HC Deb 24 October 1972 vol 843 c992

Lords Amendments further considered.

3.40 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robert Carr)

I wonder whether I might be allowed to make a few remarks on points that were raised yesterday about the Lords Amendments to this Bill.

Basically, I was faced with the alternative either of asking the House to enter on the Amendments quickly or of delaying Prorogation. From earlier discussions I gathered that to take them quickly would be the more acceptable of these two, perhaps not very acceptable, courses. That was my genuine opinion. Nevertheless, I want to apologise to the House for any inconvenience that has been caused.

On the question of the availability of Amendments which was raised yesterday, I find that the first batch was available in the Vote Office on Friday morning and there was a complete print on Saturday morning. Although this is a somewhat better situation than was mentioned in yesterday's exchanges, I again accept that the interval between the print being available and the debate was less than usual, and shorter than I would normally have been willing to propose. Perhaps again I should repeat my apology to the House, and in view of the circumstances I have described hope that hon. Members will be forbearing.

Mr. John Silkin (Deptford)

The whole House will be grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for making that statement; I am sure it was the right thing to do. I hope he will not mind me saying that I am sure he will never regard this situation as a precedent. However desirable it may be to obtain Government business, the House deserves to be treated properly. In this instance, with so many Amendments before the House, hon. Members faced an almost impossible task; but the right hon. Gentleman has handsomely given us his views, and I think we should be wise to leave it at that.

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