§ 9.20 a.m.
§ Brought from the Commons, read 1a.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 44 having been dispensed with.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, HOME OFFICE (LORD HARRIS OF GREENWICH)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I will not trouble the House by repeating the Second Reading speech that I made yesterday; the only matter I should like to draw to the attention of your Lordships is an Amendment made in another place, by which Clause 1(6) was deleted. Apart from that, and a few textual Amendments, the Bill is as produced in the Printed Paper Office. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)1574
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.
§ House in Committee.
§ House resumed.
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (LORD AIREDALE)
My Lords, I understand that no Amendments have been set down. With the leave of the Committee I will therefore now put the Question, That I report the Bill to the House without amendment.
§ LORD HAILSHAM OF SAINT MARYLEBONE
My Lords, I am sorry that I was not here at the outset; I came as soon as I could. I just wish to say that I personally regret the decision of the Government to leave out Clause 1(6). I accept it, of course, in the spirit in which I spoke yesterday, but the difficulty in all these cases is to establish membership. A proper inference to be drawn from possession without explanation of damaging matter is the inference which ought to have been drawn under Clause 1(6), and obviously it could not be treated as conclusive if the defence could put forward a reasonable explanation. I think the Bill is seriously weakened by this decision and I regard it as an unfortunate concession to elements who do not have the practical experience of handling legal matters.
§ On Question, Bill reported without Amendment; Report received; read 3a and passed.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn during pleasure until 9.35 a.m. to await the Royal Assent.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.