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Orders Of The Day

Volume 416: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1945

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Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

3.24 p.m.

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

When my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary moved the Second Reading of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill on 9th October last, he explained that the Government had decided not to ask the House to continue the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts beyond 24th February next, and that in consequence it would be necessary, in addition to the Supplies and Services Bill, to introduce an Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill, designed to keep alive, for a limited period after February next, such residue of powers as will still be necessary in the transitional period, but which would otherwise lapse on 24th February next. The Bill now before the House is the fulfilment of that promise. The purposes of this Bill fall under four heads: (1) to prolong the life of certain Defence Regulations, (2) to prolong the duration or operation of certain Acts of Parliament, (3) to make permanent certain amendments of the law made by Defence Regulations, and (4) to repeal three Acts of Parliament in whole or in part.

The main function of the Bill is the prolongation of the life of the Defence Regulations listed in the First Schedule to the Bill, and this is effected by Clause 1. The Regulations in the First Schedule comprise 51 Regulations or parts of Regulations, contained in the Defence (General) Regulations, and less important provisions in 28 of the other codes of Defence Regulations.

Before I quote examples to show in more detail the nature of the provisions in the first Schedule, there are two points in Clause I to which it is right that I should draw the attention of the House. In the first place, it should be clearly borne in mind that this is not a Bill for making fresh laws, or for giving power to make fresh laws. It is merely for the continuance of existing provisions subject to exceptions, limitations, and modifications, and apart from the minor modifications specified in the First Schedule, which are of a restrictive rather than of an enlarging character, nothing is enacted in this Bill which is not already, for the time being, part of the law. In the second place the House will wish for some explanation of why 31st December, 1947, has been chosen as the date up to which these provisions should be continued. The insertion of this date in the Bill does not mean that the Government expect all these provisions to continue until that time. The reason why 31st December, 1947, has been chosen is that if any of these provisions should be required beyond the end of the year, they can conveniently be continued by the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. The alternative would have been to continue these provisions only until 31st December, 1946, but as a considerable number of them will have to be continued until 1947, the Government have not thought it necessary to ask Parliament to consider so many of them a second time in barely 12 months from now.

I come to a more detailed explanation of the Defence Regulations actually included in the First Schedule. I have gone carefully through all these provisions, and I am satisfied that in each case there is a real necessity for continuance. Wherever possible, the extent to which any Defence Regulation is to be continued in force, has been narrowed down by the omission of parts not now necessary, and in some cases the continuance of the Defence Regulation is necessary only to maintain in existence for a further period action taken under it, and the right to fresh action under it is expressly precluded by the third column of the First Schedule. For instance, Defence Regulation 32B is being continued in force, in order that many foreign doctors who have been admitted to the medical register may be permitted to practice for a further period while the shortage of qualified doctors remains acute, but the power to add further foreign doctors to the register under the Regulation, will not be continued beyond 24th February next. Many of the Regulations which appear in the First Schedule are in the nature not so much of restrictions of liberty as of enlargements of it. For instance, Regulation No. 33 extends from three months to twelve months the period wherein a birth may be registered, if the parent liable to register the birth has moved from the district owing to circumstances arising out of the war.

To take another example, Regulation 2 of the Defence (Companies) Regulations enables a liquidator who has been called up for military service to delegate his power to a deputy, and the Regulations for the Administration of Estates of United States Forces facilitates the winding-up of estates of United States soldiers who die leaving assets in this country. The purposes for which the continuance of these Regulations is required, are many and varied. Some of the Regulations in the First Schedule are required for purposes similar to the purpose of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill, but cannot be continued in that Bill because they are not in Parts III and IV of the Defence (General) Regulations.' For instance, Defence Regulation 18 which provides the authority for the control of passenger traffic into and out of the United Kingdom will need to be retained partly to assist in preventing people from leaving this country who are needed at home during the present man power shortage and partly to assist—

I think I ought to point out that this is a Second Reading. I do not think it is necessary to discuss or give all these details on this occasion of the Acts which this Bill desires to continue.

I wish to raise a point of Order in connection with the procedure of the House. Has it become the practice of Ministers to read their speeches to the House? It has been the custom of the House that a Minister should make a speech, and not read a manuscript.

On the previous point of Order which you, Mr. Speaker, mentioned to the House, might I suggest that this Bill is an unusual one and that it is very difficult to discuss its merits without making some references, such as the hon. Gentleman is making, to the contents of the First Schedule? That Schedule contains the list of the Regulations which it is desired to perpetuate and it is difficult for the House to judge of the merits of these Regulations which are suggested for perpetuation, without some reference to the subject-matter which it is intended to perpetuate.

I realise and appreciate the point that is being made by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman but I do not think, however, these matters need be discussed in detail, though some references could be used as illustrations only. Anything more detailed I do not consider necessary on the Second Reading.

May I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that there is a large number of these Regulations in the Schedule and my hon. Friend was merely picking out what he regarded as illustrative specimens?

The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) should be aware that any Member is entitled to speak on a point of Order. The point I wish to make is that it is difficult to deal with this Bill, without using some illustrations.

What I must point out is that unless this sort of thing is restricted, we are in danger of debating the Committee stage on Second Reading.

When I opened my speech I made it quite clear that in the First Schedule to this Bill there were 51 Regulations falling under one head, and 28 codes of Regulations falling under the other, and I thought in those circumstances it would be, as my right hon. Friend opposite has just stated, most difficult to give an intelligent exposition of the Bill unless I quoted examples, and examples only, falling in the different categories. As I was saying when I was interrupted, Defence Regulation 18, which provides the authority for the control of passenger traffic into and out of the United Kingdom, will need to be retained partly to assist in preventing people from leaving this country who are needed at home during the present manpower shortage, partly to assist in the enforcement of Treasury Regulations on the export of sterling and other foreign currency, and partly to ensure that the residents of Eire do not take up work in this country without the approval of the Minister of Labour. Other Regulations also are needed for reasons of man-power economy, others again on account of food scarcity, and others through difficult situations created by the present shortage of accommodation. A certain number of the Regulations in the First Schedule have proved to be so useful that Parliament will probably be asked before long. to agree to their being permanently placed on the Statute Book—for instance, Regulation 57C about the conveyance of explosives by road, Regulation 42CA about gaming parties, Regulation 40AA about the employment of Service police in military and other stations, and various amendments of procedure effected by the Defence (Administration of Justice) Regulations. The Regulations in this category, however, are not being made permanent at the moment, because they make substantial changes in the law or are not suitable in their present form for permanent retention, and Parliament is right to expect that any changes which are to be made permanent will be done by the introduction of special legislation, and not by incorporation in a miscellaneous Bill like that now before us.

I hope I have given enough instances to show that reasonable cause had been established for the continuance of these Emergency Powers for a further period. I ought, however, to call attention to Defence Regulation 16, which empowers Parliament to order the closing of roads and footpaths. This Regulation is not required to validitate the continuance of existing closing orders, since that object is secured until two years after the war period, that is, to 24th February, 1948, by Section 21 of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945. The Regulation will still, however, be required after next February in order that fresh orders may be made, but I can assure the House that this power will not be exercised except in strictly limited classes of cases. It has been agreed between the Departments that no fresh order for the closing of a road will be made without the concurrence of the Minister of War Transport, and so far as it can be foreseen, the power will only be required in two special types of cases, (1) in order to facilitate opencast coal workings, it may be necessary to break up a footpath and then to open it up again to the public when the coal has been extracted from the land over which the footpath runs, and (2) it may be necessary to close a fresh stretch of road near an existing closed road in order that the existing closed road may be reopened.

Another Regulation to which I should draw attention is Regulation 55C, which imposes restrictions on the registration of new clubs. This regulation has been included in the Schedule because bogus clubs are likely to be promoted during the resettlement period in an attempt to prey on demobilised members of the Forces. I recognise, however, that the Regulation as it stands at present may hinder the development of any new club which cannot, at its inception, afford expensive premises or find suitable premises owing to the shortage of accommodation. The third column of the Schedule, therefore, omits from the Regulation so much of it as enables the police to object to a club on grounds of unsuitability of its premises or situation. Opportunity has also been taken to make clear that political and cultural activities are among the legitimate objects for which new clubs can be promoted.

I now come to the second of the four main purposes to be achieved by this Bill, the extension of a certain number of wartime Acts. A considerable number of temporary Acts passed during the war will, unless they are extended, expire or cease to operate when the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts expire next February or at a limited time thereafter. These Acts were passed at a time when it was thought that the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts would not expire until the German war was well behind us and demobilisation practically completed. Many of them will, however, be needed for a further period, and accordingly in the case of the Acts dealt with in Clauses 2 to 11, the "war period" or similar expression is being extended until 31st December, 1947. The reason for this date is the same as in the case of Defence Regulations continued in force by the First Schedule, and if in any case a further continuance is required between now and 1947, this can be done by means of the annual Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. If, however, in the case of any of these Acts, earlier termination proves possible, an earlier date can be fixed by Order in Council under Clause 13 of the Bill, and if the House should wish to object to any such Order in Council, Clause 14 provides the usual period of 40 days wherein which either House of Parliament may pass a Motion for its annulment. The particular Acts that it is proposed to extend are specified in Clauses 2 to 11.

Clause 2 extends the period of operation of the Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act, 1943. A similar Measure relating to England and Wales which is now before the House, is to be continued in force until 31st December, 1947, and the House will readily agree that the Scottish Act should be continued until the same date. Clause 3 extends the operation of a number of provisions in the various wartime Agricultural Acts whose period of operation is governed by the duration of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts. The more important of the provisions concerned deal with subsidies for wheat, oats, rye and barley, schemes for land drainage, and the retention of land requisitioned in the interests of better farming.

I would like to ask the Minister one question before he passes from the subject of drainage. Does this mean that the present rules for the drainage of land and the subsidies therefor will go on until 1947? Is that the position—because it is rather important?

I think that is purely a Committee point. But this Bill does continue the Regulations in the Schedule until December, 1947.

I am sorry to break in again but I want to know whether this will include the payment of the subsidy, because it is a very important point. Are they to be paid up to that date?

The Bill will continue the amount of subsidies, and matters of that kind. I am speaking now about the Regulations which are affected by this Bill, and which if the Bill were not passed, would come to an end in February of next year.

What would be the effect if this particular Regulation came to an end?

It would come to an end, with all the consequences arising there from. Clause 4 extends the operation of the Fire Services (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1941. The fact that this Act is to be continued, like the other Acts, until 31st December, 1947, does not mean that the Government propose to postpone until then the introduction of legislation for the reorganisation of the fire services. I hope the House will have passed the necessary legislation for this purpose considerably earlier. Clause 5 extends the operation of Section 8 of the National Health Insurance, Contributory Pensions and Workmen's Compensation Act, 1941. Under this Section the National Health Insurance Acts and the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts have been extensively adapted to wartime conditions. It will be necessary to keep these adaptations pending the enactment of the new National Insurance legislation.

Under these Regulations, as I understand it, the Minister has power to withhold the refund of contributions wrongly recovered by an insured person. Is that matter covered under this Clause?

I cannot go into the whole of the Regulation because, as I have pointed out, this Bill deals with 51 Regulations under the Defence (General) Regulations and 28 other codes. That means that it covers over 80 Regulations, and I think that even the most alert Member of the House would be unable to answer every question which might be raised on one or other of those Regulations.

It is very desirable that the House should know what ground it is covering. I was referring to the extension of Section 8 of the National Health Insurance, Contributory Pensions and Workmen's Compensation Act, 1941. I am sure it is not expected that I should be able to answer every question which hon. Members might wish to put:

The Government have brought forward this Bill to achieve certain purposes. Surely, we are entitled to ask the Minister what would be the effect of any Clause in the Bill. Surely it is not right that the Minister should say, "I have here a Bill; I do not know what it means, or what the effect of it would be."

I think that you, Mr. Speaker, made it clear that we are not entitled to go into the merits of the various Regulations and Acts the operation of which it is proposed to extend by this Bill. Obviously, those are matters that would be better dealt with in the Committee Stage of the Bill. Apart from stating in general terms the purposes of the Bill, we ought not to go into minute details.

The hon. Gentleman said that it would be much better not to go into questions of detail now. Do the Government intend that the Committee stage of the Bill should be taken on the Floor of the House?

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in Order for hon. Members opposite to try to invite the Minister to discuss the merits of the Acts the operation of which this Bill seeks to extend?

It is quite in Order for hon. Members on the Opposition side to try to cast the net to catch the bird, but sometimes the bird is too wily to be caught. I give a friendly warning that hon. Members should not get involved in a Committee stage Debate now.

When I was interrupted., I was about to refer to Clause 6 of the Bill, which extends the operation of the Sugar Industry Act, 1942, which contains wartime arrangements for the industry. These, too, may be replaced by new arrangements before December, 1947. Clause 7 extends the period of operation of Section 2 of the Patents and Designs Act, 1942, which enables the Government to utilise patents for the purpose of the efficient prosecution of the war and the maintenance of supplies and services. Clause 8 extends the Restoration of Prewar Trade Practices Act, 1942, until 31st December, 1947. The Act, in effect, comes into operation by an Order of the Minister of Labour terminating the war period, and in its present form the Act requires any such Order to be made before the expiry of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts. Prewar Trade Practices are, in fact, being restored by agreement, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour does not, at present, wish to apply compulsion by making an Order under the Act. At the same time, he wishes to keep in being the power to bring the Act into operation at some date not later than the end of 1947.

Clause 9 extends two useful and non-controversial enactments. Section I of the Evidence and Powers of Attorney Act, 1940, enables officers of the Services to administer oaths and take affidavits, and this power is required so long as large numbers of men are serving abroad. The Settled Land and Trustee Acts (Courts' General Powers) Act, 1943, enables the courts to sanction the expenditure of capital money in cases where it is necessary to meet hardships arising out of the war, and I am advised that this power, which would otherwise expire with the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts, should remain in force for a further period. Clause 10 extends a number of Acts, the main purpose of which is to relax certain formal preliminaries to marriage in cases where one of the parties is serving in the Forces. The Service Departments consider that these Acts should remain in force so long as large numbers of men are serving abroad. Clause 11 extends the period of duration of the Guardianship (Refugee Children) Act, 1944, which enables guardians to be appointed for children brought to this country as refugees. It may, in some cases, prove desirable after next February to appoint guardians for children who are now being brought here from concentration camps. Finally, Clause 12 makes it clear that local authorities have power up to the end of December, 1947, to remove air-raid shelters or any other wartime works. Hitherto, it has not been clear whether local authorities have such powers, and this Clause removes any doubt on the matter.

I have now dealt with the two principal purposes for which this Bill is required. The other two purposes—the making of certain minor provisions permanent and the repeal of certain permanent enactments—will not, I trust, require much elaboration from me. The provisions in the Defence Regulations which it is proposed should be made permanent are contained in the Second Schedule on page 16 of the Bill, which takes effect by virtue of Clause 15. These provisions all consist of minor Amendments in the general law which have been rendered necessary by war conditions and which have proved so useful as to call for continuance in time of peace. Many of them consist of simplifications of procedure designed to save work or paper, and found by experience to have no disadvantages from other points of view. I do not think I need detain the House with detailed explanations of all these Amendments. I will quote only one example which fairly represents the kind of changes which these Amendments make. Section 16 of the Road arid Rail Traffic Act, 1933, requires holders of carriers' licences to preserve their records of journeys and hours of work for a minimum period of six months. In the interest of paper economy this period was reduced to three months, but the reduced period has been found by experience to be sufficient for purposes of enforcement, and there is no reason why the more rigid requirement should be restored. The necessary provision to this effect is made by the second Amendment on page 17 of the Bill.

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the last of the proposed Amendments—the Amendment of the enactments relating to Trustee Savings Banks made by Regulation 6 of the Defence (Savings Banks) Regulations, 1939?

The three Amendments which it is proposed to make permanent by means of this Bill provide for a relaxation of certain out-of-date requirements of the Trustee Savings Banks Act, 1863. The first Amendment empowers the National Debt Commissioners to relax the requirements of Section 6 of that Act that two persons shall always be a party to every transaction involving the receipt or disposal of money. The second Amendment empowers the National Debt Commissioners to exempt any person or classes of person from Section 8 of the Trustee Savings Banks Act, which requires every treasurer and paid official of a savings bank to give security for the just and faithful execution of his office or trust. The third Amendment is consequential to the first and second Amendments, and relieves trustees and managers of savings banks from any personal liability which they might incur under Section 11 of the Act under any of the above relaxations authorised by the National Debt Commissioners. These Amendments were made in order to facilitate the participation of Trustee Savings Banks in schemes for war savings. Experience has shown that they can safely be made permanent. I hope that answers the hon. Gentleman's question.

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us a little about the nature of the wartime experience which has shown these provisions, which were presumably considered to work satisfactorily before the war, to be unsatisfactory?

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. We arc now having discussions on Acts contained in the Bill, which 1 do not think is in Order, and I think you should rule that.

I said that the Acts to which the Bill refers could be used as illustrations, but that to discuss in detail the merits of any of those Acts would be out of Order.

I think the answer which I have given shows clearly that the provisions were unnecessary in the light of the experience of the war-time period, and therefore they are not to be continued.

On a point of Order. A good many hon. Members are comparatively new to this House. Many of the Acts which are being referred to are new to us, and, further, the Bill was printed only on 6th November. Are we expected to have read all these Acts and to know what their import is; and is it not important to note that they were mostly introduced during the war and that it is now peacetime?

Whether hon. Members choose to read all the Bills referred to is a matter for them. It is not a point of Order.

Before leaving this subject of permanent amendments of the law I was referring to Clause 16. This Clause clears up a difficulty that has arisen in connection with the requisitioning of chattels. Section 6 of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, requires the Crown to pay for requisitioned chattels the full price which could have been obtained on a sale of the chattels immediately before the requisition, but does not provide for the ownership of the chattels to pass permanently to the Crown. It is obviously right that the Crown should have the ownership since it has paid the full price, and Clause 6 brings that about.

The fourth of the main objects of the Bill may be briefly dealt with. It is to repeal the enactments specified in Clause 17. Of the three Acts there referred to, the Essential Buildings and Plant (Repair of War Damage) Act, 1939, under which loans could be made for the repair of buildings and reinstatement of plant, has been in practice superseded by the War Damage Act, and there is no reason for its continuance in force. The Exchequer and Audit Departments (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1939, has not been found necessary and was never brought into operation. Sections 1 to 4 of the Allied Powers (War Service) Act, 1942, enabled the Minister of Labour to call up an Allied national resident in Great Britain who had not by a specified date joined his own national forces. These powers have now ceased to be exercised and are no longer required.

The remaining provisions of the Bill, contained in Part III, are supplementary to the purposes I have already described Clause 18 provides for the continuance of Defence Regulations in the Isle of Man, in the Channel Islands and in Colonies, for purposes similar to those for which Defence Regulations are continued for the United Kingdom by Clause T of the Bill, or similar to the purposes of any United Kingdom Act passed during the war. Clause 19 ensures that provisions in the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, which relate to extra-territorial operation of Defence Regulations (including Colonial Defence Regulations) and to proof of instruments, shall apply to the Regulations continued in force by this Bill. The remaining provisions of that Act, except in so far as they apply to the Supplies and Services Bill, will expire on 24th February next. Clause 20 provides that where a Regulation is continued in force both by this Bill and under the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill the Regulation will be available for the purposes of both Measures. In nearly all cases the two Bills will be kept quite separate, but in one case, Regulation 50—power to do work on land—it is necessary to keep the Regulation alive both for the purposes of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill and also, under this Bill, for the limited purpose of demolishing and clearing war-damaged buildings. In addition it is necessary that General Regulations in Part V of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, for example, the Regulations dealing with the prosecution of offences, should apply for the purposes of both Bills.

Clause 21 is required in order to ensure that the various Acts whose operation is extended by Clauses 2 to 11 of the Bill, should continue to apply, after the period of extension is over, in relation to things done during that period. Clause 22 is the usual financial Clause, and Clause 23 makes clear that the Parliament of Northern Ireland has power to make laws on any of the matters dealt with in the First Schedule of this Bill which fall within its jurisdiction—shop hours, for example—notwithstanding that some Defence Regulation on the subject may be in force in Northern Ireland by virtue of this Bill. I apologise to the House for the long time it has taken me to introduce this Bill, but I must pray in excuse the complexity of the Measure.

4.7 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman has delivered to us what has been indeed a remarkable allocution. Hon. Members on this side of the House who may have been disposed to complain about the strict verbal inspiration from which it sprang, might at least console themselves with the reflection that not even the untrammelled eloquence of a Demosthenes could have made this Bill into anything else but a very bad Bill. It is a bad Bill in essence, in that it seeks to do too much. It bites off more than it can chew. It tries to gather in one document of 24 Clauses and two Schedules a vast, unrelated mass of disjointed topics, ranging from night clubs to building societies and from vermin to explosives. I recall the criticism made in the last century of a certain painter of the impressionist school, of whom his critics said: "He flung a pot of paint in the face of the public and called it a picture. I think the hon. Gentleman has today flung at this House 24 Clauses and two Schedules, as devoid of any connected or creative theme as a telephone directory, and has called it a Bill. This is a thoroughly bad way of doing business. Surely the Statute Book is already sufficiently tangled without our adding to it this fresh source of confusions and obscurity. If this Bill becomes an Act, there will be nothing in its Title, its description or its contents to indicate to what branch of the banyan tree of legislation it relates.

We are all familiar with Bills that are called "miscellaneous provisions" Bills. They are bad enough, but it is customary to give them a Title indicating to what department of legislation they relate. We have Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bills, and Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bills, and those who are interested in housing or agriculture are warned by the Title that their special department of legislation is concerned. There is nothing in the Title or contents of this Bill to warn either the public or practitioners of the scope or the range of this Measure; and, to make matters worse, the temporary laws to which we are referred receive throughout the Bill different treatment. Some are prolonged for two years without amendment, others prolonged for the same period with amendment. Others are continued permanently, and a number of permanent Statutes belonging to no defined class of legislation are amended. When one takes into consideration the possibilities of confusion wrought by the Supplies and Services Bill, which prolongs existing legislation and gives power to add further Regulations to the already monstrous pile, it is clear that after we have passed this Bill it will be very difficult indeed for even practitioners to find out what is the law of this land and quite hopeless for the general public to try to get any inkling of its mysteries. This is a serious matter when we remember that many of the Regulations contained in the First Schedule carry with them heavy monetary penalties. It is a bad thing to produce legislation in a form which does not make for classification and clarity and tucks away in Schedules the perpetuation of Measures which involve the ordinary citizen in heavy penalties either of fine or imprisonment.

We look forward to the Committee stage of the Bill because, granted that we are not muffled and gagged by the new Sessional Orders, there is a great deal in the Bill that we could usefully discuss in Committee. I hope it will be in Committee of the Whole House, so that the unwise limitations on Committees which the Government forced through the other night should be corrected, because this Bill goes over the whole range, practically, of wartime legislation and to entrust its consideration to a Standing Committee working hard against time, with a timetable and a guillotine, and with numbers limited to only one-twelfth of the maximum membership of the House, would be a very wrong practice. I should like to take a few examples to show the obscurity of this Measure to the practitioner as well as to ordinary members of the public. This is one example at random, and it is not one of the most serious. In the First Schedule there is mention of a Regulation 42AA, the subject of which is:
"Extension of power to legalise police cells in Scotland as places of detention."
The association of police cells with places of detention has always seemed a perfectly natural one, and I was curious to know why a Defence Regulation was necessary. If we turn up the Regulations—this stout volume without which the Bill is entirely incomprehensible, and not very comprehensible even with it—we find that the Regulation is as follows:
"Section thirty of the Prisons (Scotland) Act, 1877, as amended by section two of the Prisons (Scotland) Act, 1926, shall, during the continuance in force of this Regulation, have effect, in relation to any police cells to which this Regulation applies, as if for the maximum period not exceeding thirty days, therein specified there were substituted such longer maximum period as the Secretary of State may direct."
Here the Regulation itself refers to one Act, as amended by another, and, as there amended, the Acts are further amended by this Regulation. The upshot of the matter seems to be that in freer and more humane days our predecessors thought that 30 days in a police cell in Scotland was long enough for anyone, and that, if the period of detention was to exceed that limit, the person ought to be moved to some more suitable place. During the war no doubt the pressure of accommodation, even of this unenviable sort that we are discussing, has been such as to render a temporary lapse necessary, but the right hon. Gentleman wants us to agree to people being confined in police cells for an indefinite time at the will and pleasure of his colleague.

This leads me to another extraordinary feature of the situation with which the House is confronted in this Bill. It affects nearly every Department and the Government have cast upon the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend the impossible burden of having to defend many Regulations springing from many different Departments. We would perhaps be considered unreasonable if we were to demand the attendance here on that Bench of all the Ministers whose Departments are affected or who have made decisions in favour of the perpetuation of these Regulations. It would place the Ministers in a great difficulty, but perhaps in Committee we may see a more universal representation of His Majesty's Ministers than we have today.

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman in his task and do not seek in any way to poke fun at him, in the difficult position in which he is placed. He was asked a question about drainage boards. What does he know about drainage boards? An hon. Member asked him about the Insurance Regulations. He is not expected to know about that matter. Yet this is his Bill and he is responsible for anything in it. It is a singularly unsatisfactory way of conducting the business of the House when the Government place upon one Minister the task of defending a vast range of topics such as is included here, a task which it is impossible for any Minister, without severe hard labour, ever to discharge. It would be very interesting, to return to the little Regulation about police cells in Scotland, if we had the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland here to defend his Regulation and to tell us why he considers it to be necessary in time of peace; for example, why it is necessary and imperative in the realisation of the Socialist state, that he should have to confine Scottish people in police cells for more than 30 days.

Similarly, to take another example by way of illustration, it would be very interesting if we could have here the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health with regard to Regulation 32AB, which deals with nurses in mental institutions. It is headed in the Schedule to the Bill, in page 10, line 18:
"Power to require nurses, etc. to continue in employment in mental institutions."
The right hon. Gentleman could, no doubt, have explained it to us if he had been here. He can explain anything—even why no houses arc being built at the present time. But why, as an inevitable concomitant of the Socialist New Jerusalem, must he have power to require nurse's to continue employment in mental institutions? We hear a great number of contradictory statements about the direction of labour; some of them that it is going to end, and others that it is to be perpetuated. There is uneasiness in the public mind because of these uncertainties, but there is no doubt in the minds of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite that compulsion will be needed for this unhappy purpose of staffing these mental institutions. It is indeed a sombre picture of the next two years, and very different from the speeches we heard not so very long ago.

I would like an explanation on why it is considered necessary to prolong Regulation 22, which deals with billeting. I thought that the housing problem, if not solved, was to have been sufficiently mitigated before two years had passed, to have rendered this unnecessary. In particular I would draw attention to the requirements in the Regulation which is to be perpetuated, that not only is house room demandable under it, but food and attendance also. Food and attendance may be required of the housewife who has her own menfolk to look after. Compulsory billeting was one of the great grievances of Parliament in its long struggle with the Crown in the 17th century, and I warn hon. Gentlemen opposite that, in seeking to perpetuate this, it is something which has proved as dangerous as gunpowder in the past and it will be so again. This provision on billeting, which we shall have to discuss in Committee, raises a lot of interesting points. The illustrations which the right hon. Gentleman gave as examples were for the most part harmless and formal, but I would draw the attention of the House to the fact that many of those which he did not mention are very objectionable indeed from the point of view of hon. Members on this side of the House, and of the public generally. There is the matter of the link up with regard to Regulation 31A. This is a Regulation about the provision of food, lodging and medical treatment for persons transferred under evacuation plans. The Regulation says:
"The Minister of Health may make arrangements for the provision of food or lodging or both for persons transferred under an evacuation plan."
There are charges and everything of that sort. What further plans of evacuation have the Government in mind? Are people not to be allowed to settle down in their homes now that the war is over? When we come to the right hon. Gentleman's own Department I pause to ask a question with regard to the prolongation of Regulation 39. This is the Regulation dealing with policemen—the first two paragraphs of which read as follow:
"The Secretary of State may give, with respect to any police force, such general or special instructions as appear to him to be necessary or expedient in the interests of the public safety, the defence of the realm, the maintenance of public order or the efficient prosecution of the war"—
I suppose these last words go now—
"and, in particular, may by any such instructions make provision for the assistance of one police force by another.
Instructions given with respect to any police force under the last foregoing paragraph may be given either to the police authority by which the forces are maintained or to the chief officer thereof, and shall have effect notwithstanding any restriction or limitation imposed by or under any Act."
What is the justification for this in peace time? What scenes of public disorder does the right hon. Gentleman contemplate; what popular uprising is compatible with the mandate about which we hear so much? We would like to hear more about what seems, without explanation, to justify some of the fears of those who said that the regime of the right hon. Gentleman opposite is inseparable from some sort of police State. To my mind it is great folly to tamper in these times with the police force in this way.

The power of the police in this country depends upon good will and the widespread desire for and love of law and order which our people cherish. All this depends to a great extent upon the local touch possessed by the police in the various centres of population. As long as these conditions are maintained, the police, acting as they do in the name of the law, are assured of public support. But if, in peace time, it gets into people's heads that the police were not acting on the orders of an impersonal law, administered by impersonal judges, but on the personal orders of a man, even as high-minded and patriotic as the Home Secretary, they would lose their authority.

No story is more interesting in this way than the rise of the Metropolitan Police, upon which the whole police force of the country is formed. The first two Commissioners were men of outstanding character. They set their faces against popular clamour and political intrigue, and by a happy mixture of tact and firmness and honesty of purpose they succeeded in earning the confidence of the public. Even in the stormy days of the Chartist movement they were the friends of the good citizen, irrespective of any passing ideologies. It would be a great folly to impair in peace time this great tradition, by a suggestion that the police were to go under the central direction of a particular party Government. I think that this move to perpetuate in peacetime what may be necessary in war, to co-ordinate the activity of the police force, comes strangely at the present time, when we have sent members of our own police force across to Germany to teach the Germans how a good police force can be maintained without resort to the evil prop of a single-party Government.

There are other Regulations with which one could deal. I have a little amusement in referring to Regulation 39A, which deals with the crime of
"seducing persons from duty and causing disaffection,"
and enacts in harsher terms, measures which were criticised when they were introduced by the then Government under the Disaffection Act of 1934. I remember what a fuss was made about that Act by hon. Members opposite at the time, and the Council for the Preservation of Civil Liberties, so called, created great agitation. To relapse into a personal reminiscence, I remember being engaged in a public debate, in defence of this comparatively mild Measure at Caxton Hall and it gives me acid satisfaction to recall that my opponents on that memorable but justly forgotten occasion were Professor Laski and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt). So has the wheel turned full circle, and thus has "the whirligig of time brought in his revenges," but I cannot help wondering what has become of the Council for the Preservation of Civil Liberties, or why Professor Laski and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Hammersmith are so silent on this occasion, on the perpetuation of a much harsher and more peremptory wartime Regulation for the same purpose as the earlier Measure.

I would draw the attention of the House to the Regulations which give power to the Defence Departments to enter upon land. Since the Crimean War, the Defence Departments have had ample power to get all the land they require under the Defence Acts, and I see no reason why in peace time this wartime Regulation should be perpetuated. I am bound to remark, in passing, that the War Department, in their use of the land of this country, have been among the worst offenders in many cases, sometimes through necessity, I do not deny, but sometimes, I think, through wantonness and ignorance, and I think the House will require a good deal of satisfaction before it extends into peace time powers which were necessary for war and which are an enlargement of the extensive powers already possessed.

The other matter to which I would direct attention is Regulation 60N, at the top of page 201. The Regulations reads:
"So much of Subsection (1) of Section 2 of the Telegraph (Money) Act, 1920, as requires the laying before Parliament of statements of account showing as regards the telegraph and telephone services the income and expenditure for the previous financial year shall not have effect during the continuance in force of this Regulation."
Briefly, the effect of the Regulation is to dispense with, for the period covered by the Bill, the necessity, under which the Post Office was placed in peacetime, of keeping its accounts in two forms. One was the ordinary form of the accounts of the Department, audited in the usual way by the Treasury and the Accountant-General. The other was what was called the commercial account. This was an account for the telegraph and telephone services, which took note of capital charges, of depreciation of plant, and of the rent for offices and so on, so as to present to the public and to Parliament the accounts of the telegraph and telephone business as near as might be, in the same way as a private enterprise would present to its shareholders its balance sheet and profit and loss account. During the war, possibly for quite good reasons, this requirement was dispensed with. It was difficult to find the staff to undertake this accounting, but I see no reason why this dispensation should be further extended. The Government are entering upon the great job of nationalisation and of control of industry. To enable us to give our views on that matter, we ought to have all the information which the Government can put at our disposal, and these accounts, of an efficient organisation like the Post Office, showing the financial outcome of its operations, as accounted for in ordinary commercial practice, would be of great assistance to the public in assessing whether the claims sometimes made for nationalised enterprise are, in fact, borne out by the results.

If this Bill receives its Second Reading, which I hope it will not, it is obvious that we shall require very careful consideration in Committee, and I hope no effort will be made by the Government to stifle or truncate discussion on these important matters when we come to the Committee stage. I would say, in conclusion, that this matter of the perpetuation of wartime legislation and controls is one that is causing the public a great deal of concern. That concern will not be lessened with regard to this particular Bill by the observation made by the hon. Gentleman in introducing it, that it would be a simple matter to prolong this period still further by the simple device of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. Though we have the date 31st December, 1947, and no longer, very well placed in the Bill, there is the threat of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill behind it, and we may be letting ourselves in for much longer rule by this legislation than appears on the face of it.

As a Member of the Government which made these Regulations during the war, I may say in broad outline what I understood to be the position. There was a sort of tacit understanding between the Government and the people of this country, whereby the people agreed to surrender many of their legal safeguards and personal liberties, in order to secure the conduct of the war and the survival of the nation, but the understanding was that these liberties should be restored to them unimpaired as soon as the mortal danger to the nation had passed. I am bound to say that hon. Members opposite seem to be a little slow in fulfilling their part of that bargain. They give one the impression of being reluctant to part with any of these war time powers. I hope I may be misjudging them, but that is the impression which legislation of this sort creates, and this does not stand alone. We have already passed the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill, and we have the Statutory Instruments Bill, and, taking those Measures with this, we see a sort of cumulative process which is going on, and this gradual process seems to me to amount to a stealthy encroachment upon the standard of our prewar liberties. It is a process of infiltration which, in my judgment, the House ought to resist.

We hear a great deal from hon. Members opposite who refer to their mandate. I would venture to remind the House that, whatever the complexes, the emotion and grievances which resulted in the present deplorable composition of the House, all of us, no matter where we sit in this Chamber, received one mandate upon which there can be no doubt whatsoever, and that was to be Members of Parliament. We are charged with the duty of being vigilant against the undue assumption of unchallengeable authority by the Executive, and I think we can discharge that duty by voting against this Bill tonight.

4.37 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman opposite has just described this as a very bad Bill for several reasons which he advanced. He said it was a Bill that drew together a very large number of unrelated subjects, and went on to speak of the inappropriateness of what had been passed in wartime being continued in peacetime. I have a considerable amount of sympathy with that last point, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it will be a duty on every Member of Parliament to watch with the greatest care the continuance of the processes by which our liberties were filched from us during wartime. That was done for a reason which I never, at that time, considered to be quite good enough, and I still consider that it is not quite good enough.

At the same time, I must say that I am prepared to give to the Government my support in the Measure which they have now brought forward. After all, the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite cannot very well complain. They put up for a number of years with the things to which they are now objecting—I admit, under the excuse that it was a wartime period. [HON. MEMBERS: "It was."] Yes, and I have already suggested that, in a wartime period, for a nation that was alive to its liberties, the Government never then needed the regulations against which the right hon. Gentleman has been complaining. Why was it necessary, for example, to keep the police cells at work longer than 30 days? Why, in wartime, was it not possible to transfer these persons after 30 days, to more appropriate surroundings? Hon. Members were well content to put up with that. I admit that it will be necessary to be watchful about these Regulations, but I agree entirely with the Government that it would be the height of folly in the situation in which we are placed today, in bringing forward new legislation of the most important character, to have separated all these into their respective Measures, as has been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and plunge them into the hurly-burly of discussion in this House for days, weeks and months. I suppose the Rules of the House would not allow me to suggest that anybody would ever use such a process for purposes of obstruction. I am going to suggest that the method which the Government have adopted for carrying through their legislation is very much better than the one which the right hon. Gentleman opposite suggested.

I proceed to use, by way of illustration, some reference to the Regulations which are before us for continuance. I think that, in wartime, some of the Regulations were good. They were introduced, indeed, at an unfavourable time, but the Regulations themselves, in many cases, had been proved highly necessary for many years before. As an illustration of that, I quote Regulation 55 (c), to which my hon. Friend made reference when opening this discussion. Regulation 55 (c) refers to the question of the registered club. The registered club, in certain of its forms, has been an issue of great controversy for many years. Indeed, it was highly necessary that some steps should be taken to deal with the unsatisfactory aspects of the matter. There were clubs which it was possible to open, in order that thieves might prosecute their trade; there were clubs for prostitutes, and for all sorts of unsatisfactory people, which were opened because of the generally unsatisfactory state of club law, and the war brought into being a situation which, at last, compelled the Government to deal with it. Regulation 55 (c) was one of those beneficent Regulations which were long overdue, as certain others of these Orders are beneficent and long overdue, in order to meet an intolerable situation.

Such a situation presented itself in wartime, in the case of these unsavoury places in the West End of London, and of people meeting our men coming from the North of England and other places and inveigling them and leading them to their ruin, both as soldiers and citizens. It seemed necessary to institute Regulation 55 (c) to give to the police a new power which, while limiting liberties, would enable them to make objections to clubs being started by persons who were known to the police and about whom evidence had already been collected. When such was the case, the police had given them further opportunity of substantiating their objections before a magistrate's court. I think that was an admirable law. I have already put Questions to the Home Secretary about this matter and he has admitted that under that Order many utterly unsavory, objectionable places have been dealt with. I consider it would have been the height of folly just now with all the other legislative work this House has to carry through, if the Government had separated that beneficent Measure from its general context in the Defence of the Realm laws and thrown the whole thing again into the general heat of political controversy.

It is, perhaps, more of a Committee point, which I do not propose to pursue, that in connection with this Order the Government have introduced into this Bill some alteration of words. If we look at page 12, line 7, we find there is the suggestion that it shall not be an objection against a club of this sort that one of their objectives shall be cultural or political activities. I do not know that it ever was an objection against the clubs of the past. I do not know why it should be suspected that the police under the excellent Regulation 55c should get it into their heads that it was an objectionable thing to want to register a club because its constitution was political or because it had a cultural aim. I am rather surprised that any such charge has been made or that it was possible to make it. At any rate, if the Government think that, I do not object, although I should like to hear from them, why, in the present situation regarding registered clubs, that should be necessary. Perhaps they thought it was necessary to deal with the prejudice of people like myself.

I had the privilege, many years ago, of presiding at a function where the founder of the Labour Party was addressing an audience of miners in Lancashire. James Keir Hardie said when opening a Labour club that if once the club brought into its rules and aims the job of procuring intoxicating beverages for its members, they would find, in experience, that while drink came in at one door of the club, their ideals and enthusiasms would rapidly depart from the other. I have heard many Tory Members say exactly the same thing about their own clubs. I do not know that the Government are performing any good purpose from the" point of view of the political club by safeguarding it with reference to this matter. I should have thought they could have left that point as it is without introducing it into the Regulation. Despite my dislike of wartime legislation and wartime restrictions, I offer my cordial support to the Government for the method they have adopted in dealing with this Bill. I think they are right to tackle the issue in this way, and I shall vote for the Second Reading.

4.49 p.m.

The hon. Member who has just sat down is one further example of Members opposite who speak with the spirit of our side, but vote against us, because they dare not evade doing what they are told to do. Perhaps hon. Members opposite will remember the performance of some of their Members on the Police Bill. One made a most slashing attack but we did not find him in our Lobby when we voted against it. This is a monstrous Bill which could only have been introduced by a Government with a totalitarian mind. Anyone who saw the Parliamentary Secretary floundering about in introducing it, with practically no knowledge of what it was about, will not imagine for one moment that I suppose that his was the sinister mind behind it. I strongly suspect, and indeed see here, the hand of the Lord President of the Council, who has the mind of a dictator. In this Bill an attempt is being made to override Parliament. This is an attempt to push through in one Bill something like a hundred Acts of Parliament without proper opportunity being presented to Parliament to discuss them adequately and that, as I say, could only be done by those who, like so many hon. Members opposite, merely pay lip service to Parliament.

Why is it necessary, for instance, for hotel managers still to have the power to require production of identity cards? It was a very necessary power in wartime, but it was never necessary in peacetime. Why has it suddenly become necessary now? This Bill is continuing that system. Why is it necessary for the Government, which one would hope would be endeavouring to release people as soon as possible, to retain the power to direct nurses to mental institutions? It is remarkable that that power is retained in Regulation 32AB while Regulation 29B, which contained the power in relation to police and civil defence purposes, is not renewed. I do not suppose, in view of what the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) has said in regard to clubs—with which I entirely agree—it is necessary for me to reiterate any of that. But why is an entirely new factor introduced, whereby there can be objection to a club on the ground that there are other political clubs providing the facilities? That is a new objection which does not even exist in wartime. Yet in this world of free political thought in which we are now governed, this Government have to introduce a Regulation making a political aspect of a club a condition as to whether it should be registered or not.

Let us look at alterations of another sort which are to be made. Where it used to be necessary to put in the words for instance, in the Regulations "for the prosecution of the war" those words are taken out and now, and as something has to be put in their place, the Government insert the words "in the public interest." But, of course, they are the judges of the public interest. I do not know, when they retain the power to pay roadmen by cheque, whether that is in the public interest or not. I should have thought the best judge would be the roadmen, but it does not matter to the Government whether it is in their interest or not. The hours of closing of shops are enforced under this Bill, not as in wartime when it was found necessary because of blackout, but in peacetime when the chief consideration is the interest of employees. So long as that is safeguarded, shops should be allowed to stay open as long as the proprietor wishes to remain open, but the Government do not think that at all and close down the private trader. I know hon. Members opposite like to close down the private traders at seven o'clock and if they had their way they would close them down all day.

