Orders of the Day — Clause 1. — (Transfer of Burden of Proof in Certain Cases.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Erroll Mr Frederick Erroll , Altrincham and Sale 12:00 am, 11th July 1952

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

In moving the Third Reading of the Bill in its rather unexpected and rather vacant form, I think it should be said that there is no doubt that when the House was proceeding to the first Division on Report stage everyone was under the impression that he was voting on all three Amendments together. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not think anyone imagined that we were only voting on whether "In" should be substituted for "For." I suggest that if the Bill goes forward to another place those who may feel like introducing an Amendment will take note of what was the undoubted intention of this House on the occasion of the first of the three Divisions.

I think the House showed quite clearly in that Division its view that the Bill ought to contain the words as written in the Bill and not the Amendment suggested by the Opposition. During the Report stage I suggested that the Amendment suggested by the Opposition should be considered. By sending the Bill forward in its present form special point is given to the question of full consideration of the compromise proposals because a vacant place is there ready for the insertion of the compromise proposals if after consideration they are found to be desirable and better than what was in the Bill.

As I said at the time, I was not able to do more than say that I would consider the alternative put forward because it was only tabled on the Order Paper this morning. That does not prevent me from saying that it will certainly have full consideration, and the position is now materially helped because the Bill goes forward in an entirely non-controversial form, able to receive whatever Amendment mature consideration may ultimately dictate.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite have on several occasions this afternoon referred to the helpful nature of their proposals, and they have in some respects been helpful though perhaps rather lengthy. I should like to point out however that all the Amendments they tabled would, if carried, have completely wrecked the Bill. Although only one was selected, one cannot forget the very comprehensive nature of the Amendments which they originally proposed, one of which was to delete—