggests; and then a little later, the man will perhaps be built up to something like a full kit.

By that time, the right hon. Gentleman —if he is still at the War Office, which I doubt—or his successor may have overlooked this debate and may suddenly be faced with the prospect of thousands of pounds worth of public clothing having to be written off. It will be too late to use the civil courts in any case. The civil court is a rather slow and cumbersome medium of recovery. A much more effective medium of recovery is to say to the man, "If you want to leave, then before you leave you must either produce the kit or pay for it."

The sanction is instantaneous. Without it, there is no discharge; the man still remains subject to military law. That is quite simple. It has always worked. Any hon. Gentleman in any part of the Committee who has had service in the Territorial Army, or who knows anything about the Territorial Army, knows that this sanction is absolutely essential. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to have second thoughts here in the interests of the Home Guard itself.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I should like to apologise to the Committee for having been absent for the purpose of getting some refreshment after having sat in the Committee for several hours. I should like to say how much more I appreciate the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman on this Amendment of ours than his attitude earlier in our deliberations. It seems that the ground of difference between the right hon. Gentleman and those of us who have put down this Amendment is much narrower now than it was. He has accepted subsection (6) of our Amendment, and I would ask him very seriously to go a little step further and give an undertaking that he will incorporate the point we have tried to put in subsections (4) and (5). He has agreed to include subsection (6) on Report.

I honestly think that this Amendment will improve the Bill. I happen to have had some experience of the Territorial Army, and my experience indicates that this provision, which is more or less equivalent to provisions set out in the Appendix to the Territorial Army Act, 1907, has worked so well for over 40 years that it would be a pity not to take advantage of the experience gained in the Territorial Army over a period of 40 years and so to introduce a similar provision for the Home Guard. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman seriously to consider trying to bridge the comparatively narrow gap between us by accepting this further provision in our Amendment.

Mr. Strachey

I think that we on this side of the Committee should like to accept the proposal of the Secretary of State not to challenge his Amendment. As I understand it, he intends favourably to consider the alternatives here. I do not think that my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) was quite clear if that included the part about the equipment. That is, of course, actually a tightening up of the Bill, but I think it is a valuable one, and if, as I understand it, the Secretary of State has, in effect, told us he will accept those words, or something like them, then I do not think we should want to challenge the matter further tonight.

Amendment agreed to.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

I beg to move, in page 2, line 3, to leave out from "for," to the end of line 4, and to insert: the organisation of the Home Guard and their administration. It seemed to us that there were certain loose words here which might give rise to some misunderstanding, and that the feeling of the Committee was that they wanted rather more clarity on this point. Therefore, we thought that it would make for clarity if we left out these words and inserted: the organisation of the Home Guard and their administration. I need not detain the Committee with any further explanation of the Amendment. It has no abstruse or hidden meaning behind it. It is merely to make the situation abundantly clear.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Hutchison

I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, to leave out "training."

This and the previous Amendment might have been taken together had I been a little quicker off the mark. It is a drafting Amendment for the purpose of clarification. The Committee has already learned that in our view—and there has been quite a prolonged debate on the matter—"duties" cover "training" and, therefore, the word "training" in this connection becomes redundant. This Amendment and the one which has just been passed makes the Clause complete.

Sir P. Spens

May I ask a question? In view of the Amendment which we have just carried, which provides for the organisation of the Home Guard, ought we not to leave out the word "organisation" at the end of line 4? Otherwise we have "organisation" twice in the same line.

Mr. M. Stewart

On that point, I understand that in the Amendment just passed we have already left out the word "organisation" which is in the Bill, because we leave out everything to the end of line 4, but we are left with the matters for which the Regulations will have to provide—"organisation, administration, government and duties" of the Home Guard. I wonder if the Under-Secretary could tell us whether the words just put in are to make sure that, one way or another, everything that ought to be in is in, or is there some precise and legal distinction between "organisation, administration and government"? I follow the difference between "duties" and the other three things, but can the Under-Secretary distinguish the significance of these three words?

Mr. Hutchison

I am bound to say that I have some difficulty in distinguishing between "government, organisation and administration," and "organisation and administration." If the Committee will be content to leave it, we will see whether the word "government" is redundant, although I imagine that there must be some reason for it. If it is redundant, we may arrange for some alteration.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Callaghan

I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, at the end, to insert: (a) to take part in any industrial dispute. These words are clear, and I do not think there can be much argument as to whether they should be in or out of the Bill. At least, the meaning is there, which is more than one can say about some of the subsections which we have discussed up to the moment. The Secretary of State for War ought to be grateful for the detailed consideration that has been given to this Bill, I will not say only by our side of the Committee, although it is true that every Amendment has been put down by hon. Members on this side; but our Amendments have brought supporting fire on occasions from hon. Members opposite, and they all have had the effect of improving the Bill.

The Under-Secretary of State has just told us, "I will undertake to see whether, in fact, these words mean what they mean, and if they do not I will take them out the next time we are considering the Bill." That is not giving him very much chance, nor is it helping the Committee. This Bill is being rushed through, and we are to take the Report stage and Third Reading tomorrow afternoon. We have gone through all this before, but I think it ought to go on record that we are not being obstructive. The fact that our Amendments have been accepted show quite clearly that we have played a constructive role.

I hope the Under-Secretary of State will convey to the Leader of the House that there is a strong feeling on our side of the Committee that this Bill has been rushed out, and has not been properly thought out. The fact that these Amendments have to be put down show that, in fact, there should have been much more time allowed for the various stages.

I come now to the subject of this Amendment, which is to preclude the Home Guard when it is training or on duty from taking part in any industrial dispute. I see that the Under-Secretary of State has been left in charge of the Bill, and I hope he has been given authority to accept the Amendment. If so, I need not take very long in moving it. I have not got an answer, and in that case I must continue my speech. The Secretary of State for War was recently challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) on this subject of using the Home Guard in any industrial dispute. He made it clear in words which are now on record that there was no intention of using the Home Guard for such a purpose. Here is what he said: I can assure him that there is absolutely no intention in the creation of this Force of forming any strike-breaking unit."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 591.] That is a very satisfactory guarantee, and what we are now asking the right hon. Gentleman to do is to write the guarantee into the Bill. If he has no objection to it, there can be no possible difficulty about writing such simple and straightforward words into the Bill. If he will not do so, he must not be surprised if some of us retain some suspicions about his intentions. I put it to him that he has a duty here, in view of the very forthright guarantee that he has given, to satisfy those who are going to be concerned in this organisation that it will not be used for strike-breaking purposes.

I put this Amendment to the Under-Secretary of State on two grounds. The first of them is from the point of the Home Guard itself. The men who will make up the Home Guard will be the ordinary men of this country, and many of them will be trade unionists. That is especially so if the Home Guard is formed in works, as was done on a previous occasion. They may be very closely concerned with industrial disputes and with other industrial workers, and if we are going to invite these men who are industrial workers to serve in the Home Guard, we should make it clear that they will not be required to indulge in strikebreaking.

There are many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House who have had more experience of the organisation of trade unions than I have had. Although I have been a full-time officer of one for some years, I have never had occasion to lead a strike. So I have never had any experience of strikes, but I hope that the Government will not underrate the massive solidarity and loyalty of the working classes to those of their fellows who are engaged in industrial disputes. It is one of the most powerful emotions that fill the breasts of industrial workers in this country.

Now they are going into the Home Guard. Let us make it clear to them by writing into the statute the guarantee that the Secretary of State has given as part of the law of the land. We shall be removing any suspicion from the minds of those who want to join and play their part that they may be used in this way.

The second reason is that, as the Under-Secretary of State will know very well from the discussion that went on last time, whatever his good intentions may be and however firm his guarantees, there is still considerable suspicion among trade unionists about the use of this Force. He has it in his power tonight to rid anyone who can read the statute completely of those suspicions. He can clear away the whole of this business by accepting this short and simple phrase.

If he does, he will have made his course easier and will have given written sanction to the guarantees that we have already had. He will have made it clear that the organisation of the Home Guard is clearly set down and that it will not be used for industrial purposes. That will make it much easier for many people to accept the organisation. I express the earnest hope that he will use his discretion, if he has not the authority, to remove all possible suspicion and doubt from our minds by writing these words into the Bill.

Mr. Peart

I strongly support my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), that we should see that these words are included in the Bill. We have had a very long and interesting discussion, which aroused much controversy and perhaps a little heat, when we were considering consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council. We proposed that words should be included in the Bill because we suspect the intentions of certain hon. Gentlemen opposite. We hope that the promises that they have given during the debate on the Second Reading will be translated into action and that we shall have words in the Bill to ensure that the Home Guard will not be used in an industrial dispute.

I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that the trade union Members whom I have consulted—I know I have done so rather quickly because the Bill has been somewhat hurried—have genuine suspicions. We know from the history of our organisation that troops have been used on occasions. We are creating a new type of organisation in peace-time and it is essential we should have these fundamental safeguards in the interests of the Home Guard itself. We wish to start the organisation off in the right spirit by including these words in the Bill. It is important to remove genuine anxiety.

If the Under-Secretary refuses to give that assurance we can only come to the conclusion that the Bill is a panic Measure because hon. Gentlemen opposite have nothing constructive to offer in the Parliamentary session which is ahead of us. The King's Speech was a programme of negation. Here hon. Members feel they have an opportunity to push forward a panic Measure to counterbalance something which they have not done in the way of positive legislation. I hope the Under-Secretary of State will consider our point sympathetically and will include in the Bill the words for which we ask.

9.45 p.m.

Mr. Bellenger

The Committee will know or recollect that on Second Reading I took a line about this suspicion which was somewhat at variance with that of some of my hon. Friends. I do not know whether, if they were incorporated in the Bill, these words would give the legal guarantee for which my hon. Friends are asking.

I still do not believe any Government would dare to use Armed Forces of the Crown, such as the Home Guard will be, in the way some of my hon. Friends seem to think possible. [An HON. MEMBER: "They did in the past."] My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), made the same remark when I made a similar speech on Second Reading.

I still do not believe that this use would be made of the Home Guard. But I put it to the Under-Secretary that a good number of my hon. Friends do think so, and if there are any substantial fears behind their suspicions, in the trade union world for example, I suggest it would be detrimental to the success of enlistment or recruitment of the Home Guard which all sides of the Committee want and which we must have if the Bill is to be a success.

I can visualise occasions when there might be some trouble at a factory and, unwittingly perhaps, the local people there might ask some of the Home Guard, probably without their arm-bands and steel helmets, to protect the factory premises from real or imagined sabotage or some other trouble. Obviously that would be a case to be looked after by the civil police. Indeed, in some of the Royal Ordnance Factories I believe there are special police to deal with damage to industrial premises arising from industrial disputes or otherwise.

Whether the method proposed in the Amendment is the right way or not I do not know, but as far as we possibly can we ought to remove any possible grounds for suspicion that the Home Guard, wittingly or unwittingly, with or without armbands, would be used at any time to deal in any way with the effects of an industrial dispute. I still say I am not as suspicious as are some of my hon. Friends, but on the grounds I have stated I think it would be worth while incorporating this or some similar provision in the Bill.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

May I ask a question which, quite honestly, I wish to ask in order to seek information? Do hon. Members opposite consider that the unloading of food ships at the docks, as was done by the Brigade of Guards quite recently under the recent Government, was strike-breaking or a matter of keeping the feeding of the people of this country under control when it becomes a serious matter? I want to know because on that depends my reaction to the Amendment.

Mr. Popplewell

I believe the Under-Secretary has power to deal with the Clause in a way which will give the assurance we seek. The embracing of this suggestion in the Bill is one of the most important things connected with it if we want to keep the support of trade unionists for the Bill.

Many people in the trade union world have long memories of times gone by when troops were called out to quell industrial disputes. Many of us have memories about the troops that were stood by in 1926, and used. Many of our mining friends have memories of these things. Not far from my own native place at the village of Featherstone troops were used to shoot the people down.

It might be logical and it might be necessary—one can visualise a set of circumstances—when Regulars, members of the Armed Forces, have to be used in the way indicated by the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) for unloading foodstuffs or anything of that description. But the trade union world wants an assurance that so far as the Home Guard is concerned, nothing like that can possibly happen.

It is not sufficient, I suggest, for the Secretary of State to give the unqualified assurance that he gave during the Second Reading, when he said: there is absolutely no intention in the creation of this Force of forming any strikebreaking unit. That may not be the intention of the Secretary of State at present, but one cannot tell what might happen in the future; and should industrial unrest develop—we sincerely hope that it will not—we all know how tempers become frayed and panic action takes place. If there is in existence this Force that might be of some use, one does not know to what purpose it might ultimately be put.

Trade unionists are very suspicious about the Clause. It is not sufficient for the Secretary of State to say, as he did in reply to a question by me on Second Reading, that The mustering of the Home Guard can only be done to meet an apprehended or actual attack. He went on to say: This is a peace-time Measure, and there is no arrangement whatever for the mustering of the Home Guard in peace-time."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 591, 593.] We agree with that. We agree that that is the intention of the Bill, but in the event of industrial unrest developing, as we said during the Second Reading, that may not provide an adequate safeguard in those unsettled times.

Many of us in the trade union world have very bitter memories in this direction. If the Under-Secretary of State wants to retain the good will and to get volunteers for the Home Guard, it is essential that he accepts the Amendment. If there is any failure to do so, one can visualise the immediate reaction of millions of trade unionists.

Mr. Popplewell

It is no good the hon. Member saying "Nonsense." He knows nothing at all about it. I speak as an active trade unionist of over 30 years' standing, and I know my people. There is a very great suspicion amongst them, and if trouble develops—I make no apology for emphasising this—they do not want to feel that they are to be shackled by any voluntary measures that they have agreed to undertake to meet war-time requirements.

The Secretary of State advisedly said that the Bill is a peace-time Measure, but we have seen many actions take place and the Government are so left with the power to introduce orders that one cannot tell, in the event of a dispute, how quickly some instrument may be used to extend the scope of the Bill for a particular occasion.

If the Government want volunteers for the Home Guard, if they are sincere in their declarations and not merely doctrinaire, they will accept the Amendment; if not in its actual wording, then in suitable words to meet the wish that the men of the Home Guard will not under any circumstances be called upon to meet any industrial unrest.

Sir P. Spens

I ask the Committee to realise what the Amendment comes to. We are dealing with what is to be or not to be in the Regulations and those Regulations have to be laid before the House and there are means of objecting to the Regulations.

Mr. Peart rose

Sir P. Spens

I know what the hon. Member is going to say. The Amendment merely says that there is not to be a Regulation which requires members of the Home Guard to take part in any industrial dispute. Can any hon. Member imagine that if the Secretary of State tried to make a Regulation requiring the Home Guard to be used in an industrial dispute it would ever get through the House? This is an absolute red herring.

Mr. Callaghan

Surely such a Regulation, if made, would not be presented to the House? As I understand it the only opportunity the House has on any of these matters is by raising them on the Adjournment, or by means of a Parliamentary Question.

Sir P. Spens

If the Bill goes through it will be laid down that Orders or Regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, and, as was said on Second Reading, they can be raised by means of Questions, or on the Adjournment. Can any hon. Member imagine that a Regulation blatantly requiring the Home Guard to be used in an industrial dispute would ever be put before this House, or would have any sort of chance of getting through this House?

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

This is the first word I have uttered in Committee on this question and I do so because, in common with millions engaged in the industrial life of this country, I feel uneasy about it. The organised trade union movement takes second place to no section of the community in loyalty to their country and record of service. Anyone who has had experience in the Labour movement knows that immediately a question of this character is raised it arouses the best emotions of fellow workmen.

I was addressing a large conference in Manchester on Saturday afternoon and, immediately the Home Guard was mentioned, it was possible to sense a complete change in the atmosphere to hostility arising out of the suspicions of the past. At 11 years of age I saw soldiers brought in to deal with the dockers in Salford.

Mr. Smith

As my hon. Friend reminds me, it was the Scots Greys. I saw the Scots Greys camped on the open ground in front of Salford Docks and that made an indelible mark on my memory. That was typical of what took place in Liverpool when certain right hon. Members of this House were responsible for what took place, and Liverpool people remember that. The same occurred in South Wales, the same at Tonypandy, at Featherstone and other places and we remember, also, what occurred in 1921, 1924 and 1925 in preparation for 1926. My hon. Friend the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton), who was a miner, was involved in that.

Even the words suggested in the Amendment may not be satisfactory because I can see a situation arising, knowing how cleverly lawyers can deal with words when, if these words were inserted —I am glad that one of the Law Officers is present—the matter would depend on the Law Officers' interpretation of what is "an industrial dispute." What they interpret as an industrial dispute they could interpret as a political move, or they could declare a state of emergency. Therefore before we part with this Amendment we are bound to ask the Government to reconsider the whole matter, so that when this Bill comes to Report stage words may be inserted that will provide the people of this country with sufficient evidence to enable them to approve of it going to another place.

10.0 p.m.

Here is a concrete example of what might happen. I understand that for the time being the Home Guard is to be organised only to deal with the Eastern part of our country. In the Dover area there are several mines and they are still to be developed. Therefore, that area may become a very important mining area. It will be one of the spots of a vulnerable character where the Home Guard will be called out and organised. As the mines have been nationalised, and if the men there were forced to take a stand on some legitimate grievance, I can visualise certain legal people interpreting that not as an ordinary industrial dispute, but as a political move.

In my view, therefore, it is good to have these discussions and bring out these points. But these words ought to be altered so that there can be no excuse at all for the Law Officers misinterpreting a stand taken by any organised workers in support of any legitimate grievance. In addition, the Clause also states: —the Home Guard to which they belong is mustered.… It would be possible to muster them, and then call on them, or ask them, or instruct them, to deal with the kind of thing to which I have referred.

The words which it is proposed to insert, while they are a step forward, are not altogether satisfactory. I am asking if the Law Officers can give an undertaking in answer to the point I have raised, that before this Bill comes to the Report stage these words should be inserted.

Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)

The important thing at this stage is to get clear what we are talking about. It seems to me that both the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) and the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), are muddling issues of civil disorder with issues of an industrial dispute. So far as an industrial dispute is concerned, I think they are both being very unfair to the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who has used troops in an industrial dispute where there was no issue of civil disorder.

The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West, mentioned what I would say were very exaggerated stories about the use of troops in what I can only conclude were issues of civil disorder and have nothing whatever to do with industrial disputes.

Mr. Bellenger

Surely the hon. Member is referring to the use of Regular troops. This deals with volunteers entirely.

Mr. Pitman

I am talking about what the hon. Members for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West, and Stoke-on-Trent, South, have been talking about. They have said that trade unionists have long memories. They have mentioned regiments like the Scots Greys—

Mr. Popplewell

Seeing that the hon. Member has mentioned me—

Mr. Pitman

I will give way in a moment—in which the issue is clearly one of civil disturbance—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—yes. If it was not, what is the point of the remark of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, that this does not go far enough? The issue is perfectly clear. If these words are put into this Bill all we shall do is to make it all the more legal and proper for the War Office to use the Home Guard in matters of civil disorder.

It would be a great mistake to do it, and the whole Committee does not want to do it. If they are to use them at all, I think they should use first the police, the Regulars second and that the Home Guard should not come in at all. I would suggest that both sides of the Committee are completely agreed in wanting to achieve the end which has been outlined by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), and the whole point of this discussion is how best to achieve that end.

Mr. Popplewell

I think the hon. Gentleman ought to make clear, before he leaves this point, what he said in reply to the allegation which I made. He mentioned industrial disputes, and brought up the question of civil disorder. On many occasions, how quickly has an industrial dispute been linked up with some interpretation of civil disorder? The case I have mentioned was an industrial dispute which was linked with civil disorder, at which the Riot Act was read.

We have seen sufficient of industrial dispute being linked up very quickly with civil disorder before the men actually engaged in these disputes had ever thought of such a thing. Therefore, I say that the Home Guard is not a Regular Armed Force. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] In certain circumstances, and to deal with emergencies, possibly the Regular Army should be called out, but the Home Guard —and this is the distinction which we want to make perfectly clear—is, as we have been told by the Secretary of State, a Force to be used for protection in wartime. We therefore seek an assurance that the Government will not attempt to use it as a military Force in order to deal with these industrial matters.

Mr. Pitman

I have been very generous with the hon. Member, but every word that he has said has shown the confusion that exists in his own mind between civil disturbance and an industrial dispute. He said here—and I am sure he must be wrong—that in matters of an industrial dispute men in a village in his constituency were actually shot. He will see that that is what he said in regard to an industrial dispute.

It is perfectly clear that, if that is the line that he is taking, the terms of this Amendment will actually make the situation worse for the purpose which the Committee desires to achieve, because both sides of this Committee and the Minister himself have said that they do not wish the Home Guard to be used in times of industrial dispute or in times of civil disorder.

If we put into an Act of Parliament a Clause of this kind, we extend the scope of that Clause, and do not limit it, whereas, I have no doubt, the purpose of the Committee is to limit it. The real effect of the Clause, in point of fact, is to make it possible for the Secretary of State for War to call in the Home Guard in all sorts of things, and particularly civil disorder, which, equally clearly, this Committee does not wish to be done.

Let us not forget that the issue is that the Home Guard has to be mustered before this can operate at all. It will be much more helpful if members of trade unions would make an effort to help the Committee and back up the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who called in troops for industrial disputes, and make a distinction between industrial disputes and civil disorders.

