§ Interpretation of Chapter VIIA. 236A. In the Orders contained in this Chapter the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them: —
§ "the Chairman" means, subject to the next following Order, the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons;
§ "the Chairmen" means, subject as afore said and except in the expression "chairmen's panel," the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons;
§ "the Minister," in relation to any Special Procedure Order, means the Minister of the Crown responsible for laying the Order before Parliament;
§ "applicant," in relation to any Special Procedure Order, means any person stated on the face of the Order to be a person on whose application the Order is made or confirmed;
§ "copy," in relation to any document, means a printed or typewritten copy;
§ Deputy Chairmen. 236B.—(1) Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 80 (Deputy Speaker and chairmen) relative to Public Business, the Chairman may from time to time appoint any Member of the chairmen's panel as his deputy who shall be entitled to perform his functions under the Special Procedure Act, or under the Orders contained in this Chapter.
§ (2) Any reference in the said Orders to the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords shall be construed as including a reference to any Deputy Chairman of Committees appointed by the House of Lords.
§ Laying of Orders. 236c.—(1) On the day on which a Special Procedure Order is laid before this House under section 2 of the Special Procedure Act, the Minister shall cause a copy of the Order, and of the certificate or statement required by that section to be laid together 100 with the Order, to be deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office, and shall also cause copies of the Order and certificate or statement—
- (a) to be deposited at the Vote Office for the use of Members; and
- (b) to be made available to any person on application to the Minister and on payment:
§ Provided that the requirements of paragraph (b) of this Order need not be complied with as respects copies of the Special Procedure Order if it is a Statutory Instrument of which copies are required by section 2 of the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946, to be printed and sold.
§ (2) If on the face of any Order so laid there is stated the name and address of the person on whose application the Order is made or confirmed, that statement shall be included in all copies of the Order deposited or made available in accordance with the foregoing paragraph.
§ Presentation of Petitions. 236D.—(I) Every Special Procedure Petition presented to this House shall be prepared and signed in strict conformity with the rules and orders of this House applicable to Petitions against Private Bills, and shall be presented by being deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office.
§ (2) There shall be indorsed on every Special Procedure Petition so presented—
- (a) the title (as entered in the Votes) of the Special Procedure Order against which it is presented;
- (b) a statement that it is presented as a Petition for amendment or a Petition of general objection, as the case may be; and
- (c) the name and address of the Member, Party or Agent depositing it.
§ (3) The Petitioner shall cause—
- (a) a copy of the Petition to be deposited in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments, and another copy at the office of the Minister not later than the day following that on which the Petition was presented; and
- (b) a copy of the Petition to be delivered, or despatched by registered post, to the applicant (if any) or to each applicant (if more than one) at his address as specified on the face of the Order not later than the day aforesaid; and
- (c) copies of the Petition to be made available not later than three days from the day on which the Petition was presented, to any person on application to the Petitioner or his Agent at the address indorsed on the Petition, and on payment.
§ Memorials objecting to Petitions. 236E.—(1) Within the period of seven days beginning with the day on which a Special Procedure Petition is presented to this House, the Minister or any applicant may present to this House a Memorial objecting to the Petition being certified as proper to be received or, if it is presented as a Petition for amendment, objecting that it is a Petition of general objection, and stating specifically in either case the grounds of the objection.
§ (2) Every such Memorial shall be presented to this House by depositing it in the Committee and Private Bill Office.101
§ (3) On the day on which a Memorial is so presented, the Memorialist shall cause—
- (a) a copy thereof to be deposited in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments; and
- (b) another copy thereof to be delivered or despatched by registered post, to the Petitioner or his Agent at the address indorsed on the Special Procedure Petition.
§ Consideration of Petitions by Chairmen. 236F.—(1) If a Memorial is duly presented to this House objecting to a Special Procedure Petition, the Chairman shall give notice in the Committee and Private Bill Office of the time and place at which the Chairmen will consider the Petition and Memorial.
§ (2) If no such Memorial is presented, but the Chairmen are not satisfied that a Special Procedure Petition should be certified as proper to be received, or, if it is presented as a Petition for amendment, are not satisfied that it is such a Petition, the Chairman shall give notice in the Committee and Private Bill Office of the time and place at which the Chairmen will further consider the Petition.
§ (3) The Chairmen shall have power to determine questions of locus standi in connection with their examination of Special Procedure Petitions, and to decide as to the rights of the Petitioners to be heard upon such Petitions.
