HC Deb 21 October 1975 vol 898 cc441-3

Read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Harper.]

Bill immediately considered in Committee.

[Mr. GEORGE THOMAS in the Chair]

The Chairman

I suggest that we adopt the same procedure as we pursued yesterday when dealing with a consolidation measure; namely, put the Questions in blocks.

Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)

May we in two or three words be told what the Bill is about?

The Chairman

I am sorry but I have already put the Question to the House.

Mr. Cooke

I am just asking that we should be told what it is about before we pass it; that is all.

The Chairman

I am sorry that we may have moved a little fast, but that point has passed.

Mr. Terence Higgins (Worthing)

On a point of order, Mr. Thomas. As I understand the situation, you were proposing to put the Question. It would be in order for the Minister to give an explanation at that stage.

The Chairman

We cannot discuss the content of clauses, and we have already passed the Second Reading stage. The House a few moments ago agreed to give the Bill a Second Reading.

The Question is that Clauses 1 to 5 stand part—

Mr. Higgins

I abide by your ruling, Mr. Thomas. Although I understood you to say that we could not discuss the contents of the clauses, I imagine that it would be in order for the Minister to explain the way in which they have been consolidated. I presume that the Minister would want to do that, although I abide by your ruling if that is not so.

The Chairman

I do not wish to stop the deliberations of the Committee. However, our proceedings must be in order. If the Minister seeks to explain why Clause 1 is consolidated, if we deal with the clauses one at a time, I do not mind. We can discuss them one at a time. However, he must confine himself to why the clause is consolidated.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Law Officers' Department (Mr. Arthur Davidson)

Perhaps I could seek your guidance, Mr. Thomas. I do not think that it is the wish of the House that I should go through the Bill clause by clause. However, if there is any way in which I can describe, extremely briefly, the sum total of the clauses, I shall be happy to do so.

The Chairman

That cannot be done now. Next time I shall proceed more slowly.

Mr. Davidson

On the next occasion I shall rise more slowly. That will give you, Mr. Thomas, more time.

The Chairman

I am sorry this has happened because I looked forward with pleasure to hearing the speeches of both hon. Members concerned.

Mr. Robert Cooke

The title of the Bill intrigued me. Some hon. Members would have liked to know more about the measure. That is why I raised the point.

Clause 1 to 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 56 (Third Reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, without amendment.

  1. ADJOURNMENT 12 words
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