Mr. M. Stewart

We have had a discussion on this Amendment which I think has revealed a very profound difference, not so much of intention as of feeling and experience, between the two sides of the Committee. What we are really asking the Secretary of State for War to do is to exercise rather more imagination than those of his hon. Friends who have so far spoken have displayed, and to understand why it is that we on this side are so concerned to get the substance of this Amendment into the Bill.

The hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) asked us whether the use of Regular troops as used under the late Government could properly be described as "strike breaking." My reply to that would be this. I understood the policy of the late Government in that matter to be to take with the help of the Regular Forces whatever steps were necessary to prevent the community being deprived of essential food or to prevent a breakdown of the economic life of the country—that and no more.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

No strike action?

Mr. Stewart

It might be that the effect of that would be to make the strike action less effective than it might otherwise be, but I understood the policy of the Government to be that whether that were so or not the action ought to be taken, and it fell to my lot, as it did to many other hon. Members on this side, to defend that action before our own working-class constituents in the knowledge that the Conservatives in the constituencies were doing their best to exploit the difficulties of the situation. I would still say that if the circumstances were exactly repeated and if a different Government were obliged to do the same thing, it would be logical and inescapable that one would take the same attitude towards it.

But it is one thing to use Regular Forces for that purpose and quite another to use a newly created Force. I must repeat that a Home Guard in time of peace is a new thing in this country, and I believe it to be desirable, quite apart from any of the trade union considerations with which many of my hon. Friends are rightly concerned, that we should be able to say without any palaver or qualification at all to everyone who joins this Force, "Here it is in black and white. In no circumstances whatever can your action in volunteering for the Home Guard put you in a position to be used in any circumstances whatever in connection with an industrial dispute."

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I am not in the least bit trying to be contentious, but I want to follow his argument one stage further. If in the event of this country being left entirely devoid of Regular troops and if there was an unofficial strike and the trade union leaders themselves said that this Force should be used to help us against a Communist-inspired unofficial strike, and there was nobody but the Home Guard left in the country, what would be the situation?

Mr. Stewart

The hon. and gallant Gentleman, if I may say so, is envisaging a chain of disasters falling upon this country quite different from what we were led to suppose would happen if the present Government were returned to power, but I do not intend that as the whole of my answer to this question.

If the circumstances which he envisages do occur, I think it would still be much wiser in those circumstances for a Government to say to the public, "We are enrolling immediately and as a matter of emergency a special organisation to deal with this situation, and we are putting to the test the question whether the people of the country are behind us." It would be better to do that than to have a Force enrolled for one purpose and to use it for an entirely different purpose. That being so, I trust we shall hear no more of the reminders from hon. Members opposite of the uses of troops which have been made in recent years, because they are not relevant to the question we are discussing.

10.15 p.m.

In the second place, in the junior experience which I once had on the Front Bench opposite I learnt a great many of the reasons that one might advance if one did not wish to accept an Amendment. I want to anticipate some that we may have and to comment on some that we have had already. One can say, to begin with, that the Amendment will not produce the effect which the mover intends it to have. That was partly the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens), who said that this does not make sense because a Regulation telling the Home Guard to take part in an industrial dispute would never get past Parliament. But under the Bill as it stands Regulations have not to get past Parliament; they need only be laid before it, and after that, to use an inelegant phrase about the activities of Parliament. Parliament must like them or lump them. There is no question of Regulations having to get past Parliament.

Again, one can say that the wording is perverse. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not take refuge in that one when he replies. I am certain that all the right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Government Front Bench know that, if they really accept the substance of what we are arguing, and if they are as anxious as we are to make dead certain that the Home Guard can never be used in an industrial dispute, they can quite easily, with the resources at their command, produce wording which will have that effect.

One can suggest that the Amendment is quite unnecessary, because the subject of it may never happen. Can hon. Members say that it is a legal impossibility under the Bill as it now stands to use the Home Guard for strike breaking? I admit that I do not think it could be done unless we first mustered the Home Guard, and we must all agree with that; but, in order to muster the Home Guard, there must be an actual or apprehended attack. Apprehended by whom? Presumably, if the words make any sense at all, by the Government of the day. There is nothing legally—I am speaking of what can legally happen—to prevent an ill-intentioned Government from deciding that it apprehends an attack in order to muster the Home Guard for the purposes of taking part in an industrial dispute. It might be said that, although that is legally possible, no Government would do such a thing.

I am willing to admit that the present Secretary of State for War would not lend himself to such a manoeuvre, and, as the Christmas season approaches nearer, I might even extend my charity to embrace the Under-Secretary on the one side of him and the Solicitor-General on the other. But how many times have we heard the argument that we must bear in mind not only the Government in power but a possible future Government? Never in the last two Parliaments did we debate anything that gave powers to the Executive without hon. Members opposite advancing that argument.

If the present wording is not considered satisfactory, I am sure it would be possible to devise words which will meet the wishes of my hon. Friends and some hon. Members opposite. As it stands, the Bill does not absolutely legally rule out this abuse of the Home Guard. We want to see it ruled out absolutely and without question. When I heard the elegant legal arguments advanced from the opposite side of the Committee and the voices of experience in past history on this side, I felt that in this country we are still in large measure two nations.

If hon. Members opposite are puzzled at the insistence about this of my hon. Friends with trade union experience, if they really cannot see why it is that we are so particular about this, let them realise that that is a limitation on their own experience and understanding, and if they cannot fully understand what is said, let them at least realise that the voice which is speaking is a deep and bitter voice which goes back through decades and centuries of our history.

I would implore the right hon. Gentleman to realise that, and if he does want, as I think he does, and as we all do, the good will of all sections of the community towards the building up of this Home Guard, let him realise the depth of feeling on this side of the Committee and let him say to himself, "Even if I do not fully understand the necessity, even if there will be a bit of difficulty about devising the exact form of words, in order to put my intention, my good will and my desire for national unity beyond question I will seek a form of words that shall satisfy every section in the Committee and every section of opinion in the country."

Mr. Head

I am aware from the discussion so far, and I was also aware during the Second Reading of the Bill, of the very great anxiety among hon. Members opposite about this subject. I did then express, and I would point out again at the start of my remarks, that the Bill is already very specific concerning this matter because it states that members of the Home Guard could only give whole-time service or be away from their home during the period when they were mustered. For the rest, the Home Guard can only be gathered together for training, and during that period of training they are, on this basis which we have already discussed, completely free not to appear if they do not wish to.

I think hon. Members will agree with me as far as this: that unless the Home Guard were mustered they could not fulfil this nefarious rôle which we are discussing. If they were not mustered I think it would be quite impractical for them to do so. For that reason, I do ask hon. Members to believe that there is no intention in this Bill or in the formation of the Home Guard to use them for that purpose except in war, because hon. Members will appreciate that the Bill states that they can only be mustered in the event of apprehended or actual attack.

If we are agreed that they can only be used for this purpose when mustered, and bearing in mind that it states in the Bill that they can only be mustered in the event of apprehended or actual attack, I assure hon Members that both the use of this formation and the limitation of the time when they could be mustered is, in effect, a complete denial of the ability of a Government to use them in the way that hon. Members suggest.

I do not think anybody in the Committee disagrees that this is not the object for which these men would be used, and it is merely a question of reassuring hon. Members in all quarters of the Committee that they would not in peace-time be used for this purpose. It is my opinion—and I am quite candid with the Committee about this—that this Clause which says they cannot be compulsorily gathered together away from their homes except when mustered and that they cannot be mustered except in case of war, is a safeguard, but it appears from what hon. Members say that they do not accept that as an adequate safeguard. I have said that I think there is a safeguard, and that it is not our intention to use them for that purpose.

The third thing I can say to the Committee is that everything we have said in this discussion so far makes it very apparent that it is extremely difficult to define this suggestion which hon. Members have set down on the Order Taper. Already there have been several disagreements about how it should be defined. As an earnest of the fact that we do not intend to use the Home Guard in peace to intervene in industrial strikes, I want to make an attempt to see if we can put something in a Clause in this Bill which will define it, but I would say that it is not an easy matter to define. I will look at it and see if we can get a solution by the Report stage.

It is genuinely the Government's intention to limit the use of this body entirely to when they are mustered. At the moment, they cannot be mustered except in the event of apprehended or actual attack. I have said that we will look at this matter, but I would put one further point to hon. Gentlemen. It has always been a favourite accusation against the War Office that they are preparing for the next war in terms of the last war. We have to accept that in the future it is quite possible that the definition, the actual moment of war, will not be known in the same way as it was in the past. After all, we are now fighting in two areas, and we may gradually get into a state which one would call neither war nor peace. Circumstances of that sort might arise, in the kind of twilight between those stages, in which we had strong Communist infiltration and very grave difficulties.

Under the threat of apprehended attack we might have to muster the Home Guard when an actual declaration had not been made. I do not believe a declaration of war, following the old methods, will be typical of any future war. Hon. Members will therefore see that we have a certain necessity to find a definition to cover something of that kind, because legally, I presume, we are not at war until war has been declared.

I make that proviso because I wish to indicate to hon. Members that it is not quite as straightforward a matter as they may think to give the categorical statement, as tabled in the Amendment. I undertake to look into this before the Report stage—we may not have very much time for it—and to see what I can do; but I do not want to deceive the Committee by guaranteeing that by tomorrow, on the Report stage, I shall have been able to draft something which will be in every way satisfactory. Nevertheless, I will undertake to look at it to see what I can do in that respect.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider this point, for example? It is well known that there is a great shortage of police in this country. Suppose there is an industrial dispute in some part of the east of our country and the local authorities consider that there has been a tendency for the police to be overworked. Would it be possible to ask for volunteers from the Home Guard to relieve the police during an industrial dispute?

Mr. Head

That is a matter which does not in any way concern the Home Guard. That is purely a local arrangement by the authorities responsible for the police, and I do not think it is an eventuality for which we can legislate in the Bill.

Mr. Strachey

The Secretary of State used an argument which I think is of very great importance. We want to get the matter thoroughly clear. He has repeated an argument which he used on Second Reading, that this Amendment is quite unnecessary—although I will come to his offer in a moment—because the Home Guard could not be used in an industrial dispute unless it was mustered and the Home Guard could not be mustered except in the event of war. He used that argument in his speech on the Second Reading, when he said that in his opinion the words in the Bill amounted to such a statement.

He said that the words of the Bill said, 'resisting an actual or apprehended attack or…taking part in measures for dealing with the effects of an attack.' That is to say, mustering is entirely a war-time measure."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 580.] I put it to him and the Committee that that does not follow from the words in the Bill. Of course, we should have to go by the words in the Bill, not by any expressions of opinion of mine or his or of anybody else. After all, we are told quite clearly in these words that the Home Guard could be mustered in the event of an apprehended attack.

10.30 p.m.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart) has said, this Home Guard, as I read the Bill, can be mustered at any time when in the opinion of the Government of the day an attack is apprehended. It is open for the Government of the day to say that an attack is apprehended in peace-time. The Secretary of State has just said that today the boundaries between peace and war are unfortunately blurred. It would be perfectly possible for the Government of the day to declare that an attack is apprehended and to muster the Home Guard.

Therefore, I do not think that we on this side of the Committee can accept the view that the prohibition of the use of the Home Guard in industrial disputes is already covered by some suggestion that the Home Guard could not be mustered except in time of war. I do most strongly ask the Secretary of State to look at this very carefully to see whether he can find some words to meet our case. Surely he cannot tell us that it is impossible to find words.

The words of the Amendment seem to us simple and satisfactory, but if the hon. Gentleman wants alternative words, stronger ones, we will accept them. But I assure him that in his own interest, and in the interest of the recruitment of a force to which he attaches great importance, it will make a lot of difference whether the Bill includes words of this sort. I cannot see what objection there is to putting in these words. Even if he thinks there are otiose, why not put them in because there will be great psychological gain in doing so.

Sir Ralph Glyn (Abingdon)

The Secretary of State has promised that he will consider this before the Report stage. He also said he realises that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have strong opinions. The Home Guard are civilians first and, on certain occasions, have a military capacity. In the last war I had something to do with the Home Guard, and I think that the Committee ought to realise that it would be impossible to utilise the Home Guard in any way effectively unless its members were assured that they would not be used in cases of industrial disputes.

Some of the battalions with which I was concerned were defending factories of great importance. They were well supported because the men in those factories realised that they were there for the purpose stated in this Bill, to defend the places against subversive attacks in time of emergency. I do not believe that any military authority at the War Office, or anywhere else, would attempt to use a force which would break in their hands if it were used wrongly. We want this Force to be effective, and I believe that the Secretary of State intends to fulfil his promise. I hope that we can proceed with the work of the Committee believing that the Secretary of State will implement tomorrow what he has promised this evening.

Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)

I think the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. I. J. Pitman) said that both sides of the Committee were agreed on the principle of this matter. I believe that to be so. But the principle which we on this side of the Committee wish to see adopted is that the Home Guard shall be specifically excluded from taking part in any industrial dispute either in war-time or in peace-time.

It is beyond dispute that under the law as it stands at present the Government have the right to use the military Forces at their disposal to take part in an industrial dispute. But we wish the Government to make quite certain in the Bill that the Home Guard are specifically excluded from that purpose. We shall not make a success of the Home Guard—and everyone in the Committee wishes to make a success of it—if the nation is suspicious about the purpose for which it can be used.

In my opinion, it is possible under present Regulations to use the Home Guard in an industrial dispute. I say that on the basis of the following words in the Bill: …regulations shall make provision for matters relating to the Home Guard, and in particular for their organisation, government, training and duties. It is possible by means of a Regulation to define the duties of the Home Guard allowing the Home Guard to be used in an industrial dispute. We do not agree that the present wording of the Bill is satisfactory, and after the assurance from the Secretary of State for War we shall expect that he will bring in tomorrow a form of words that will specifically exclude the Home Guard either in peace or in war from taking part in any industrial dispute.

Mr. Head

I think the chances of finding a satisfactory wording which will meet the wishes of the Committee will be reduced to some extent if we continue with this particular discussion, because I have assured the Committee that I will look into this. [An HON. MEMBER: "Intimidation."] There is no question of intimidation whatever. It is fair to say that I have had a perfectly fair indication of the views of the Committee on the matter, and I have stated that in the light of those views I shall try to find a form of words that will satisfy the Committee. I appeal to the Committee. Would it not be better if we came to a conclusion on this Clause and passed on to the next?

Mr. Shinwell

That strikes me like a plea for terminating the proceedings at this stage or rather adjourning the proceedings, because the right hon. Gentleman has made it quite clear that he wants adequate time to consider the modifications which have occurred to him as a result of the suggestions made by my hon. Friends. I see that the Leader of the House has arrived. I am not complaining about his not being present before. One could hardly expect that on the Committee stage. But now that he has arrived it occurs to me he might agree that we should adjourn the proceedings in view of the fact that the Secretary of State for War requires some time to consider changes in the structure of the Bill following the suggestions made to him.

It does not seem to me to be fair to the right hon. Gentleman to ask him to prepare for the Report stage tomorrow. There is so little time at his disposal. I for my part, would agree if we could adjourn, perhaps not immediately but at as convenient a time, having disposed of this Amendment, as the Committee should desire, and that we might agree to provide facilities in the usual way so that the Government could get their Bill before the Christmas Recess. Perhaps it might be concluded next week, but it seems to me to be difficult for the Committee, and particularly for the right hon. Gentleman to do as everybody desires unless ample time is afforded him.

I do not know, Sir Charles, whether you would agree to accept a proposal from me that we report Progress and ask leave to sit again to enable the right hon. Gentleman to come to a conclusion on these matters.

The Chairman

Yes, I will accept such a Motion.

Mr. Shinwell

Then I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."

This is quite a legitimate proceeding in view of the right hon. Gentleman's dilemma. I must direct the attention of many hon. Members, perhaps the majority, on the Government benches to the fact that the Committee has not been too well attended during our deliberations. A large number of Members on the other side have just appeared, whence I do not know, and whither they are going after our deliberations I do not know, although if the matter were left to me I would tell them where to go.

Not having been present, they are unaware that the right hon. Gentleman has been very reasonable and has accepted many of our suggestions. Indeed—I do not know whether I ought to say this, but it is on the tip of my tongue and I prefer to tell the truth rather than avail myself of Parliamentary advantage—the fact is that the right hon. Gentleman has conceded to us more than I expected at the beginning. He has been reasonable; we have been wise in our suggestions. That is what one would expect from an assembly of this kind. It is consistent with what I have said throughout; that we have approached this matter in an impartial and objective spirit.

I beg the right hon. Gentleman to agree to my proposition, because it will give him ample time to make up his mind on further steps that require to be taken, and it will enable hon. Members to go home at a convenient time. [Interruption.] I am sorry to hear these cries of astonishment; I would hardly call them cries of dissent. If hon. Members opposite want to go through the night, we are very fresh on this side.

I should be very glad to repeat the experience of the past when I was in opposition, many long years before most Members opposite made their appearance here. It is not the first time I have stood at this, or rather a similar box at 9 a.m. and made a speech after an all-night Sitting. I am prepared to do the same tomorrow morning if necessary. But one has to consult the convenience of other hon. Members and subordinate one's own feelings. Therefore, I beg the right hon. Gentleman, in his own interests—after all, we want to help to get this through and see it is a good Bill—to agree to this proposition.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

When we moved the suspension earlier this afternoon, I had understood, through the usual channels, that it was an agreed Motion. There was no Division, and the understanding was that those with whom we carry on these conversations were prepared to let the Bill through today, in view of the urgency for it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is all very well for hon. Members to say "Oh," but I am merely saying what was the basis on which we put down this business and the way it has been handled so far.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

There was no agreement.

Mr. Crookshank

It was done through the usual channels. It was agreed there, as I understand it. The right hon. Gentleman may not have been a party to it.

Mr. Shinwell

I am sorry, but I happen to be what one may call an appendage or an accessory. I have some connections with the usual channels, although which particular part I play in them I am not sure. But I am not aware that there was any agreement. I doubt whether there was an agreement to the effect the right hon. Gentleman is now suggesting, that the Government should get their Bill tonight. I never understood that.

Mr. Crookshank

We suspended the Rule in order to complete the Committee stage today, it having been agreed that tomorrow the Report stage would be taken. That was the suggestion which was come to, and that was what I announced in the House last Thursday. That was why we had the Motion to suspend the Rule today, and it was carried without any Division.

Like the right hon. Gentleman, we all want to consult the convenience of right hon. and hon. Members in every part of the Committee. On this Amendment, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War has said that he is prepared to consider a fresh form of words, and all he did just now was to appeal to hon. Members to let this Amendment go for the moment. He obviously cannot accept words if they are inapt for the purpose. Having, in his opinion, heard all the arguments which could be adduced on this subject and having declared that conclusion, my right hon. Friend merely appealed to the Committee to go on.

Mr. Crookshank

The hon. Gentleman is putting an inflection into his voice which was not there. It was an appeal which my right hon. Friend was making. I should like to reinforce that appeal, because there are other Amendments to come and none of us particularly wants to sit late.

Mr. Shinwell

It would facilitate the business and assist right hon. and hon. Members on both sides if the Leader of the House would say whether he intends to gain complete acceptance of all the Amendments tonight, together with the provisions embodied in the Committee stage, before we terminate the proceedings. Or is he prepared to go to a certain length and then adjourn?

Mr. Crookshank

At the moment, we are on the Motion to report Progress arising out of this incident. I suggest that it might be 'withdrawn and that then we see how we get along. I cannot make any promise about further business. The Rule has been suspended with the desire I expressed last Thursday. It was not challenged at that time that we should get the Committee stage completed today. In view of what my right hon. Friend has said, which was reasonable and the only thing he could have said—

Mr. Strachey indicated assent.

Mr. Crookshank

I see my right hon. Friend's immediate predecessor assents to that. In view of that, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will now withdraw his Motion and let us see how far we can get along.

Mr. Strachey

The. Leader of the House mentioned me in this connection. What I was assenting to was the proposition that the Secretary of State—it is very reasonable of him—has made very considerable concessions to the views we have put forward, but usually in the form, quite naturally, not of accepting our words, but of saying that on the Report stage he will find new words to give effect to the substance of our views.

Our argument is that having done that he cannot take the Report stage tomorrow, because he has got a very great deal of remodelling of the Bill to do. Therefore, it seems to us quite unreasonable to suppose that the Report stage could be taken on the very next Sitting day of the House. Therefore, I should have thought that my right hon. Friend's Motion had very great force, precisely because—we make no complaint of this—the Secretary of State has a great deal of consultation and work to do to fulfil the undertakings he has given to the Committee to remodel important Clauses of the Bill in the light of the discussion that we have had tonight.

Mr. Crookshank

That may be so, but none of those arguments seems to me to militate against the desirability of going on with the Committee stage now. Let the Report stage look after itself in due course. Everybody who knows my right hon. Friend knows that everything he has said, he will do; but we might just as well go along with the Committee stage now in accordance with previous arrangements.

Mr. Wyatt

I think that the Leader of the House is suffering under a delusion. He has just told us that all the arguments that could possibly be adduced on this point have been adduced. Well, they have not. What is more, in his reply the Secretary of State opened up an entirely new chain of thought, which I had never heard discussed before—the use of the Home Guard in war-time to put down strikes. All this requires a great deal more examination, and I personally have a speech I should like to make on the subject. I should certainly like my points to be considered before the Secretary of State starts trying to redraft a particular Clause.

