HL Deb 22 June 1971 vol 320 cc783-6

2.49 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. This follows the precedent of a similar Motion which was moved before the Committee stage of the Industrial Relations Bill, and groups the appropriate clauses with the appropriate Schedules. I think your Lordships found this arrangement to be satisfactory on the previous occasion, and I hope that the House will agree to this Motion to-day.

Moved, That, when the Industrial Relations Bill is considered on Report, the Amendments be marshalled and considered in the following order, vizt:—

  • Clauses 1 to 17
  • Schedule 1
  • Clauses 18 to 21
  • Schedule 2
  • Clauses 22 to 75
  • Schedule 4
  • Clauses 76 to 88
  • Schedule 5
  • Clauses 89 to 127
  • Schedules 3 and 6
  • Clauses 128 to 151
  • Schedule 7
  • Clauses 152 to 166
  • Schedules 8 and 9.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)


My Lords, I am sure your Lordships need not be detained by this Motion which, as the noble Lord has said, suited our purpose on the earlier occasion and, as adjusted for the new numbering of the clauses, is equally and similarly suitable on this occasion. The Marshalled List is the same, but the list of corrections is not; and although the noble Lord did not mention that I think it would be of interest, particularly to those who have to follow up the proceedings on this Bill, that there is a very helpful list of printers' corrections which brings the numbering up to date.

I should like to ask the noble Lord two questions. First, he will recollect that on a similar occasion, when we were considering the business for the Committee stage, my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition raised the question of possibly seeking recommittal of certain clauses in the event that the code, when published, might necessitate a complete reconsideration of those clauses. We have been considering certain clauses completely in the dark in relation to the contents of the code. We are grateful to the Government for having expedited, so far as they could, the publication of the Consultative Document. At the moment it does not seem as though one would want to seek to request a recommittal of any of the clauses. I hope that the noble Lord will understand, however, that this is a tentative statement based on a tentative consideration of the code, and one may wish to reconsider that question, particularly in the light of what I am now going to ask: when will the Government put down their remaining Amendments for Report stage? A few have gone down to-day, or perhaps last night, and they cover up to Clause 20. There are a few more clauses in the Bill beyond Clause 20. There are newspapers which enlighten us as to the thinking the Government have, which is one way of enlightening the Opposition; and we understand that there are several new points, one of particular concern, which the Government may wish to introduce.

I also believe, from careful reading of Hansard in another place, that there may still be problems which the Government have not yet fully solved, and which they may wish to put before us in the form of Amendments for the Report stage, arising not out of our Committee stage proceedings but out of proceedings in another place. The noble Lord will immediately understand that it is difficult to the point of being almost impossible for an Opposition to give their second opinion on anything which the Government introduce for the first time at Report stage. If therefore during the remainder of the Report stage the Government are seeking to introduce either many new points or very old points which we so far do not know about, then I may have to seek reconsideration of the question of re-committal.

So with that rather long explanation I am asking the noble Lord: when will he be putting down the remaining Amendments for the Report stage? Is any credence to be placed on newspaper reports about new and highly controversial Amendments to be put down? The final question I would ask, as this is a suitable occasion for it, is will he be good enough to say when the promised Statement will be made as to the dates at which the various parts of the Bill will be implemented? It does not need me to persuade the noble Lord that this is an extremely relevant question to the consideration of the Bill, and to the consideration of the order of the clauses.


My Lords, first of all on the question of recommittal, I am grateful to the noble Lord for what he said about the code. The Amendments will be put down as soon as possible. I cannot guarantee that we shall be able to get them all down this week—after all, we are going to be sitting for quite a period of time, I should imagine, on Report stage. But I hope we shall get some more Amendments on the Marshalled List on Thursday, and I will let the noble Lord know when he may expect to have the whole lot down. As to the question of recommittal, the noble Lord will, no doubt, want to study the Amendments as they go down. Perhaps this is a matter which could be discussed through the usual channels when he has formulated his further views on the subject. As to the date of coming into operation, that is a matter which has not been decided, but it is under active consideration at the moment.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his answers. There is only one further point that we are bound to press him about. This is with regard to statements in the Press, of a kind which one would expect to be well informed, on further Amendments to be put down, including those regarding political strikes.


My Lords, I prefer not to say anything further about that matter to-day, but perhaps I may be able to say something more about it later in the week.

On Question, Motion agreed to.