STANDING ORDERS (AMENDMENTS)
§ The Chairman of Ways and Means (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)
I beg to move,That the several Amendments to Standing Orders relating to Private Business hereinafter stated in Schedule (A) be made, that the Standing Orders relating to Private Business hereinafter stated in Schedule (B) he repealed, and that the new Standing Orders relating to Private Business hereinafter stated in Schedule (C) be made.These Amendments are the result of an extensive overhaul of Private Business Standing Orders which was carried out under my predecessor. They are necessarily rather lengthy as the Private Business Standing Orders, unlike the Standing Orders for Public Business, are intended as a complete written code for the guidance of Members of the House and Agents promoting and petitioning against Private Bills. They are the result of discussion between Parliamentary Agents, Government Departments, the Lord Chairman of Committees and my predecessor, and had the advantage also of valuable suggestions from right hon. and hon. Members. However, although they are long and complex in form, I do not think that they are at all formidable in substance. They fall into the following five main categories:
Members will observe that the Amendments are, for convenience, set down under three Schedules. In Schedule A are detailed Amendments to existing Standing Orders. Schedule B consists of Amendments to repeal Standing Orders, and Schedule C of new Standing Orders which are substitutes for those repealed in Schedule B.
- (i) The vast majority are those which are of a purely verbal and drafting nature.
- (ii) There are those which clarify and simplify Orders which have proved cumbrous or difficult to interpret. In two instances this simplification has taken the form of amalgamating two or more Orders and of repealing others in favour of newer and clearer drafts. No change of substance has been made.
- (iii) There are a very few which amend Orders so as to relieve the promoters of Private Bills of certain duties which have proved to be onerous and expensive and unnecessarily sweeping.
- (iv) There are those which amend Orders so as to bring them into conformity with long-standing practice.
- (v) There are those consequent upon the Housing Acts of 1936 and 1949 and upon the transfer of functions from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Local Government and Planning, now the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. This category comprises Amendments which it is desirable to make immediately because, unless they are made now, promoters of Private Bills will have to deposit one set of plans, statements, estimates, etc., with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government under the Standing Orders of another place, and a quite different set with the Ministry of Health, who are in any case not concerned, under the Standing Orders of this House.
It has been found more convenient to repeal these Orders and replace them in toto since the process of amending them piecemeal would have added unnecessarily to the volume of Amendments on the Order Paper.
§ Sir Herbert Williams
It will be remembered that last July a number of us opposed these Standing Orders on the ground that we had notice of them only on the day upon which we were asked to pass them, and it seemed to be quite improper to pass them then, because they occupied over 12 pages. Since then a number of us have had the opportunity 603 of examining them, and, in view of the fact that they do not do anything of substance but merely tidy up the situation—[Interruption.] Surely it is desirable that some hon. Members should take the trouble to watch these things. We took the trouble to do so on 31st July, and have since studied them and come to the conclusion that they are desirable. On behalf of my hon. Friends and myself, I wish to say that we do not intend to oppose them on this occasion.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Following are the Schedules—