Everything the Secretary of State so far has said has indicated more and more clearly the lack of consideration which has been given to the Bill. It is a hasty, rushed, improvised Measure, copied carte blanche from the Local Defence Volunteer Regulations, 1940; it is not applicable to modern times at all, and I think the Government ought to take the Bill away, settle down with it for a week, try to redraft it, bring it back again, and sit for another week after 7th December before going home for Christmas.

I support the Motion, and I should like to disabuse the Leader of the House of his flimsy notion that all the arguments that could be adduced have been adduced. There are many fresh arguments that have not been heard at all.

Mr. Crookshank

That may be so, but the point is that sufficient arguments have been adduced—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, they have not."]—for my right hon. Friend to say that he will reconsider the matter.

Mr. Wyatt

If I may reply to the Leader of the House, his right hon. Friend made a speech in which he made all sorts of suggestions, which I have never heard before, as to the use of the Home Guard in war-time for putting down strikes. This is a very serious departure. It was never done throughout the whole of the last war. It is something which needs very careful examination, and I believe that it probably requires some special Clause in the Bill to prevent it happening in war-time.

Mr. Head

Might I perhaps intervene? The hon. Member is really distorting this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Perhaps the Committee will bear with me for a moment while I explain. What I said to hon. Members—it will be within their recollection—was that they were worried about the Home Guard being used in peace for intervening in industrial disputes. [HON. MEMBERS: "Or in war."] Wait a moment. "In peace"—that is what I said, and there was general assent.

I then pointed out that this Force could not be mustered except under these particular circumstances. I stated that it could only be mustered, and thus be capable of dealing with industrial disputes, under those circumstances; and therefore, the hon. Gentleman has put into my mouth the fact that they would be used. Since the hon. Member has raised this matter, I might remind him that during the Second Reading debate, the former Minister of Defence said: It is whether this Force is to be used in times of industrial dispute. I can understand that when the men are mustered—"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 598.]

The Chairman

We cannot continue the debate in this way. The Motion before the Committee is to report Progress.

Mr. Shinwell

May I make a further appeal to the Leader of the House, Sir Charles? Could he not indicate how far his right hon. Friend proposes to go tonight? Does he propose to go beyond midnight? Does he propose to go to 2 o'clock in the morning? Does he want to complete the whole of the Committee stage? It is not good enough simply to say that "We will see how far we go." If the right hon. Gentleman is not more forthcoming, then naturally we can go through the night, but we do not wish to do that if the right hon. Gentleman will give some indication of when he thinks the time will come when the proceedings can be adjourned. I wonder if he can give some indication now?

Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)

There is one further point which I feel we should take into account on this matter. The Secretary of State for War has made a number of offers to reconsider wording before the Report stage, but if the Report stage is to be taken tomorrow we have no guarantee on this side that, if the right hon. Gentleman does not find the wording, anything will appear on the Order Paper. We shall have no time to put down Amendments to take the place of those we withdrew on his assurances to reconsider them.

If the right hon. Gentleman cannot give a complete assurance that he will find the words for this particular Amendment, we lose all our rights to press this matter further on the Report stage tomorrow. Because of that, I should have thought it was quite natural to move to report Progress. If he cannot give us an assurance about the wording, the right hon. Gentleman should let us know so that we, in turn, can put down the appropriate Amendments on Report.

Mr. T. Driberg (Maldon)

I support what my hon. Friend has just said. I think it extremely important not only for the right hon. Gentleman to have time to think over this matter, but also for my hon. Friends who moved and supported the Amendment to have time to think it over, because it is quite clear from what the right hon. Gentleman has said in the later stages of this debate that, if he did accept this Amendment as it stands, my hon. Friend would, in a sense unwittingly, have been asking him to use the Home Guard to suppress strikes in time of war.

The Chairman

We cannot debate the subject of the amendment on a Motion to report Progress.

Mr. Driberg

I was merely using that as an illustration of the necessity of having more time to think out this Amendment that has, apparently, been accepted in substance by both sides of the Committee. Yet we have been put in a very difficult situation. The right hon. Gentleman is anxious to accept it, and my hon. Friends, I think, must be anxious to withdraw it. We should have time to think it over.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

Despite the amount of knowledge which the Leader of the House seems to possess, I should like to say that he has not heard one half of the argument that could be put forward from this side of the Committee. Something slipped out of his mouth when the Secretary of State for War was at that Despatch Box that made me very alert.—[Laughter.]—This is far from a laughing matter. On this side of the Committee we are very concerned with defending the liberties of the subject, and on a vital matter like this, when the maximum votes in this country were given to this side of the Committee—

The Chairman

We are discussing the merits of a simple Motion to report Progress and sit again. Speeches must be confined to that point.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Davies

I am aware of that, Sir Charles, but I am only illustrating a reason, because of the paramount importance of this issue, why we should report Progress. I have heard it said that in the twilight that may exist in this Utopia, and if you have a Communist-inspired industrial dispute—

The Chairman

I must ask for a narrow debate on whether we report Progress or not.

Mr. Davies

Yes, but when you have the secretary of the Mineworkers' Association a Communist, it is a vital matter if some right hon. Gentlemen opposite decide to call a strike—

The Chairman

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to be seated if he will not take any notice of my Ruling.

Mr. Davies

I submit to your Ruling, but I believe I am entitled to finish my sentence to illustrate my point.—[HON MEMBERS: "Order."]—Sir Charles is the Chairman, not you. Am I not in order to finish my sentence?

The Chairman

No, I am afraid I have no responsibility to let Members finish their sentences.

Mr. Callaghan

The Leader of the House has not been with us, I am sure for perfectly good reasons, but those hon. Members who have will agree that we have worked hard, we have worked cooperatively—[interruption]. Very well then, let me take another line. This Bill has been so badly drafted that the Secretary of State has had to accept our Amendments. If that is the way the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer) wants it, he can have it. Co-operation on both sides has taken us, I fear, rather slowly, but we have been discussing matters of moment that affect this Force vitally.

We have not yet begun the new Clauses, and the Secretary of State has two important matters to be discussed—the basis on which a member of the Home Guard can be discharged, and the matter of industrial disputes. It is a great pity that the Leader of the House should not have taken us into his confidence and told us how far he hopes to get, and whether he thinks it is fair to ask the House tomorrow to discuss on Report Amendments which we shall not see on the Order Paper. He has not succeeded in fulfilling his duty on this occasion, and I hope my hon. Friends will go to a Division.

Mr. Wigg

We ought to see on the Order Paper the Amendments put down by the Secretary of State. I have some personal feeling about the matter before the Committee. I started it on Second Reading, and the Secretary of State was then kind enough to say I had a dirty mind. If I had, then so has he, and presumably every other hon. Gentleman, because they have now agreed that I was right. It is, I think, important on this particular Clause, because it goes far beyond—[Interruption.] May I have the attention of the Leader of the House?

Mr. Crookshank

I am listening.

Mr. Wigg

I wanted to point out to him that there is a question of confidence in the public mind about the good intentions of the Government, and it is tied up with this particular Motion. It rests on the goodwill of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State—

The Chairman

I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman is discussing the Amendment. We are debating the Motion that I do report Progress.

Mr. Wigg

No, Sir. The point I want to make is that if we do not report Progress we have no guarantee at all that if we withdraw our Amendment the Secretary of State will put any other words in its place. He will not be able to. If that happens we have no other chance? We are already in a real difficulty because of the short interval between the Committee and Report stages. It is in the interests of the Government that they should produce a workable Measure. If the right hon. Gentleman will give a guarantee that these words will appear on the Order Paper, that they will come before the House or that he will put them down, I would suggest that my right hon. Friend withdraws the Motion and we continue with the debate for a little longer. If he cannot give that guarantee, I think this Motion ought to be carried to a Division.

Mr. Wyatt

The Leader of the House said that there had been agreement through the usual channels that we should have the Committee stage today and the Report stage and Third Reading tomorrow. That agreement must have been made before the Second Reading debate last Thursday. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman heard the deplorable speech of his Under-Secretary. If so, he will understand why we should not be so agreeable to this Bill being discussed quickly. If the right hon. Gentleman is complaining that we are taking a little longer in discussing the Bill, he ought to look to his right, and then he will understand why.

Mr. J. Hudson

As I understand this Motion, it is to enable the Leader of the House to help us in reaching an amicable arrangement; but I felt that he was not responding to the appeals made to him. Therefore, I want to put in a word from the back benchers asking him to consider this matter again. Hon. Members on this side realise the mistake of discussing Measures in the small hours of the morning, if one wants to come to an amicable arrangement. None of us want to do it. We owe a duty to our constituents and to the nation to see that reasonable arrangements are made with regard to this Bill to ensure that it will prevent what the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State says he desires to prevent—that is the use of the Bill for the purpose of preventing an industrial dispute. What we want is a clear undertaking that that is so.

I would appeal again to hon. Members opposite. I know that there is a desire on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to meet us if he can, and I only feel that he has been "egged on" by some encouragement from his own side of the Committee to take an intransigent attitude. I beg of him to consider again that if we have to begin now on this process of having to fight through the long hours of the night on an important public issue—and I remind hon. Members again that it is an important public issue—the discredit for that process must lie upon those who have disregarded every appeal that could be made for the conduct of this Bill in a reasonable manner. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to consider the matter again, and not even let us press this Motion to a Division, but to give us some understanding that he will make it possible for the Bill to go through in a proper manner.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

What the Committee is now considering is whether, at 10 minutes past eleven, we should consider the remaining Clauses in this Bill or whether we should now come to a decision to report Progress and consider the Bill again tomorrow or on some other day.

This is a Bill concerned with the defence of this country. It is not a Bill which has been opposed in principle by the official Opposition, or, so far as I know, by any hon. Member of this Committee. The only question which has ever been raised in the whole course of the debate on this Measure so far, whether on Second Reading or during the Committee stage, is in regard to the actual practical details of the Measure, and perhaps also the timing of its introduction at this moment.

So far as I am aware, there has not been one word of opposition to the principle of the Measure. So far as the principle is concerned, the House is virtually unanimous, and all we have to consider is whether, in those circumstances, it is right, in view of what has been disclosed in the course of the Committee stage, to persist in an acrimonious, hostile, partisan atmosphere throughout the long hours of the night in the discussion of the details of a Measure which, in principle, is accepted by both sides, but which, obviously, has been improvised and ill considered so far as its machinery is concerned.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson), said to the Leader of the House, this is not a matter in which he ought now, in the exercise of his responsibilities as Leader of the House in these difficult days, to be swayed by the passion either of the Opposition or of hon. Members on his own side. It is quite clear, and I challenge contradiction on this point, from the course of the discussion in Committee, that there are many points in the Clauses and Amendments that have been discussed so far that clearly require further consideration before any responsible House of Commons could endorse them or enact them and write them into the law of this country. That is quite clear, and I do not think that anybody would deny it.

11.15 p.m.

The debate has shown that there are points which have been ill-considered, that there are difficulties, that there are points of machinery, and that there are some principles involved to which insufficient attention has been given. What would be lost if the Leader of the House accepted my right hon. Friend's Motion? I suggest that the most that would be lost is a day or two of Parliamentary time. Nothing more than that. And we have plenty of time at our disposal. It was not anybody on this side of the Committee who insisted on an Adjournment on 7th December. If it is really urgent that this should go through, then it is urgent that we should devote proper time to the consideration of all the points raised.

There is ample time at our disposal. There is all the time between the 7th and the 20th December that the House could devote to the consideration of this matter if there is any urgency about it. But there is no justification whatever for forcing this through in a hostile atmosphere as a party matter in the early hours of the morning merely in order to enable the House of Commons to adjourn on 7th December instead of adjourning on 9th or 10th.

If the Government insist on our going through with this matter in this atmosphere and in these circumstances rather than postpone the Adjournment of the House for a day or two, then upon them will lie the responsibility of convening what was an unanimous and a non-contentious matter into one which is being chivvied from one side to the other merely on the question of Government prestige, on the one side, or Opposition—[Interruption.]

The Chairman

I cannot hear what the hon. Gentleman is saying.

Mr. Silverman

There is absolutely no justification whatever for the Government rejecting this Motion on the ground of the want of time. There is ample time. There is no justification for the Government resisting this Motion on the ground that they are prepared now with answers to all the questions that have been asked, because, quite clearly, they are not so prepared.

If the Government insist in this atmosphere in prosecuting the Committee stage of this Measure through the early hours and perhaps right until morning with all the atmosphere of an all-night Sitting, it can only be because they are determined to make what was a national question into a party question, and that their only object is to arouse in the public mind an atmosphere of alarm and crisis for which there is no real justification and which they are determined to reinforce because it suits their party purposes.

I appeal, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North, to the Leader of the House to insulate himself in some way from the heated atmosphere around and behind him, and to remember that his duty at this moment is not merely a duty to his own party, but a duty to the House of Commons as a whole.

Several Hon. Members rose

The Chairman

I hope hon. Members will sit down when I stand up. We have discussed this Motion quite a long time now, and surely we can come to a decision on it one way or the other.

Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)

I am one of those hon. Members on this side of the Committee who have had great interest in this matter. As some hon. Members on this side of the Committee know, I presided over a committee which dealt with military affairs for some time. But I have refrained from intervening in the discussion in the hope of getting through the business more quickly. I have not made any complaint about what has been said or done.

Could not the Leader of the House consider this in the same spirit in which he used sometimes to make appeals in the past? He made those appeals in days when we had a great legislative programme. But here we have two long months of adjournment before us. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give up a few days of his Christmas holidays to consider these matters, or have hon. Members opposite so many plans that they cannot give up one extra day to debate national defence? That is the issue upon which we shall ultimately come to vote.

It is, I think, quite a mistaken view of tactics to suppose that by hurrying this matter through we shall have it on the Statute Book earlier. It has to go to another place, and that will be the one opportunity they have of discussing an Army in which they have actually served in the ranks. To suppose that a Measure which can provide for the court-martial of dukes will go through on the nod is an entire misconception of what is now the most important part of our legislative machine.

In these circumstances, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his decision. If that argument has no effect, let me put another to him. Later in the evening we are going to discuss an important constitutional issue, one which affects the whole relationship of various parts of the Commonwealth. If the Bill is passed in its present form, as the hon. Members for Northern Ireland know so well—when they are here—it will affect the whole validity of the police that they have raised for 20 years. But I cannot discuss that at this moment. If we are going to impeach that sort of thing, we ought to do it at a decent hour of the day.

The idea that merely by refraining from Parliamentary manners hon. Members on this side of the Committee can be persuaded not to do their duty, and not to examine a Measure, is mistaken. However long the right hon. Gentleman forces this Debate to continue, we shall give this Bill the same attention and consideration as if we were dealing with it at some other time of the day. But to continue is unfair upon some hon. Members opposite. There are some elderly Members of the right hon. Gentleman's party. Why keep them waiting here for all hours of the night for a Division which may never take place?

In these circumstances, speaking as one who has not, so far, intervened in the debate, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give serious consideration to this. Why does he not agree? Is he not even going to answer, or is he counting the number of Amendments still to be dealt with? If he is engaged in some computation I will wait until he has finished, if he will indicate this with a nod or otherwise. If the right hon. Gentleman is not going to listen to any appeal, perhaps it may be left to some hon. Member with more eloquence than I to try his shot at it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman does not hope he can achieve by Parliamentary discourtesy what otherwise might be achieved by good will, good manners and good breeding.

Mr. Hale

I was not disposed to intervene in this debate, and indeed I have an unbounded admiration for the sense of self-abnegation of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing), but you did ask, Sir Charles, that the debate be kept narrow. I want to keep it narrow because I want the gap to be bridged. I want to try to appeal to all hon. Members who regard the House of Commons, in the words of the Prime Minister, as the "Palladium of Liberty."

We have reached a position in a Bill of great importance, to which all of us have given a substantial measure of support and in respect of which a large number of Amendments from this side of the Committee have rendered improvements in elucidation and otherwise. We have reached a stage in which we have now passed Clause 1. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I beg pardon. We have passed page 1, which involves the vital part of Clause 1. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Really, I am trying to pour oil on troubled waters.

We have reached a stage in respect of which the Solicitor-General has expressed the opinion that "and" means "or" and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has said "and" means "and". On that interpretation depends a vital principle of liberty, on it depends the introduction of martial law in peacetime in this country, for the first time in history, of people who volunteer and sacrifice their time for the Services. It is a position about which most of us feel very violently.

What is to happen? Are we to have an Amendment tabled to say "withdraw 'and' substitute 'for'"? Or are we to have a substitution in Clause 1 which says "and" means "or," or are we to have "and/or" inserted in the Bill? What chance have we here to know about this Amendment, to comment upon it and to submit Amendments to clarify the Bill and raise this whole fundamental principle between now and 11 o'clock tomorrow? In the last few minutes we have heard quite fantastic hints of the use of volunteer Forces for the settlement of industrial disputes.

The Chairman

Order. I have already stopped several hon. Gentleman from discussing that.

Mr. Hale

Yet, my own personal view —and I put it with respect—is that you were wrong, Sir Charles, in putting that interpretation—

The Chairman

I cannot allow anybody to say that.

Hon. Members

Withdraw.

Mr. Hale

Nobody has greater respect for the Chair and for you as its occupant, Sir Charles, than myself. But I submit it is well within the rights of any hon. Member respectfully, with respectful language, to submit to the Chair his reasons for thinking that a Ruling given on the spur of the moment was not in accordance with previous Rulings in the Committee or the House.

The Chairman

The hon. Member cannot say that now, but if he likes to put a Motion on the Order Paper on the subject he is quite at liberty to do so.

Mr. Hale

With great respect, Sir Charles, I was on a Motion to report Progress. It is proper for us to point out with respect to you and through you to the Committee the considerations which make the Motion necessary because the machinery of the Committee is being invalidated and made nugatory and non-effective by the denial to back bench Members, or indeed to hon. Members on this side of the Committee, of the right to table Amendments on the Report stage.

I seriously submit to you, Sir Charles, that if we have an issue which we think of vital importance raised at 11 o'clock on Tuesday night on a Committee stage and are told that issue has to be decided by the House sometime tomorrow, in the course of the next 14 or 15 hours, without our being able to Table any Amendment, without being able to put on the Order Paper any recommendation on our own account, without even knowing when we go home what His Majesty's Ministers are going to have for us tomorrow, that is a vital reason for reporting Progress, which would be in accord with our traditions.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Pitman

On a point of order. Is the hon. Member in order at all? If this were a Motion that we should not have the Report stage tomorrow, I conceive that what he is saying would be relevant. But we are talking about whether we should adjourn and report Progress, and that has nothing to do with his argument, which has to do with the date of the report stage.

The Chairman

I think the two things are bound up together. What the hon. Gentleman is saying is quite reasonable.

Mr. Hale

We are discussing a Measure of first importance in which the country is greatly interested, and a Measure which may be vital to our security. If recruitment to the Home Guard is to succeed, it must come into being in circumstances that command the confidence both of the House and the people.

I venture to ask your guidance, Sir Charles. Can we have an undertaking that when the debate comes on, manuscript Amendments will be accepted tomorrow on the Report stage? Is there any assurance we shall have any right to express views we hold, or that, whatever may be put on the Order Paper by the right hon. Gentleman, we shall have a right to submit counter Amendments?

The Chairman

I cannot answer that. I am responsible only for the Committee stage. Mr. Speaker will then be in the Chair and I have no say in what is accepted and what is not.

Mr. Hale

I am obliged to you, Sir Charles. This has made up my mind. Doubtful as I was how to vote, I now see it is in the interests of democracy and Parliamentary decency that we should report Progress now. I plead with the Leader of the House to say that he will not take the Report stage on this vital Bill tomorrow, but will give to everybody the right of consideration.

My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) made a point I should have made myself if he had not made it first, and all I intend to do is to support him. We are told we are to have an enforced vacation at Christmas of 53 days, and that that time is to enable Ministers to consider the problems that they ought to have been considering in the last six years and about which they have not yet made up their minds.

How much time is to be given to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to consider the vital points put in the debate tonight? Are his civil servants and he going to bed tonight? What advice can his advisers give the Secretary of State in these circumstances? What chance has he got between now and the Report stage of really dealing with the vital contributions that have been made'? Surely he will say to the Leader of the House, in the interests of decency, Parliamentary accuracy, and of passing the Bill to another place in a form that will command respect, that he must have time to consider the very important recommendations put to him from this side.

Mr. Peart

We have a right to put our views. I have attended this debate all afternoon and have argued, reasonably and constructively, various Amendments which have been submitted by my hon. Friends. I hope that the Leader of the House will reconsider his position. It was always argued by hon. Members opposite, in the last Parliament, that defence was not a political issue. Time and again the Leader of what was then the Opposition used to say we should keep defence out of party politics. Here is an opportunity for the Government to fulfil that principle.

Today, we have argued impartially and objectively, and we have put forward constructive Amendments to improve this Bill. Some of these Amendments have been accepted. There are still on the Order Paper approximately 10 Amendments standing in the names of hon. Members on this side, and 10 very important new Clauses which need careful discussion, involving a great constitutional issue. Even one of the Members for a Northern Ireland constituency has come to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Ayrshire, South (Mr. Emrys Hughes) put forward his case on Northern Ireland. A great constitutional issue is involved.

The Chairman

I have stopped a number of hon. Members from getting beyond the point. We cannot discuss these new Clauses until we come to them.

