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Clause 12—(Preparation Of Register)

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1943

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I beg to move, in page 10, line 26, to leave out from "Act," to the end of the Sub-section.

Perhaps it may be convenient, Major Milner, if I speak to this Amendment and the next Amendment on the Order Paper, in the name of my hon. Friends and myself, which is to the same end. It seems to those of us who have been interested in this matter that the meaning of the words after "Act" are entirely unnecessary and simply begin the old game about which so many have protested for a long time. What is the good of passing a Bill if, when we have done it, the whole thing is to be subject to modification by Regulations? I would not have bothered in connection with the Amendment I have formally moved, but in connection with the second—in page 11, line 38, to leave out from "Act" to the end of the Clause—it is much more serious because here you have the right of appeal being granted and it seems to me that that right would be subject to the Home Secretary's modification by Regulations. In other words, the right of appeal is modified and may, indeed, be vitiated by the Home Secretary in framing the Regulations. Why is it necessary to have these phrases at all? I hope my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary can give an explanation for their necessity in order to justify their inclusion, which we strongly resist.

There cannot help arising in our minds a certain apprehension whenever the portly figure of Henry VIII comes into our discussions in this House. I quite appreciate the anxiety my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Renfrew (Major Lloyd) has at the moment, but I would like to point out—and this is the short answer to his point—that under Clause 19 the Regulations which can be made under this provision are subject to an affirmative Resolution in the House. Therefore, Parliamentary control is maintained. In the principal Act, to which reference has been made to-day, the rules contained in the First Schedule may already be altered by Order in Council, and Section 13, Sub-section (2), gave a very wide power to alter, the rules in the Schedule. If this provision which we suggest is not taken, the only result as I see it would be to bring us back to an even more unfortunate position under the old Act. There does come a point in our legislation when you have to decide whether you can embody the whole of what you have to do in every provision for carrying out details in a Bill or make them subject to Regulations. I suggest that this point has been legitimately reached here and that the proper action in these circumstances is to make the Regulations subject to an affirmative Resolution in the House. I should like my hon. and gallant Friend to remember that if he does not concur with this procedure, the first state may be worse than the last.

I have listened with interest to the remarks made by the Solicitor-General on this point, and I would agree that we have now reached the stage when further matters should be contained in Regulations. But there are two points which my hon. and learned Friend has not dealt with in full. One is the power which is given by these words to modify this Act after it has been passed by this House in accordance with the desires of the Home Secretary, which would indicate, perhaps, and support the view, that the preparation of the Bill has been hasty. The other matter that arouses concern is that the right of appeal given by Sub-section (4) on page 11 should apparently be subject to such limitations as the Home Secretary cares to impose by Regulations he may subsequently make.

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.