HC Deb 03 April 1952 vol 498 cc2121-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. E. Fletcher

Is it the intention to repeal the Act of 1942 in view of the fact that we are to have a Select Committee? Is it still thought desirable to reprint the old Act with the Amendments which will be made in the present Bill, or is it preferred to delay reprinting the Act until the committee have sat and reported?

Mr. Head

I have the hon. Member's point. The original intention was that there should be a vow of abstinence about the reprinting of the Act during the war as an economy measure, and the intention of the Clause was to repeal that provision. The hon. Member is quite right. We now find ourselves in a somewhat difficult position, and I am in the hands of the Committee. Whether it is really worth reprinting the Bill after this, I am not certain. My feeling would be that as we have appointed the committee and we have not made an immensely good job during the discussions in bringing this up-to-date, the best thing would be to let the Clause stand and, subject to the agreement of the House, to take no action pending the committee sitting and bringing the Act up-to-date. As soon as that takes place we have the Clause ready-made whereby we can print what will be an up-to-date and adequate Act.

Mr. Bing

I suppose it is possible, as was done in the 1949 Act, for the Parliamentary draftsmen to produce a draft which is not an official print. It may be undesirable to issue officially an Act which, however divided we are, we agree is undesirable and give the impression that this is an official act. One of the difficulties of those who drafted these Amendments has been that there was no up-to-date copy, and any committee working on the matter would want an up-to-date copy. It may be possible for the Parliamentary draftsmen to produce such a draft with marginal notes of where everything comes from, rather than an official reprint. If we passed the Clause as it is now, it might be undesirable for the Government to put themselves under a statutory obligation to publish the Act. It might be a waste of money and lead some people to think that these were the final conclusions of the Committee, whereas in fact they are not.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 17 and 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill.