§ Order for consideration of Lords Amendment read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendment be now considered."—[Mr. Guinness.]
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
On a point of Order. Before the House takes this Amendment into consideration, I should like to ask your opinion, Mr. Speaker, upon a point which appears to be of some constitutional interest, namely, whether it is within the power of this House to consider the Amendment, in view of the provision of the Parliament Act, which appears to govern this particular Bill. This Bill was endorsed by you as a Money Bill, under Section 1 of the Parliament Act. That Section states:If a Money Bill, having been passed by the House of Commons, and sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session, is not passed by the House of Lords without Amendment within one month after it is so sent up to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary, be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified, notwithstanding that the House of Lords have not consented to the Bill.This Bill was sent up to another place as long ago as 5th May. It was returned here on 26th May, with an Amendment, and, so far as I know, no action has been taken by this House in the matter. It would appear, therefore, that, under the Parliament Act, the Bill is now ready, and has been ready for the last week or ten days, for the Royal Assent. As no action has been taken by this House, it seems to me that someone or other should have presented the Bill to His Majesty for the Royal Assent, and that consequently we cannot take into consideration the Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is no part of my functions, fortunately, to give legal interpretations of Acts of Parliament. All that I can say is that this House has ordered this matter for consideration this day, and that is enough for me to say that it is competent for the House, therefore, to deal with the business which it, itself, has ordered to be considered.
On that point of Order. Supposing that the- persons in charge of 2178 Government business, by design, so arranged that the provisions of the Parliament Act should be rendered nugatory, what remedy would other Members have?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That has not occurred in this case. This Bill was set down within the month referred to in the Act, and from time to time it was postponed by the House, and a later date was fixed for it. I had better not deal with hypothetical cases,
I was not raising merely a hypothetical question. I was very anxious that something should be said to prevent any loss by this House of its powers under the Parliament Act.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think that really arises. It does not seem to me that there is any danger of losing the powers of this House under the Parliament Act
§ Lords Amendment considered accordingly.