HC Deb 19 April 1951 vol 486 cc2139-43

The following Motion stood on the Order Paper in the name of Squadron Leader BURDEN:

That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Order, dated 12th March, 1951, entitled the Utility Apparel (Maximum Prices and Charges) (Amendment No. 2) Order, 1951 (S.I. 1951, No. 413), a copy of which was laid before this House on 13th March, be annulled.

Mr. Speaker

There is a question about the Prayer which is to be moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Gillingham (Squadron Leader Burden). Actually, I am afraid I must rule that this Order is not in conformity with the Rules that I have laid down. It adds a new Third Schedule to No. 216, and it revokes No. 296, which had already added two Schedules to No. 216. Therefore, it revokes two Schedules and adds one. The two Schedules have been law some time. It is quite impossible to add one Schedule —a child to a parent who is already dead and whose children are already dead. Under my Rulings of about three weeks ago I must say that I think this Order should be laid in proper form. Therefore, for the moment, no Prayer can possibly arise.

Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)

Arising out of your Ruling, Mr. Speaker. If the Government immediately accept your Ruling and declare so—

Hon. Members

They must.

Mr. Speaker

The Government have got to accept my Ruling. I gave a quite definite Ruling. The Order is not in order. The matter remains there.

Mr. Renton

Should there not be some indication from the Government that your Ruling is accepted?

Mr. Speaker

No, not necessarily. That is an unfair point, because this is a very complicated matter. We gave it some considerable consideration, and I read my Ruling upon it—not on a small point but on the general principles which, I hope, will be following and considered, and which are not a small matter at all.

Sir Ian Fraser (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

Having regard to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, do not the regulations and all the offences and all the provisions under the Order become outside the law and therefore of no validity whatsoever?

Mr. Speaker

Two of the Schedules have been law for some time. I do not think that that arises at the moment. I am not quite sure.

Sir I. Fraser

With respect, Mr. Speaker, if there was something to pray against there must have been something there. You have now ruled that it is not there, and therefore it is invalid.

Mr. Speaker

There are two schedules already there. This is a third schedule to be added, but it cannot be added to the two already there. I admit it is complicated.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd (Mid-Bedfordshire)

With great respect, might I point out that this Prayer tonight was put down because the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments drew the special attention of the House to the absence of the proper period that should have elapsed between the laying of the Order and its coming into operation. That was the real reason why the Prayer was put down for tonight.

Mr. Speaker

Perhaps there has been added another real reason.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede) rose

Mr. Churchill (Woodford)

What do you mean by that? [Interruption.] With great respect, Sir, would you kindly elucidate that remark which you were good enough to make, that there might have been another reason for it? What is meant or implied by that?

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman does not appear to understand the English language. The hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) gave me one reason and I gave another reason why this Order was out of order. It is no reflection on the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire at all.

Mr. McAllister (Rutherglen)

On a point of order. May I say that hon. Members on this side of the House are getting a little tired of the insolence and bad manners of right hon. Gentlemen opposite? [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

I was not in the Chair just recently, but I understand that the House has got somewhat excited. I did watch from another place. May I there- fore plead for a little more peace, as I presume that we shall now not proceed with this Prayer but will go on to the Adjournment.

Mr. Ede

When the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) rose to his point of order I was about to say, in reply to what was said by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton), that it is not a question of the Government accepting your Ruling, but that obviously if Mr. Speaker gives a Ruling every Member of the House accepts it, irrespective of whether he is in office or out of office. I shall consult with my right hon. Friend who is the Minister in charge of this Department and see that steps are taken to comply with the Ruling you have given, and I have no doubt that a statement will be made to the House as to the course that will be adopted. I hope that possibly some representations may be made to you, not to vary your Ruling, but in order that the matter may be quite clearly elucidated.

Mr. Speaker

May I say in answer to the right hon. Gentleman that I came back to the Chair tonight because this was a very complicated matter. I have given it my earnest consideration and I gave a Ruling in consequence. I thought it was better to be done by me than by Mr. Deputy-Speaker.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Might I ask you, Sir, whether it is not the fact that the irregularity in the drawing of this Order would never have had attention drawn to it had not the Opposition put down this Prayer tonight?

Mr. Speaker

That, of course, is not within my knowledge. It probably is quite correct, but that was not the reason why I said this Order was out of order.

Squadron Leader Burden (Gillingham)

May I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your Ruling, and give notice that when this Order has been laid in accordance with the Statutory Instruments provisions, I shall consider raising the matter again.

Mr. Renton

Arising out of the further consideration which the Home Secretary has said he is giving to this matter, and out of the remarks of the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser), may I point out—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We ought not to discuss this Order any longer, seeing that it is now out of order and therefore is not before the House. This might be a matter for business next Thursday, but not now.