HC Deb 23 November 1926 vol 200 cc324-30

I beg to move, in page 9, line 4, to leave out the word "twenty," and t3 insert instead thereof the word "forty."

I hope that the new spirit prevailing on the Front Government Bench will be followed by an acceptance of this Amendment. I am now, to some extent, an "old Parliamentary hand," and have had some experience of how ineffectual this apparently generous provision is in actual fact, and how very difficult it is—I once endeavoured to do it—to carry an address to His Majesty. The difficulty is to find time and to get the necessary number of Members together. To the ordinary Member of the House, the Table is filled with papers, documents, Bills, and so on, and it is only by keeping very much awake, and, perhaps, not attending Committees, that one can possibly master, in the ordinary Parliamentary day, all the documents that, are sent through the post from various sources to the ordinary private Member, and it is difficult for the trading interests concerned to find some Member to take up their case in connection with a matter of this kind. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to ask for a longer period than the twenty days provided in the Bill. Of course, if no objection is taken, the Order, at the end of the forty days, will have the force of law, but I do think we are entitled to a reasonable period for the ventilation of grievances and the bringing into play of the machinery of Parliament. If words of this character are to be embodied in the Bill, they should be a reality end not a sham, and I say that a period of twenty days is quite inadequate for the purpose.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This is not the first time that we have dealt with the question of the period that is to elapse. The hon. Member must bear in mind that the 20 days provided in the Bill are 20 sitting days of Parliament, and the sittings of this House and another place for that number of days really extend over a considerably longer period. I do not feel that I can agree, and I am sure my right hon. Friend, were he here, would not agree to extend this time to 40 days, which might, in certain circumstances—at the end, we will say, of a Session in August—throw an Order right over into the following year, and cause the greatest possible inconvenience. I regret, therefore, that I cannot accept the Amendment.


The hon. Gentleman's remarks again have been not so much directed to replying to the observations of the Mover of the Amendment as to the question of expediency in regard to Parliamentary time. The object of the Amendment is of necessity to safeguard traders who, under the, terms of the Bill, will have no time to make sure what they ought to sell and how they ought to sell it, and, unless ample notice is given of any Order that is made, or any new Schedules of various goods which have to be marked, it is quite certain that prosecutions, if the law is going to be administered strictly, will be fairly numerous. It, may very well be that we are not going to fill our prisons with business people who have fallen foul of the law—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—but the hon. Gentleman must be aware that this is an extraordinary Bill. The hon. Gentleman himself, the President of the Board of Trade, and the Minister of Agriculture, have all actually declared to-day that various parts of the Bill are so delicate that they scarcely know whether they are doing right or wrong in rejecting an Amendment or in forcing new Clauses upon the House, and it seems to me that the very doubt which they have themselves expressed, and the fact that all these various matters are to be left to be dealt with by committees who will investigate each individual case and each individual commodity, ought at least to justify the hon. Gentleman in giving the maximum amount of time, so as to insure the minimum number of prosecutions, in view of the extraordinary nature of the Bill. I think that 40 days is not an excessive time to enable not only Members of Parliament but tradesp[...]ople generally—importers, wholesalers and retailers—to get a thorough grasp of their future legal obligations and duties. For these reasons, and many more that the hon. Gentleman himself could give, did he desire to do so, I am supporting this Amendment, and I hope at all events that, apart from the mere question of any difficulty that may arise in regard to Parliamentary time, Parliamentary recesses, and so forth, he will attempt some reply as to the legitimacy of imposing new Orders and new statutory obligations on traders within such a short space of time.


I really do not like to sit down under a charge of skating over this important Amendment, and I hope the hon. Member does not really think I wish to evade anything. Let me just shortly call this to his mind. This period of 20 days is only a part of the whole period. In the first place, there is the 28 days' notice before a committee can begin an inquiry after notice of the inquiry has been given. Then there is the period occupied by the inquiry itself, which may be a matter of weeks. Then the result has to be sent to the Department, the Department has to give consideration to it, the Order has to be drawn up, and it, has to be laid for this period, which in itself may extend over 40 actual days. Then the Order is made. During all this time, every stage is accompanied by the most elaborate kind of publication. I really do not think it is reasonable, considering this as a part of the whole time to be occupied, to ask that it should be extended.

Mr. T. WILLIAMS rose

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain FitzRoy)

The hon. Member can speak only once.


I only want to put a question.


The hon. Member can put a question.


The hon. Gentleman has explained that various proceedings will have to take place before notice is given and the papers are laid for 20 days. Do not all the proceedings preceding the laying of the paper on the Table of the, House warrant a further period of time, since all traders will be in a position of doubt till the last minute?

Question put, "That the word 'twenty' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 217; Noes, 99.

