HC Deb 28 May 1936 vol 312 cc2372-3

Lords Amendment: In page 4, line 26, leave out "thereof," and insert "of the Committee."

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment"—[Dr. Burgin.]

12.15 a.m.


I wish to draw the attention of the House to the alteration made in the drafting in another place. Five out of these eight Amendments are such that I do not take any exception to them, but this particular Amendment, it seems to me, far from being an improvement, makes the sense worse and is certainly worse English. Probably every hon. Member from time to time falls into the trap of using loose expressions or even bad English, but that is no reason why we should have these faults and errors in Acts of Parliament. Sometimes one finds that the language of an Act of Parliament is extremely complicated, so complicated indeed that sometimes it is very difficult for the ordinary person to understand it. This is not one of those cases, but the alteration which is proposed is not sound and it would not be advisable to include it.

The Amendment suggests that instead of the word "thereof" in Sub-section (4) of Clause 3, there should be introduced the words "of the committee". At present the words in the Bill read as follow: At any meeting of the Advisory Committee, three shall be a quorum, and the committee shall have power to act notwithstanding any vacancy among the members thereof. Now, what can be the possible reason for including the words "of the committee" instead of "thereof "? The only possible reason I can find is that they were afraid in another place that "thereof" might be taken to refer to the quorum. To my mind it is not sensible to suppose that the word, "thereof" could refer to the quorum, because a quorum cannot have a vacancy in it. If this House is always to accept any so-called improvements of drafting from another place without any examination, I think we may see in our Acts of Parliament still further confusion and more sloppiness of language than we have at the present time.


Surely the words which the Lords suggest make the Sub-section clearer.


No, they do not