HL Deb 04 July 1960 vol 224 cc914-6

My Lords, I beg to move that three Amendments be made to this Bill on Third Reading. Perhaps I should explain to your Lordships that last Thursday this Bill received a Third Reading, and I then rose to move that three Amendments be made—a Motion which I subsequently withdrew because of what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. I then undertook to communicate with the noble Lord and to send him a copy of the Amendments; and I should just like to say that, although I did this on Thursday evening last, by some unhappy chance the noble Lord has not received my letter. May I therefore say now to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, what I said to him in the letter: that I am satisfied that the procedure adopted last Thursday was in accordance with the usual custom and procedure of the House, and that these Amendments had then been available for some nine days in the Printed Paper Office or in my office, and were therefore available for inspection. I now beg to move these Amendments; and, as I said last Thursday, I am in a position to assure the House that they are all purely drafting; that they are not Amendments of substance, and that they do not contravene the Standing Orders. I beg to move.

Moved, That the said Amendments be agreed to.—(Lord Merthyr.)


My Lords, I do not want to take up the time of the House. These Amendments are exactly as the noble Lord has described them—purely drafting; and had we had an opportunity of seeing them before the noble Lord moved them last Thursday, no question would, of course, have arisen. I would suggest that, if it be correct that this is in accordance with normal practice—that the Amendments are in the Printed Paper Office but that the attention of noble Lords has not been drawn to the fact that they are there, and it is open to the noble Lord thereupon to move these Amendments, without, in practice, noble Lords' having an opportunity of seeing them—we ought to look at our practice again. I would respectfully suggest that we might have an item on the agenda of the Procedure Committee when we might consider whether we cannot in some way give more adequate notice to noble Lords of Amendments of this character.


My Lords, I made a slip just now when I said that the text of the Amendments had been available in the Printed Paper Office for nine days. That was not so. They were available in my office for nine days, and were there to be seen; but nobody asked to see them. In fact, they were available in the Printed Paper Office for only one day. I regret the slip I made. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said that the attention of the House had not been drawn to them, but I should like to point out that for all that period of nine days there did appear on the Order Paper, after the item, "Somerset County Council Bill—Third Reading," the words "Amendments to be proposed". So the House was aware that some Amendments were to be moved. My Lords, I have only to add that I will take due note of what the noble Lord has said about discussing the procedure in the future.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.

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