HC Deb 04 February 1948 vol 446 cc1873-5

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this be the Second Schedule to the Bill."

The Chairman

As the Committee will have appreciated, the Second Schedule is intended to be a mere reprint, or reproduction of the 1938 Act, with the Amendments which the Committee have already made to that Act by the present Bill. It would obviously be a waste of time to call any of the Amendments on the Order Paper. With the agreement of the Committee, I would therefore propose to instruct the Public Bill Office to make the appropriate Amendments in the Second Schedule, in conformity with the decisions to which the Committee have already come in this Bill. The only question before the Committee in those circumstances is, "That this be the Second Schedule to the Bill." That enables the Committee to decide whether, In their view, it is for the public convenience—and I imagine they will think it is—to have the Schedule, as amended, reprinted as the Second Schedule to the Bill.

Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)

I rise, Major Milner, not in the least by way of hesitation, doubt or criticism, but because I am not sure that I have fully appreciated the point. I think I have, and I have no doubt you are right. However, since an important point of procedure might be involved, may I inquire whether this is the first occasion upon which exactly this line has been taken, or whether it is something to which we are accustomed, and about which I ought really to know? I think the latter is probably the case.

The Chairman

I think this is the first occasion upon which this precise proposal has been put forward.

Earl Winterton

This seems to me to be the right course to take, but, if I may say so, I am grateful for the intervention of the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) because—and here I must tread rather delicately—I think it very desirable to establish that this can be done only with the approval of the Committee, and not on any Ruling of the Chair. Might I, with great respect, ask that the Question be put in the form, "Is it with the approval of the Committee," or some similar form of words, in order to make it quite clear? I think that is the position. This does raise rather an important point.

The Chairman

I am obliged to the noble Lord. I thought I had, in fact, asked that this should be done with the approval of the Committee. The point is perfectly simple, and it might be as well to have it on record. The Second Schedule is a mere reprint of the 1938 Act as amended by the decisions of the Committee on this Bill. The reprinting of the Act as amended is a convenient practice for which I think the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) was responsible some years ago. Obviously, it is convenient to have a reprint of the amended Act as a Schedule or an appendix to the Bill which makes the Amendments. It is a matter for the Committee whether or not they agree to the course I suggest. I would submit it is a sensible course to adopt, because were any of the Amendments proposed to the Committee they would either be Amendments in conformity with decisions already arrived at, in which event they can be put in formally by the Clerks of the Public Bill Office, or they would be out of Order, as being in conflict with decisions already arrived at by the Committee. The common sense course appears to be to instruct the Public Bill Office to make the appropriate Amendments, and merely to put to the Committee the Question, "That this be the Second Schedule to the Bill," in order that the Committee may say whether they approve the procedure of reprinting the Schedule with the necessary Amendments.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next and to be printed. [Bill 44.]