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Building Restrictions (War Time Contraventions) Bill

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

12.46 a.m.

On a point of Order. I do not know whether you have considered a proposed new Clause on the Order Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health— [Power of entry]. I would like to submit that it is not in Order as being outside the scope of the Bill. The Title of this Bill is the Building Restrictions (War-Time Contraventions) Bill and its long Title is:

"To make provision as respects works on land carried out during the war and uses of land begun during that period which do not comply with building laws or planning control."
It is a Bill, I think, which follows out these Titles and is expressly devised to deal with certain works begun during the war. I do not know whether you have formed a view whether or not to call this new Clause, but it is clear that it goes right beyond the scope of the Bill in that it provides that any officer of an authority responsible for enforcing a building law or planning control shall have the right to enter premises at all reasonable hours with certain provisions. The particular provision I would like to refer to is under (b). The Clause would give any officer of such authority power to enter any premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether there has been any breach of the building or planning control at any time whatever. There is no Amendment down to the title of the Bill. I do not know whether you would allow any such Amendment in manuscript at this stage. It would be very unusual, and I can see no way in which it would be suggested that this can be done.

I have not had an opportunity of considering the point, but I Should have thought the proposed Amendment was in Order as being supplementary to its general purpose.

Perhaps I have not made myself clear. It is not a supplementary provision so far as works go. The whole of the Bill deals with works done during the war. It surely cannot be described as supplementary in regard to works during the war, to make provision in regard to works done before the war. That seems entirely outside the scope of the Bill.

:Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can tell us whether the Amendment is within the scope of the Bill in regard to time.

12.49 a.m.

This new Clause was put in as a result of discussions which took place in the Committee upstairs because it was felt that the powers under Section 287 of the Public Health Act, 1936, were not enough. In looking at it as it is put here, it may well be that there should be an Amendment made to the Clause limiting it to works that were done in the five years of the war period, but it is an omission as far as I can see, which does not limit the period. The intention was that it should be limited to things done during the war.

I gather that the Parliamentary Secretary is admitting that, as drawn, the Clause is without the scope of the Bill.

If that is the case and the House were to approve, the Amendment might deal with matters other than those covered by the Bill.

It may be. On the strict reading of the Clause as put down, it may be proved that it would apply to other things outside the Bill. That certainly was not the intention.

12.51 a.m.

In the circumstances, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, would you allow me to move the Adjournment of the Debate in order that the Minister may be present? I may say that there is another reason why I, on behalf of my colleagues on these Benches, wish to move the Adjournment of the Debate. We have a serious charge to make about what is no doubt an unintentional breach of faith on the part of the Government in bringing forward this Bill.

If the noble Lord will refrain from moving that Motion, I will move to report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.

Does the noble Lord wish to move that the House be adjourned, or that further consideration of the Bill be adjourned?

I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned."

The Government will agree to accept that Motion. I was on the point of moving, after consultation with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, to report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill, not amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Monday next.