Mr. Peart

I was merely saying we should have the opportunity to discuss these important issues, and I am pleading with the Leader of the House to reconsider the position. I understand—and I do not say this offensively—that the Leader of the House was once called a stonewall. I hope he is not going to stonewall tonight, but that he will be amenable and consider the very cogent arguments advanced. I hope he will give some reason why we should have no further discussion on this important Measure, which we have discussed fairly and constructively today.

Mr. Crookshank rose

Hon. Members

At last!

Mr. Crookshank

I am sorry anybody should say, "At last!" Once again I was waiting to hear the arguments adduced. It is generally a cause of complaint that speeches are made too early and not too late. I have listened carefully to the arguments, but it must have escaped the notice of some hon. Members that their anxiety about the difficulty of putting down Amendments for the Report stage, as there is a short period between the Committee and Report stages, is not automatically solved by not continuing tonight. They might find themselves in exactly the same difficulty tomorrow night if the Report stage were to be taken the next day. If the Report stage is taken on a consecutive day, it is a difficulty which inevitably arises.

I want to make clear that we understood that the Business we hope to get this week was generally agreeable. It was because of that, that instead of taking the further stages of this Bill on Thursday, as had been first in our minds, we agreed to give the Opposition the time they asked for a debate on food bonuses. It was an attempt to meet the request of the Opposition. It will make me a little more careful, perhaps, in the future in conceding. When we did concede this matter, I am sure it was done in perfect good faith on both sides.

Mr. Wyatt

What about the provocative speeches?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not know about that, but generally provocative speeches lead to provocative speeches. I do recognise the difficulty in which hon. Members may be, but that does not preclude me from hoping the Committee will go on tonight with the Committee stage and carry out what we hoped we would achieve. I will look and see whether we can arrange things so that the Committee will not be in the dilemma of having to go straight on to the Report stage as soon as the Committee stage is over. I cannot make a promise, but I will do my best to see if I can find a via media.

It was in order to conform to wishes of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite that we have got into this difficulty. If they would rather have this debate than the debate on food on Thursday, that is another matter. I imagine that they will still want to do that, and therefore I hope that they will not press the matter any further now and that we can decide this particular issue and carry on with the Committee stage as previously arranged.

Mr. Shinwell

I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to be reasonable, and that is, of course, consistent with his important position as Leader of the House. But there are two points that he appears to have ignored. He makes a great deal, as he did on previous occasions, of what he appears to regard as a concession to the Opposition in agreeing to a debate on Thursday evening on a certain aspect of the food problem; but, after all, that is really not a concession to the Opposition. Such a concession, if so it may be called, would not have been required if the right hon. Gentleman and his Government had agreed to spend a few days less during the Christmas Recess. I do not want to argue that point now, but it cannot be regarded as a concession and certainly we do not accept it as such.

My second point is one of substance. When the Bill was first introduced, the Secretary of State himself said that it was a "simple and straightforward" Bill, but he will agree—and it is obvious from what has transpired during the Committee stage—that it was a Bill of a skeleton character, with just the framework of proposals, which required to be invested with the appropriate clothing. Indeed, one of the Amendments he himself submitted today, which has been accepted by the Committee, is evidence of that. We discovered after the presentation of the Bill that it was much more complicated than appeared at first sight. For that reason, we do not regard the proposal to take the Report stage on a day subsequent to the Committee proceedings as proper in the circumstances.

What the Leader of the House now appears to regard as satisfactory—and he appears to make the offer to the Committee—is that we should proceed from now on with the remainder of the Committee stage—how far we should go, he has not indicated, but after all we are in the hands of the Government—and that the Report stage might be deferred. I believe that that second proposal would be satisfactory to my hon. Friends. It will, at any rate, afford an opportunity, of which my hon. Friends are very desirous of availing themselves, after the Committee stage has been concluded, of placing Amendments on the Order Paper for the Report stage. That, I agree, is making some progress.

But on the first point—that is to say, going on throughout the night, as, apparently, we shall have to do in order to complete the Committee stage—I think that the Government are asking too much of hon. Members. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes—not only of hon. Members on this side of the Committee; I am quite satisfied that hon. Members opposite are not enthusiastic about remaining throughout the night. Some of them are already going off to sleep—look at the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling). [Interruption.] I am sure that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), whatever else he may think of me, would never regard me as soporific.

I will give him ample evidence before we have gone very far that I am not in the least soporific. [An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman should wake up the Member on his own side."] I wish to be quite fair. The atmosphere has affected my hon. Friend just as much as it has affected hon. Members on the other side of the Committee. Surely that fortifies my contention that this is not the time to proceed with important Amendments. [An HON. MEMBER: "Get on with it."] Somebody says, in the eloquent language of the new Conservative Members, "Get on with it." Indeed, I have discovered that the most forthright arguments that are used by most of the new hon. Members of the Conservative Parliamentary Party are "Shut up," "Get on with it," "Sit down" and "Get out." These are evidence of the high Conservative intellect and quality. Let me proceed to make my point clear.

11.45 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman has gone some of the way, and frankly I am gratified, as indeed we all are. But he has not gone far enough. In view of that, I think we must proceed to divide the Committee.

Mr. Emrys Hughes rose

The Chairman

The right hon. Gentleman has appealed to his supporters to come to a decision, and I think that the hon. Gentleman should comply.

Mr. Hughes

I wish to put this point of order. The over-riding Minister above the Secretary of State for War is the Minister of Defence. It is only fair for the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister that he should be consulted about this matter. That is a good reason why this discussion should continue until the Minister of Defence has an opportunity to consider our Amendments.

The Chairman

I cannot see any point of order in that.

Sir Richard Acland (Gravesend)

I only wish to make one comment on the intervention of the Leader of the House who made his appeal to us tonight, as he has done several times when questions of business of the House were raised at the end of Questions both today and on other days. He made the point that the Government has been extraordinarily generous to the Opposition by providing a matter of three hours for discussion of a Motion about the withdrawal of the customary Christmas bonuses.

Somehow it seems that that generosity on the Government's part was something so magnanimous as to entitle the Government to expect on all other matters that the Opposition would accede to the timetable worked out by the Government. Now I cannot agree that there is the slightest generosity on the Government's part in arranging for three hours to be given to this Christmas question on Thursday. After all—

Mr. John Arbuthnot (Kent, Dover)

On a point of order. Are Christmas bonuses in order?

An Hon. Member

You will get a Christmas bonus all right.

Sir R. Acland

How much time we have got should be governed not only by what is on the programme for tonight, but what is on the programme for the rest of the week. The argument on the Government side has been that because of their generosity in giving time for this debate on Christmas bonuses we should adhere to the programme that has been laid down. I do not see the slightest generosity on their part. It was open to the Opposition Front Bench, or any group of hon. and right hon. Members, to put down a Vote of Censure, and there is the precedent of last Session—

The Chairman

I cannot see how a Vote of Censure arises on a Motion to report Progress.

Sir R. Acland

Because it has been argued that we should not press this matter because the Government have been so generous in allowing time for the Christmas bonus debate. Surely I am entitled to argue that it is no generosity on the part of the Government to give us three hours for a debate of a matter on which we could easily have enforced a whole day by the procedure of putting down a Vote of Censure. When the Prime Minister was leading the Opposition on the steel issue, he argued that a Government would always be bound by Parliamentary precedent to give a whole day to any matter on which a responsible Opposition put down a Vote of Censure. Therefore the generous concession of the Opposition, which has only asked for three hours to discuss a matter on which we could have a whole day, is an added reason for the Government giving us more time to discuss this matter.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

I want to ask your guidance, Sir Charles, on a matter affecting every Member of the Committee, and in the interests of and for the protection of the rights of every back bench Member. In what way, how, and from whom, and when, can back bench Members obtain an assurance that they will be given an opportunity of putting down Amendments on the Report stage of this Bill? In the absence of such an assurance, it means that the established constitutional rights of every back bench Member will be taken away from him by the procedure the Leader of the House now suggests. An answer to that question will help to dissipate anxieties which must be felt by Members in all parts of the Committee.

The Chairman

I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Member. Any Amendment can be put down on the Report stage by any hon. Member, but there is no guarantee that Mr. Speaker will select it.

Mr. Shinwell

I gather these Amendments cannot be put on the Order Paper if the Report stage takes place tomorrow. They would have to be manuscript Amendments.

The Chairman

The same applies to manuscript Amendments.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

If we cannot put them down, how is the Chair to know whether to accept or reject them?

The point I am trying to find out is in what way we can be given an opportunity to assert our undoubted rights, that of putting down Amendments on the Report stage of any Bill irrespective of any transaction between the two Front Benches?

The Chairman

Manuscript Amendments can be handed in, but under the Standing Orders the occupant of the Chair can accept or refuse them at any time.

Mr. I. Mikardo (Reading, South)

The argument which has progressed in the last few moments, on which you, Sir Charles, have been so kind as to give some guidance to the Committee about the procedure for putting down Amendments and the difficulties which arise therefrom, clearly underlines what is the essential problem of the Motion before us. That essential is merely a question of time.

It is clear that if the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House and his colleagues, and indeed the whole Committee, were not in the strait-jacket of time which the right hon. Gentleman has imposed on himself and all of us, none of these problems would arise. If it were not for the fact that we have accepted, as the law of the Medes and Persians, that come whatever crisis, whether heaven may fall or not, we shall rise in time to leave 14 shopping days to Christmas, we would be able to take adequate time for the discussion of this Bill in Committee and hon. Gentlemen desirous of submitting Amendments on Report would have adequate time in which to put them down. It would give the Secretary of State for War, who is looking more uncomfortable with every moment that passes, an opportunity of studying Amendments that might arise on Report.

Here we are discussing this Motion about reporting Progress and considering the complications that crop up because of the short period between Report and Committee stages merely because of the artificial strait-jacket of time that has been agreed to enable hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to have 14 uninterrupted days in which to do their Christmas shopping.

On this I have a simple suggestion. We have had during the last few years, and in the last few weeks since hon. Members opposite took over the cares of office, a non-stop exhortation to the country as a whole to increase its productivity. I want to suggest to the Leader of the House and to his right hon. and hon. Friends to set an example to the working community of the nation by compressing the 14 days into 12 days, when ail our problems on this Bill would be solved. We could, as a result, have an extra day's discussion for the Committee stage and an extra day for considering the problems that arise between that stage and the Report stage.

12 midnight.

All that is required is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite should so increase their output per man-hour and so raise their productivity as to compress the work of 14 Christmas shopping days into 12. That is an increase of about 16 per cent. in output per man-hour, and it is quite easily attainable if they try. I am quite sure that, if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite drive their motor cars a little faster down Kensington High Street and urge their legs on a little faster in Oxford Street, they will be able to save a couple of days out of their Christmas shopping, managing in 12 shopping days before Christmas what they now require 14 to do. That is a difference of two days, which could be devoted, as I am sure we should all want to do, to the proper consideration of the Measure of major importance which is before the Committee at the present time.

I would add my voice to those that have already appealed to the Leader of the House not to make a mélange or a hash out of the discussion on this very important Measure in order that they shall be at leisure for the 14 shopping days before Christmas. Let us have an example from them of greater produc- tivity in the interests of useful work, and so as to give us more time for the proper discussion of this Measure over the next few days.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I do not want to make a speech. I want to indulge in some interrogation in order to facilitate business. The first question I should like to ask the Leader of the House is this: Does he agree that, from the way we are drifting now, we can drift into an all-night Sitting? Secondly, does he agree with me that there is so little difference between us that it is not worth while drifting into a situation of that kind?

Having said that, may I add that there are many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have come into the Chamber since this issue really arose—I am not blaming them—and this applies to a certain extent, though I may be wrong about this, and I hope he will correct me if I am, also to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. We are liable to side-track the main issue by what has arisen. The main issue upon which this difference arose was that we on this side expressed our uneasiness with regard to the use of of the Home Guard in industrial disputes, and the Secretary of State made a very generous offer, which we were inclined to accept.

Where our difficulty arose—and I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree —was that if the Report stage is to be taken tomorrow we would be prevented from using our Parliamentary rights in putting down Amendments to the Bill at that stage. Surely, the Leader of the House will now be good enough to make a statement indicating if we accept the offer of the Secretary of State, how far we are to carry on tonight, so that hon. Members may know exactly where they are, and in order that we might be able to reach agreement, provided that the right hon. Gentleman makes a generous statement. In view of these many questions, is the Leader of the House now prepared to make a statement in order to prevent our drifting into a situation which we all want to avoid?

Mr. Crookshank

There is not really any more that I can add to what I said before, that I was quite ready to look into the difficulties that had been raised, and that I hoped the Committee would be good enough to carry on with the Committee stage of this Bill as had been generally agreed by the House last Thursday when I announced the Business. No protest at all was made at that time, and for that reason I naturally took it that the House was agreeable, and I think we should now go on as I said before.

If I may, I wish to make one answer to the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland) who objected to my having used the phrase that we had made a concession to the Opposition in facilitating a debate which they wanted. It is quite true that it was open to them to put down a Vote of Censure, but they did not wish to do so, and there being no Opposition time available at this time of the year it was naturally a concession on the part of the Government to concede some Government time for that purpose. That is what we did. We were glad to do it and so accommodate ourselves to the general wishes of hon.

Members opposite. As I have said, no objection at all was taken last Thursday to my saying that it was our hope to get the Committee stage tonight. I have already explained what I would agree to consider, and I now hope that we can dispose of the Motion and get on with the work.

Mr. Wigg

The right hon. Gentleman has made a very clear point. It is absolutely true that there was no protest last Thursday when he announced the Business for the coming week. But, surely, he ought to realise—and I say this with great respect—that this situation is due to the utter incompetence of and provocation offered by the Under-Secretary of State for War.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn rose in his place and claimed to move,"That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 221; Noes, 181.

Division No. 9.] AYES [12.8 a.m.
Aitken, W. T. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Holland-Martin, C. J.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hope, Lord John
Alport, C. J. M. Crouch, R. F. Hopkinson, Henry
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Horobin, I. M.
Arbuthnot, John Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Davidson, Viscountess Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) De la Bère, R. Hurd, A. R.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Deedes, W. F. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Baker, P. A. D. Digby, S. Wingfield Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Baldwin, A. E. Donner, P. W. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Banks, Col. C. Doughty, C. J. A. Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)
Barber, A. P. L. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley)
Barlow, Sir John Drayton, G. B. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Bell, P. I. (Bolton, E.) Drewe, C. Kaberry, D.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Duthie, W. S. Lambert, Hon. G.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Finlay, G. B. Lambton, Viscount
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Fisher, Nigel Langford-Holt, J. A.
Birch, Nigel Fletcher-Cooke, C. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Bishop, F. P. Fort, R. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)
Black, C. W. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Bossom, A. C. Gage, C. H. Linstead, H. N.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Boyle, Sir Edward Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Gammans, L. D. Low, A. R. W.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Garner-Evans, E. H. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Brooman-White, R. C. Godber, J. B. McCallum, Major D.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Mackeson, Brig. H. R.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Gough, C. F. H. McKibbin, A. J.
Bullard, D. G. Gower, H. R. McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maclay, Hon. John
Butcher, H. W. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)
Carson, Hon. E. Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye) MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Cary, Sir R. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Channon, H. Hay, John Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Heald, Sir Llonel Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
Cole, N. J. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.
Colegate, W. A. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Markham, Major S. F.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Marlowe, A. A. H.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hirst, Geoffrey Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Maude, Angus Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley) Sutcliffe, H.
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Robertson, Sir David Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Medlicott, Brig. F. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Mellor, Sir John Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Teeling, W.
Molson, A. H. E. Roper, Sir Harold Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Ropner, Col. L. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Russell, R. S. Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)
Nabarro, G. D. N. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Nicholson, G. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Tilney, John
Nield, Basil (Chester) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Turner, H. F. L.
Nugent, G. R. H. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Turton, R. H.
Nutting, Anthony Scott, R. Donald Vane, W. M. F.
Oakshott, H. D. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Shepherd, William Vosper, D. F.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Partridge, E. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Perkins, W. R. D. Soames, Capt. C. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Spearman, A. C. M. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Peyton, J. W. W. Speir, R. M. Watkinson, H. A.
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Wellwood, W.
Pitman, I. J. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Powell, J. Enoch Stevens, G. P. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Wills, G.
Profumo, J. D. Storey, S. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Redmayne, M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Remnant, Hon. P. Summers, G. S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Studholme and Mr. Heath.
NOES
Acland, Sir Richard Fienburgh, W. McGhee, H. G.
Adams, Richard Finch, H. J. McInnes, J.
Albu, A. H. Foot, M. M. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Forman, J. C. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Awbery, S. S. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Bacon, Miss Alice Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Baird, J. Glanville, James Manuel, A. C.
Balfour, A. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Mayhew, C. P.
Bartley, P. Grey, C. F. Messer, F.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mikardo, Ian
Bence, C. R. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Milner, Maj Rt. Hon. J.
Benn, Wedgwood Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Mitchison, G. R.
Beswick, F. Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Monslow, W.
Bing, G. H. C. Hamilton, W. W. Moody, A. S.
Blackburn, F. Hannan, W. Moyle, A.
Blenkinsop, A. Hargreaves, A. Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Blyton, W. R. Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.
Boardman, H. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Oldfield, W. H.
Bottomley, A. G. Herbison, Miss M. Orbach, M.
Bowden, H. W. Holman, P. Oswald, T.
Bowles, F. G. Houghton, Douglas Parker, J.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, T. F. Pearson, A.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Peart, T. F.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Burton, Miss F. E. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Popplewell, E.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Porter, G.
Callaghan, L. J. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Chapman, W. D. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Proctor, W. T.
Chetwynd, G. R. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Clunie, J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Rankin, John
Collick, P. H. Janner, B. Rhodes, H.
Cook, T. F. Jeger, George (Goole) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Cove, W. G. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Crosland, C. A. R. Johnson, James (Rugby) Royle, C.
Crossman, R. H. S. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Kenyon, C. Short, E. W.
Dodds, N. N. King, Dr. H. M. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Donnelly, D. L. Kinley, J. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Driberg, T. E. N. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edelman, M. Lewis, Arthur Slater, J.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lindgren, G. S. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Snow, J. W.
Fernyhough, E. Logan, D. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Field, Capt. W. J. MacColl, J. E. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Steele, T. Timmons, J. Wigg, G. E. C.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Tomney, F. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Usborne, H. C. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Watkins, T. E. Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Swingler, S. T. Weitzman, D. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Sylvester, G. O. Wells, William (Walsall) Wyatt, W. L.
Taylor, John (West Lothian) West, D. G. Yates, V. F.
Taylor, Robert (Morpeth) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Thomas, David (Aberdare) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Delargy and Mr. Holmes.

Question put accordingly, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided: Ayes. 177; Noes. 219.

Division No. 10.] AYES [12.15 a.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Griffiths, William (Exchange) Pearson, A.
Adams, Richard Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Peart, T. F.
Albu, A. H. Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hamilton, W. W. Popplewell, E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hannan, W. Porter, G.
Awbery, S. S. Hargreaves, A. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Bacon, Miss Alice Hayman, F. H. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Baird, J. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Proctor, W. T.
Balfour, A. Herbison, Miss M. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Bartley, P. Holman, P. Rankin, John
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Houghton, Douglas Rhodes, H.
Bence, C. R. Hubbard, T. F. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Benn, Wedgwood Hudson, James (Ealing, N) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Beswick, F. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bing, G. H. C. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Blackburn, F. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Blenkinsop, A. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Blyton, W. R. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Short, E. W.
Boardman, H. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Bottomley, A. G. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Bowden, H. W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon G. A. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Bowles, F. G. Janner, B. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Jeger, George (Goole) Slater, J.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jeger, Dr, Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Snow, J. W.
Burton, Miss F. E. Johnson, James (Rugby) Sorensen, R. W.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Callaghan, L. J. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Steele, T.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Chapman, W. D. Kenyon, C. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Chetwynd, G. R. King, Dr. H. M. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Clunie, J. Kinley, J. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith
Collick, P. H. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Swingler, S. T.
Cove, W. G. Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Sylvester, G. O.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lewis, Arthur Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Crosland, C. A. R. Lindgren, G. S. Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Logan, D. G. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. MacColl, J. E. Timmons, J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) McGhee, H. G. Tomney, F.
Dodds, N. N. McInnes, J. Usborne, H. C.
Donnelly, D. L. McKay, John (Wallsend) Watkins, T. E.
Driberg, T. E. N. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Weitzman, D.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wells, William (Walsall)
Edelman, M. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) West, D. G.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mann, Mrs. Jean Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Manuel, A. C. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Fernyhough, E. Mayhew, C. P. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Field, Capt. W. J. Messer, F. Wigg, G. E. C.
Fienburgh, W. Mikardo, Ian Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Finch, H. J. Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Foot, M. M. Mitchison, G. R. Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Forman, J. C. Monslow, W. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Moody, A. S. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Moyle, A. Wyatt, W. L.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Yates, V. F.
Glanville, James Oldfield, W. H. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Orbach, M.
Grey, C. F. Oswald, T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Parker, J. Mr. Delargy and Mr. Holmes.
NOES
Aitken, W. T. Gough, C. F. H. Perkins, W. R. D.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Gower, H. R. Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Alport, C. J. M. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Peyton, J. W. W.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Arbuthnot, John Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Pitman, I. J.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Hay, John Powell, J. Enoch
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Heald, Sir Lionel Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Baker, P. A. D. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Profumo, J. D.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Redmayne, M.
Baldwin, A. E. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Remnant, Hon. P.
Banks, Col. C. Hirst, Geoffrey Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley)
Barber, A. P. L. Holland-Martin, C. J. Robertson, Sir David
Barlow, Sir John Hope, Lord John Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Bell, P. I. (Bolton, E.) Hopkinson, Henry Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Roper, Sir Harold
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Horobin, I. M. Ropner, Col. L.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Russell, R. S.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Birch, Nigel Hurd, A. R. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Bishop, F. P. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Black, C. W. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)
Bossom, A. C. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Scott, R. Donald
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Boyle, Sir Edward Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich) Shepherd, William
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Brooman-White, R. C. Kaberry, D. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Lambert, Hon. G. Soames, Capt. C.
Bullard, D. G. Lambton, Viscount Spearman, A. C. M.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Langford-Holt, J. A. Speir, R. M.
Butcher, H. W. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Carson, Hon. E. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Cary, Sir R. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Channon, H. Linstead, H. N. Stevens, G. P.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Cole, N. J. Low, A. R. W. Storey, S.
Colegate, W. A. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Summers, G. S.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert McCallum, Major D. Sutcliffe, H.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. McKibbin, A. J. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Crouch, R. F. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Teeling, W.
Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Maclay, Hon. John Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)
Davidson, Viscountess Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
De la Bére, R. Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Tilney, John
Deedes, W. F. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Turner, H. F. L.
Digby, S. Wingfield Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Turton, R. H.
Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA. Manningham-Buller Sir R. E. Vane, W. M. F.
Donner, P. W. Markham, Major S. F. Vaughan Morgan, J. K.
Doughty, C. J. A. Marlowe, A. A. H. Vosper, D. F.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Drayson, G. B. Maude, Angus Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Drewe, C. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Medlicott, Brig. F. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Duthie, W. S. Mellor, Sir John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Finlay, G. B. Molson, A. H. E. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Fisher, Nigel Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Watkinson, H. A.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Fort, R. Nabarro, G. D. N. Wellwood, W.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Nicholson, G. Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Gage, C. H. Nield, Basil (Chester) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Gaibraith, Cmdr. T. G. D. (Pollok) Nugent, G. R. H. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Nutting, Anthony Wills, G.
Gammans, L. D. Oakshott, H. D. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Orr, Capt. L. P. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Godber, J. B. Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Mr. Studholme and Mr. Heath.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Partridge, E.

