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Indian Independence (Procedure)

Volume 439: debated on Friday 4 July 1947

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11.5 a.m.

I beg to move,

"That Standing Order No. 67 shall not apply to the proceedings on the Indian Independence Bill."
It would perhaps be right that I should indicate briefly the purpose of the Motion. The effect of Standing Order 67 is that any Clauses in a Bill which may involve expenditure from Indian Revenues have to be treated in a similar way to Clauses in a Bill which authorise expenditure from the United Kingdom Exchequer, that is to say, they must be italicised and must, in due course, be covered by a Financial Resolution. As hon. Members will see when they examine the Bill—by the way, perhaps I might mention that we expect it to be available in the Vote Office at about two o'clock—the Indian Independence Bill involves, or may involve, some degree of expenditure from Indian Revenues and, as a result, if we do not suspend the Standing Order, most of the Bill would have to appear in italics. It is plain, I think the House would agree, that that would be misleading and undesirable, and that in this case the Standing Order serves no good purpose in connection with the Bill, which is, of course, a wholly exceptional Measure. In the circumstances, I trust that the House will think it is desirable to pursue the course which I recommend.

In view of the explanation which the right hon. Gentleman has given, we, on these Benches, will not make any opposition to the Motion.

11.7 a.m.

Departure from Standing Orders frequently involves some repercussions not only upon the two Front Benches, but upon the back benches as well, so I think it only right that as a back bench Member I should say something on the Motion. I accept fully and absolutely what the Leader of the House says, that this is in connection with quite an exceptional Measure, and that we should do everything possible to avoid more confusion. From that point of view, I accept this change in the operation of the Standing Order. I only accept it, as a private Member, from the point of view put by the Leader of the House, quite rightly, that this is an exceptional change in the Standing Order. From that point of view, and because of the great necessity for the Bill, I see no reason why the House should not adopt the Motion, but I would emphasise that exceptions of this kind can be dangerous if they are used in order to establish a precedent. I concur in the Motion, especially since the Lord President has signified that it is not intended to make this departure a usual departure.

Question put, and agreed to.


"That Standing Order No. 67 shall not apply to the proceedings on the Indian Independence Bill."