HL Deb 13 December 1960 vol 227 cc375-6

My Lords, we have made good progress on the Weights and Measures Bill, but in view of the fact that we now have on the Marshalled List more Amendments than when we started the Committee stage (I do not lay the blame for that on any one section of the House, because the Amendments have come from all sides) I am afraid that it will be necessary to continue the Committee stage of this Bill to-day and on Thursday and again on Monday and Tuesday of next week; and it may be necessary to sit late on Tuesday.


My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl (I cannot use his long title), the Chief Whip, for this information. We will gladly serve on Monday to provide extra time for the consideration of this important Bill. But I think the Government will agree that in the way in which the matter has panned out the House has not been backward in giving strict and disciplined attention to the matters so far dealt with in what is a very technical Bill. If the Amendments keep on coming in—and not only from this side, but from all noble Lords Who are really interested in the Bill—we cannot guarantee that we shall get it through before Christmas. We will do our best, given time, but I should like the Leader of the House, who is a very experienced Parliamentarian, to consider this fact. In another place in Standing Committees they usually spend two hours in the morning, and they may adjourn and spend another three hours in the afternoon on special occasions when dealing in Committee with a Bill. Here, noble Lords, who have little of the assistance offered in another place, have to sit in full session for very long hours, and in the case of this side of the House with not too many of us to share the burden; and to sit for long hours a day on a technical Bill of this kind is a great strain. I hope that, when thinking of the arrangements for Business, the Government will bear this in mind. In the meantime, as I say, we shall be glad to meet on Monday, and we will do all we can to expedite the Bill, so long as we can deal with each of the Amendments.


My Lords, I am sure the Government are grateful to the noble Viscount for the help he has given and for what he has said, and we will certainly bear those considerations in mind.