HC Deb 06 November 1945 vol 415 cc1095-163

Order for Second Reading read.

3.22 p.m.

The Solicitor-General (Major Sir Frank Soskice)

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

This Bill is of a rather technical nature, dealing with certain aspects of what is referred to in this House as delegated legislation. The House recently has devoted a considerable amount of time to considering that type of legislation, and is anxious to watch it, to be sure that it proceeds on statutory lines and does not transgress certain interpretations which can be put upon it. This particular Bill is designed to clarify and introduce uniformity with regard to certain aspects of that type of legislation. The aspects which it deals with are the laying before the House of Orders made by Ministers, and Orders in Council made under powers conferred by an Act, and the machinery for requiring numbering, publication and sale of copies of such Orders, so that they are made readily accessible to the public, and all persons who have occasion to make use of them.

The House will be aware that the Select Committee on Statutory Rules and Orders, familiarly known as the Scrutinising Committee, has been doing valuable work in this regard. Its general terms of reference may be summarised by saying that it is to "keep an eye" on delegated legislation and statutory rules made under powers conferred on Ministers. That committee, which has been sitting since 1944, in October, 1944 presented a special report, in which it called attention to certain anomalies affecting delegated legislation, particularly in relation to the laying before Parliament of Statutory Orders made under powers conferred on a Minister. I propose to refer to these as "statutory instruments" because in the Bill that term has been adopted to describe them. By statutory instruments, I mean all rules, orders, bylaws and Orders in Council, made hereafter under Acts passed hereafter or Acts passed heretofore by Ministers or by His Majesty in Council pursuant to powers conferred by such Acts making such statutory instruments. I propose to refer to them comprehensively, for convenience sake, as statutory instruments. The scrutinising Committee as I say presented a special report in October, 1944. The Coalition Government devoted a great deal of time and thought to the recommendations in the report, and, in particular, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) worked on the questions raised. Now the present Government have inherited that problem with many others from the Coalition Government, and the "Caretaker" Government.

The Bill is designed to deal with these anomalies, and to provide a remedy for certain unfavourable features to which attention was called by the scrutinising committee in their special report. Briefly, the object of the Bill is in the first place, the removal of these anomalies, or supplying some sort of solution for the problems raised by the scrutinising committee. In the second place it seeks to repeal and reproduce what was valuable in the Rules Publication Act, 1893. The report of the Select Committee dealt with the matter, which, so far as present legislation is concerned, rests very largely upon the Rules Publication Act, 1893. Therefore in dealing with the anomalies to which the special report calls attention, the Govern- ment, in this new Bill, which I am recommending to the House, starts off by repealing the Rules Publication Act and bringing back again all that was good and should be preserved in the Rules Publication Act, and it provides its own remedies for dealing with the other anomalies which are referred to by the Select Committee in its special report.

With that general introduction, I want to examine rather more particularly the recommendations in the special report, and the anomalies with which it dealt. Hon. Members are familiar with the usual forms taken by statutory instruments. They will know that, broadly speaking, if a statutory instrument, that is to say, an Order made by a Minister, under power conferred upon him, is to be laid before the House, it is laid before the House or before Parliament, if it is to go before both Houses, in this form: It has to remain before the House for so many days, and then there has to be a negative Resolution which will put an end to its life, or alternatively, it has to be laid before the House, and then it is brought, shall I say, into permanent life by an affirmative Resolution. The Minister produces the statutory instrument and the power under which he produces it, requires that it shall be laid before Parliament in one of these two forms. That is to say, the Regulation or the Order which the Minister makes under the powers conferred on him, is to lie before Parliament. Sometimes in the first class of case it is said that it shall be valid for the object for which it is passed, unless after the expiry of so many days, a negative Resolution of the House is passed, with regard to that statutory instrument, in which case it comes to an end. The other case is that in which the statutory instrument lies before Parliament but does not have any statutory effect unless, within a certain period, Parliament passes an affirmative Resolution bringing that statutory instrument into effect. Broadly speaking those are the two forms which have been adopted in past and present legislation. It is these two forms to which one must address oneself, in dealing with the matters in the special report.

The scrutinising Committee in their Report called attention in the first place to this; that there is no sort of uniformity in the periods for which statutory instruments have to be laid before the House. If we examine the various Statutes which have been passed, which have conferred upon Ministers or upon His Majesty in Council the power to make a statutory instrument, we find that some provide that they shall lie before Parliament for 20 days, 21 days, 30 days, 40 days, a month and so on. There is also no uniform provision, as the law at present stands, which states how you are to reckon that period, whatever it is, that is whether you are to take into account the days on which the House is in Recess, when Parliament is prorogued, or when there is a Dissolution and so on. The first anomaly to which the Special Report called attention was that disparity in the periods for which a statutory instrument ought to be laid before Parliament and the disparity in the method of reckoning the periods whatever they were.

The first object of the Bill which I am commending to the House is to remove that anomaly by introducing the necessary legislative machinery to provide that, hereafter, whenever a statutory instrument is made and is laid before the House, under whatever terms the relevant enactment provides, a uniform period shall be adopted in every case, and that that period shall be 40 days; that there shall be, in relation to the period, a uniform method of reckoning the days and that that period shall be reckoned in terms of the days during which the House actually sits, apart from week-ends. That is the first change which the present Bill introduces.

I now invite the House to look at the second anomaly, to which the special Report called attention. Hon. Members will, no doubt, be familiar with the fact that when a Minister has to lay a statutory instrument before the House, in which powers are conferred upon him, it is simply said that he will lay it before the House "as soon as may be." There is no specific time limit imposed upon him. I emphasise that there is no method, within this phraseology, which gives a specific time limit, and as hon. Members no doubt remember, it has in the past led to unfortunate results. On one particular occasion a statutory instrument was not laid before the House for a number of years, because under such phraseology it is reasonablyeasy to overlook the period of time. The special Report drew attention to the very vague phraseology of the expression "as soon as may be" which is so often found in these instruments, and to the necessity of finding some more specific phraseology for the future so that there shall be a special time in which Ministers shall say that they will lay a statutory instrument before the House. That is the second matter to which the special Report calls attention.

The third matter with which I shall deal in passing, and which was specified in the special Report, is this. It was stated by the Committee that there was no sort of uniformity in enactments, in choosing between cases where the affirmative Resolution procedure is adopted, and cases where the negative Resolution procedure is adopted. I want to dispose of that right away, by saying, quite frankly, that the Bill does not attempt to meet that third criticism. It does not, for this reason, that Parliament must, in its choice of affirmative or negative procedure, depend on the actual type of Regulation which is in question, and the actual type of enactment under which the Regulation is made. I will make no further reference to that third criticism by the Committee. I would point out to the House that the very nature of the problem does a priori mean that, in legislation of this nature, it is better for the Minister to decide what procedure he will or will not adopt. The first two objects of the Bill then are, in the first place to introduce a period during which a statutory instrument must be laid before the House and the method of assessing that period; and in the second place to deal with the phrase "as soon as may be."

I now want to refer to the second set of criticisms because they are also relevant to the matter. I have referred to the Rules Publication Act. That Act has now been in force some 50 years. It has done its work well in some respects, but I ask the House to say it is high time that the Measure should be reviewed and if necessary repealed. This Bill does, in fact, set out by repealing the Rules Publication Act of 1893, but as I have said, it reintroduces its good features. Perhaps I may remind the House of some of the provisions of the Rules Publication Act. It enacted that statutory instruments they were called by another name but I am adopting that term—must be sent to the King's, or in those days to the Queen's printer; that they must be numbered; that they must be printed, and that copies must be prepared so as to be readily accessible to members of the public, and to any of the people who would have to make use of them. That is one of the good features of the Act and it has worked well, and one of its results is the compilation of that series of Statutory Rules and Orders, which now runs into many volumes and with which hon. Members are familiar—at any rate I hope they are, because it is obviously necessary to have them in some accessible form. That compilation was brought about by the provisions of the Act, and it is provided for, in the present Bill.

The Bill however leaves this out, which was contained in the Rules Publication Act of 1893. That Act provided that in cases of certain statutory instruments—not all, but certain of them—the Minister must before they come into effect, arrange for them to be inserted in the "Gazette" and that information should be given where copies of them could be obtained and representations made by the parties interested to the Minister or the Department which was drafting the statutory instrument in order to help in deciding what its final form should be. That, I might say, was a sort of antecedent publicity which could take place 40 days before the Act was passed. That is what that Act provided and that is what this Bill leaves out. I propose later to give the reason for that omission. Section 2 of the Act is a corollary to Section 1, which provided that notwithstanding that a Minister had to give these 40 days antecedent publicity he neverthless could, in urgent matters, have the power to make what was called a provisional Order, that is to say that where normally he had to give 40 days antecedent publicity, in such urgent cases he could immediately bring the provisional Order into operation. Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew (Ayr and Bute Northern): A provisional Rule.

The Solicitor-General

I am much obliged to the hon. and gallant Gentleman—that is correct, a provisional Rule. In order to clear up any possible confusion, I ought to say that the provisional Rule procedure specified by Section 2 of the 1893 Act, has nothing whatever to do with the procedure which is called the provisional Order procedure. That is altogether different. While I am in the course of this digression, may I also point out to the House that the Bill which I am submitting has nothing whatever to do with the Special Procedure Bill, which the House considered not so very long ago. This is a very wide field and the present Bill is concerned solely with this procedure, and not with the special procedure being set up under the other Bill I have mentioned. I was informing the House of the procedure provided by the antecedent publicity procedure. That procedure has been omitted from the present Measure. It was severely criticised by the special Report, and it has, in my submission to the House, flaws which cannot be remedied except at an excessive cost. It has not really any great value—not sufficient to justify its retention. I will give my reasons later for saying that.

I would like the House to consider briefly the provisions of the Bill. For the benefit of hon. Members who have not copies, I will indicate briefly, by reference to the Clauses, how it sets about achieving the objects I have outlined. Clause 1 defines the application of the Measure generally. It introduces the term "statutory instruments" which I have been using, and it provides that hereinafter where an Act uses that term the provisions of this Bill shall be attracted to that statutory instrument, and shall apply in regard to it. That is for the future. It also applies to statutory instruments such as are dealt with by the Rules Publication Act, 1893. Without being technical, I may say that the net effect is that Clause 1 of the new Measure means that it is to have a general application to all statutory instruments, with very few exceptions with which I need not trouble the House. Generally speaking, from now on all statutory instruments are to be covered by the Bill, and the provisions of the Bill shall apply to all statutory instruments.

Clause 2 introduces the provisions of the Rules Publication Act, 1893, relating to the publication, numbering and the furnishing of copies of statutory instruments. This is a Clause in which is introduced that which was good in the old Act. Without going into it in detail, I can tell the House that it introduces with it an amendment which improves the whole procedure, because curiously enough, the Rules Publication Act, 1893, when it set up this procedure for the publication of statutory instruments, was expressed so as to apply only to statutory instruments made by the Minister. I am trying not to become too technical. The alteration made by this present Bill is that now not only statutory instruments which are made by the Minister but also statutory instruments which are confirmed or approved by a Minister, are brought within the ambit of the publications procedure. That is the difference between the present Bill and the old Act to which I called attention. It is in the nature of an improvement, because there are sometimes provisions in an Act which provide that a Minister shall have power to approve and confirm an Order made by a subordinate body, and that would not have required publication under the terms of the old Act. It is now required, so that publication is much more comprehensive and embraces all those statutory instruments heretofore not included within the ambit of the scheme.

To hon. Members who have had an opportunity of reading Clause 3 of the Bill, it may seem rather complicated. At first sight it may not be altogether easy to define what its purpose is. I will endeavour to explain it to the House. As I informed the House, one of the points of the special Report was the vagueness of the phrase "as soon as may be." Clause 3 is designed to remedy that position. The special Report suggested that the proper way was to provide that the statutory instrument should be laid before the House within a certain period after it had been made, say five days, a fortnight, or something of that kind. That remedy has not been adopted for the purposes of the present Bill, because it is considered to be unworkable. I will explain what I mean by that. Supposing it is provided that a statutory instrument shall be laid before the House within 10 days after it is made, there must be some sort of sanction to make sure that that provision will be complied with. Obviously you cannot start sending a Minister to prison if he does not comply with it. [Hon. Members: Why not?] That may be a remedy which some hon. Members think appropriate, but we hope to devise a remedy which will be acceptable to all sides of the House. At all events, that is a remedy I would not venture to urge on the House. It is not the one which has been adopted.

It is clear that there must be some sanction; otherwise it is a waste of time to say that a statutory instrument has to be laid before the House in five days. The only sanction suggested is the sanction that if that is not complied with a statutory instrument should cease to have effect. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members say "Hear, hear," but I respectfully suggest for their consideration that in point of fact that really would not supply the remedy at all. It would lead to the most impossible difficulties in the matter of proof. In every court in the country which had to consider a statutory instrument the person who asserted it and relied on it would have affirmatively to prove that the statutory instrument had come into force. Hon. Members shake their heads, but I do not see how that would be avoided, and in order to do that, they would have to prove affirmatively that the statutory instrument had been laid before the House in the specified period. Whether they would call the Clerk of the House or not I do not know. In any police court throughout the Kingdom where it was necessary to rely on a statutory instrument that procedure, which is obviously a completely impossible one, would have to be resorted to, if that premise is correct. I see hon. Members shake their heads but I venture to suggest it would have to be done and that would be—

Mr. Molson (The High Peak)

In the case of an Act of Parliament, which is printed, that is taken as prima facie proof that an Act was duly passed. Could not the same thing apply to statutory instruments?

Sir Harold Webbe (Westminster, Abbey)

Would it not be possible to prove that a document had been laid by reference to the records of the House, and not by summoning any person such as the Clerk at the Table to give evidence?

The Solicitor-General

Perhaps I unwisely and indiscreetly built up a house of cards, and started knocking it down. It is not the remedy I am suggesting. If I may put before the House the remedy I am suggesting in the Bill, and hon. Members think it satisfactory, the question of whether some other remedy might work will not be relevant. Clause 3 provides that in the printed copies which are printed by the King's Printer, there will always be certain information shown on the outside of the Bill. That information. will be a statment showing the day on which the statutory instrument came into operation.

Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)

Or will come into operation.

The Solicitor-General

Also it will contain, if I may quote the words of the Clause: either a statement showing the date on which copies thereof were laid before Parliament or a statement that such copies are to be laid before Parliament.

Mr. Pickthorn

The date on which it was laid before Parliament, or the date on which it has to be laid before Parliment?

Sir H. Webbe

Without limit of time?

The Solicitor-General

I can conceive, as an exercise of the imagination, that the statement might run something like this: "This shall be laid before Parliament at the end of the year after next," but if it did, it would not really be assisting Members very much. If one reads the thing reasonably, it has to be within some reasonable time. It has either been done or is going to be done.

Mr. Manningham-Buller (Daventry)

If the Bill provides that the Order shall have printed on it the date when the Order was laid before Parliament, does not that dispose of the difficulty with regard to proof?

The Solicitor-General

No, not at all. I was very unwise to embark on a discussion of a solution that I had not adopted. I was trying to make the point that it is no use providing a specific period unless a sanction is provided. The sanction suggested was that if the requirement as to the specific period was not fulfilled the statutory instrument should automatically become void. Therefore, whenever in any court a question arose whether a person had committed any offence in relation to a statutory instrument, it would be necessary for the prosecution to show that at the particular time the statutory instrument had not become void because it had not complied with any specific time limit. That will not apply under the method adopted by Clause 3, because that Clause does not make a statutory instrument void. It says that a statutory instrument shall not be void, in connection with the negative resolution type of statutory instrument, but it says that on the copy which is published, this information must be shown, so that Parliament and members of the public shall know where they stand with regard to it.

In addition, the Clause says that the Treasury shall make a return to Parliament at specific periods, calling attention to any statutory instrument which has not been laid before Parliament, and explaining why such copies were not laid before Parliament. What is the net result of that? There is no avoiding procedure. Once a Minister has made an Order and it is an Order which would come into effect under the terms of the powers under which he makes it, it shall be in effect. If he forgets to lay it before the House there will be a report to that effect laid before the House by the Treasury, and the Minister will have to explain why he has not complied with the requirements. That is the way in which it is suggested it would work—[Interruption.] Some Ministers might be extremely embarrassed. He will be required to explain why it was not done. Once it has been brought to his attention that it has not been done he will immediately do it. Not only will his attention be called to it by the Treasury's report, but he will have it constantly pressing on his mind, because it is printed outside the statutory instrument that it had come into operation. Therefore, there is provided a procedure whereby everybody is reminded about any statutory instrument that has not been placed before the House, if, in fact, it has not been, and the possibility is thereby lessened.

It is intended to provide against a statutory instrument not being laid before the House through inadvertence because that is the only cause which is likely to lead to its not being laid before the House, and it is in respect of that, that it is proposed to lay down this new procedure. That is the remedy which is proposed in the Bill to meet the complaint or comment contained in the Special Report as to the possible consequences of using this particularly vague language "laid before the House as soon as may be." I want, at this stage, to adumbrate what the scheme is that we propose.

Sir C. MacAndrew

Before the hon. and learned Gentleman leaves this point, I would like to ask him whether I am right in thinking that now "as soon as may be" means any time within twice a year?

The Solicitor-General

I accept that from the hon. and gallant Gentleman. It can be construed rather according to one's temperament and point of view.

Sir C. MacAndrew

That is the fact?

The Solicitor-General

Yes, I accept it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman's criticism was what he had in mind, because he was very largely responsible for making the comment—an invaluable comment—and he had that in mind. A phrase like "as soon as may be" is extremely indefinite; some people construe that phrase against themselves, and some people construe it very much in their own favour. Possibly, to construe it as meaning six months hence, is going a little far but, in fact, the substance of the criticism remains that we do not want a vague phrase of that sort which, in the past has led to Orders not being laid before the House. One wants to provide by the system which is introduced in the Bill, something which will minimise the risk of that sort of inadvertence, and the sort of inadvertence which led to an unfortunate case during the war. I respectfully ask the House to take the view that the system which is outlined in Clause 3 does, in fact, bring that about. It constantly brings it prominently to the notice of everybody concerned, whether a member of the public who is affected by it, or the Minister or persons in his Department, or Members in the House, that the instrument has or has not been laid before the House, and that it is or is not in force. There is also this report by the Treasury, which, in the event of the statutory instrument not being laid before the House, will ensure that a question is asked and the Minister will have to scratch his head and give an answer.

Sir H. Webbe

If the report is not to be published, members of the public will have no notice whatever.

The Solicitor-General

I take it that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the Treasury report. The Treasury report will be published, so that hon. Members will know of any case in which there has been failure to lay the statutory instrument.

Sir H. Webbe

And the public?

The Solicitor-General

And the public.

Mr. Maude (Exeter)

How does the Treasury obtain this information, in order to make the report if there has been no publication? If the Minister has not done his duty, and has made an Order but kept it under his hat, how does the Treasury know?

The Solicitor-General

The Order will be published. Later in the Bill one sees that it will be published and, therefore, the Treasury has only to compare those instruments which, in fact, are laid before the House in the usual way, with the ones which are notified as having been published, and by comparison of the two it will know which ones—

Mr. Maude

I am sorry if I have not made myself plain. I am dealing with the troubles we had in the old days arising from non-publication, and, if I may use a slang expression, where the Minister had kept the thing entirely under his hat. Then, I am sure it must be that the Treasury would never know.

The Solicitor-General

Clause 2 requires that they must be sent to the King's Printer. [Hon. Members: "As soon as may be."] If it is assumed that the Minister is going to commit a double fault and be guilty of a double inadvertence it may be that the Treasury will not know, but it is most unlikely, I suggest to the House, that in the first place it should not be sent to the King's Printer, and so remain on the file in that sense, and that nobody who is affected by it and in relation to whom the Department or the Minister concerned seeks to exercise powers, should not have it brought to the notice or made public that, in fact, an Order had been made. If it is assumed that there is no publication of an Order, that it has not been laid before the House and that it has not been the subject of discussion in the House, then if one finds that under the terms of the Order the Minister seeks, for instance, to requisition somebody's premises, the owner who has his premises requisitioned, without any statutory authority for so doing, will naturally "raise a song and dance" which will bring to light the fact that something has gone wrong.

Sir H. Webbe

But to carry out that requisition a statutory authority will have to exist.

The Solicitor-General

It may be. The question put by the hon. Member was: How will it come to light and how will the Treasury get to know?

Sir H. Webbe

By someone committing a breach of an Order.

The Solicitor-General

In the case of the Minister being guilty of a double slip-up, I should think it is possible that the first time it would be brought to the light of day would be when somebody committed a trespass.

Mr. Molson

May I put a question, because this is very important? Would the hon. and learned Gentleman say, if this Bill had been in operation, would the fact that the National Fire Service Regulations were not laid, as in fact they were not, be known? My submission is that it would not.

The Solicitor-General

I am told that the National Fire Service Regulations were published.

Mr. Molson

They were.

The Solicitor-General

What happens is that those who were charged by the Treasury with that duty, by comparison of the Regulations which have been, published, with those which have been laid before the House, would very soon ascertain whether those Regulations should or should not have been the subject of a report before the House under Clause 3 (3) of the Bill. That is my answer. In other words, I put it to the House that it is in the highest degree unlikely and is next to impossible that it should come about that a Statutory Instrument should not be laid before the House, and that everybody, including the Treasury, should be unaware of the fact. There is here a scheme which charges a particular Department with the duty of making a careful comparison and analysis, and reporting at regular intervals to the House whether or not there have been instruments which, by inadvertence, have not been laid before the House.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

Can my hon. and learned Friend say whether there is in the Bill any obligation on the King's Printer, when he has printed a Statutory Instrument, put a number on it and put upon the face of it the number of days which are allowed for sanction by Parliament, to supply the Treasury with a copy; and if not, ought not there to be such an obligation?

The Solicitor-General

The answer is "No" to both parts of the question. There is no obligation on the King's Printer to provide the Treasury with a copy. The Treasury can find out and, in my submission, such an obligation is not necessary.

Mr. Silverman

Ought there not then to be an obligation on the Department to send a copy to the Treasury?

The Solicitor-General

One answer is that the Stationery Office comes under the Treasury, and, therefore, it would be putting an obligation on the Treasury to furnish a copy to itself.

Sir C. MacAndrew

Could the King's Printer not send a copy to the Library here?

Mr. Speaker

I think we have been long enough discussing these points, which are really Committee points.

The Solicitor-General

It is not a point of substance in my submission and, in view of Mr. Speaker's Ruling, I will not pursue it further.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

Would it not prevent a possible loophole, if the Bill provided that no Statutory Instrument should come into operation until it had been printed?

The Solicitor-General

I appreciate the point of the question, but the difficulty is that one occasionally; does get instruments which have to come into operation with the utmost urgency, and printing, however quickly it is done, must of necessity take some time. Therefore, I suggest that is not the ideal solution. Admittedly, it is difficult to find a solution, but here we have a solution which should cover 999,000 out of 1,000,000 cases. It is a simple and workable solution and I commend it to the House. I am not suggesting that it is ideal, because no human instrument is ideal, but it is a workable one.

I now pass to Clause 4 of the Bill, which is designed to introduce a uniform period for which the instrument is to be laid before the House. Hon. Members will see that the period chosen is 40 days. Turning to Clause 6 hon. Members will see that in reckoning the period of 40 days, No account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or pro- rogued or during which both Houses are adjourned far more than four days, so that there is a uniform period and a uniform method of reckoning that period. Applying that to Clause 4, hon. Members will observe that the Clause in terms relates only to one of the two classes of laying before, and not the affirmative Resolution class, as I described it earlier. It purports to introduce uniformity only in the negative class and not in the affirmative class. The reason for that is to be found in the nature of the two categories. In the case of the negative type, the instrument is effective and remains effective unless and until within the specified period there is a negative Resolution which puts an end to its life. In respect of that type, the necessity arises for having some uniform period uniformly assessed so that hon. Members may know where they are and how the time which is allotted for introducing their negative resolution is going, if they think the case calls for such procedure.

In the case of the affirmative type of resolution, I suggest to the House that there is no similar need, because in the case of the affirmative Resolution type the instrument is of no effect, remains of no effect and remains a complete nullity unless and until at some time or other there is introduced an affirmative Resolution which brings it to life and stops it being annulled. Therefore, I urge upon the House that there is a fundamental distinction between the two types. Where as in the case of a negative Resolution there must be some uniformity and some uniform method of assessing the time, in the case of an affirmative Resolution that necessity does not arise because if there is no affirmative Resolution nothing happens, and it is so much worse for the Minister because he does not get his powers effective.

When we turn to Clause 4 we find that the time is only in relation to the negative Resolution type of procedure. Clause 5—and I will not go into details about it—is consequential on Clause 4. Clause 4 relates to the case where the instrument itself has been made and is subject to the negative Resolution. Clause 5 relates to the case where, not the instrument itself but a draft of it, has been prepared, or where the draft of an Order in Council has been prepared. It is in relation to the drafts of Orders in Council that Clause 5 is necessary. Therefore, Clauses 4, 5 and 6 achieve the first object of the Bill, namely, to meet the first criticism of the special legislation which was made in the special Report of the scrutinising Committee. That really deals with the substance of the Bill. Clause 7, looked at very shortly, is a simple regulations Clause, which gives power to make Regulations relating to publication. I have already referred to Clause 8 because it brings within the ambit of the publication scheme statutory instruments confirmed or approved by the Minister as distinct from those which are made by the Minister. Clause 9deals with commencement, Clause 10 with interpretation and Clause 11 repeals the Rules Publication Act, 1893.

Those are the observations I want to make on a scrutiny of the Bill itself. I intimated earlier that I would give the House an indication of the reasons which led the Government to think that it was not desirable to reintroduce the antecedent publicity provisions of the Rules Publication Act. In the first place, as Sections 1 and 2 of the Act stand at the moment, they are defective. They contain very serious flaws. I will indicate briefly what those flaws are, without going into them. Section 1 does not apply to Scotland, and it applies only to a limited class of instrument. It does not, for example, apply to an instrument which has to be laid before the House for a specific period before it comes into operation. It applies to an instrument which has to be laid before the House but not to an instrument which has to be laid for a specific period. Therefore, it applies only to some of them. When one looks at the Provisional Order Procedure one sees that it is defective at present. [An Hon. Member: "Provisional Rule."] Yes, I am sorry. I see that I have introduced a confusion which I may ask the House to be wary of. I should have said the Provisional Rule Procedure. No term is introduced into Section 2 of the Rules Publication Act during which a provisional Rule may operate. Therefore, a Minister may, in a matter of urgency, make a provisional Rule and may forget all about it, and the provisional Rule may remain in operation for ever. That, obviously, is a serious defect.

There is another defect which has led to a good deal of controversy and diver- gency of opinion among Ministers who have had to use the Section embodying the Provisional Rule Procedure. It is not the least bit clear from Section 2, when you have made a Provisional Rule, and later come to the House to make your final Rule, whether you have to relay your final Rule, or whether the making of the provisional Rule is the "laying" before the House. There is a divergency of opinion on that point. I think I have said enough to show that, as the Act stands and in its present form, it is defective, and that in any case it would require drastic overhaul.

The Government have also taken the view that the antecedent publicity procedure is not worth retaining, for the general reason that, normally, when Ministers or Departments have laid a statutory instrument, they have always discussed the thing in considerable detail with all parties affected. Whatever the nature of the instrument is, public and private bodies will be affected by it when it comes into operation. The normal practice is that the Department will thoroughly consider objections and carefully go into the matter with all those interests who are concerned, before they get to the stage of making a statutory instrument. That process works well in practice, and that fact is reflected in the further fact that although at present there are 200 enactments which attract the antecedent publicity procedure of the Rules Publication Act, in no less than 60 enactments at present in force has it been specifically excluded. That shows that the persons who were concerned regarded the procedure as inapplicable and inconvenient to the purpose of the delegated legislation which they wished to use for the purpose of a particular enactment. Therefore, it was thought that it was not worth retaining that procedure at all.