§ Reference of Petition to Joint Committee. 236G.—(1) Where under Section 4 of the Special Procedure Act any Special Procedure Petition stands referred, or has been referred by order of either House, to a Joint Committee—
- (a) the Committee of this House shall consist of three members to be nominated by the Committee of Selection;
- (b) the Petitioner shall be entitled to be heard by himself, his Counsel or Agent, and to tender evidence in support of the Petition;
- (c) the Minister shall be entitled to be heard by himself, his Counsel or Agent, and to tender evidence against the Petition;
- (d) the minutes of the evidence taken before the Committee shall be reported to the House:
§ Provided that the Minister may give notice in accordance with the following paragraph that he desires that the rights conferred on him by sub-paragraph (c) of this paragraph shall be exercised by any applicant specified in the notice, and thereupon the said sub-paragraph shall have effect as if that applicant were substituted for the Minister.
§ (2) Any such notice shall be delivered, or despatched by registered post, to the Petitioner or his Agent at the address indorsed on the Special Procedure Petition and to the applicant specified in the notice at his address as specified on the face of the Special Procedure Order, within three days after the report of the Chairmen is laid before this House under Subsection (5) of Section 3 of the Special Procedure Act, and copies thereof shall be deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office and in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments within the said three days.
§ Counter Petitions. 236H.—(1) Where under Subsection (5) of Section 3 of the Special Pro- 102 cedure Act the Chairmen have reported that any Special Procedure Petition has been presented to this House and has been certified as a Petition for amendment and as proper to be received, a Petition (hereinafter referred to as a "Counter-Petition") may, within the period of fourteen days, beginning with the date on which the report is laid before this House, be presented to this House complaining that an amendment prayed for by the Special Procedure Petition will affect the interest of the person presenting the Counter-Petition (hereinafter referred to as the "Counter-Petitioner"), and such Counter-Petition shall stand referred to the Joint Committee to whom the Special Procedure Petition stands referred, or has been referred by order of either House.
§ (2) Any Counter-Petition presented to this House shall be presented by being deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office.
§ (3) There shall be indorsed on every Counter-Petition so presented—
- (a) the title (as entered in the Votes) of the Special Procedure Order to which it relates; and
- (b) the name and address of the Member, Party or Agent depositing it; and
- (c) the name of the Member, Party or Agent who presented the Special Procedure Petition to which it relates (hereinafter referred to as the "original Petitioner").
§ (4) Not later than the day following that on which the Counter-Petition was presented, the Counter-Petitioner shall cause—
- (a) a copy thereof to be deposited in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments and another copy thereof to be deposited at the office of the Minister; and
- (b) another copy thereof to be delivered, or despatched by registered post, to the original Petitioner at the address indorsed on the Special Procedure Petition; and
- (c) if the Minister has given notice under the last foregoing Order that he desires that his rights shall be exercised by an applicant specified in the notice, another copy thereof to be delivered, or despatched by registered post, to that applicant at his address as specified on the face of the Special Procedure Order.
§ (5) If, on consideration of a Counter-Petition, the Joint Committee to whom the relevant Special Procedure Petition stands referred, or has been referred by order of either House, are satisfied that an amendment prayed for by the Special Procedure Petition may affect the interest of the Counter-Petitioner, the Committee may allow the Counter-Petitioner to be heard by himself, his Counsel or Agent, and to tender evidence against the Special Procedure Petition
§ Withdrawal of Petitions and Memorials. 2361. With regard to the withdrawal of Petitions and Memorials presented to this House under the Orders contained in this Chapter, Standing Order 173 shall apply.
§ Orders of Local Government Boundary Commission. 236J. In relation to any Special Procedure Order made by the Local Government Boundary Commission under the Local Government (Boundary Commission) Act, 1945, the foregoing Orders contained in this 103 Chapter shall have effect subject to the following modifications:—
- (a) in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (3) of Order 236D the reference to the office of the Minister shall include a reference to the office of the Commission;
- (b) in paragraph (1) of Order 236E a reference to the Commission shall be substituted for the reference to the Minister;
- (c) in sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (1) of Order 236G a reference to the Commission shall be substituted for the reference to the Minister, and the proviso to that paragraph and paragraph (2) of that Order shall not apply;
- (d) in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (4) of Order 236H the reference to the office of the Minister shall include a reference to the office of the Commission.
