HC Deb 23 May 1962 vol 660 cc629-30

Question proposed,That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Callaghan

We started the consideration of the Bill 28 Clauses, 104 Amendments and 10 Schedules ago. I thank the Treasury Ministers for their unfailing courtesy throughout the whole of these debates. This is the first series of debates of this sort at which I have been present, and the Treasury Ministers have responded to every request made to them in a way that no one could take exception to.

I have only one disappointment, which perhaps even at this late hour can be remedied; the Solicitor-General has sat silent right throughout the whole length of our debates. He reminds me of the swan of classical mythology who gave vent to one burst of beautiful song and then expired. I should not like the hon. and learned Member to expire, but I should like him to explain subsection (3) before we leave the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again. It is perhaps appropriate that I should intervene to acknowledge what the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said about the performance of the Treasury Bench. My own performance has not been very lengthy, but I am grateful to my colleagues for what they have done. We have succeeded in getting through a long Bill with a reasonable degree of co-operation—not an excessive degree, but a reasonable degree. That being so, and it now being nearly one o'clock, I think that we should end our proceedings on the Bill for tonight. I hope that we shall be able to deal with the new Clauses in the same way.

Mr. Callaghan

I want to make it clear that I was referring to the courtesy of the Treasury Bench rather than to its performance. I should not like it to get too swollen-headed.

As for the degree of co-operation, I do not think that the Chancellor, at this time of night, should rebuke his hon. Friends for their failure to get through the Bill more quickly. I agree that since eight o'clock we have done nothing but discuss Conservative Amendments, but in the spirit of forbearance that prevails it is not very comely of him to speak of his own back benchers like this. I am glad that we have been able to extend our co-operation to get through the Bill in the way we have, getting our points across and putting our case. I think that the Treasury Bench has had a fair chance of putting its case, also. If it has failed to seize the opportunity, it is not because it has not had the time. I am glad that we are moving to the new Clauses next week.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.