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New Clause—(Amendment Of Meaning Of Expression "Tenant" In Act Of 1920)

Volume 527: debated on Monday 17 May 1954

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  • (1) The rights conferred on a member of a deceased tenant's family by, and in the circum stances stated in, paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of section twelve of the Act of 1920 shall extend to such a member, if the tenant left a widow not residing with him at the time of his death.
  • (2) In accordance with the last foregoing subsection, the said paragraph (g) (which declares the expression "tenant" to include in certain circumstances the widow of a tenant or a member of the tenant's family) shall be amended by inserting after word "no" the word "such."
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    12.15 a.m.

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

    This new Clause will enable a member of a tenant's family who is residing with him at the time of his death to succeed him as the statutory tenant under the Rent Acts in the case where the tenant's widow is not residing with him. An injustice has been inadvertently created in regard to this type of individual, and the purpose of this Clause is to remedy it in favour of the tenant.

    On the point of order. Hon. Members who do not represent constituencies in Scotland came into the Chamber especially to hear the Lord Advocate. That is a rare experience for us and we have been prevented from hearing him because of the noise made by other Scottish Members. Would it be possible for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to address the House again, and for there to be silence?

    The Secretary of State has occasionally made concessions in a hesitant manner, and our acceptance has been just as hesitant. But in this case there is no hesitancy at all. We accept this new Clause, and welcome it as an improvement.

    Question put, and agreed to.

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

    I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be adjourned."

    I hope that we may ascertain from the Secretary of State what is the intention of the Government regarding further progress. It will be seen from the way in which we accepted the last Clause that the Opposition are not acting unreasonably. A great amount of work has been accomplished and a considerable volume of controversial legislation dealt with. We think that the Government should be satisfied with the progress which has been made.

    I do not want to keep the House sitting indefinitely, although we do wish to make progress. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to give an undertaking that if we stopped now, or soon, we should be able to complete the remaining stages of Report and Third Reading in a reasonable time, preferably without suspension of the Standing Order, on another day.

    I presume that the Secretary of State is offering us another day. If that means a full day I am sure that my hon. and right hon. Friends would be very anxious to meet him. However, in view of our unfortunate experiences, which have not arisen from this side of the Committee, I should say that while my right hon. Friends would do everything to meet the Secretary of State, we hope that we shall not have a sudden surprise sprung on us, with no one to give an explanation. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not think me unreasonable in making that point.

    With the exception of one Clause, we made fairly satisfactory progress today. There was one unfortunate hitch, but I do not particularly blame anyone. I do not anticipate that it will happen again. It would be rash of me or anyone else to say flatly that the rest of the proceedings would be completed in one day. I say to the right hon. Gentleman that we are anxious to co-operate in the discharge of the Bill and in his reasonable offer.

    I am not quite clear, having heard the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, about what he was trying to say. Is he or is he not prepared to give an undertaking to complete the proceedings on another day without suspension— that is to say, sitting the ordinary length of time?

    I repeat that I think that a very reasonable offer. I anticipate that if normal Parliamentary procedure were followed we could give that undertaking. The Lord Privy Seal may not have been familiar with the proceedings today, and I do not blame him for that. We had a most unfortunate situation. I am not sure how far I am in order in referring to it but it was very difficult to understand that a new Clause was really relevant. Some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite had difficulty in persuading themselves that it was relevant.

    All I would say is that if the Government would take steps to see that there was a reasonable presentation of their case, I am sure they would find that we were very anxious indeed to respond to the offer. Our anticipation would be that a normal full day's sitting would meet the Government's wishes.

    If I may speak again, by leave of the House, I would say that we have passed the stage of there being any possibility of there being any new Clauses put on the Paper. It is a question of dealing with the Amendments. This is a reasonable offer, and I thought that the right hon. Gentleman would be able categorically to give an undertaking that we could get the rest of the Bill in an ordinary day without any of the "ifs" and "buts" which he seems to be importing into the matter. Otherwise, we shall have no option but to go on, which would inconvenience the whole House, and nobody wants that. I think that an undertaking could reasonably be given by the right hon. Gentleman. He will not expect me to accept the criticism which he has made of my right hon. Friend.

    With the leave of the House, may I say that if it is the anticipation of the Lord Privy Seal that nothing substantial will be added to what is on the Paper. I am sure that we shall assist the Government to finish this Bill in one more day.

    Then perhaps we can adjourn, because it is not intended to put down more Amendments, and there cannot be more new Clauses.

    I do not want to detain the House for more than a minute. One of our difficulties seems to be have been occasioned by the Leader of the House being in the position of the Foreign Secretary. He is sitting beside an ex-Chief Whip and a Chief Whip, which is rather like sitting between M. Bidault and Mr. Dulles. In those circumstances I appreciate his difficulties.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee and on re-committal), to be further considered this day.