HC Deb 04 February 1943 vol 386 cc1048-9
45. Flight-Lieutenant Raikes

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give an assurance that in future no order, rules or by-laws will be made in pursuance of a Defence Regulation which is inconsistent with the provisions of enactments other than the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939.

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

When for the purposes of the defence of the realm or the successful prosecution of the war a Defence Regulation has been made authorising a Minister to make orders varying some specified statutory enactment, I clearly could not give an assurance that no use will be made of this power. If, however, my hon. and gallant Friend's point is that any variation of statutory enactments should be effected by a provision in a new Defence Regulation rather than by an order made under a Defence Regulation, I recognise the force of this consideration, and it is one that is constantly kept in mind. There are, however, cases in which the only appropriate or practicable method of effecting particular variations of statutory enactments is by means of subordinate orders. For example, this is the only appropriate way of effecting temporary or local variations of some statutory provision to meet some exceptional emergency. Again, when it is necessary to control a particular undertaking or class of undertakings and to relieve the undertakers from some statutory obligation or limitation, this can only be done by particular orders. It would clearly be impracticable to make a new Defence Regulation on every occasion when some fresh undertaking or group of undertakings is brought under control.

Sir Irving Albery

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether that answer was drafted before or after the Debate which took place yesterday?

Mr. Attlee

I am not aware of the precise hour of the day when the Question was drafted. I know when it came to me. I presume it was after. I do not know.

Mr. Holdsworth

May I ask whether in addition to what was suggested yesterday the right hon. Gentleman will give consideration to the drafting of any other new Regulations?

Mr. Attlee

I think one must deal with these matters on their merits. It is very difficult to answer without notice about specific points which are rather in the air.

Sir I. Albery

Will the right hon. Gentleman give personal consideration to the points Which were made in the Debate which came at the end of the proceedings yesterday?

Mr. Attlee

Yes, I am doing so.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman also inform the head of the Government that the ordinary people of this country will have noted that Regulations of this character were regarded as being all right as long as they affected only ordinary people, but that as soon as they affected big interests then another situation arose?