In substance, what would happen if you retained it is this: You would get the Department discussing the matter with interested parties. The Department, already having discussed it fully and having come to the stage at which they can prepare the instrument, prepare it and publish it. Then 40 days have to elapse, during which nothing takes place. It is a complete blank and a complete waste of time, because the discussions with the interested persons have already been completed and the instrument has been fashioned as a result of those discussions. You have 40 days, during which you must notify it in the "Gazette," but nothing takes place. Practice and experience have shown that only in the very rarest cases has it been brought about that, during the 40 days in which an Instrument has been notified in the "Gazette" any further point of view has been advanced by any person, any member of the public, as a result of the publication, which has not already been completely traversed and discussed in the preliminary talks with the interested parties. Therefore, the scheme is to jettison all that antecedent publicity as not being worth while retaining.

Those are the observations I want to make with regard to the Bill and I commend the Bill to the House. This Bill is of more importance than might appear at first sight. It is a technical Bill but it deals with an aspect of legislation which is extremely important now-a-days and is likely to grow more important. It is a Bill designed to regularise an aspect of delegated legislation which needs regularisation. That part of the Bill which introduces a standard period, which has been badly needed over a period of years, cannot possibly come in for any criticism. The Bill leaves out altogether a procedure which experience has shown to be not worth retaining, the antecedent publicity procedure. It retains the publicity procedure which consists in the King's Printer making copies and numbering them and so on, so that all Instruments are readily accessible to members of the public and other people who have occasion to use them. It does, in so doing, confer a distinct advantage. It is a useful small Bill, not really controversial in nature, and it is one which, in my submission, should commend itself to the House. In those circumstances, I ask the House to give it a Second Reading.

4.25 p.m.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I think that the learned Solicitor-General has said enough to show that the present state of the law and practice with regard to delegated legislation is very far from satisfactory. Everyone has agreed, for a long time now, that a Bill to put this matter on the right lines is overdue, but so long as delegated legislation occupied a minor role in our affairs, the defects which existed, while irksome, were not extremely serious. It has now become clear that the great growth of delegated legislation which took place during the war is regarded by the Government as a good thing and that it is likely to continue. We oppose it and shall continue to oppose it. But if a mass of delegated legislation is to be thrust upon us in the coming years, the case for complete overhaul of the present system is overwhelming.

Therefore we welcome the fact that a Bill has been introduced so as to give the House a chance of considering the fundamental questions—because they are fundamental—which underlie the whole of this matter. It is, indeed, the first opportunity since 1893 that the House has had for such an overhaul. We must treat the Bill on the footing that it ought to provide for a complete overhaul of the principles and procedure within the field with which it deals. The Donoughmore Committee in 1932 made detailed recommendations on this question but few, if any, of those recommendations have received effect in the Bill. Some are probably not now needed, but some are needed very badly. Two important questions of principle emerge at once as we read the Bill but neither—certainly not the first one—has received any consideration from the Solicitor-General. I think the second has not received very much, and then, from a different angle altogether. Therefore the Bill as it stands falls very far short of what it ought to be.

The first point arises in Clause 2. I do not think we have heard anything about it. The Bill permits an Order to become law before it has been published. We regard that as completely wrong in principle. There are many reasons why it is wrong, and other Members who will follow me may give a number of them. I shall limit myself to giving the one which seems to me to be the most important. It is obviously unjust that any man should be prosecuted for having done something at a time when the law against that something existed, but he could not possibly know that the law existed because it had not been published. I cannot believe that anybody in this House can defend that state of affairs, which brings the law into complete disrepute. Therefore, it should not be permitted.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned Clause 2. Was he not referring to Section 2 of the 1893 Act?

Mr. Reid

No. I am undoubtedly referring to Clause 2 of the Bill. The Clause says: As soon as may be after the making of any Statutory Instrument, it shall be sent to the King's Printer. I wish to digress for a moment to follow the Solicitor-General in his own digression. I was struck by the fact that he made reference, and drew the attention of the House, to the disadvantages that attended the words "as soon as may be", but I find in Clauses 2 and 3 that those are the operative words. It is very odd that the Solicitor-General should commend to the House a Bill yet go out of his way to pour scorn upon the leading words of his own Bill. That is a digression, and I pass to something more important.

I want to be fair. It is not a new thing for a law to come into operation before it is published. I admit that. But this was a much less serious matter before the war than it is now. Before the war there was much less interference with the affairs of the ordinary man by departmental regulations. Therefore, the importance of this question has grown enormously. Further, in a great many cases before the war the things which were prohibited by these regulations were things which an ordinary man would regard as wrong independent of whether they were made illegal, and there is no great hardship perhaps, although it is constitutionally objectionable, in prosecuting a man for doing something which he certainly ought to have known was wrong but did not know was illegal. Today, however, the whole essence of this complicated legislation is to prohibit things which no ordinary man would ever consider wrong, and which are not in the least wrong morally and only become wrong because they have been made illegal. During the war the matter of inadequate publicity of this multitude of Orders gave rise to a good many difficulties. They were got over one way or another, and, in any case, during the war one had to put up with a number of things because events moved so quickly.

Now that we have, I hope, returned to peacetime, it is really intolerable that this old abuse should continue. I ask the Government to think again about this matter, if, indeed, they have thought about it at all. There is no indication from what the Solicitor-General said that they have even considered it. I do not think it is irrelevant to say this. The greatness of this country is to a large extent founded upon our universal respect for the law. People will not continue to respect the law unless they have a fair opportunity of knowing what the law is. There are two matters which we have to consider: is the law readily available, and, once it is available, is it intelligible? I leave to the Junior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert) the question of the intelligibility of some of these Orders. It would be out of Order to discuss it on this Bill. The question of availability, however, comes in directly. As a bare minimum, you must have a law published and the Order on sale to the public before you can enforce it. The whole of our legal system is founded on the proposition that a man is presumed to know the law and, therefore, he is not entitled to say, "I was ignorant of the law." It is a complete farce to say that a man is presumed to know something which has never been published.

The true position is that if we are to retain the respect of the ordinary citizen everybody must be able to know what the law affecting him is if he chooses to take a little trouble. We should make the amount of trouble he has to take as little as possible. I am sure that the Government will not dissent from that as a general proposition. I should be very surprised if they did. I trust, therefore, that they will agree to incorporate in Clause 2 some drastic Amendments which will give effect to the principle which I have been enunciating. I cannot think what the objection can be. It can only be some kind of administrative inconvenience. If it comes to a conflict between administrative convenience and justice, then, in peacetime at least, administrative, convenience must give way. What is the inconvenience? It is nothing at all. If you want to print an Order urgently, even a long Order, it can be done over night. If the Minister signs the Order at 6'clock in the afternoon, he can have it printed and on his desk next morning, so there is no difficulty about it. The thing can be done in Hansard every day, and it can be published at the forenoon. Therefore, any possible delay need not be more than 24 hours. There are so many hordes of publicity officials attached to the various Ministries, that the Order can be brought to the notice of all concerned that very day if they choose to exert themslves.

If it were the case that this diligence and expedition were always used by Departments, I should not press the point as I do. In point of fact, because there is no mandatory injunction from this House, Departments are extremely slack in this matter, and we really must take steps to see that it is brought to an end. I find, for example, when I look at the Donoughmore Committee's Report in the Appendix, that as long ago as 1921 the Treasury were drawing the attention of Departments to their slackness in this matter: The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury have had under consideration cases in which complaint has been made of delay in the supply to the public of copies of draft statutory rules and orders…My Lords see no reason why copies should not be placed on sale within the period (normally 24 hours) required by the Stationery Office to print off copies. Therefore, there is no justification for saying that Orders can be brought into effect before copies are on sale in the Stationery Office. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see fit to give assurances that this Bill will be radically amended in the Committee stage. The Bill should contain a general rule that no Order is to be law until it is published. We can discuss the machinery for that on the Committee stage. How we are to define publication is a pretty easy matter for the draughtsman to solve, but it must be published in some form or other. I am supported in that by what the Donoughmore Committee says in regard to delegated legislation. It has never been challenged by any authority. They say, on page 66 of their report: Publication—possibly in the Gazette—should be a condition precedent to the coming into operation of a regulation. They lay that down as a general rule, and I am sure that it is a good one.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman be good enough to read the subsequent passage of that recommendation?

Mr. Reid

Certainly: …although in the case of a regulation which has been published in draft in compliance with Section I and is ultimately made substantially in the form in which it has been published, a public notification of the making might be substituted for publication of the text. I did not read that because I agree with the learned Solicitor-General that we do not require Section 1. All that qualification says is that if you use Section 1 procedure, you need not have republication, but, as we are not going to use that procedure, I did not think that that part was relevant. I am sure that nobody in any quarter of the House can regard this as a political question. I do not see how any right-minded man can dissent from the general proposition which I have put forward. Therefore, I have considerable hope that the Government will be able to give a satisfactory assurance on this question today.

I come to the second question to which the Solicitor-General devoted some attention, namely, Clause 3. It is true, as he said, that there are widespread provisions in many Acts which require the laying of Orders before Parliament. It is true that there are many differences of procedure, and this Bill is a good Bill in so far as it unifies that procedure. Laying may be purely for the information of Parliament, or it may be a preliminary to a negative Resolution for annulment. In either case it is essential that these Orders should be made known to Parliament if Parliament is to perform its essential duty of supervising delegated legislation. I am glad to say that it has been recognised in, I think, all the Bills which this Government have produced, that the supervision of delegated legislation is a proper and necessary part of Parliament's duty. It cannot do it, however, unless it knows what it is it has to supervise. I cannot see any argument against the Departments being required to lay all these Orders on the earliest possible day after they become law. One would have thought that that was an obvious thing for a Department to do, even if they were not told to do it. What do I find, however, in the Special Report from the Select Committee which was published a day or two ago? In paragraph one on page three, they say: Your committee has had occasion to note, in this as in a previous Session, instances of unpunctual compliance with statutory directions for laying before Parliament Statutory Rules and Orders, whether in draft or in final form. They believe that the House will attach importance to due promptness in this respect inasmuch as the laying is the first stage in Parliamentary supervision. As Departments have been exceedingly dilatory in the past, it is essential to put something in the Bill that really has teeth in it to make sure that this practice does not go on. I see no reason why it should not be made obligatory that every Order which has to be laid shall be laid on the first sitting day after it comes into effect. I see no reason for any delay. All a Department has to do is to send copies of the Order round to this House by a messenger. There is no difficulty about that, and no reason why it should not be the very next day that Parliament is sitting. That will avoid any questionof forgetfulness on the part of a Department. If any day is good enough, people tend to forget, but if they, know that it has to be done today or never, they will do it today. Therefore, it will help very much to keep Departments up to the scratch if we stated that on the very first day that it can be done all these documents shall be laid before the House. I cannot see any objection to it.

This Bill is much too weak in Clause 3. There is no sanction at all, as the learned Solicitor pointed out. The only thing it says is that if a Department is slack, the Treasury will lay on the Table a report saying why. There is no opportunity of discussing it. It does not come up in the House in the ordinary course. One may ask a Question of the Minister at Question time, which may never be reached, or one may put a question down for discussion on the Adjournment, and then find that there is something which makes the day fixed unsuitable. Why should we not have a sanction and say that, just as if the Order had been annulled, it becomes void if it is not laid on the first day? The learned Solicitor seemed to think that there would be difficulties about proof in a police court. There is no difficulty in a police court if it is alleged by a defender that Parliament had annulled an Order. The accused person has to prove that it has been annulled. In the same way, why should not the accused person have to prove that the Order was not duly laid? That would solve the whole difficulty. This requirement for laying is not in the interest of accused persons at all. I am not interested in giving them the right to plead this technical defence. This requirement with regard to laying, is in order to enable this House to carry out its essential constitutional functions. We are not going to be put off by some imaginary difficulty about the conduct of police courts; the draftsmen can perfectly well get over that if they want. If that is the only reason the Solicitor-General can think of for not adopting this rule, he might just as well change his mind and fall in with our point of view on this matter.

Neither of the two suggestions I have made can in any way embarrass any Government in the conduct of its business—not in the least. Neither of those suggestions can in any way prejudice good administration by Departments; on the contrary, they will assist it because they will make it clear that Departments must keep up to scratch, and do their duties promptly and efficiently. The first suggestion will preserve the essential rights of the individual to justice, which otherwise cannot be preserved, and the second will preserve the indispensable control of this House over delegated legislation which is otherwise gravely impaired. I suggest that the hon. and learned Gentleman should give us a definite assurance today that both my suggestions are accepted in principle, and then we can discuss their working out on Committee stage. If he will do that, all our other points are Committee points; we have various points to bring forward on Clause 7 and otherwise, but on none of them need I dwell at this moment. If however the Government are not prepared to accept these two particular principles, this Bill has such great defects that it is in our view a thoroughly bad Bill and we shall undoubtedly vote against it.

4.47 p.m.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

This is a very technical subject and I am sure the House is indebted to my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for the very able and lucid way in which he has explained the provisions and intentions of this Bill to the House. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Hillhead Division of Glasgow (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) has drawn attention to a Treasury circular of 1921 and to the remissness of Government Departments when there was a Conservative Government supported by an overwhelming Conservative majority in this House. I should like to congratulate His Majesty's Government on introducing this Bill into the House at this time. The Government, with all their preoccupations, have thought it right to take these long overdue steps to simplify, and introduce a large measure of uniformity into, the regulations with regard to delegated legislation. His Majesty's Government are thereby fulfilling a task which has been long and scandalously neglected by a series of Governments supported by hon. Members opposite, and it is very curious therefore to find that, apparently, hon. Members opposite have not decided whether they are going to support this Bill or whether they are going to oppose it. [Hon. Members: "Oh, yes, we have."] It certainly was not clear from the speech of the right hon. Member for Hillhead.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. As this Bill stands, we will definitely oppose it. We will not oppose it if we get from the Government an adequate assurance that our two objections on points of principle are accepted, but on no other terms.

