HL Deb 22 March 1967 vol 281 cc752-4

[Nos. 1–3]

Clause 9, page 7, line 27, leave out ("securities") and insert ("ordinary and preference stocks and shares").

Clause 10, page 8, line 30, leave out ("securities") and insert (" stocks and shares").

Line 39, leave out ("securities") and insert ("said stocks and shares").

The Commons disagreed to these Amendments for the following Reason:

Because the Amendments would alter the financial arrangements made by the Commons, and the Commons do not offer any further Reason trusting the above Reason may be deemed sufficient.


My Lords, as I assume that the House is acquiescing in the suggestion to take these Amendments together, I beg to move that the House doth not insist on Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, to which the Commons have disagreed. This House sent down to another place 44 Amendments to the Iron and Steel Bill. Of these Amendments, the other place have agreed to all but three. I think this shows how the Bill was improved in many respects by its passage through your Lordships' House, and confirms what I said on Third Reading of the Bill about the useful and constructive nature of our discussions. At the risk of repetition, I would again pay tribute to noble Lords opposite for the help they have given.

There are now only three Amendments in question, and all of them are essentially on only one point. They are the Amendments which were raised by the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, and the question was whether or not debentures (I very nearly found myself saying "debutantes") should be nationalised. On both Committee and Report we had a very full debate on the issues raised by these Amendments. It was recognised that they gave rise to very real differences of view; and as I told your Lordships on Third Reading the Government considered the question very carefully in the light of the arguments then made. Nevertheless, they still found it impossible to accept these Amendments for the reasons I gave on Report, and as I told your Lordships the Government decided that my right honourable friend the Minister of Power would advise their removal when the Bill was sent back to another place.

Another place gave an exhaustive consideration of two and a half hours to these Amendments. I cannot honestly say that I think they added much to what we had already said, more succinctly, in your Lordships' House. My right honourable friend's advice was accepted by the other place, in which, I must make it clear, there was still no agreement on the issue involved. This will disappoint some of your Lordships, but at least it achieved the main objective which the mover of the Amendments, the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, set himself, which was a discussion of these matters on the Floor of another place.

I have mentioned the questions of substance raised by these Amendments because of the strong and powerful arguments which were put forward, but in moving that your Lordships do not insist on these Amendments it is not on considerations of this sort—and I repeat that they have been very fully discussed both here and in another place—that I want to rest my case. I warned your Lordships on the Third Reading of the Bill that the Amendments might raise the question of Commons privilege, and the Deputy Speaker has in fact since ruled that they do infringe this privilege. The reason for that is that, by changing the amount of compensation payable, they would affect the charge on the Consolidated Fund.

My Lords, as your Lordships will see, the Message from the Commons hints that the Amendments infringe their privilege. This has, of course, happened before, and Erskine May says that this hint of privilege is generally accepted by the Lords, and the Amendment is not insisted upon In view of this, and in view of the fact that I think the mover of the Amendments and those who supported him have achieved their objective of giving scope for further discussion on the Floor of another place, I now move that this House doth not insist on these Amendments.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, to which the Commons have disagreed.—(Lord Shackleton.)


My Lords, I think it will be a matter of some regret to a number of your Lordships that another place was not able to accept these three Amendments. They were put down, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackle-ton, has said, by the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, and the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, and were argued both on Committee and on Report. However, my noble friend Lord Conesford made it clear that one of his motives in pressing these Amendments to a Division at the Report Stage in your Lordships' House was to allow the subject to be debated thoroughly in another place. That aim was undoubtedly achieved, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has just said, yesterday afternoon. In view of the Deputy Speaker's ruling that these Amendments affect the financial provisions of the Bill and therefore involve the privilege of another place, I would advise your Lordships that we should accept what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has said. Having said that, it is the case that 41 Amendments made by your Lordships to this Bill were accepted in another place yesterday. The Bill has undoubtedly been improved, although, as we made clear on the Third Reading, we still deplore it.

On Question, Motion agreed to.