Clause 1. — (Extension of powers under 9 & 10 Geo. 6 c. 10.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th August 1947.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton 12:00 am, 11th August 1947

The legal argument which has been advanced by the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) seems to me to be quite inconsequential. How can he say that any court could conceivably construe the words in Subsection (2) of the Amendment: Shall include and shall be deemed always to have included the following purposes as being in any way different in effect from the words shall be construed as including which are contained in the Bill? When a court has to construe a Section and there is an Act telling them how to construe it, as this Bill will do, it says "the Act shall be construed." That means that there is a statutory construction put upon the Section as from the beginning. That comes to exactly the same thing as: shall be deemed always to have included. There is no difference whatever. It strikes me that the whole argument upon this Amendment is really the greatest waste of time, because the two things mean just the same thing. This is an enabling Bill. It is a Bill that empowers—[Interruption.] This is an Amendment to a Bill. One cannot discuss an Amendment without mentioning the Bill. The Bill is an enabling Bill. What matters is, what are the powers given by the Bill? The greatest use of these powers will be made in order to mobilise the resources and the labour to meet this crisis. It would not be in Order to go into that on this Amendment. I will have an opportunity to do so later.

The other question that arises is this. Powers are granted by the 1945 Act for certain purposes; do those purposes include the economic mobilisation necessary to deal with this present crisis or do they not? That is the doubt. Whether it is said that the Amendment is to remove a doubt or whether it is put in the simpler and more economical version in the Bill seems to me to make no difference whatever. The doubt which we are removing is whether the powers can be used for dealing with this economic crisis. If the powers can be used, then they can be used for any purpose necessary to deal with the crisis. If that is so, the form of words makes no difference at all, and I respectfully submit that the Attorney-General's version on this is completely right.