HC Deb 17 April 1946 vol 421 cc2849-50

Order read for consideration of Lords Amendments.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."—[Mr. Key.]

11.30 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

I do not feel disposed to agree to this Motion without taking the opportunity of voicing a protest at the manner in which these complicated Amendments come to us at such short notice. They were only given to hon. Members today. The Bill is of a technical character, and to understand the Amendments which have been made in another place requires a certain amount of study. I have been able to give that study to them in the course of the day, and the indignation which I would otherwise have thought it proper to express is modified by consideration that the Amendments, on the whole, appear to be of a beneficial character and leave the Bill better than it was when it left this House. I cannot refrain, however, from observing that it is a little strange that during the passage of this Bill through this House, complaint was made by the Minister of Health of the time consumed in Standing Committee in its consideration. Yet, all the time—which was alleged to be excessive—spent on the Bill by this House was, apparently, not enough to enable the Government to introduce all the Amendments which they desired. They come to us now, after what they say was excessive time spent in this House, with a completely new Clause, and some 20 odd Amendments which they had to leave over until the Bill reached another place.

I do not wish to arrest the business of the House. I understand that the Government are anxious to get the Bill now, and as I say the Amendments appear to be of a beneficial character, and I do not propose to object to them. I console myself, as, no doubt, will other hon. Members on this side of the House, with the reflection that it is very pleasant:o observe that His Majesty's Government have recognised the great value of the other place as a revising and reforming Chamber. On the Third Reading of this Bill, the Minister of Health expressed some indignation because mention was made of the other place. He seemed to think that some threat of a kind which was inimical to this House was being suggested by hon. Members on this side. There was nothing of the kind. I suggested that the Government themselves might have been wise to introduce major Amendments there for further consideration. They have taken that advice, and the result is this sheet of Amendments and this completely new Clause. I hope that the experience of the necessity for prolonged consideration in drafting legislation of this difficult character will induce them, on any future occasion on which they venture into this realm, to be more considerate to hon. Members.

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.