HL Deb 21 February 1956 vol 195 cc1151-2

4.1 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, already this Session your Lordships have passed three Bills to indemnify persons disqualified from membership of another place and to validate their elections. When your Lordships considered the last of these Bills on November 22, I ventured to express the hope, albeit it with decreasing confidence, that it would be the last measure of this kind which we should have to bring before your Lordships. Unfortunately, yet another case of disqualification has arisen.

The purpose of the present Bill is to indemnify Mr. Charles Beattie from any penal consequences which he might have incurred by sitting and voting as a Member in another place while holding disqualifying offices of profit under the Crown. On previous occasions such as this, your Lordships have neither discussed the measure in detail nor required any detailed explanation of it from me. In this case, your Lordships will remember, Mr. Charles Beattie was the putative Member for Mid-Ulster. His electoral history, like so many other things Irish, does not admit of a simple explanation, so I hope that your Lordships will be prepared to give the Bill a Second Reading as heretofore. I think it may be a matter of some slight academic interest to note that next Tuesday we shall be discussing the Report of Lord Swinton's Committee, who have been examining the position of noble Lords who, though entitled to sit, have no great desire to take part in our debates, while to-day in this Bill we are concerned with the position of those who wish to take part in the proceedings of another place but are not entitled to do so. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Mancroft.)

On Question, Bill read 2a; Committee negatived.