HC Deb 27 March 1956 vol 550 cc2032-4
Mr. H. Nicholls

I beg to move, in page 21, line 17, to leave out subsection (5).

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think it would be convenient if this Amendment were considered together with the Minister's two Amendments to Clause 33, in page 36, line 22 and line 26.

Mr. Nicholls

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. These three Amendments, which are related, are again a result of a promise given in the Standing Committee by my right hon. Friend to look at the position of the affirmative and negative regulations provided for in this Bill. I know that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends will have noted that we have met them very, very substantially. I know that they will accept this Amendment.

What happens is that we leave out of Clause 18 the subsection which specifies the affirmative resolution; we are leaving out that subsection and adding it with others later.

The Bill, as it stands, makes all the orders and regulations under it subject to negative resolutions, with the exception of that one. During discussion in Committee, on the basis of the Amendment moved, I think, by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), he asked if we would make all the orders which would flow from this Bill affirmative. I think the hon. Gentleman will remember that in response to his request that all should be affirmative resolutions I did point out the very real practical difficulties which would flow from making affirmative resolutions under Clauses 7 to 16. That might involve us in introducing changes in the rates of surcharge in a way which would not let the scheme work as it is the wish of all sides it should work if our scheme is accepted and the Bill actually passes into legislation.

I said at the time that any orders flowing from Clauses 7 to 16, the Clauses affecting the surcharge, would have to take effect at once; one could not really afford the time lag that would have to be given if affirmative resolutions were made. While that still stands—and I think in Committee the hon. Gentleman accepted it as regards those Clauses concerned with surcharge—we have looked, as we said we would, at our powers under Clause 26.

We did more than that; we looked at Clause 25 and Clause 27 as well. Orders under Clauses 25, 26 and 27 we find we can make subject to affirmative resolutions and not negative resolutions as before.

I do not think there is any need for me to explain at any length the effect of the three Clauses. We are really giving what the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends asked, and, on balance, I am quite certain it would be better for Parliament in its actual working.

Mr. Willey

As the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has said, we have not obtained all that we expected, but we have obtained a good deal, and we recognise that by these Amendments the Bill is improved, and proper recognition is made of the distinction between affirmative and negative Motions. We are obliged to the Government for revising their views. As I have said before, I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman's Department has a fairly good record and can set a good example to many other Departments.

Amendment agreed to.