HC Deb 21 November 1945 vol 416 cc427-8
45. Mr. Bossom

asked the Prime Minister if he will give instructions that all Bills of a technical character shall have a clear statement in layman's language stating the purpose the Bill is intended to accomplish; and to have it printed with the Bill in every case.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have been asked to reply. As the hon. Member is no doubt aware the practice of the House imposes certain restrictions on the character of the explanatory memoranda which may be printed and circulated with Bills, and such memoranda are subject to revision in the Public Bill Office. It is already customary to circulate memoranda of the kind referred to with Government Bills whenever it is thought that an explanation within the permissible limits will be of assistance to Members. It seems, therefore, unnecessary for me to give instructions on this subject.

Mr. Bossom

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only last week a Member of the Government who was responsible for a certain Bill in this House, gave an. explanation, and then, when the Bill got upstairs, he had to apologise because he had not given the right interpretation of it? If the Government do not know their own Bills how are other people expected to know?

Mr. Speaker

That does not seem to me to be an appropriate supplementary question.