HC Deb 13 June 1956 vol 554 cc585-7

  1. (1) The Board of Trade may, upon the representation of the Registrar, give directions authorising him to remove from the register particulars of such agreements of which particulars are for the time being entered therein as appear to the Board to be of no substantial economic significance.
  2. (2) The removal of particulars of an agreement in pursuance of directions under this section shall not affect the operation in relation to the agreement of subsection (2) of section eight of this Act; and where any such agreement is varied as mentioned in that subsection—
    1. (a) the particulars to be furnished thereunder shall include all such particulars as 586 would be required in the case of an original agreement in the terms of the agreement as varied;
    2. (b) the directions under this section shall cease to have effect, but without prejudice to the power of the Board of Trade to give further directions thereunder in respect of the agreement as varied.
  3. (3) As soon as practicable after giving directions under this section the Board of Trade shall lay before each House of Parliament a statement containing particulars of the agreements to which the directions relate.—[Mr. P. Thorneycroft.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second tme.

The object of the Clause can be stated very shortly. It is to protect the Registrar. All the way through the deliberations on this Measure I have been concerned that the one danger is that the Registrar might become flooded with a mass of wholly irrelevant details, and if so, he would not be able, nor would the Court be able, to pay attention to the things which really matter. This enables the Board of Trade, on the representation of the Registrar, to remove matters from the Register which are of no economic significance.

There were some provisions in Clause 7 (3) which had, or might have had, this effect. But I agree with the point made during our last debate on the Bill by the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), that they were too wide. This enables us, on these terms, to remove matters of no economic significance from the Register and thus to ensure that the Court does not have to be troubled with them. I hope that the new Clause will commend itself to the House.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

I understood the President to say that the effect of the words he has now proposed is, at any rate, slightly different from those previously in Clause 7 of the Bill, which he regarded as too wide. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain in what respect this makes them less wide?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Yes. Under Clause 7 (3) it was possible to ensure that these matters were not called up at all. That is to say, it gave power to the Board of Trade almost to legislate. Here, they are called up, but if they prove to be of no economic significance, they can be removed from the Register.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.