There are one or two other matters to which I would refer and which are covered by Part II of the First Schedule. There were many instances during the war where it became necessary to interfere with the administration of justice. That is one of the first things which should be restored when the emergency is past. There were only two reasons for such interference—the shortage of manpower and the difficulties of travel. I hope the Government are soon going to remedy the shortage of manpower and the difficulties of travel are nothing like so acute as they were, yet they propose to retain the removal of the challenge of jurors, which has been a centuries old institution in this country. They propose still to keep juries below the proper level, which I venture to suggest is a fatal thing to do. The right of hearing by a jury has been an inalienable right of Englishmen for centuries, yet now that we are restored to peace, we are not to have that right restored to us and the Government retain the right, always open to danger, of using certain documentary evidence which in many cases may not be the best evidence available.

Hon. Members opposite, I know, when a Bill like this is put before them, sup- port it because they probably do not even bother to look what it is about. They just ask the Whip which way they should go. I should have thought they would be the first to ask their Front Bench why it is retaining the power to order soldiers to work in the docks and so forth. I wonder how many hon. Members realise that under this Bill they are keeping that power in force, and yet many times I have heard them complaining of that power. It is surprising to find that the Home Guard is to be kept in existence and members of it still subject to military law. The Minister of Food has rights of search and entry never intended for peacetime use, but still retained under these peacetime Regulations. It is perhaps not surprising if you look through the Regulations to find that one of the few which the Government has allowed to lapse is entitled "Encouragement of catering for the Export Trade." That is allowed to go, of course.

I know that hon. Members opposite do not like being told the plain truth that they are trying to override the will of Parliament, but I am here, in a demo cratic country, to take my part in execising the will of Parliament, and the only efficient way in which that can be done is for Bills to be brought to Parliament in the ordinary way, and not a number of Regulations lumped together in a heterogeneous Bill of this kind, and I hope hon. Members will divide against it.

5.0 p.m.

Nothing but the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe) would have brought me to my feet on this Bill, but he really is such a startling and sensational debater that I think his speech deserves a reply. I am not quite sure, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I really understood him, but I thought I understood him to say that this Bill which is now having its Second Reading, which will have a Committee stage, which will have a Report stage, which will have a Third Reading, which will ultimately go to another place where it may be further amended, which will then come back to this House, and which will ultimately receive the Royal Assent and become the law of the land, is a totalitarian procedure which could only be conceived by a Government with a totalitarian mind—

I understood the hon. Gentleman to say something about a majority. I never knew that a totalitarian Government needed a majority—

But the essential thing is that this is the House of Commons with a majority, and whatever is done under this Bill will be done constitutionally by the will of Parliament. I wonder whether the hon. and learned Gentleman really meant what he said, whether he really knows what he did say. It could only be conceived, he said, by a Government with a totalitarian mind. Does he really think that the Government led by the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Leader of the Opposition was a Government with a totalitarian mind? Or is he really asking us to believe that this long, difficult, carefully prepared Measure, with all the details of regulations in its Schedule, was prepared only since the General Election? I suggest to him that it was not. I suggest to him that this Bill was prepared by the last Government, and that if they had been sitting on this side of the House and we had been sitting on that side, this Bill would now be having a Second Reading in virtually the form in which it now appears. If that is not so, there are plenty of right hon. Gentlemen sitting on front Opposition bench to say so.

As far as I am aware this Bill was never considered by the Ministers of the Coalition Government.

I did not say that it was considered by the Ministers of the Coalition Government. I do not know how far it had gone at all. I do not know how many of the Ministers of this Government have considered it. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it could only have been conceived by a Government with a totalitarian mind. I am challenging the Front Opposition Bench to say whether this Bill was not, in fact, conceived by the last Government.

Nobody denies it, and I think the hon. and learned Gentleman owes an apology to the leaders of his party sitting in front of him.

The hon. and learned Member is not entitled to speak unless and until the hon. Member who is speaking gives way.

The hon. and learned Gentleman must be prepared to take what he gives. I was speaking. Previously he refused to give way to me and he must not expect greater courtesy from his opponent than he is willing to extend.

I am not attacking the hon. and learned Gentleman at all; I am dealing, I think, frankly, fairly and reasonably with his speech, and I am saying that when he says that this Bill could only have been conceived by a Government with a totalitarian mind, that is an attack on the right hon. Gentlemen on the bench in front of him as much as an attack upon anybody else. In fact there is not a word of truth in it; there is not an atom of the totalitarian spirit in this Bill. What does it do? What is in the Schedule? The Schedule is full of law—present standing law—passed by delegated legislation under an Emergency Powers Act by Regulation.

What are we being asked to do with it today? We are asked to convert Defence Regulations—legislation by delegated powers—into ordinary legislation by due process of Parliament. Not one of the Regulations contained in this Schedule ever had Parliamentary sanction except in a negative, passive sense, not one of them; and if we pass them all, what will be the totalitarian act that we commit? We shall have taken every one of them that the Government want to preserve and submitted each to every single stage of full, Parliamentary legislation—a Second Reading, a Committee stage, a Report stage, a Third Reading and all the other things. Not one of them ever had it before, and when the Government submit every one of these Regulations which they want to preserve to full Parliamentary scrutiny in order to decide whether we shall keep them or reject them, what does the hon. and learned Gentleman call it? He calls it an act of totalitarian Government. Never was such nonsense talked in this House even by hon. Members sitting on the benches opposite. It is utterly and com- pletely meaningless stupidity. There could not possibly be anything more antipathetic to totalitarian legislation than to take what was criminal legislation by delegated legislation, by Regulation, and submit it to the full scrutiny of Parliament and give it a full Parliamentary—

Of course you could do away with it altogether. This House can do away with everyone of the Regulations now.

This House, in Committee stage or at Report stage or at some other stage, may dispense with any Regulation in the Schedule or with all of them if it wishes, and this is the first time it has had the opportunity. That is the point I am making. I think it is a perfectly fair point, a perfectly plain point, and I submit, with great respect to everybody, a completely unanswerable one. It may very well be true that there are some Regulations in the Schedule which hon. Members opposite would like to take out; it may very well be true that there are some Regulations in the Schedule which hon. Members on this side would like to take out; it may very well be true that there are some Regulations that we would all like to take out. I say, that because the Government have presented this Bill and given us this opportunity, we have for the first time a Parliamentary opportunity to scrutinise every one of the Regulations and make up our minds as a sovereign House of Commons what we are going to do with them, which of them shall continue to be law and which of them shall cease to be law. What in the world is wrong with that? What is it that hon. Members object to? What is the totalitarian feature to which they point?

Just to oblige the hon. Gentleman who has asked that question, may I ask does he deny that once a Bill is prepared for consideration by the House that Bill may express very well the spirit of the Government? In fact, it does and would not a Government possessed of a totalitarian mind be willing to use the machinery of Parliament as long as that machinery is necessary? There is nothing at all absurd in what my hon. and learned Friend said; it is possible to have a totalitarian mind, but to accomplish its totalitarian purpose in stages such as we are seeing before us now.

If the hon. Gentleman chooses to think that the Government has a totalitarian mind, he is of course entitled to think it and, if he does so, he is not merely entitled to say so but it is his duty to say so. What I am examining is the reasonable basis of any such opinion, and I cannot see that there is any proof of totalitarianism—even if the Government were totalitarian minded—in the steps that it has taken on this occasion, which are to put all the legislation which it wants into a Bill and present that Bill to Parliament and leave it to Parliament to decide whether it will have it, whether it will not have it, whether it will amend it, or whether it will not.

I sympathise very much with the dilemma in which the Opposition finds itself. It knows very well that the first duty of an Opposition is to oppose; what it does not know very well is what it is that it wants to oppose, why it wants to oppose it, or how to oppose it. I shall not be so patronising as to give any hint to them; that is not my business, but I really suggest for their consideration that you cannot really pursue an effective opposition merely on the basis of the mother who said, "Go and see what Billy is doing and tell him he mustn't." Having spent some time telling the Government how right they were and how little there was to oppose, and having now been criticised by their own Press for (being so ineffective an Opposition, they have now gone completely to the opposite extreme and oppose everything the Government does simply because the Government does it, and whether there is any reason for opposing it or not. I suggest that on this occasion they are on poor, unsafe and, in my opinion, very silly ground. We have here a whole mass of the very kind of legislation to which they most object submitted for the first time to complete Parliamentary scrutiny, and that is what they call a totalitarian act. As far as I am concerned, I shall vote for the Second Reading with all the greater enthusiasm because of the opposition which it has engendered on the opposite side of the House.

5.12 p.m.

My right hon. Friend com- pared this Bill to the telephone directory; and certainly there is this to be said in favour of his comparison—that we managed to get a great many wrong numbers from the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill. For myself I prefer to say that debating the principle of this Bill is like trying to debate the principle of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica"; or perhaps better, since the preponderance of bad over good is so very marked, the Newgate Calendar. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has advanced an argument which, if it means anything, means this: that because the Government have been good enough to accumulate all these unrelated subjects in one Measure and to bring it down to be translated into legislative action by their well-disciplined Members, therefore, it is a good Bill—

I have such great respect for the hon. and gallant Gentleman that I am sure he would no: wish to make a false point. I did not say it was a good Bill only for that reason; I said that the fact that the Government brought before Parliament for Parliamentary scrutiny and approval, or rejection, a large number of items of delegated legislation, was a very poor reason for accusing them of totalitarianism.

I try to make my contributions to this House as short as possible, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but it is not easy when I give way and answer the propositions put by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. Of course, it is true that it is better that these Measures should be brought to the House than that they should be extended by prerogative action; but the point I am making is that the fact that these matters are brought before the House does not absolve the House from its duty to investigate and see whether per se they are good or not. My right hon. Friend has said that this is a Bill which tries to do too much. I agree, and I commend to the Government a saying of Macaulay, because I feel that that rather outdated 19th century Radicalism will probably find an echo in the minds of the present Administration. The words I wish to commend to them are these: ''The Government which tries to do too much for the people always ends in doing too little."

This Bill instead of trying to do too much for the people is trying to do too much to the people. It is a thoroughly bad Bill. It is a bad Bill because it is an ill-drafted Bill; it is a bad Bill because it is a sorry conglomeration of unrelated subjects; and it is a bad Bill because it is an example of the vicious tendency of trying to perpetuate into peace. Measures which owed their origin and justification to the circumstances and exigencies of war. Not the least unsatisfactory thing about this Measure is the complications, to which it will inevitably give rise in the minds of those whose duty it is to try to interpret and apply the law. Neither the short Title to this Bill, nor the very extensive long Title in any way puts the citizen or lawyer on his guard as to what he will find within it. I speak with some feeling on this as one, who after six years of soldiering, is now about to re-embark on the practice of my profession; and it would almost seem that the right hon. Gentleman produced this Bill in order to stand as an angel with flaming, fiery sword to warn me off the promised land, which I feel entitled to re-enter.

By what flight of inspiration or by what logical process of deduction can I, as a lawyer, wanting to know where I can find an Amendment to the Improvement of Livestock (Licensing of Bulls) Act, 1932, deduce that I am to refer to the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Act, 1945? That is a practical question to which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will address himself in his reply. I do not want to refer in detail to the provisions of this Bill. It induces in me the same feelings of surfeited nausea that I get from perusing those pages in which Gibbon describes the lives and characteristics of the less reputable Roman emperors. Only the language is vastly inferior to the majestic prose of the work with which I have compared it. I must refer to one or two of these Defence Regulations in illustration of the points that I wish to make. The hon. Gentleman, in introducing this Bill, referred to Defence Regulation 18, which deals with exits and entrances; and like those referred to by Shakespeare it seems to require seven ages to make an exit from this country now. Surely the incorporation of this Defence Regulation in this Bill illustrates the danger of perpetuating, in an omnibus Bill like this, provisions introduced solely to suit the peculiar circumstances of war. Surely now, instead of wishing to confine people within the bounds of this country, we are trying to stimulate our export trade; and if we are trying to do that then we want to get our business men abroad. We are not going to do that by circumscribing them by a series of provisions contained in Defence Regulation 18.

Reference has been made to Defence Regulation 20AB, which is that requiring identity cards at hotels. The hon. and learned Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe) has made the point on that, and I wish only to reinforce what he has said. I would like, in illustration of another point, to refer to Defence Regulation 22. My right hon. Friend has said that billeting in peacetime was one of the principal issues of the constitutional struggles of the 17th century. He might have said it was one of the four points singled out in the Petition of Right as a matter to which the Commons of this country objected in the then totalitarian Government. Surely, this is not a Measure which should be introduced into this omnibus Bill? Surely, this is a Measure which is being continued at the behest of the Minister of Health to cloak the shortage of houses in which his negative policy is going to result, in the next two years. This form of billeting imposes in time of peace on the people of this country an obligation not only to give shelter but food and attendance as well. If this was a matter deserving of debate as a question of principle in the 17th century, surely in the 20th century it should be introduced by legislation in this House, and not as an extension of a Defence Regulation, under cover of an omnibus Bill?

The last Defence Regulation to which I intend to make reference is Defence Regulation 42B; and I make reference to this Regulation because it is an illustration of the danger that the perpetuation of these Regulations will result in legislating by a side wind. As everyone knows, Defence Regulation 42B is that which empowers a competent Service officer to apply for opening of Sunday cinemas in certain areas. That was a very good wartime provision. But now, in my view, that is a provision that should not be continued because, if the Minister of Labour in consultation with his Service colleagues would get on with the business of demobilisation we should not have sufficient troops stationed in this country to require this exceptional Measure—certainly not for two years. What you are doing in fact by prolonging this is to complicate and embarrass those local authorities whose natural feeling would be not to avail themselves of Section 1 of the Sunday Entertainment Act, 1932.

I am not going into the principle of this matter. What I am saying is this; that you should not pre-judge in. any local area the operation of the Sunday Entertainment Act, 1932, which specifically gives the locality an option, by continuing entertainments under a Defence Regulation, under the pretext that it is for the entertainment of the troops. The opening of cinemas will necessarily prejudice the question when the Defence Regulation is withdrawn. I hope that I make that point clear to the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply. I do not propose to refer in detail to any more provisions. As I have said, this is a bad Bill. It is a bad Bill because it imposes more restrictions than it relaxes; because it obscures more than it clarifies; and because it binds many and looses few. I hope this House will refuse a Second Reading to this Bill to a Government which, having excited such, expectations of an almost immediate millenium from their all too credulous supporters, now come to this House and make it clear that they do not expect within a period of two years to be able to restore even the outward semblance and vestments of Peace.

5.24 p.m.

I have been counting the number of times that the word "perpetuate" has been used by right hon. Members and hon. Members speaking from the opposite benches. I got as far as six from the right hon. Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) and then, 1 am afraid, my patience, as the phrase goes, was exhausted, and I counted no more. I think that if he had looked at the provisions or even at the short Title of this Bill, he would have found it unnecessary to use a word so wholly inapplicable. This is a Measure intended to carry on for a short transitory period certain exceptional Measures and Regulations. It is no more than that, and the period is actually quite short; it is to the end of the year 1947. For a Scotsman to be so oblivious to the meaning of "perpetuate" I must say astonishes me. I wonder if he has by some second sight—I believe such things are known in Scotland—knowledge of what may, or may not be going to happen, at the end of 1947 which authorises him to treat that particular year as the end of all time.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will look at Clause 15 and the whole of the Second Schedule to the Bill, which do effect permanent changes in the law.

No doubt there are some small permanent changes, but the substance of this Bill and the matter on which it is being debated, is the carrying forward for a transition period, of certain emergency provisions passed during the emergency and for the purpose of the emergency. The speech of the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down contained again the word "perpetuate," with a somewhat rhetorical denunciation of a Measure to which he objected partly because of its variety and partly because he did not like its draftsmanship. Let us begin with variety. What will happen to the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite when it comes to such Measures as the Statutory Laws (Revision) Act or the Expiring Laws Continuance Act? What he would require in such circumstances is not one Act but a whole pullulation of little Acts, each to continue a single Act and on each of which he would be at liberty to introduce into a Second Reading Debate matters which are more appropriate to a Committee stage.

There is really nothing to cause all this remarkable astonishment. The hon. and gallant Gentleman revives again the spectres of the secret police, and the nefarious activities of Professor Laski, which I thought a certain sense of humour had caused to drop out of discussions in this House. This Bill actually resembles an Act brought in for a similar purpose at the end of the last war. If the hon. and gallant Member who spoke last had then practised the profession he now proposes to resume, he, no doubt, would have accustomed himself early enough to the difficulties which he now presents to us. After all, the legal profession, on the footing on what was then called the War Emergencies Law Continuance Act, 1920, continued to struggle on for some nineteen or twenty years, without all the bewilderment of finding things so inextricably tied up in books of reference and without being unable to emerge from that cocoon. The provisions of that Act would be equally terrifying if they had been looked at with a critical eye.

I will not go through all the laws and regulations which were affected at that time, but I would like to call to the attention of the House that they included billeting powers and subjects so various as opium and pigs, and they included, among other matters, the continuing without any reservation at all of two Defence Regulations the text of which I have been unable to examine but which seem to me to be of particular interest in the present connection. The first was the power restricting the hours in the evening during which business might be carried on, and the second was the power to, prohibit whistling and other noises.

Is the hon. Member's argument that because certain very unsatisfactory things were done after the last war, we should therefore do the same unsatisfactory things after this war?

In the first place I want to reassure the hon. and gallant Member as to the difficulties he personally anticipated in discovering the law after this Bill had become a Statute. Secondly, I desired to point out to him that there was singularly little connection between the Measure and the spectres which it apparently evoked in his mind—was it in his case secret police or was it Professor Laski? I have forgotten what it was in his case? There have been so many brought up by others.

I hope that I have succeeded, to some extent, in reassuring Members opposite on these particular points. I should like to imagine the comment which would have been made from the benches opposite on so sweeping a Regulation as that not only prohibiting whistling but all other noises. I can imagine the force with which they would have submitted to the House that now that the war was ended it was still deemed necessary to impose a perpetual silence on the inhabitants of this Kingdom. Yet, even after the tyranny of that time, we managed to get along quite well. Lastly, the Measure which followed the last war continued in force for no less than seven years. This Bill is a continuation for two years. I submit that this tyrannous and treacherous Government—and may I supply any other epithets for the use of hon. Members opposite?—have been singularly moderate in the requests put forward, and in the time asked for the continuation of these powers.

5.33 p.m.

By a coincidence, I spent an hour or so this morning in showing some boys from a well-known school round this House. I told them, as we all do, about how we did our work. I showed them where we work. I also told them what we stand for. I said that it was on this site that all the great battles of the past, battles for liberty, had been fought, and that many of those battles are commemorated today in our procedure. I mentioned in particular the Petition of Right of 1628. At that time the citizens of England appeared to have had four main grievances—billeting, arbitrary imprisonment, arbitrary taxation and martial law. Some of these grievances of 1628 appear to be cropping up again. Billeting is to be continued by Regulation 22.

My comment would be not only that this infringement upon the rights of the individual can hardly be justified in time of peace, but that if we are to consider the extension of this power for as long as two years, we must at least be told how many houses the Minister of Health expects to build in the next two years. Without that information I cannot see how we can judge if that should be continued. G. M. Trevelyan, in his "History of England," says of the Petition of Right that
"its acceptance put the law on the aide of personal freedom."
It is our responsibility to see that the law remains on that side. If I might pass for a moment to modern times, I would ask what was it really that made the people of England fight in 1940? It was not hatred of the Germans, it was not, in a general sense, what we call patriotism, nor was it just loyalty to the Prime Minister of that time, who was our mouthpiece and expressed exactly what we all felt. Surely it was the simple fact that somebody, and it mattered not who, was coming to take away the inalienable rights of the British people, the rights for which their ancestors had fought, and had won for them, and for their cousins in the Empire and in the United States? It was that simple fact that made our people fight in 1940. Yet as my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) observed, the people gave up many of those rights willingly, without question, when war broke out. They gave them up on condition that they would be restored when peace returned. I feel that this Bill which we are considering today delays the restoration of those rights quite unnecessarily.

Let me refer to one or two of the Regulations by way of example. Take Regulation No. 12, which is concerned with Protected Places. If a Secretary of State considers it necessary, no person may enter upon such places, and if they are allowed to do so they must conduct themselves as laid down by the Secretary of State. I can well understand the need for protecting the general public against minefields, or balloon barrages. Why, if a member of the public walks into a minefield, he should also suffer two years' imprisonment I cannot understand. It seems a little harsh. One wonders whether he would receive a bill for the ambulance as well. Why is this provision continued for two years only? If protection is necessary, surely it should be for all time? Why is it necessary to create new protected areas, new minefields? Is it that the Party opposite feel that they may have to protect their headquarters against the angry mob within two years, and that a minefield may be a suitable method? What would happen, I do not know whether it is possible or not, if the right hon. Gentleman declared this House to be a protected place and that all who came in must conduct themselves as he directed? Surely the only hope of saving the country from Socialism in our time would be that he might direct us into the wrong lobby. [An HON. MEMBER: "Saving from or for?"] I said saving from.

Regulation 39A is concerned with seducing persons from duty and causing disaffection, which my right hon. Friend has mentioned and which I too was surprised to see included. I remember 11 years ago that the Incitement to Disaffection Act, 1934, was extremely badly received by hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in Opposition. In fact, I see that the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for War spoke as follows:
"But the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, with the heads of the three armed Services…are deliberately making an attack upon long established and jealously guarded principles affecting the liberty of the people of this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1934; Vol. 288, c. 751.]
I wonder why he is not here today to repeat the same fine sentiments. Why should this change take place by the simple process of changing one's position from opposition to control of the Armed Forces? Why is that provision only continued for two years? Is that the expectation of life which the Government place upon themselves? I can see no other reason for continuing this provision merely for two years. I think it is wrong in time of peace that the Armed Forces should be given a priority over civilian rights and I would refer hon. Members to Regulation 52, in which one finds that the Service Ministers and the Minister of Supply can take any land they like and stop up any roads. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading said they did not intend to stop up roads without asking the Minister of Transport, but that is not included in this Regulation. They have the power to do it. Surely today we need land for food and for housing, and not for training areas and aerodromes. There can, as far as I can see, be no justification for giving the Service Ministers and the Minister of Supply the power to override the needs of food production and housing.