Amendment proposed: In page 2, line 6, at end insert: (a) to take part in any industrial dispute.— [Mr. Callaghan]

Original Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

Mr. Wigg

I have been waiting for a long time to say a word or two on this Amendment, but I do not want to take up the time of Committee too long. During Second Reading I did press on the Secretary of State to say a word about strike. All I got for my trouble was that I had a dirty mind. That may or may not be true. If I have a dirty mind on the subject of the use of the Home Guard for the purpose of strikebreaking, the dirt in my mind is now shared by the Secretary of State for War. The dirt was planted in my mind for me. The mistake I have made, up to tonight, is believing what hon. Members on the Conservative side say.

I have listened, without exception, to every speech that the Secretary of State for War has ever made on defence, and I have read all he had to say about it. When I saw in the King's Speech that we were to have a Home Guard, naturally I looked to see what great thoughts the right hon. Gentleman had spoken and what he had written on this subject. I found that on 13th September, 1950, he made a speech in the House and about the same time, on 19th September, 1950, there was a publication on the matter, called "Defence in the Cold War." Both the speech and the book made the same proposal. The model of a Home Guard in Great Britain was to be the model of a strike-breaking Home Guard in France.

Mr. Head indicated dissent.

Mr. Wigg

I believe the right hon. Gentleman meant what he said. One of the most revealing—

Mr. Head

The hon. Gentleman puts it not into my mouth but into my pen, that the Home Guard was to be the model of the strike-breaking home guard in France. I am certain I never said that. and I ask him to withdraw it.

Mr. Wigg

The last thing I want to do is to be unfair. [HON. MEMBERS: "With-draw."] If I made a mistake, I will readily withdraw. Let us take the speech first of all. The right hon. Gentleman said this: In France, for instance, the gendarmerie has been troubled and an organisation on the lines of the Home Guard established. Later the right hon. Gentleman goes on: This is a matter on which something on the lines of the Home Guard would not only be a deterrent…''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th September, 1950; Vol. 478, c. 1233–1234.] What he was talking about was Communist sympathisers trying to incite civil disturbances and strikes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes—he says "civil disturbances and strikes."

12.30 a.m.

The most significant thing about the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that when I interrupted him during the Second Reading he denied having said it. I am not casting doubt on his veracity. I am not even casting doubts on his memory. He may or may not be a great Secretary of State for War, but judging by some of his speeches he has all the qualifications of a plumber. He is an expert on leaks. One of the classic examples was when he leaked an article, which subsequently appeared in the "Economist," three weeks before it was printed.

Let us turn now to the written words of the right hon. Gentleman. On page 23 of "Defence in the Cold War," he says: At the time of writing, M. Moch, the French Minister of Defence, has announced that an equivalent to the Home Guard will be created in France and the strength of the gendarmerie trebled, in order to maintain internal security in case of war. He goes on to talk about the threats and dangers of strikes, and says: The Group take the view that such measures are urgently needed if the industrial potential and transport system behind the allied forces in Europe are not to be paralysed by Communist action…

Mr. C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)

Where is the strike-breaking in that?

Mr. Wigg

It is a strike, whether the Communists take action, the Labour people take action, or whoever takes action. One day, even some of the Conservative unions may take action.

I do not for a moment think that any Member—I said this in the debate on the King's Speech—serious intends to use the Home Guard as a strike weapon. What I asked the Secretary of State for War was to clear up the doubts in my mind about what he had written and said. All the change I got for my trouble was to be abused, but I do not mind that. I can forget any doubts or worries I might have had on that score because of the conversion of the right hon. Gentleman to my point of view.

The Secretary of State for War now accepts the point of view which has been put on all sides of the Committee, and in which we have had the support of hon. Members opposite. He accepts our point of view that the public mind ought to be satisfied on that point. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) made a perfectly fair point when he said that he doubted whether the time would ever come in this country when it would be possible for a force like the Home Guard to be used to intervene in industrial disputes. I hope that he is right, but that does not rule out the possibility that the attempt might be made.

Furthermore, what is important—I have stressed this ever since we have been on the Committee stage—is to try to get the Secretary of State for War to give up some of the bad military practices he learnt when he was a young officer. He has now got to see defence as a whole. He has got to see every man and woman, should the need arise, playing their part, not only in a Home Guard, but in a national defence.

What the Secretary of State for War has never understood—and I could quote from some of his other speeches on the subject—is the concept of a national Army. He does not see that a national Army means that the Class Z Reservist, the National Service man, the Regular, the Territorial, all are playing their part as members of the team. All that he is doing, if he brings the Home Guard into the team, is to give them equality of status, so that they can take as effective a part as they can. What the right hon. Gentleman also does not understand is that the man working at the bench, the man working in the field, and the Civil Defence volunteer, are members of the team as well.

What the right hon. Gentleman does is to look at these problems in a partial sort of way and put forward a solution without any more thought. I think he is a rather superficial thinker who sees a potential danger and thinks we ought to handle it by strong arm action. I do not think this is any longer possible. Clearly the Secretary of State for War, if he wishes to make the Home Guard a success, has to accept the essential doctrine that, if we are living in 1951, we have to accept the conditions of 1951.

If we are to fight a successful war and ward off an aggressor, conditions must be created in which there is national unity. We cannot get national unity by the kind of things the right hon. Gentleman puts into his writings and his speeches. But he is learning his lesson and maybe we shall treat the Under- Secretary to a few manners before we have finished with him—if he stays long enough with us. I want to plead with my hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment in view of the undertaking given by the Secretary of State. That is a gesture on our part. We hope and believe the right hon. Gentleman will accept that gesture and will do his best to put down a form of words that will satisfy my hon. Friend.

Mr. Callaghan

We have had a good discussion in which many points have been raised, with the parenthesis of the Motion to report Progress. There is no doubt that the discussion beforehand took us a considerable part of the way towards persuading the Secretary of State to reconsider this issue. He has undertaken to do that. This is a very important advance. He was, I think, impressed both by the arguments on this side and some of the sentiments, even if they were unspoken, on his own side.

That being so, I think we ought to respond to the invitation and, on the understanding that I gather he has given us, that he will reconsider the matter and will find a form of words we can ourselves consider and, if necessary, amend when we see them on the Order Paper, I shall be happy to ask leave to withdraw this Amendment so that it can be reconsidered later on.

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

There is one assurance I should like to obtain from the right hon. Gentleman.

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

The hon. Gentleman was withdrawing the Amendment.

Mr. Crossman

On a point of order. The Amendment can only be withdrawn with the consent of the Committee and, of course, I am asking that it should not be withdrawn until certain other observations are made. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman two or three questions arising out of the assurances he has made. I was more alarmed than assured by the assurances that were given.

Brigadier Terence Clarke (Portsmouth, West)

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Crossman

It is not a point of order. I am continuing the discussion. Any hon. Member who wishes to continue the discussion on the Amendment can do so, and a withdrawal can only take place with the consent of the Committee.

The right hon. Gentleman gave us two arguments. The first was that he did not need to give such an assurance because the Home Guard would not be mustered in peace-time, and therefore could not do any of the things such as breaking a strike. The implication is that we are only concerned that the Home Guard should not do these things in peace-time. But we are concerned that it should not do them in war-time as well. If there is to be any argument on this matter, the limitation on the activity of the Home Guard cannot be confined to peace-time. It is vital that it should not be so used in war-time, if national unity is to be maintained.

The first question is, therefore, what did he mean by arguing that as the Home Guard would not be mustered in peacetime it would not be used in this way? Did he mean he would feel justified in using it in war-time against a Communist-organised strike? If our whole transport system was paralysed in the middle of a war, I am sure he feels he would be justified in using the Home Guard to break that strike. If hon. Members nod their heads, it is no good telling us we have received an assurance that the Home Guard will not be so used.

The second question is this. He went on to say that anyway we cannot tell the difference between peace and war in these days. He said he could not give a definite assurance that they would not have to ask for these powers in a period which we shall call peace and he would define as war. We see how little value this is. First he tells us by implication that we can use the Home Guard for breaking Communist-organised strikes in war, and secondly, "I shall tell you when it is peace and when it is war; and it will not be when you think it is war; it will be a great deal earlier."

It is vital to get a clear understanding. Some of us are not so much in argument even with the principle of this Bill. The whole idea that one should organise a Home Guard in peace-time is a great mistake, but we have passed the Second Reading and are now trying to immunise this decision, which I think was wrongheaded. Here are the two points. First, does he imply that in case of war it will be in order to use the Home Guard in civil disturbances or industrial disputes? Second, what does he mean by saying that he will not be able to have this simply during war-time in the old sense, but he will tell us when there is war or not? Will he decide when it is so serious that he must muster the Home Guard and use it? If he does not give us an assurance on that, the assurances he has already given us are not worth very much.

Mr. Head

We have had a very full discussion on this. I am doubtful whether the hon. Gentleman was here; if he was, I did not notice him. But let us leave that. The hon. Gentleman's contribution is putting me, and I think hon. Members on the Front Bench, in something of a dilemma. The intention was to make the Clause say that members of the Home Guard shall not give whole-time service or live away from their homes, or take part in any industrial dispute, except during any period during which the platoon or other part of the Home Guard to which they belong is mustered. That is the Amendment put down by the Opposition Front Bench.

12.45 a.m.

I did undertake perfectly seriously to find a formula or words which would apply to that. What the hon. Gentleman has down is something totally different to the Amendment, and if he wants me to go further I would point out that during the Second Reading debate the Minister of Defence—[HON. MEMBERS: "The ex-Minister of Defence."]—I beg his pardon, the ex-Minister of Defence—I am always getting into that trouble; it is a serious difference. The right hon. Gentleman said on the question whether this Force is to be used in times of industrial dispute: I can understand that when the men are mustered—because war will have begun by that time—they must be used to deal with Civil disturbances."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 598.] That is what the ex-Minister of Defence said on Second Reading. I cannot please everybody. I have accepted the Amendment in principle and have promised to find a suitable form of words, and that I will do on the Report stage.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn rose in his place and claimed to move,"That the Question be now put."

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of order. I think I am right in saying that I and some of my hon. Friends were on our feet to continue the debate long before the Motion was moved. Therefore, with the greatest respect, I say that it is not within your competence—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order."]—to accept the Motion—[Interruption.]—while a Member is on his feet prepared to continue the debate, or in the act of continuing it.

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

That is not a point of order. I have accepted the Motion.

Mr. Adams

On a point of order. The Secretary of State has just made some further important—

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not a point of order. I have accepted the Motion. It cannot be debated.

Mr. Silverman

On a point of order.

Hon. Members

Sit down.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am on my feet. Once I have accepted the Motion it is accepted. It is my decision. There is a proper method of challenging it if the hon. Gentleman wishes to do so.

Mr. Silverman

I do challenge it.

The Deputy-Chairman

That must be done by a Motion.

Mr. Silverman

I am not prepared to accept that Ruling.

Hon. Members

Withdraw.

Mr. Silverman

No, I am not going to.

The Deputy-Chairman

If the hon. Gentleman persists in defying my Ruling I must ask him to withdraw from the House.

Mr. Silverman

I am not going to withdraw. I was on my feet before the Motion was moved, and I claim the right of every Member—

Hon. Members

Withdraw.

Mr. Silverman

I am not going to withdraw.

Mr. Deputy-Chairman

In that case I must report the hon. Member to Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Silverman

I am on my feet to continue the debate.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order, order. If the hon. Gentleman refuses to obey my Ruling I must send for Mr. Speaker.

Whereupon the Deputy-Chairman left the Chair to report the circumstances to the House.

Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.

The Deputy-Chairman

I have, Sir, to report Mr. Sydney Silverman for disregarding the authority of the Chair.

Mr. Speaker

Then I name Mr. Sydney Silverman for persistently disregarding the authority of the Chair.

Mr. Silverman rose

Mr. Shinwell rose

Mr. Speaker

Order, order.

Mr. Speaker

No questions of order can arise. Mr. Crookshank.

Mr. Silverman rose

Mr. Speaker

No debate or amendment is allowed on this Question.

Mr. Crookshank

I beg to move, "That Mr. Sydney Silverman be suspended from the service of the House."

Question put.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr. T. Driberg(seated and covered) (Maldon)

On a point of order. Can I, with great respect, Mr. Speaker, ask, for the guidance of hon. Members, if you would indicate whether it is possible to raise a point of order at the time when the Question is being put?

Mr. Driberg

Might I then, with great respect, draw your attention to the fact that the hon. Member of this House most concerned in this unhappy business, my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), was himself attempting to catch your eye and to raise a point of order?

Mr. Speaker

I understood so, but at that time I thought the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne was out of order as he was the subject of the Motion.

Mr. Driberg

My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne said "Point of order" at the top of his voice. If you, Sir, were not able at that time to hear my hon. Friend raising his point of order, may I put to you a point of order about the proceedings that have just transpired? Were they in order?

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member will wait, I must first announce the Tellers and put the Question again.

The Tellers having been named and the Question having again been put—

Mr. Driberg

(seated and covered): On a point of order. If, as I gather now you were good enough to say, Sir, you should have allowed my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne to make his point of order at that time, is there any way in which justice can be done to him at this stage so that he can put the point of order he was intending to make?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think that at that time I could have listened to the point of order of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne as he was the subject of the Motion.

Mr. Driberg

Further to that point of order. May I ask you, Sir, whether the occupant of the lower Chair was in order in accepting the Closure only about five to 10 minutes after the resumption of the

debate, when important new points had been made and several hon. Members were on their feet?

Mr. Silverman

(seated and covered): I submit with respect, Sir, that it is a little late now to raise a point of order in the middle of a Division. At the same time, I welcome the opportunity of doing so. There was no gross disorderly conduct of any kind. There was no disrespect to the Deputy-Chairman. There was no circumstance that justified the use of Standing Order 22 instead of Standing Order 21, and the Deputy-Chairman was hopelessly in the wrong in accepting a Motion for the Closure at a moment when several hon. Members were on their feet to deal with a most important point.

Mr. Speaker

So far as I am concerned, in the circumstances reported to me I had no other course open to me, under the Standing Orders, than to do what I did.

Mr. Silverman

With very great respect, I beg to differ even from that. No matter what had been reported to you, there is nothing in the Standing Orders of this House or our time-honoured procedure to justify the Chair even in refusing to listen to a point of order at any time when it is properly raised.

The House divided: Ayes, 194; Noes, 147.

Division No. 11.] AYES [1.02 a.m.
Aitken, W. T. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Cole, N. J. Gough, C. F. H.
Alport, C. J. M. Colegate, W. A. Gower, H. R.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
Arbuthnot, John Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Crouch, R. F. Hay, John
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
Baldwin, A. E. Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Heald, Sir Lionel
Banks, Col. C. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Heath, Edward
Barber, A. P. L. De la Bère, R. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Barlow, Sir John Deedes, W. F. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bell, P. I. (Dolton, E.) Digby, S. Wingfield Hirst, Geoffrey
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Donner, P. W. Hope, Lord John
Bennett, William (Woodside) Doughty, C. J. A. Hopkinson, Henry
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Birch, Nigel Drayson, G. B. Horobin, I. M.
Bishop, F. P. Drewe, C. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Black, C. W. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Bossom, A. C. Duthie, W. S. Hurd, A. R.
Boyle, Sir Edward Finlay, G. B. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Brooman-White, R. C. Fisher, Nigel Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Fort, R. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Bullard, D. G. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)
Butcher, H. W. Gage, C. H. Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley)
Carson, Hon. E. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Cary, Sir R. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Kaberry, D.
Channon, H. Garner-Evans, E. H. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Clark, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Godber, J. B. Lambert, Hon. G.
Lambton, Viscount Partridge, E. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Langford-Holt, J. A. Perkins, W. R. D. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Logge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Peyton, J. W. W. Storey, S.
Lagh, P. R. (Petersfield) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Linstead, H. N. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Studholme, H. G.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Pitman, I. J. Summers, G. S.
Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Powell, J. Enoch Sutcliffe, H.
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
McKibbin, A. J. Redmayne, M. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Remnant, Hon. P. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Maclay, Hon. John Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Robertson, Sir David Tilney, John
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Turner, H. F. L.
Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Turton, R. H.
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Roper, Sir Harold Vane, W. M. F.
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Ropner, Col. L. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Russell, R. S. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Maude, Angus Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Scott, R. Donald Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Medlicott, Brig. F. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Waterhouse, Capt Rt. Hon. C.
Mellor, Sir John Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Watkinson, H. A.
Molson, A. H. E. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Wellwood, W.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Soames, Capt. C. Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Nicholson, G. Spearman, A. C. M. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Nield, Basil (Chester) Speir, R. M. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Nutting, Anthony Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Wills, G.
Oakshott, H. D. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stevens, G. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Brigadier Mackeson and Mr. Vosper.
NOES
Acland, Sir Richard Glanville, James Mikardo, Ian
Adams, Richard Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J.
Albu, A. H. Grey, C. F. Mitchison, G. R.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Monslow, W.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Griffiths, William (Exchange) Moody, A. S.
Awbery, S. S. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Moyle, A.
Baird, J. Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Balfour, A. Hamilton, W. W. Orbach, M.
Bartley, P. Hannan, W. Oswald, T.
Bence, C. R. Hargreaves, A. Parker, J.
Benn, Wedgwood Hayman, F. H. Pearson, A.
Beswick, F. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Peart, T. F.
Bing, G. H. C. Herbison, Miss M. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Blackburn, F. Holman, P. Popplewell, E.
Blenkinsop, A. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Porter, G.
Blyton, W. R. Houghton, Douglas Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Boardman, H. Hubbard, T. F. Proctor, W. T.
Bowden, H. W. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Rhodes, H.
Bowles, F. G. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Burton, Miss F. E. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Callaghan, L. J. Janner, B. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jeger, George (Goole) Short, E. W.
Chapman, W. D. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Chetwynd, G. R. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Clunie, J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Collick, P. H. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, David (Hartlepool) Slater, J.
Crosland, C. A. R. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Steele, T.
Crossman, R. H. S. Kenyon, C. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Delargy, H. J. King, Dr. H. M. Strachey, Rt. Han. J.
Dodds, N. N. Kinley, J. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Driberg, T. E. N. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Swingler, S. T.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lewis, Arthur Sylvester, G. O.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Logan, D. G. Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Fernyhough, E. MacColl, J. E. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Field, Capt. W. J. McKay, John (Wallsend) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Fienburgh, W. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Usborne, H. C.
Finch, H. J. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Watkins, T. E.
Forman, J. C. Mann, Mrs. Jean Weitzman, D.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Manuel, A. C. Wells, William (Walsall)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mayhew, C. P. West, D. G.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Messer, F. Wheatley, Rt Hon. John
White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Wigg, G. E. C. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.) Wyatt, W. L. Mr. Harold Davies and Mr. Donnelly.
Willey, Octavius (Cleveland) Yates, V. F.
Mr. Speaker

I direct the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne to withdraw from the House.

The hon. Member withdrew accordingly.

1.15 a.m.

