HC Deb 21 May 1924 vol 173 cc2369-71

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Schedule stand part of the Bill."


I have put down an Amendment to leave out the Schedule in order to have a statement as to the reason for putting it in in this particular form. In the original Bill introduced by the late Government there was no Schedule, and I understand it has been put in in order that people may know what are the claims that are barred. But if you read the words of the Preamble it is clear that the Schedule is not inclusive, and we are in the position of having a Schedule which names some of the claims which are barred, but not all. Either the Schedule should be inclusive of all possible claims or there should be no Schedule at all.


I daresay the right hon Gentleman is right from the point of view of elegance, but the Bill of the late Government was entirely unintelligible. The right hon. Gentleman suggests that because there are general words in the Bill, as there were originally, that renders the Schedule somewhat inconclusive. As a matter of fact, it serves the useful purpose of making the Bill more intelligible to the ordinary lay reader. The right hon. Gentleman himself agrees that it is necessary to have general words, but the Schedule is not in derogation of those words, and it has the merit of making the Bill intelligible. These charges and licences were made or issued by any number of separate Departments which have since been abolished, and the records have been very largely destroyed and the officers dispersed. It does not seem possible to make a list which could be said to be absolutely complete of all the fees paid and charged. For that reason we want the general words, and, in order to make the Bill as intelligible as possible, a list is given of as many kinds of charges as can now be traced.


I am not quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman has given a satisfactory answer on the point. I have handed in an Amendment to leave out, in line 16 of the Preamble, the words "certain charges including," so that the Bill will be limited to the Schedule. The right hon. Gentleman said something about elegance. The right hon Gentleman said the Bill introduced by the late Government was not elegant.


No. I said the Schedule was not very elegant.

12.0 M.


I leave the question of elegance to the right hon. Gentleman. As this method has been adopted of having a Schedule, I think the Schedule should be respectively the Schedule. Those who practice in the Courts often hear criticism of the Legislature; I had that privilege this morning. When the opportunity arises, we ought to see to it that a Bill is put in the proper form. The right hon. Gentleman says that a number of charges may arise as to which nobody knows the facts at the moment, or the merits or the legal position. We ought not to legislate in the dark. When this point has been dealt with I intend to move to leave out from the Preamble the words "certain charges, including."


I have an Amendment dealing with that.

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