I referred earlier to the Petition of Right. Among the grievances of that day was that of arbitrary imprisonment, and I think we are approaching that stage when one turns to Regulation 88C, which gives power to arrest without warrant.

Mr. Speaker has ruled that hon. Members should deal with principles, and not the details of individual Regulations. The hon. and gallant Member has given a number of illustrations, but he should confine himself more to general principles than to details, which could be more appropriately dealt with in Committee.

Might I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to amplify what you have just said? The hon. Gentleman opposite spent 40 minutes in discussing regulations in great detail, and was not stopped. I had thought that my hon. and gallant Friend behind me was expressing the view that this Bill was an attack on British liberty, and was giving this as a very apt example. I venture to think that during the course of the last three hours there has been a great deal more detailed reference on both sides of the House to the details of regulations than my hon. and gallant Friend has just made.

Further to that point of Order. Do I understand that Ruling—which, if I may respectfully say so, is a very novel one—is that it is out of Order on Second Reading to discuss details? I always thought that one could discuss anything if it was in the Bill. Is that a Ruling or merely a recommendation?

It is in Order to discuss the principle of the Bill, and what is in the Bill, or should be in the Bill, but certainly not to make Committee points, which I am sure the noble Lord appreciates at least as well as I do. It is to that that I am taking objection. In the few minutes I have been in the Chair the hon. and gallant Member has given at least three illustrations and is proceeding with another, which, in my view, is not in accord with what I understood to be Mr. Speaker's Ruling about what is permissible.

May I say, with respect, that I have never heard it ruled from the Chair, on a Second Reading of a Bill, that one cannot discuss something in the Bill? It is quite true that a Minister often says "That is a Committee point," but I have always understood that one could refer to what is in the Bill.

I have not said that that is not so—quite the contrary. I have ruled that the discussion should be a general one. The Noble Lord will appreciate that I rarely intervene, but it is necessary to make it clear that we should not have discussion detail by detail.

Further to that point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It has been laid down very strongly that, as we have had so many Regulations brought up, we could on this occasion use this or that Regulation as an illustration of the points which it is desired to raise on the main principles of the Bill. 1 think that really was the position—that we could not discuss this Bill, which is almost entirely concerned with Regulations, unless those Regulations were used as illustrations of the main principles of the Bill. That, I thought, was the whole meaning of the speech of the hon. Gentleman who brought in the Bill, and of many of the other speeches after it.

I have been trying, I hope not too unsuccessfully, to attach each Regulation to the general theme of my speech, and the one to which. I was referring—I may say that the other ones to which I had intended to refer have already been mentioned by other hon. Members, so that I need not refer to them—is an illustration of what is, I think, a wrong principle—the priority given to the Service 'authorities over civilian rights. In time of war everyone agrees that Service authorities must come first, and that all their requirements must receive priority. But now that the war is over, the rights of civilians such as housing, food, and so on, should surely take first place.

Perhaps I may refer to this final Regulation under which one sees that any constable or person authorised by the Secretary of State, or any member of His Majesty's Forces shall arrest without warrant any person whom he has reasonable grounds to suspect is breaking these Regulations—that is the Amendment contained in the Bill. He can be arrested summarily without warrant. If someone comes to my house and tries to billet a person upon me—

I am sorry, but I must rule that matter of detail out of Order. As I understand it the main object of a Second Reading discussion of this Bill is to decide whether it is right to continue in force, for a limited period, certain wartime Regulations. That is the principle of the Bill which can be discussed. In reply to the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), who I am sure will remember the relevant passage in Erskine May, it is clear that on Second Reading the whole principle of a Bill is at issue. But it is not regular on that occasion to discuss Clauses or items in detail. We are discussing whether these Regulations should be continued for a further period, and it would be quite in Order for the hon. Member to give an illustration, but there is a limit to which illustrations or details may go.

I am sorry to put another point of Order. With all respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, this really illustrates the fantastic procedure of this House. How can the opinion of a former Clerk at the Table, Erskine May, given in days when there was no such Bill as this, possibly apply to the circumstances of today; and how is it possible for any hon. Member to discuss a Bill, which is founded on a number of Regulations, without taking those Regulations in detail as did the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill, and showing if they are wrong or otherwise? Surely the Erskine May ruling referred to the details of Clauses. In his day there was no Bill such as this at all.

On that point of Order. I realise the position as regards the principles of a Bill, but when the principles of a Bill like this affect Regulations, some of which enable the Government to restrict human lives, that is not a small detail. It is a very big matter and the House ought to be able to say whether it agrees with it as a principle of the Bill. Surely a wider discussion might be allowed in order to bring in the Regulations—I do not mean every one—and to show whether the Regulations affect big matters, or whether they are absurd.

In the short time that I have been in the Chair, I thought there had been a very wide discussion. In fact, the hon. and gallant Gentleman had, I think, at least three matters to which he referred in detail as consequences of the Bill. In reply to the Noble Lord, I would say this, that Esrkine May is founded on Speakers' Rulings, is edited and sub-edited and brought up to date from time to time.

My point is that there was no such Bill in Erskine May's day. With all respect to the Speakers of the House, how can a Ruling, or the opinion, of a former Clerk of the House in the circumstances of those days apply today?

I can see that if a Bill has a principle, the Ruling can apply, but this Bill has no principle at all. With great deference, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, what we are doing is to have 50 Second Readings combined in one, because there are 50 different things being converted from Regulations into Acts of Parliament. I am sure that none of my hon. Friends wish to oppose the Rulings of the Chair, but I think we must ask for a little more latitude than is normal, in view of the threat running through the Bill.

I must say in reply to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that these seem to me to be 50 Committee points.

What I feel is that there is a very great difference between these Regulations as applied in time of war, when I suppose nearly all of them would receive universal approval throughout the country, and their continuance into a time of peace when, to my mind, they are singularly objectionable. It is not much consolation when I am arrested without a warrant because I dislike the look of the gentleman whom the right hon. Gentleman wants to billet in my house, to be told that I can keep a baby unregistered for 12 months instead of, I think, three. That is the only compensation one appears to get from these Regulations. As I observed at the beginning of my speech, liberty is not the prerogative of any one party, and I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite—I say this in all seriousness—will help us on this side to preserve the liberties of Englishmen for which our ancestors have fought so long. It may not matter if these Regulations are continued for a couple of years or so, but there are vital principles involved, and unless each hon. Member protects his constituents from the tyranny of the Executive, even though at the moment the Executive may be of his own party, they will, by our default, lose those rights for which our ancestors have fought.

5.54 p.m.

I have been listening to the discussion on this Bill with a good deal of interest. I was not-surprised when the right hon. Gentleman who replied for the Opposition, described it as a very bad Bill, and I have been no more surprised to hear the same description of it from other speakers on the other side of the House. I have been inclined to wonder, if we scrapped this Bill and said that we wanted to have nothing more to do with it—I have been looking at these 14 Clauses with regard to the temporary continuation of these emergency laws—and if these Clauses were deleted from the ordinary law of the land, what kind of country would we live in? Listening to the remarks of hon. Members on the other side of the House, one would think that we were in such a perfect world that there was no need for any kind of restriction or limitation. One would think that the placid atmosphere all around us was such that we should not have any emergency laws in any shape or form. In fact, hon. Members are assuming by their opposition to these particular Clauses, that this world is all right, everything is beautiful, everything in the garden is delightful, and that there is not the slightest need to have any kind of obligation to our fellow men, or any restriction or limitation of any sort at all.

I was very interested to find that an hon. Gentleman who spoke opposite in such scathing language on this particular Bill and who was so much against it, was followed by an hon. Member sitting behind me who took the opposite view, and that both of them belong to the legal profession. Naturally I, as an ordinary man, begin to feel somewhat amazed when two members of the legal profession look at a Bill, and one says it is thoroughly bad—he did not say it was wicked, but that is what he meant—that there is nothing good about it from beginning to end, and that it should not be allowed to continue, and the other member of the legal profession speaks in voluminous praise of all these restrictions and emergency laws.

To what kind of decision is a man like me to come to? I look at it from an everyday point of view, and ask whether the Bill is going to be good or bad for the nation. I cannot conceive that if this Bill were defeated this country would foe able to continue in the way of conduct, and of law, that is necessary in times like these. We are all naturally very much in earnest about creating a new world far different to the one we have been experiencing during the past six years. I give the Opposition the credit for joining with us. We cannot go on as we have been. There must be something different. We have to create a new idea of life in the minds of the people, and the sooner we get on with that job the better it will be for us all. My complaint about hon. Members opposite is this: They have got into their heads that we on this side can create a new world in ten minutes, and we keep telling them that it cannot be done.

It must be remembered that in the last 20 years you people have been in power in this country and you have left us a terrible mess to clean up. You have created conditions of life which cannot be remedied in the course of a few days, and therefore we are laying the foundations and making the plans whereby we can create this new kind of world. [Hon MEMBERS: "Order."] I hope I am not breaking the Rules of the House by talking in this manner. I do not wish to be called to Order by Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I am saying that we are endeavouring to build up a new world, and if you people across the way think it can be done—

The hon. Member must remember that he is addressing the Chair. He must refer to "the hon. Members."

I very much apologise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but you must forgive me, seeing that I am one of the new Members and that I have not yet become accustomed to all the Rules of this honourable House. I therefore very humbly apologise. I was saying that our big business on this side of the House is to create this new world for men and women to live in.

I object to the criticism that comes from that side of the House so persistently that we have not already, since 6th July, carried out that plan. We cannot produce it like rabbits out of a hat. We are on the way to it and we shall accomplish our object very largely indeed before our term of office has come to an end. Then we can appeal to the country and show what we have been able to do.

There is one thing in these Regulations to which I want to call attention. It was mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Opposition and it has been mentioned by one other Member, an hon. and learned Member, since. Regulation 32AB gives:
"power to require nurses, etc., to continue in employment in mental institutions."
I hope no Member of this House imagines that the conditions of our mental institutions are such that a Regulation like this should not apply I happen to be a member of the house committee of a colony of mental defectives and I am also a member of a smaller mental institution. I can assure hon. Members that one of the great troubles we have had to meet, and especially in the last two years, has been to find sufficient nurses to attend these poor people who are mentally defective. Surely, every one of us feels very much ashamed that in a country like Great Britain, with all the attributes of civilisation handed down to us from one generation to another, there should be among us such a tremendous population of mental defectives. I, therefore, call upon the House to support this Regulation so as to provide the authorities who are responsible for institutions for the care of our mental defectives with a supply of nurses to carry out their duties and to enable them to do their work well. It is deplorable to one who is connected with mental institutions that our work cannot be carried out successfully. It cannot be done properly because we are not able to get nurses to attend to these people. Therefore, on this particular Clause, if there were no other and if I was against all the others, I should vote for the Bill, in order to provide people with nurses in the future. I have great pleasure in supporting the Bill.

6.4 p.m.

I am left in a little difficulty about what is in Order and what is not in Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, since I have listened to all the speeches except part of one, and to every word of those speeches, and if one proceeded by induction from experience one might be tempted to suppose that almost anything was in Order. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is a reflection on the Chair."] No, there is no reflection on the Chair, and I have no doubt that if there were the Chair would know how to protect itself. I think it would be in Order if I were to explain what I remember—which is not much but it would be enough, I think—of the modern learning, on the Petition of Right; but perhaps the House and you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, would rather I omitted that portion of my speech.

The Prime Minister has recently made an innovation in our constitutional machinery by defending, before the Legislature of a foreign State, the home policy of His Majesty's Government. In doing so he made a rather remarkable speech—which I do not propose to quote at any length—but I should like to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite really to think twice before they are at all derisive about the doubts entertained by the Opposition as to the speed with which Parliamentary discussion is being by-passed or precluded. They themselves, either from the point of view of internal politics or of external politics, may find it come up and hit them on the back of the head before they have taken all those progressive and high-minded steps with which they have threatened us, or which they have promised us.

The Prime Minister told his foreign audience that they were mistaken in supposing—apparently they do suppose it, and the Prime Minister thought it necessary to correct the supposition—that the Socialists are out to destroy the freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the Press, and so on. They were wrong. The question 1 would like hon. Members opposite, and even right hon. Gentlemen opposite if I might humbly ask them so much, to consider is this: To that Caesar, appeal has been made, to that transatlantic Caesar. Would they like, before that tribunal, to explain that there is really nothing Radical or anti-libertarian about short-circuiting or by-passing, or precluding Parliamentary discussion of Measures such as are in this Bill, such as the Regulations which it is now proposed to continue? When the hon. and learned Gentleman on the Government Front Bench objected to the word "Perpetuity," I was not quite sure I understood him. Here perhaps I might say a word about the Ministerial habit now of reading speeches. I understand that it has been ruled that Ministerial utterances require so profound an excogitation that it cannot be expected that the human mind should perform the two feats simultaneously, and that excogitation must be done at one moment and the public performance at another.

With respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would point out that the question did arise and I would like to make a small comment by way of a sentence or two of apology and explanation to hon. Gentlemen opposite. The point I was trying to make is that it is not a matter of discourtesy or of derisory intent if Members on Opposition benches do not altogether like that kind of thing and do occasionally ask for a particular kind of articulation. It is really almost impossible to follow a speech of that kind read unless it is uttered at a lower rate of speech than a speech of the more normal kind.

The immediate relevance of what I have said is that I am not sure whether I rightly understood the hon. Gentleman for this very reason that I found it difficult to follow his utterance. If I rightly understood him, then the effect of the Bill is to be that Regulations under the First Schedule go on for two years and as long thereafter as His Majesty's Government can persuade us to put the Regulations into the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. I hope I shall be corrected if that was not what we were told. I think that was what we were told. If so I suggest to the, I think, learned, and I am sure, hon. Gentleman opposite that the word "perpetuation" used from this side of the House was not unfair. It is a kind of Parliamentary perpetuation. I am sure we all know in our private concerns how very often an annual licence or an annual appointment or what-not becomes a much longer unity, than the thing granted for seven years or ten years.

The only principle—with respect to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and to Mr. Speaker when he was in the Chair, for I have tried very hard to follow this Ruling but I think you will agree that it is a difficult one—I can find is that the Bill is nothing but a long series of enactments, amounting to 50 in one Schedule and 40 in the other, 90 enactments, which are to be given 'permanence and to continue in something like perpetuity, with much less than the normal Parliamentary discussion and debate. That is the only principle in the Bill so far as I can read it. Everything else in the Bill is the Schedule.

I wonder really whether hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they had to stand up to a critical audience in their constituencies, would really be so keen upon that principle as some of them have told us they are. I am bound to say that all the best speeches against the Bill have come from the other side. I have not yet quite familiarised myself with all the constituencies of my colleagues but I think it was the hon. Member for West Ealing (Mr. Hudson) who sits below the Gangway who made the point that almost all these things or at any rate a considerable number of them, were unconscionable infringements of liberty which we ought not to have put up with in war time. But then he illogically recommended that as we did put up with them in war time they ought to be put up with now. The truth is that they are being asked for now—and this is the answer to the argument that it was done last time and "that anyway other people would have done it if they were in office."

Part of the answer—I will not bother with the other part—is that it makes all the difference in the world what it is being done for. Of all the things which can be done in an Act of Parliament the worst thing is to devalue words. We are devaluing words to the point where government by discussion—government which can go on only by the use of words—becomes mere nonsense, or not even nonsense, mere noise, mere whiffling, which I think was the thing the prohibition of which the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite reprobated.

Even during the war we continually had Governments doing things which they said were being done for the defence of the Realm and many of my hon. Friends complained of them, because when it was clear that the only connection with the defence of the Realm was so indirect and tortuous that no human mind could possibly trade it. We are told that these things are necessary now, because this is a transitional Measure from war to peace; but it is not. I do not want to cut across your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but one could easily go through these Regulations and find many which are certainly not for that purpose. The supporters of right hon. Gentlemen opposite—what do they say? They say it is being done in order to get enough to make sure that, by compulsion, they shall get next year, or the year after—and why not in 20 years after?—enough nurses to look after the half-wits and the mental deficients. It may be that the half-wits should be looked after, or on the other hand should be put into a lethal chamber, though I should be against it. However that may be, to call that part of the transition from war to peace is simply destroying the meaning of words. Let us look at the Regulation:
"The Minister of Health if he considers it expedient in the interest of the public safety or the maintenance of public order or for maintaining supplies and services essential…may conscript nurses."
I say that those words have no meaning and the Regulation ought to be allowed to fall into desuetude and become obsolete. How can the Minister of Health judge that it is necessary to have two more nurses in an asylum somewhere, or two less, or 200 more or less, in the interest of those things which I read out, public order, supplies, services? The connection between the one thing and the other is so tenuous and indirect that no human mind can possibly follow it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, by methods deliberately designed either to short-circuit or to diminish or preclude parliamentary discussion, are taking powers to use compulsion where none of their ancestors would ever have dared to use compulsion. We are told by hon. Gentlemen opposite that this deals only with the transitional period, but some of them did not even pretend that it has anything to do with the transitional period. They say it is in order to make a brave new world, because the world was so awful before because they had no power, and almost in the same breath they say, "Is it not an awful thing that we should not have enough nurses for imbeciles in this country with its centuries of glory, grandeur and wealth?" At any rate it makes it perfectly plain that their leaders are not really worth while arguing with at all, it simply blows to bits any case upon which the Front Bench have endeavoured to base this Bill.

It would be possible to make a very long speech upon the specific regulations here, even without transcending the Rulings we have been given today, but I do not propose to do that although I shall ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to look at one or two of the things at least that are concerned in this. There is the question of "seducing from duty and causing disaffection," under Regulation 39A. I am extremely surprised that nobody on the other side has objected to that continuing. It is far tighter and stricter than the old Act we had all the fuss about in 1934. I wonder how many Gentlemen opposite appeared on platforms at that time protesting against that? That Act was passed in view of very difficult times that were ahead—with a view to dealing with Fascism and with the imminent war which hung over us, and now something much tighter is being carried on and not even the normal Parliamentary procedure. Yet not one of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, whose souls then sang for liberty like thrushes in May, has opened his beak. Where is the Council for Civil Liberties now, and which of them were on its executive committee? I do not know.

I am not on that body which the hon. Member mentioned, nor am I a member of it at all, but he is talking about this Regulation and saying that it is a very stringent one which many people will object to in wartime and still more in peacetime. I follow that very well. But we had it in wartime by Defence Regulations, and the only thing we could have done then was to reject the whole thing. We had no power to amend. It is now in a Schedule to a Bill which will have a Committee stage. We can take it out of the Schedule on the Committee stage if we like; we can do more than that, we can amend it if we like, we can amend the very words, limit its operation, or modify it. Is not that an improvement?

I think that is an improvement—it is better than the hon. Gentleman's previous speech; and I am extremely grateful to him for reminding me of the point about the Committee stage, to which I will now address myself. This is, if ever there was one, a constitutional Bill. I do not think that can be denied. I do not think the argument of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) that we are going to get rather more Parliamentary discussion and control than we had in September, 1939, will do at all. We are still not getting the normal amount of Parliamentary control and discussion, and that is what we ought to have. To come to this point about the Committee stage, we have been told over and over again that the Committee stage ought to work faster, and we have done our best—I do not think that even the most querulous hon. Gentlemen opposite will complain that my party has been obstructive in that connection—to speed it up. It has been said to us over and over again that, of course, Bills of constitutional importance will have to be taken on the Floor of the House. But the distinction between a constitutional Bill and an economic Bill is very difficult to draw. I do not hope for unanimous acceptance when I say I think that hon. Gentlemen opposite must agree that any Bill of first-rate economic importance is also constitutional, because they have reached their present greatness and glory by preaching for 50 years—they and their fathers before them, their spiritual fathers if not their actual fathers, who may have been better men—that the constitutional is the mere shadow of the economic. Marxians and non-Marxians, they have taught that over and over again; and I cannot for the life of me understand how they can say that their constitutional Bills must be taken on the Floor of the House and their economic Bills elsewhere. This one, at any rate, is clearly a constitutional Bill, and I challenge hon. Gentlemen opposite, and with the utmost respect I challenge anybody else, to say what principle there is in this Bill except the continuance of legislation which is in the main restrictive with less Parliamentary discussion and control than the normal. If that is the principle of the Bill, if that is what we properly discuss on its Second Reading, I respectfully submit that it really will be a breach of confidence on the part of the right hon. Gentleman opposite if he does not allow this Bill to be taken on the floor of the House.

Finally, I say very apologetically that I have a very long-standing engagement this evening and therefore, although I hope I am not a bad Member of the House in respect of sitting in the Chamber, it may not be possible for me to be here for the end, although I will do my best.

6.23 p.m.

