HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 cc2057-8

As amended, considered.

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Major Milner)

I beg to move, That Standing Orders 240 and 262 be suspended and that the Bill be now read the Third time.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

Regarding this Motion put down by the Chairman of Ways and Means to suspend the Standing Orders, I think the House should protest against what has been happening on this particular Bill. The Selection Committee originally put down this Bill for 6th July, and a week's postponement was asked with a view to the possibility of the opposition being withdrawn. Another postponement was asked for to 13th July, and a third postponement was asked for to 20th July, with the result that the Private Bill Committee which was set up—the declarations were duly signed, as you know, Mr. Speaker, because I had to consult you—had its composition changed at the last minute when another Member had to come in to take the place of one who could not sit on 20th July. As you know very well, Mr. Speaker, Members are very busy. When these Private Bill Committees are set up the only way the Members are able to make their plans is by knowing when Bills will come before them. In this case nearly a month was occupied. Now Standing Orders have had to be suspended in order to get the Bill. I do not want to object, but I want to protest strongly against these postponements. I think if agents realise that we will not suspend Standing Orders to suit them, Bills would come before the Committees or the opposition to them would be withdrawn very much more quickly.

Major Milner

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bute and Northern (Sir C. MacAndrew) is perfectly in Order in making his protest, and I very much sympathise with him. The circumstances are, however, somewhat special in that the Bill is a very complicated one, and there have been a great number of authorities to consult. The promoters have expressed their regret to the House and to the Committee for the repeated adjournments, and I hope that under those circumstances the House will permit the Third Reading to be taken.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.