§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I wish to raise a point of Order which appears to me to be of considerable importance, involving, as it does, an encroachment upon the rights and privileges of the House. The late Home Secretary issued a draft Regulation amending the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920. He issued it on 3rd August last, and the 40 days under the Rules Publication Act expired on 12th September. That Regulation has had practically the force of law ever since, so that nearly six months have elapsed, during which time a Regulation issued by the Home Secretary on 3rd August has practically had the force of law. Section 5 of the Rules issued under the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1920, is to the effect that no practitioner can prescribe for himself any drugs mentioned in the Schedule, such as cocaine and morphia. Section 11 of the Dangerous Drugs Act requires that any Regulations under that Act shall be laid forthwith, but this Regulation was not laid until 1st March. Therefore, a law has been made practically by the Department and has not been ratified by this House. It ought to have been laid on 12th September last, but it was not laid until 1st March. I want to know whether that is not an irregularity and whether the Regulations ought not to be with- 2109 drawn? At present it appears to me that the Home Department can issue Regulations and allow any time whatever to elapse, during which time the Regulations have the validity of law. Is it an irregularity with which you can deal?
§ Major MOLSON
I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the last speaker. The British Medical Association protested last July against this Order. The Order has been carried into force without the consent, authority or knowledge of this House. It limits the power of duly qualified medical practitioners to prescribe for themselves. I consider that that has been done without the authority of the House and in an irregular way.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is not for me to say whether the action of the Department has been legal or not. This does not appear to me to be a point of Order, but a point of law. If any irregular action has been taken by the Ministry, then I imagine that any hon. Member,
§ or anyone who has been harmed by such action, has the Courts of Law open to him. There is no point of Order. If the Regulations were laid on a certain date— I think it was 2nd February—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
They were laid during the present Session of Parliament, and the number of days, as far as I am concerned, dates from that time. What happened in the interval may be a legal question, but it is not a point of Order on which I can express an opinion.