I have listened to the last speaker with a great deal of respect and admiration. He and other speakers in dealing with the principles of this Bill have, in the main, taken the line that this Bill is a very wicked Bill. Of course I am not taking the line of the "Yes men," on the other side, and quite frankly when I looked at this Bill, I was very uncertain whether it was a very bad Bill, or one which was promoted by a collection of fussy old gentlemen because they had not much else to do. I looked on the back of the Bill and I found the names of such a collection of busybodies as I have hardly ever seen on any Bill in the long course of my Parliamentary experience. One of the people, who is going to shove this around in a way that always reminds me of the squirrel in the cage, is the present Lord President. He is busy, always busy, and I am not in the least surprised that his name should be associated with this particular Bill, because after all I am conscious that he had something to do with making these Regulations and, as a father may be zealous for his children, he naturally wants them to have a long life, even those which have not been so successful. There is also the name of another busybody, well known to us in the House; we love him, we admire him, and like to see him going round, and we are all interested in the fact that he is here tonight, probably to explain—

I would remind the hon. Member that all this is not relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.

I am sorry, but it seems to me that in order to arrive at the main principles of the Bill I may study, for the short space of only two minutes, those who are responsible for it, so that we can get an idea as to what they are. 1 would simply remind the House that the main principle of the Bill is to prolong a number of Defence Regulations, some for the next 2¼ years. Others are to be of a more permanent character. I do not propose to go at any length into the question of permanency. I think it is fairly obvious that the principles we are being asked to carry out are often principles of very great importance indeed.

I will illustrate my point by taking one of extreme importance, and that is the one which has already been dealt with by the hon. Gentleman opposite. As he is a good and loyal Socialist, I was not surprised that he was advocating a continuance of conscription, under Regulation 32AB, but the war has been over for a considerable time and surely it is not going to be necessary for two more years to force people who are nursing in lunatic asylums, to go on doing so? Surely they should have the freedom of the ordinary individual to choose their employment? There is a big principle involved in this, and if the Government are going to lay down that they can tell people what they have to do for a definite time, I think we ought to know it and discuss it.

We go on to other Regulations which are almost ridiculous and which should never have been put in the Bill at all. I take Regulation 59A as an illustration—it concerns the payment of wages of roadmen by cheque. I do not want to go into it at length, but surely that is an example of the futility of bringing in a Bill of this sort, covering a great mass of Regulations, some of them of vital importance, but all confused together in a Schedule. Why could they not have brought in a short Bill covering the small and unimportant Regulations which could have gone upstairs, and another Bill covering the really big and important matters which could be taken here?

The fact is that there is a Government which came in on a vast series of promises, which they know perfectly well they cannot carry out, or hope to carry out, unless they have at their backs an immense power of Regulations such as there is in this Bill. They know it, and that is why some of these Regulations are included. I will not go into them any further now, although I hope I shall have time on the Committee stage, because I can show by means of illustrations why, for instance, it is not necessary to nationalise snipping. If hon. Members will read the Regulations, they will see that they have that power, and I could show a great many other things of that sort. I wonder whether there is, 'hidden away in this Bill, one power which may be there? I cannot be certain. I cannot say whether it is there or not, I have not yet found it, but have we been told, and if not will the Government spokesman tell us, whether it is anywhere there in this or that Regulation.

One thing I feel sure hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite should wish me to remind them of is that little of this was ever promised at the election. Surely, there is one thing I have a right to ask and that is: Is there hidden away in this Bill any rule or Regulation that enables the Government to send soldiers down to the docks? Is there anything of that sort in this Bill? We know the Government have the full backing of their people behind them for this, but surely, they, might come to the House of Commons and tell us this one fact. I do not ask them to give us much courtesy or candour, but this is a matter which is of importance, and I ask them to make it perfectly clear to the House how many more of these Regulations are they going to use for the suppression of the free rights of the people of this country.

6.31 p.m.

This Bill has had a chilly reception from both sides of the House, but I am sure it will reassure the Undersecretary of State if I inform him that there are certainly two classes of the community who welcome this Measure. First, there are the lawyers who contemplate that this vast, complicated, confused and ill-digested Measure will, by its sheer confusion, occasion them a great deal of work and fulfil, so far as they are concerned, the Government pledge of full employment for all. Then there are those persons, who include one or two hon. Members of this House, who indulge in the, I am told, not unremunerative practice of writing down and recording for posterity and the constituencies, the precise Measures for which hon. Members have voted, and then publishing them in little yellow editions with the facilities of that modern Maecenas, Mr. Victor Gollancz. This Bill, with the Regulations attached to it, offers a magnificent field to them. It will be possible, as far as any hon. Member who votes for this Bill is concerned, to say, and to publish, with complete truth that that hon. Member has voted for a whole variety of ideas, almost every one of which will antagonise some influential section of his constituents. I warn the Government Whips that, if that idea percolates into the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite, there may be something of an exodus before any Division can be called. Apart from those two somewhat limited commendations this Bill has had a singularly chilly reception.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) gave the only support that he could for the Bill by the curious argument that it followed precedent. The hon. Gentleman, be he accurate or not, apparently thought to reassure this House, with its great Socialist majority, with their much brandished Mandate, of the soundness of a Government Measure by pointing out it had been done before. To me it is certainly a new experience to hear hon. Members opposite holding out, as a golden age, the years that followed the last war. That is certainly a significant reversal of political tactics, and it is also a significant indication of the lack of solid argument adduced in support of this Bill. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) became most indignant with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe) for characterising this Bill as a Measure which must have sprung from a totalitarian mind. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne hoped to ride off on the assurance that, because this Bill would pass through the procedure of this House of Commons, it could not, for that reason, be the product of a totalitarian mind. May I demonstrate the fallacy of that argument?

Consideration of the methods by which totalitarian methods and systems have been fastened upon other States as in Germany and Italy, shows that in both cases enormous powers of government were put into the hands of the Executive by an enabling Parliamentary Bill. To make it more significant, hon. Members will recall that both the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, in speeches made before they held their present offices, indicated, more than once, that Socialism in this country would be put through by some wide Enabling Act. It is not conclusive that a Bill is not a product of a totalitarian mind because that Bill has to undergo criticism in the House of Commons. The clearest indication, surely, is the contents of that Bill, and where you have, as in this Bill, a Measure conferring vast wartime emergency powers upon a peacetime Government, it is, in my submission to the House, perfectly proper to say, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brighton said, that this Bill is a product of totalitarian minds.

Then the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne said that to say this was a reflection on the right hon. Gentlemen who sat below him. May I draw one clear distinction which shows that is not so? The objection that I feel, and which many hon. Members feel, to this Bill is that it is an attempt to impose, in peacetime, Measures which were no doubt necessary for war. No peacetime Measure could have been contemplated by the Government of which the right hon. Gentlemen who sit below me were Members, because they had ceased to hold office before peace came to the world. Therefore, I repeat that, in peacetime, to seek to impose a Measure of this sort on the people of this country is a very clear indication of a totalitarian mind.

The hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Walker), in the course of his most eloquent plea for more attendants in mental hospitals, asked, rhetorically, what sort of world it would be if this Bill were defeated; what sort of world it would be if hon. Members on this side of the House had their way. May I reply, in hardly more than a sentence, that, it would be a world in which the constitutional liberties of Englishmen would be restored. It would be a world in which the vast powers, which the Executive has to take to itself in wartime, would not be continued in peace. It would be a world in which the access of the subject to the courts would not be interfered with by a welter of instructions originating in Government offices. And, if that, as I think it is, is the issue between hon. Members opposite and ourselves, it is an issue upon which I shall be happy to accept the challenge, because it is the fundamental issue between the shackles of State Socialism and of a free and liberty loving community. It is an issue of which much more will be heard before this Parliament comes to its end.

I suppose the hon. and gallant Gentleman's world would be one of plenty of unemployment, and plenty of poverty as well.

The hon. Member makes a suggestion which, on reconsideration, I do not think he would wish to proceed with. He knows perfectly well—I am certain of that—that hon. Members on this side of the House are as determined to fight poverty and unemployment as any hon. Member who sits opposite. It is an intolerable assumption of moral superiority for the hon. Member for Rossendale, or those who sit with him, to say otherwise. We may differ, and differ profoundly, as to the most efficient economic organisation of society, but we do not differ—and I give him credit for this—upon those great human issues.

There is one Clause in this Bill which has not, so far, undergone examination by the House, and that is Clause 4. Clause 4 provides that the provisions of the Fire Services (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1941, shall be read as if the expression "the period of the present emergency" went on until 31st December, 1947. I do not know if hon. Members opposite have looked at the Fire Services (Emergency Provisions) Act, and, in particular, at the Schedule. If they have, they will appreciate that under the powers contained in Clause 4 of the present Bill the Government are proposing to take power, not only to retain in the Fire Service up to 31st December, 1947, all regular men at present in it, but to require them to serve anywhere in the country, in whatever rank, and under whatever officers, the Minister may decree. That is a tremendous power over the whole personnel of the Fire Service. It again, is a matter which, surely, calls for some explanation before this House of Commons is asked by the Government to give them that tremendous power. It was barely mentioned by the Under-Secretary of State when he introduced the Bill. It has not been mentioned from the other side of the House, and yet it is a matter profoundly affecting the lives of thousands of excellent citizens of this country. It is a strange commentary on the Government's plans for the Fire Service that they should regard it as necessary to conscript men for service in this way for more than two years to come.

Finally, I would say that this Bill, the more one examines it, and the multiplicity of Regulations which it proposes to continue, or to perpetuate, appears as a well-calculated attempt to shackle wartime restrictions upon this country in time of peace. I would say to the right hon. Gentleman that, if it be his intention, and if it be necessary for the success of State Socialism, to take away our liberties, let him be man enough to come down to this House and ask for it in unequivocal terms; let him come, sword in hand, and not try to strangle us from behind.

6.44 p.m.

In a Ruling which you gave earlier this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, and which was subsequently interpreted by Mr. Deputy-Speaker in your absence, you deprecated any undue reference to the many Regulations contained in the Schedules to this Bill. The effect of that is, naturally, to abbreviate speeches on Second Reading, and, therefore, so far as I am concerned, I shall occupy only a very short period of time. I would like to address a question to the Home Secretary upon this matter, and I hope we may have from his an assurance that adequate time and opportunity will be given for the proper and full consideration of this Bill. As the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) pointed out, this is a Bill of an entirely new kind. There is no general principle running through it; it is merely to continue, either temporarily or permanently, a number of Regulations which have no special principle in common between them, and it will be necessary, if the Legislature is to maintain control over the legislation which it passes, for this Bill to be considered, in Committee stage, a great deal more carefully, and in much greater detail, than is usually the case. It was only last week that the Government asked the House to approve new Standing Orders for the purpose of speeding up procedure, but on that occasion they did give us an assurance. This is the second time I have had to ask for an assurance of this sort. I hope they will not use their majority as a bulldozer, and I hope that when the Home Secretary replies he will give us an assurance that those many important points which we are prevented by your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, from raising on the Second Reading we shall have an adequate opportunity of ventilating on the Committee stage.

The hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) advanced what my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Major Boyd-Carpenter) described as an interesting and original argument to come from the Labour Benches, namely, that there could not be very much wrong with this Bill because it followed the precedent of what was done after the last war. I have been at pains to look up exactly what was done on the last occasion, and in point of fact, in two very important particulars what is being done on this occasion is not the same as what was done on the former occasion. An Act to continue temporarily certain Emergency Enactments and Regulations, and to make provision in respect of the expiration or revocation of Emergency Enactments and Instruments made thereunder, received the Royal Assent on 31st March, 1920. The very wording of the legislation on that occasion emphasised the need for that legislation to expire and to be brought to an end. All that happened on that occasion was that a very much smaller number of Regulations were contained in a Schedule, and they were continued only for the limited periods which were set out in the third column of that Schedule. What is most objectionable in the present legislation is that at the same time as some of these Regulations are being temporarily continued permanent changes are also being made in the law of the land, and that did not take place on the last occasion. It was the case that a number of Regulations issued in wartime were found to be convenient and useful, but on each occasion a Bill was introduced into the House, and the House had an opportunity of giving it full consideration. The Shops (Early Closing) Act was one case in point. There was the Dangerous Drugs Regulation. Again, legislation was introduced. The same applied to the Fire Arms Act. Therefore one of the main points of justification that was relied upon by the hon. Member for Kettering was, in point of fact, entirely different in the case of the legislation passed after the last war.

Therefore, I hope that this Bill, which is intended and designed to have a long enduring effect in the case of what purports to be temporary prolongation, and in the case of other and in some particular respects quite important matters makes alterations in the permanent law of the land, will be subjected to full examination on the Committee stage, and I hope we shall be given an assurance that we shall have an adequate Committee stage.

6.50 p.m.

I am most anxious to make two points to show why I believe this Bill to be a bad Bill, and why it should be strenuously resisted now. I will do everything I can to show that that opinion is based upon reason. Some little time ago I listened to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) speaking passionately, and devotedly proclaiming his intention to watch this Bill most carefully, so far as was in his power, through its various stages. I believe he will do that, but I humbly suggest to the House that it is not enough for the Minister simply to submit a Bill to the House, a Bill which in my opinion is ill-considered, and to say "At a later stage no doubt you will be able to put things right." On looking at the Bill, I wonder how many people can possibly have had time to go through it carefully. It has not been possible for us to go through the Bill with a fine toothcomb. The hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State, in moving the Second Reading, said something that filled me with utter depression. He said that he had gone through the Bill carefully and had satisfied himself that the continuance of all the powers was necessary. That gives no comfort to hon. Members on this side of the House. One of the reasons we feel apprehension arises from the Regulations in Part V of the Defence Regulations. Hon. Members will see that the general and supplementary provisions are comprised in that part, and the Bill says:

"Only such Regulations as apply to other Defence Regulations specified in this Schedule shall continue in force."
I do not propose—I know it would be quite wrong—to deal with the merits of any one of these Regulations. What I want to point out is that it is in Part V that one finds Regulations which, I believe, are hateful to all of us, and not merely to hon. Members on this side of the House. When the hon. Gentleman was introducing the Bill, he told us about the increase of liberty to be gained by the Regulations. That is impossible to believe when one turns to Regulation 8OA. There one finds a very old friend of the older Members—the Regulation concerning power to obtain information. It reads:
"Without prejudice to any special provisions contained in these Regulations any person shall, on being requested by or on behalf of a Secretary of State, the Admiralty, the Board of Trade, the Minister of Fuel and Power, or the Postmaster-General so to do, furnish or produce to such authority or person as may be specified in the request any such information.…"
I am sure that Regulation must be repugnant to all lovers of liberty in the House. It is a bad Regulation; it was quite necessary, but it is now high time that it should go. I ask the House to appreciate that, as this Bill is drafted, that Regulation surely might be said to apply to all the Defence Regulations specified in the Schedule. There is another odious Regulation—88C—which also will be familiar to the House as a whole. It reads:
"Any constable, or any person authorised by the Secretary of State to act under this Regulation, may arrest without warrant any person whom he has reasonable ground for suspecting to have committed any of the offences specified in the Second Schedule to these Regulations."
That would apply even to the Regulation dealing with venereal diseases. It is a Regulation that is quite unnecessary, and it has been—I will not say concealed, because I am sure the hon. Gentleman did not mean to do that—presented to us in such a form that it is only by intensive digging that one is able to find out that these things are still to continue. I draw the attention of the House to Regulation 88A. That, again, to any lover of liberty—and I believe sincerely that I speak for all of us in this respect—is a loathsome Regulation. It is headed "Entry and search of premises, & to obtain evidence of offences." The Bill has been very careful to keep Regulation 88A alive for one little reason only, and that is in connection with gaming, that dreadful thing which a Mrs. Grundy, hidden somewhere in the Home Office, is so worried about—the unlawful gaming parties. That Regulation has been kept alive, and the particularly disagreeable provision is that in order to work that Regulation it is not necessary to invoke a justice of the peace and go before him to get a search warrant; according to paragraph (3) of the Regulation:
"If an officer of police of a rank not lower than that of superintendent, or any person authorised by the Secretary of State to act under this paragraph, has reasonable ground for suspecting that—"
an offence has been committed in respect of these unlawful gaming parties, he may go in without applying to a justice of the peace for a warrant. In this country, as far as I know, there are very few matters which entitle powers of that sort to be in existence. Even in cases of stolen goods it is necessary to go to a magistrate for a search warrant. A policeman cannot go into a house even to search for stolen goods without a search warrant. I turn now to the Regulation for which this is to be invoked, the Regulation which the Under-Secretary of State referred to as an important one, 42CA, which deals with unlawful gaming parties. There is an extremely dangerous provision which in my view should be taken away at once. It is this. Paragraph (3c) reads:
"Evidence that ten or more persons were present at any party at which any game of chance or of chance and skill combined was played or intended to be played, shall be evidence that the party was an unlawful gaming party."
This is really the most frightful humbug. We are the most ghastly humbugs about two things: one is street book-making, and the other is gambling. If the unlawful gaming parties were allowed to increase, I dare say so many people would not frequent the racecourse, the totalisator, and so on. All these matters point to the fact that this is humbug. Any policeman going to a magistrate and saying that 10 or more persons were present in a house where a game of chance or of chance and skill was being or had been played, would be entitled to go into your house. That is the law, and in my submission it is a thoroughly bad law. May I, in conclusion, point to one Regulation—55C—to which the Under-Secretary of State referred with evident enthusiasm? That Regulation is to be kept alive, and it is not to be allowed to remain exactly as it was. It is to have a little insertion put in. The hon. Gentleman tried to make it attractive. He had a formula that he read to us in trying to make out that it was beneficial to us all. If hon. Members will look at Regulation 55C, they will find that if any person wants to start a new club, the grounds on which an objection may be-made by the police are as follow:
"That having regard to existing facilities for social amenities, recreation and refreshment and to the objects of the club, the club is not required to meet a genuine and substantial need."
What is it that His Majesty's Government want to do? I am sure that a large number of hon. Members have not been able to go through this Measure and find out exactly to what it refers but if they did they would find that in this case the Government want to add certain words:
"or for cultural or political activities."
What this means is that an officer of polio can go to the magistrates, or to the clerk to the justices, or whoever the authority is, and complain about this club and say "We don't want that club," on the ground that, having regard to existing facilities for political activities, the club is not required to meet a genuine and substantial need. I am certan that I must be right in saying to all Members that that is absolutely and entirely wrong We have got on very well without all that during these years. What does that do for the liberty of the subject? How on earth does that help? I have not spoken with quite the warmth shown by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, because he was provoked and felt it deeply, but put in a nutshell what we feel is that without any exaggeration this is a very complicated Bill. There is no exaggeration in saying that; there is no doubt about it. One had only to listen to the struggles of the hon. Member introducing the Bill. Nobody could have failed to be in sympathy with him, however much they also enjoyed his struggle to answer one question after another of an appalling kind that not even the cruellest judge in the days of Jeffreys would have asked. There was no help, no aid, nobody who knew about drains, etc., and eventually he turned and turned things over until, like a Godsend out of the opposite of Pandora's box, came some answer which was almost incomprehensible. We find ourselves as weary as hon. Members opposite in trying to cope, as I have no doubt they do, with a flood of legislation. Are we not entitled to say quite reasonably and indeed with deep respect to those who are trying to govern us that this will not do? Time must be given. It would perhaps have been of some assistance if the speech of the hon. Member who introduced the Bill had been printed as an explanatory memorandum, but in my humble submission that would still have been of very little use indeed.

7.3 p.m.

I think the whole House must have felt sympathy with the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of this Bill. I had the feeling that he was the happy medium between the Bill itself and the brief explanatory memorandum which accompanied it. Whether it was worth while for him to go to so much labour to produce so little enlightenment in the House will remain a matter of opinion. I believe this to be a thoroughly bad Bill because, as the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Maude) has just said, it mixes up two things—temporary provisions to carry us through the difficult times which still lie ahead, and to which, in certain cases, no one could take objection, and complete changes in the permanent law of the land. They are mixed together in one hotch-potch and that is surely an amazing state of things. It is also an amazing Bill to be introduced into the House this week, seeing that only last week we introduced some simplification into our methods of procedure so that matters which do not involve great constitutional changes in the law of the land and may perhaps not be controversial may be sent upstairs to more and smaller Standing Committees. Surely the right and proper thing would have been for all these various provisions which are to be continued in law to have been neatly grouped together, as was suggested by the right hon. and learned Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison), into a Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, an Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, and the rest. These could then have been introduced with an explanation which we could understand and then, after Second Reading, sent upstairs for examination.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) said he was giving whole-hearted approval to the Bill. Many hon. Members on this side of the House have had the opportunity of congratulating hon. Members opposite upon their maiden speeches, and 1 feel that even in his absence it would not be out of place for me to congratulate the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne on the first speech I have ever heard him deliver in defence of his own party. After all, I think he was courageous, for he thereby abandoned all hope of promotion, because the only road to promotion in the Labour Party is either to make yourself a nuisance, or, alternatively, to be a faithful follower for a long period of years. The hon. Member made one point which was a most valu- able one, that these Regulations have been made and introduced as wartime measures and it has not been possible for them to be reviewed by the House, and that therefore the various stages which he indicated—Committee stage, Report, Third Reading and proceedings in another place—would give Parliament an opportunity to go through them with some care. That is perfectly right and proper if the Committee stage is to be taken on the Floor of this House. We really must ask the Government that the Committee stage shall be taken on the Floor of the House, because it would be impossible for any Committee upstairs to be manned by experts drawn from all the Government Departments ready to deal with the many points which must come up on Committee stage. I regard this as a bad Bill, clumsily put together and unhappily introduced. I think the Government could do very much better if they had the opportunity of thinking again, and I propose to help to give them that opportunity.

7.8 p.m.

