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Bank Of England Bill

Volume 415: debated on Wednesday 31 October 1945

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Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Committee do consist of six Members, four to be nominated by the House and two by the Committee of Selection."—(Mr. Dalton).

8.55 p.m.

I want to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the precedents with regard to the numbers of members to be selected by the House and by the Committee of Selection. The Motion provides for four to be nominated by the House and two by the Committee of Selection. I am informed that the rule, generally, has been, in the case of hybrid Bills, to have three members nominated by the House and two by the Committee of Selection. I want to ask what is the particular reason for adding twice the number nominated by the House as by the Committee of Selection in this case, and whether it would not be more appropriate to have three members nominated by the House and three by the Committee of Selection.

8.57 p.m.

So far as my information goes, we are following practice, and there is no departure from practice in this case. I understand that, in the case of a hybrid Bill, it has to be examined by a Select Committee before returning for the normal Committee Stage here, and, so far as my information goes, there is no departure from past practice in this arrangement. There is, of course, the alternative whereby the Bill may go to a Select Committee of this House, and, at a subsequent stage in its progress, to a Select Committee of the other House, or to a Joint Select Committee of both Houses, but it appears to the Government to be better for it to go to a Select Committee in this place, and that would mean that their Lordships might appoint a Select Committee later on.

Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That all Petitions against the Bill presented at any time not later than seven clear days after the Second Reading of the Bill, be referred to the Committee;"

This is the first hybrid Measure to come before this House for many of us, and I was struck by the fact that four Members of the Committee should be nominated by the House—

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved:

"That Petitions against the Bill may be deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office, provided that such Petitions shall have been prepared and signed in conformity with the Rules and Orders of this House relating to Petitions against Private Bills;"

Resolved:

"That the Petitioners praying to be heard by themselves, their Counsel, or Agents, be heard against the Bill, and Counsel or Agents heard in support of the Bill;"

Resolved:

"That the Committee have power to report from day to day the Minutes of Evidence taken before them."—[Mr. Dalton.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That three be the Quorum."

:I was going to refer to the question of three being the Quorum, but the House has decided that the Committee should include four Members nominated by the House, and it would seem to be necessary that half its number should form a Quorum. The usual practice is for a Quorum to be four, not three, and I think attention should be given to this matter and that the number of the Quorum should be raised to four.

In these matters, we desire to be most conservative and to follow the best established use, and I would like to assure the hon. Member, who has just recently arrived from Edinburgh, that, in supporting three, he is in the best sense conservative.

Question put, and agreed to.