HC Deb 27 May 1960 vol 624 cc856-8

  1. (1) Nothing in the provisions of section one or section two of this Act or section sixty-six of the London County Council (General Powers) Act, 1937, shall affect any byelaw or power to make byelaws, and in particular no byelaw shall be held to be void for repugnancy on the ground that it prohibits or restricts in activity permitted by any of those provisions; and accordingly the said provisions shall not be included in the references to any enactment in subsection (4) of section two hundred and forty-nine of the Local Government Act, 1933, subsection (5) of section three hundred of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1947, and subsection (4) of section one hundred and forty-six of the Landon Government Act, 1939 (which provide that where, by or under any enactment, provision is made for the summary prevention and suppression of a nuisance in any area, the power conferred by those sections to make byelaws for the area with respect to that nuisance shall not be exercisable).
  2. (2) In the said section sixty-six, paragraph (b) of subsection (4) (which provides that nothing in that section shall affect the power to make byelaws conferred by the said section one hundred and forty-six) and the word "or" immediately preceding that paragraph are hereby repealed.—[Mr. Speir.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.11 a.m.

Mr. Rupert Speir (Hexham)

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

During consideration of the Bill in Committee, several hon Members, including in particular the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), and the hon. and learned Member for Stoke Newington and Hackney, North (Mr. Weitzman), raised the question whether the Bill as drafted might either cause some of the existing byelaws to become void and nullified, or prevent additional byelaws being made. This is a very complex legal matter, but, as I said in Committee, it was never my intention that the Bill should in any way interfere with the right of local authorities to make byelaws. It was never the intention that this Bill should be a substitute for local byelaws, nor was it my desire in any way to interfere with them.

I am now advised that without the provisions and savings contained in this new Clause, the adoption of which I now urge, there might be some doubt. This Clause ensures that the Bill shall not affect existing byelaws nor the powers of local authorities to make additional byelaws if they so desire. I understand that under Section 33 of the Interpretation Act, 1889, there will be an adequate safeguard to prevent any person from being in danger of being prosecuted and punished twice—for an offence under this Bill and an offence at the same time under an existing byelaw.

I hope the Clause will commend itself to the House.

Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

I thank the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) for having gone to the trouble to produce this new Clause, which was not an easy thing to do. I do not think that any local authority officer trying rapidly to read the Bill would quite understand the result from a quick perusal of the new Clause. I am grateful to have the hon. Member's categorical statement that the new Clause will cover both existing byelaws—the one most likely to be concerned is the one known as the "noisy hawking" byelaw in London—and any further byelaws which may be put to the Secretary of State for approval.

I underline that second part of the statement. I wrote to the Parliamentary Secretary about the "noisy hawking" byelaw because it was said in Committee that it all depended on the byelaw as to whether it would affect it or not. I asked specifically whether the "noisy hawking" byelaw would be affected. The reply of the Parliamentary Secretary I thought a little guarded. Referring to the new Clause, he said that the effect would be to save those byelaws where they have been adopted.

That would cover a number of authorities. I am grateful for the assurance of the hon. Member for Hexham that it will also cover any future bye-laws which local authorities want to adopt as well as the "noisy hawking" byelaw. I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary could authoritatively confirm that it is the view of the Government that the new Clause will put local authorities which now want to adopt a byelaw in the same position as those which have already adopted one.

11.15 a.m.

Mr. David Weitzman (Stoke Newington and Hackney, North)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) for the trouble he has taken in dealing with a problem which was mentioned in Committee and which I think was a very real difficulty.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Sir Keith Joseph)

I am ready to give the assurance for which the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) asked.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, added to the Bill.