As one who, in the last Election, was fearless and frank in telling the electorate that I felt perfectly satisfied in my own mind that a great number of controls would have to continue in operation for some years after the war came to an end I say frankly that I, at any rate, cannot be challenged on the ground that I misled my electors into voting for me. This Bill has been repeatedly referred to by hon. Members opposite as a very bad Bill. That expression has been used time and time again, but I would point out that hon. Members opposite, in putting forward their pleas, have repeatedly used the same arguments with reference to the same Clauses of the Bill, while purposely avoiding reference to those Clauses which arc of very great importance and will be for some considerable time to come. If a Bill is a bad Bill it is bad in its essence; it ought not to be judged on a line or a word here and there, or a Clause. Taking the Bill in its general terms, do hon. Members opposite still say that it is a bad Bill?

We all know that there has to be a period of transition from war to peace during which it is necessary to maintain certain controls in the interests of the State and of the individual. No hon. Members dare say even now that they would get rid of all controls. They know that we must retain certain controls until the time arrives when we can say that we have settled down to normal conditions. Let us never forget, in discussing this Bill, that reference has been made, time and time again, to the fact that at a particular time in a particular year the controls would go entirely. It cannot be as bad as hon. Members opposite would have it be, if provision is made so that when the appropriate time arrives we shall remove the controls as it becomes automatically possible to do so. I have been impressed very much as I have listened to the Debate and I have been forced to one conclusion. Hon. Members of the party which has controlled the destinies of the people of this country for many years find it difficult to realise that, at last, they are in a minority. I sympathise with them very much indeed, because until I came into this House I sat on a local authority for 26 years and I was always in a minority. I appreciate the feelings of hon. Members opposite, but I ask them not to oppose only for the purpose of opposing. They should not oppose because in their judgment, rightly or wrongly, the Government, having such a large majority will use it, as an hon. Member has said, as a bulldozer.

The object and purpose of His Majesty's Government is to legislate on the lines indicated in the policy enunciated by the party to which the people of this country gave an overwhelming mandate. If we do that, there can be nothing wrong about it. I take the greatest exception to hon. Members opposite saying that because we are doing that, we are becoming totalitarian in our outlook. No hon. Member refuses more than I do to become totalitarian, and the fact that the Government are not taking up that attitude is demonstrated by what my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) said. The opportunity still exists for this House to discuss the whole of this Bill Clause by Clause, line by line, word by word, and to vote upon it accordingly. Before hon. Members level a challenge against the Bill that it is distinctly bad, let us rather, during the rest of this Debate, take advantage of the remaining time and debate its good points. I would refer to the power to give directions to local authorities, and I wish to say that local authorities have been somewhat disturbed for a long time about what their position would be, if that particular part of the Act, which we understand now is to stand for the time being, was likely to expire immediately the war came to an end. Those who have been faced with some of the heavy responsibilities—and I want to make this point clear because it is important—at least will know now where they stand and what power and function they can perform in righting those things which have been heavily disarranged during the war.

One can go on from that standpoint to certain other aspects. There are safeguards in the Measure which enable us to settle down until the period when, as a result of these Regulations being no longer necessary, we shall have established legislation of a certain character—[Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman opposite wants to be insulting, I have no objection. I have not asked for the indulgence of the House, but I tell him that I am making my maiden speech and I do not want to be insulted. If I were an old Member, perhaps I would have been shown some indulgence from hon. Members opposite. As the years pass away the House will have cause to realise that what the Government have done has been in the interests of the nation and the people generally who had the inspiration to send them to power.

7.16 p.m.

Few of us appreciated that the hon. Member was making a maiden speech. Certainly I did not, otherwise I would not have been in such haste to rise, and I apologise if in any way I interrupted his speech. I can assure him that we all enjoyed it very much. He gave an interesting speech and we shall all hope to hear him often again in this House. I would like to comment upon one point that he made. He rather implied that we on this side of the House had said that the whole Bill was bad from start to finish. I would like to assure him that it was not intended in the speeches of my colleagues to imply that all the provisions of this Bill were bad. As far as its contents are concerned, this Bill is a collection of all sorts of bits and pieces and it would be almost impossible, with the greatest ingenuity in the world, for anyone to put forward such a collection in which all pieces were bad. Where the Bill is bad, and thoroughly bad, is in the form in which it comes before the House and it is that with which I want to deal.

A number of hon. Members opposite have endeavoured to assure the House that we have really nothing about which to worry because there will be ample opportunities to take out of the Bill any item that may be objectionable. That is all right in theory but I am afraid it is not going to work out like that in practice. We have had no assurance from the Home Secretary that the Government will commit the Bill to a Committee of the Whole House and in the absence of such an assurance, which has been asked for by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison), we must assume that the Government intend to commit the Bill to a Standing Committee. That being so, what Ministers will be present? Presumably there will be the Home Secretary, the Under-Secretary, and one of the Law Officers, and possibly one other Minister. The contents of this Bill cover the whole range of government and if information is to be supplied when it is asked for it will be necessary for it to be possible for any Minister or his Under-Secretary to atempt to give it. In a Committee of the Whole House that would be possible, but in Standing Committee it would obviously not be possible.

The Under-Secretary kept on assuring us that the information on the details would be available in Committee. Can that be? It is really impossible when we see the great range of items which the Bill covers, unless the Committee is to last a couple of years, by which time the effect of the Bill will have ceased to operate. How is sufficiently detailed information to be obtained by the Members who ought to satisfy themselves that the extension of these powers from war to peace are necessary, item by item. It is not only the question of some 50 or so regulations whose operation is to be extended from wartime to peacetime, but also there are amendments to no less than 11 different Acts of Parliament, all covering quite different subjects, in the Second Schedule. These Amendments are to be permanent. I think that a Standing Committee should try to make' sure that all these permanent amendments to the law, even if they are on small points, are necessary, and they certainly would not be able to discharge that duty unless there is a great amount of time available. What are the possibilities? After all, the Chair has the power to select Amendments and it seems to me very difficult to see how the Chair could be sufficiently generous to enable all the points to be raised which would need amendments. They could be raised on the Schedule, but then the guillotine might well operate on the question that the Schedule stand part of the Bill.

I am quite sure that the Home Secretary with his usual candour would admit that it would be quite impossible in Standing Committee for hon. Members to obtain the information they want on this great variety of subjects, and quite impossible for them to move all the Amendments they want and to have all the points adequately debated. I do not want to make a purely destructive speech. I want to make a suggestion. An hon. Member has stated, and I quite agree with him, that it is not the way in which this Bill should have been brought in. It should have been divided up, split up, and a number of Bills brought forward each containing a group of Measures all more or less akin.

If, however, it were done in the following way it would then enable the House to review more effectively all the mass of Measures which are involved. Instead of providing, as Clause 1 provides, that certain Defence Regulations shall continue in force for a couple of years, Clause I could easily be amended to provide that the Defence Regulations mentioned in Parts 1 and 2 of the First Schedule of this Bill might be continued in force by Order in Council for a couple of years. If that were done then these Orders in Council would be laid on the Table and hon. Members of this House would have the opportunity of praying against them. I think if the Government took that course there would be very little complaint against this Bill. Admittedly the Government have got to find a way of carrying some Measures which were operative during the war on into the next year or two, so that they may be effective during the process of transition. But it is not right that these Measures should be carried over from war to peace without adequate Parliamentary scrutiny. I think by far the most effective means would be if provision were made in this Bill so that any Regulations which were thereby to be continued would be renewed by Order in Council so that they would lie on the Table and be vulnerable to attack by Prayer.

With reference to the Second Schedule, we have a great variety of Amendments to eleven different Acts. If the Amendments to these Acts are to be made they should not be done in this fashion because they cannot be adequately scrutinised. If, as has been definitely stated by the Undersecretary in his opening speech, these permanent Amendments are more or less trivial, then I do submit that it is not worth while messing up the Statute Book in this way in order to introduce relatively unimportant amendments. Such trivial amendments to these eleven Acts will complicate matters very much for lawyers and others who would wish to ascertain the state of the law in the future. I am afraid that in the very short time we have been able to look at this Bill in print it has been impossible to digest its effect. I think we should have been given a longer time, and I certainly think that we should be given a very long time in Committee. I object to this Bill in form. It is an entirely wrong way of doing it, and unless the Home Secretary in his reply is able to give an assurance that we shall have ample opportunity of scrutiny I hope that the House will not accept the Bill. Many of my hon. Friends have said that it is like a dog's breakfast. It certainly looks to me like a wartime dog's breakfast, and I hope the House will not swallow it.

7.27 p.m.

It is very difficult to make a Second Reading speech on this Bill, because it does not embody any one definite principle. There is much in the Bill that is needed undoubtedly for the year or two immediately following the war, but Measures which perhaps might have been necessary during the period of the war—and there may be some doubt even about that—are certainly not necessary for the period of the peace, however transitory that period might be. The arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) for the Second Reading of this Bill, that it gives an opportunity of bringing the regulations before the House and an opportunity of discussing them in the Committee stage, are, I think, very good arguments for the Committee stage, but they are not and cannot be arguments which enable hon. Members adequately to deal with the Second Reading. There is no principle which one can properly discuss, because of the variety and wide range of different Measures, some of which are necessary but some of which may certainly not be required. This is a Bill which is eminently suitable for a Committee of the Whole House. It is only by this method that the details of the Schedules, for instance, could be adequately discussed and I hope even if this Bill is given a Second Reading, that the Government can be persuaded to leave it upon the Floor of the House.

I find some difficulty in reconciling the provisions of the Bill with its Title. The Title of the Bill is "Emergency Laws (Transitional Powers) Bill," and yet when I come to the body of the Bill I find a whole series of provisions in the Second Schedule for permanent alterations of the law. How a Bill which makes permanent alterations to the law can be an emergency or transitional Bill is beyond my understanding. There is another definition put forward and repeated in quite a number of Clauses of this Bill, and it is a phrase which will be brought out in different Acts of Parliament. It is the phrase "at the end of the war or the present emergency." This phrase is defined in different parts of this Bill in different ways, and I find that, in Clause 9, His Majesty is deemed to be at war for certain purposes until 1947, or, it may be, even longer. Would it not have been much better to have brought in a short Measure to define what this phrase "the end of the war period" means, instead of haying to refer to various Clauses of this Bill in order to find out?

My main grievance, however, is that I am unable to make anything of a coherent Second Reading speech, because I do not think it is possible on this Bill. So, I want to make an appeal, because of the wide range of the Schedule, for detailed examination of the separate provisions of the Bill. Further, I would appeal that the Bill should be left on the Floor of the House for a Committee stage. I do not think this Bill can be dealt with effectively upstairs, because some of its provisions deal with the liberty of the subject. I do not think that the question of these liberties should be sent to a Committee upstairs. I make that appeal to the Government and the Home Secretary—that it is in the interests of everyone, and quite as much from the point of view of hon. Members opposite as from that of anybody else, that the Committee stage of the Bill should be taken on the Floor of the House.

7.31 p.m.

I have been present during practically the whole of the Debate, and I have formed the impression that the Government are very uneasy about this Bill. They are men who have been brought up in the love of liberty, and in the principles of their Party, and I think they are very unhappy in taking over an inheritance of delegated legislation from the previous Government. I feel sure that none of them is pleased to be in that position. My second observation is that, in view of the curious and conglomerate character of this Bill, the fact that I am a new Member permits me to say that there is, in this Bill, an immense mass of uncoordinated and inconsistent legislation of every sort and condition. It seems to me that it is the kind of Bill which might well cover the whole work of a Session of this House. I put that forward with some diffidence, because I belong to that rare and almost extinct species which believes that that Government governs best, which governs least. Certainly, this Government cannot hope to be in that category, because never was such a mass of far-reaching legislation contained in one document, as is contained in the Bill now before the House.

I was glad to learn from your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, that we are not permitted to discuss in any great detail the many diverse items the Bill contains, and I am glad that the discussion has been kept on the larger principle, because it is on that larger principle that I believe that Government will either stand or fall. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman), who has been away for a longer cup of tea than is usual on the Front Bench, has now returned. I think he was speaking with his usual fervour and passion, but not with his usual sincerity. The hon. Member was alarmed at the suggestion put in a very plain way from these Benches that this was a totalitarian Measure, and he was anxious, not so much to convince those who listened to him, but, it seemed to me, to convince himself that this was not, in fact, a piece of totalitarian legislation. If this is not a piece of totalitarian legislation, will he, or any other hon. Member, indicate to me, assuming that I were in charge of a totalitarian Government, what kind of a Bill I would bring to the House to give effect to totalitarian views, if not a Bill of this character?

I will tell the hon. Member at once. Once a Government had a totalitarian mind, and wanted to get all these Defence Regulations perpetuated or lengthened without the will of Parliament being exercised, surely the last thing they would do would be to put them into a Bill which gives Parliament the opportunity of discussing every single word in them?

I am glad to hear that the hon. Member has made a study of totalitarian practices. If I, a less experienced politician than he, intended to put fetters on the people of this country, I should find myself very much in agreement with the right hon. Gentlemen whose names are to be found on this Bill—the Lord President of the Council, the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Scotland and others. I do not follow the intervention of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne.

I would like to ask: If this is not a Bill to deny liberty, what is it? It is a Bill which tells the Englishman that his house or home is no longer his castle, and, it is, therefore, a denial of liberty. It tells the Englishman, and the Scotsman, that he must not form a club for cultural or political purposes, except when the police approve of it. I may be prevented from forming another branch of the Society of Individualists in Scotland. I may not under this Rule indulge in any conversation, speaking, or writing likely to cause disaffection. If that is not a denial of liberty, I wonder what the Home Secretary would say was a denial of liberty. I am not allowed, as a business man, to demand that the Post Office should render its accounts to me in a commercial fashion. I am not permitted to have an ordinary commercial rendering of my indebtedness to the Post Office. Is that not a denial of liberty? If I had a daughter engaged in very necessary work in a mental hospital, I am told that she shall not under this Bill have a choice of any other career than that career. Is that not a denial of liberty? I venture to say that it is a denial of liberty, and, this future, which we were invited some months ago to face, is one which I certainly face with less satisfaction and more fear, than I had imagined to be possible.

We have heard a number of quotations this afternoon—one from Trevelyan, one from Gibbon and one from Macaulay. I would end with a quotation from one who was a great Liberal and a great lover of liberty:
"Men that are men again: who goes home
Tocsin and trumpeter! Who goes home—
For there's blood on the field and blood on the foam
And blood on the body when Man goes home
And a voice valedictory…who is for Victory
Who is for liberty—Who goes Home?"
Who is for liberty? This Bill is not for liberty.

7.39 p.m.

This appears to be a very modest Bill of only 19 pages, but it does enact, for the first time in peacetime, no less than 80 laws—laws for peacetime. I do, at the very outset, dissent entirely from the view that, because something is good as a Regulation in wartime, when we have agreed to give up our liberties temporarily, in order that they might ultimately be restored to us, it is, therefore, a good thing in peacetime. I was a good deal puzzled when I first read this Bill because I said to myself time and again, If this is a good thing for two years, how does it come about that it is not a good thing for more than two years, and then the light broke today and we were informed of a thing I had never guessed, that this Bill is to become part of the Annual Expiring Laws Continuance Act. I had not guessed it because of the Title. The short Title is "The Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill," and therefore I am bound to say I was not sufficiently suspicious of the Government to imagine that they would cloak their purpose under innocent words of this kind. Transitional provisions; for how long? We know perfectly well that once an Act becomes part of the annual Expiring Laws Continuance Act it never comes out of it, and are we to have, for as long as this Socialist Government, or any other Socialist Government is in power, this thing continued year after year? I think we are, and I think the Government have misled some of their own supporters, because I noticed with interest that both the hon. and gallant Member for Kettering (Major Mitchison) and the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Tolley) made a point of commending this Bill because of its temporary character. I hope that both these two hon. Members, now that it has been disclosed that this is not a temporary Bill but is a permanent rivetting of these shackles round our necks, will think again about their support of this Bill.

One other matter I want to raise before I come to the Bill as a whole. What is the relationship between this Bill and the Supplies and Services Bill? I am bound to say I had some difficulty in following the Under-Secretary's explanation on that point. This Bill covers the whole ambit of the Defence Regulations; the Supplies and Services Bill covers Parts III and IV, there are 13 or 14 Regulations from Parts III and IV which are included in this Bill, and I would like to know whether they are also to be brought in under the Supplies and Services Bill in some other form. If I am told that there is to be no overlapping, then I think that removes a good part, but not all the trouble. I hope we are not going to have overlapping and that one Regulation may have no double application: one under this Bill and one under the Supplies and Services Bill, and perhaps in different terms, because the House will remember that under the Supplies and Services Bill, it is possible to modify the terms of the existing Regulations for the next five years.

That brings me to this: what will be done about publishing the law once this Bill and the Supplies and Services Bill become law? Are we to have a new edition of the Defence Regulations, because otherwise the thing will be completely impossible to follow. I can see that there is some possibility, if we are to face the future, that a new volume of this kind will be required but, without it, it is either a good or a bad lookout for lawyers, accordingly as you regard the matter, and I would ask in this connection what is to happen with regard to the Regulations of Part 5. One of my hon. Friends drew attention to the bit at the end of Part 1 of the First Schedule on page 13, where there is a general and rather unintelligible continuation of the Regulations of Part 5 so far as they apply to other Defence Regulations. If we are to have a reprint of this volume, it cannot be done in that way, and therefore I think in the Committee stage it will be necessary that it should be extended and that we should say exactly what we mean here, which Regulations are being continued and which are not.

And another matter. We shall have to distinguish in the volume between those Regulations which are continued under this Bill and those which are continued under the Supplies and Services Bill, because different considerations, different methods of interpretation will apply and, in particular, if I understand aright, the bits of Part V are only being continued for this Bill and not for the Regulations under the Supplies and Services Bill. Therefore we shall have considerable confusion—some of the ancillary Regulations in the book will apply to some of the others, and some will not, and it will be very difficult to work it out. Therefore we shall have to have footnotes and asterisks, and the rest of it, so as to make sure that anybody reading it through will have some idea of what applies to what. With the best will in the world the Government will find this a very difficult thing to work out, but I ask them, between now and the Committee stage, to think very hard about how this is to be achieved.

The Regulations under this Bill seem to me to fall into three classes. There are some which I agree can well be continued unaltered and some of them would, I think, be good additions to the permanent law of this country. Those ought to have been continued in a Bill which was, on the face of it, a Bill to make permanent alteration of the law; they ought not to be in this Bill. I know that right hon. Gentlemen opposite take a long time to make up their minds, and I know that the Under-Secretary told us that in the case of a number of these provisions it had not been decided whether they were to be part of the permanent law or not, but it cannot take all that time, surely, to make up one's mind about these matters. I would hope, even yet, that the Government may make up its mind which of these Regu- lations it really wants to make permanent, take them out of this Bill, also take out of the Bill the minor alterations which it has already decided should be permanent, put them in a new Bill which, on the face of it, is permanent, and then put the rest of them, if you like, in a two-years Bill but do not call it a Transitional Provisions Bill if you attach it to the Expiring Laws Bill.

There is that class of Regulation which I think is good for the future. Then there is the class of Regulation which requires a great deal of pruning—the curate's egg—time and change of circumstances have caused part of the Regulations to be no longer appropriate, and accordingly those Regulations will have to be amended considerably. Now the form of this Bill makes amendments of that sort extremely clumsy and untidy and, to some extent, impracticable; but we shall have to try it. I can see this Schedule growing out of all holding. In a Bill it will be a tremendous thing if we are to amend these Regulations as we should do, and it really is a very great pity that these Regulations do not come forward in the shape of Clauses which we could amend in the ordinary way. It would have meant a lot more printing, but it would have been much more satisfactory if all these Regulations had been reprinted as Clauses; then we could have made some sort of a job of it. As it is, tinkering with this Schedule will lead to an extremely untidy Act of Parliament, but we shall have to try it. Then there are some—a good many—which in our view are completely objectionable and ought here and now to be dropped, because they have served their purpose with the end of the war. One rather suspects that political rather than utilitarian reasons have caused their continuance.

It is obvious, in these circumstances, as has been pointed out by many of my hon. Friends that a long Committee stage will be essential, if this House is to give proper consideration to this Bill. The only excuse for the Second Reading having been brought on so soon after the Bill was printed—because it is far too soon—is that we should have time afforded for Committee work. I hope that in the first place, but I hardly expect, the Government will allow this Committee stage to be taken on the Floor of the House. It certainly ought to be. If it is not, then I earnestly hope that the Government will not try to put a time table on this Committee. Anything less appropriate for a time table than this Schedule, it is impossible to imagine, and we shall have to have an adequate opportunity of examining it. Eighty Regulations are a great many to consider in detail.

I sympathise fully with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's demand for a long Committee hearing, and I think that every one of the Regulations in the Schedule ought to be separately looked at and considered; but does he really think that, if you are going to give the Schedule a patient scrutiny of that kind, you can really keep the Bill on the Floor of this House?

I have seen this House in the last Parliament deal with the Committee stage of an extremely difficult controversial Measure with great rapidity and success. I am quite sure that if the Government could spare the time to give us a Committee stage on the Floor of the House, on this Bill, we would make a much better job of it than we would do upstairs. I see that there are difficulties; and, therefore, I say that if we cannot do that, we must have adequate time upstairs, and there will have to be a good deal of time, I think, on the Report stage and Third Reading.

