Clause 2. — (Short title.)

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 Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Montgomeryshire 12:00 am, 11th August 1947

I join with the hon. Member who has just spoken in his last words, for I am sure that, so far as the spirit of the country is concerned, that can never be in doubt. What every one of us is hoping for is that we can cooperate in those things which will benefit the nation. We have expressed our views, and I have made it plain that I do not think that this Bill helps in any way. In a few moments we shall have parted with this Bill one way or the other. I have already spoken on the Second Reading, and again in the Committee stage. Therefore, I do not think it would be right or proper for me to detain the House by going over the ground again.

There is a fundamental difference of opinion between the Attorney-General and myself regarding the full effect of the Bill. He himself admits that there are vast, wide, extensive powers already possessed by the Government, and that they are being possessed by the Government for another three years untouched, and with all the full strength which they contained when the Act was passed in 1945. It is admitted that the purpose of this Bill is to expand, to a certain extent, at any rate, the powers given by that Act. It is on that very ground that we differ. The extent is so wide that we feel that there is no true limit.

Unfortunately, this is obviously panic legislation, and panic legislation was never progress. Why it should have been left to this very last minute to bring forward legislation, I do not know. Surely, the Government could have seen this economic crisis looming up over a long period. Surely, it was present in their minds when they issued those two White Papers in February. Surely, all this was in their minds when they could see no improvement coming in the following months of March, April and May. Why was it left to the very last moments of this very long Session of Parliament to introduce this highly controversial Measure? It is to that extent a confession of their own failure in administration. Nothing condemns them so much as the fact that we have been allowed to drift so far into this position without having any policy outlined or any statement given to us by the Government, or being told anything definite about what the Government proposed to do. We have merely been asked again to give them these extra powers which contain this very dangerous element of the direction of people in this country—it may be individually, it may be in classes. It is for these reasons that I utter my final protest against the Bill.