Orders of the Day — Clause 4. — (Annual Duties (Continuation).)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1952.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Major Geoffrey Bing Major Geoffrey Bing , Hornchurch 12:00 am, 24th July 1952

The Financial Secretary made a rather gracious reference to myself that I misunderstood and I gave him a rather dusty answer. Let me make amends and thank him for the courtesy with which he dealt with the matter and for the politeness I failed to appreciate and did not respond to.

With regard to the Amendment, 31st December, is the date when the accounts go to be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, but it might be possible to have some arrangement whereby the House could have the unaudited accounts. The Tynwald must have some accounts, and if they were available to us it might be possible to debate the Bill in the period September-December.

I do not want to go back on history, but the Leader of the House thought at one time that we ought not to discuss this Bill. After examining one or two aspects of it, we see it is our duty to explore the Measure. It would be more convenient to explore it when the time-table is not so crowded. The Amendment would allow a day or so to be given to the matter at the beginning of the Session when, as everybody knows, Ministers are always looking round for Bills. One of the troubles is that, having looked around and got the Second Reading for Bills when the House has nothing to do, they have to get them through the remaining stages when the House has a great deal to do.

How convenient, then, if there were a little Bill like this. It would provide an answer to people who say, "Here is the Gracious Speech—why have you not introduced any legislation?" Might I therefore commend this Amendment? It might be found the year after next—if the present Administration are still in office—a useful excuse and alibi, as well as a fruitful occupation for Parliament at that time of the year. It is a practical Amendment. My hon. Friends, I understand, do not wish to press it, but it is down for an exploratory purpose, and I hope the Financial Secretary will respond to the invitation.