Mr. Fletcher

Now that we know exactly where we stand, I should like to address reasons to the House why I hope that hon. Members will support the Second Reading of this Bill. Primarily the reason for doing so is this: this House has been returned with a mandate from the electorate for a large legislative programme. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite may say that they will oppose delegated legislation, but the programme to which this House is committed by the wishes of the electorate necessarily involves a great deal of delegated legislation, because that is the essential machinery by which the task for which this House is responsible can alone be carried through. Therefore I think that His Majesty's Government, knowing that an increasing amount of delegated legislation is inevitable, are to be congratulated at this early stage in their career on introducing this Bill for the purpose of simplifying and codifying the machinery of delegated legislation and removing the anomalies that have existed since 1893.

As the question of the fundamental principles that underlie this Bill has been raised, I should like for a moment to ask the House, to consider what were the fundamental principles which were con- sidered necessary as safeguards in 1893 and how they are dealt with today. As I understand the position, the Act of 1893 concerned itself, as indeed did all subsequent Acts conferring rule-making power on Government Departments, with three safeguards. First of all, the obligation for antecedent publicity; secondly, the necessity for adequate publication of delegated legislation, and thirdly, provisions designed to secure adequate Parliamentary control. Let us take these three safeguards which have been considered necessary at various times and see how they are dealt with in this Bill and how the practice now suggested compares with the anomalous, diverse and confusing procedure which has been allowed to grow up during the 50 years or so which have elapsed since 1893.

My hon. and learned Friend has given reasons why this House is now being asked to abandon the principle of antecedent public notification, and I gather that there is no real dissent on the part of hon. Members opposite in that respect. All I would say about that subject is this: I agree with the essential reasons which the learned Solicitor-General has given why it is no longer in practice necessary as a safeguard to insist on antecedent publication. The practice has grown up, as a matter of wise administration, for Government Departments to consult with trade and other interests before Statutory Rules and Orders, or Instruments as they are in future to be called, are promulgated. It seems to me necessary, now that the principle of antecedent public notification is being abandoned, that all Government Departments should be even more circumspect than they have been in the past in making sure that all interests are consulted.

The danger about consulting trade interests is that some interests are tolerably well organised while other interests are not so well organised. One cannot always assume that a combination of trade interests in reality represents any more than the particular vested interests upon which the organisation centres. Therefore it behoves Government Departments, as a practice, not only to make sure that the interests which they consult in these matters are representative of the larger interests, but also to make sure that minority interests which are not so well organised are consulted. Incidentally the Bill which is being commended for Second Reading departs in this respect of abandoning antecedent publicity from the recommendations of the Donoughmore Committee, and therefore it will not do to criticise this Bill on the ground that some of the recommendations of the Donoughmore Committee are not adopted. The whole subject has received a good deal of attention and development since that Committee reported in, I think 1931 or 1932.

What of the other two safeguards, publicity and Parliamentary control? There may well be legitimate matters in that respect for consideration in Committee, but I hope this House will support the Second Reading of the Bill and allow the Committee to which it is committed to consider whether any improvements of the nature which has been referred to can in fact be made. Speaking for myself, I am prepared to believe that there may be practical difficulties about an absolute rule that all Statutory Instruments should be printed before they come into operation, but I earnestly hope that the hon. and learned Solicitor-General will consider before the Committee stage whether some amendment cannot be introduced to give effect to the rule suggested by the Donoughmore Committee that publication should be a condition precedent to the operation of any statutory rule.

I would also like to invite the attention of the Solicitor-General to another aspect which has not yet been referred to. As I understand this Bill, it draws a distinction between statutory instruments which are required to be laid before Parliament and those which are not required to be so laid. Those which fall under Clause 3 of the Bill and have to be laid, have to contain a statement showing the date on which the statutory instrument came or will come into operation. The question I want to put to the Solicitor-General is whether there is any reason why that particular part of the provisions of Clause 3, (1) (a), should not equally apply to statutory instruments which do not have to be laid before Parliament. I should have thought it was just as important and necessary in the case of the minor category of statutory instruments that they also should contain a statement showing the date when they come into operation. If it is necessary in one case, it seems to me to be necessary in the other. The date on which an Act comes, into force is either the day on which it receives the Royal Assent or a date which is provided in the Act itself, but curiously, the law is most obscure as to the date on which statutory instruments, as they are now called, come into operation, and I hope that an Amendment will be accepted on the Committee stage whereby all statutory instruments in future bear on them the date on which they come into operation.

There is a further detail of this matter of publicity on which I ask the Solicitor-General to give the House some information. The Bill provides, as does the Act of 1893, that the Treasury, with the consent of the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons, can make Regulations with regard to the operation of the Act, and I notice that in Regulation 14 of the Treasury Regulations made under the Act of 1893, there is a provision whereby any statutory rule which is held to be confidential shall be exempted altogether from the provisions of the Act. It is somewhat novel and startling to find that if there is a certificate that a statutory rule is confidential, it should be exempted altogether from any obligation of publication. I would like, therefore, to ask the Solicitor-General whether, in fact, use has been made of Regulation 14 either during the war or before the war, and if so to what extent, and also whether it is contemplated that a similar power will be taken in any Regulations to be made under this Bill when it becomes an Act?

This brings me to the third and, I venture to think, the most important of the constitutional safeguards upon which it is the duty of the House to insist in a matter of this kind, that is, Parliamentary control. Here I think it will be agreed that the Government are entitled to credit for the steps taken in this Bill to tighten up and improve Parliamentary control over executive Departments entrusted with the power of making delegated legislation. The provisions contained, in Clause 4, secure uniformity and remove a good deal of confusion; those contained in Clause 3 of the Bill are designed to secure, and, in my opinion, do secure, that there can be no repetition of the episode that occurred in connection with the National Fire Service Regulations, and thereby recognition is given, which I am sure the House will welcome, to the principle of securing full Parliamentary control over the actions of Government Departments. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General has referred to criticisms of this particular safeguard on the ground that the provisions of the Bill do not go far enough; but the provisions of this Bill go very much further than the provisions of the law as it stands to-day. If improvements are possible, I have no doubt they can be considered on the Committee stage, but in view of the general recognition which this Bill gives to the principles of securing the maximum Parliamentary control over delegated legislation, I hope the House will give it a Second Reading.

5.07 p.m.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew (Ayr and Bute, Northern)

In the course of the Debate, reference has been made by more than one hon. Member to the Special Report of the Select Committee on Statutory Rules and Orders, over which I have the honour to preside. I think it only fair to say that that Select Committee has the great advantage of having the assistance of Counsel to Mr. Speaker. Sir Cecil Carr has, I suppose, the greatest knowledge of delegated legislation of anyone in the country, and although he has a wonderful memory, I think I am right when I say that he has forgotten more about Statutory Rules and Orders than I shall ever know.

Let me say here that I am speaking entirely for myself and not for the Select Committee, although I am sure the Select Committee would endorse what I have already said. The Bill which we are now considering deals largely with the machinery of delegated legislation. As the Donoughmore Report pointed out, something should be done to simplify that machinery. I think that is true. The Select Committee pointed out in its Report a year ago that the matter was ripe for revision, and I am glad that something is being done in this respect. The first point which the Solicitor-General made concerned the time during which statutory instruments should lie upon the Table. The hon. and learned Gentleman understated the case, because some of them lie for 100 days, but I think 40 days is a good period. The Donoughmore Committee recommended 28 days, but I think that, from the point of view of the scrutinising Committee, 40 day sis the right period, and I hope nothing will be done in the Committee stage to alter the 40 days. The draftsman has had certain difficulties with this Bill, because the Clauses are largely in duplicate, the existing exercises of delegated legislation on the one hand and future exercises on the other, and the draftsman has had to put them all under one hat. I think that has been done satisfactorily. He has picked out a general label for what we used to describe as S.R. & O., and the term "statutory instrument" covers not only S.R. & O. but regulations, schemes, warrants and everything of that kind. By the insertion in future Measures of the phrase, The Minister may by statutory instrument make regulations for the purpose of this Act"— it will be possible to bring in everything we are considering under the Bill we are now discussing. As regards making the matter simpler, I asked hon. Members to look at the definition of what is a statutory instrument in Clause 1 (1, b): in the case of a power conferred on a Minister of the Crown, to be exercisable by statutory instrument, any document by which that power is exercised shall be known as a 'statutory instrument.' Does that make it simpler? When a thing is denned in terms of itself, it is not a very good definition. It seems to me to be so simple that it is silly. In Clause 1 (1), we find that the present law is being extended, because now the Minister maybe given power, to confirm and approve these statutory instruments. What will be the result of that? It will mean that local by-laws, railway by-laws and so on will now all come under Statutory Rules and Orders. What will be the effect of that on the registration system? Will it not be swamped if all these are brought in? The net is thrown very wide. If we turn to Clause 7 (1, d), we find that many of the things roped in by Clause 1 are being let out again. Could it not be made clear in the Bill what is being brought in and what is not? I see no reason why that should not be done, and it would be a great help if it were done. I hope the Solicitor-General will look into that matter before we come to the Committee stage. On Clause 7 (1, e), who are the persons who are to decide these various matters? Surely we can be given some indication. Is this a new provision? The 40 days' notice is being discontinued, and personally I do not think that matters very much. As far as Scotland is concerned, it was never included, and I have never heard of any complaint.

There is, however, one thing on which I think we ought to have a promise. The Solicitor-General mentioned that there would be consultation with interested parties. I think some provision should be put into the Bill that there must be consultation. The Solicitor-General gave a very fair indication, but what he said is not the law, and I think it should be included in the Bill that consultations must take place. Consultations, of course, go on today, and Departments have consultations with interested parties out of self-defence, because if things go wrong there will be trouble afterwards.

I have been very much shocked by what I have heard the Solicitor-General say this afternoon. I came to the House as a friend of the Bill. I did not come to do anything other than help, but really I think the matter of delay is frightfully serious. I really do. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at the Order Paper he will see that there is a Motion down for tonight in my name about this particular point of having the matter considered by the Statutory Rules and Orders Committee. The time of laying has not been put in our terms of reference and we think it ought to be. The phrase "as soon as may be" I have always taken to mean "as quickly as possible." Now we know—and I think I am not being unfair—that it probably means six months. There is no obligation on the Departments to lay their Statutory Instruments before this House. That being the position, the Statutory Rules and Orders Committee which has to deal with all these things which come before the House, does not deal with them until they are laid. Is this a back door way of getting behind the Statutory Rules and Orders Committee? It is that which shocks me.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

One reason is to provide for the fact that the House might be up for Recesses for several months.

Sir C. MacAndrew

That has nothing to do with it and I cannot really accept that from the hon. Gentleman. These things are not laid when the House is up, and that is no answer. I would like to know what is behind what is being done now. It is a very extraordinary business. On the Committee we have had experience of delay. There were the Fire Orders, as hon. Gentlemen will remember, and the result of that was that it did not matter, it was a mistake and we got a very ample apology from the right hon. Gentleman, and, of course, accepted it. But only this year Ploughing Grant Regulations, which were made on 31st January, were not laid until 6th March. We had the Department up before us, as we are entitled to do, and instead of rather thinking that they had made a mistake we were told that it was the normal practice, and we were so worried that we put in a special report on that matter. Some of the Departments are very lax about this matter and I think, from what we hear today, they are to be allowed to do just what they like. The hon. and learned Gentleman talked about sanctions and putting Ministers into prison. They do not need to be put into prison; we can deal with them here. If they are to be allowed to make orders and not lay them, we shall not know anything about them for perhaps six months, and that is a matter which we cannot tolerate. If the question of the words "as soon as may be" is to be treated in that way, it is very wrong. There is no reason why the laying of Regulations should not be as automatic as the printing of them. I defy any hon. Member to get up in this House and give any reason, and we are not standing for it. That is the position and no one can give any reason for this delay.

This is not a debating point. I have in my hands the current issue of the list of Orders laid, which comes out every Saturday. We came back after the Recess on 9th October, and I see at the top of page 5 particulars of Orders laid on 9th October, and on page 6 other Orders laid on 9th October. The Financial Secretary must realise that that is the day upon which they should have been laid, the day when we came back. On page 8, nearly all were laid on 9th October, but what happens when we come to Water Regulations? They are dated 29th September and were laid on 16th October. Why in the world were not these laid on 9th October? Who can answer that question? On page 9 the Narrow Fabrics (Maximum Prices) Order, which was dated 25th September, was not laid until 17th October. The Education (Scotland) Amending Scheme, dated 24th September, was laid on 23rd October. There is no earthly reason why the phrase "as soon as may be" should not be taken out and a seven days' limit put in. I hope we shall get some sort of promise that that will be done. The Departments are now to be given more latitude than ever before. It is taking power away from the House of Commons. I have been long enough in the House of Commons to support the House of Commons against the Departments in regard to this sort of thing. We asked for a new rules publication Act and we have got something for which we asked, but I do not think that what has been done is fair, and unless the learned Solicitor-General can give a guarantee that the laying business is to be treated fairly, I shall be very much against the Bill and must vote against the Second Reading.

5.21 p.m.

Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)

I think it can be said without arrogance that the substantial questions involved in this matter are really few and comparatively simple, although what might be called the adjective parts of it, the parts necessary for understanding the main questions, are extremely technical and complicated. I would not take upon myself to instruct this House, and especially its technically learned Members, upon that side of it. For this reason, for the reason of what seems to me to be the simplicity of the main matters concerned and the complexity of the adjective matters, I think one might allow oneself a little more than the normal licence by way of repetition. I hope I shall not repeat arguments already used but I may be forgiven if I re-emphasise what seemed to me, and I think to most people on this side of the House, the main points concerned.

