HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1885-6
Mr. Osbert Peake (Leeds, North)

I beg to move, in page 57, line 43, at the end, to add: (4) Regulations made under this section shall be laid in draft before each House of Parliament not less than forty days before the date on which they are made. In reckoning any such period of forty days as aforesaid no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. Under this Clause regulations may be made in respect of matters of some importance, namely, the form of the register of electors and of the electors' lists, or any special list or records required by this Act in connection with the register. Those are lists of absent voters and proxy voters. There is no provision in the Clause by which the regulations shall come before Parliament. We do not go so far as to say that there should be an affirmative Resolution of the House before the regulations become law, but we think the House of Commons should have an opportunity of praying against the form of regulations where those regulations lay down matters which affect the election of Members to this House.

Mr. Ede

I think the right hon. Member has overlooked Clause 70 (4), where it is prescribed that: (4) Any power conferred by this Act to make regulations shall, except where this Act otherwise provides, be a power exercisable by the Secretary of State by statutory instrument, which shall not come into force unless or unil it is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament. It will be necessary, therefore, for these regulations to be brought before the House by affirmative Resolution. On occasion the compilation of these special lists might make it necessary for a regulation to be made very quickly, say, just before a general election. It would be very regrettable if we had not the power to do that with speed, and I think the requirements of an affirmative Resolution amply safeguards the rights of the House of Commons.

Mr. Peake

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. Our point is fully met, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill