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Clause 5—(Minor And Consequential Amendments)

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

9.0 p.m.

I would like a short explanation of the Clause because it seems a little complicated. It reads:

"The Act of 1945 shall have effect subject to the Amendments specified in the Schedule to this Act, being minor Amendments and Amendments consequential on the foregoing provisions of this Act."
What happens to major Amendments? Is this not a unique Clause and is it really thought necessary? I have read many Clauses in Bills in my time, and I do not see the necessity for this one. Why is it necessary to bring in a small Clause like this to deal with minor Amendments which are not in the Schedule? I would have thought that they should have either been in the Schedule or else dealt with properly. Could we have a definition of what is a minor Amendment?

I do not want to delay the hon. and learned Member. By the time he has given me the answers to those points, he will obviously have raised many more difficulties on this Clause.

My definition of a minor Amendment would be one which, in point of importance, is unimportant in comparison with a major Amendment. Clause 5 is, I believe, in almost common form. The next question was, where are the major Amendments if the minor ones are in the Schedule? The answer to that is that the major Amendments are in the preceding Clauses of the Bill.

I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for his clear definition of the difference between a major and a minor Amendment, but I doubt if he would get away with that in a court of law. I do not know courts of law but I should imagine that it might gain him considerable dislike if he gave it there. As far as this Clause is concerned, when we have to rely on a Government answer and that kind of definition, it shows quite clearly how natural and right it is that, at any rate, one or two Members should be interested to know exactly what the hon. and learned Gentleman meant, and to know how little he really meant.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.