HC Deb 28 January 1918 vol 101 cc1391-3

It shall be lawful for His Majesty by Order in Council to extend to female persons any of the provisions of this Act applicable only to male persons, subject to such modifications in dates as may be fixed by the Order.


I beg to move, after the word "persons" ["extend to female persons"], to insert the words" (other than the provision requiring a person on demand by a police constable or any other duly authorised person either to produce his certificate of registration or give particulars)."

This is to ensure that the empowering of a police constable to accost any person and ask for the production of his registration certificate, his name, address, occupation, etc., shall not apply to females. Considerable debate took place during the Committee stage, and I have a good deal of sympathy with the view that it is advisable to restrict the power of the police constable in the manner suggested. I have put down this Amendment to meet the complaint then addressed to me.


I rise to acknowledge that the right hon. Gentleman has very fully carried out the pledge which he gave in Committee to remove from the Bill one of its most objectionable features—amongst a multitude of objectionable features—that feature which gave any police constable power to accost any female between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five and demand their certificate of registration, or require them to give an account of themselves. This will make it unnecessary for me to move the Amendment which I have put down on the same subject. I am very glad that the discussion which we inaugurated on this point on the Committee stage has been followed with this measure of success, and that we have succeeded in convincing the right hon. Gentleman that it was urgently necessary to alter the Bill in this respect. I greatly regret that any Bill should have been presented to this House, drawn in the form which permitted the police of the country, without any special authority, to accost, at any hour of the day, and in any place, all women between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five. I trust that the reception of the proposal will prevent any such provision in the form of a Bill again being presented to this House for sanction.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert

"(2) Every Order in Council made under this Section shall be laid before each House of Parliament forthwith, and if an Address is presented to His Majesty by either House of Parliament within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House has sat next after the Order is laid before it praying that the Order may be annulled, His Majesty in Council may annul the Order and it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything done thereunder."

I promised to bring up an Amendment which will secure the point urged by the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King). The Amendment follows the same form in which similar power is controlled in the Representation of the People Bill, a form which the House has lately adopted. In the present instance, I think, it fully meets the point of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Somerset.


I beg to thank the right hon. Gentleman for seeing that, at any rate in this detail, though not in respect of the whole of the Bill, I am completely satisfied.

Amendment agreed to.