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Statutory Instrument 413 (Laying)

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 24 April 1951

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asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to whether he intends to introduce legislation indemnifying the President of the Board of Trade and his officers, and any other persons concerned, from any con sequences arising from the irregularity in the laying of Statutory Instrument, 1951, No. 413, before this House.

I have been asked to reply.

It is very far from clear that the practice which has been followed since 1943 of laying with any Order, referring to separate Schedules, only those Schedules which it brings into force and not those which it continues in force and which have been previously laid, involves any irregularity on the part of anyone which would require indemnifying legislation. The Law Officers are, however, considering whether any legislation is necessary.

While I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's diminishing concern for the then President of the Board of Trade, may I ask him whether he is telling the House that a Department of State can exercise powers of delegated legislation with impunity while violating the conditions subject to which those powers were conferred upon them by this House?

I have much more respect for Parliamentary democracy than to say any such thing.