I beg to move, in page 2, line 40, at the end, to insert:
Provided that the Secretary of State shall at least fourteen days before serving the notice give to the occupier a statement of the grounds on which his opinion is based and shall afford to the occupier a reasonable opportunity of making representations as to the accuracy of the statement.
The Amendment arises as a result of representations made by the hon. Members for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) and Rushcliffe (Mr. Redmayne), and is a very valuable addition to the Clause. The Bill made no provision for any appeal from a decision taken by the Home Office inspector, and on reconsideration of the Bill it was felt that some provision should be made to give the manufacturer the right of appeal on the grounds of complaint which are made known to him. The Amendment will enable the manufacturer to be given by the Home Secretary the grounds upon which it is intended to
proceed against him following an adverse report by the inspector, so that within a period of 14 days he can consider the statement of the case against him and make such representations as he thinks fit to the Home Secretary.
Therefore there will be ample opportunity as a result of this Amendment for him to state his case, and for it to be considered, before the Home Secretary decides whether or not to determine his licence. After that process of consideration of an appeal, will begin the seven days' notice provided for in the Bill, as against a mere seven days' notice without any provision of appeal at all. This Amendment certainly improves the Bill and tempers the justice of the right of inspection with mercy.
Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett:
I beg to second the Amendment.
It has been felt by many that the procedure which could be adopted against a manufacturer or dealer under suspicion was somewhat harsh and liable to be immoderate, and that the rights of the citizen were inadequately protected if he were perfectly innocent. This Amendment may be commended to the House as removing any doubts about the rights of the citizen, who, under it, will have time and opportunity to defend himself from the charges brought against him.
Clause 2 (1) is subject to the Amendment which we have adopted to Clause 1, and which runs right through the Bill. Therefore instead of the words, "in the hands of the public" it will now be "in the possession of the public" as originally determined on the first Amendment to the basic Clause of the Bill.