§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ That on Wednesday next if a Resolution reported from the Committee of Ways and Means shall be agreed to by this House, and a Bill be ordered to be brought in thereupon, then, notwithstanding the practice of the House as to the interval between the stages of such a Bill, the Bill may he appointed to be read a second time immediately after the First Reading thereof.—[Mr. Bowden.]
§ 11.6 a.m.
Mr. Richard Sharpies (Sutton and Cheam)
I shall intervene only briefly. The Leader of the House should explain why this Motion is necessary. As far as I can discover-and I have asked the Table Office to look back as far as 1914-this is the first time that a Motion of this kind has been moved by the Government. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong.
I realise that this may be a procedural Motion to enable certain other business to take place on that day, but, on the 2066 other hand, that does not explain why there is to be no gap between the First Reading of what is a highly important Bill and its Second reading. I should be most grateful for an explanation.
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Herbert Bowden)
The hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharpies) is quite right—I think that this is without precedent. It is an arrangement whereby the Consolidated Fund can be taken immediately after the sixth and final Supply day—the Supply day being taken formally—which, after the Consolidated Fund Bill, if the House approves, will enable a general debate to take place.
As with all business, this is a result of talks through the usual channels and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that there will be no forfeiture of time by the Opposition through this arrangement.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
I support my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharpies). This is a dangerous precedent to set. It is within the knowledge of all hon. Members that, in this Parliament, we have had a number of subsequent Amendments after a Bill has been published with misprints in it. If we are to get to the stage where First Reading leads immediately to Second Reading it will be a very dangerous precedent.
§ Mr. Bowden
I appreciate that point, but the hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Consolidated Fund Bill is very often printed long before the final Supply day has been reached.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ That on Wednesday next if a Resolution reported from the Committee of Ways and Means shall be agreed to by this House. and a Bill he ordered to be brought in thereupon, then, notwithstanding the practice of the House as to the interval between the stages of such a Bill, the Bill may be appointed to be read a second time immediately after the First Reading thereof.