HC Deb 14 October 1969 vol 788 cc363-4
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, as a manuscript Amendment, in page 7, line 9, leave out "1st September, 1969" and insert "1st January, 1970."

Mr. Graham Page

On a point of order, Mr. Gourlay. I also came armed with a manuscript Amendment to amend this retrospective legislation, but I am a little more optimistic. If I may hand in my manuscript Amendment, it is to alter the date to 1st November, 1969.

The Deputy Chairman

We have received a second Amendment, but the Committee can discuss only the Amendment which is being proposed.

The Solicitor-General

This was an anomaly. It is anomalous that the date 1st September appears in the Bill. It arises as a result of the history of this matter. I am dealing with it by way of a manuscript Amendment because as matters developed—the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) will not blame me for this—the Second Reading of the Bill was deferred from yesterday and, therefore, this issue had to be dealt with in this way.

Mr. Graham Page

On a point of order. May we discuss my manuscript Amendment with the Amendment proposed by the Solicitor-General?

The Deputy Chairman

Yes, it will be in order to discuss both Amendments together.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page

Obviously the Bill could not be allowed to go through having retrospective effect and saying that it shall come into operation on 1st September 1969. I am not sure why it is necessary to delay its coming into operation until 1st January, 1970. We are passing the Bill tonight with no Amendment except as to date. Let us bring it into operation nearly at once. I have chosen 1st November, 1969, as being more acceptable than 1st January, 1970.

Mr. Robert Cooke

I support what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page). There is no objection to 1st November, 1969. There is nothing new in the Bill. We are told that we cannot debate it because it is a consolidation Measure, so there cannot be anything new in it. My hon. Friend has put an incontrovertible argument in favour of bringing the Bill into operation at once.

Mr. William Wilson (Coventry, South)

As a member of the Joint Consolidation Committee, and recognising that the Bill does not alter the law, may I suggest that the two Front Bench spokesmen should throw up a penny and decide in that way whether to have November or January.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 15, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with an Amendment; as amended, considered.

Motion made and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 55 (Third Reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with an Amendment.