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New Clause—(Power To Vary The Second Schedule To This Act)

Volume 440: debated on Friday 25 July 1947

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(1) Subject to the provisions of this Section the Minister of Works may by order made with the consent of the Duke of Wellington for the time being vary the provisions of the Second Schedule to this Act, and as from the date of the coming into force of that order the provisions of this Act shall have effect accordingly

(2) Before making any order under this Section, the Minister of Works shall lay a draft thereof before each House of Parliament, and the order shall not be made until the expiration of a period of forty days beginning with the day on which a copy of the draft is laid before each House of Parliament, or, if such copies are laid on different days, with the later of the two days, and if within that period either House resolves that the order be not made, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, but without prejudice to the laying before Parliament of a new draft.

In reckoning any such period of forty days, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.—[ Mr. Durbin.]

Brought up, and read the First time

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

This new Clause is not I portentous and it is hoped that it will meet with the unanimous support of the Committee. The Select Committee felt that the existing distribution of the ownership of the rooms in Apsley House might not suit changed circumstances in the future, and they therefore suggested that a certain degree of flexibility should be brought into that part of the arrangement set up by the Bill. It is therefore proposed that the Minister of Works shall be able by Order to change the distribution of t le area of the house as between himself and the Duke, subject to the consent of both parties. I am informed that the addition of this Clause is agreeable to the Duke.

I think that this provision will meet with the agreement of toe whole House and it does show that the arguments put forward earlier by tae learned Attorney-General to the effect that we could not at this stage make a change were groundless. It shows that it is possible for the House of Commons in an agreement such as this—in a bargain as was said earlier today—to do something which is justifiable and right. I can only recommend to the Attorney-General that he should study the future conduct of the affairs which he may be called upon to perform, from the point of view that if he had greater consideration of the facts and less of harsh legal points, he might then be able to get his business through with greater expedition.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

First and Second Schedules agreed to.

Rill reported, with an Amendment; as amended (in Committee and on remittal), considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[ Mr. Durbin.]

12.27 p.m.

I am sure the House would wish something to be said on the Third Reading of the Bill because, after all, it has been improved in the Committee stage by the addition of a new Clause. I may have given the wrong impression just now that this improvement was instigated from Government sources, and for this reason it is only just that I should apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), since he was the real author of the improvement. Having corrected what may have been a wrong impression, I should like to say how glad I am to welcome this Bill, both from a national point of view and because of the extraordinarily valuable memorial we now have. There is no need to say more than that, except to remark in passing that I hope that even now, on some other occasion, it may be possible to amend one provision which remains in the Bill and which could so easily have been deleted if good nature had been shown in the Committee stage.

I think it would be the wish of the House that the Government should associate themselves with the latter half of the hon. Member's remarks, and that I should say that they are exceedingly glad that, thanks to the generosity and wisdom of the Duke, it is possible to open this memorial.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.