HC Deb 17 January 1945 vol 407 cc289-91

(1) Where it appears to the Secretary of State that by reason of special circumstances affecting any local authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act, 1933, or the London Government Act, 1939, the provisions of Sections four and five of this Act are, in relation to that authority or some part of the members thereof, either inapplicable or in- adequate without some addition or modification, he may by order make such provision as appears to him to accord with the principles of those Sections and to be necessary or expedient, in consequence of the passing of the Local Elections and Register of Electors (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1939, and the Acts amending and continuing that Act and of the repeal of those Acts by this Act, for the purpose of securing that the authority shall be, and be deemed always to have been, duly constituted.

  1. (2) The Secretary of State may also by order make such provision as appears to him to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving effect to the said Sections and, in particular for the holding of any election required thereby to be held.
  2. (3) Any provision of any order made under this Section may apply either generally to any class of local authority or to any particular local authority.
  3. (4) Any order made under this Section shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any enactment (including an enactment contained in this Act), or anything in any instrument made by virtue of any such enactment.
  4. (5) Any order made under this Section shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after it is made, but Section one of the Rules Publication Act, 1893, shall not apply to any order so made.
  5. (6) If either House of Parliament within the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the date on which any such order is laid before it, resolves that the order be annulled, the order shall thereupon become void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or to the making of a new order.
  6. (7) In reckoning any such period of twenty-eight days, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
  7. (8) In the application of this Section to Scotland for any reference to a local authority there shall be substituted a reference to a county, town or district council and for any reference to Sections four and five of this Act there shall be substituted a reference to Sections nine and ten of this Act.—[The Solicitor-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

We have now left the Clauses which deal with postal voting, and this new Clause has to deal with one point with regard to the local government elections. As I explained very shortly, in relation to the anticipatory Amendment to this Clause, a number of different situations have arisen with regard to boroughs. In some cases, they have had a special election for extra councillors. In other cases, they have only held their Charter election, and in still further cases, they have not yet held their Charter election. In other cases, there are alterations of boundaries which have either just been made or are pending. The result is that Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill will not work without alteration or modification in certain cases, and this Clause empowers the Secretary of State to make an Order in accordance with the principle of these Clauses to deal with the situation consequent on the existence and repeal of the Local Elections Act, 1939, and to secure that the local authority in question is and always has been clearly and properly constituted. That is the gist of Sub-section (1) of the Clause.

5.0 p.m.

Under Sub-section (2) the Secretary of State is empowered to secure an election in every case and the other Sub-sections contain certain consequential and necessary provisions. The Committee will observe that as we are dealing with strictly transitional problems arising out of the present situation there is the general power under Sub-section (4) that the Order will have effect notwithstanding the statutory provisions. That is a power which is only used in transitional matters like the present and it will be seen that it is subject to Parliamentary control, because it has to be laid under Sub-section (5) and is subject to a negative Resolution under Sub-section (6). The effect of the new Clause will be that whatever be the private difficulty of each class of boroughs or each borough, it will be able to have its election and its constitution will be preserved.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.