HL Deb 22 April 1971 vol 317 cc844-6

[No. 39]

Clause 55, page 38, line 22, at end insert — ( ) Except where the context otherwise requires, in any Act passed after this Act the expression `recorder' shall not include the Recorder of London or an honorary recorder of a borough. ( ) Any power of making orders contained in any provision of this Act shall include power to vary or revoke an order made under that provision.

6.10 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 39. The first part of the Amendment is consequential on Amendment No. 37. The second part gives power to vary or revoke an order made under any provision of the Bill. This is rendered necessary because of an omission in the Interpretation Act 1889 whereby the power to make most instruments carries with it the power to vary or revoke such instruments. Unfortunately, this does not include orders as such.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, the first proposed new subsection in Amendment No. 39 gives in advance an interpretation of the expression "recorder" "in any Act passed after this Act". That is what it says. We are therefore in this subsection seeking to bind our successors in Parliament. I think that most Members of both Houses of Parliament for the time being always rather resent any attempt having been made in the past by their predecessors to bind them, and consider that it is not really very satisfactory for Parliament ever to try to bind successive Parliaments. I wonder whether it is necessary to provide an advance interpretation of the meaning of the word "recorder"; because this means that in the years to come, whenever future legislation is drawn up concerning recorders, regard will have to be had to this subsection. Perhaps it is necessary; but on principle I feel that a word of warning ought to be given by somebody whenever Parliament is seeking, even in a small field, to bind Parliaments of the future.


My Lords, I am beginning to realise since I came back to your Lordships' House how very conservative the Liberal Party can be—at least when it reaches this House. In fact there is no attempt whatever to bind successive Parliaments. The intention is to save their time. We have had this argument out at least once this Session in connection with another Bill and we have established the point that it it is no more binding upon successive Parliaments than the Interpretation Act of 1889 is binding on successive Parliaments. It saves time in drafting to explain what statutory language means; but if successive Parliaments desire to use words like "Humpty-dumpty" in any sense they please, then they are at liberty to do so, notwithstanding this subsection. I hope that the House will agree to the Motion and see that it is a convenient way of legislating.

On Question, Motion agreed to.