HC Deb 05 August 1975 vol 897 cc272-3
Mr. Harold Walker

I beg to move Amendment No. 63, in page 24, line 29, after 'has', insert 'unreasonably'.

This amendment is to rectify an error which was made in Committee. An Opposition amendment to delete the word "unreasonably" was inadvertently accepted. I thought that I had made it clear to the Committee that there were compelling reasons for retaining the word and we now seek to reinsert it.

Mr. Hayhoe

The Under-Secretary of State chose a rather curious form of words when he said that an amendment was "inadvertently" agreed to in Committee. In fact, it was a clear decision of the Committee. My recollection is that it was unanimous, as were one or two others. It is a curious way to proceed if, when a Committee has made a decision which Ministers do not like, they tell the House that it was inadvertent. Let them confess, as we know anyway, that they did not know what they were doing. It is a good thing for them occasionally to recognise that.

On the occasion in question, we were not particularly convinced by the Minister's argument. We think that there was considerable substance in the case that we made, but if the Minister's use of the word "inadvertent" means that they would have preferred to have a Division—which, in view of the balance of the parties on the Committee, they would have won—perhaps it would be wiser for us not to push the amendment to a Division now. However, I still find this an unreasonable amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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