§ Extension of time. 236K.—(1) If any period within which anything is required to be done under the Orders contained in this Chapter expires when Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or when this House is adjourned for more than four days, it shall be extended so as to expire with the first day thereafter on which this House sits.
§ (2) In the case of a Special Procedure Petition presented to this House, paragraph (1) of this Order shall apply to the period of fourteen days allowed for the presentation thereof under Subsection (1) of Section 3 of the Special Procedure Act in like manner as it applies to a period mentioned in that paragraph.
§ Notice of date of operation or withdrawal of Order. 236L.—(1) Any notice given by the Minister under Subsection (2) of Section 6 of the Special Procedure Act either determining the date on which an Order is to come into operation or withdrawing an Order shall be given by publishing the notice—
- (a) in a case where the Order relates to England or Wales or any part thereof, but not to Scotland or any part thereof, in the "London Gazette";
- (b) in a case where the Order relates to Scotland, or any part thereof, but not to England or Wales or any part thereof, in the "Edinburgh Gazette";
- (c) in any other case, both in the "London Gazette" and in the "Edinburgh Gazette";
§ (2) A copy of any such notice withdrawing an Order shall be laid before this House within four days after it is published in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Order.
§ Standing Order 237, page 223, line 7, after "Bills," insert "or Orders."
§ Appendix (C) (Table of Fees), page 231, line 34, at the end, insert—
§ "FEES to be paid in proceedings relating to a SPECIAL PROCEDURE ORDER within the meaning of Chapter VIIA
|On the deposit of a Memorial by an applicant (other than a Government Department)||1||0||0|
|For every day on which an applicant (other than a Government Department) appears before—||£||s.||d.|
|(1) the Chairmen||3||0||0|
|(2) a Joint Committee||10||0||0|
|On the deposit of every Petition and of every Counter-Petition||2||0||0|
|For every day on which the Petitioners appear before the Chairmen or Joint Committee||2||0||0|
|For every day on which the Counter-Petitioners appear before a Joint Committee||2||0||0."|
§ The Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper asks the House to adopt certain Amendments to the Standing Orders affecting Private Business. These Amendments are rendered necessary by the passing of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945. That Act, the House will remember, provided for certain changes which it is hoped will simplify and expedite the passing of the Orders to which the Act relates. This new procedure was devised, and, I think, was substantially agreed to in the time of the Coalition Government. The changes which the Act makes necessitate the passing of the alterations on the Order Paper to the Standing Orders. These alterations have been drawn up in consultation with all concerned and in particular with officials of another place, and I venture to commend them to the House.
§ 7.4 p.m.
§ Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Liverpool, West Derby)
We on these benches have examined carefully the Amendments to the Standing Orders of the House which are here suggested, and we agree with those who have suggested these Amendments. They evolve a code and procedure which, as far as the subject matter permits, is clear from complications and obscurity. They simply make the Standing Orders which relate to our old Provisional Order procedure now cover what is necessary in order to work the new procedure under this Act. It will be remembered that we on these benches were most anxious to secure that this Act and the procedure which it brings into force should not be used in such a way as to prevent or hinder at all the right of access to this House of any individual whose interest is affected by the procedure under the Bill. It is from that aspect of seeing that this right is maintained in all its strength that we have examined the Amendments.
There are just one or two points on which we should like the assurance of the 105 learned Solicitor-General, or from someone who has addressed his mind to the matter. As I see it, for the first time under this procedure the Minister comes into the position of a litigant before the Committees of this House. I have been in this House long enough to become a little rusty on the carrying through as counsel of a Private Bill, but my memory goes back fairly clearly, and up to now the position of the Minister has been that he has either sent an opinion by writing or by representative to the Committee considering the Bill. Under the Amendment now before the House—I refer to the Amendment, Standing Order 236G—the Minister shall be entitled to be heard by himself, his Counsel, or agent, and to tender evidence against the Petition;We are most anxious that the position of the Minister should be that of a litigant. It was the spirit and purpose of this Act that if the House decided that the matter should stand referred to a Joint Committee, the proceedings before the Joint Committee should be judicial, and the parties before them should present their case forensically to the Committee involved. It does not need much imagination on any part or on the part of hon. Members or right hon. Members to see that any other position of the Minister might well become liable to abuse. The learned Solicitor-General will probably also be able to help us on the position of the Boundary Commission which, under the subsequent Amendment, have also to appear in the same position. He will be able to inform the House whether it is seriously contemplated that the Boundary Commission will appear in person, or whether again they will be in the position of litigants who except in exceptional circumstances would be represented.
