HC Deb 22 March 1935 vol 299 cc1518-20

12.59 p.m.


Before I call the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell)—in page 38, line 23, to leave out "twelve" and to insert "six "—I want to point out that this is a repetition Clause. Normally, we should not take this Amendment. However, there is a special reason why it should be selected.

1 p.m.


I beg to move in page 38, line 23, to leave out "twelve ", and to insert "six ".

We consider that twelve months is too long, and that the Chamber or Chambers should be called within at least six months of the last session. The provision ought to be that it should be called within six months of the previous sitting and not within twelve months.

1.1 p.m.


This Sub-section is founded on equivalent wording in all the Dominion Constitutions. We consider that, especially in the circumstances of India, it is particularly important to retain the Sub-section. There is no intention that the Governor should dispense with the sittings of the Provincial Legislature. The difficulty arises out of the particular situation in India. In India very often the Provincial Legislature will meet in the month of February and sit, say, to the end of March. There are then climatic conditions which make it extremely uncomfortable to conduct business, and the result is that there sometimes occurs a period of over six months between one session of the Legislature and another. The practical effect of the hon. Member's Amendment would be that it would be necessary to prorogue the Legislature in a Province on each occasion. We maintain that that would be extremely inconvenient. There has been no abuse hitherto. This is merely a formal provision, and there is no intention that the Governor should not summon the Legislature for a particular period. In reality we consider that business would be very much upset by prorogation, and I hope that the hon. Member will not press his Amendment.

1.2 p.m.


I should like us to be careful about always adopting these precedents that we get from colonial Legislatures. I realise the difficulty about the climate. Perhaps six months is too short, although we think that twelve months is too long. In that case, we might perhaps agree on eight or nine months, but I do not like leaving the period this very long time, over twelve months, in which the Chamber shall not meet. It is true, as you said, Captain Bourne, that this is a repetition Clause, and we do not propose to put the Committee to the trouble of dividing on a number of these repetition clauses; but it must not be taken that we in any way agree with them.

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 63 to 65 ordered to stand part of the Bill.