HL Deb 29 May 1946 vol 141 cc555-6

Order of the Day for receiving the Report of Amendment read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Report be now received.

Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Pakenham.)

2.36 p.m.


My Lords, on that Motion may I make a statement with regard to the Amendment that was carried in this House the other day. I have consulted the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of course we quite recognize that in this House it would not be possible to take any further action with regard to that Amendment. But I have to say that the Government have carefully considered it, and are firmly of the opinion that it is contrary to the main scheme of the Bill, and they will not be able to accept it.

2.37 p.m.


My Lords, it seems to me that the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, has taken a very unusual course with regard to this. No doubt he is entitled at some stage to say what is the view of the Government. But I should have thought that it would have been more in accordance with the well-known precedent that neither House is seised of the proceedings of the other until they have taken place if the statement of the Government's intention or the Government's view awaited the later consideration of the Bill, which has not passed this House, or even had its Report or Third Reading. It has then to go to the House of Commons, and will have to be considered there when it gets there. Frankly I should have thought that would have been more in order. The Government are not even making a counter proposition, as I understand, on any Amendment that is down on the Paper. I should have thought the proper procedure would be to discuss this matter when the ordinary constitutional course has taken place, when the Bill has passed through this House and any Amendments which have been made here have been considered in another place. That surely is more in accordance with precedent.


My Lords, I thought myself that it would be convenient if a statement of the view of the Government with regard to the Amendment were made at this stage. I am sorry if the noble Viscount thinks it is inconvenient, and I promise him I will reserve my observations for a future occasion when the point may arise. I should have thought myself it would have been convenient.

2.39 p.m.


My Lords, I need not say that the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, has replied to my noble friend with his usual courtesy, which we always expect from him, but at the same time I would like to call your Lordships' attention to the very extraordinary character of the precedent which the noble Viscount is setting. We are under the impression that what your Lordships have done in this House may have great weight on what happens in the discussions in another place. We should have been very much better pleased if it had been considered. The noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, says he knows what the House of Commons are going to do, and what he himself and his friends will do in consequence. I am quite sure it will be agreed that that is a precedent which ought not to be followed.

On Question, Motion agreed to, and Amendment reported accordingly.