HC Deb 23 March 1971 vol 814 cc355-61

(1) As soon as practicable after the registrar has, in pursuance of section 82(3) of this Act, registered a change in the rules of an organisation, he shall examine the rules as they have effect in consequence of that change (in this section referred to as 'the amended rules'); and, if on such examination it appears to him that the amended rules are defective in any of the ways specified in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of section 71(1) of this Act, he shall serve on the organisation a notice indicating what alterations in the amended rules are needed for the purpose of remedying the defect.

(2) The provisions of subsections (2) to (4) of section 71 and the provisions of section 72 of this Act shall have effect in relation to a notice served under subsection (1) of this section as they have effect in relation to a notice served under section 71(1) of this Act, as if in those provisions—

  1. (a) any reference to a notice served under section 71(1) were a reference to a notice served under subsection (1) of this section. and
  2. (b) any reference to the rules were a reference to the amended rules.—[Mr. Dudley Smith.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Dudley Smith

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

The purpose of the Clause is to ensure that the rules of a registered organisation remain subject to the provisions of the Bill even if the rules are changed to meet the changing circumstances of the organisation. Clause 71 provides that soon after the organisation is registered the Registrar shall examine its rules and inform it of any ways in which they are inconsistent with the guiding principles as set out in Clause 61 or Clause 65, as the case may be, and the requirements of Schedule 3, and he will allow the organisation a reasonable time in which to make the necessary alterations.

Once the Registrar has been able to approve the rules of an organisation and is content that they satisfy the Bill's requirements, it is unlikely that the organisation will intentionally adopt another set of rules which do not meet these requirements. It is, after all, in the interests of the organisation itself, and of its members, that it should have a clear and precise set of rules which safeguard the rights of members, and this is what the Registrar will be seeking to achieve.

However, organisations do need to alter their rules from time to time to meet changes in their circumstances; for example, to reflect changes in the decision-making structure. Any new rules adopted for this kind of reason might, inadvertently perhaps, reduce the rights of members or he inconsistent with other existing rules and, therefore, lead to a lack of clarity in the rules as a whole. It is necessary, therefore, to provide that alterations to rules and new rules adopted by a registered organisation shall be examined and approved by the Registrar in exactly the same way as are the rules which the organisation has at the time of registration.

The Clause is short, but it is important. I appreciate that the Opposition are against registration—we have debated the subject repeatedly. I do not accept their viewpoint but I realise their opposition. However, I am sure that, given registration, it will be seen that this is a common sense provision and one to which real objection cannot be taken. It makes the Bill logical. It is, therefore, important that any changes to rules which flow in due course shall be examined by the Registrar. In those circumstances, I hope that the House will accept the new Clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause accordingly read the Second time.

Question put, That the Clause be added to the Bill:—

The House proceeded to a Division

Mr. Peter Blaker (Blackpool, South)

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Could you verify the timing at which to lock the doors?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

I have just verified the timing; the clock stuck. Therefore, I will call the Division again.

The House having divided: Ayes 271, Noes 221.

Clause accordingly added to the Bill.