HC Deb 28 February 1952 vol 496 cc1548-50
Mr. J. Foster

I beg to move in page 4, line 17, to leave out from "on," to the end of line 18, and to insert such date as Her Majesty may by Order in Council appoint. The purpose of this Amendment I have already adumbrated in what I said on the previous Amendment. It is necessary in order that the date can be fixed by an Order in Council. This is more convenient than fixing a particular date, because sometimes legislation does not go through the House as quickly or as smoothly as we expect, and, although I do not expect that this Bill will be subject to any of these delays, it may be behind other Bills in the queue, and if we inserted any particular date, we might then find that Her Majesty's loyal Opposition had, by their actions, delayed other Bills so that this Bill had passed beyond the date provided, thus giving rise to the necessity for another Amendment.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Davies

I would explain to the Under-Secretary that it is no blame on the part of the Opposition that he did not get his Bill by 1st March. We should have been quite happy to stay here during part of the Christmas Recess in order to facilitate the passage of this most important Bill. I would also add that it appears that they have learned their lesson by the incompetent handling of their business programme and by the muddling of their legislation in the House, because they cannot now even fix a date when this Bill will be through the other place. Apparently their business there is equally muddled. In saying this, I take the blame which was implied off the shoulders of the Opposition.

Captain Duncan

I do not think that is really fair. The Government abandoned their programme deliberately. They had a long Recess at Christmas in order to give the Ministers an opportunity to become conversant with their Departments. The Government planned this Bill to be law by 1st March, but, unfortunately, King George VI died. I think that is the real reason why we have to have this Amendment tonight. I do not think it is fair to blame the Government for muddling their programme. The delay is due to something completely outside their control.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, considered; read the Third time, and passed.