HC Deb 24 July 1953 vol 518 cc758-63
Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I beg to move, in page 19, line 35, to leave out from "in," to the end of line 36, and to insert: head (a) of the last foregoing sub-paragraph. This is merely a matter of drafting terminology. We met the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) by including these regulations in the Bill. The word "head" is appropriate to a Bill, whereas the former words were appropriate to regulations.

Amendment agreed to.

Further amendment made: In page 19, line 39, leave out "sub-paragraph (b) of the said paragraph," and insert "head (b) of the said sub-paragraph."—[Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe.]

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I beg to move, in page 22, line 16, at the end, to insert: and any order made, estimate prepared, certificate issued or petition presented by virtue of Regulation three A of the said Regulations which is in force at the commencement of this Act shall continue in force and have effect as if it had been made, prepared, issued or presented by virtue of paragraph 4 of this Schedule. The reason for this Amendment is that Regulation 3A of the Defence (Trading with the Enemy) Regulations, 1940, is reproduced in paragraph 4 of the Second Schedule, and a number of Orders made under it by the Board of Trade, for the purpose of winding up the businesses of Japanese insurance companies carried on in the United Kingdom, are still in force. It will be some time before the winding up is finished, and it is necessary to ensure that the orders, and all steps taken under them, continue unaffected by the conversion of the regulations into statutory form.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I beg to move, in page 22, line 16, at the end, to insert: (2) Any document referring to the Defence (Trading with the Enemy) Regulations, 1940, or any provision thereof shall be construed as referring to this Schedule or the corresponding provision, if any, of this Schedule. The reason for this Amendment is that references to the regulations appear in numerous documents which have been issued by the Board of Trade. I could gives examples, but I do not think it is necessary to go into details. It is necessary that these references should take effect under the corresponding provisions of the Second Schedule to this Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

11.17 a.m.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I inflict a speech on the House on Third Reading only in order to express my regret to hon. and right hon. Members opposite—and especially to the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede)—that I was not able to meet the request that today's debate should not be held on a Friday. I assure the right hon. Member that I did my best, as I promised the Committee; but the Leader of the House felt that it was not practicable to fit the Bill in on another day. With his own experience as Leader of the House, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate the difficulties which arise at the end of July.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the right hon. Member and his colleagues for the assistance and advice which we have had from them in the passage of the Bill. In welcoming the Measure on Second Reading, the right hon. Gentleman referred to it, jocularly, as something of a rag-bag. He added that there were some valuable pieces of material in most rag-bags, and that this was no exception to the rule. The further we have gone with this Bill the more we have appreciated that fact.

We are obliged to the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) for the suggestion that the Defence (Trading with the Enemy) Regulations should be incorporated in full in the body of the Bill. This has been done. I think that the two provisions we have added in Clauses 6 and 8, dealing with midwives and the heavy goods vehicles driving licences scheme, are also valuable.

I can understand the disappointment of the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) and my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. G. Williams) that the form of the Bill does not permit the inclusion of the provisions in which they are interested. No doubt other opportunities will occur to them. All his old friends on both sides of the House know that the hon. Member for Ealing, North will cause such opportunities to occur in order to deal with the subjects in which he is so interested.

With the passage of this Bill we shall have made a significant step in our work of clearing up the surviving emergency legislation. I hope that during next Session we shall see other Bills introduced, and passed into law, which will make further inroads into the residue. I hope that they will meet with the same friendly co-operation from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite as we have had on this occasion.

That task is one to which the House of Commons has set its hand and desires to see completed. I shall not trouble the House at this moment by going into the work that has been done generally in this field, but more than one revocation order has been made this year. By the time we come to the next annual renewal debate in November, I shall have an encouraging progress report to give to the House. The present Bill will have made a useful contribution to that progress.

11.21 a.m.

Mr. Ede

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the efforts he made with the Leader of the House to secure a day other than Friday for the Report and Third Reading of the Bill. He made a somewhat direct personal reference to me in that connection. I realise that he was really up against something pretty formidable when he asked the Leader of the House for time on any day other than Friday. While I regret that he did not succeed, I do so more because I would have liked to see him triumph over the Lord Privy Seal than for any other reason.

The word "hitherto" occurs in the Title of the Bill and has led to some rather unfortunate curtailment of the debate. I do not wish to dispute the matter after the very learned exposition we had of the meaning of the word "hitherto" from the Chairman of the Committee, as I have no doubt that the proper course has been taken; but the existence of that word in the Bill means that when we come in November or December to examine the general order for continuing those regulations which the Minister will wish to continue, we shall have to examine the matter with even more care than we did in December last year.

It was then attributed to us as part of original sin that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) thought fit to delay the proceedings of the House for some time in discussing the matter which he has now wished to continue. I say this only in order that it shall be understood that if there are regulations proposed to be omitted in the later months of this year which we wish to see continued, the unhappy fate that has overtaken the efforts of my hon. Friend on this occasion must be borne in mind. It must be believed that there is a little virtue as well as some original sin in the make-up of my hon. Friend and of those who may support him on that or on any other subject.

Mr. J. Hudson

The Home Secretary is always disarming where his critics are concerned and speaks of them in a way that makes it difficult for them to be anything but friendly in reply. He is very much reinforced by your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, on the matter that I have tried to raise. There is only the wreckage of my effort, and there is still left in the Bill the word "hitherto." The Chairman of the Committee brought even more powerful arguments from the dictionary in order to reinforce himself and you in the Ruling that you have given. I am therefore quite unable to say what I hoped to be able to say on this Third Reading.

I must leave that matter by saying that the evil with which I hoped to deal, and to which I cannot now refer as it is not dealt with in the Bill, will itself speak to the Home Secretary. I am glad that he has practically promised the House that he will be forced, and I believe very soon, to face the total disorder that exists in the general club law of this country. It is a pity that we could not do something about it on this occasion, but I bow to your Ruling and accept a position that is beyond me.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I share the disappointment which is felt by those who thought that the Bill could have been improved, but it has been held both on the Committee stage and on the Report stage that any attempt to introduce or continue a Clause equivalent to Regulation 55C would be out of order. One can extract some consolation from what the Home Secretary said a moment ago that other opportunities will no doubt occur of dealing with this matter. I hope that the Lord Privy Seal will take note of those remarks, because I interpret them as a kind of pledge that discussions may take place at a later stage on these matters. After having expressed the disappointment I feel on this occasion, I have no further objection to the Third Reading of the Bill.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.