HC Deb 10 May 1966 vol 728 cc359-60

Order for Second Reading read.

10.1 p.m.

The Minister of Defence for the Army (Mr. G. W. Reynolds)

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

This Bill was given a Second Reading before the General Election. It is a Bill which has to be passed by this House every five years. Since it received a Second Reading a few weeks ago, we have taken the opportunity to make one or two minor alterations.

Hon. Members will, I think, be aware that the procedure which is normally followed is that when the Bill has been given a Second Reading by the House it goes to a Select Committee, which can go into it in considerable detail, hear witnesses, go through the Clauses and ascertain why specific changes are proposed. The Bill then comes back to the House and goes through its normal Committee, Report and Third Reading stages.

As the Bill was given a Second Reading shortly before the election, and is basically the same, in view of the late hour and of the procedure which is normally followed and which will be followed with regard to the Bill, I hope that the House will agree to give it a Second Reading tonight and allow it to go to the Select Committee and await discussion on the detailed points until we receive the Select Committee's Report.

If, on the other hand, any hon. Member wishes to raise points on the Bill, my hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for the Royal Navy is present and will be prepared and willing to answer them.

10.3 p.m.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)

The Minister of Defence for the Army tells us that the Bill is almost identical to the Bill which was debated at considerable length on Second Reading in the last Parliament. According to my researches, the present Bill differs principally in six lines, which, in the form of the Bill, seem to make neither grammar nor sense. Like everything else, however, that can be dealt with in Committee and I do not propose to raise any debate upon it at this stage.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Select Committee.—[Mr. Fitch.]