There is one further point on the same general lines on which I venture to detain the House, and that is the Amendment to Standing Order 236H. If the House will follow me they will see that it is possible that under Subsection (5),—If, on consideration of a Counter-Petition, the Joint Committee to whom the relevant Special Procedure Petition stands referred, or has been referred by order of either House are satisfied that an amendment prayed for by the Special Procedure Petition may affect the interest of the Counter-Petitioner, the Committee may allow the Counter-Petitioner to be heard by himself, his Counsel or Agent, and to tender evidence against the Special Procedure Petition.106 That sounds complicated, but the underlying procedure is quite clear. When the Order is laid there may be a Petition to it, and then someone who is not affected by the Order may be affected by the Petition, and so he in turn is entitled to put in a counter Petition. What does rather frighten me in the absence of any further explanation is that it is a postulate that the counter petitioner's rights are affected. The Amendment says that the Standing Committee may hear the counter petitioner. I quite see that there is a possibility of some very small point being raised which would not require the hearing of the counter petitioner. There is also the procedural possibility that the Joint Committee thinking there is nothing in the Petition and that they are going to throw it out do not want to hear the counter petitioner. In the absence of these two happenings I think it ought to be made clear that the intention is that any counter petitioner who finds his rights affected will be heard on a point which substantially affects his rights and on which he should be able to present his case.
On the whole, as I have said, the Opposition are prepared to accept and indeed congratulate those who have constructed and evolved a code which deals with matters which are not simple in a way which makes them clear to those who are concerned and practise in such matters. If, as I hope, the learned Solicitor-General will be able to give us an assurance on the matters which I have raised and on other points of detail which may be raised from behind me, we shall allow these Amendments to go through.
§ 7.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
When the Bill was before the House some of us raised a number of points, both on the Committee and Report stages, in order to safeguard, as far as we could, the right of the subject to have access to this House in a case where, under an Order, the rights of a subject were affected. I am bound to say that the Government did both move and accept Amendments which went a long way towards removing the objections which some of us had raised to the Bill. I think it can be said, also, that a number of the other points we raised in the Debate have been adequately and fully met by these Amendments to the Standing Orders.
107 One point which I raised has been met by the provision whereby the Chairman of Ways and Means may appoint a deputy to discharge these functions for him. He is an officer of this House who has very heavy duties thrown upon him, and perhaps there is no duty which will be more difficult to discharge than these new judicial functions that are being put upon him under this new legislation. While he is entirely the right person, with his colleague in another place, to act in that position, and to be responsible for holding the balance between the need to expedite the machinery of this House and safeguard the rights of the individual, it is extremely important that he should have the power to appoint a deputy. I think it may well prove convenient for him to choose a special deputy to discharge this special work, which is likely to become increasingly specialised and technical as more and more legislation is passed in this House.
So far as 236C is concerned, I note that deposit in the Committee and the Private Bill Office will mean publication on the next day in that part of the Vote which is usually occupied by the Committee and Private Bill Office notices. I think that will be a very substantial safeguard and the House will be kept informed of what is happening. As for the proviso which exempts statutory instruments under the Statutory Instruments Act, I take it—and perhaps the Solicitor-General will confirm this—that the purpose of that Section is that under the other Act, an Act with which the hon. and learned Gentleman is familiar, they have to be published by His Majesty's Stationery Office. I take it that the Minister is not made responsible for providing any affected person with a copy of the Order, because it is considered that the person affected should go to His Majesty's Stationery Office. It appeared to me that under 236D (3, a) by which the Parliamentary Agents must deposit a copy of the Petition the following day in the office of the Minister, there might be some difficulty, but I understand the agents' opinion is that as all the Ministers' offices are in Whitehall that will not present any difficulty. Under 236F (2), I note that in cases where no Memorial against a Petition has been filed the Chairmen are entitled to take exception to any Petition even though no Memorial 108 against it has been laid before them. This is analogous to the procedure of the Unopposed Bills Committee, and that even where the matter is not being disputed before them, the court, so to speak, are entitled to take any objections they wish to take.
Perhaps the Solicitor-General would explain how it comes about that under 236F (3) there is no definition of locus standi. A close analogy to this is Private Bill Procedure and there the whole question of locus standi is dealt with in immense detail in Standing Orders 91–102. Quite obviously it is a very important power which is being left to the Chairmen to decide which of His Majesty's subjects have locus standi to present Petitions. Under this new code there is none of that careful definition which exists in the case of Private Bills. I am not saying that it is wrong, but it is obviously a considerable departure from precedent, and I should be obliged if the Solicitor-General would be good enough to explain why that has been done.
