HC Deb 24 July 1946 vol 426 cc178-9

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [17th July]: That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty in pursuance of the provisions of Section 157 of the Government of Burma Act, 1935, praying that the India and Burma (Burma Monetary Arrangements) (Second Amendment) Order, 1946, be made in the form of the draft laid before Parliament.

Question again proposed.

11.7 p.m.

Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)

I think I ought to say that this is, in fact, an act of indemnity of a most unusual character. The hon. and learned Gentleman has had to come twice to the House about it, and I trust he will be able to give us an assurance that, after this, Parliament will not be troubled with Orders of this character, and that the administration of the monetary matters referred to in these Orders will be handled in a different way. We have not unduly stressed the irregularity of the procedure which he has asked Parliament to approve. If he will give us an assurance that this is unlikely to be repeated, and that it is a result of the chaos in Burma due to the country having been overrun, we shall understand the position.

11.8 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Burma (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

I am not sure that this is an irregular procedure. It was always intended, as the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, that the Government of Burma should have full power over the currency in Burma two years after the passing of the 1937 Order; and it is only because of the circumstances that exist in Burma today, that it has been necessary to come here on these two occasions. I should not like to enter into a commitment I could not carry out, but I will certainly assure the right hon. Gentleman that, so far as possible, it will be our purpose not to come to this House unnecessarily for the purpose of dealing with the currency.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

Surely, after the setting up of the Currency Board, the matter must be within the jurisdiction of Burma?

Mr. A. Henderson

Yes, Sir. It will be within the jurisdiction of Burma. But I do not want to commit myself as regards other aspects of the 1937 Order, because there are other aspects which are not affected by this draft Order.

Address to be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.