Financial Provisions

Part of House of Commons (Administration) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1978.

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Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire 12:00 am, 27th June 1978

It seems to me that, arising out of the debate on the amendment, and not absolutely directly related to its wording, a substantial issue has arisen. The House would like a substantive explanation of the Government's view on the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) and the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English).

We are on Report, and there is no motion for Third Reading. I suggest that the Government should make in another place a substantive statement on what is a very fundamental issue.

The question is, how do we authorise expenditure? Until now, it has always been done by the Treasury, by the Government, moving a motion from the Government Dispatch Box. We are now making what is recognised on all sides to be a departure, in that the Commission will lay before the House an estimate of expenditure for the House.

There seems to be a conflict there with previous practice. The point had not occurred to me before I listened to the debate, but I think that it is very important. The most appropriate way to handle it may be for the Government to make a substantive statement in another place when the Bill is considered there.