I now come to the point which was raised by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), namely, that under 236H (5) the Chairmen may, but are not obliged to, hear counter Petitions. I imagine that my right hon. and learned Friend has given the right explanation of the drafting of that Amendment. It is obviously a matter of considerable importance, and I hope the Solicitor-General will deal with it. I rather think that this is almost the first occasion that one has had, in Amendments to Standing Orders of this kind, a whole paragraph dealing with the case where some statutory body like the Local Government Boundary Commission are put more or less into the position of a Minister. It is certainly a curious and anomalous position, but it is, as I remember, exactly what Parliament intended in passing that legislation. It was our intention that the alteration of local government boundaries should be taken outside the purview of Parliament, and that we should not be subjected to pressure in dealing with comparatively small boundary matters.
But I do not fully understand exactly where the Minister—who, I take it, is the Minister of Health—comes in. Is he, in fact, really only a messenger? It is the Minister of Health who is responsible, not 109 for making the Order, as I understand it, but for laying the Order before the House. Under Section 6 (2), of the Act, in cases where the Joint Committee amends an Order to such an extent that it is not acceptable, it is then the Minister of Health who becomes responsible for introducing the Bill in order to give effect by full-blooded legislation to that which has not been passed under special procedure by the Joint Committee. I think we ought to be told by the Solicitor-General what exactly is the position of the Minister of Health in this matter.
He begins by having responsibility for laying the Order and then he retires into the background. What is going to be the position of the Minister of Health in the case of these Orders, some of which, I understand, are already ready and likely to come before the House in the near future? That reminds me of a feature of the proviso to 236G, a peculiar one, that in cases where the Minister makes an Order at the request of some statutory undertaker or local authority, he may retire into the background and depute to the authority asking for the Order the responsibility to instruct counsel, tender evidence, and so on, in order to defend the Special Order. These are points of some importance, although none of them are very wide, which, in order that we may be quite clear how they are going to work, I should be grateful if the Learned Solicitor-General would explain to us.
There is one more important matter, and that is this: Under this Act it is possible for the Government to use its majority in order to prevent a matter from being fully discussed in this House. That was admitted by the Lord Privy Seal, and, of course, there can be nothing in Standing Orders to prevent that from taking place. The Lord Privy Seal said:I give the most specific assurance that we do not regard this Bill as a weapon with which to beat down opposition or to carry proposals through without due regard to all the interests who ought to be considered. I think that it would be wrong to use the Bill in that way, and so long as this Government continues I can assure hon. Members that this specific pledge which I have given will be honoured to the full."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th Nov., 1945; Vol. 415, c. 2180–1.]I do not think that that pledge can be repeated too often, because it is a matter of vital importance to the subjects of this country that, under this expedited pro- 110 cedure in the House of Commons, they shall not be deprived of their rights of access to this House.
§ 7.25 p.m.
The Solicitor-General (Major Sir Frank Soskiee)
The Statutory Instruments (Special Procedure) Bill was a Bill actually introduced, in the first place, by the Coalition Government. It is a Bill which, I think, is recognised on all sides of the House as one necessary for the purpose of supplying a need for the postwar reconstruction period. The Lord President of the Council on Second Reading pointed out that it was felt to be necessary to supply a gap which was left by the old Provisional Order procedure, and what the Lord President referred to as Special Procedure, namely procedure by affirmative or negative resolution. So, from both sides of the House one starts on common ground that this Bill, now an Act, supplies what is a real necessity for the purpose of the legislation necessary in the post-war reconstruction period. It has been the experience of all of us, I think, that in examining the construction of the Act through its passage through Committee, we have all worked towards a common end, and in that sense the Act has been wholly non-controversial. It is desired by both sides of the House. I would say this about it, and this really is a point which applies to all the questions which have been raised by the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken this evening from the other side of the House: It must of necessity be an experimental procedure. This is a completely new procedure; it has not been tried in this form at all before. On both sides of the House, I am quite sure that we sincerely hope that it will work well. If it does work well it will be an extremely useful instrument in our modern legislation. Of course it may not work well. On this side of the House, we think, and I believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite are generally of the same opinion, that there is a reasonable chance that it will work extremely well and meet the need for which it is designed. But as I say it must be experimental.
