§ 3.5 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I rise to move the Third Reading of this Bill. Your Lordships will probably be as surprised and regretful as I am that a Bill approved by Select Committees of both Houses should have to be moved other than formally, but I was informed yesterday that it was proposed to oppose the Bill, and as the Lord Chairman of Committees was not himself in a position to move the Third Reading I agreed to do so because of my association with the Borough of Finsbury, which I represented in another place, and also because I have some earlier knowledge of the circumstances surrounding this Bill.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord will allow me to interrupt him? I understand from the noble Lord who has just opened his speech in favour of the Bill that it is to be opposed by another noble Lord in some part of the House. If that is so, the whole House will, of course, be at a great disadvantage, because the practice in these matters, as I believe the noble Lord, and all noble Lords, will know, is that when a Bill of this kind is received from a Select Committee the House assumes that on Third Reading, unless a notice to the contrary is put down, the Bill will go through formally. Therefore, I think all of us are put at a great disadvantage to-day if this Bill is to be opposed without notice. Indeed, a number of noble Lords who would have been here may not be here at all. I do not know whether Lord Stonham would give way for a moment to allow the noble Lord—it might be the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, who may be opposing the Bill—to say whether or not he is going to do so. If he is, I feel I shall have 974 to propose, on behalf of the House and for the observance of the proprieties, that we should postpone this discussion until notice may be put on the Paper.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords I very much thank the noble Earl the Leader of the House for what he has said. A few days ago I approached the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees and asked him whether I could make a statement when the Third Reading of the Bill came before your Lordships. Yesterday I was informed that the statement I was likely to make would amount to opposition and the noble Lord Lord Stonham told me that in consequence of that he had been asked to move the Third Reading. I shall be only too pleased to fall in with the wishes of the noble Earl the Leader of the House and agree to postpone this Third Reading and to put down any Motion which he thinks appropriate.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords apart from the noble Lord Lord Grantchester there are a number of noble Lords who while not necessarily opposing a Third Reading of this Bill would like to say a word of two on its subject matter; and I imagine it might take some little time. It would be a pity to interfere with the progress of the Factories Bill. I would suggest therefore that the House would be well advised to accept the suggestion of the noble Earl the Leader of the House and postpone the Third Reading until another time.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords naturally I should be pleased to meet the wishes of the House in this matter but I should like to make it perfectly clear, if it is not so already, that I had no wish at all that it should be other than a formal Third Reading and I agreed yesterday to move the Third Reading of the Bill only in circumstances that were explained to me. I shall be happy to agree that it shall be postponed to another and more suitable occasion and be subject to a formal Motion from the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords the House will be greatly obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and have some sympathy with him. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, did not see the Notice on the Order Paper in time—he saw it only two days ago: 975 but I think it will be agreeable to the Whole House that there should be a postponement and that we should consider through the usual channels when the Bill can be put down for discussion again.