HC Deb 03 December 1934 vol 295 cc1235-8

I desire to ask your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on a question of which I have given you private notice, namely, to ask if your attention has been drawn to the terms of the Financial Resolution relating to depressed areas, and, in view of the fact that the old Rule of the House, namely, that a Financial Resolution covered only the portions of the Bill in italics, has now been extended, if you can say whether there is a limit to the portions of a Bill that may be included in a Financial Resolution?


The hon. Member must understand that it is really no concern of mine what the Resolution has in it, provided it conforms with the Rules of the House. At the same time, it must be evident to all hon. Members that under the new procedure which has been adopted by this House for some years now, Members are very much restricted in their powers to move Amendments either on a Resolution itself or indeed on the Committee stage of a Bill. If I were asked for my opinion on the subject, I should say that not only has the limit been reached, but that it has been rather exceeded in the amount of detail which is put in a Money Resolution.


While thanking you for your reply, Mr. Speaker, may I ask if you are satisfied that the practice of including in a Money Resolution matter which does not effect a charge on the revenue comes strictly within Standing Orders Nos. 63 and 69?


I tried to make it clear that it was not a question of my satisfaction as to whether that was the case or not, but I gave a hint as to the practice which has been adopted.


While thanking you, Sir, for that Ruling on a matter which has been troubling many of us since we saw this Money Resolution on the Paper, may I ask if your definition given now will affect to some extent the broader interpretation given by others than yourself in accepting Amendments?


I do not think it affects it one way or the other. I tried to explain that the only thing that concerns me is whether the terms of the Resolution conform with the Rules of the House. That is the only thing I have to consider.


We would like to be clear on this point. If this Money Resolution is carried on the Report stage to-morrow night, shall we be entitled on the Committee stage of the Bill to move Amendments with regard to the two commissioners, and the names of the places which are mentioned in the Resolution?


I should not like to give the hon. Member a definite answer. In the first place, I should like to see the Amendments which the hon. Member suggests might be moved to the Bill: and, in the second place, I must inform him that I have nothing to do with the Committee stage of the Bill.


If, as you have informed the House, Mr. Speaker, the limits of this sort of procedure have already been exceeded, may I ask to what authority a private Member can look for protection against the Government emasculating debate by exceeding the ordinary Rules of Procedure?


I hope that the hon. Member does not misunderstand me. I did not suggest that the Rules of Procedure had been exceeded. I only said that the powers given under the Rules of Procedure have really reached their limit. They affect the Government as well as private Members.


I understood you to say that not only had these limits been reached, but that, in your judgment, they

had been exceeded. As the liberties of the private Member are gravely curtailed by the form in which the Government draft the Money Resolution, and as they have drafted it to include many particulars formally left out, the power of private Members to put down Amendments is limited. If we cannot have the protection of you, Mr. Speaker, or of the Chairman of Committees, to whom can we look for protection to prevent this invasion of private Members' rights?


I can but repeat that all I have to do is to concern myself with the Rules of the House, and to see that they are conformed with. The House has it in its own power to amend Standing Orders whenever it pleases. It is out of my hands entirely.

Back to