Social Security

Part of Clause 21 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th March 1977.

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Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby 12:00 am, 24th March 1977

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When the Lord President announced the business on Monday he mentioned these regulations but did not mention any of the Prayers now on the Order Paper. Therefore, Back Benchers had no warning that the Prayers were to be taken today until they picked up their Order Papers this morning. It is a little unfair on those who take an interest in these matters not to have more warning.

There is a more serious point arising from this. Because the Prayers have been rushed on to the Order Paper there is not the usual rubric saying that the Statutory Instruments have not been dealt with completely by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. There is no Standing Order that the rubrics should appear, but we see on the Order Papjer in relation to the EEC orders that the position of the Joint Committee is duly noted.

The Joint Committee has not completed its consideration of Statutory Instrument 1977 No. 342 and Statutory Instrument 1977 No. 417. According to convention, that should have been noted on the Order Paper. The Select Committee has asked for evidence from officials of the Department on those two Statutory Instruments. It is very inconvenient if we are to debate them without knowing that evidence and without the House having any report from the Joint Committee on those two Statutory Instruments. The question to the Department is whether those Statutory Instruments may be ultra vires in certain respects.

The Joint Committee has not completed its consideration of Statutory Instrument 1977 No. 380, but the Department is not concerned there; it is merely a matter of further advice from Mr. Speaker's Counsel. However, these matters should have been noted on the Order Paper, according to convention. I wish to call attention to the omission from the Order Paper of what we have become accustomed to calling "the rubrics".