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker? When you reached the Chamber, you called upon the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the House, to move the customary Motion. I am well aware that under Rule 22, debate is not permissible on a Motion of this kind. But, I did rise in my place for the purpose of addressing a question to the Leader of the House. The nature of the question I will disclose in a moment. I was under the impression, from my experience of the House, that before the Leader of the House moved the customary Motion, an appeal might be addressed to him, for example, in these terms. That if the hon. Member who is alleged to have committed an offence against the Chair and to have transgressed the Rules, desired to express regret—in other words, to apologise—that the customary Motion might be regarded as unnecessary.

You, Sir, in your discretion, and no doubt, you have good reasons for so doing, decided I should not be permitted to ask my question. I wish now to ask you, Sir, whether there is any precedent for refusing an hon. Member to put a question to the Leader of the House in order to obviate the need for making the customary Motion. It seems to me it would have avoided this contretemps, this little trouble, if the Leader of the House, on an appeal made to him and on an apology being made by the alleged offending hon. Member, had agreed not to put the Motion.

I would venture to put this to you, Sir. Mr. Speaker is compelled, under the Rules of Order, to put the Motion, but Mr. Speaker is not compelled to put the Motion unless the Leader of the House makes the Motion himself. If there is no Motion before the House, obviously Mr. Speaker has no Motion to put to the House. Therefore, it appeared to me to be legitimate to address a question to the Leader of the House so that he might think it desirable not to put the customary Motion. I should like your guidance, Sir.

Mr. Speaker

As soon as it was reported to me by the Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne had been persistently disregarding the directions of the Chair, the course enjoined upon me by Standing Orders was automatic, and I had to take the course I did. I cannot, in my view, under the Standing Orders allow my action in the matter to be interrupted in any way whatever. It followed automatically upon the report to me by the Deputy-Chairman that these things had taken place.

Mr. Shinwell

With great respect, I submit to you, that while what you have said in your discretion is accepted, and indeed could not be otherwise than accepted by hon. Members, the point I venture to put is this. No Motion would be before you, in your capacity as Mr. Speaker, which you could put to the House, unless the Leader of the House had submitted a Motion to the House. Mr. Speaker can only put a Motion when a Motion has been presented by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. If such a Motion had not been presented, you, Sir, would not have compelled the Leader of the House to submit such a Motion. It seems to me that there was a legitimate claim on my part to be permitted to put such a question to the Leader of the House, as it would have obviated this difficulty.

Mr. Speaker

In my view, things had got beyond that stage when it was reported to me that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne had been persistently disregarding the authority of the Chair. It was not my authority he had disregarded but the authority of the Deputy-Chairman. When the Chairman of Ways and Means reports this fact to me, I have no other course open to me under the Standing Orders.

Mr. Driberg

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. When I raised the point of order with you, seated and covered, during the Division, I understood you to say that you would have allowed the hon. Member concerned to make his point of order if you had realised that he was making a point of order, or something like that—I could not quite grasp what you said. If that be so, would you, Sir, be good enough to explain, for the guidance of hon. Members, how it is that you can now explain to us that your action in such a case must be automatic and cannot be interrupted in any way?

Mr. Speaker

When the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) put his question on a point of order, seated and covered, I thought it was a point of order connected with the way in which I had called the Division—a technical matter. What had happened before my entry was outside my jurisdiction by that time. There was nothing more that I could do, and no point of order to which I could listen.

Mr. Driberg

With respect, Sir, I do not think you grasp my point. When I was seated and covered and raised that point of order, I ventured, respectfully, to draw your attention to the fact that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) had been trying to raise a point of order with you at the time when you called on the Leader of the House, and I understood you to say, in reply to my point of order, that you were sorry that you had not realised that at the time, or words to that effect.

Mr. Speaker

No. What I said was that the conduct of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, being itself the subject of the Motion before the House, I could not listen to his point of order or to any argument or debate on the matter whatsoever.

Mr. I. Mikardo (Reading, South)

I wonder Mr. Speaker if you will guide me and perhaps other hon. Members on this point. Is it not a fact that it is within the right of any hon. Member to raise a genuine point of order? I know that we are all guilty sometimes of saying, "On a point of order" in order to get in another point, but is it not within the right of any Member to raise a genuine point of order at any time? For, if I may put this to you with humility, if this were not so, it might well be that there could be no protection for a minority, and certainly for a minority of one Member in matters closely affecting his interests.

I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, with all the humility that is proper to a comparatively new Member, that one understands the occupant of the Chair to be all-powerful, but not omniscient; and you and your predecessors have always been good enough to show by your actions that you have been willing to listen to the arguments of Members on points of order, even when they appeared to query your own rulings, although, of course, in the final issue it must be your own ruling that is the sole arbiter.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) raised his point of order, seated and covered, there were only three or four Members in the Chamber, although some were moving in and others were moving out in the course of the Division and there was a certain amount of turmoil. I understood you to say, Sir—I beg your forgiveness if I misquote you, but I assure you that I do not do so deliberately—and I sat beside my hon. Friend listening carefully, that you had been under the impression, when the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne sought to raise his point of order, that he was not then in order in so seeking to do because he was the subject of the question under complaint.

I drew the conclusion from the form of words which you used that you were saying that at the time the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne raised his point of order you were under a certain impression, but that in the interval which had elapsed between then and the time you were replying to my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon you had corrected that impression, and I understood you to be suggesting that you had changed your view about the matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am quoting, Mr. Speaker, to the best of my ability, and without seeking to make any partisan point, my recollection of what took place at a moment when I was present and listening carefully. I do not see how that could be objected to by hon. Gentlemen who were not only not listening carefully, but were not present.

I think it would be within your recollection that what you did say seemed to imply, and I am not pretending to quote your own words, that between the time the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne had sought to raise his point of order and you had refused him permission to do so, and the time the hon. Member for Maldon had raised his point of order, you had changed your view of the matter. If that is so, it is readily understandable. I am sure we all sympathise with the situation in which you find yourself at very short notice—perhaps unceremoniously dragged back into the Chamber without any expectation of it. It would be understandable if, in these circumstances, the full import of what was taking place had not occurred to you in the very first place.

If my reading of the situation is right, and some moments after you had denied the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne the opportunity of raising a point of order you had yourself come to the conclusion that you had issued that denial under a view that you subsequently corrected, I would submit to you, with respect, that a grave injustice has been done to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne by the denial of his right to raise a point of order. I would ask you for your guidance, if my reading is correct, as to the ways in which some correction can be made of that injustice.

Mr. Speaker

I have listened to what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I can assure him and the House that from the moment it was reported to me that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne had been guilty of persistently disregarding the authority of the Chair I have been in no doubt whatever as to my proper course of action. I have not changed my mind. I have followed the course which I think is enjoined upon me by the usages of this House and there has been no uncertainty in my mind whatsoever on the matter.

Mr. John Wheatley (Edinburgh, East)

Further to the point raised by my right hon. Friend and your reply that your action was automatic under Standing Order 22, may I respectfully refer you to the Standing Order which says, when the circumstances, have been reported by the Chairman to the Speaker, and a Motion is being made: Mr. Speaker shall, on a Motion being made, [thereupon] put the same question, no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed as if the offence had been committed in the House itself. I fully concede that no Amendment, adjournment or debate could be allowed once the Motion has been put, but at the point my right hon. Friend intervened to make an appeal to the Leader of the House no Motion had been put. Therefore, the subsequent part of the Standing Order did not apply and it would have been quite in order to have allowed the appeal by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Speaker

I have listened to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point of order, but I think, in quoting the Standing Order, he has missed out one word. I have not got the Standing Order by me, but it says: …forthwith put the question without amendment, adjournment or debate.

1.30 a.m.

Mr. Wheatley

Further to that point. The word "forthwith" appears at the point where the Chairman suspends the proceedings. May I read the Standing Order? It says: …if the offence has been committed in a committee of the whole House the chairman shall forthwith suspend the proceedings of the committee and report the circumstance to the House; and Mr. Speaker shall on a motion being made forthwith put the same question, no amendment, adjustment, or debate being allowed. There is no provision for the Speaker having to deal with the matter forthwith. I submit that the Motion not having been made, my right hon. Friend was in order in making the appeal to the Leader of the House, and that in the circumstances it would be in order for you to have allowed him to make that appeal.

Mr. Speaker

I can only say, with deep respect to the House, that I take a different view, and that I cannot argue the matter at this moment. The House must consider in a calmer mind all these transactions that have taken place. At the moment the House should be in Committee, and it should resume its position as a Committee considering the Bill before it.

Mr. Shinwell

I entirely agree, and so will hon. Members, that this matter should be considered when everybody is in a calmer frame of mind. This is a most unearthly time to consider the complicated legal issues affecting the Standing Order. May I ask you to give the matter consideration, and advise the House at an early stage?

Mr. Speaker

I have given my decision on the matters as they were presented to me. I have done that in all honesty and fairness to the House and with a sincere desire to uphold its best traditions. I will of course consider anything that has happened tonight, but at the moment I tell the House that what I have done I have done with an honest desire to serve its best interests.

Mr. Richard Adams (Wandsworth, Central)

May I make two points. On the question of a point of order, I suggest that it is in order to submit a point of order at any time in the course of the proceedings. There is provision, once the voices have been collected for a Division, from a point of order to be raised seated and covered. That indicates that at any time previous to that it is in order to raise a point of order standing and addressing the Chair, and I submit that once you have taken the Chair and proceedings have started it is in order for any hon. Member to raise a point of order at any time.

Secondly, I would refer to Standing Order 22. There seems to be some difference in wording. I have here the copy dated 7th December, 1950, and it states: Whenever a Member shall have been named by Mr. Speaker, or by the Chairman immediately after the commission of the offence of disregarding the authority of the chair or of persistently and wilfully obstructing the business of the House by abusing the rules of the House, or otherwise, then if the offence has been committed by such Member in the House, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the question, on a motion being made, no amendment, adjournment, or debate being allowed. In Committee the same words are used —that "Mr. Speaker shall on a motion being made forthwith put the same question." I submit that the qualifying words there are "on a motion being made." Until the Motion is made it is in order for an hon. Gentleman to address you on the subject. I do ask when you come to give your considered verdict on what has happened tonight to bear these points in mind.

Mr. Speaker

I will, of course, bear all these points in mind.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

On a point of order. I understand that tempers may be a little high this evening. But is it in order for an hon. Gentleman opposite to pass derogatory remarks to the effect that an hon. Gentleman ought to be in the Tower merely because he—[Interruption.] It reveals the subconscious mind of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor) and ought it not to be withdrawn? [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

I did not hear that remark myself, but I do not think the suggestion than an hon. Member ought to be in the Tower is itself derogatory. There has been many a good man and hon. Member of this House in the Tower. I would point out to hon. Members that I have no business here. The House should be in Committee. I must leave, but I adjure you to conduct the rest of your proceedings tonight so there will be no necessity whatever for further scenes of this character.

Bill again considered in Committee.

[Mr. HOPKIN MORRIS in the Chair]

Question again proposed, "That the Question be now put."

Mr. Shinwell

On a point of order.

The Deputy-Chairman

Under the Standing Orders I am bound to put the Question once I have accepted it.

Hon. Members

What question?

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 192; Noes, 146.

Division No. 12.] AYES [1.37 a.m.
Aitken, W. T. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Alport, C. J. M. Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye) Pitman, I. J.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Powell, J. Enoch
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Hay, John Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Arbuthnot, John Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Heald, Sir Lionel Redmayne, M.
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Heath, Edward Remnant, Hon. P.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley)
Baldwin, A. E. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Robertson, Sir David
Banks, Col. C. Hirst, Geoffrey Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Barber, A. P. L. Holland-Martin, C. J. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Barlow, Sir John Hope, Lord John Roper, Sir Harold
Bell, P. I. (Bolton, E.) Hopkinson, Henry Ropner, Col. L.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Russell, R. S.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Horobin, I. M. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)
Birch, Nigel Hurd, A. R. Scott, R. Donald
Bishop, F. P. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Black, C. W. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Bossom, A. C. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Brooman-White, R. C. Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich) Soames, Capt. C.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley) Spearman, A. C. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Speir, R. M.
Bullard, D. G. Kaberry, D. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Butcher, H. W. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Carson, Hon. E. Lambert, Hon. G. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Cary, Sir R. Lambton, Viscount Stevens, G. P.
Channon, H. Langford-Holt, J. A. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich W.)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Storey, S.
Cole, N. J. Linstead, H. N. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Colegate, W. A. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Studholme, H. G.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Summers, G. S.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Sutcliffe, H.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Crouch, R. F. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Crowder, John E. (Finchley) McKibbin, A. J. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Maclay, Hon. John Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
De la Bére, R. MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Tilney, John
Deedes, W. F. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Turner, H. F. L.
Digby, S. Wingfield Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Turton, R. H.
Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Vane, W. M. F.
Donner, P. W. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Doughty, C. J. A. Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Vosper, D. F.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Marlowe, A. A. H. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Drayson, G. B. Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Drewe, C. Maude, Angus Walker-Smith, D. C.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Maydon, Lt. Cmdr. S. L. C. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Duthie, W. S. Medlicott, Brig. F. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Finlay, G. B. Mellor, Sir John Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Fisher, Nigel Molson, A. H. E. Watkinson, H. A.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Fort, R. Nabarro, G. D. N. Wellwood, W.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Nicholson, G. Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Gage, C. H. Nield, Basil (Chester) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Nutting, Anthony Williams. R. Dudley (Exeter)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Wills, G.
Godber, J. B. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Partridge, E.
Gough, C. F. H. Perkins, W. R. D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gower, H. R. Peyton, J. W. W. Major Conant and Mr. Oakshott.
NOES
Acland, Sir Richard Blackburn, F. Chetwynd, G. R.
Adams, Richard Blenkinsop, A. Clunie, J.
Albu, A. H. Blyton, W. R. Collick, P. H.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Boardman, H. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Allen, Scholefieid (Crewe) Bowden, H. W. Crosland, C. A. R.
Awbery, S. S. Bowles, F. G. Crossman, R. H. S.
Baird, J. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Davies, Harold (Leek)
Balfour, A. Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Dodds, N. N.
Bartley, P. Burton, Miss F. E. Donnelly, D. L.
Bence, C. R. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Driberg, T. E. N.
Benn, Wedgwood Callaghan, L. J. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Beswick, F. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Bing, G. H. C. Chapman, W. D. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)
Fernyhough, E. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Field, Capt. W. J. Kenyon, C. Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Fienburgh, W. King, Dr. H. M. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Finch, H. J. Kinley, J. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Forman, J. C. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Short, E. W.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Lewis, Arthur Shurmer, P. L. E.
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Silverman, Julius (Erdington
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Logan, D. G. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Glanville, James MacColl, J. E. Slater, J.
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) McKay, John (Wallsend) Steele, T.
Grey, C. F. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mann, Mrs. Jean Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxham)
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Manuel, A. C. Swingler, S. T.
Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Mayhew, C. P. Sylvester, G. O.
Hamilton, W. W. Messer, F. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hannan, W. Mikardo, Ian Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Hargreaves, A. Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Herbison, Miss M. Monslow, W. Usborne, H. C.
Holman, P. Moody, A. S. Watkins, T. E.
Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Moyle, A. Weitzman, D.
Houghton, Douglas Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Wells, William (Walsall)
Hubbard, T. F. Oldfield, W. H. West, D. G.
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Orbach, M. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oswald, T. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Parker, J. Wigg, G. E. C.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pearson, A. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Peart, T. F. Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Plummer, Sir Leslie Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Janner, B. Popplewell, E. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Jeger, George (Goole) Porter, G. Wyatt, W. L.
Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Yates, V. F.
Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Johnson, James (Rugby) Proctor, W. T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Rhodes, H. Mr. Kenneth Robinson and Mr. Delargy.
Jones, David (Hartlepool) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.

1.45 a.m.

Mr. Shinwell

May I submit a Motion—

Hon. Members

Order.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put accordingly, and negatived.

Mr. Shinwell

I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."

A few moments ago when I ventured to address you, Mr. Hopkin Morris, I was under the impression that the debate was still open. I had been absent for a few moments and was unaware of what had transpired. I gathered from what you said that you had been asked to put the Motion, and obviously you were compelled to do so. However, when I rose I encountered the usual collective ejaculations from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and, incidentally, a certain measure of intimidation, particularly from the notorious hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate), of whom we have had experience in this House in the past.

My reason for submitting this Motion is that we have now reached a most unseemly time and because in the last hour or so we have been quite unable to transact business which, I understand, it is the purpose of the Government to do. Whoever is to blame. [interruption.] If hon. Members wish to interrupt me I make no complaint. They are using up Government time. Of course, they do not understand. They are quite new to this sort of thing. No doubt they will learn in time, and if they will keep their mouths closed for a little they will learn a great deal. Even from hon. Members on this side of the Committee they can learn a great deal, strange as it may seem to them. But one thing is certain. Hon. Members opposite seem to have gained the idea, or it may be just an impression, that all they have to do when hon. Members on this side are addressing the House, or the Committee, as the case may be, is to yell their heads off, and that thereby we are intimidated. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are not disturbed by the squally intimidation practised by the other side. But, as I was saying, this is scarcely the time to proceed with important business. Whoever is to blame for what has transpired in the last hour or so, the fact remains that there is still a great deal of business to be transacted. I am bound to warn the Leader of the House, with the greatest respect, and indeed with a large measure of goodwill towards him.

After all, he and I are old Parliamentary friends, and understand one another. I know that he is practised in all the Parliamentary tricks. [An HON. MEMBER: "Get on."] Did someone say "Get on"? I was remarking earlier in the proceedings that that is one of the stock-in-trade arguments of the Tory party. Shall I repeat it "Get on, get out, shut up," and all the rest of it. Why do they not use an argument of quality sometimes? For example, an extract from the Tory manifesto might be interesting.

But let me proceed, if you, Mr. Hopkin Morris, can persuade hon. Members opposite to contain themselves. What I am suggesting is that this is hardly the time to proceed with the discussion of important business. I warn the Leader of the House that if he will persist in his obdurate attitude of trying to get this business through at a time like this he may find himself sitting on that bench, and we may find ourselves sitting on these benches, at about, shall I say, midday tomorrow—[Interruption.]—or even later than that, to the discomfiture of the Government.

Brigadier Clarke

Do not threaten us.

Mr. Shinwell

That will bring tears to the eyes of the Patronage Secretary.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn indicated dissent.

Mr. Shinwell

Not yet. It is early in the morning, yet. With great respect, I submit that in what we have gone through in the last hour we have made mistakes. No doubt we shall hear about them later, but that is not a matter for discussion at present. I suggest that it would be wise if we reported Progress. Such progress as we have made, and, indeed, any progress we have made, has been largely due to the constructive efforts of this side of the Committee. Hon. Members opposite cannot dissent from that because the great majority of them have not been present during the proceedings. Could we have a committee of inquiry to discover why they were absenting themselves from the Chamber? It would be most interesting. [Interruption.] Would the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) like to interrupt and tell us where he was?

Mr. Peter Remnant (Wokingham)

I was here in the Chamber all the time.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Member for Wokingham answers with some vehemence—why the vehemence I cannot understand—that he has been in the Chamber all the while. Well, nobody noticed him here.

The Deputy-Chairman

This Motion which the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to move, to report Progress, has only just recently been discussed—within the last hour.

Hon. Members

No.

Mr. Shinwell

May I make a submission to you with great respect, Mr. Hopkin Morris? I do not know who conveyed that information to you, but it is certainly more than two hours since I moved to report Progress. I am informed it was at 10.30 p.m. No doubt you, Mr. Hopkin Morris, can obtain advice on this matter, and it is within the competence—[AN HON. MEMBER: "It was at 10.41 p.m."]—A few minutes here and there does not matter. I gave an approximate time and no doubt you will read that it was at about that time we last discussed the Motion to report Progress.

I make my submission to you, Mr. Hopkin Morris, with great firmness out of my experience of this Chamber which goes a long way back—I think, with great respect, as long as your own if not longer. I am well aware of the Rules of the House of Commons and I am well aware that there are certain traditions of the House of Commons not embodied in Standing Orders, and am well aware that by custom we are permitted to make suggestions to the Chair, and indeed suggestions have often been accepted by the Chair although they are not associated with the actual Rules.

I submit it is within the competence of any hon. Member at a time he regards as appropriate in the circumstances of the debate, the preceding debate and what has transpired in the debate, to move to report Progress and ask leave to sit again. Invariably, if there has not been a similar Motion within the preceding hour or so the Chair accepts it. I submit that not only is the time opportune, the circumstances are opportune, and I have therefore moved my Motion.

The Deputy-Chairman

Since the last Motion was raised at 10.40 p.m. the only intervening matter that has been con- sidered was the insertion of the words on the Order Paper.

Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)

On a point of order. I have just been looking at the notice board, Mr. Hopkin Morris, and I find that the Division on the Motion to report Progress terminated at 12.19 a.m. —almost two hours ago.

Mr. Adams

May I say briefly a few words in support of the Motion? I submit that the reason why we should adjourn this debate and report Progress is that there are signs already of sabotage breaking out in the ranks opposite. I draw your attention, Mr. Hopkin Morris, to the red button-holes that are appearing one by one on the benches opposite. There is great danger that as this debate continues further acts of sabotage will appear among hon. Members on the other side of the Committee. The second reason is that we no longer have with us the Secretary of State for War, who is supposed to conduct the Bill through the Committee. For no other reason than that, we should adjourn so that the right hon. Gentleman may get some rest.

2.0 a.m.

