Education Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon 12:00 am, 22nd April 1970

Further to that point of order. With respect, Mr. Speaker, I should like to seek your guidance on two points. The first relates to your Ruling, when you said that neither you nor your advisers had been able to find any precedent for using this procedure in a case of this kind. I would submit to you that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) has said, this is a quite new and important departure, and possibly a breach of the conventions and traditions of the House. Surely, if something without precedent is to be embarked on by the House in a Bill of this kind, it should be done by changing the Standing Orders first, by Resolution of the House, so as to make action on this Bill possible. That is the right way to do it, not to create a precedent which has the effect of changing the Standing Orders simply by reference to a Resolution on the Education Bill. I submit that this, therefore, is the wrong way to do it.

My second paint is the question of this Motion falling within the ambit of Standing Order No. 52. No one questions the fact that, if this is the committal of a Bill as a whole, it falls within Standing Order No. 52 and you are, therefore, bound to limit the debate in the way that the Standing Order provides. But while I see that it can be argued that what is sought to be recommitted is all that is left of the Bill, I cannot see how the recommittal of Clauses 2, 3 and 4 plus the Preamble and Long Title only can conceivably be said to be the recommittal of the whole Bill. That seems to me plainly a contradiction in terms.

The Bill as a whole was the Bill which passed Second Reading in the House and was orginally committed to Standing Committee A in February. The Bill which is now sought to be recommitted cannot be the Bill as a whole, because it lacks the operative Clause. To use the phrase " the Bill as a whole " must surely in this case be nonsense.