HL Deb 22 June 1965 vol 267 cc462-4

2.44 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Mitchison.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD AIREDALE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Amendments of Act of 1945. 1945 c. 18 (9 & 10 Geo. 6.).


(4) After section 3(4) of the Act there shall be inserted the following subsection— (4A) Where in the opinion of the Chairmen a petition presented as a petition for amendment involves amendments of the order which, if the order were a private Bill, could not be made except upon a petition for additional provision they may refuse to certify the petition as proper to be received, provided that if the petitioner satisfies the Chairmen that some only of the amendments are such as aforesaid, the Chairmen may direct the deletion of so much of the petition as requires such amendments and certify the remainder thereof as proper to be received."; and in section 3(3) of the Act for the words" they shall certify that the petition is proper to be received "there shall be substituted the words" they shall, subject as hereinafter provided, certify that the petition is proper to be received".

THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES (LORD MITCHISON) moved to leave out subsection (4). The noble Lord said: This Bill deals with Orders of a special kind, involving some policy and some private interest. It had a Second Reading from your Lordships with little comment and no opposition, and in the course of moving the Second Reading I explained that this subsection might have to be removed and replaced, as it is now, by a change in Standing Orders.

The particular point involved in this subsection is that when one of these Statutory Orders is subject to Petition for Amendment and the Amendment would affect the interests of third persons, which would not have been affected without the Amendment, then some action has to be taken to safeguard their interests. It was proposed in the Bill that the two Chairmen, the Chairman of Committees here, and the Chairman of Ways and Means in another place, should take action under this subsection, but they have now agreed that it can better and more conveniently be done by a change in Standing Orders which has not yet been made. It has been agreed that it will be required, that it is a better way of doing it and there is no dispute as to the wording. For those reasons, I beg to move this Amendment, and so to take the course which was foreshadowed on the Second Reading and is so reported in Hansard on that occasion.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 1, leave out subsection (4).—(Lord Mitchison.)


I should like to intervene very briefly, mostly to say how grateful I am to the noble Lord the Minister who moved this Amendment. It is not a very simple point, but I think it will be sufficient if I say that I shall be most glad to co-operate in adopting the suggestion he has now put forward. I will take the necessary steps to produce an Amendment to the Standing Orders in due course, and I understand that a similar step will be taken in another place. I think the procedure which the noble Lord has outlined to-day is more satisfactory; that is, to do it by Standing Order rather than by legislation, and I am most grateful to him.


Unfortunately, I was not able to be here on Second Reading but I have read what occurred on that occasion. Naturally, I have also read the Bill, the Amendment and the relevant part of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945. I have also taken the opportunity of speaking with the Lord Chairman of Committees and with counsel, and I am quite clear in my own mind about three things. The first is that it is desirable and necessary to approve this Amendment and to deal with the matter by way of Standing Orders rather than by Act of Parliament, which would prove subsequently more difficult to change, should any change prove to be desirable. The second thing is that, much to my own astonishment, I can understand the reasons why this should be done; and the third point is that I should be quite incapable of explaining it to your Lordships.


Before the Amendment is put, may I take this opportunity of thanking the two noble Lords for their courtesy and kindness in this matter? I think we are doing the right thing on a small and rather dull point, but it does help a number of people, public authorities and others, who rely on these Orders.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause and Schedule agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with an Amendment.

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