HC Deb 20 June 1951 vol 489 c592

Lords Amendment: In page 9, line 9, to leave out from "end" to "and" in line 10, and to insert: immediately before the date of the commencement of this Act or within the period of two years beginning with that date.

The Attorney-General

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is to deal with a rather technical point which arises out of a change made in another place bringing the Bill into force on 24th June this year. The reason for the insertion of the words is that a yearly tenancy from midsummer to midsummer, if terminated by notice to quit, would come to an end at the last moment of 23rd June; and, therefore, one has—it was thought desirable, at any rate—to introduce wording, namely, the words "immediately before the date of the commencement of this Act …" namely 24th June, to bring into the scope of the Bill tenancies from midsummer to midsummer which are determined by notice to quit and which end one minute before—or less: one instant before—24th June. This is to bring in those tenancies.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Here we are obviously inserting words into what will be a statute which mean exactly what they say. Indeed, "immediately before" means just one moment before and not even five minutes before or two minutes before. I must say that I felt, when I looked at this, a little doubt whether a wider construction might not be given to this expression, namely, that a week before might not be regarded as immediately before. However, I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman in his intention. I only hope that, if it has to be construed in the courts, this will be regarded as one instance in which the words should be narrowly construed and in which Parliament will be held to have put in a statute precisely what it meant—that "immediately before" is the moment immediately preceding the expiry of that day.