HL Deb 31 July 1963 vol 252 cc1169-70

Clause 1, page 1, line 8, after "1" insert "(1)".


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment. It is a Government Amendment designed to make absolutely clear the effect of the Bill upon the Public Meeting Act, 1908. It is a very small matter, and I think I can explain the purpose of this Amendment to your Lordships very briefly. Under Section 1(1) of the 1908 Act it is made an offence to act at a public meeting in a disorderly manner, for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the meeting was called. In 1936 a new subsection (3) was added and this empowered a constable, on the request of the chairman of the meeting, to require a person reasonably suspected of committing an offence under the earlier provision of the section to declare his name and address. This new subsection made it a summary offence, which was punishable by a fine not exceeding 40s., for such a person to refuse or fail to give his name and address, or to give a false name and address. We have never proposed that the increased penalties provided for under the Bill should apply to this relatively trivial offence in Section 1(3) of the 1908 Act, and we had not thought, and we still do not think, that the Bill as originally drafted had this effect. Nevertheless, there may be some ambiguity here, and in fact it was argued by a Member in another place during Second Reading that the Bill did increase the penalty under subsection (3) of Section 1. We have accordingly felt it right to make the position absolutely clear by substituting a reference to subsection (1) of Section 1 of the 1908 Act, for the reference which was in it until yesterday to Section 1 as a whole. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Earl Jellicoe.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.