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Statutory Rules And Orders

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Air why no explanatory memorandum was attached to the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order, 1943 (S.R. & O. No. 748 of 1943); and whether he will state the purpose of the Order?

In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) on 23rd June. As for the second part, the position is that by an Order made in July, 1939, the Air Navigation (Consolidation) Order, 1923, was amended so as to limit the grant of a Class B (Public Transport) pilot's licence in the first instance to one type of aircraft, and to require the licence-holder to make a further application and undergo further tests before his licence could be extended to other types. A fee of two guineas was to be paid for each application for an extension. It has been impossible in wartime to undertake these flying tests, and so the new Order to which my hon. Friend refers, accordingly restores the status quo.

Would it not have been as well to have given this explanation at the start? Is the Minister aware that to understand the Order it is necessary to look at four different Acts of Parliament, including one passed in Queen Victoria's time? How can the ordinary person find out what this Order means?

The arrangement with regard to explanatory memoranda has been restricted to Defence Regulations. The reason is that to apply this procedure to a very large number of Departmental Orders made under the limited powers conferred by numerous Statutes would involve formidable practical difficulties. As I have already told my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth, even if an explanatory memorandum is confined to a Defence Regulation, there is no reason why a Department should not try to make Orders in the simplest possible form.

Is it not the case that the undertaking given by the Home Secretary has been followed by many Departments, who have issued explanatory memoranda with all statutory Orders?

Having regard to a pledge given to me in the presence of a large number of Members, will my right hon. and gallant Friend reconsider the matter?

Does not the Minister realise that the formidable difficulties confronting his Department are even more appalling for a private citizen?

That is why I say that the Executive must be careful to make things as simple as possible and not complicate them as much as possible.