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Clause 14—(Orders And Regulations)

Volume 462: debated on Monday 7 March 1949

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I beg to move, in page 13, line 3, at the end, to insert:

"and every such instrument shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a Resolution of either House of Parliament."
The purpose of this Amendment is to reserve to the House, or to either House, some control over the regulations and orders made by the Minister. When a similar Amendment was moved during the Committee stage the Minister said he was unable to make any promises but he also said that he would look into the point again. He added:
"…but we do not want to clutter up the Business of the House unnecessarily."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1949; Vol. 461, c. 1253.]
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that this Amendment would not have that effect, because we are proposing the negative procedure and nothing would occur in this House unless some hon. Members were dissatisfied with the drafting or the substance of the Regulations or Orders made by the Minister and, consequently, moved a Prayer within 40 days. I do not think the Minister need fear, therefore, that there would be any unnecessary cluttering up of the business of the House. I know that this Amendment is an improvement upon the provisions of the Act of 1946. I do not think that it should be regarded as objectionable, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman has favourably considered the proposal and will be able to agree to the Amendment.

6.30 p.m.

I am afraid my mind is the same as it was when this was discussed—I think quite adequately—in Committee. Eighty-three per cent. of the population is already covered by the tribunals under the existing procedure, and all that this Amendment would suggest is that the remaining 17 per cent. should be subject to this annulment procedure. That seems to be rather straining at a gnat a little. If it were necessary to do this it should have been done before. This Bill is for the setting up of tribunals, and indicates the districts they are to cover. I do not see how it can be argued that for the remaining parts of the country to be covered we should have a different procedure.

The right hon. Gentleman has not referred to the provisions of Clause 6, by which he has power to make regulations with regard to the terms——

I must ask hon. Members to obey the Rules of the House. If they wish to speak twice they must ask leave and obtain it.

I apologise. I was really only asking a question. May I ask that question? Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to consider the position under Clause 6, because there he prescribes by regulations what local authorities are required to do in the preparation of the register?

Again, all the procedure with regard to the tribunals is, of course, of interest to us. I think it is true, as the Minister said, that a considerable portion of the country is covered by it. We had hoped that he would accept a previous Amendment of ours which would have enabled rules to be made by him; which would, of course, immediately bring up the very important question that these rules should be subject to Prayer. I think that the Minister is taking a completely different view from that which we are taking on this. We desire to register our point of view, but we dc not want unduly to delay the House, and so I think, in the circumstances, we shall not divide the House, although we cannot withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.