Perhaps I might be allowed to say a word from the party point of view. There seemed to be a little inclination on the part of a speaker opposite to suppose that those of us who are interested about this, are taking an interrogative line, are doing so because we are in Opposition. That would not be an improper Parliamentary reason, even if it were true, but it is not the fact, and hon. Members, if they had been here a little longer, would know, that it is not the fact. We were just as anxious, and far more tiresome about it, when Governments were of a different party complexion. There is nothing partisan in our excitement about the matter. What are the two branches which seem to us exciting? It is only necessary to state them clearly to prove our case to anybody with an ordinary English education—or Scottish for that matter. The first is that a man ought not to be convicted, or in a civil case lose what would otherwise have been his right or advantage, because he did something which, at the time he did it, he could not possibly have known to be against the law.

The argument was put much better than I could put it by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke first from this side, but I should like to ask one or two questions. One is, What is the effect of the law as it stands? Can that be explained to us by somebody authoritative from the other side? I have been a perpetual student of the Inner Temple for some 30 years, but I have never passed the ''final" so I have probably misunderstood. I see in the report of cases in the King's Bench Division, V.1, 1918, on page 103, a judgment by Mr. Justice Bailache arising out of one of the statutory instruments which we know so well. It is the case of Johnson v. Sargeant and Mr. Justice Bailache held that Johnson or Sargeant—I have forgotten which—could not have known about the Order which had only been made that morning and therefore judgment could not be given on the ground that something unknowable had been transgressed against.

Mr. Mitchison (Kettering)

The previous morning. That is the whole point of the case. The Order was made on the 16th and was not known until 17th May.

Mr. Pickthorn

I do not believe really that this question can properly be dealt with by interruption, though perhaps it could if we were all highly expert lawyers. At any rate I cannot deal with it by way of interruption. That is the first point I want to make. What is the law now? When we say we want this Bill to make it clear that Orders are not to have effect, either in criminal or commercial cases, before they can be known, the first question I put, is: Are we really asking for the law to be made clear, or are we asking for a change of the law? That is an important question and I should like to have it authoritatively answered. With regard to the words "as soon as may be" about which we have had some discussion, I think the learned Solicitor-General, I am sure quite innocently, misled us and rather gave the impression that the words are the same as those in the Rules of Publication. He will remember that there the word is "forthwith." It is not a very good word but rather better than "as soon as may be." I should like to know whether we can have an assurance that instead of "as soon as may be" in future we are to have "X days" in Clauses 2, 3 and so on.

I should like to say a word about the learned Solicitor-General's point about proving the validity of these instruments in cases up and down the country. I speak subject to correction, but there can surely be no difficulty in doing what was done under the American Act in this connection. The Americans did not have, before the war, so much delegated legislation as we had, and they found themselves getting into a most awful mess in the middle of the war. Under war enactments, they were doing things by delegated legislation and had not been in the habit of doing them and, therefore, had not evolved the routine machinery that we had got. They found themselves in a mess, and had to clear it up and they passed a statute. I should like to ask the learned Solicitor-General whether that statute has been examined, and whether it might not, in some respect, be used to amend the Bill now before us, and in particular whether his difficulty about proving these documents in the courts, county courts and police courts and so on, is not met by the words: the publication in the Federal Register of any document shall be a but table presumption that it was duly issued, presented or promulgated. That is the provision in the American law and I would ask whether there is any difficulty in making that provision in our own law?

That seems to me to be one main question. The other main question, as has been generally agreed, is how to make sure that, if the House fails—and it has often failed—in its manifest duty of supervising and controlling delegated legislation, it is the House's own fault. There, again, we come back to "as soon as may be." Is there any reason why there should not be a simple rule that every instrument of delegated legislation must be laid before the House within x days of its being made or on the day it is made? I have heard a great many suggestions in private conversation, and a great many arguments, against that, and all the arguments have been arguments of administrative convenience. As far as I could judge, they have been arguments which ought to be met by special ad hoc Bills for these cases or by special Schedules to Bills, and, if there is really any argument which has not been thought of in private conversation, or mentioned in the writings of Press commentators before now, it certainly was not put before us by the Solicitor-General today.

I feel bound to end up, as my predecessors on this side have done, by saying that, unless we can have assurances on these two points, I feel convinced that the House ought not to let this Measure pass its Second Reading. It is quite true that, in general, a man is wise, when hungry, to take half a loaf if not offered a whole one. But there has been so much talk, complaint and argument about this subject in the last five or six years that it has become absolutely essential to pass a new principal Act. If this becomes the new principal Act, if we are to judge by past history, it will be the principal Act for 52 years, more or less. I commend to hon. Gentlemen opposite, who may feel that this is not a matter which they need bother to look into more than to say "I am on this side," the consideration whether we ought, in a matter of this immense and unforeseeable importance, to give to any Government this power, because we think the suggested limitations better than nothing. I think that that argument is hardly relevant and certainly should not be accepted.

5.32 p.m.

Mr. Mitchison (Kettering)

As has already been indicated by the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), who has just spoken, and as I understand it, the law at present is that no Statutory Order is operative until it is known to the public, and, therefore, an Order conceived and signed within the four walls of a Ministry is not in operation. I believe that, in the one case on the subject to which the Senior Burgess referred, under which an Order was made on one day and published in the newspapers on the following day, the decision in the courts was simply that that Order was operative on the day it was published, and not on the day when it was made. If that is so, and I believe there has been no other decision, then the apprehension of hon. Members on both sides of the House that their fellow citizens will be convicted for breach of some Orders or Regulations, about which neither they nor anyone but those inside a Ministry know anything, must be ill-founded.

Mr. Pickthorn

If the hon. Member will allow me, perhaps I may remind him of a case which I remember vaguely—the case of the Cornish daffodils. If my recollection is right, I think the man was actually convicted, although he could not possibly have known, when he got into the train at the other end with a suitcase full of daffodils, that it was against the law.

Mr. Mitchison

I am afraid I cannot remember the Cornish daffodils, but I can assure the Senior Burgess that the case to which he referred is commonly cited as the one authority on that proposition. Representations have been made by a non-county borough corporation in my own constituency, and I believe that there have been other representations by other municipalities, that the repeal of the Section of the Rules Publication Act, providing for 40 days' prior publication, is not altogether advantageous. It is true that, in a very large number of Acts, the Rules Publication Act has been specially excluded, but, none the less, it has, of course, been included in the majority of Acts published since then; and that Section is the most material part of it, from the point of view of local authorities. The reason is that the local authorities may not only obtain copies of Rules or Orders, or, as they are now called statutory instruments, but they also have the special right under the Rules Publication Act of making representations to the Government or the Department concerned, which is bound to take those representations into consideration.

It is perfectly true that, when there is a question of consulting trade interests or the like, it may be possible to do so for all reasonable purposes, but, when it comes to consulting local authorities, it is surely stressing that principle rather too far to say that consultation with their association is sufficient, instead of consultation on particular points with some local authority or another which may be concerned, not because it is a corporation, but because it is a corporation in some particular place and faced with some particular problems. That is to say, that, though it may be sufficient to consult these associations on matters affecting corporations generally, yet, there are bound to be, particularly under these statutory instruments, matters of a nature which will affect a single corporation or group of corporations in such a way that, in those matters, they cannot be represented by their association.

The view which they accordingly take, and which, I now suggest to the Solicitor-General, merits some consideration, is that, so far as they are concerned, there might be qualifications to the repeal of that Section of the 1893 Act. I would not venture to go into details about the qualifications that might be made, but I should have thought it might be possible to provide, in Acts affecting local authorities, either that the Orders might be published or circulated to the authorities, and some opportunity given for the right of representation on their side and consideration by the Minister, which seems to them to be of particular importance in this type of matter. I propose to say no more about the rest of the Bill, which has some remarkable features. It may be that the Statutory Rules and Orders, now rechristened statutory instruments, have had their scope enlarged, and it is perfectly obvious that the number of these statutory instruments to be issued on the present legislative programme is not likely to decrease. It is equally obvious that the local authorities will be the chosen instruments for many of them, and it is because they are to be the chosen instruments that they would like to have something to say on the statutory instruments before they are published.

5.41 p.m.

Brigadier Low (Blackpool, North)

I apologise, with great humility, for intervening after so many speakers have put so clearly the two main points of this Bill, but the whole subject of delegated legislation is of the first importance, not only to this House, but to all the people of this country at the present time. It was suggested, I think, from the benches opposite that it is odd that we, on this side, should now be making such a fuss on this matter so long after 1893 and so long after the Donoughmore Report, but never before has delegated legislation in peace time been of such importance, and it is for that reason that I believe that all hon. Members of this House, on whichever side they sit, should ponder the reasons for this Bill, and particularly so today.

As the sphere of influence, if I may use that expression, of delegated legislation enlarges itself, so, to my mind, becomes more important the duty that all hon. Members of this House have of inquiring into and watching over the exercise of the powers which it has given to the Executive, and it would seem odd that anybody should deny it.

At this present time, the subject of delegated legislation involves a number of interests very closely. Further it involves the efficiency of the Executive and the efficiency of administrative machinery of all types, including the police courts. The Solicitor-General addressed himself to that matter, and we may be quite certain that the Government will look after the efficiency of the Executive. But it also involves the interests of organised bodies, whether trade unions or municipal corporations or bodies such as the Chamber of Shipping and the various chambers of commerce. As a matter of habit, the Government have always taken unto themselves to consult these bodies in recent years and long may they continue to do so. It has been suggested from the Benches behind me that a Clause should be inserted into this Bill that consultation should be compulsory. I have limited experience of legislation, but I should have thought that that is a matter to which the House could address itself as it comes to consider each Bill, and that that general Clause in this Bill would be wrong; it is irrelevant to the subject of this Bill.

But the two main interests involved are, first, the interest of Parliament in controlling the Executive in its Parliamentary procedure, and the second, and more important, the interest of Parliament in watching over the interests of the private people. In making his very clear statement at the beginning of this Debate, it seemed to me that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General entirely omitted any reference to the interests of the private individual. Let me take that point first, because it is the point which has been taken first throughout in this Debate, and can be summed up as the necessity that publicity be given to these Orders before they are valid. I have been in some doubt, as I believe have all my learned friends on both sides of the House, as to the state of the law at the present time. There is this case to which the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) referred, and there is also the case which I knew had to do with flowers, though I did not know they were daffodils. However, whatever view may be taken of those two cases, it is quite clear that there is some uncertainty about the law, and I would ask whoever sums up to give us some authoritative view upon the law. If there is any authoritative view, or if there is not, surely it is the duty of this House, at this time, to clarify a point of considerable uncertainty and of considerable importance. It is surely unnecessary that there should be another case in the courts to try this after we have had an opportunity here of discussing the matter and making up our minds.

The second point is that of Parliamentary procedure, and I dare to say a few words on that. It seems to me quite extraordinary that there should be any difficulty in a compulsory rule that all Government Departments should lay the Orders which they make immediately they are made. If they can be sent to the King's Printer, surely they can also be sent to this House. I know there are difficulties at the present time, and that Orders cannot be laid when the House is not sitting, but it seems to me not impossible to draft a Clause which will definitely enact that no statutory instrument could be valid unless it had been laid on the first day after it has been made on which the House is sitting. It may be, if it is impossible to get over the rule that it cannot be laid while the House is not sitting, that that Clause would have to be put in a negative way—that the Order will be annulled if it is not laid in time—but I see no difficulty such as the hon. and learned Solicitor-General mentioned, in proving whether the Order was void or valid. Equally, to revert to the first point, I see no difficulty in having a definite rule that no statutory instrument should have any validity at all until it has been published, and published in such a form that the private individual can read and understand it.

Those are the two safeguards which I believe all hon. Members owe it, as a duty to the people who elected them, to watch over. As the right hon. Lady who is now Minister of Education said in her annexe to the Donoughmore report: Nothing is so dangerous in a democracy as a safeguard which appears to be adequate but is really a façade. It would appear to me that this Bill is really making rather a façade of two of the most important safeguards which this House has against wrongful, perhaps mistakenly wrongful, use of powers it gives, to the Executive.

Those are the two points which have been made more clearly by other speakers than I can make them, but I would ask the House to think very carefully before giving this Bill a Second Reading unless the Government give us some assurance that, in its final form, the Bill will cater for the views which have been expressed.

5.51 p.m.

Mr. Proctor (Eccles)

I feel that we are not this evening debating the question of the desirability or otherwise of delegated legislation; that, I feel certain, is forced upon us by the fact that it takes such a very long time to get legislation through this House by ordinary procedure. The two points made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) at the commencement of this Debate were antecedent publicity and punishment of a Minister who failed in laying the Orders before the House. As far as the antecedent publicity is concerned, I have received a communication from the borough council of Swinton and Pendlebury, asking me to impress upon the Government the necessity for keeping in being the present methods of publicity, or by substituting some other form which would be satisfactory to the general public. I am very much impressed—and I am saying that because I feel it ought to be said from this side of the House just as much as from the other side—that we are concerned this evening with safeguarding the democratic rights.

While we recognise the necessity for delegated legislation, we must have safeguards placed in it in this House as far as is possible. I think the Government have accomplished the safeguarding of the rights of hon. Members of the House of Commons fairly well in this Bill, but I feel that the ordinary citizen outside this House has the right to the fullest possible protection we can give him, and the only way in which the ordinary citizen can get knowledge of the legislation proposed by the government of the day is to have it published in a form which he can easily acquire. I suggest to the learned Solicitor-General that he should give consideration to this point, and should submit to the House proposals that will be better than the ones he has in the Bill. The only valid objection he seemed to make in his opening speech to my mind was the objection to the period of 40 days' delay. There seems to me to be nothing sacrosanct about that period and he might provide for a lesser period than 40 days and still provide the necessary publication. I would impress upon the Government the necessity for taking that view. I would also point out that there is a very general interest throughout the country in this matter. In the realms of education we had the other evening a very long Debate upon, a matter which I think directly related to these Orders. We had a Prayer the other evening on a matter which comes definitely within these Orders.

