HC Deb 14 July 1954 vol 530 cc606-9
Mr. Molson

I beg to move, in page 11, line 19, to leave out "passing of this Act," and to insert "commencement of this section."

I gave the House an explanation earlier this evening when there was a preliminary Amendment, so perhaps it will not be necessary for me to repeat what I then said.

Mr. Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)

Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain to us just why the words "commencement of this section" are used? Surely the more normal form of words to use would be "the coming into force of the section," or some such words. It seems a most clumsy way of expressing what is meant. I am not at all clear why these words have to be used.

Mr. Molson

I do not understand the hon. Gentleman to be objecting to the postponement of the repeal of the Defence Regulation 56, and I should have thought the words "commencement of this section" were the best words for expressing the point which I was trying to make. I could not say why these particular words have been used instead of "the coming into force of this section," but I shall certainly make inquiry into that. Fortunately, owing to the existence of another place, if these did turn out to be inappropriate words there would still be time for a further amendment to be made. The purpose is as I have described, and as the hon. Gentleman has indicated that he is satisfied with the purpose of it, and since I can give him an assurance that these words will have that effect, I hope that he will be satisfied.

Mr. Ede

Does not this Amendment really mean that this section is coming into operation at a date later than the passing of the Bill—that it will be some time after the Bill has been passed that the section will commence to have effect? I understand that it is really concerned with the repeal of this Regulation 56. Could the hon. Gentleman tell us in what way that is to be carried out after the passing of the Bill? Will it be by the submission of an Order?

Mr. Molson

That will not be so. As originally drafted the coming into operation of this Act would immediately have repealed Defence Regulation 56. As a result of this Amendment, if carried, Defence Regulation 56 will only cease to have effect one month later. The purpose is to enable us to clear off the applications with which we are dealing at the present time.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 11, line 28, leave out "passing of this Act," and insert "commencement of this section."—[Mr. Molson.]

Mr. Molson

I beg to move, in page 11, line 32, at the end, to insert: and the provisions of subsection (2) of section thirty-eight of the Interpretation Act, 1889, shall apply to any such revocation as they apply to the repeal of an Act of Parliament. (2) This section shall come into force at the expiration of a period of one month beginning with the date of the passing of this Act. The Interpretation Act applies automatically to Acts, but would not apply in this case because this refers to an order made under an Act. It is, therefore, necessary to provide expressly that the Interpretation Act shall apply to the Order made thereunder.

Mr. Ede

Does not subsection (2) really give us the answer to what was meant by "commencement of this section" in the previous two Amendments? Apparently the hon. Gentleman had not got as far as this in studying his briefs when rudely called here to deal with the Bill, but surely this provides that this subsection shall come into force at the expiration of a period of one month beginning with the commencement of the Act. That is the date of the "commencement of this section" as described in the previous Amendments.

Mr. Ernest Davies

I think we should have an answer from the Parliamentary Secretary. It is important that we should fully understand when and why this is to come into force one month later. In moving the Amendment the hon. Gentleman did not refer to subsection (2) at all, yet, as my right hon. Friend has said, that gives him the answer to the point raised on the previous two Amendments. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to appreciate that this brings this part of the Bill into operation one month hence, and that that is the reason for the previous Amendments.

Mr. Molson

That is so. This is the second part. Paragraph 2 was connected with what I explained before. In my speech on this occasion I dealt with the new point which we are dealing with here, which is the reason why we are providing for the application of the Interpretation Act. It was one of the matters which I was looking into, as to why the Interpretation Act had to be applied especially in this case. I was just discovering that although it applies to an Act, it does not apply necessarily to an order made under an Act.

Mr. Wigg

Would the Parliamentary Secretary be good enough to tell us why, in this Amendment he used the word "beginning" but, previously, the word "commencement"? I have no objection, except that, as an English nationalist I have a marked preference for the Saxon as opposed to the Norman, and on the ground of consistency if we are using "commencement" in one place we should use it all the way through—though I prefer "beginning".

Mr. Hale

I was hoping that the Parliamentary Secretary would reply, because I was going to follow the point made by the English nationalist Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). I must say I am happy to know that he is an English nationalist because I always thought he was one of the "Wigs on the green." Speaking to the previous Amendment, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said, "I am not quite sure whether ' the commencement of the Act' or ' the commencement of the section ' would be better, but, fortunately, there is another place, and we can put it right there."

Now we have been able to explain just why "commencement of the Act" is entirely wrong. If he uses the words "commencement of the Act" in another place, he will put back the operation of this section to a date a month previous to the date on which he and his advisers want it to operate. If he reconsiders this matter and puts it right in another place we shall have to put it right again when it comes back here.

Mr. Molson

In answer to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), "the beginning" here is the beginning of a period, whereas "the commencement" is the operation of the provision of an Act.

Question put and agreed to.