I notice that we have the advantage of the presence of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education. I will apprise my hon. Friends that he is taking advantage of cover on the third bench back. I understood the hon. Gentleman was helping in the formation of the Home Guard by preparing a rather simple leaflet entitled, Tautology on the Sand Table.

The Deputy-Chairman

I cannot accept this Motion.

Mr. M. Stewart

I have not the advantage of the long time in the House of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell), or yourself, Mr. Hopkin Morris, and I should therefore be grateful, like many other hon. Members, if for our guidance you could give us a little further explanation of the Ruling I understand you have now given, that you cannot accept a Motion to report Progress.

Many of us are genuinely puzzled for two reasons. First, you give as a reason the very small amount of progress made since the last similar Motion. Would hon. Members not be right in thinking that the fact that the Committee has made such little progress in that time indicates that the Committee is not really in the mood to make much progress?

If I might add one further reason, why I am really puzzled: when my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth Division, Central (Mr. Adams) spoke recently he used the words that he was supporting the Motion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington to report Progress. You made no correction of him; you allowed us to remain under the misapprehension, apparently that there was before the Committee a Motion to report Progress which had been moved by my right hon. Friend. How are we to reconcile this with the Ruling now given?

The Deputy-Chairman

I have not accepted the Motion. The whole of the time since the last Motion to report Progress has been spent with regard to the suspension of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. Apart from that, there has been this small Amendment. Therefore, I decline at this moment to accept the motion. Mr. Swingler.

Mr. Swingler

In view of the absence of the Secretary of State for War and the importance of the Amendment that you have now called upon me to move, perhaps you will allow me to move to report Progress and ask leave to sit again?

Mr. Callaghan

Further to that point of order. May I ask for guidance? I think you will agree from previous experience in the Chair that it has been customary, when a period of about two hours has elapsed, for the Chair to permit such a Motion to be put again, and to have some indication from the Leader of the House on what he is going to do. I have sat here for only six years, and that has been my clear impression. May we ask in what circumstances you are going to accept such a Motion?

There are certain considerations. Is the test to be that we must make a considerable amount of progress before you accept such a Motion? If that is so, that would seem to be thrusting all the work into one compartment and saying we have got to be good boys, deal with the job irrespective of whether we do it properly, and then the Chair will be prepared to consider whether we may go home.

I am sure you would not rely upon that sort of thing. If, on the other hand, it is your intention to depart from what has been the customary precedent of allowing the discussion to run for about two hours and then find out what are the intentions of the Leader of the House—after all, we are entitled to do that when we have only managed to cover the ground we have because of the various diversions which have resulted from the proposal to close down the debate—if we are to depart from the normal convention of allowing two hours to elapse, I ask for your guidance as to what time you think it is reasonable should elapse before moving to report Progress and how many of the Amendments we have to get through before you are prepared to accept that Motion?

The Deputy-Chairman

It is not for me to decide that. The Motion to report Progress was disposed of and then most of the time since has been occupied with the suspension of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. The only intervening business has been this small Amendment.

Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge)

May I ask if you will answer the second question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart), when he asked on what Motion the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central was speaking at the time?

Mr. Adams

I am a little lost as to what has happened in the last few minutes. My right hon. Friend moved to report Progress and I rose to support that Motion. I had continued for several moments uninterrupted when you suddenly rose in the Chair and cut me short.

The Deputy-Chairman

I did not realise the hon. Gentleman was speaking in support of a motion. I thought he was rising to a point of order.

Mr. Driberg

You, Sir, allowed my right hon. Friend to make a full speech, to make his case, and move his Motion. You interrupted him once on a factual misapprehension to say that it was only about an hour since the same Motion was last moved and that you would not accept it. When it was pointed out that it was about two hours ago, you permitted him to continue and my right hon. Friend completed his speech and moved his Motion. How can the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central, be out of order in continuing a speech?

The Deputy-Chairman

I have listened to the points of order, but I cannot allow the discussion to continue now. I have given my decision and that decision is that I cannot allow the discussion to continue.

Several Hon. Members rose

The Deputy-Chairman

There can be no point of order on this Ruling. Therefore, I call upon Mr. Swingler.

Mr. Hale

May I submit, for reasons not known to you, because no Chairman can occupy the Chair consistently throughout the hours, that this makes it imperative and important that you will reconsider your decision not to accept the Motion moved by my right hon. Friend. The original Motion, to which you have referred and which was moved in your absence, was moved at 10.41 p.m. There was considerable discussion, and indeed the general basis of the Motion then moved by my right hon. Friend was that the Committee was reaching the stage when it was physically incapable of giving serious consideration to these exceedingly important questions.

In that direction, Mr. Hopkin Morris —[Interruption.] I am addressing the Chair. Really, this is the House of Cornmons—[Interruption.] I beg hon. Members opposite to preserve some semblance of decency in this matter. Mr. Hopkin Morris, the Leader of the House intervened in that discussion and made, in the circumstances, a very conciliatory speech. Indeed, he himself quite recognised that we were putting points of substance, which he was anxious to consider and made it clear that he desired to consider, but for the limitations of the timetable that has been arbitrarily imposed upon him by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.

Now, Mr. Hopkin Morris, may I call attention to one or two matters which have happened since and which are important? First, with respect, it surely is an important matter—it is almost unprecedented in the history of the House —that a Member of great Parliamentary experience should have been named and should have left the Chamber. Those of us who know him, without attempting to defend, will appreciate that he is a great Parliamentarian, and as he left, with the dignity with which he left us, we said, "There goes one of the noblest Romans of them all."

May I submit to you, Sir, that in the last three minutes—[Interruption.]

The Deputy-Chairman

I cannot hear, with all this noise, what the hon. Member is saying.

Mr. Hale

I am much obliged, Sir, and I hope that I shall be allowed to make this very brief intervention uninterrupted. I respectfully want to call attention to other matters that are relevant. The whole of the Liberal Party has gone home, but those of us who believe in the rights of minorities do not wish to see that minority deprived of the right to discuss the vital questions that are likely to arise in this debate.

The Minister of Defence is not here—it really is quite monstrous. There are some of us who feel that in the debate which, we are told, will take place tomorrow, if we sit tomorrow, on the Report stage, there are Amendments which will arise from this discussion that we have a right to put down, and that we ought to have facilities to put down.

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member is now getting beyond the point. The Committee must recognise that we cannot carry on debating points of order; that is not the purpose of this debate. I have made my decision.

Mr. Hale

I was not—

Hon. Members

Order.

Mr. Hale

I was seeking your guidance—

Hon. Members

Sit down.

The Deputy-Chairman

We cannot carry on the debate on points of order, and I now must call on Mr. Swingler to move the next Amendment.

Mr. Hale

May I, Sir, complete my sentence to you? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I wish to seek your guidance, and I venture respectfully to ask you if you would say what principles had determined your decision not to permit this discussion, in view of the facts that I have been bringing to your notice.

The Deputy-Chairman

I had already stated them earlier.

Mr. Mikardo

On a point of order—

The Deputy-Chairman

We cannot go on with points of order. Mr. Swingler.

Mr. Mikardo

On that point of order, surely, whilst accepting that one cannot continue a debate on points of order, one is entitled to ask for your guidance if two Rulings which you have given appear to conflict with one another; and one is entitled to ask, in all humility, which of the two you really meant or how they can be reconciled. [Interruption.]

I am not challenging any ruling, but I am asking you, Sir, to clarify two statements which you made. I am sure I have a right to do this. We have a right to guidance from the Chair. You, Sir, are our helper. One of your functions, if I may respectfully say so, is to help us, and especially those of us who are new Members—[Laughter]—to understand—I am not being facetious about this. May I put the point to you in all seriousness? You have given two reasons for the Ruling which you gave. They appeared—I may be wrong, and I will accept correction if I am—to conflict with one another. I want to ask for your guidance. I do so in all sincerity so that I shall know where I stand on future occasions.

The Deputy-Chairman

The two Rulings I gave did not conflict with one another.

2.15 a.m.

Mr. David Weitzman (Stoke Newington and Hackney, North)

May I draw your attention to the wording contained in Standing Order 26—

Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries) rose

Mr. Weitzman

May I direct your attention to the words in Standing Order 26: If Mr. Speaker, or the Chairman, shall be of opinion that a motion for the adjournment of a debate, or of the House, during any debate, or that the Chairman do report progress or do leave the Chair, is an abuse of the rules of the House, he may forthwith put the question thereupon from the Chair, or he may decline to propose the question thereupon to the House or the Committee. As I understand it, therefore, you, or rather your predecessor, should have ruled that the Question should be put forthwith or that the Question was an abuse of the Rules of the House. I would respectfully ask you on a point of order, what is the ruling given now?

The Chairman

The Standing Order is really quite simple. The Chairman is open to do three things, either to refuse the Motion, to accept it and put it forthwith, or to accept it and permit it to be debated. It is entirely within the discretion of the Chair whether it is accepted, refused or debated. That is the position. I understand that the position now is that my predecessor refused to accept the Motion and called the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) to move his Amendment as the next on the Order Paper. [Interruption.] May I be allowed to finish my sentence? I will be perfectly fair in everything I do, and I hope the Committee will be fair with me. The Motion to report Progress has been refused by my predecessor. Therefore, no one will suggest that I should overrule his decision. The next Amendment is in the name of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme; I understand he has been called, and I call him again. I think we might get on with the business.

Mr. Manuel rose

The Chairman

I do not wish to be unreasonable, but I really think no point of order can possibly arise from anything I have said. I have called upon the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Mr. Manuel

The point of order I am raising arises from a decision of the previous occupant of the Chair.

The Chairman

I am sure the hon. Member would never expect me to go back on the Rulings made in my absence. I was not here, and I will certainly not reverse what my predecessor did.

Mr. Hale

Is it not setting a precedent for an occupant of the Chair, whose conduct was under criticism, to leave the Chair?

The Chairman

I was listening for some time and I thought the matter had been settled quite satisfactorily. It was time for my predecessor to have something to eat, as I have been doing. Mr. Swingler.

Mr. Swingler

I beg to move, in page 2, line 11, at the end, to insert: Provided that no member of the Home Guard shall be sent outside the United Kingdom. It has been a little, difficult to follow what has been going on during the last half hour. Now I think we are roughly back to normal, and the Government benches from the point of view of attendance seem rather above normal. It is a little difficult at this stage to get proper consideration given to an Amendment of this kind. It seems to me perfectly obvious that the conditions laid upon us by the Leader of the House have imposed an intolerable strain both upon the Chair and the Minister who has recently had to leave for some considerable period, as well as having the effect of preventing so far as we know all back bench Members from putting down any Amendment at all for the Report stage of this very important Bill. I hope I shall be allowed to complete my speech before the next gag comes into operation.

The Chairman

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to make his speech without interruption he must speak to the Amendment.

Mr. Swingler

I think you will be aware that I have been waiting to be called on for some long period to raise this matter, but owing to the circumstances operating in the Committee I have been unable to do so. Therefore, I feel I am entitled to make some comment on the general atmosphere and circumstances in the Committee before, we come to the essence of the Amendment.

The Chairman

That is a matter which is out of order, and I have called on the hon. Member to move his Amendment.

Mr. Swingler

I take it that an hon. Member is entitled to have serious consideration of his Amendment. There has been a good deal of hilarity in the Committee, and I am glad those suffering from an excess of refreshment have withdrawn —I take it to have more. This Amendment has been put down seriously, and I have been waiting in the Committee for a considerable period to put a number of points which may receive serious attention by the Minister, who I appreciate is under an intolerable strain imposed on him by the Leader of the House in making us sit here to consider it now.

The Clause we are considering lays down that certain Regulations shall be issued about the conditions of service in the Home Guard, and lays down that members of the Home Guard shall not be required to give whole-time service and shall not he required to live away from their homes except during any period during which the platoon or other part of the Home Guard is mustered during the period of war. I want to read certain extracts from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State during the Second Reading, because it will be seen by hon. Members that there is no qualification in the Clause about Regulations that may be issued or what may be done by the Secretary of State once the Home Guard is mustered.

On Second Reading the Secretary of State made these comments about the conditions under which the Home Guard may be mustered: Hon. Members will, perhaps, want some added explanation of what is meant by mustering in the event of war. It is not proposed, and never would be proposed, that the whole of the Force in war-time should be mustered for any period. The only conceivable situation in which such a step could take place would he if there were a threat of some very large scale seaborne invasion. The question of mustering is in effect limited—and this is the point— and is intended to be limited to deal with an immediate and local crisis: that is to say, if in some area an attack had occurred it would be in the power of the Commander U.K. Land Forces, or the G.O.C.-in-C. concerned to muster some section of the Home Guard to deal with that particular critical situation. But it will only be used in a period of crisis and will not be used over a protracted period.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1951; Vol. 494, c. 581.] Considering the assurance given by the Secretary of State that mustering would only take place when an attack had been apprehended, and would not necessarily involve the whole of the Home Guard and might be the result of some seaborne invasion and would only take place to deal with some critical situation, it is a good thing to put into this Clause the qualification I have set down in my Amendment. We want those who are going to join these forces to be clear about the terms of service under which they join.

The Secretary of State may give an assurance that the Home Guard is simply to be the Home Guard and mustered for the purpose of dealing with some local critical situation or resisting a seaborne invasion, but nevertheless that is something in the Bill. Yet under the Bill there is a blank cheque to use the Home Guard in any way the right hon. Gentleman wants. Once it is mustered no kind of exception is made at all. When it is not mustered he cannot compel them to give whole-time service or live away from home, but once they are mustered he can make whatever Regulations he likes about the use of the Home Guard. It is a virtually proper supposition that the Home Guard could be used with other forces or abroad.

We want to be clear and write into the Bill what the actual terms and conditions of service in the Home Guard are. I think the first and important thing is to see that it is a real Home Guard for the purpose of defending this Island against any kind of invasion. Therefore, I trust the Secretary of State will be able to say that, in spite of the slipshod drafting of the Clause, he is prepared, not only to accept the proviso, because it is clear from the assurance that there is no intention to use the Home Guard or muster it except in circumstances where this country is threatened with a seaborne invasion or to deal with a local critical situation, but to agree that it is perfectly obvious and right that the proviso that no member of the Home Guard should be sent outside the United Kingdom as part of the terms of service, should be put in to qualify the Clause.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I am pleased to have this opportunity of associating myself with what my hon. Friend has said. I hope the Secretary of State will have no difficulty whatever in accepting this Amendment because it will, we hope, clarify the situation which I believe he will agree ought to be clarified, and which I think would be in accordance with his own impression and idea of the role the Home Guard should fulfil.

2.30 a.m.

I am fortified in this belief by what is provided in the Territorial Army in this respect. We all know that the Territorial Army, as originally constituted, was for the sole and primary purpose of serving at home. I remember that, when I first joined the Territorial Army, I signed some sort of document under which the War Department guaranteed that I should not be called upon to serve abroad. Notwithstanding that fact, it did so happen in the last war that, very soon after 1939, steps were taken by Order in Council to provide that the Territorial Army should serve overseas.

If that could happen in the case of the Territorial Army, which was primarily and originally intended for service at home, then there can be no objection to the provision that we are seeking to make being incorporated in the Bill, because there cannot be the slightest intention on the part of the Secretary of State or in the mind of any hon. Member on the Government side—and I acquit them in advance of any charge that might be made to that effect—that the Home Guard, which we are now seeking to recreate, should be used for service abroad.

In these circumstances, we are simply seeking to make assurance doubly sure, because, if a similar provision was made in the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, surely, there can be no objection to a similar Clause or provision being made in the case of the Home Guard. For the benefit of hon. Members who, perhaps, are not acquainted with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, I would say that Section 13 of that Act provides: (1) Any part of the Territorial Army shall be liable to serve in any part of the United Kingdom, but no part of the Territorial Force shall he carried or ordered to go out of the United Kingdom. This Amendment recapitulates in abbreviated form the point that is embodied in the first subsection of Section 13 of the 1907 Act. The same Section goes on to provide that- …it shall be lawful for His Majesty, if he thinks fit, to accept the offer of any part or men of the Territorial Forces,…to subject themselves to the liability—

  1. (a) to serve in any place outside the United Kingdom; or
  2. (b) to he called out for actual military ser- vice…at such places in the United Kingdom as may be specified in their agreement, whether the Territorial Force is embodied or not; "
The Section also goes on to say— (3) A person shall not be compelled to make such an offer, or he subjected to such liability as aforesaid, except by his own con- sent, and a commanding officer shall not certify any voluntary offer previously to his having explained to every person making the offer that the offer is to be purely voluntary on his part. In the case of the Territorial Army, it was made quite clear, and every possible protection was introduced into the Act of 1907 to ensure it, that except by Order in Council no Territorial shall be called upon to serve overseas. I think it is not unreasonable to ask the Secretary of State, in connection with the re-constitution of the Home Guard, to embody in this Bill a similar provision, which would make it quite clear, beyond any possible shadow of doubt, that no volunteer joining the Home Guard will, in any circumstances, ever be asked to serve except as a member of the Home Guard for the purpose of guarding his own home on these shores.

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

In the hope that we may now try to make some progress, perhaps I might be allowed to intervene at this stage. This Amendment is quite unnecessary, because it is a fantastic conception to imagine that it ever entered the minds of the Government to use the Home Guard for anything other than guarding the home.

Having said that, we want, of course, to give such assurances as can reasonably be expected that that will, in fact, be the purpose for which this Force will be used. It would, of course, be quite impossible to, use Home Guards for any foreign service either in large or in small contingents. It would disrupt the whole conception of the thing, and it is completely foreign to our views. There is a vague chance, of course, that an individual Home Guard might on some occasion be carried beyond the three-mile territorial limit, but we are prepared to accept that risk.

The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) spoke about slipshod drafting, but if he looks for a moment at the drafting of his own Amendment he will realise how slipshod that is, because under it any Home Guard man might if he be a civil servant be sent to the United Nations, or something of that kind, and in that way could go abroad if the Bill were passed in this way.

Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth)

You do not know your job.

Mr. Hutchison

Really, to be accused of being slow after what we have seen this evening is quite absurd.

Mr. Robens

I said you did not know your job.

Mr. Hutchison

Who does not know his job?

Mr. Robens

You do not.

Mr. Hutchison

I am trying to show that as drafted the Amendment would not carry out what the hon. Gentleman intends.

Mr. Wigg

Surely, the hon. Gentleman realises that a Regular soldier, for example, cannot leave these shores without permission, but that a paragraph in the King's Regulations makes it quite clear that a competent authority could give that permission?

Mr. Hutchison

Now we are back to the Regulations about which there has been so much objection. We are prepared to insert into the Bill on the Report stage a form of words having much the same effect. They are not identical words. [HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it."] Compared with the amount of stuff we have been listening to this evening, I do not think it unreasonable for me to make these short preliminary remarks. The words we are prepared to insert are: and shall not require members of the Home Guard to serve outside the United Kingdom. I think that meets all the points the hon. Gentleman had in mind.

Mr. Swingler

The hon. Gentleman said that circumstances might arise in which a civil servant, being also a Home Guard member, might be sent to U.N.O. Are the Government seriously thinking of sending to U.N.O. a civil servant who is a member of a mustered Home Guard? Is the hon. Gentleman really conceiving the possibility of the Government sending abroad a mustered man, or has he not considered the way in which this Amendment has been drafted which, as my hon. Friend pointed out, is based on the provisions in the Territorial Army Act?

Mr. Adams

I thought that the answer of the Under-Secretary of State was most discourteous and abrupt in answer to the very able ease made out for this Amendment by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) and well supported, as I thought, by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton). I think this is a very modest and moderate Amendment. It says: Provided that no member of the Home Guard shall be sent outside the United Kingdom. It occurred to me while listening to this very short debate on the matter so far that in view of some of the Government appointments it might be as well if you, Sir Charles, would accept a manuscript Amendment now, or that possibly the Government might bring in on the Report stage some sort of further Amendment —in view, for example, of the appointment of the Home Secretary—to the effect that no member of the Home Guard serving in Wales shall be asked to serve in Scotland, or, conversely, that no member of the Home Guard serving in Scotland shall be called upon to serve in Wales. It seems to me that with such manipulation, once the Home Guard is mustered its personnel is left entirely at the mercy of the War Office.

The Under-Secretary was unkind enough to say that he did not like this form of words. I should like to draw his attention to the words used in what, in my view, is a better Act of Parliament. That is the Territorial (Reserve Forces) Act. 1907. It is the Act which, in the view of many of us on this side of the Committee, ought to have formed the basis of this Home Guard Bill. I would draw the attention of the Under-Secretary, who poured scorn upon the efforts of my hon. Friends and myself to put something constructive into this Bill, to the words used in this Act, which was drawn up by no less a person than that very famous lawyer, Lord Haldane, who, I believe, was three times Lord Chancellor.

He used these words, which have stood the test of time since 1907: Any part of the Territorial Force shall be liable to serve in any part of the United Kingdom, but no part of the Territorial Force shall he carried, or ordered, to go out of the United Kingdom. Those words, I submit, are precisely the same as the words used by my hon. Friends—that no part of the Home Guard shall be sent outside the United Kingdom.

I thought that the Under-Secretary was merely being facetious. He was trying to prolong the proceedings by suggesting that these words would make it impossible for a civil servant who is a member of the Home Guard to be sent abroad to U.N.O. It ought to be apparent even to the Under-Secretary that it is in his capacity as a Home Guard that we are asking that such a man shall not be sent outside the United Kingdom.

