HC Deb 08 February 1949 vol 461 cc195-6
49. Mr. Benson

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will state the Government's attitude to the Report from the Select Committee on Hybrid Bills (Procedure in Committee).

Mr. H. Morrison

Yes, Sir. The Government have considered the Report and agree with the recommendations of the Select Committee, subject to one minor modification. The Select Committee's last recommendation is that Hybrid Bills against which no petition has been lodged should be committed to a Committee of the Whole House, without being sent in the first instance to a Select Committee. The Government agree that such Bills need not be referred to a Select Committee, but think the House should have the option either of taking them in Committee of the Whole House or of referring them to a Standing Committee. The Government will give the House an early opportunity to reach a decision on the Select Committee's Report and the Government's proposed modification.

Mr. Benson

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, which I am sure will gratify the Committee, may I ask him if it is not a fact that the minor modification to which he refers is a modification only of the summary of recommendations and not a modification of the body of the Report itself?

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I rather think he is right about that.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

While the modification announced is, in part, what the two Conservative Members of the Committee recommended—and for that we are naturally grateful—as the Report was not uanimous and certainly involves an alteration in the procedure of Select Committees, and in our view in one particular still further limits the defence of the liberty of the subject, will the right hon. Gentleman have this Report debated in the House before any action is taken on it?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir. There will be a Motion on the Order Paper, and that, of course, will be debatable if the House should so wish.