I want to point out that the substitute for publicity as put forward by the learned Solicitor-General was consultation with the interests concerned. Now I object to that method. I object to it very solidly on one ground, and that is the very great difficulty of carrying it out. If you bring in all the questions that arise in education and the Minister has to consult, of necessity, with all the varied interests that would come in on that point, he will have a very busy time, and I am afraid that instead of hastening things, it would delay them. Therefore it would be much better for him to have the clear-cut responsibility of publishing his proposals to the whole of the country rather than to have to the legal necessity—which it is suggested from the other side should be put actually in the legislation—of consulting the various interests, which it would be very difficult to define. I hope the Minister will give us some suggestion that at a later date he will be able to improve this Bill.

5.56 p.m.

Sir John Mellor (Sutton Coldfield)

This Bill appeared in print only on 30th October, exactly a week ago, and that has not given us very much opportunity of discussing its provisions with interested parties. I know that many of the local authorities regard its provisions with some apprehension. It is therefore really most important that all hon. Members should have ample opportunity of discussing the matter with all interested parties, and with one another, before the Committee stage is reached. I hope, therefore, that there will be a long interval before we embark upon the Committee stage, and that it will be taken upon the floor of the House, so that all hon. Members will have an opportunity to participate in it after consulting local authorities and others in their constituencies who are interested.

The House listened with great interest to the very careful explanation of the Bill given by the Solicitor-General. It took him a long time. Icertainly make no complaint of that; indeed, I feel grateful to him for the lucid way in which he explained its provisions, but I think that when we realised the great complications of this Bill, many of us felt that it should have been accompanied by an explanatory memorandum, which would have made our task of understanding it perhaps easier.

The local authorities are seriously affected by this Bill because of its repeal of the Rules Publication Act of 1893 and their being thereby deprived of the antecedent publication of draft rules. In a circular letter which I received, and which I expect a number of other hon. Members, if not all, have also received through local authorities in their constituencies, the Association of Municipal Corporations expresses itself in this way: It is suggested that the following principles should be borne in mind whenever new laws are made, whether by Parliament or by any subordinate authority. Before the law is made, all persons likely to be affected should have full opportunity of being acquainted with the proposal, of making representations to the law-making authority, and of having those representations considered. I think we ought all to be able to subscribe to what the Association of Municipal Corporations says in that passage; certainly I do. The learned Solicitor-General said that in his view it was undesirable to continue the provisions of the Rules Publication Act with regard to antecedent publication. First of all, he gave a number of particular objections to the Section in question. It seemed to me that all those objections could easily be met by amendment, but the main ground upon which he argued that it was unnecessary to retain provision for antecedent publication was that in practice all Ministries always had ample discussion of proposed rules with all the interests concerned. That is all very well, but I think local authorities and others would prefer not to rely entirely upon voluntary discussion of that order, but would like to have some unqualified right such as, or similar to, that provided for in the Rules Publication Act, some unqualified right of being warned in advance, and of being able to make representations to the Ministry concerned. I see no difficulty at all about embodying a provision of that kind in this Bill, and I hope some such step will be taken in the course of the Committee Stage.

There is one very grave matter which this Bill does not touch and which, with regard to delegated legislation, I think should be tackled. I mean the provision of a periodic Parliamentary review of existing Statutory Orders. We in this House may or may not have ample opportunity—it all depends—of considering Orders when they are made, and praying against them, but once the Orders have been made we never have any chance of reviewing them in this House. I think we should be far less fastidious about agreeing to the making of Orders if we knew we were to have a chance of reviewing them again in the light of subsequent experience. If the Government were prepared to provide opportunity for a review of the character they would find it very much easier to get their rules and regulations accepted by the House, and we should all feel that Parliament had much more adequate control over delegated powers.

6.4 p.m.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

It seems to me that both sides of the House are making rather unnecessarily heavy weather over what is really a simple and agreed non-controversial Measure. When my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General was presenting it to the House he said in effect that it was a bequest from the last Government. It is quite clear from the course of the Debate that the principle of the Measure is agreed to be necessary. Indeed it amounts to little more than a tidying up and regularising of the process of delegated legislation, which everybody has been clamouring for all the time I have been in the House. It is true that two points of principle have been raised, and I want to say, quite frankly, that I agree with the criticism of the Bill on those two points for reasons which I do not need to repeat at length but which I will indicate in a moment. What amazes me now is that on a Bill of this kind hon. Members opposite should think it right to talk about voting against the Second Reading, or denying, the Government the Bill, unless they get an undertaking now on those two points which can quite easily be remedied in Committee, if they are to be remedied. I suppose the reason is to be sought in the Sunday newspapers. They have been criticising—

Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)

Which paper?

Mr. Silverman

Well, "Reynolds" has been treating the Opposition kindly; I was thinking of "The Sunday Times" and "The Observer", both of which have been criticising the Opposition for the weakness, ineffectiveness and indeterminateness of their position. They accuse them of floundering, of not knowing whether they want to oppose or not, of sparring round for opportunities of opposing, and they appeal to them considerably to strengthen their attack. I can only suppose that the ferociousness of hon. Members opposite today is to be attributed to an endeavour to placate the editors of those papers, unless they have been receiving similar criticism from their supporters, or those who are left, in the country generally. I do not understand why on a Bill which, it has been agreed, is non-controversial—[An Hon. Member: "Oh."] The hon. Member says "Oh," and I do not know what he means by that, unless it is that he dissents. I hazard the guess that this Bill is not really very different from the one which hon. Members opposite would have passed, if they had been on this side of the House. I do not know whether it has been altered, but if it has I do not think it has been altered very much from the Bill which was prepared by the last Government. Why, in those circumstances, they should take two easily remediable points, and treat them as a means of opposing a Bill which they have clamoured for for years, is something I cannot understand.

Nevertheless, I hope the Solicitor-General will consider the two points seriously. I do not know whether he can say anything now, but even if he cannot, I shall vote for the Second Reading, while reserving my right to act in Committee according to the view I have expressed here, unless I see any reason to change it—and so far I have not. I do not believe that it can be right, in this country, to make a man answerable in the criminal courts for an offence which he did not know, and cannot know, he had ever committed. I think that is a sound principle, and I think that we on this side of the House are at least as much interested in it as anybody else. I have heard it said that it is now the law, according to a decision of the Court of Appeal, that the date on which such a statutory instrument becomes valid is the day of its publication, and not the day on which it was made. I do not know, but if that is the law now, I can see no reason why the Government should resist it, because it would be making no change. If that is not the correct view, then it is a change that ought to be made.

I remember the case of a friend of mine in Liverpool, a much respected trader, who was convicted of an offence against a regulation which had never been published, and which, in fact, had been repealed before the date of his trial. That regulation was in existence for only three or four days, and during that time the Department which promulgated it decided that it was no good and so it was never published. But my friend was in the courts for acting contrary to that regulation during those three or four days. Everybody else in Liverpool was much amused, but it is not a matter for humour. If we can protect citizens against this sort of thing I hope we shall take steps to do so. As to whether such a statutory instrument ought to be deemed to be valid when the Parliamentary stage in making it valid has been omitted, I should have thought that there was no room for serious doubt what was the right course. You might just as well leave out the Committee stage, or the Report stage, or the Third Reading.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

If by any possible chance that did happen, and an Act was printed and appeared to be valid on the face of it, it would be law whether or not, through some technical fault, the Committee stage or the Third Reading had been omitted.

Mr. Silverman

I assume that is so. It can only mean that, in that event, the House of Commons has a privilege which Ministers of Departments have not up to now. In the analogous case of the National Fire Service Regulations everybody agreed that the failure to present them to this House within what anybody could have called a reasonable time—as soon as may be—was so definitely held to be invalidation of the whole statutory instrument that we passed a special Act of Parliament to validate what had been invalidatedly done. Everybody has regarded the omission of that stage in the case of a statutory instrument as invalid—

Mr. Manningham-Buller

The hon. Gentleman has referred to a Debate which took place then. If he will look at that Debate again I think he will find that the Lord President of the Council adhered throughout to the view that failure to lay the regulations did not affect the validity of those regulations.

Mr. Silverman

I think something of the kind may have been said and, if the hon. Member says so, I am not prepared to dissent from it. But I think that view was held not with regard to the failure to present them, but the failure to present them within a period—according to the phrase, "as soon as may be"—and as nobody knew how soon that might be, it was always possible to hold that that condition had been complied with. But I still say that if they had never been presented, then the whole of the procedure was invalid. The legal advice which the Government had at that time must have been to that effect. I do not like that part of the Bill which says that if you do not do what the Legislature said you ought to do, in order to give validity to a piece of legislation which your Department is carrying out, then you have, nevertheless, properly enacted your legislation and you ought to have the benefit of it. It is all very well to say, "Supposing it is invalid, what inconvenience will there be?" If that induces Ministers in future to take greater care, so much the better. Steps that are taken in other parts of this Bill to prevent them from inadvertently slipping into that kind of error will, no doubt, prevent them from doing it. I think these points ought to be sustained by those on this side of the House who see the inevitable necessity of delegated legislation.

Hon. Members on the other side of the House know that we must have delegated legislation. It would be used by them for much more sinister purposes than any delegated legislation to which we are likely to commit ourselves. I think that we, on this side of the House, know that one of the principal instruments for effecting our purposes must be by means of delegated legislation; if ever we are to do the job, in a reasonable time, which we came here to do; and we ought to be especially careful to see that the means adopted to safeguard that legislation are conscientiously and scrupulously observed, so as not to bring the whole thing into public contempt, and so as not to give hon. Members opposite cheap weapons to add to their very depleted armoury. That is why I think it right that these things should be said from this side of the House, and right that the Government should take very great care in this matter. I propose to vote for the Second Reading, because I am sure that, in principle, it is right. I hope that these points can be looked at again before the Committee stage; and I think that, in the end, we shall get a piece of very valuable legislation.

6.17 p.m.

Major Conant (Bewdley)

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) has expressed the view that this Bill is non-controversial; but I noticed that his speech was directed to criticising several of its provisions, and he concluded by saying that he intended to support the Second Reading.

Mr. Silverman

I think I said that I agree with everything in the Bill except the two points which I mentioned. I agree with everything else. I understand that the right hon. and learned Gentleman who led for the Opposition takes exactly the same view.

Major Conant

I should have thought that the two points to which he referred were the most important in the Bill. Surely people should not be imprisoned for offences of which they know nothing. That is of extreme importance, especially to those who are imprisoned. I am sorry to find that the hon. Gentleman is supporting a Bill of which he cannot approve very much. I would like to add my protest to that of the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor) at the short space of time allowed to us for consideration of this Bill, which the Solicitor-General has described as highly technical, and of very great importance. I regard it of tremendous importance to everyone who has the liberty of the individual at heart. Just as the old revolutionaries put liberty before equality, I think we must, in these days, put liberty before efficiency. To try to increase the output of legislation in order to seek greater administrative efficiency is going to make great inroads upon the liberties of private individuals, the man in the street.

We all recognise that, in this modern world, delegated legislation is necessary; and there probably will never be a time when Parliament can retain, in its own hands, the power to make all laws. It is essential, in my view, if we are to represent the man in the street, to preserve control, and full control, over those to whom we delegate our law-making powers. There are two ways in which we can do that. The first is publicity. I agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) when he suggests that these orders, rules, and regulations should not be operative until they are on sale to the public. I feel that is the first essential, if we are to retain a measure of control over those to whom we delegate our powers. I am not convinced at all by the suggestion of the Solicitor-General that the recommendation of the Donoughmore Committee should not be carried out because the procedure by which publication precedes enforcement would not be worth retaining, as it is covered by prior consultation. Prior consultation, surely, is with associations, trade organisations, and not with the individual man in the street who is really going to be affected by the Orders made. These are the people whom it is our first duty to protect against the Executive.

As hon. Gentlemen said, unless this is done people will be convicted of offences of which they not only know nothing but of which they cannot possibly know anything. We can accept the doctrine that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but to convict people of offences which are only known within the confines of a Ministry is a far greater departure from liberty than I can accept. The purpose of our laws must be, I think, not to catch criminals, but to restrain people from taking a certain course of action which is regarded, rightly or wrongly, as anti-social. If we desire to catch criminals, the quicker we can turn our laws, and the more secretive the Government are in doing so, the more criminals we shall catch. If we desire that laws shall be an effective restraint we must give them the maximum of publicity and the minimum of delegated legislation. The other consideration, to my mind, if we are to preserve what little remains of liberty for the individual, is, that the man in the street, through his representative in this House, should have an opportunity within a reasonable time to approve or reject the rules, orders and regulations that are made. I do not feel that in Clause 3 (3) that, in fact, is carried out.

I would ask the Solicitor-General whether orders would need to be laid for as long as 12 months, because the Treasury, at least twice in every year, shall make a return to Parliament. Is there any reason why the Treasury should not make its return on the 1st and 2nd of January, leaving a full 12 months for orders to accumulate which, in fact, have not been laid? Twice a year does not necessarily mean every six months. I can see no justification for that. In normal cases, I should say there can be no reason why an Order should not be laid on the next Sitting Day after publication. It is perfectly true, as the Solicitor-General said, that there may be cases of emergency, when emergency legislation is necessary; but they must be very rare, certainly in time of peace, and they should be dealt with as emergency legislation by special procedure. It is true that mistakes will be made, and occasionally Indemnity Bills will be necessary; but it would be wrong, I feel, that we should legislate on the assumption that mistakes will be made. The protection of the citizens' freedom is far more important than protection of Ministers against the mistakes of their subordinates.

One other point, I think, is of some special interest to hon. Members opposite. That is on the question of the amendment of these Regulations. One can assume that hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree with the general principle of nearly all these rules and regulations. They approve the policy of the Government, and they will, therefore, approve, in principle, the regulations through which it is carried out, but it must be appreciated that they will never have an opportunity of doing more than approve a principle. Many of these statutory instruments affect the lives of our citizens to a far greater extent than many Acts of Parliament; and it seems to me quite wrong that we should have the choice solely of accepting or rejecting in to to each of these Rules and Regulations.

