HC Deb 28 July 1927 vol 209 cc1607-9

Lords Amendment:

In page 2, line 27, at the beginning, insert: Subject to the provisions of this Act, moneylenders' Excise licences shall be in such form as the Commissioners of Customs and Excise may direct, and shall be granted on payment of the appropriate duty by any officer of Customs and Excise authorised by the Commissioners to grant them, and Regulations made by the said Commissioners may make provision as to the procedure to be followed in making application for moneylenders' Excise licences: Provided that.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. William Watson)

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

This, really, is a drafting Amendment for the convenience of the moneylender. The Commissioners of Excise have probably the power now to make Regulations with regard to applications. This Amendment is to make it quite clear so that moneylenders who desire to make applications for licence will know where to go and in what form the application should be.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

I do not desire to detain the House at any length on this Amendment, but I want to enter my protest as to the way the House is being treated in regard to the proceedings on this Bill. I think it shows a want of respect to the dignity and reputation of this House. I sat on the Committee upstairs which considered this Bill for some considerable time, and for some weeks we did not have the assistance of any of the Law Officers of the Crown; in fact, it was only at the very end of the Committee stage that we were able to get them to attend. All I want to do now is to say that this Bill left the House of Commons on the 4th July and it was in the House of Lords on the 6th July, but these Amendments were only available to Members of this House at 4 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon last, the 26th July. The House of Commons cannot allow its privileges to be shorn away in this way. I do not think the explanation given by the Lord Advocate in regard to this particular Amendment is sufficient. I do not think it is going to make the Bill any clearer than it was when it left the House of Commons. I do not know where the delay has been, but I do not think Noble Lords should try to ride roughshod over Members of the House of Commons in this way.


As a member of the Select Committee which was appointed by this House 2½ years ago to consider this question, I hope I may crave the indulgence of hon. Members while I put forward two or three considerations without keeping the House too long. It is extremely difficult to speak on a subject of this character, because obviously one may be very easily misunderstood—


We can only discuss the exact Amendment which is now before the House. We cannot review the Bill as a whole, or the other proceedings on the Bill.


I am much obliged, Mr. Speaker, for your guidance. My lack of experience in this House led me astray. With respect to the particular Amendment we are called upon to discuss at the moment, I want to point out that there are 19 or 20 Amendments and three new Clauses in the place of two Clauses which have been struck out. I submit that after we have given 10 days' consideration to this Bill in the Committee upstairs, with four hon. Members belonging to the Bar, as well as three solicitors, and two barristers on the Committee, we should riot be asked to accept the view of members of another place, who in the course of a short discussion of two hours consider that they can submit something which is better than we proposed upstairs. The Committee upstairs discussed this Bill line by line for 10 days. It was only discussed for two hours in the House of Lords, and I submit, quite seriously, that it is not a sound reflection on the good sense of this House that we should be asked to accept the view of a few people in another place without any consideration. I may be a humble Member of this House, but I desire to uphold the dignity and responsibility of this Chamber as against the decisions of another place.

Subsequent Lords Amendments to page 3, line 5, agreed to.