HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1419-20W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for India what were the reasons for the termination of the work of the last Standing Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament on Indian Affairs; and whether he will consider setting up this body with the same terms of reference as before.

Mr. Amery

I understand that a Standing Joint Committee on Indian Affairs was constituted in 1921 and that the Motion appointing the Committee, as revised in 1923, provided for the appointment of members to examine and report on any Bill or matter referred to them specifically by either House of Parliament, and to consider, with a view to reporting if necessary thereon, any matter relating to Indian Affairs brought to the notice of the Committee by the Secretary of State for India.

As a result of discussions as to the most appropriate body to consider the anticipated Report of the Indian Statutory Commission no steps were taken by the House of Commons to set up the Committee in 1929, and in fact the Committee has never been appointed again since 1928.

The Committee transacted a limited amount of business between 1921 and 1923, but none at all thereafter, and would thus appear to have failed to establish its usefulness. If, however, there is evidence of a substantial body of opinion among hon. Members that the experiment should be renewed I shall be ready to submit the matter for the pleasure of the House and ascertain whether similar steps might be taken in another place.