I now come to the main topics which are dealt with in the Regulations contained in the Schedule. My general criticism of them is that far too many of them either impose restrictions, or attack the freedom of the ordinary man. Something has been said, rightly, in my view, of the totalitarian tendency of some of these Regulations, and I shall instance one which I think even the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) will agree has a totalitarian flavour about it.

No. I am perfectly certain that delegated legislation is a thing which is quite necessary, but it has its dangers and it must be examined. What I complained of in the speech of the hon. Member behind me, earlier in the Debate, was that he should say that when the Government take delegated legislation of that kind and put it in a Bill, and bring the Bill before Parliament, that is evidence of a totalitarian mind; when actually, it is evidence of the exact opposite.

I prefer to look at substance rather than to look at form. Hon. Members have dealt with the question of form, and I am not going to add anything. I say, that so far as the substance of these Regulations is concerned, there is a great deal that reeks of totalitarianism; and I am going to deal with one case which is the special province of the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply. That is Regulation 39. If that is not totalitarian, nothing is. This is the beginning of the police State. This entitles the Home Secretary to give special directions to any police force in any part of England, and I suppose the Secretary of State for Scotland can give similar directions to any police force in any part of Scotland—and every totalitarian regime that has yet started has begun by the Government taking control of the police. Really, if you are to have these Regulations continued for two, three, four or five years, under the Expiring Laws Act, that is opening the door for the complete control of the police of this country from Whitehall. I do not think one need go further to illustrate the nature of the thoughts which must have actuated those who drew up this Bill. I come next to the way in which the law in regard to land and highways is being dealt with.

I would like the right hon. and learned Gentleman to explain to the House, and particularly to the new Members, when were the police forces not controlled from Whitehall?

An essential bulwark of our liberty is that Whitehall has nothing to do with the control of the police. I know more about Scotland—I am not so familiar with England—but I do know that the Metropolitan Police is in a different category. I know with regard to the police in the provinces, and in Scotland, that the Home Secretary, or the Secretary of State for Scotland, is not entitled to use the police as his instrument.

That is not the question. It is the question of control by the Home Secretary.

The Home Secretary is not entitled to use the police as his instrument of policy.

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point is correct, is it not a fact that in most of our Colonies, the police are in the hands of the Government? If he agrees that that is so, am I to understand from his argument that our Governments in the Colonies are all totalitarians?

That is a very different story. The government of the Colonies has always been a very different matter from the government of this country, and until very recently not only the Colonies but the Dominions were under a more or less paternal regime.

The next topic with which I would like to deal is with regard to Regulation 16. The Under-Secretary told us that it would not be put into operation without the consent of the Minister of Transport. I do not quite see why the Minister of Transport should be the main dictator in this country of what highways are to be stopped up. I cannot see that at all. There is no appeal under this. If the Minister of Transport chooses to say that any highway adjoining any premises in the occupation of His Majesty shall be stopped up, stopped up it shall be, without appeal. That does not seem appropriate. Regulation 52 is far worse. It enables the Minister of Supply to use any land in this country for the purpose of his Ministry without any notice and with-out any appeal. Surely that is not right in peace time. I should have thought that even the most drastic methods of taking possession of land in the public interest were going to fall very far short of that. I would like to know what justification there is for that Regulation being continued. Of course, the Regulation also applies to the military. Is it really to be said now, when we hope that demobilisation will be accelerated, that the military require to launch out into new training grounds and that they are entitled to go to any land in the country, without appeal and without notice, and use it; and not only use it but under Regulation 85 pass over it with any vehicle they choose and do as much damage as they like, and there is nothing in the Regulations to say there must be compensation? Are we really to continue into peace that kind of power, which was no doubt necessary, but very severe, when used during the war? Surely the Home Secretary is not going to approve of that?

With regard to protected places I do not understand why we want to have new protected places at this time of day, with all the paraphernalia of the Official Secrets Act, of by-laws and that kind of thing. What are you going to protect, and whom are you going to protect them against? Is it for the protection of working parties, or what? I do not understand the justification for setting up new protected places in peace time.

I would like to say a word about the Regulation dealing with mental nurses, because its full enormity has not yet been exposed. Has the Home Secretary realised that under this Regulation his right hon. Friend is not only entitled to keep the nurses he has already, but after having dispensed with their services he is entitled to bring them back again at any time, so long as this Regulation persists. Is it to be that mental nurses whose services have been dispensed with, it may be months ago, are to be brought back, it may be a year hence, just because the Minister of Health thinks that that is a good way of filling up a gap? Is no one to be free once he has been let out from this career? We cannot have that. There may be some case for some sort of freezing for a very short time, until substitutes can be provided, but there is no case at all for saying that people who have been released are to be brought back. This is a case where the draftsman has failed to read the Regulation before he put it into the Schedule. No one who read that Regulation could possibly stand up for maintaining that power. There is a certain amount of slovenly draftsmanship in other parts of the Bill, and in the case I have just quoted it surely cannot be intentional, at this time of day.

I come to what is to my mind the most important Regulation of the whole lot, that is No. 22, which deals with billeting. I agree with what one of my hon. Friends said a little time ago: This ought to have been a Bill by itself. It is so important, it affects every household in the country. There ought to be proper detailed discussion in Committee. It should stand by itself. Let us see what the present Order authorises. It not only requires housewives to give house room, but also requires the housewife to give food and to give attendance. Does the Home Secretary really intend to keep this power to require the housewife in peace time to give, not only house room but food and attendance? I agree that a part of the price which the country will have to pay for having put an incompetent Government in office is a continuation of billeting, because this Government is apparently incapable of getting on with building new houses. That being so, some measure of billeting is essential, or may be, if the voluntary scheme does not succeed, [An HON. MEMBER: "What about empty houses?"] There are some unoccupied houses in the country, and I have never suggested that empty houses should not be taken. I said long ago that they should be, but that is not billeting; it has nothing to do with it. Further, under the Regulation as it stands, the householder is paid at a flat rate, and a pretty poor rate at that. If billeting is to go on in peacetime, it is essential that householders who have people billeted on them shall be properly paid. Moreover, the Government have recognised, by bringing in the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Bill, that there cannot be a flat rate for accommodation of that character. I say, therefore, that it is essential, if the Government are to be fair about it—and they must be fair, if they are to carry the people of this country with them—to have a tribunal, either a billeting tribunal or the furnished houses tribunal, which will fix in any case where there is a dispute, the appropriate rate of billeting for that particular accommodation. Otherwise, they will find that they will not carry the general public with them, and if they do not do that the scheme cannot possibly succeed. That is the only way I can see how this scheme can be fitted into the Minister of Health's plans, which are already before the public. It will be very difficult to incorporate these Amendments in the Schedule of this Bill, bat it will have to be done somehow. Obviously, the Government should apply their minds to this question immediately, because I think it is probably one of the most difficult which they have to solve between now and the Committee stage.

Finally, I would like to say a word or two about that lot of Regulations which give increased rights to the police. It is true that with one exception the right hon. Gentleman has dropped the right of search. That came up in the course of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill. He promised to meet us on that, and he has met us with the exception of the one point to which my hon. Friend referred a few moments ago, and I hope he will see his way to meet us on that. But he has kept powers which are just as objectionable. For example, there is 80A, which provides the most elaborate and far-reaching provisions in regard to acquiring information on almost any conceivable subject.

I am sorry to disappoint the right hon. and learned Member, but 80A was revoked on 27th September.

That is just an example of this intolerably complicated system of legislation. I have the book here, I have tried to keep in touch with these Defence Regulations, but I have missed that one. Without the assistance which the right hon. Gentleman gets from his trained staff it is quite impossible to keep in touch with what is going on. I am not a bit ashamed of myself for having failed to note that.

Does not the right hon. Member agree that there is a full statement of the numbers of Regulations in the Bill? As all this is tabulated and it is quite clear that 80A is not there, why does he persist in his argument?

Because the hon. Member is quite wrong. If he would only look at what I directed the attention of the House to a few minutes ago, the last entry in Part I of the First Schedule, he will see there is a general reference there to the Regulations in Part V. The Regulations there are not specified, and Regulation 80A is in Part V. At first sight this Bill does incorporate 80A. It is only because it has been revoked by an Order that I did not notice that the question does not arise. But the question does, I think, arise in regard to Regulations 88C and 89 concerning arrest without warrant and the use of force to enter premises. I was a little surprised to find—and this is a Regulation I did happen to pick up—that in the Statutory Rules and Orders No. 1451, the whole content of that Order is to apply arrest without warrant in new circumstances. Are the Government really now going on making new Defence Regulations which have no other purpose than to increase the ambit of their powers to arrest: without warrant? Really, at this time of day when we think we are in a state of peace, that surely requires some justification. I hope the Government will think again about this matter. The general conclusion to which I have come on going over this Bill is that personal liberty appears to mean very little to Socialists.

It so happens that I turned from reading this Bill to reading the Prime Minister's speech to Congress. I am bound to say that I rubbed my eyes a bit when I found him saying that the Labour Party were in the tradition of freedom loving movements, and
"Sometimes the battle of freedom has had to be fought against kings, sometimes against religious tyranny, sometimes against the power of the owners of the land, sometimes against the overwhelming strength of moneyed interests."
I wonder why he forgot to add "sometimes against the stranglehold of bureaucratic control." Why refer to the historical incidents and leave out the one which applies at the present day? When he went on to talk about those who fought for Magna Charta and the Pilgrim Fathers—well, I am willing to make allowances for the exuberance of the right hon. Gentleman's eloquence, but I thought it was a little surprising to think that the Runnymede barons or, for that matter, the Fathers of New England, would imagine that continuing these Regulations in peace time was a natural development of their ideas. The reason why we will vote against this Bill tonight is because we think it is out of line with the traditions of British freedom. We believe that the right of personal liberty within the law is the one right above all others for which we are bound to fight in the coming months and years, and that this emphatically is an attack on the liberty of the ordinary man.

8.13 p.m.

I am quite sure that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen oppo- site may hope that the "Daily Mail" tomorrow morning will be less caustic about them than it was this morning. The "Evening News" came out too early It did not realise how the prophets of Baal can still

"cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets"
when they are sitting on those benches. This Measure has moved the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down to such paroxysms of rage that he talks about putting shackles round his neck—I always thought they were put round the feet; they certainly were on every horse that I turned out on Epsom Downs—and of pruning curates' eggs. That is a form of ecclesiastical tyranny which will not be found even in this Bill. We are in the position in which we were placed designedly by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite during the period of the Caretaker Government. They renewed the then existing Bill for six months only. When hon. Gentlemen opposite now plead for time, let them realise that we are compelled to bring this Bill in at this time because of the limitations they placed on the Measure which was normally renewed every 12 months. Therefore, we have been compelled to bring this Bill in so that it shall become law before 24th February next.

That being the case, it has been necessary to include a number of Regulations which we should not have found it necessary to include could we have had until June or July in which to prepare this Measure and to place it before the House; but we do not desire to profit unnecessarily by the limitations that right hon. Gentlemen opposite placed on us. In such time as it is possible to dispense with any Regulation that is contained under this Bill, we shall see that its operation is brought to an end. If we had had, as the Coalition Government always had, until the end of the Summer in which to consider this Measure, I have no doubt that the First Schedule would have been rather shorter than it is.

Some objection has been taken to the form of the Bill; there is too much in it. There ought to have been six or seven Bills, with six or seven days given to the Second Reading, with six or seven opportunities for discussing the Money Resolution, with six or seven periods in Committee, with six or seven Report stages and with six or seven Third Readings. By that time, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite no doubt hoped that our activities for the Session would have been brought to a fitting but somewhat unfruitful conclusion. Well, we have decided to put all these Measures into one Bill, and we invite the House to consider it.

Now let me emphasise the point which was made, I think quite rightly, by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). When these Regulations were placed before the House they were put in front of the House on the take-it-or-leave-it principle. You cannot amend a Regulation. It is submitted in the normal course, and the House can vote against it. It cannot amend. We have deliberately placed these Regulations into a new category. By putting them into the Schedule they can be amended verbally, if the House so desires. To that extent, therefore, there is a greater freedom of action for the House now in respect of each of these Regulations than there ever was in the course of the original promulgation and ratification of these Orders.

It is quite clear that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have not studied this Measure with the care that they would have us believe. I did try to save the right hon. and learned Gentleman from revealing his ignorance too much. I did interrupt him with regard to 80A, but 88C, to which he also objected with the same force, was also revoked on 28th September. May I say that it was revoked in Scotland and not in England? It was not revoked in England because the Privy Council at which it was revoked was held in Holyrood House, the first time for many years that the Privy Council has been held in the ancient residence of the Scottish Kings. It is, therefore, the more inexcusable that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should not have noticed it.

Might I ask the Home Secretary a question about this matter? Some of us have tried to study this matter, and we got a copy of the Defence Regulations as they have been published. When we come to the Committee stage of the Bill, would the Home Secretary tell us how we are to know what is included or when various things have been revoked since the last consolidated publication of the Defence Regulations?

Of course one might study the various Regulations and collate them but I do realise that there will be difficulties in the way not only of barristers, but of ordinary lay Members of the Committee. I appreciate this point, and there shall be placed in the Library of the House a copy of the Regulations brought completely up-to-date, so that any hon. and right hon. Gentlemen will know exactly which of the Regulations at present in the volume has ceased to have effect since the volume was published. I recognise that that was quite a reasonable request for an hon. and learned, and even for an unlearned, Member.

The hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Maude) quoted the same two Regulations, 8OA and 88c. Really, some hon. and learned Members appear to keep their text books so out-of-date that I shall have doubts about pursuading the local authority of which I am a member to brief a few of them in future, unless they can assure us that on general law they keep themselves a great deal more au fait than they appear to do on these things. A further question, raised in two or three other places in the House, concerned Regulation 55C—the Regulation which deals with new clubs. May I say that the Amendments have been made as the result of a deputation which I received from the Association of Conservative Clubs, the Workingmen's Club and Institute Union, a more reputable body, and an organisation which represents golf clubs. They pointed out that there were two difficulties which faced them in the county, in the administration of Defence Regulation 55C. The first was that the police had power to object to certain premises on the ground that they were unsuitable.

If the police object, of course that is not the final decision in the matter. The applicants can then appeal to the licensing justices, who hear both sides and reach a decision. I am sure that few Members in the House would want to see new housing estates and collections of new houses grow up in the way that some housing estates grew up between the wars, with no social amenities, no clubs, no public-houses and no churches attached to them at all, and none of the institutions that a normal community must expect to have if it is to have a reasonable social life. Therefore, we have decided, on their represen- tations, to withdraw the power of the police to object on the ground that a building is unsuitable. If it is unsuitable from a sanitary point of view, the local sanitary authority has ample power to deal with it. Anyone who has been associated with the initiation of working men's or ex-Service men's clubs will know that these are things of slow growth.

I recollect that when I was demobilised after the last war I was elected president of the branch of what was then the Discharged Soldiers' and Sailors' Association. We wanted to start a club. We took a disused fire station first, and we made a certain headway there. I have no doubt that under the Regulation as it stands that place could have been objected to as unsuitable premises. We grew, and we have since, out of our own funds, purchased a large house and built a hall, and fitted them up at an expense of some £3,000. We have now a building with amenities that are the equal of any other working men's club in the county. I suggest that there will be a number of similar institutions after this war, and we do not want to stop them in the day of small things.

When it came to politics, we had no representations from the Conservative clubs, but we did have representations from the Workingmen's Club and Institute Union that villages and small towns in which there was a Conservative Workingmen's Club had been denied a Labour Club because, it was said, there were sufficient clubs already in the district. Let us take an example that must appeal to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Among the astounding things that happened on 1st November this year was the winning of the Covent Garden Ward of the Borough of Westminster by the Communist Party. Let us assume that supporters of those candidates desire to form a club for people of their own particular faith in the Borough of Westminster. Would it be an adequate thing to say, "What do you want a Communist Club for? Haven't you got the Athenaeum and the Carlton?" There-lore, so far from being restrictive, our addition to the Order enables the licensing justices, when considering applications, to have regard to the facilities that there are for clubs of a certain political faith or a certain cultural tendency.

Is the case that my right hon. Friend is offering to the House a hypothetical one? I asked him during the course of my remarks whether there were actual cases in evidence that justified the change that he is making.

Yes, the Club and Institute Union, who were led by my hon. Friend the Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), on this occasion did convince me that there were cases of the kind that I have indicated and I am sure that no one in this House would desire, if a number of perfectly reputable people of a certain political persuasion wanted to have a club of their own, that they should be prevented by the exercise of this Regulation. That is all that the Amendments to Regulation 55C amount to, and I think they do indicate that we have endeavoured, in at any rate some of the Amendments to these Regulations, to have regard to some of the principles that are now rather surprisingly, and rather late in the day, being advocated by the Conservative Party.

I have been asked a number of questions about specific Regulations. I do not desire to transgress Mr. Speaker's Rulings, but I think it would only be courteous to hon. Members, insofar as they have asked these questions, that I should endeavour to reply to them without going into too great details. The first Regulation in the Schedule on which a question was put was Regulation 12. We must retain Regulation 12 because in some of the places now protected there are still explosive substances, there are bombs on training grounds and similar things, and it is obviously very undesirable that the general public should be allowed to wander without let or hindrance in such places and possibly sustain death or serious injury.

With regard to Regulation 16, I hope that after we have endeavoured to meet them on the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill, hon. Gentlemen will believe me that I am exceedingly desirous that there shall be, as far as possible, no additional closing of highroads. I spent a great deal of time trying to frame an Amendment on the other Bill—

The right hon. Gentleman refers to highways. Does that include the equally important rights of way and paths?

I ought not to have to tell anyone like the right hon. Gentleman, who is learned in the law, that footpaths, bridle paths and even navigable rivers are highways according to the law of the country. We desire that wherever there has been access, access shall either be restored or given, but there are the two cases to which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary alluded, the open-cast coal workings, where it may be necessary in the present circumstances of the country temporarily to divert a footpath—and, of course, ultimately to divert it, because the right of way, as I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree, is not merely in the horizontal but is also in the vertical plane—and it will be necessary, therefore, for powers to be taken to deal with open-cast coal workings. There are some rather curious cases also in which we can only open an important road by temporarily closing a less important road; where there is a Government dump or something like that, and by moving some of the material on to a less important road we can open a more important alternative road. Those are the only two cases to which it is intended that this Regulation will apply in future.

The next one about which I was asked, by the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Lieut.-Colonel Walker-Smith) was Regulation 18. I would point out that while we subject men in this country to conscription it will be necessary to ensure that people of the age of conscription do not leave the country and thus evade their period of National Service. I do not imagine that if the restriction on leaving the country is confined to preventing people from ''dodging the column'' there will be any serious objection.

Because conscription is part of our policy after the war, are the people of this country to be treated as aliens on entering and leaving this country?

I do not think it means that. I think it means that if a young man who is due for Military Service attempts to leave the country he should be pre vented from doing so, and should be- called upon to discharge the duty which this House will have decided is to be performed by men of his particular age. With regard to arrival in the country—

May I ask whether that restriction on exit permits will extend to those who are subject to direction of labour?

If the hon. Gentleman will raise that question on Committee, I will undertake to have an answer for him.

Does this restriction apply to the eminent Army officers who at the moment are perambulating about Helsinki and Moscow?

If they are subject to military service, they will have to put up with all the disabilities which that requirement imposes on them. I am not prepared to give a further answer until I have had a chance of considering the particular case. With regard to arrival in this country, which is also dealt with under the Regulation, it is still necessary to have some control over immigration into this country from Southern Ireland, and I imagine that the House would desire that Regulation 18, by which that is secured, should be continued.

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, I think I understood him to say that anyone due for military service would be prevented from leaving this country. If we had conscription at the age of 18, for example, does it mean that no young man under the age of 18 will be able to leave this country?

Can we have a definite statement, and be told exactly what it does mean?

If the hon. and gallant Member wants a closer definition, that is obviously a thing that will have to be dealt with on the Committee stage. I do not want to transgress Mr. Speaker's ruling by going into too great detail on these various Regulations. I could even have pleaded that, going into as much detail as I have, might have constituted such a transgression. The answer is, nothing of the sort;—

The hon. and gallant Member must not speak when the right hon. Gentleman is still on his feet.

It would be conducive to the Debate if the Home Secretary was allowed to continue his speech without further interruption.

The next Regulation raised by several hon. Members is Regulation 22. [An HON. MEMBER: "Does the right hon. Gentleman know what that is?"] Yes, I do; it relates to billeting, and I hope the hon. Member is as well informed. Regulation 22, dealing with billeting, is still required because in the course of reconstruction, as I had to point out on the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill, it will still be necessary, in certain cases, to direct people to certain places for employment, and it may be that in some of those places there will not be sufficient accommodation. There is also still an overlap from the evacuation of school children. It is necessary to maintain the powers in order to deal with them.

We now come to Regulation 31A which, I think, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) raised. This merely enables the Ministry of Health in England and the Department of Health in the Scottish Office to recover the expenses incurred in providing medical treatment and clothing for evacuated persons, particularly children. There are still a few children under the aegis of the Ministry of Health in this country, and I believe, of the Secretary of State in Scotland, in respect of whom it is necessary to retain these powers.

