HC Deb 09 August 1844 vol 76 cc1994-5

In the course of the preceding debate, a Conference was held with the Lords on the subject matter of the Amendments, made by the Lords, to the Merchant Seamen's Bill. The Report was— That the Managers had met The Lords at Conference, which was managed, on the part of The Lords, by the Earl of Liverpool, who acquainted them that The Lords being desirous at all times of maintaining a good correspondence with the Commons, have desired this Conference, in order to communicate to them, that in the Bill, intituled, 'An Act to amend and consolidate the Laws relating to Merchant Seamen, and for keeping a Register of Seamen' (which has been returned to The Lords, with the Amendments made therein by them agreed to by the Commons), there was an omission of one Amendment in the Paper of Amendments sent to the Commons, namely, in Press 66, line 8, to leave out the words 'and Prize Money,' which Amendment was made by The Lords, in addition to those contained in the Paper of Amendments formerly sent down by them, but which was inadvertently omitted from the Paper of Amendments so sent down; to which Amendment they desire the concurrence of the Commons. Matter communicated by the Lords at the Conference, taken into consideration, and Mr. Speaker having been desired to give his opinion to the House, on the point of form in respect of the proposal made by the Lords—

The Speaker

said, that he was not aware of any precedent directly applicable to the present case, but he considered that it would establish a most inconvenient and dangerous one if the House were now to entertain the Amendment which had unfortunately been omitted from the Merchant Seamen Bill when it was sent back from the Lords. That omissions and mistakes had occasionally been rectified during the progress of measures in the two Houses of Parliament; but in the present instance the Lords' Amendments had been agreed to at a stage when it was no longer possible for the House to re-consider them, if they were in any degree affected by the Amendment which had been omitted; and the Commons' agreement to these Amendments having been indorsed upon the Bill by the Clerk, this proceeding ought, in his opinion, to be considered final and conclusive.

Committee appointed, to draw up Reasons to be offered to the Lords at a Conference for not taking into consideration the Amendment now proposed by the Lords.

Reasons for not taking into consideration the Amendment proposed by the Lords, reported; and the same were read, as follow:— The Commons express their deep regret, that by any inadvertence the whole of the Amendments made by their Lordships in the Merchant Seamen Bill should not have been presented to the House of Commons before the Bill was returned with the Amendments agreed to by the House of Commons. They consider, however, that great inconvenience would result from establishing a precedent for entertaining any Amendment made by either House of Parliament in Bills sent down from the other House, which Amendment had not been inserted in the Bill as sent down, after the Bill shall have been returned with all the Amendments agreed to which were submitted to the consideration of the Commons. It appears to the House of Commons very possible that an Amendment, perhaps unimportant in itself, may have a material bearing upon the effect of other Amendments; and as the Commons possess no power of altering the Amendments to which they have agreed, and which have been returned to The Lords, it might occur that material changes in the Law might be inadvertently effected, by adopting an Amendment under the circumtances under which the present Amendment is now sent down by their Lordships. For these Reasons the Commons cannot agree to the Amendment as proposed by their Lordships. A Conference was held at which these Reasons were communicated to the Lords, who by a message declared — That they did not insist on their Amendment to the Merchant Seamen's Bill.

Mr. S. Herbert

afterwards reported from the Committee appointed to draw up Reasons against the Lords' Amendments to the Merchant Seamen's Bill, and it was ordered that the Reasons be sent to the other House. They were accordingly communicated to the House of Lords; and a Message was subsequently received that the Lords did not insist on their Amendment.