With that preface may I address myself to points raised by the two last speakers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) asked about Ministers put in the position of litigants 111 and how would the Boundary Commission fare before the Joint Committee provided for by the Act. I would prefer in answer to those questions not to tie down the Government to any definite code of procedure with regard to the proceedings be fore the Committee. The hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) asked for a repetition of the assurance given by the Lord Privy Seal. That assurance I give willingly. The Government certainly do not regard this Bill as a means of bludgeoning down opposition. They will do what they can to see that in the procedure before the Joint Committee there is, so far as it lies with them, a complete opportunity afforded for all interests to be adequately represented and for all points of view to be adequately ventilated. I feel that an answer in these general terms is more satisfactory than a priori to answer in detail the questions put with regard to the role to be played by the Minister. The Government are anxious that this Act shall work, and it cannot work unless it provides means for a real representation of private interests in relation to the matters under which the Orders provided for by the Act are directed. I would say that the Minister when he appears and in whatever capacity he appears—whether he appears directly or delegates his right to appear under the terms of Standing Order 236 (g)—will cooperate in the desire that all interests shall be adequately and fully protected. The same observation must apply to the question asked on the terms of Standing Order 236 (h5).
Both the hon. Gentlemen who spoke were concerned about the position of counter-petitioners, and with the circumstances that there was apparently not an absolute right for them to be heard, and that it remained in the discretion of the Chairman. That, of course, is the position which attains in a great many similar contingencies. One must, of course, rely on the chairman exercising a wise, fair and impartial discretion to decide in a particular case whether or not the counter-petitioner should be afforded an opportunity to state his case. Without again a priori binding the Government or anyone to any particular formula, I should have thought that it might well appear to a Chairman that if a counter-petitioner was affected, he should be given an opportunity to state his interests and to be repre- 112 sented and call evidence if necessary. That, of course, in each particular case must be entirely a matter for the discretion of the chairman, and beyond that, I feel that I cannot be fairly expected to go. It is not, in any case, for me to say. It is a matter in each case for the Chairman to decide according to his discretion in the particular circumstances of the case which he has before him.
To deal with the questions specifically put by the hon. Member for The High Peak, he defined correctly, as I understand it, the reason for the exception in relation to Orders within the Statutory Instruments Act, 1945. That Act already provides for a process of publication, and I presume it was thought unnecessary that that should be duplicated. That was the answer that the hon. Gentleman conceived to be correct, and I think that obviously is the right answer. The hon. Member was concerned with the question of locus standi. I can merely advise the House. The House knows that these Orders were drafted after careful consultation between gentlemen who are experts upon these particular things. The power that is given with regard to saying who in any particular case shall be deemed to have a locus standi is, as the hon. Gentleman suggested, a comparatively new one. Again, the answer is that the procedure is experimental. It would be better to leave it to the discretion of the Chairman to say whether any person in a particular case should be deemed to be a person who has or who has not a locus standi. Apparently it was thought wise, and I think it is wise, when one is devising a new procedure to leave it in that way rather than to try to think out a precise formula which has been found to work in other cases, but which might in practice need considerable alteration if it were applied to this particular type of procedure.
The question of the relationship of the Minister to the Boundary Commissioners in the event of its being necessary to bring in a Bill for the purpose of bringing into operation an Order is one which does not arise so much upon the terms of these Orders as it does upon the terms of the Act itself. As the hon. Gentleman will see if he looks at the definition Section, the Minister is defined in the Act, and the Minister is the person who is given power to bring in the Order. That, however, is a 113 question which does not arise on these Orders; it arises on the Act, and is a matter of construction of the Act. Finally the hon. Gentleman asked me to repeat the assurance given by the Lord Privy Seal. I have already done so, and I gladly do it again. We want the Act to work fairly, as I have already said and as the Lord Privy Seal said, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied with that assurance.
In conclusion, I would like to thank hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly the hon. Member for The High Peak, for the cooperation which they have afforded to us in the guidance of the Act through the-House. We sure now discussing the Orders and not the Act, but I would not like to allow this opportunity to go by without saying how much we appreciate the help and the counsel afforded by many hon. Members opposite when the matter was in its earlier stages I am sure that hon. Members opposite also hope that the Act will prove to be a great success, and, of course, these Orders are simply for the purpose of implementing various provisions of the Act.
§ Question put, and agreed to.