§ Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Bill be now read the Third time.
§ Mr. HAYES
I do not propose to keep the House long in connection with this Bill, but there are one or two points upon which I should like some information from the Home Secretary. The agreement that was arrived at in regard to the first portion of the Bill was based upon the findings of the Committee of which Lord Lee of Fareham was the Chairman, and that Committee's Report made it clear, in reference to the arrangement that had been agreed to, and that is embodied in the first portion of the Bill, with regard to increased deductions from pay from members of the police forces, that the representatives of the police forces—I am quoting from page 5 of the Report—urged thatsome improvements should be made in the existing scale of pensions, allowances, and gratuities for widows and children under the Police Pensions Act, 1921.I am not entirely referring, of course, to the position of the old widows, a position which was raised fairly well and to which we had a reply on the Second Reading of the Bill, but I am referring to the position of certain police officers' widows, and particularly those who are provided for neither in the recent legislation dealing with widows and orphans, nor in any of the Acts referring to the police forces themselves.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson - Hicks)
On a point of Order. May I ask whether it is permissible on the Third Reading of a Bill to deal with questions which are not contained in the Bill, and which the hon. Member may possibly think ought to have been contained in the Bill? I submit that questions relating to police widows and so forth are quite out of order on the Third Reading stage.
It is an accepted rule, which has been enforced by Mr. Speaker, that on the Third Reading of a Bill we may only discuss the contents of the Bill, and that on Second Reading we may discuss anything congruous that is not in the Bill which hon. Members think should be in it.
§ Mr. HAYES
What I am endeavouring to discuss is a Clause in the Police Pensions Bill which increases the deductions from pay in respect to superannuation, and I submit that I am in order in referring to superannuation, in respect to which deductions are paid. My only reason for wishing to pursue this matter is to know whether, in agreeing to this Clause, the wishes expressed in the Lee Report are likely to be given effect to by the right hon. Gentleman as arising under this Bill, or in connection with any Regulations he may subsequently make. One of the discrepancies which the police desire to have removed is the position of the widow of the police officer with less than five years' service.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
On a point of Order. It seems to me quite useless that we should attempt to discuss the introduction of widows' pensions, or the increase of widows' pensions, on a Bill which deals entirely with a different subject. There is nothing in this Bill, and no money can be provided under it, to increase widows' pensions. The question was raised on Second Reading, and I had to say then that it was impossible to include widows' pensions in this Bill. I submit therefore, that the hon. Member is out of order in attempting to raise this question.
I am not, clear that I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's argument. I understood him to argue, on Clause 1, that the deductions there mentioned would have an adverse effect on the position of wives and widows of police officers. But I now understand he puts forward a suggestion that there should be a revision of the scale of widows' pensions. That could not be done by administration, and there would have to be a Resolution of the House. If that be so, it will not be in order to discuss it on Third Reading.
§ Mr. HAYES
I am not referring to any widows' pensions or allowances that do not exist already, and in respect to which these deductions are earmarked. All I wanted was the courtesy of some information as to whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to make such adjustments within the existing limits of legislation as would meet a situation under which some widows are deprived of benefits by existing laws. It is a very 2766 simple question, and I thought the right hon. Gentleman might have been in a position to have said whether he proposes to deal with that point when he gets his Bill. If I remember rightly, several months ago, when I raised the matter by way of question and answer, he admitted that there were certain anomalies which were being looked into. With regard to the second portion of the Bill, may I refer the House to page 34 of the Mackenzie Committee Report, in respect to the inquiry as to the police officers who were dismissed from the service in 1919. I only want to refer him to paragraph 85. There is a reference there which states that, so far as the prison officers were concerned, the Committee thought that the Prison Commissioners might usefully exercise their discretion in giving an ex gratinpayment, and it is suggested that, by legislation or otherwise, this authority could be given to them. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to indicate whether he proposes to take any steps to give effect to that Report. With regard to that Clause in relation to the police strikers, I regret that he resisted the Amendffient in Committee to make the Bill compulsory, and I can only hope that the spirit of the gift which the right hon. Gentleman has given will find its way into the hearts of the watch committees who will be concerned by this Bill. It was only in that respect that I hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have been able to give us some indication of the steps he has taken to see that the committees carried out the Bill in the sense in which it was left to their discretion.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
The two first points raised by the hon. Gentleman are quite obviously out of order. It is quite impossible for me to reply to them, because the Bill does not apply to widows' pensions, and it has nothing to do with prisons officers. With regard to the third point, the hope he expressed that local authorities will carry out the provisions of the Bill in a kindly spirit, I can only say that my experience of local authorities leads me to believe that they will do so. The hon. Member asks what steps I have taken to communicate with the local authorities, but it is impossible for me to communicate with them until the Bill has passed. When the Bill passes 2767 through the House and it passed in another place, I shall then communicate with the local authorities.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Will the hon. Gentleman put a question down if he wants further information? I cannot, and I am not prepared to answer questions regarding prison officers on a Police Bill.
Question, "That the Bill be now read the Third time," put, and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.