HC Deb 04 November 1965 vol 718 cc1239-40
The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Anthony Greenwood)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I must ask the indulgence of the House to permit me to make a short statement about the Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order in Council, 1965, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Constitution) Order in Council, 1965, which have just been laid before the House.

These Orders revoke the Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order in Council, 1962, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Constitution) Order in Council, 1962, and in each case reproduce the provisions of the Order revoked, with retrospective effect from the 6th August, 1962; and incidentally in the case of the Turks and Caicos Islands the Order amends the Constitution in certain respects with effect from the commencement of the Order.

The 1962 Orders were made by Her Majesty in Council on 30th July, 1962, and came into operation on 6th August, 1962. They were made under Section 5 of the West Indies Act, 1962, and by virtue of Section 7(3) of that Act read in conjunction with Section 4(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946, they should have been laid before both Houses of Parliament after they were made and before they came into operation. It has recently been discovered that, through inadvertence, the requirement to lay the Orders in that way was overlooked at the time.

I am advised that the failure to lay the 1962 Orders did not prevent them from coming into operation and having full legal effect from the date from which they purported to do so. However, it is possible that the contrary might be argued and for that reason it has been considered prudent to make these new Orders.

I ask the House to accept the apologies of all concerned for the failure to lay the 1962 Orders.

Mr. Hogg

I am sure the House will accept what the right hon. Gentleman has said, and I know that he realises—indeed, his statement implies as much—that these administrative lapses do occur. They have occurred before under all Administrations without individual fault by Ministers. Would he consider, since these lapses are important to Parliament, however, that, on the draft of an Order in Council submitted for the approval of Her Majesty, there should be printed or stamped the requirement as to whether or not the matter needs to be laid before Parliament? In that event I believe that it would be possible for administrative arrangements to prevent these things happening in future.

Mr. Greenwood

I am sure the House will be happy to know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman associates himself with me in the apologies I have expressed. I am obliged for his suggestion, which I will discuss with my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.

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