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Licensed Premises in New Towns Bill (Allocation of Time)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st July 1952.

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Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby 12:00 am, 21st July 1952

I was going on to the next point, and I had said, as the right hon. Gentleman rose to make his point of order, that the Government were naturally reluctant to invite the House to alter its decision that the Bill should be sent to a Committee of the whole House so long as there appeared to be some prospect of finding time for the Committee stage on the Floor of the House. But it became clear towards the end of June that the two or three days required for this would not be available. We believed that there was still time to send the Bill upstairs, allowing reasonable time for it to be considered in Standing Committee and completed by the end of the month. Accordingly, in the business for 26th June—if my memory is right, it came on between two and four in the morning of 27th June—the Government moved to re-commit the Bill to a Standing Committee.

Other things being equal, the Government, like the Opposition—because the right hon. Gentleman has said that that was his view—would have preferred to take the Committee stage on the Floor of the House—hence their original proposal. As I indicated—although I do not think I said it specifically—it is not the sort of Bill which it is essential as a matter of constitutional propriety to take on the Floor of the House; and, when the convenience of the House required that it should be sent upstairs, the Government saw no impropriety in introducing a Motion for that purpose, especially as they had delayed doing so until the necessity became clear.