HC Deb 26 March 1946 vol 421 cc342-4

Order for Consideration, as amended (in the Standing Committee), read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill he re-committed to the former Committee in respect of the Amendment moved in that Committee to leave out sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 2 of the Schedule."—[Mr. Dalton.]

10.46 p.m.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)

May I first apologise to the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchquer, for the fact that, I was not in my place yesterday, when he gave notice of this Motion. I was unaware that it was coming on, and I hope he realises that no discourtesy was intended. We on this side take no umbrage at this Motion. In fact, I blame myself to this extent, that I was unaware of the irregularity when it occurred upstairs in the Standing Committee. As the Member in charge of the Amendment in question I should have been aware of the fact. I can only urge that for six years past we have been working in a hiatus, in which we have lost much of our knowledge of procedure in Committees upstairs, and I expect it was I who was to blame, for not calling the attention of the Chairman of the Committee to this fact at the time. I am assured by my theosophical and spiritualist friends that it is unusual for anybody to have a second time on earth. It must be far more unusual for any hon. Member of this House to have a second opportunity of moving an Amendment on a Bill in Committee. If only for that reason, I support the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. It will give us an opportunity of again presenting, I hope, in different language and with different arguments, the gravamen of the case which we previously advanced upstairs. If I may say so, there is a certain poetic justice in this, because the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was seeking to obtain for himself powers which we on our side of the Committee regarded as dictatorial. The Gestapo methods, the snooping and the rummaging, which are possible under the paragraph which we sought to delete, we shall now have another opportunity of debating. We felt upstairs that indecent haste was being shown by the right hon. Gentleman. Streamlined Bills, after all, have their disadvantages and this case illustrates one of them. Streamlined cars are devised for speeding along bypass roads. On this occasion, the streamlined car has had a crash. We on this side of the House welcome the opportunity of the re-committal of this Measure to refocus public attention on what we regard as a most vicious paragraph of the Schedule and we call attention to the public strictures passed upon the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General since this incident took place, by the "Law Journal."

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)

The hon. and gallant Member cannot go into the merits of the matter. He can only debate the question of whether the Bill should be re-committed.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Perhaps I should not at this stage have mentioned the trade union journal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite should remember that it is not the fault of the Opposition that a mess has been made of this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it.''] I could keep on for a long time on this subject and I shall do so if hon. Members opposite continue to interrupt me. I will not be shouted down. It is a great mistake of hon. Members to think that clamour can take the place of argument. I was about to say that we welcome the opportunity of repeating the arguments we made upstairs, and for that reason, take no objection to this Motion.

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