HC Deb 02 June 1960 vol 624 cc1649-50

Lords Amendment: In page 8, line 15, leave out any "and insert "all such".

Mr. Rippon

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The Amendment is designed to remove a minor drafting ambiguity, and really must be considered with the purely consequential Amendment to line 16. The intention of the Clause is to provide that the information and documents to be furnished will be those specified in the regulations. The technical point has been made in another place that the subsection could be read as meaning that it was the journey or proposed journey which had to be specified in the requirement, and not the information or documents. It is not the journey that needs to be specified in the requirements, but that is not made clear by the present wording. It would be perfectly all right to ask for information and documents, and to ask what journeys were made.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Rankin

I am not impressed by the statement which the Parliamentary Secretary has just made. This is one of those profound alterations which demand very close scrutiny. The Clause contained the word "any", and the Lords, after due and grave consideration, have decided that instead of that word we should have the two words "all such". I want to read the Clause as it stands in order to put the word "any" and the words "all such" in their proper perspective. The subsection reads: For the purpose of securing compliance with the requirements of section one of this Act, the Minister or anyone acting under his authority may require any person who, in the United Kingdom, whether by providing an aircraft or negotiating a contract or otherwise howsoever, makes available, or offers, facilities for travel or the consignment of goods upon any journey by air, and any servant or agent of any such person, and any person who is the holder of an aerodrome licence, to provide the Minister with any information… That is only part of the subsection.

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

Read it all.

Mr. Rankin

I cannot read it all at the moment. I can deal only with that part which is pertinent to the suggested Amendment and which comes with the purview of my argument.

The Lords suggest that instead of "any" we should insert "all such". If we take out the word "any" we are limiting the evidence or information that would be available. We are leaving it to the individual concerned to provide all such information as he may determine is necessary. That is wrong.

Mr. Sandys

The hon. Member is not correct in saying that the information to be provided is such information as the operator may think is necessary. If he will read it carefully, he will see that the words are all such information…which may be specified in the requirement The requirement is made by the Minister or anybody acting under his authority, as the hon. Member will see in the second and third lines of the subsection.

Mr. Rankin

Even accepting that interpretation, I suggest that it is merely an afterthought, because when the Bill went through Committee and was subjected to the careful scrutiny of the Opposition, not even when the Minister helped us in the interpretation did he see any necessity to substitute "all such" for any". However, if he now confirms that no limitation is imposed by the Amendment I cannot press the matter any further. It still appears to me that the change is not worth making.

Mr. Strauss

I have some sympathy with my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin). I do not agree with him that the change in any way limits the power of the Minister to ask for documents, but I cannot see what difference it makes. The Parliamentary Secretary did not convince me, but if this Amendment pleases the Government or their legal advisers, we have no objection.

Question put and agreed to.

Further Lords Amendment made: In page 8, line 16, leave out "which" and insert"as".