§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. George Thomas)
Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe).
§ 12.1 a.m.
Mr. Peter Hordem (Horsham and Crawley)
I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 3, line 9, leave out'but does not extend to Northern Ireland'.627 The Minister of State who will be answering this debate is aware that we had a passage at the end of Committee stage when we inquired about Northern Ireland anti why the provisions of the Bill, with which we are quite content, did not apply to Northern Ireland. In the passage to which I refer the then Financial Secretary, now Minister for Transport, said:I am advised that the authorities in Northern Ireland are looking at this matter. It would be premature for me to say whether concrete proposals will be brought forward, and, if so, within what time span. I understand that the situation is being looked at. En the present—what we must hope to be—temporary state of affairs in Northern Ireland legislative functions are being exercised by the House. In the past, legislation of this kind was reseved to Stormont."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 10th June, 1975, c. 24.]It was our supposition, on reading the Bill, that the reason Northern Ireland had been left out of consideration was that the Northern Ireland authorities would be bringing forward their own proposals so that the agricultural cooperatives which this Bill particularly affects would have the same benefits as those agricultural and other co-operatives here. The purpose of the amendment is to find out from the Government when they propose to include the citizens of Northern Ireland within the ambit of the Bill.
§ The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Denzil Davies)
May I first congratulate the hon. Members for Horsham and Crawley (Mr. Hordern) and his hon. Friends on their ingenuity in getting an amendment on Report stage to a Bill not amended in Committee. This is not always normal procedure.
The hon. Member has asked me to comment on why the Bill excludes Northern Ireland. There is no sinister reason. This Bill, as the hon. Member knows, seeks to amend the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1965 which is the parent Act. That Act does not refer to Northern Ireland and he would therefore agree, I think, that it would not be appropriate in this Bill, which seeks to to extend it to Northern Ireland when amend the Act which relates to Britain, the parent Act does not.
628 The position in Northern Ireland is dealt with by their legislation, the Industrial and Provident Societies Act (Northern Ireland) 1969. The proper procedure for amending that Act would be through the constitution and procedures relating to Northern Ireland. At present the way to amend that Act in relation to Northern Ireland would be by Order in Council laid in draft before both Houses.
I can give an assurance that it is the intention of the Northern Ireland Department, in the near future, to place an order in draft before both Houses, and that order will be subject to Affirmative Resolution in both Houses, so that there will be an opportunity in both Houses to debate the order. It will deal, it is hoped, mainly with the same provisions as this Bill. In other words, it will increase the limits in respect of Northern Ireland, as they are increased by this Bill.
It is hoped that the order regarding Northern Ireland—there may be some slight variation dealing with specific Northern Ireland matters—will be laid in the near future and will bring the position there into line with the provisions for Britain, if this Bill gets a Third Reading tonight.
I hope that that satisfies the hon. Member and that he will appreciate that there is no reason other than the constitutional one why it would not be appropriate to deal with the position in this Bill.
In view of that assurance, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the amendment and that soon there will be an order dealing with Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Hordern
I believe that this is the Minister of State's maiden speech at the Dispatch Box and from the Conservative benches we offer him our warm congratulations. We hope that we shall see him on many occasions. We have no doubt that we shall. In view of his lucid explanation, which we are happy to accept, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill read the Third time and passed, without amendment.