HC Deb 30 July 1924 vol 176 cc2209-12

Lords Amendment

In page 20, lines 5 and 6, leave out "Subsections (1), (2), (4)" and insert "Subsection."


I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


May I ask if this Amendment proposes to bring back into the. Bill the right to establish insurance by industry on the part of any industry that cares to inaugurate such a scheme?


No, that is not the intention of this Amendment at all.


Is it not the case that, in the Act of 1920, these Sections, which it is proposed here to strike out, which were not originally in the Bill, and which it is now proposed to put in, deal exclusively with insurance by industry, and give separate industries the power to inaugurate these schemes? That, at least, is my reading of the Act of 1920, and I should like a further explanation to be given in this House as to why the Government should seek to re-incorporate in the Bill these Clauses which were not in the Bill when it was originally introduced. I think the House is entitled to a further and clearer explanation from the Minister of the reasons why the Government amended this part of the Bill in the other House, and did not amend it here.


This matter is a very simple one. The House decided, against the wish of the Minister, to retain that Clause in the Bill, and this Amendment is merely consequential upon that Clause having been retained in the Bill by the vote of the House.

Lords Amendment:

In page 20, line 6, leave out "10 and 11."

Agreed to.

Ordered, "That a appointed to draw up Reasons to he assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to certain of their Amendments to the Bill."

Committee nominated of Mr. H. H. Spencer, Sir George McCrae, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Webb, and Mr. Parkinson.

Three to be the quorum.—[Mr. Shaw.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Committee do withdraw immediately."—[Mr. Shaw.]


On that Motion, may I ask for the guidance of the House on what ground you, Sir, ruled that the three principal Amendments were privileged Amendments. They are Amendments which were discussed here, and go to the whole root of the Bill. This Committee is a Committee which is going to assign reasons why the Amendments were disagreed with. Those reasons, presumably, will include the reasons why the Amendments are considered privileged. [Interruption.] When we require on this side the assistance of the right hon. Gentlemen we will invite it! [HON. MEMBERS "Speak up!"] I am addressing the Chair. [HON. MEMBERS: "You are addressing the House!"]


I must insist on silence. It is for me to hear.


I very respectfully ask whether, in view of the fact that all the Amendments which have been ruled as privileged, and which were the only matters coming up for discussion in the House of Lords, were matters going to the root of the Bill—if all these Amendments are disallowed as privileged, might I ask why the Bill was not certified as a Money Bill with which their Lordships' House could not deal? As I understand your ruling, it is out of the power of another place to deal at all with either the rights of persons under this Bill or the rates of contributions to be paid. That, I submit, was the whole scope of that Bill. Therefore I respectfully submit that the Bill, if it was outside the competence of the other House, should have been certified.


There is frequently some misapprehension on that matter. The question of whether or not a Bill comes under the Parliament Act is one thing. The question of the ancient privilege of this House in money matters is quite a separate thing. When I examined the Bill, I did not feel it my duty to attach my Certificate to it as a Bill coming under the terms of the Parliament Act. On the other hand, these Amendments which have been made by the other House come under the ancient Rule of Privilege—a quite separate and distinct matter. I think I can do best by reading the words of my predecessor on a similar Bill, in 1921—the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, Amendment Bill. My predecessor used these words: According to the precedents. the Lords are not entitled, where a sum of public money is involved? to alter the conditions (either by way of limiting them or by way of increasing them) under which such moneys become payable to those who are entitled to receive them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1921; col. 2066, Vol. 138.] These are the words used by my predecessor, and I adopt them as my own.


I understand your ruling, or rather your advice to the House, is that these Amendments are a breach of the privileges of the House because they seek to regulate the way public money should be spent, and not because they seek to make an increase in the amount to be spent. Would it have been open to any hon. Member to suggest that the privilege of the House should be waived in such a matter?


Yes; the question whether the House agrees or disagrees is open to debate. There is no Motion actually to waive the privilege of the House, but it is on certain occasions waived, and, whenever that is done, a special entry is made in the Votes to record the reason why this House has waived its privilege.

The remaining Orders: were read, and postponed.

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