HC Deb 08 February 1956 vol 548 cc1685-6
The Lord Advocate

I beg to move, in page 12, line 43, to leave out "a suitable person" and to insert: suitable having regard to considerations of public health and to the requirements of any enactment relating to food. 4.0 p.m.

During the Committee stage we discussed whether the word suitable, "standing alone, was not too wide in its meaning and whether it might not give a local authority the opportunity to refuse to register a person because it disliked him. "They did not like his face" was one of the suggestions. We have considered that, and we propose the Amendment in order to qualify the word "suitable." This, I think, would restrict the local authority to those particular features which it is eminently desirable that it should take into account when considering the question of registration.

Mr. Ross

This is one of the most important principles which the Government have accepted so far. I am glad that the Government have noticed that, as drafted, the Clause, in giving this new power to local authorities, was leaving the matter fairly wide open. The position was that the local authority could turn down an application simply because it did not think the person was suitable, and no indication was given to the local authority as to how it should construe suitability or otherwise.

As a protection not only for the person making the application but for those who would have to adjudicate upon it, it is desirable that the law should be made more clear and, obviously, more fair. The words which it is proposed to add amply meet the objections which we on this side held very strongly. I should like to thank the Lord Advocate and the Joint Under-Secretary of State—whom we are glad to see back looking very much healthier than he did after we had "put him through the mill" in Committee— for having found it possible to make the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.