HC Deb 07 April 1936 vol 310 cc2642-4

The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. FOOT.

In page 28, line 33, leave out front "Act," to "and," in line 35.


I observe that an Amendment on this point has been put on the Order Paper by the Minister of Agriculture. I should have preferred my own Amendment, but there is no doubt that the Minister's Amendment does meet the point which we have in mind and, therefore, in order to meet the convenience of the House, I do not propose to move my Amendment.

4.20 p.m.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. T. M. Cooper)

I beg to move: in page 28, line 34, to leave out "or are in his opinion necessary or desirable," and to insert: and for such consequential or supplementary matters as may be necessary. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot), which he has just withdrawn, drew attention to the language of Clause 29 in relation to the rule-making power of the Minister. A great deal is to be done under this Bill by the mechanism of the Minister making rules. Special provision is made for the purpose for which these rules have to be made, and I think that every possible purpose is specifically covered. Having regard to the complicated character of the Bill it was thought desirable to make provision for the possibility of further procedure rules being required for "any such consequential or supplementary matters," and it is for that purpose that the Amendment is moved. I agree that the words in the Bill are probably too wide for that purpose.

4.22 p.m.


We desire to thank the Lord Advocate and the Minister of Agriculture for meeting the point we had in mind in our Amendment, but I should like to take this opportunity of saying that such Amendments really ought not to be necessary. As the Clause stood the Minister himself was the sole judge of the need for or the validity of any rule which was made under the Bill. We have been familiar with Clauses of this kind in Government Bills in the last few years. There is the conclusive evidence Clause, which occurs in a large number of existing Statutes and which has been condemned in most emphatic terms by the Committee on Ministers' Powers. There is a provision which says that "rules or regulations shall have effect as if they were enacted in the Act," a provision about which some of our Judges have expressed themselves in strong terms. In the present Bill we have the same provision in a new form of words. It would have made it exceedingly difficult for the validity of any rule which was purported to be made under this Bill to be challenged in the courts. We hope it will be clearly understood by those who are responsible for the drafting of Bills which come before this House, that there are some hon. Members who make it their business to keep a look-out for this form of Clause and who will challenge it on every future occasion.

Amendment agreed to.