HC Deb 28 July 1927 vol 209 cc1602-4

Lords Amendment:

In page 8, line 6, leave out Sub-section (2) and insert: ("(2) Subject as hereinafter provided, any established civil servant who contravenes the Regulations made under this Section shall be disqualified for being a member of the Civil Service: Provided that in the case of a first offence a civil servant shall forthwith be warned by the head of his Department, and the said disqualification shall not take effect if within one month after such warning the civil servant ceases to contravene the said Regulations.")


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


I want in a few sentences to express my satisfaction at this Amendment, which I tried in vain, both in Committee and on Report, to induce the Government to accept. The Sub-section, as originally drawn, was that if a man committed an offence, however slight, there was no remedy, and he became disqualified, ipso facto, and that was the end of it. By this very just Amendment there is what I believe the legal gentlemen call a locus penitentiæ. For the first offence he is cautioned and power is given for him to be excused if he ceases the offence. I beg to thank the Government and the other House for the Amendment.


In a sentence, we must not be taken, because we assent to this Amendment, as associating ourselves in the least with the penal Clauses in regard

to civil servants. We are thankful that there was a Labour Peer in the douse of Lords and thankful to the Peers in the other House generally for having had more common sense than the Government.


There are some people, such as the hon. Member for the Central Division of Portsmouth (Sir H. Foster), who are very easily satisfied. I confess I am not at all satisfied with this Amendment. The mere fact that the penalisation is not as heavy now as it was before, and that there is a month's grace given, is not making the Hill any better. It is still a vicious Measure, and could only be brought forward by people with vicious minds.