Division No. 490.] AYES. [8.57 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Cope, Major William Haslam, Henry C.
Albery, Irving James Courtauld, Major J. S. Hawke, John Anthony
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)
Apsley, Lord Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Dalkeith, Earl of Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Dakiel, Sir Davison Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Astor, Viscountess Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Ycovil) Hills, Major John Waller
Atholl, Duchess of Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Davies, Dr. Vernon Holt, Captain H. P.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Dawson, Sir Philip Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)
Balniel, Lord Dean, Arthur wellesley Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Drewe, C. Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Barnett Major Sir Richard Edmondson, Major A. J. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bethel, A. Elliot, Major Walter E. Hudson, R. s. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Betterton, Henry B. Ellis, R. G. Hurst, Gerald B.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Elveden, Viscount Hiffe, Sir Edward M
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-S.-M) Jackson, sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen't)
Blundell, F. N. Everard, W. Lindsay Jephcott, A. R.
Boothby, R. J. G. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Kidd J. (Linlithgow)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Finburgh, S. King, Captain Henry Douglas
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Ford, Sir P. J. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Little, Dr. E. Graham
Boyd-carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Foster, Sir Harry S. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Braithwaite, A. N. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Frece, Sir Walter de Loder, J. de V.
Briqgs, J. Harold Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lord, Walter Greaves-
Briscoe, Richard George Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Brittain, Sir Harry Galbraith, J. F. W. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Gates, Percy MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Buckingham, Sir H. Goff, Sir Park Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Bullock, Captain M. Gower, Sir Robert Mclean, Major A.
Burman, J. B. Grace, John Macmillan, Captain H.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Graham, Frederick F. (Cumb'ld., N.) McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Greene, W. P. Crawford Macquisten, F. A.
Campbell, E. T. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Man Robert, Alexander M.
Cassels, J. D. Grotrian, H. Brent Mactland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prismth, S.) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Maione, Major P. B.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Mainingham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Chapman, Sir S. Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Margesson, Captain D.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Hammersley, S. S. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Hanbury, C. Meller, R. J.
Christie, J. A. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Merriman, F. B.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Harrison, G. J. C. Meyer, Sir Frank
Clarry, Reginald George Hartington, Marquess of Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Woddington, R.
Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R. (Ayr) Sandeman, A. Stewart Wallace, Captain D. E.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Sandon, Lord Warner, Brigadier General W. W.
Neville, R. J. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Savery, S. S. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Nuttall, Ellis Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew, W.) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Watts, Dr. T.
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Shepperson, E. W. Wells, S. R.
Penny, Frederick George Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Smithers, Waldron White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Spender-Clay, Colonel H. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Pleiou, D. p. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Power, Sir John Cecil Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colnnel George
Price, Major C. w. M. Storry-Deans, R. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Eat
Radford, E. A. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Wise, Sir Fredric
Raine, W. Streatfield, Captain S. R. Womersley, W. J.
Rawson, Sir Cooper Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'qe & Hyde)
Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Reid, D. D. (County Down) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Remer, J. R. Templeton, W. P. Wragg, Herbert
Remnant, Sir James Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Ropner, Major L. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell- TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A. Tinne, J. A. Captain Lord Stanley and Captain
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Viscount Curzon.
Rye, F. G. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Riley, Ben
Ammon, Charles Georqe Hardie, George D. Ritson, J.
Attlee, Clement Richard Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Baker, Walter Hayday, Arthur Scrymqeour, E.
Barnes, A. Hayes, John Henry Scurr, John
Batey, Joseph Henderson, T (Glasgow) Sexton, James
Bromfield, William Hirst, G. H. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bromley, J. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Sitch, Charles H.
Buchanan, G. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Charleton, H. C. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Clowes, S. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Cluse, W. S. Kelly, W. T. Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Connolly, M. Kennedy, T. Stamford, T. W.
Cove, W G. Lansbury, George Stephen, Campbell
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lawrence, Susan Sullivan, Joseph
Crawfurd, H. E. Lawson, John James Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton), E.)
Dalton, Hugh Lee, F. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Lindley, F. W. Thurtle, Ernest
Davies, Evan (Ebbw vale) Lowth, T. Townend, A. E.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda
Day, Colonel Harry MacLaren, Andrew Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Dennison, R. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Westwood, J.
Duckworth, John March, S. Whiteley, W.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Maxton, James Wiggins, William Martin
Enqland, Colonel A. Montague, Frederick Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Forrest, W. Oliver, George Harold Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Gardner, J. P. Owen, Major G. Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)
Gibbins, Joseph Palin, John Henry Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Goslinq, Harry Paling, W. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Ponsonby, Arthur Windsor, Walter
Groves, T. Potts, John S. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W. Purcell, A. A.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Rees, Sir Beddoe TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Sir Robert Hutchison and Mr.
Percy Harris.

I beg to move, in page 9, line 12, to leave out from the word "Department" to the word "be" in line 16.

This, together with the next Amendment, is consequent upon the new Clause giving a dispensing power to the Department where it is desirable to relieve an industry which is suffering inconvenience or difficulty under the Order.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 9, line 17, leave out from the word "in" to the end of the Clause, and insert instead thereof the words like manner, and the foregoing provisions of this Act with respect to the making of Orders in Council shall, subject to the necessary modifications, have effect accordingly."—[Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister.]