HC Deb 19 December 1946 vol 431 cc2217-8

5.45 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, in page 7, line 22, to leave out from "act," to "to," in line 24, and to insert "with intent."

During the Committee stage hon. Members opposite pointed out that the words "calculated to secure" were not altogether clear and might impose a liability where no liability was intended. Hon. Members submitted to the Committee that some words should be used which made it perfectly clear that intent was a necessary ingredient to the offence, and my right hon. Friend undertook to look at that. We are convinced on reflection that the argument was a correct one, and the words which the Amendment proposes to insert, do make it perfectly clear that intent is necessary for the commission of the offence.

Mr. Oliver Stanley (Bristol, West)

We on this side of the House are certainly glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman has seen fit to accept the suggestion which was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) during the Committee stage. The hon. and learned Gentleman can always be sure that we shall try to assist him and to make even the worst Bill, such as this, as good as possible. He and his right hon. Friend will find that the more they listen to us, and accept our Amendments, the more satisfactory these Bills will be in the end.

Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)

I should like to join in the Christmas spirit which has just been shown by my right hon. Friend, and to say that I think the words previously included in the Clause were almost imbecile from the point of view of the ordinary person. As a result of the Amendment nearly two lines of the Bill are being omitted and two words inserted in their place. In other words, we are doing something which makes the Bill easier to understand even for lawyers —and that takes a lot of doing. I congratulate the Government on having done that. May I also say that I think that they might have been a little more generous in thanking the Opposition for the work which they have done in endeavouring to ensure that this Bill might have, at least, one sensible line.

Amendment agreed to.