If the Under-Secretary does not accept that, I should like to ask him if he has any evidence in the War Office records—if the hon. Gentlemen wishes to send for any we would be willing to adjourn the Debate to enable him to do so—that members of the Territorial Force have been sent abroad through some misreading of the Act, because it says here, …no part of the Territorial Force shall be carried, or ordered, to go out of the United Kingdom. I think that my hon. Friends would be prepared to accept these words out of this Act in place of our own words. We would prefer the words of the 1907 Act to the words suggested by the Under-Secretary.

In any case, when these words are put down on the Report stage we can give them the same searching scrutiny which we have given to the words in the original Bill. I give the Under-Secretary an assurance that we will look carefully at the words he puts down. It is necessary to have words on this in the Act. It is no good he and his right hon. Friend continually giving us assurances, because he will appreciate—

Mr. Hutchison

I have already said that the words will go in.

Mr. Adams

While we appreciate the offer to put in the words, we think it may be necessary to subject these words to severe scrutiny, because we might prefer the words contained in the Territorial (Reserve Forces) Act of 1907, and it may be that we on this side of the Committee will decide to put down an Amendment on Report so that they may be compared with the words proposed by the Under-Secretary.

2.45 a.m.

The Under-Secretary of State must not make the mistake of thinking if he gets up and says very briefly in a hurried, discourteous kind of way that he will put words on the Order Paper on Report that it automatically brings our discussion to a close. I think most hon. Members would agree it is necessary to consider what the Under-Secretary and his right hon. Friend have to say. We have received many disturbing statements this evening. We are not at all happy about this question of taking part in industrial disputes, and I am not happy about the phrase, "to give whole-time service,".

I regret that owing to some misunderstanding I was absent from the deliberations of the Committee when that matter should have been discussed. If there is one thing the Home Guard is called upon to do it is to give whole-time service. Once a man joins the Home Guard then, whether he is at work, at home, in the pictures or in bed, at any time of day if the right hon. Gentleman decides to muster the Force that Home Guard must come immediately under military law and must report to the place at which he is ordered to report. I am sorry I was not able to discuss that.

The Chairman

I am sorry too, but I am afraid I cannot allow the hon. Member to make that point now.

Mr. Adams

That is why I do not propose to follow that point much further because obviously, subject to your Ruling, Sir Charles, I shall have another opportunity on the Motion that the Clause stand part of the Bill. If the reply of the Under-Secretary or the Secretary of State for War is unsatisfactory at that time, I take it we have had an assurance from the Leader of the House that the Report stage will be deferred, and therefore we can put further Amendments in writing to clear this matter up on that stage.

Therefore, I shall not pursue that matter except to say that the phrase "whole-time service" is entirely in keeping with the shoddy and slip-shod drafting of the Bill and that it will require further consideration before we allow it to go on the Statute Book. Naturally, we are grateful to have the assurance of the Under-Secretary that he will put something down in writing, but he will appreciate there is a very good reason why we cannot accept his promises or assurances.

It is not because of any disrespect for himself or his right hon. Friend I remind him that no less a person than the Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Treasury, the Minister of Defence and the Minister acting for certain technical Departments, said in his Election broadcast, I do not want you to judge the Tory Party by their promises. That is the reason why we on this side of the Committee must insist that his assurance is written into the Bill so that it can never be denied or queried in future.

I hope you, Sir Charles, will be able to call sometime before the rising of the Committee tomorrow afternoon—

Mr. Strachey

This afternoon.

Mr. Adams

My right hon. Friend has corrected me most properly. I do not know what are the intentions of my hon. Friends. I certainly have no intention of sitting here until tomorrow afternoon. But I think there is a risk that we shall still be sitting here this afternoon when the House, according to Business for the week, should be considering the Report stage of this Bill.

However, we were glad to have an assurance, though given only halfheartedly, by the Leader of the House, that the Report stage would be deferred so that we could consider these matters in writing. The Under-Secretary has given an assurance that similar words to these in the Amendment will be put down in writing on the Order Paper on the Report stage. My hon. Friends were unduly apprehensive about the words "apprehended attack." If we go on like this, we shall have the Secretary of State mustering the forces, for it is quite clear that the reference to mustering is vague and obscure. Mustering means mustered to resist actual or apprehended attack. We have not reached that point yet, but when we do I shall certainly have occasion to draw attention to the vagueness of the word "attack."

The Chairman

The hon. Gentleman is really trying my patience rather high. He is nowhere near the Amendment.

Mr. Adams

I apologise most heartily; I was drawn aside by some observations of my right hon. Friend and did not observe that the word "attack" does not occur until the end of Clause 3.

We are glad to have the assurance that these words will be put down in writing, and to have the half-hearted assurance of the Leader of the House that the Report stage will be deferred until a later date, so that we can have an opportunity of giving careful consideration to the Amendment.

Mr. Strachey

I understood that the Under-Secretary intended to include the substance of my hon. Friend's Amendment in the Bill, but he did it in such a way as to make it particularly difficult for them to withdraw their Amendment, because he could not have been less gracious. Nevertheless, they may wish to withdraw the Amendment as it stands. On the question of whether the particular words he put forward would serve the purpose, I do not think we can commit ourselves at this stage; we shall see them on the Order Paper. That is yet one more reason, as the night advances, why there should be a reasonable time to see all these considerable cumulative changes in the Bill before we are asked to give decisions on Report.

There is one other consideration. It is vitally important. We are considering the position of a Home Guard that has been mustered. Here one sees how far-reaching the Bill is. The Secretary of State will correct me if I am wrong, but I think that in the whole course of the last war the Home Guard was not mustered. The Bill does contemplate, necessarily perhaps, that the Home Guard, in whole or part, should be mustered, which means called up for full-time service. Therefore, these safeguards and provisions are very important.

The objection the Under-Secretary made to the form of words of my hon. Friends was really relevant when we are thinking of a Home Guard that has been mustered. It is important that some watertight provision should be introduced into the Bill. As the Under-Secretary said, no one intends to send the Home Guard overseas. Then let us put that in the Bill. It will make it a much better Bill, and we shall be quite willing to look at it on its merits on Report.

Mr. Mitchison

I found the Under-Secretary singularly loud and lucid in the discourteous part of his speech and inaudible and obscure when he finally came to the point. I simply did not hear the words he proposed to put into the Bill. The one thing I did detect, however, was that he gave no indication of the place where the words were to go in this Clause. I think that the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentlemen opposite are taking this Amendment altogether too lightly. It was a scandalous piece of bad drafting, bad statesmanship, and lack of foresight not to have put some provision of this kind in the Bill already. Do they really suppose they are going to get recruits for the Home Guard if there is no provision whatever to prevent them sending even a platoon, or part of a platoon, of the Home Guard overseas in the event of some apprehended attack?

We had, the other day, the Leader of the House telling us that he had found skeletons on the candelabra in Government offices. I think he must have been walking down one of the War Office corridors. The place is littered with skeleton forces, and here is another of them. And skeleton forces will remain if one does not tell the citizens of this country what they are being called up for and what are the limits of their obligations.

When this necessary provision was brought forward, instead of a kindly and courteous speech from the Government Front Bench saying, "Well, we ought to have thought of that before: thank you very much for calling our attention to it," all we got was a cloud of abuse from the Under-Secretary of State about the way this subject has been discussed, and an inaudible stuttering at the end of his speech about some words he thinks must be put into the Clause in some wholly unspecified place.

The only further contribution he made was to express what I thought was a perfectly rotten legal opinion in the middle of his speech. I cannot see how, in a Bill of this sort, the proviso, which has been suggested by my hon. Friend, could possibly have the effect or anything like the effect the hon. Gentleman says. Perhaps, in these circumstances, we might, at least, have had one of the Law Officers of the Crown to reaffirm or correct these very remarkable observations. I trust that the words which we are told are to be inserted in the Clause will be put in a perfectly legible written form at the earliest moment.

My impression of them, so far as I heard and followed that part of the hon. Gentleman's speech, was that they were either such bad grammar as to be almost incomprehensible, or they were going into a part of the Clause where they would not have the effect he suggested. It appears all the more necessary that the hon. Gentleman's intentions and those of the Government on this matter should be reduced to audible and, preferably, to written lucidity.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

May I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that, at long last, the Attorney-General has decided to favour us with his presence and will, no doubt, be able to deal with much greater skill with the legal points that are raised.

Mr. Donald Chapman (Birmingham, Northfield)

I would not have intervened but for the attitude taken up by the Under-Secretary of State for War when he replied to the Amendment. He welcomed a very helpful Amendment in the most unhelpful language, and he went on to make some points which rather staggered me.

3.0 a.m.

Perhaps I may take what the hon. Gentleman said. He said that the Amendment which had been moved by my hon. Friend was not very good, or words to that effect, because it might involve somebody being prevented from being sent abroad on a United Nations mission, because the word "sent" was being used.

I am not a legal expert, but I would point out to the Under-Secretary that the whole Amendment is dependent upon the preceding part of the sentence in subsection (3), which refers to orders and regulations being made for matters relating to the Home Guard. In other words, the whole of my hon. Friend's Amendment is dependent upon the earlier part of the sentence, in which it is made quite clear that it refers to the use of the Home Guard in its proper capacity, and it has no reference to persons in their individual, private capacities. I do not, therefore, see why the hon. Gentleman objected to the phrasing of the Amendment. He clearly did not realise that it depended on the earlier part of the sentence.

Secondly, the Under-Secretary talked about this problem as if being mustered was merely the same as being a member of the Home Guard. Did he not read the Clause well enough to see that it deals with the position where a man is actually mustered? In the wording of the Bill, 'mustered' means mustered for the purpose of resisting an actual or apprehended attack or of taking part in measures for dealing with the effects of an attack. Has the hon. Gentleman so badly read the Clause that he brought in his illustration without thinking that at the time we shall not be sending mustered men abroad to U.N.O.? He deserves to treat the Committee a little better than this if he wants us to understand what is in the minds of Ministers. Either he had not read the Clause, or he was trying some quick-fire thinking that did not succeed.

I should not have risen but for the way in which the Under-Secretary handled the very helpful Amendment moved by my hon. Friend; but the opportunity enables me to say that I very strongly support the Amendment. After all, when the Bill is law, it is our job to sell it to the people. We have got to assure our constituents that they should join the Home Guard for worthwhile national purposes, with all their rights safeguarded in a piece of legislation.

What are we faced with? We have had a Bill which has been shown to be loosely prepared—my hon. Friends have used much stronger words than that—and which has been very badly drafted. We have had the omissions about consultation with the two sides of industry. The question of strike-breaking has been brought up and has been logically pointed out to be missing from the Bill. In a Bill no earlier part of which really defines what the Home Guard is for, we are left with a big loophole that it is a military force which might, but for our moving the Amendment, have been for sending abroad. My hon. Friend, in moving the Amendment, was as helpful as he could be, and I was extremely disappointed with the way in which—

Mr. Lewis

Is it in order, Mr. Thomas, for seven Members on the benches opposite to be asleep?

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. George Thomas)

I do not think that that is a point of order.

Mr. Chapman

We have a Bill which nowhere really defines what the Home Guard is for, and it does not even have a written Clause that its members shall not be sent abroad. I thought that the words used by the Under-Secretary were wholly discourteous to the Committee. Can we not get rid of this talk about "we did not do it like this last time," and all these phrases about "you need not check up too strongly because, after all, we shall work in the spirit in which the Home Guard worked last time." Is that sufficient to come to the Committee with in this stage of history? We are talking about a Bill which will go into main operation possibly if an atomic war breaks out. Are we really to be expected to let through a slipshod Bill when it is possible there will be utter chaos resulting from the dropping of an atom bomb in Europe or even in this country?

We cannot accept all this talk about doing it like we did it last time, and being sure that everybody will be happy because it will be interpreted in the right way. There will not be much chance of interpreting it the right way if conditions are pretty bad. I hope we shall go on through the night pressing the Government to make sure every Clause of the Bill is properly drafted. When we do succeed in moving a good Amendment like the present one, I hope the Under-Secretary does not use the sort of talk he used a few minutes ago, when he showed that he thought we were being unhelpful and was as discourteous as possible.

Mr. Wigg

I do not complain of the Under-Secretary's lack of courtesy. My complaint against him is is that he is incompetent. He clearly does not understand the Bill. It is terrifying. He does not understand the difference between a member of the Home Guard who is mustered and one who is not mustered. His answer to my hon. Friend made it quite clear that he did not understand when a member of the Home Guard was mustered. I have tried in speeches in this Committee to impress upon the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friends the necessity for a doctrine in connection with this new Home Guard.

One has only to look at the Home Guard regulations published during the last war to realise that this is a different situation. Here is a Home Guard in peace. What I have gone back to, and what the former Secretary of State for War and the former Minister of Defence advanced when they made their announcement on 25th November last year, was that the Home Guard should be based upon the Territorial associations. If that was to be the basis of organisation, we have to go back to Lord Haldane and the work he did in the Territorial Act of 1907.

Lord Haldane, although I know he was attacked by the Conservative Party when it became politically expedient to attack him, produced a scheme which stood the test of mobilisation in 1914 and worked. It is now accepted by competent military historians that if Kitchener, instead of putting his money on the new Army, had based the organisation in 1914 on the Territorial Army, it is quite likely the war would have been shorter.

Sir W. Darling

Am I not right in saying that the Territorial Army in 1914 had no overseas obligation? Lord Kitchener had of course to enlist men prepared to serve for the duration of the war anywhere?

Mr. Wigg

The hon. Gentleman completely misunderstood what I was getting at. In the Haldane Act there was provision for men in the Territorials to go overseas if they wished to go. Lord Kitchener knew nothing of the Haldane organisation. What he decided to do was to throw overboard the Territorial associations and put them into cold storage. What was in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) when he made his announcement was never challenged by hon. Members opposite. The Secretary of State did not dissent from it, the Prime Minister never dissented from it.

If the House accepted the doctrine of the Home Guard being based on the Territorial Army and administered by the Territorial associations, surely it was common sense in framing a Bill to go back to the experience of the Territorial Army between the wars and base it on that experience. That is what the right hon. Gentleman has not done. That is why tonight we have put down Amendments based on the Territorial Army Act, which the Secretary of State has accepted as wise or promised to consider. That is what the Under-Secretary does not understand. I hope he will come to understand the vital importance still of going into it.

If from the word "go" the Home Guard is to be part of the Regular Forces, and the chain of command is to be the normal one from the Army Council down to the units, and the Territorial associations are to play no part, for Heaven's sake say so and cut them out; it will save a lot of time and money. I do not think it can be done that way. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accept anything like the words that have been put down by my hon. Friend. They are quite wrong. I hope he will use the words in the Territorial Army Act.

Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

There is another point about these words to which I should like to draw attention. The words, as I understood them when they were muttered by the hon. Gentleman, were— shall not require any member of the Home Guard to serve abroad. When contrasted with the words of the suggested Amendment, these are indefinite and ambiguous. The words are: no member of the Home Guard shall be sent outside the United Kingdom. But the Minister proposes to leave out the clear words "United Kingdom" and substitute the word "abroad". Why does he want to throw overboard the United Kingdom?

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

I think there was some difficulty about hearing what I said. I did say "United Kingdom". I thought the hon. and learned Gentleman saw the paper with the words "United Kingdom" on it.

Mr. Hughes

That meets that criticism, but the Minister does not say where he proposes to put the words. I have been scrutinising the subsection, and they do not seem to fit appropriately into it. Where does he intend to put them?

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman proposes to insert the words of the Amendment proposed or is willing to put down others.

Mr. Hutchison

I thought I had made it clear. They will be inserted at the same place as the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Amendment, the only alteration is in the matter of wording.

Mr. Ede

This will apply to the Force after it has been mustered?

3.15 a.m.

Mr. Ede

There is just one point I should like to submit to the Secretary of State for War about the use of the phrase "United Kingdom." It would prevent him from sending any member of the Home Guard to the Isle of Man, which is not part of the United Kingdom, and nor could he send them to the Channel Islands. I do not know whether it is proposed that among the duties that might fall to the Home Guard might be that of acting as guardians over any persons who might in a future war be interned in the Isle of Man, just as certain persons were interned there during the last war. I hope before the right hon. Gentleman commits himself to this exact form of words he will give consideration to that point.

Mr. Head indicated assent.

Mr. Ede

I do not want to discuss Clause 2, because you, Mr. Thomas, being a member of the same profession as myself I have no wish to incur your ire or any punishment you may care to inflict. Clause 2, as I read it, is one of the obscurities of the Bill, but it deals with persons who are resident in the Isle of Man and of making it possible to incorporate somebody in the Isle of Man in the Home Guard.

I do not want to argue this in the presence of the learned Attorney-General, but I do not think it would enable anybody to send anyone from England, Wales or Scotland or the Isle of Wight, which curiously enough is part of the United Kingdom, to the Isle of Man, which is not. If it is felt that one of the duties of the Home Guard when mustered and when actual hostilities have occurred will be in guarding undesirable persons who might be interned in the Isle of Man, then it is a point worthy of consideration.

Mr. Wyatt

Could the words of the proposed new Amendment be read out for the benefit of some hon. Members who were out of the Chamber for a few moments?

Mr. Hutchison

The Amendment proposed to be put down on Report is:

Clause 1, page 2, line 11, at end insert: Shall not require members of the Home Guard to serve outside the United Kingdom.

Mr. Bing

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman clear up one point which is troubling some hon. Gentlemen opposite. Does that mean that the English Home Guard could be moved to Northern Ireland for the purpose of keeping order?

Mr. Hutchison

As the Bill stands, yes.

Mr. Swingler

I am sorry that the Under-Secretary felt it necessary to pooh-pooh the matter and to say it is nothing of any consequence, or that it is obvious that the Home Guard could not be used abroad. It is curious, but the attitude of the Secretary of State was that the terms and conditions of service were of no consequence, and that they would be prescribed by regulation. Now the right hon. Gentleman comes along with a fairly long Amendment stating that a member may resign, or serve for two years, but even then the right hon. Gentleman has not got it right because there is another Amendment to consider. There is no justification whatever for the Under-Secretary's attitude, or for having brought forward the Clause without this proviso in it.

If the Under-Secretary prefers his own form of words to mine, I am not going to quibble about it. In view of the fact that he has incorporated the substance of the Amendment in the Clause, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Adams

On a point of order. There is an Amendment on the Order Paper standing in my name, in line 13, to leave out from "elected", to "a" in line 14. Is it not your intention to call that Amendment?

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. G. Thomas)

I am very sorry, but that Amendment is not selected.

Mr. Driberg

I was unfortunate a few minutes ago in missing the last speech of the Under-Secretary, which we have heard commented on so frequently, but I hope that I shall elicit a somewhat more amiable and encouraging reply from him, or perhaps from the Secretary of State himself.

I want to ask for one assurance which may, at first sight, seem a little surprising to some hon. Members, but not to the Under-Secretary. It is a matter on which he and I have been in correspondence on a somewhat analogous case. I ask for an assurance that, when members of the Home Guard are mustered, and are, therefore, as has been indicated, subject to military law, they shall not be required in the course of their duties or training to attend anything in the nature of a compulsory church parade.

This may seem a somewhat far-fetched apprehension to some hon. Members, because, as we all know, generally speaking, church parades were done away with in 1946. Why I referred particularly to the Under-Secretary just now was because I have been in correspondence with him on a case which is perhaps somewhat analogous. It is the case of a Z Reservist camp last summer, in which a constituent of mine was obliged by the commanding officer of the camp to attend a compulsory church parade. I have been in correspondence with the Under-Secretary about this, and I am very sorry indeed to say that in the last letter I had from him he was still disposed to defend this procedure, which in my view is entirely contrary to King's Regulations as amended in 1946.

I therefore ask for an assurance that, in the Home Guard, at any rate, there shall be no risk that any man shall be obliged to attend when, perhaps because of conscience or because the man belongs to some other denomination, he may not wish to go as a parade or duty.

Mr. Strachey

This Clause, as the words at the top of Page 2 show, provides for the issue of Regulations which will cover the organisation, government, training and duties of the Home Guard. Therefore, at this point, I should like to ask for an explanation—and I am only repeating a question I asked on Second Reading, to which I was not fortunate enough to get an answer—of this scheme of geographical distribution of the proposed Force which the Secretary of State put out to us.

The right hon. Gentleman made it quite clear that the Home Guard, in the main, was to be raised only in East Anglia. In the rest of the country, only cadres of battalions were to be raised, while full battalions were to be raised in a comparatively small area, which really comprises East Anglia.

There may be, as I said on Second Reading, an adequate explanation of this scheme, but, at first sight, I must say I find it baffling. As I understood the implication of the speech of the Secretary of State for War and of the speech of the Under-Secretary it was that East Anglia was the great exposed area. But, surely, that cannot be the case. We are surely considering not a seaborne invasion, as the Secretary of State made quite clear, but mainly airborne invasion. It is surely very difficult to substantiate the view that an airfield, say, in Norfolk is more vulnerable today to air attack than one in Shropshire. The flying time from bases whence enemy aircraft might come is negligibly different in the two cases with modern high speed aircraft.

I really am curious to know what the military arguments are for supposing that East Anglia is more vulnerable and more exposed in a real sense today than other parts of the United Kingdom. Nor can it be said that the particularly vulnerable points, which it will be the primary function of the Home Guard to guard, as the Minister told us, are more numerous in East Anglia.