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Clause 3—(Saving For, And Amendments Of, S 9 Of The Principal Act)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 4 April 1949

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3.26 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 5, line 21, at the end, to add:

(3) In paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of the said section nine (which requires that committees of investigation shall consist of a chairman and four other members) for the word "four," there shall be substituted the words "either four or five."
Hon. Members who have been following this Bill will recall that I said on Second Reading that there were many questions to be dealt with by a committee of investigation; that it and the Commission on Monopolies and Restrictive Practices would be more or less identical, and that an overlap in membership would be necessary so that both of them might pursue a common policy. For this purpose we expect to invite the President of the Board of Trade to nominate one member for any committee of investigation. We more or less know the standard for committees of investigation—a legal chairman, and four members, of whom one would be a trade unionist, one an accountant, one an economist and one a business man.

I imagine that in most cases the representative selected by the President of the Board of Trade would fit into that scheme of things. There may however be the odd case in which that particular representative of the Monopolies Commission would not fulfil any one of the four designations, and in that case we should require a fifth. The Money Resolution was agreed to the other evening without a Debate. The Amendments to Clauses 3, 18 and 19 are merely to fit the Bill into that Money Resolution. There is no change in principle whatsoever, and we merely cover ourselves in case the committee of investigation should consist of six rather than five members.

My hon. Friends on this side of the Committee will agree to the Minister's suggestion. He mentioned six members instead of five, but did he not mean four instead of five?

We are pleased to note that it is the intention of the Government to maintain the balance of the committee of investigation as heretofore. I take it from what the Minister has said that it will not inevitably mean that there will be an additional member in every case, but only when the circumstances deem it advisable.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.