One further point, in regard to what I would describe as subsidiary Orders. It happens, I believe, that a Minister can make Orders for the carrying out of some project, and the Order itself, giving him these powers, is laid before this House; but he may obtain through that Order further powers to make subsidiary Orders, which, in fact, are never brought before this House at all; and it seems to me that is an unjustified restriction on the right of the individual. Therefore, I have no hesitation in opposing this Bill, as I regard it as an unjustified restriction upon the right of the individual to lead his own life and as giving to the Executive powers, which, I believe, in time of peace are totally unnecessary.

26 p.m

Sir Harold Webbe (Westminster, Abbey)

Three speakers in the later stages of this Debate—the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) and the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison)—have raised a point which had been, up to that stage, tacitly accepted. They have raised the question of the wisdom of the Government's decision not to re-enact the provisions of a present Statute in regard to prior publication, from the angle that such publication was desirable for local authorities. As one who has been interested in local government for many years, I believe the Government's decision to be right, and that prior publication no longer serves any really useful purpose. It is true that the hon. Member for Eccles objected to the failure to re-enact these provisions on the ground that prior consultation, which we all know is a custom of Government Departments, was, in itself, an undesirable thing. He wanted to have the Government's proposal put to the world, as he said, and left for open discussion after that stage. I am quite sure that anyone intimately concerned with local government is satisfied that prior consultations, which, in fact, do take place, save a very great deal of time, a great deal of misunderstanding, and are the only practical method by which regulations and statutory instruments of that kind can be made in relation to local authorities. The hon. Member for Kettering took the diametrically opposite reason. He felt that there was insufficient prior consultation, and there was no guarantee that individual interests among local authorities would, in fact, have an opportunity of making their views known.

I think we should also keep in mind that one of the great difficulties of the whole method of government by delegated legislation is that when an Act of Parliament provides that certain steps in the administration shall be covered by regulations made by Ministers, it places on the Minister the virtually impossible task of drafting a regulation which is equally and properly applicable to every local authority in the country. It does frequently result that these regulations are either so loosely drawn in order to cover everything as to be virtually ineffective, or so tightly drawn as adversely to affect certain interests. On the whole, I feel sure that the Government are right that this prior publication no longer serves any really useful purpose. In regard to the Bill as a whole, I feel we are still in an unsatisfactory position which I very much hope the learned Solicitor-General will clear up when he replies. I listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman). With his conclusions in regard to the two points of principle involved in this Bill I was in hearty agreement. I may say I could not quite understand the logic by which he arrived at those conclusions, still less did I understand how he proposed to vote for the Bill regardless of anything else when it contains on his submission points of substance which are diametrically opposed to the views which he holds. I do appeal to the learned Solicitor-General to give us some assurance that he will meet the practically unanimous wish of the House, on the two points of substance which have been raised by one speaker after another.

The Bill has certain very obvious merits. It widens and clarifies the definition of a "statutory instrument." It standardises the procedure, but it falls lamentably short in two respects. There is not very much use having a statutory instrument which is to be made and laid for the period of 40 days, if you leave wide open the question of when that 40 days begins. As I listened to the learned Solicitor-General in his opening remarks I metaphorically rubbed my eyes to see if I was awake. He spent many minutes talking of the hopeless vagueness of the phrase "as soon as may be," and yet, as has been pointed out, it is the governing phrase in the two important Clauses of his Bill. Surely this is illogical, and every argument which the learned Solicitor-General used in support of the Bill is an argument for clarifying these two Clauses, and making a definite decision as to when the 40 days are to begin. I cannot believe that the Government Department themselves would not find it actually more convenient to have a precise procedure for laying Orders on the Table of this House, rather than the indefinite procedure which is now proposed. A precise procedure, in any business, is carried out, but an indefinite one is almost invariably broken from time to time, or forgotten, and there seems to be no reason why some formula should not be inserted in this Bill to ensure that when a Minister signs an Order, he should sign a duplicate of it, which could be laid on the Table of this House on the first Sitting Day after it is made. That would be automatic, and would not lapse in the way we know Orders under present procedure and the proposed procedure would lapse.

Another and equally vital point is one which has been made by practically every speaker from both sides of the House. The principle which governs British justice—one of the governing principles—is that ignorance of the law is no defence. It is incumbent on those who make the law, to ensure that those who are to obey it, know what that law is. There cannot be, in my submission, any answer to the argument that no instrument can be legal, or become effective until those affected by it have an opportunity of knowing what it says and what it means. Reference has been made by the hon. Member for Kettering to a case in which the courts decided that, whatever might be thought here, the fact was that an Order was not effective until it had been made public. We all remember well the daffodil case where men were arrested carrying suitcases full of daffodils and were actually prosecuted, convicted and fined for an offence under an Order which had not been published to any one at all when they entered the train at Exeter.

I do not want to make any submission on the merits of the case; it may well be that by accident justice might have been done. But it is alarming that that kind of thing could happen in a country in which no man is allowed to plead ignorance of the law in his own defence. I do submit that the learned Solicitor-General, in view of the strength of the opinion expressed from all quarters of the House, should give us an undertaking that when this Bill comes before the Committee he will himself move Amendments, to secure first that there shall be some precision in the procedure for seeking approval of this House to these statutory instruments, and secondly to ensure that no man can be convicted of a crime which he could not possibly know was a crime. It is on those points that I would ask for an assurance and if we can have that asurasnce I, for one, will be happy to vote for the Second Reading. But without that assurance, because these are points of substance, I must agree that this is a bad Bill against which this House should vote.

6.39 p.m

Mr. Maude (Exeter)

I would endeavour to make one point which I did raise with the hon. and learned Solicitor-General by way of interruption and which he very kindly dealt with to some extent. I am doubly disappointed, in respect of this Bill, with the attitude taken by the Labour Party over it and for this reason. I cannot help feeling that the hurry with which the learned Solicitor-General introduced the Bill is the reason why the Bill still contains those odious words "as soon as may be" when in fact all of us in this House know perfectly well that it is not possible to have any kind of efficient legislation when those words remain in any Bill. Clause 2 begins: As soon as may be after the making of any statutory instrument, it shall be sent to the King's Printer of Acts of Parliament. I submit that those words are absolutely unnecessary; they are an encouragement to delay. But let me turn to Clause 3. It provides: Where by this Act or any Act passed after the commencement of this Act any statutory instrument is required to be laid before Par- liament, a copy of the instrument shall be laid before each House of Parliament as soon as may be after the making thereof. I know what the reason for this may be, since it could be argued that the House might not be sitting, but there is no reason at all why one should leave it to read "as soon as may be." One could easily insert words which would make it imperative that the Order should be laid within so many days after the House assembling. But while I am on this point let me say that Subsection (3) is to my mind quite wrong and should never be allowed to go forward. I will read it: The validity of any statutory instrument of which copies are required under this Section to be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after the making thereof, shall not be called in question on the grounds that such copies were not so laid. I do not complain about that but the Clause goes on: But at least twice in every year the Treasury shall make a return to Parliament drawing attention to any such statutory instrument which during the period under review has come into operation on a date earlier than that on which copies thereof were laid before Parliament. May I pause there? If the Treasury is omniscient and knows perfectly well all about these Orders—and I suppose would know immediately, if the hon. and learned Solicitor-General is right in his argument, that the requirements of this House had not been complied with—I cannot conceive why a return could not be made earlier. I suspect that, if the learned Solicitor-General consults the Treasury, he will find that they have not got all this knowledge and do not know immediately. The House will notice that having said "at least twice in every year" there is no indication at all when that is to be, and therefore we do not know when the Treasury are to make a return to Parliament explaining why such copies were not so laid on or before the date on which the ordinance came into operation. It is my sincere belief that the whole matter could be tightened up as easily as anything. We should then get, in fact, the legislation that I believe many hon. Members have been longing for, really first-class, excellent legislation. Instead of that, what the House will be doing is to hand over to the Executive, not a thing of which they are frightened in any shape or form, but handing over to the Executive an Act which enables them in fact not to get on with these matters as quickly and efficiently as every one of us would wish. There may be some good reason for it, but I confess I do not know what it is. All of us have had experience with Government Departments during this war and I believe every one of us here knows perfectly well that we should in fact have taken more effective steps on both sides of the House, if we had had longer time to consider the proposals in this Bill. Until some assurance is given by the hon. and learned Solicitor-General I feel I must vote against it. It is not a party matter. There are excellent things in it. A lot of it is excellent, but I do say that it is one's bounden duty to vote against a Bill which should be a first-rate Bill, instead of being, in my submission, a thoroughly bad one.

6.43 p.m.

Mr. Manninghann-Buller (Daventry)

I have not had the advantage of introducing a Bill but I suppose that when one does one endeavours to disarm criticism in advance. If these were the intentions of the learned Solicitor-General in introducing this Bill, I must confess that I think it unfortunate that, in his lengthy and lucid exposition, he dealt so shortly with the three chief points which have kept us so long in the Debate today. If he had dealt with those points, it may be that the Debate would never have lasted so long. I do sympathise with him because if he had had, throughout this Debate, the assistance of a Cabinet Minister beside him or of any other Minister who could have authorised him to give some assurance, or to give some concession, we might have got through this matter much more speedily. I do not of course know what his attitude will be when he comes, if he comes, to reply. It is obvious, I think, that the particular points in this Bill to which attention was drawn by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) have met with support not only from these Benches but from the Benches opposite. I do not think the Government have found one supporter amid the serried ranks of the empty Benches behind them.

What are the three points under consideration? First, there is the question whether some notification should not be given of the making of regulations on the lines of the recommendations of the Donoughmore Report and which the Solicitor-General has said have been discarded in this Bill. I agree that it is not always possible to give notice in advance of the regulations that are to be made but where it can be done it should be. Either some preliminary announcement can be made or it can be prescribed that the regulations will come into effect on a specific date as was done in the case of the Regulations imposing a £10 restriction on building without a licence, thus enabling people to consider the regulations before they became operative. It does enable people to know the law before the law starts being applied. I hope that even though it may not be possible to put some such provision in the Bill, we shall receive some assurance that when it can be done, advance notice of the regulations shall be given. That point was made, not only from this side of the House, but also by the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison).

The second point is one which, although the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman)—who I am sorry to see is not here now—thinks it is merely a Committee point, is one of considerable substance, and affects every man and woman in this land. It is whether an order can be made and become law before anyone can know what it is. We have had considerable arguments about what is the law now, before this Bill becomes an Act. The Senior Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) referred to a reported case with which the hon. Member for Kettering showed he was acquainted. However the law may be now, the question will still arise whether this Bill, if it is passed in its present form, will affect that law. When one sees in Clause 2 the words: As soon as may be after the making of any statutory instrument it shall be sent to the King's Printer…. I should have thought that implied that an Order was made before it got to the King's Printer, and so was in operation before anyone could receive it. I hope that notwithstanding the absence of his colleagues, the Solicitor-General will be able to give some assurance that that matter will be put right before this Debate is concluded.

The third and equally important point, in my view, is in regard to Clause 3. I am sure that all Members of this House will agree it is far better to prevent the commission of crimes than to set oneself to detecting criminals. If the Government wish to abolish the shortage of criminals it is quite easy, by creating offences by making regulations and orders of this sort. But when these regulations are made, there must surely be provision for there being some check upon them. In the majority of cases it is no longer open to the courts to inquire into the exercise of the Minister's powers. The only authority is, and has been for some time, this House of Commons. Therefore, it is of the most fundamental importance that we should ensure that all exercise of delegated authority must come before the House. This Bill does not achieve that object at all. As I understand the Bill, it will still be possible for Fire Guard regulations to be made in a future war, and not be laid for three years after they are made, and there is no sanction, no precaution against that. The Treasury might make reports but what can be done then. The Minister, the Government, the Executive cannot be compelled even then to lay the regulations. No one can pray against regulations until they are laid, and there is no sanction in this Bill to compel the laying of these reports, even if the Treasury gives an adverse report upon them.

What is the remedy? Surely the one suggested, that there must be some sanction in this Bill, something to say that if this Parliament has decided in its Acts, that is to say, that the regulations shall be laid, and if Parliament is flouted by that not being obeyed, the regulations shall cease to be valid. What is the objection to that? The learned Solicitor-General, when he raised that point, said it could not be done. The only reason he gave was the difficulty of proof in the police court. I suggest that that reason does not justify our relinquishing control over delegated legislation. That is what he is asking us to do. Because of the difficulty of proving that the regulation has been laid, he is asking this House to dispense with all control over the exercise of that power of legislation which we have delegated. There are many ways in which that difficulty of proof can be overcome. I do not propose to take up time in entering into it now, but it is a most unsatisfactory reason for saying that we cannot provide that if a thing is not laid it shall cease to be valid. That is the only sanction which can be operative and can ensure that regulations, when they are made, shall come before this House, and that we, no matter to what party we may belong, shall have an opportunity of checking them.

The Lord President of the Council, in one of those speeches he used to make at weekends when he was Home Secretary in the Coalition Government, talked a great deal about this delegated legislation, and he emphasised the fact that Parliament will exercise powers of supervision and control of this Departmental legislation. My criticism of this Bill is that it does not provide any more power of control over the exercise of delegated legislation than exists today, no real power at all. Indeed, as I have said, we may still have other Members of the Government coming here, clad in a white sheet, asking for a Bill of indemnity on the ground that the words "as soon as may be" have not been interpreted as meaning "as soon as can be." I hope we shall receive the assurance that both these matters will be remedied at the earliest possible moment. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne quoted, or sought to quote, the effect of certain articles in newspapers, and he talked about floundering. I think he himself rather floundered in his approach to this Bill. He seemed to regard these two matters as mere Committee points. I think they go far deeper than that. I can tell the Solicitor-General that unless he can say that these points will be met he will not get this Bill without those of us who can doing all we can to obstruct him.

