Clause 2. — (Suspension of Execution of Order for Possession.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Protection from Eviction Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey 12:00 am, 8th December 1964

I begin with an apology to the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page). We and the House in Committee owe him an apology for the way his Amendment was treated last Thursday. He was under the impression, I think, that it had been accepted and was then bewildered to find out that this was not so. He did not even make a speech then but merely moved the Amendment formally and left it at that. No doubt that was why it has been called again today.

The Government have had time to look again at the proposal, as has my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Stoke Newington and Hackney, North (Mr. Weitzman), who has put the point much more effectively than I can. The words which the hon. Gentleman is asking us to add are not necessary. The judge will have to take account of all the circumstances. We believe that he will have regard to any case argued by the owner that in the house there were other premises available to him. He will listen to the counter argument by the tenant and then having heard all the evidence, he will come to a decision.

My right hon. Friend's intention was to bring in a simple Bill, one which laymen can understand. With great respect to the lawyers on both sides of the House, they have been trying to make the Bill more complicated. As I think the hon. Member for Crosby will agree, the examples that we gave were general examples of the kind of things which a judge would take into account, and it was always understood that there would be many other factors that he would consider, too.

It is not possible to write in everything which every lawyer thinks a judge ought to take into account. We rest our case on the simple approach to this matter. We believe that all judges will carefully consider and weigh the evidence placed before them and decide whether suitable accommodation had been offered to the tenant, and then come to a decision. For that reason—and here I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Stoke Newington and Hackney, North—we regard the Amendment, in spite of what happened in Committee, as unnecessary.