HC Deb 21 September 1948 vol 456 cc700-2
Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not know whether it will be convenient for you, Mr. Speaker, to give your guidance on a point of procedure upon which, apparently, a little misapprehension has arisen. Last night, Sir, in accordance with Standing Order 33, on the defeat of an Amendment to the Motion, "That the Bill be now read a Second time," you declared the Bill to be read a Second time without, of course, any opportunity for a further Division arising. Notwithstanding that, certain reports have appeared in connection with last night's proceedings to the effect that the Second Reading of the Bill was carried without a Division. You will appreciate, Sir, that that misunderstanding has, no doubt, arisen by reason of a failure to comprehend the terms of the Standing Order, and I do not know whether it would be possible to clear the matter up to prevent any misapprehension in the future.

Mr. Speaker

It so happened that I was out of the Chair at about a quarter to eleven last night. I heard the "Report on Parliament" and I said to myself, "Hello, the B.B.C. have made another mistake." The hon. Member has stated the facts absolutely correctly. There is no option for me in such cases to put the main Question to a Division; in fact, I am not allowed to do so, and therefore it cannot be said that the House has agreed to a Measure without a Division, because they have divided on the Amendment, which automatically means they have divided against the Second Reading or Third Reading, whichever it

may be. If I may read out to the House the exact Standing Order, perhaps it will make the matter clear for the future: If on an Amendment to the Question that a Bill be now read a Second time or the Third time it is decided that the word 'now' or any words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith declare the Bill to be read a Second or the Third time as the case may be. The House will see, therefore, that a Division against the Bill takes place on the Division as to whether any words proposed to be left out stand part or not.