§ (1) His Majesty in Council may declare what date is to be treated as the date of the termination of the present War, and the present War shall be treated as having continued to, and as having ended on that date for the purposes of any provision in any Act of Parliament, Order in Council, or Proclamation, and, except where the context otherwise requires, of any provision in any contract, deed, or other instrument referring, expressely or impliedly, and in whatever form of words, to the present War or the present hostilities:
§ Provided that in the case of any such Act, conferring powers on any Government Department, or any officer of any Government Department, exercisable during the continuance of the present War, if it appears to His Majesty that it is expedient that the powers shall cease before the date so fixed as aforesaid, His Majesty in Council may fix some earlier date for the termination of those powers.
§ (2) The date so declared shall be fixed with regard to, and shall not be later than, the date of the exchange or deposit of ratifications of the treaty or treaties of peace:
§ Provided that, notwithstanding anything in this provision, the date declared as aforesaid shall be conclusive for all purposes of this Act.
§ (3) His Majesty in Council may also similarly declare what date is to be treated as the date of the termination of war between His Majesty and any particular State.
§ Lords Amendment:
§ In Sub-section (2), leave out the words "fixed with regard to, and shall not be later than," and insert instead thereof the words "as nearly as may be."
§ The MINISTER of RECONSTRUCTION (Dr. Addison)
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
Mr. E. HARVEY
How is it that these Amendments are not available in the Vote Office? I would express the hope that the 3474 Government will explain what they are. This House has waited for the Lords Amendments, and I think we ought to have the opportunity of seeing them. Their consideration ought not to be made a mere empty form. We have had no opportunity of learning what they are.
§ Dr. ADDISON
Yes, I will explain. The Amendment proposed in this Bill is to make it read better. At present it reads—(2) The date so declared shall be fixed with regard to, and shall not be later than, the date of the exchange,and so on, and it is proposed by the Lords to make it read,The date so declared shall be as near as may be the date of the exchange or deposit of ratifications, etc.It means substantially the same thing.
It does not seem to me to mean quite the same thing, because it enables the Proclamation of a fixed date later than the ratification. It gives additional power, therefore, to Government Departments to extend their activities over and above the time that was fixed by this House, and fixed by the Government in the draft of the Bill. It gives, further, wide powers which were not contemplated when the Bill was introduced into this House. We ought to have some explanation as to why it is necessary to take this further extension of power.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The statement I made is quite correct. The words of the Clause were very indefinite in their meaning, and therefore the words "as nearly as may be" were preferred in view of the geographical, telegraphic, and other difficulties that might be encountered. On the whole, I think the Amendment to omit the words proposed and to insert those I have mentioned is an improvement. Hon. Members may be assured that in accepting this Amendment we have no desire whatever to depart from the spirit and intention of the Bill itself.
§ Mr. R. LAMBERT
What we want to know is why the words "not later than" should be left out? They seem to me to 3475 be the most important phrase of the whole question. It seems to me to be most desirable that we should fix a definite date beyond which these things should not run. I hope that at all events this House will not lightly give up the words "not later than," but will insist that these words are retained.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I think a distinct point of substance has been raised by my hon. Friend opposite. The words in the Clause are as they left this House. It is true that the earlier words were indefinite, but the later phrase "not later than" is perfectly clear and definite. I think, in all the circumstances, that it is not advisable that this House should leave it to a Government Department to continue the operation of this enactment a day longer than the recommendation of this House. If it is to be "as nearly as may be" I have some doubt as to how that can be interpreted. We have no legal assistance here to guide the House as to the exact meaning of these words. I think in all the circumstances as an alteration of this importance is being made that the House should receive some skilled legal opinion as to the exact change which the other House has imported into this Bill.
§ desire that that power should be handed over to the Ministry of Munitions. Although the powers of the Ministry of Munitions were being altered to enable them to turn from war work to a peace footing, yet there was to be no extension of time given to the Ministry of Munitions on this account. The alteration made by the other House gives an extension to which the House of Commons was very averse. Therefore, I think the House should not be overriden by the other House by giving this measure an extended time beyond the ratification of peace. The country desires that the powers of the Ministry should come to an end as soon as possible, and the commercial world and the mercantile world—
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY OF MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
I think my hon. Friend has got hold of the wrong Bill.
§ Mr. WATT
My hon. Friend is mistaken, and I was only using that as an illustration. The point is the same, that the powers should not be extended by this Amendment beyond the ratification of peace. The Amendment of the House of Lords has the effect of extending the time by omitting the words "not later than," and the view of the House, which has already been accepted by hon. Members, should be put into the measure.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 85; Noes, 9.3477
|Division No. 95.]||AYES.||[3.23 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Fester, Philip Staveley||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Anderson, William C.||Ganzoni, Francis J. C.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lt.-Col. Wm.||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Archer-Shee, Lt.-Col. Martin||Gilbert, James Daniel||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. John||Pryce-Jones, Col. Sir E.|
|Barrie, C. C||Greig, Colonel James William||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)|
|Beach, William F. H.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence (Ashford)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Gee. H. (Norwich)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Durham)||Samuels, Arthur W.|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hibbert, Sir Henry||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Boyton, Sir James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Shortt, Edward|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.)||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Torquay)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kenyon, Barnet||Wardle, George J.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Beetle)||White, Col. G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart (Wimbledon)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Whiteley, Sir H. J. (Droltwich)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Lowe, Sir F. W.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Cowan, Sir William Henry||Macmaster, Donald||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir Rhys (Banbury)|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James Ian||Wills, Major Sir Gilbert|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Louth)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Denniss, Edmund R. Bartley||Mason, Robert (Wansbeck)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Moore, Maj.-Gen. Sir J. N. (Hanover Sq.)|
|Edge, Capt. William||Morison, Hector (Hackney, South)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Pratt.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Merton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas|
|Fleming, Sir John (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Cotton, H. E. A.||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. E. Harvey and Mr. King.|
|Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Pringle, William M. R.|
§ Mr. SPEAKER
A Royal Commission has been ordered for 4 o'clock, and I propose therefore to leave the Chair until then.
§ Sitting suspended at twenty-nine minutes before Four o'clock.
§ Mr. SPEAKER resumed the Chair at Four o'clock.