HC Deb 20 November 1947 vol 444 c1390

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)

I wish to draw attention to the form of this Clause. Hon. Members will observe that it contains a most remarkable example of legislation by reference. Reference is made to at least four previous Acts, and without consulting them it is impossible to tell what the Clause means. I appreciate the difficulty of the draftsmen in a matter like this, but I suggest that the Explanatory Memorandum of this Bill might very well have summarised the effect of the Clause. That would have made very much easier our task as legislators and would have enabled us to co-operate with the draftsmen in this legislation by reference. To have wording such as there is in this Clause on the Statute Book does not make the Statute Book look any more elegant. It has become a commendable habit in recent times for purely amending legislation to be included in Schedules at the end of a Bill. I suggest that this Clause would have been very much better if it had been included in a Schedule. With those remarks, which I hope hon. Members will consider further with relation to other legislation, I ask the Minister to convey to the Parliamentary draftsmen concerned the suggestion which I have made.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.