I beg to move Amendment No. 58, in page 21, line 37, at the end to insert:
(3) Any order under this Act which designates an area for the purposes of section 1(2)(b) of this Act shall cease to have effect at the end of the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the day on which the order is made (but without prejudice to anything previously done under the order or to the making of a new order) unless before the end of that period the order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
(4) In reckoning any period for the purposes of the last preceding subsection, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
It might be convenient to discuss at the same time Amendment No. 59, in line 39, after "Act", insert
other than any such order as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section".
The purpose of the Amendment is to carry out an undertaking that we gave in Committee—a most important undertaking—and I do not think that I need to spell it out in great detail. We were asked whether we would accept the affirmative procedure for dealing with orders that might be made designating new areas for the purpose of office control under the Bill. We pointed out the difficulty of accepting the affirmative procedure unless we could put a stop on the operation, so that there would be no forestalling.
I think that the undertaking which we gave in Committee was accepted, and we have proceeded to carry it out. I am sure that it will be greatly welcomed, particularly by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), who fought us so hard on this matter, and we were very glad to give way to him.
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for carrying out the undertaking which he gave in Committee. I am sorry that he could not go all the way with the Amendment that we had in Committee, and in particular could not see fit to give us the affirmative Resolution in the case of orders made under Clause 12(6). Those are orders made where a definition which is laid down in the Bill is to be altered. I think that as a matter of precedent it is bad to deal with these orders by the negative procedure.
I think that when a power is given by order to alter a Statute it ought to be by affirmative Resolution, but I am grateful for the way in which the Government have dealt with our request that an order under Clause 1 extending this Bill to other areas should be by affirmative Resolution within 28 days.
This gives the House something more than we asked for in our original Amendment in Committee. If there is an affirmative Resolution in the form that a draft must be laid, or if an order must receive an affirmative Resolution, the Government may lay it one day and bring the Resolution in the next day so that the Opposition do not necessarily then have time to communicate with those outside the House. The vitally important thing when an order is made under Clause 1 is that we in the House should have the opportunity of getting local opinion from the areas affected. The Government Amendment will give us 28 days, which is short enough, but we are assured of that time, whereas we would not have been so assured if my Amendment had been accepted in Committee. I am therefore grateful for the Government Amendment.