Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the International Development Association Order. 1960, a draft of which was laid More this House on 23rd June, be approved.—[Mr. Barber.]
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)
Certainly, if that is the wish of the House.
As the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir. F. Soskice) knows, we touched upon this matter during the Second Reading of the International Development Association Bill. The Order is required to enable Her Majesty's Government to confer upon the International Development Association the status, immunities and privileges provided for in the Articles of Agreement of the Association, and thereby to enable the United Kingdom to become a member of the Association.
Before acceding to the Agreement, the Government must deposit a statement that it has taken all necessary steps to enable it to carry out its obligations under the Agreement. The financial operations were provided for in the International Development Association Act, which became law on 2nd June this year. That Act also provided in Section 3 that the provisions of the Agreement relating to the status, immunities and privileges of the Association, its officers and its staff, could be conferred by Order in Council. This Order makes the 170 necessary provision both for this country and also for those overseas territories for whose foreign relations the Government are responsible and who do not pass their own legislation on the subject.
The result is that, in conjunction with the International Development Association Act, this Order enables Her Majesty's Government to deposit the necessary instrument of accession to the agreement and so to become a member of the Association. The International Development Association is to operate as an affiliate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, in the early stages at any rate, will share the same staff. It is, accordingly, to enjoy exactly the same immunities and privileges as were granted by Parliament to the International Bank under the Bretton Woods Agreement Order, 1946.
I should also point out that Article 8 of the Articles of Agreement of the Association set out in the Schedule of this Order is identical with the corresponding Article of that part of the Bretton Woods Agreement which related to the International Bank's immunities and privileges. This Order, therefore, does not break new ground. It applies to the International Development Association the same immunities and the same privileges as Parliament approved in the case of the International Bank.
As the two organisations are to be affiliated and to operate with the same staff, I hope that the House will take the view that this is clearly a sensible arrangement. Therefore, I commend the Order to the House.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am grateful to the Minister for the explanation that he has given. It seemed to me that we ought to consider this Order to make sure that it achieves the purposes we have in mind. The Government foreshadowed its necessity during the Second Reading of the International Development Association Bill, which is now on the Statute Book.
The only comment one would always make when one is asked to extend 171 immunities of one sort or another to the new candidates for immunity is that the list is growing a great deal. I feel that we should not pass Orders of this sort without stopping for a moment to consider the number of persons who have immunities of one sort or another under the law of this country and who, in effect, have privileges over other citizens and can commit wrongs without there being any redress in the courts.
I think that we would all accept that it is a necessity of modern life, with the growing spread of international institutions of one sort or another—good in 172 themselves—that immunities of this sort have to be multiplied. Having called attention to that, I would not, speaking for myself, invite the House to oppose the passing of this Order, but I thought that it was right to pause for a moment to consider it and to bear in mind the steps marked by this Order in the direction of the enlargement of privileges of individuals over the law.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That the International Development Association Order, 1960, a draft of which was laid before this House on 23rd June, be approved.