HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc252-3

Mr. Turton:I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, at end, insert "by Order in Council."

We had a discussion upon this matter in Committee, and it was understood that at a later stage we should hear the Government's considered view on whether they could not appoint this Commission by Order in Council. It is clear that in fact the Commission will be appointed by Order in Council and what we want to have is the added assurance which we shall feel if the words of the Amendment are inserted in the Clause. It is most important in our view that this Commission should be appointed by His Majesty on the advice of the Prime Minister and not dealt with by any inferior Minister giving his advice. The House will find later in Clause 1 that when in course of time this Commission is dissolved, it is to be by Order in Council. It does seem to be a reasonable argument that, if an Order in Council is to dissolve the Commission, an Order in Council should constitute the Commission, and I hope that the Government will now be persuaded to accept the words that I have moved.

3.45 p.m.

Captain Duncan (Kensington, North)

I beg to second the Amendment.

The Attorney-General

I have considered my hon. Friend's suggestion very carefully, but I do not think, on consideration, that it will really help his purpose. He suggests the addition of the words "by Order in Council." The Bill says "by His Majesty," without specifying the formalities. This means by His Majesty, on submission by the Prime Minister, and, in my view, it is unnecessary to add the formality which my hon. Friend suggests. The real purpose which my hon. Friend had in mind, as I understood his speech, was that if you add the words "Order in Council" you ensure that the recommendation is that of the Prime Minister and not of any other Minister. I think that my hon. Friend, or any hon. Members who have had to deal with these matters, will agree with me that Orders in Council deal, and must deal, with a great variety of matters on the structure of past Acts and on any organisation of the governmental machine which cannot come near the Prime Minister. The suggestion of my hon. Friend will not achieve, or go any way to achieving, his own purpose, and for that reason I would ask him not to press it and the House not to accept it.

My hon. Friend, as always, makes a good debating point by his reference to the provision as to a dissolution, but there is, in my view, a clear difference between the ending of the operations of the Commission altogether and the appointment of individual Members. The dissolution of the Commission brings to an end the working of the procedure which this House has erected in the Bill, and that is probably a matter which may be dealt with by the procedure of an Order in Council. It is really irrespective of my hon. Friend's main point as to who should recommend the appointment. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend will accept the assurance that there is ho intention on the part of the Government of depreciating in any way the importance of these appointments or the procedure of appointment by the Prime Minister and on that assurance will not press his Amendment.

Mr. Turton

In view of the assurance which has been given, in which, I understand, the Prime Minister will in effect make the appointment, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.