§ Order read for consideration of Lords Amendments.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]
§ 12.12 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Penrith)
On a point of Order. I desire very humbly to protest against the inadequate time that has been allowed hon. Members to study the Amendments which have come down from another place. These were available in the Vote Office at 11.15 a.m. yesterday. There are nearly 30 pages of Amendments, quite a number of which are not machinery or drafting or consequential Amendments, but involving matters of principle. I do humbly ask your guidance and protection, Mr. Speaker, in submitting that it does not give hon. Members fair time to study the Amendments when they have to be taken just over 24 hours after being available to us. With all respect, I would ask you, Sir, for your protection against the practice of rushing legislative Measures through the House of Commons, before hon. Members can have a chance of really taking an interest in them which, as the Prime Minister said, at Question Time today, they like to do.
§ Mr. Speaker
So far as I am concerned that is not a point of Order. Hon. Members have to protect themselves, and they can always do that by dividing against the Motion.
§ 12.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Greenwood (Wakefield)
I have given some consideration in the 24 hours that have elapsed since the Amendments were made public, and I do not agree that with the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion about rushing them. 2156 It was clearly understood that we were to get the Bill on the Statute Book this Session. I would congratulate my right hon. Friend the Minister on the way he has, in one series of the Amendments that have come to us from another place, fulfilled the undertakings given on the Report stage. So far as I have been able to go through the Amendments, he has fulfilled the pledges given earlier to the House. As to the remaining Amendments, I believe that in another place very full consideration has been given to them, and that there are improvements in the administration and machinery of the Bill on which, I think, another place is to be congratulated. So far as I and my hon. Friends are concerned, we shall support the Government in the Amendments before the House, and we shall do everything to facilitate the passage of the Bill as early as possible.
§ 12.14 p.m.
§ Earl Winterton, (Horsham and Worthing)
I think it only fair to the Minister to say that I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Penrith (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) has a very strong case. There are plenty of precedents for Lords Amendments being taken as they are being taken to-day. The hon. and gallant Member would have had a case if we were working under the Rule as to the Sittings of the House, but I understand that the Rule has been suspended. We can therefore go on as late as we like. In view of the handling of this Bill by the Minister and of the way in which his representative handled it on another place, I think it should be On record that in the opinion of some of us, the charge of the hon. and gallant Member is not sustained.
§ 12.16 p.m.
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South-West)
An important principle is involved in the request that reasonable time should be given to this House to consider Lords Amendments, and only unusual circumstances can justify any departure from that course. Therefore I do not think that the hon. and gallant Member for Penrith (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) ought to be criticised. In normal times it is reasonable that the House should have full time to consider Lords Amendments.
§ Question put, and agreed to.2157
§ Lords Amendments considered accordingly.
§ Lords Amendments to page 4, line 39, agreed to.