The Solicitor-General rose

Major Guy Lloyd (Renfrew, East)

On a point of Order. I gather that the hon. and learned Gentleman is to speak a second time. I want to ask your guidance on this matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Front Bench has been boycotted by departmental Ministers who are vitally

affected by this most important Bill. I object to the Solicitor-General speaking again.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I thought the hon. and gallant Member was putting a point of Order. I was waiting to hear what it was.

Major Lloyd

I am asking for your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The last time such a position arose the present Minister of Health made an exactly similar protest, under exactly similar conditions, and he said that the next time it happened he would be the first to raise a protest on a point of Order.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I have not accepted the contention that this is a point of Order.

Major Lloyd

On a point of Order. May I ask your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? Will you accept a Motion for the Adjournment of the House?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I would certainly not accept that Motion.

Mr. C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)

On a point of Order. Is the House entitled to refuse the hon. and learned Gentleman the right to speak a second time?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The House is, of course, entitled to do that, and the hon. and learned Member will ask the permission of the House before he speaks.

The Solicitor-General

I was about to rise to ask that permission. I now formally ask the permission of the House to speak again.

Major Lloyd

I object.

Mr. Molson

Why is it necessary for the hon. and learned Member to speak on a second occasion, since he has many colleagues on the Treasury Bench?

Question put, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 134.

Division No. 16.] AYES. [6.56 p.m.
Adams, Capt. H. R. (Balham) Baird, Capt. J. Blenkinsop, Capt. A.
Allen, A. C. (Botworth) Balfour, A. Blyton, W. R.
Alpass, J. H. Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Boardman, H.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Barstow, P. G. Bottomley, A. G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Barton, C. Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)
Attewell, H. C. Battley, J. R. Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)
Austin, H. L. Bechervaise, A. E. Braddock, T. (Mitcham)
Awbery, S. S. Belcher, J. W. Brook, D. (Halifax)
Ayles, W. H. Berry, H. Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Brown, George (Belper)
Bacon, Miss A. Blackburn, A. R. Brown, T. J. (Ince)
Brown, W. J. (Rugby) Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Reeves, J.
Buchanan, G. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Burden, T. W. Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin) Rhodes, H.
Burke, W. A. Keenan, W. Richards, R.
Callaghan, James Kenyon, C. Robens, A.
Chamberlain, R. A. Key, C. W. Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)
Champion, A. J. Kinley, J. Rogers, G. H. R.
Chater, D. Kirby, B. V. Sargood, R.
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R. Lang, G. Scollan, T.
Clitherow, R. Lavers, S. Scott-Elliot, W.
Cluse, W. S. Lee, F. (Hulme) Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Cobb, F. A. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes)
Cocks, F. S. Leonard, W. Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Coldrick, W. Leslie, J. R. Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Collick, P. Levy, B. W. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Collindridge, F. Lewis, J. (Bolton) Simmons, C. J.
Collins, V. J. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Skeffington, A. M.
Colman, Miss G. M. Lindgren, G. S. Skinnard, F. W.
Cook, T. F. Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng. Univ.) Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Cooper, Wing Comdr. G. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Logan, D. G. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Corlett, Dr. J. Longden, F. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Corvedale, Viscount Lyne, A. W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Cove, W. G. McAdam, W. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A. Mack, J. D. Solley, L. J.
Daggar, G. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Daines, P. Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Sparks, J. A.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) McKinlay, A. S. Stamford, W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Maclean, N. (Govan) Steele, T.
Davies, Harold (Leek) McLeavy, F. Strachey, J.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) MacMillan, M. K. Strauss, G. R.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mallalieu, J. P. W. Stross, Dr. B.
Delargy, Captain H. J. Mann, Mrs. J. Stubbs, A. E.
Diamond, J. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.) Sunderland, J. W.
Dumpleton, C. W. Marquand, H. A. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Dye, S. Marshall, F. (Brightside) Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Edelman, M. Mayhew, Maj. C. P. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.) Medland, H. M. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty) Messer, F. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Middleton, Mrs. L. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Ewart, R. Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Farthing, W. J. Monslow, W. Thorneycroft, H.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Montague, F. Thurtle, E.
Follick, M. Moody, A. S. Timmons, J.
Foot, M. M. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Tolley, L.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Morley, R. Turner-Samuels, M.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.) Usborne, H. C.
Freeman, Mai. J. (Watford) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Freeman, P. (Newport) Mort, D. L. Viant, S. P.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Moyle, A. Walkden, E.
Gallacher, W. Murray, J. D. Walker, G. H.
Gibbins, J. Naylor, T. E. Wallace, C. D. (Chislehurst)
Gibson, C. W. Neal, H. (Claycross) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Gilzean, A. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Warbey, W. N.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Watkins, T. E.
Gordon-Walker, P. G. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Watson, W. M.
Grenfell, D. R. Oliver, G. H. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Grey, C. F. Orbach, M. Weitzman, D.
Grierson, E. Paget, B. T. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Palmer, A. M. F. Wigg, G. E. C.
Gunter, Capt. R. J. Pargiter, G. A. Wilkes, Maj. L.
Guy, W. H. Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T. Wilkins, W. A.
Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley) Paton, J. (Norwich) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Pearson, A. Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Peart, Capt. T. F. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Perrins, W. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Hewitson, Captain M. Poole, Major C. C. (Lichfield) Willis, E.
Hobson, C R. Porter, E. (Warrington) Wise, Major F. J.
Holman, P. Porter, G. (Leeds) Woodburn, A.
House, G. Pritt, D. N. Woods, G. S.
Hoy, J. Proctor, W. T. Wyatt, Maj. W.
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Pursey, Cmdr. H. Yates, V. F.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Randall, H. E.
Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.) Ranger, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Rankin, J. Mr. Mathers and Captain Michael Stewart.
Aitken, Hon. M. Glossop, C. W. H. Osborne, C.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Baldwin, A. E. Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Barlow, Sir J. Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V. Pickthorn, K.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Haughton, Maj. S. G. Ponsonby, Col, C. E.
Beattie, F. (Cathcart) Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C. Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bennett, Sir P. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Hogg, Hon. Q. Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Boothby, R. Horabin, T. L. Raikes, H. V.
Bossom, A. G. Howard, Hon. A. Ramsay, Maj. S.
Bower, N. Hurd, A. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Hutchison, Lt-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.) Renton, Maj. D.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.) Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Bullock, Capt. M. Jennings, R. Robinson, Wing-Comdr. J. R.
Butcher, H. W. Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Kendall, W. D. Scott, Lord W.
Byers, Lt.-Col. F. Kerr, Sir J. Graham Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Carson, E. Lambert, G. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Snadden, W. M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull) Spearman, A. C. M.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Lipson, D. L. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.
Cole, T. L. Lloyd, Brig. J. S. B. (Wirral) Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Studholme, H. G.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Sutcliffe, H.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) MacAndrew, Col. Sir C. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. M.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Touche, G. C.
Cuthbert, W. N. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Turton, R. H.
Davidson, Viscountess Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster) Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Digby, Maj. S. Wingfield MacLeod, Capt. J. Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness) Manningham-Buller, R. E. Ward, Hon. G. R.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Marples, Capt. A. E. Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Duthie, W. S. Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Eccles, D. M. Maude, J. C. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Erroll, Col. F. J. Mellor, Sir J. White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L. Molson, A. H. E. Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Morris, R. H. (Carmarthen) York, C.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone) Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)
Fraser, Lt.-Col. Sir I. (Lonsdale) Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gage, Lt.-Col. C. Nicholson, G. Commander Agnew and Drewe.
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Orr-Ewing, I. L.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Captain Crookshank (Gainsborough)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be com-

mitted to Committee of the Whole House."

The House divided: Ayes, 127; Noes,279.

Division No. 17.] AYES. [7.8 p.m.
Aitken, Hon. M. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hogg, Hon. Q.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J.
Baldwin, A. E. Cuthbert, W. N. Howard, Hon A.
Barlow, Sir J. Davidson, Viscountess Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Digby, Maj. S. Wingfield Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.)
Beattie, F. (Cathcart) Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D. Jennings, R.
Bennett, Sir P. Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Drayson, Capt. G. B. Kerr, Sir J. Graham
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Duthie, W. S. Lambert, G.
Boothby, R. Eccles, D. M. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Bower, N. Erroll, Col. F. J. Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Bullock, Capt. M. Fletcher, W. (Bury) Lloyd, Brig. J. S. B. (Wirral)
Butcher, H. W. Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Low, Brig. A. R. W.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Carson, E. Fraser, Lt.-Col. Sir I. (Lonsdale) MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.
Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C. Gage, Lt.-Col. C. MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Gammans, Capt. L. D. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Glossop, C. W. H. McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Cole, T. L. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) MacLeod, Capt. J.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Haughton, Maj. S. G. Maitland, Comdr. J. W.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C. Manningham-Buller, R. E.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Marples, Capt. A. E.
Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Raikes, H. V. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Maude, J. C. Ramsay, Maj. S. Touche, G. C.
Mellor, Sir J. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead) Turton, R. H.
Molson, A. H. E. Renton, Maj. D. Vane, Lt.-Col. W M. T.
Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall) Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Robinson, Wing Comdr. J. R. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. Scott, Lord W. Ward, Hon. G. R.
Nicholson, G. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow) Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Smith, E. P. (Ashford) Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Orr-Ewing, I. L. Snadden, W. M. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Osborne, C. Spearman, A. C. M. White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Spence, Maj. H. R. Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fib, E.) York, C.
Pickthorn, K. Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M. Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.
Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry) Studholme, H. G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Prescott, Capt. W. R. S. Sutcliffe, H. Commander Agnew and Mr. Drewe.
Price-White, Lt.-Col. D. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Adams, Capt. H. R. (Balham) Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Lavers, S.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) de Freitas, Geoffrey Lee, F. (Hulme)
Alpass, J. H. Delargy, Captain H. J. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Diamond, J. Leonard, W.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Donovan, T. Leslie, J. R.
Attewell, H. C. Driberg, T. E. N. Levy, B. W.
Austin, H. L. Dumpleton, C. W. Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Awbery, S. S. Dye, S. Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Ayles, W. H. Edelman, M. Lindgren, G. S.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.) Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng. Univ.)
Bacon, Miss A. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty) Lipson, D. L.
Baird, Capt. J. Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Balfour, A. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Logan, D. G.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Ewart, R. Longden, F.
Barstow, P. G. Farthing, W. J. Lyne, A. W.
Barton, C. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) McAdam, W.
Battley, J. R. Pollick, M. Mack, J. D.
Bechervaise, A. E. Foot, M. M. McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Belcher, J. W. Foster, W. (Wigan) Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Berry, H. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) McKinlay, A. S.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Maclean, N. (Govan)
Blackburn, A. R. Freeman, P. (Newport) McLeavy, F.
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Gaitskell, H. T. N. MacMillan, M. K.
Blyton, W. R. Gallacher, W. Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Boardman, H. George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Mann, Mrs. J.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Gibbins, J. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Gibson, C. W. Marquand, H. A.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Gilzean, A. Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Mayhew, Maj. C. P.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Gordon-Walker, P. G. Medland, H. M.
Brown, George (Belper) Grenfell, D. R. Messer, F.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Grey, C. F. Middleton, Mrs. L.
Brown, W. J. (Rugby) Grierson, E. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Buchanan, G. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Monslow, W.
Burden, T. W. Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Montague, F.
Burke, W. A. Gunter, Capt. R. J. Moody, A. S.
Byers, Lt.-Col. F. Guy, W. H. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Callaghan, James Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Morley, R.
Chamberlain, R. A. Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare) Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Champion, A. J. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Morris, R. H. (Carmarthen)
Clitherow, R. Hewitson, Captain M. Mort, D. L.
Cluse, W. S. Hobson, C. R. Moyle, A.
Cobb, F. A. Holman, P. Murray, J. D.
Cocks, F. S. Horabin, T. L. Naylor, T. E.
Coldrick, W. House, G. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Collick, P. Hoy, J. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Collindridge, F. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Collins, V. J. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Colman, Miss G. M. Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.) Oliver, G. H.
Cook, T. F. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Orbach, M.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G. Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Paget, R. T.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Corlett, Dr. J. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Corvedale, Viscount Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin) Palmer, A. M. F.
Cove, W. G. Keenan, W. Pargiter, G. A.
Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A. Kendall, W. D. Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Crossman, R. H. S. Kenyon, C. Paten, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Daggar, G. Key, C. W. Paton, J. (Norwich)
Daines, P. King, E. M. Pearson, A.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Kinley, J. Peart, Capt. T. F.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Kirby, B. V. Perrins, W.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lang, G. Poole, Major C. C. (Lichfield)
Porter, E. (Warrington) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.) Walker, G. H.
Porter G. (Leeds) Smith, T. (Normanton) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Proctor, W. T. Snow, Capt. J. W. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Pursey, Cmdr. H. Solley, L. J. Warbey, W. N.
Randall, H. E. Soskice, Maj. Sir F. Watkins, T. E.
Ranger, J. Sparks, J. A. Watson, W. M.
Rankin, J. Stamford, W. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R. Steele, T. Weitzman, D.
Reeves, J. Strachey, J. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Reid, T. (Swindon) Strauss, G. R. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Rhodes, H. Stross, Dr. B. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Richards, R. Stubbs, A. E. Wigg, G. E. C.
Roberts, A. Sunderland, J. W. Wilkes, Maj. L.
Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire) Symonds, Maj. A. L. Wilkins, W. A.
Rogers, G. H. R. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield) Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen
Sargood, R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Scollan, T. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Scott-Elliot, W. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley) Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)
Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes) Thomas, John R. (Dover) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Willis, E.
Silkin, Rt. Hon. L. Thorneycroft, H. Wise, Major F. J.
Silverman, J. (Erdington) Thurtle, E. Woodburn, A.
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson) Timmons, J. Woods, G. S.
Simmons, C. J. Tolley, L. Wyatt, Maj. W.
Skeffington, A. M. Turner-Samuels, M. Yates, V. F.
Skinnard, F. W. Usborne, H. C. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester) Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke) Viant, S. P. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Walkden, E. Mr. Mathers and Captain Michael Stewart.

Question put, and agreed to.