The next Regulation 32AB received a surprising amount of attention, to my mind. It is the power to require nurses, etc., to continue in employment in mental institutions. 1 think it will be known to every hon. Member who has taken any part in the administration of mental institutions that a considerable proportion of the male staff of these institutions are non commissioned officers who have served in the Army. There is still a shortage in respect of those men; they have not come back, and, until they do, it is necessary that the people who have taken their places should be retained in this employment. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is it confined only to male nurses?"] No, it does not apply only to male nurses, but the serious shortage, for the reasons I have given, is in respect of male nurses. That is one of the Regulations which I hope will not be enforced throughout the whole of the period until the 31st December, 1947.

I come to the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester, which was subsequently mentioned by other hon. Members and called forth great eloquence from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid)—Regulation 39. This Regulation merely enables the Secretary of State in England and the Secretary of State in Scotland to legalise arrangements under which one police force helps another when that force needs to borrow men to meet some local emergency. Under this Regulation, I do not order the transfer of police from one force to another; it merely makes their service in other districts legal, in spite of the restrictions in some of the older Police Acts. It also makes legal a very Necessary thing—that the borrowing authority shall be able to pay the lending authority for the temporary use of policemen sent to them. With the unfreezing of the police force at the end of this year, as has already been announced, it may be necessary that some police forces, which will then be under-establishment to some substantial extent, should receive the kind of assistance I have indicated from other police forces who may be in a position to lend them a few men until recruitment is complete.

Will the right hon. Gentleman limit the drafting to achieve these purposes because, at present, he would be entitled to give any direction he chose, without any limit whatsoever, and he could use the police as an instrument of Government policy in any way he liked?

Really, the right hon. and learned Gentleman should not tempt me like that. If it is discovered that the intentions I have just announced in all sincerity are not, in fact, secure between now and the Report Stage, I have no doubt we shall be able to have conversations which will prevent me from doing what I would like to do if I had the evil intentions some hon. Members opposite seem to think I have.

There was another one, Regulation 42AA, extension of power to legalise police cells in Scotland as places of detention. I always venture on to Scottish ground with great trepidation because the laws of that country are so incomphensible to an Englishman. The present Scottish Act limits to 30 days the period in which a man may be detained in police cells. This has proved inconvenient in the Orkneys and the Shetlands because, I understand, normally, anybody who receives a sentence of longer than 30 days is removed to Aberdeen. During the war, however, difficulties of transport made it inconvenient, if not impossible, to effect that transfer, and, until the difficulties of transport are eased, it is desirable, for this limited purpose, to continue this Regulation.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Hertford also raised, very diplomatically, the issue of Regulation 42B. We have endeavoured, in the alterations in this Regulation, to avoid the pitfalls into which he thought we had fallen. We desire to make it reasonably easy, with due notice, for a local authority, where there was no Sunday opening before the war, but where Sunday opening has been secured by the action of the military authorities, to continue Sunday opening hereafter if they so desire. It is a question that will probably arouse some local interest, but I do not think we ought unnecessarily to restrict the opportunities of local authorities to deal with this somewhat difficult subject in any way they think best.

If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me, my point was that, where this Regulation was brought into play, those local authorities who would be averse from exercising their option under Section 1 of the 1932 Act, would be prejudiced by the fact that cinemas were already open on Sundays under this Regulation in those areas.

I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman will find, when we debate this in Committee, that the fact is as I have said, and not as he has said. Now we come to Regulation 52, the use of land for purposes of His Majesty's Forces. It is unlikely that any new Orders will be made in this connection, but it is necessary to maintain some of the existing Orders until the Armed Forces of the Crown get to what we may regard as their normal level.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) raised the question of Regulation 59A, the power to authorise the payment of certain road men by cheque. This matter is due to an extraordinary working of the Truck Acts, and to the present shortage of staff in county council offices. We desire to make permanent arrangements to deal with it, and other matters arising out of the Truck Acts which are now largely out of date owing to the altered social conditions of the country. But it would be impossible, at the present time, for workmen to be paid weekly, when employed by some of the bigger county councils, if they had to be paid personally in cash every week—and most men in this walk of life prefer to be paid weekly, rather than at any other period of time.

This matter agitates the minds of roadmen in my county very much. They oppose the system of fortnightly pay—

I wish to put a question to my right hon. Friend. If my county council or any other county council should find it possible to arrange that their workmen shall be paid weekly, I take it there is nothing in this Bill to prevent them from doing so?

I think the Home Secretary was referring to me in his speech. I would point out that I did not object to the Order in any way, but used it only as an illustration of one of the smaller things that could quite well go through.

I am sorry I misunderstood the hon. Member for Torquay. With regard to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Thornbury (Mr. Alpass), if the Gloucestershire county council or any other county council can resume the payment of wages personally at weekly intervals, or at such other interval as they may arrange with their employees, this Bill will not prevent them from doing so; but there are certain county councils which could not at the present time resume the payment of their workmen in cash on the spot. This Bill temporarily continues their exemption from complying with the Truck Acts. The hon. and learned Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe) raised the question of Regulation 60AB. I am appointing a Committee to go into the whole question of shop hours, and meanwhile it is desirable to maintain this Regulation in force until I am in a position to submit permanent legislation to the House, because we do not want to get back to the days when one shopkeeper before closing his premises, would go out into the road to see whether another shopkeeper lower down had closed his premises. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) will expect me to take his reflections upon Regulation 60N too seriously, especially after they have been reinforced by the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir W. Darling).

Will the right hon. Gentleman say an explanatory word or two on Regulation 60CC?

There was a comment in one of the courts, within the last seven days, in which a chairman of quarter sessions complained of the ease with which fraud can be perpetrated on the Post Office by people who allege that they are the owners of a certain account; they draw the money and disappear, and it is then found that the person to whom the account relates had given them no such permission. In order to prevent that, it is necessary that Post Office employés should be able to require a person who says, "I want to draw £5 on this book" to prove that he or she is the person whose name appears in the book. With regard to Regulation 60N, we propose to resume the preparation and publication of the accounts of the Post Office in the prescribed form as soon as the necessary staff are available.

I have endeavoured to deal with all the points that have been raised on the various Regulations by hon. Members. I am now left with only one to which some attention has been paid by several hon. Members, and that is the question of Regulation 88A in its sole application to gaming parties. As I understand it—I have never frequented any of these, places and therefore, I cannot speak of them with the intimate knowledge obviously possessed by some of those who have raised the issue—one of the difficulties with which the police have been confronted in recent years has been the fact that these gaming parties move from house to house. There is a certain known body of people who conduct these gaming parties. I understand that the visitors may be gambling, but that certainly the proprietors merely play a game of skill very effectively. They move from house to house. Nobody wants to help or protect people who run that kind of place. It would be very difficult to get a warrant to search the premises, because it is sometimes not possible to know which premises will be used on a particular evening by the people who run this racket. I ought also to point out that for exactly 100 years this same power has existed in respect of gaming houses, and therefore, we are not making any very wide extension of the law. This power to arrest without warrant and to search is confined, if this Bill becomes an Act, entirely to that one purpose, and, therefore, I hope it will not be regarded as too great an infringement of the liberty of the subject. I have always felt that while gambling may be a sin in the eyes of some people, welshing and cheating ought not to be perpetrated even on people who commit the sin of gambling.

I have endeavoured, as courteously and briefly as possible, to deal with the various points that have been raised. The Bill will of necessity require considerable attention in Committee and I am quite sure, from what I have heard from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, I can rely on their co-operation during the Committee Stage to make this Bill a thoroughly workmanlike Measure. I regret very much that their action imposed upon me the duty, almost as soon as I reached my present Office, of finding out what had been done with regard to preparing a Measure, when they had limited us to so short a time, and I regret having to disappoint my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) by telling him that when I started on this Measure I had a clean sheet of paper. Therefore I do not know what their intentions were. All I know was that they left me with a very heavy duty to perform in a period of time that I think they unnecessarily circumscribed, but I hope 'that when this Bill next appears on the floor of the

Division No. 24.]

AYES.

[9.2 p.m.

Adams, Capt. H. R. (Balham)Durbin, E. F. M.Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Adamson, Mrs. J. L.Dye, S.Lindgren, G. S.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lipson, D. L.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Logan, D. G.
Alpass, J. H.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)Longden, F.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Edwards, John (Blackburn)Lyne, A. W.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)McAdam, W.
Austin, H. L.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McAllister, G.
Awbery, S. S.Ewart, R.McEntee, V. La T.
Ayies, W. H.Farthing, W. J.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Bacon, Miss A.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Baird, Capt. J.Foot, M. M.McKinlay, A. S.
Balfour, A.Forman, J. C.Maclean, N. (Govan)
Barstow, P. G.Foster, W. (Wigan)McLeavy, F.
Barton, C.Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Mainwaring, W. H.
Battley, J. R.Freeman, P. (Newport)Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Bechervaise, A. E.Gaitskell, H. T. N.Mann, Mrs. J.
Belcher, J. W.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Berry, H.George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Gibbins, J.Mayhew, Maj. C. P.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C.Gibson, C. W.Messer, F.
Binns, J.Gooch, E. G.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Blackburn, A. R.Goodrich, H. E.Mikardo, Ian
Blenkinsop, Capt. A.Granville, E. (Eye)Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Blyton, W. R.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Monslow, W.
Boardman, H.Grenfell, D. R.Montague, F.
Bottomley, A. G.Grey, C. F.Moody, A. S.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Grierson, E.Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morley, R.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Gunter, Capt. R. J.Morris, R. H. (Carmarthen)
Brook, D. (Halifax)Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)Mort, D. L.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Murray, J. D.
Brown, George (Belper)Hardman, D. R.Nally, W.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hardy, E. A.Naylor, T. E.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleNeal, H. (Claycross)
Buchanan, G.Haworth, J.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Burden, T. W.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Noel-Buxton, Lady
Burke, W. A.Henderson, J. (Ardwick)O'Brien, T.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Herbison, Miss M.Oliver, G. H.
Callaghan, JamesHewitson, Captain M.Orbach, M.
Champion, A. J.Hobson, C. R.Paget, R. T.
Chater D.Holman, P.Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.House, G.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Clitherow, R.Hoy, J.Palmer, A. M. F.
Cluse, W. S.Hubbard, T.Pargiter, G. A.
Cobb, F. A.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Cocks, F. S.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Collick, P.Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)Paton, J. (Norwich)
Collindridge, F.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Pearson, A.
Collins, V. J.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Peart, Capt. T. F.
Colman, Miss G. M.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Perrins, W.
Cook, T. F.Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester)Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Popplewell, E.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Corlett, Dr. J.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Porter, G. (Leeds)
Corvedale, ViscountJones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)Proctor, W. T.
Crossman, R. H. S.Keenan, W.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Daggar, G.Kenyon, C.Randall, H. E.
Daines, P.Key, C. W.Ranger, J.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)King, E. M.Rankin, J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Kinley, J.Reeves, J.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Kirby, B. V.Reid, T. (Swindon)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Lang, G.Rhodes, H.
Deer, G.Lavers, S.Richards, R.
de Freitas, GeoffreyLawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Delargy, Captain H. J.Lee, F. (Hulme)Robens, A.
Diamond, J.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)
Dobbie, W.Leslie, J. R.Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)
Douglas, F. C. R.Lever, Fl. Off. N. H.Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Driberg, T. E. N.Levy, B. W.Rogers, G. H. R.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Royle, C.

House we shall have had the advantage of their co-operation in Committee.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 290; Noes, 128

Sargood, R.Stubbs, A. E.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Scollan, T.Summerskill, Dr. EdithWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Scott-Elliot, W.Sunderland, J. W.Wigg, G. E. C.
Segal, Sq. Ldr. SSymonds, Maj. A. L.Wilkes, Maj. L.
Sharp, Lt. Col. G. M.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Wilkins, W. A.
Shurmer, P.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Silverman, J. (Erdington)Thomas, George (Cardiff)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Simmons, C. J.Thorneycroft, H.Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)
Skeffington, A. M.Timmons, J.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Skeffington-Lodge, Lt. T. C.Tolley, L.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Skinnard, F. W.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.Williamson, T.
Smith, Capt. G. (Colchester)Turner-Samuels, M.Willis, E.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Ungoed-Thomas, Maj. L.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)Usborne, H. C.Wise, Major F. J.
Smith, T. (Normanton)Viant, S. P.Woods, G. S.
Snow, Capt. J. W.Walker, G. H.Wyatt, Maj. W.
Sorensen, R. W.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Yates, V. F.
Soskice, Maj. Sir F.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Sparks, J. A.Watkins, T. E.Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Stamford, W.Watson, W. M.Zilliacus, K.
Steele, T.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)Weitzman, D.

TELLERS FOR THE AYES

Strauss, G. R.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Mr. Mathers and Mr. R. J.
Stross, Dr. B.Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)Taylor.

NOES.

Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPoole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Aitken, Hon. M.Hogg, Hon. Q.Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.
Amory, Lt.-Col. D. H.Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Baldwin, A. E.Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Barlow, Sir J.Howard, Hon. A.Raikes, H. V.
Bennett, Sir P.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Birch, Lt.-Col. NigelHulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hurd, A.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Bossom, A. C.Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Bower, N.Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.)Robinson, Wing-Comdr Roland
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.Jarvis, Sir J.Ropner, Col. L.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Jennings, R.Sanderson, Sir F.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.Scott, Lord W.
Bullock, Capt. M.Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.Shephard, S. (Newark)
Butcher, H. W.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Carson, E.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)Snadden, W. M.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Low, Brig. A. R. W.Spearman, A. C. M.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Spence, Maj. H. R.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.McCallum, Maj. D.Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. MMacdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Studholme, H. G.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Cuthbert, W. N.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Darling, Sir W. Y.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Digby, Maj. S. WingfieldMarlowe, A. A. H.Touche, G. C.
Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D.Marples, Capt. A. E.Turton, R. H.
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin)Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Maude, J. C.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Drayson, Capt. G. B.Mellor, Sir J.Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Duthie, W. S.Molson, A. H. E.Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Eccles, D. M.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Fraser, Mai. H. C. P. (Stone)Nicholson, G.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gage, Lt.-Col. C.Nield, B.Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Glyn, Sir R.Orr-Ewing, I. L.York, C.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.Osborne, C.Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Gridley, Sir A.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Grimston, R. V.Pickthorn, K.

TELLERS FOR THE NOES:

Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Pitman, I. J.Mr. Drewe and
Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Ponsonby, Col. C. E.Major Mott-Radclyffe.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

I beg to move, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."

The House proceeded to a Division.

(Seated and covered): I would call your attention to the fact, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that hon. Members ostensibly supporting the Government arc seated on this bench, and would ask for your Ruling.

Is it in accordance with the best traditions of this House that hon. Members supporting the Government should sit upon the other side of the House?

I am not concerned with what the hon. Member thinks; I am only concerned with the decision I have made.

(Seated and covered): On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, what punishment does this House apply to a hog that does not know its own sty? [Laughter.]

Division No. 25.]

AYES.

[9.14 p.m.

Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPitman, I. J.
Aitken, Hon M.Hogg, Hon. Q.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Amory, Lt.-Col. D. H.Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C.Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Baldwin, A. E.Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J.Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.
Barlow, Sir J.Howard, Hon. A.Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Bennett, Sir P.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Birch, Lt.-Col. NigelHulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)Hurd, A.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Bower, N.Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.)Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Jarvis, Sir J.Robinson, Wing-Comdr Roland
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Jennings, R.Ropner, Col. L.
Bullock, Capt. M.Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.Sanderson, Sir F.
Butcher, H. W.Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.Scott, Lord W.
Carson, E.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Shephard, S. (Newark)
Clarke, Col. R. S.Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lipson, D. L.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Low, Brig. A. R. W.Snadden, W. M.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Spearman, A. C. M.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)McCallum, Maj. D.Spence, Maj. H. R.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Crosthwaite Eyre, Col. O. E.Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.
Cuthbert, W. N.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Studholme, H. G.
Darling, Sir W. Y.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Digby, Maj. S. WingfieldManningham-Buller, R. E.Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Dodds Parker, Col. A. D.Marlowe, A. A. H.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.Marples, Capt. A. E.Touche, G. C.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin)Turton, R. H.
Drayson, Capt. G. B.Maude, J. C.Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Duthie, W. S.Mellor, Sir J.Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Eccles, D. M.Molson, A. H. E.Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Morris, R. H. (Carmarthen)Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Gage, Lt.-Col. C.Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gates, Maj. E. E.Nicholson, G.Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nield, B.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.York, C.
Gridley, Sir A.Orr-Ewing, I. L.Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Grimston, R. V.Osborne, C.
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Peake, Rt. Hon. O.

TELLERS FOR THE AYES:

Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Pickthorn, K.Mr. Drewe and
Major Mott-Radclyffe.

NOES.

Adams, Capt. H. R. (Balham)Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Balfour, A.
Adamson, Mrs. J. L.Austin, H. L.Barstow, P. G.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Awbery, S. S.Barton, C.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Ayles, W. H.Battley, J. R.
Alpass, J. H.Bacon, Miss A.Bechervaise, A. E.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Baird, Capt. J.Belcher, J. W.

with your predecessor, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, when he was in the Chair a moment ago, a point of Order with regard to the overcrowding of this bench by Members from the other side of he house and I desire to ask your Ruling on that point.

But surely the Rules of this House allow a Member of this House to speak to a point of Order when seated and covered?

The hon. Member is not properly covered; I do not regard an Order Paper as proper cover.

The House divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 290.

Berry, H.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Palmer, A. M. F.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Hardman, D. R.Pargiter, G. A.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C.Hardy, E. A.Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Binns, J.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePaton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Blackburn, A. R.Haworth, J.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Blyton, W. R.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Peart, Capt. T. F.
Boardman, H.Henderson, J. (Ardwick)Perrins, W.
Bottomley, A. G.Herbison, Miss M.Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Bowden, Flg.-Oflr. H. W.Hewitson, Captain M.Popplewell, E.
Bowles F. G. (Nuneaton)Hobson, C. RPorter, E. (Warrington)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)Holman, P.Porter, G. (Leeds)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)House, G.Proctor, W. T.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Hoy, J.Pursey, Cmdr. H
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Hubbard, T.Randall, H. E.
Brown, George (Belper)Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Ranger, J.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Rankin, J.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)Roes-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.
Buchanan, G.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Reeves, J.
Burden, T. W.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Burke, W. A.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Rhodes, H.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester)Richards, R.
Callaghan, James.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Champion, A. J.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Robens, A.
Chater D.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Clitherow, R.Keenan, W.Rogers, G. H. R.
Cluse, W. S.Kenyon, C.Royle, C.
Cobb, F. A.Key, C. W.Sargood, R.
Cocks, F. S.King, E. M.Scollan, T.
Collick, P.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Scott-Elliot, W.
Collindridge, F.Kinley, J.Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.
Collins, V. J.Kirby, B. V.Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Colman, Miss G. M.Lang, G.Shurmer, P.
Cook, T. F.Lavers, S.Silverman, J. (Erdington).
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Lee, F. (Hulme)Simmons, C. J.
Corlett, Dr. J. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Skeffington, A. M.
Corvedale, ViscountLeonard, W.Skeffington-Lodge, Lt. T. C.
Crossman, R. H. S.Leslie, J. R.Skinnard, F. W.
Daggar, G.Lever, Fl. Off. N. H.Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Daines, P.Levy, B. W.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Davies, A. E. (Burslem)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Lewis, T. (Southampton)Smith, T. (Normanton)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Lindgren, G. S.Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Logan, D. G.Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Longden, F.Sparks, J. A.
Deer, G.Lyne, A. W.Stamford, W.
de Freitas, GeoffreyMcAdam, W.Steele, T.
Delargy, Captain H. J.McAllister, G.Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)
Diamond, J.McEntee, V. La T.Strauss, G. R.
Dobbie, W.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Stross, Dr. B.
Driberg, T. E. N.Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Stubbs, A. E.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McKinlay, A. S.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Dumpleton, C. W.Maclean, N. (Govan)Sunderland, J. W.
Durbin, E. F. M.McLeavy, F.Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Dye, SMallalieu, J. P. W.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Mann, Mrs. J.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Edwards, John (Blackburn).Marquand, H. A.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Marshall, F. (Brightside)Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Mathers, G.Thorneycroft, H.
Ewart, R.Mayhew, Maj. C. P.Timmons, J.
Farthing, W. J.Messer, F.Tolley, L.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Middleton, Mrs. L.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Foot, M. M.Mikardo, IanTurner-Samuels, M.
Forman, J. C.Mitchison, Maj. G. R.Ungoed-Thomas, Maj. L.
Foster, W. (Wigan)Monslow, W.Usborne, H. C.
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Montague, F.Viant, S. P.
Freeman, P. (Newport)Moody, A. S.Walker, G. H.
Gaitskell, H. T. N.Morgan, Dr. H. B.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Morley, R.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Gibbins, J.Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Watkins, T. E.
Gibson, C. W.Mort, D. L.Watson, W. M.
Gooch, E. G.Murray, J. D.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Goodrich, H. E.Nally, W.Weitzman, D.
Granville, E. (Eye)Naylor, T. E.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Neal, H. (Claycross)Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)
Grenfell, D. R.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grey, C. F.Noel-Buxton, LadyWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Grierson, E.O'Brien, T.Wigg, G. E. C.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Oliver, G. H.Wilkes, Maj. L.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Orbach, M.Wilkins. W. A.
Gunter, Capt. R. J.Paget, R. T.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Williams, D. J. (Neath)

Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)Wilson, J. H.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)Wise, Major F. J.Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Williams, W. R. (Heston)Woodburn, A.Zilliacus, K.
Williamson, T.Woods, G. S.
Willis, E.Wyatt, Maj. W.

TELLERS FOR THE NOES:

Wills, Mrs. E. A.Yates, V. F.Mr. Pearson and Captain
Blenkinsop.

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.