§ 47 and 48. Mr. Dingle Foot
asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he is aware that in consequence of the Guillotine pro- 1611 cedure many important amendments to the Military Training Bill were not discussed, and that the House was obliged to come to a decision upon certain Clauses of the Bill without any debate; whether he has considered the recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure that the Kangaroo closure is preferable to the Guillotine; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to give effect to this recommendation in future;
(2) whether he has considered the recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure that, when the Guillotine procedure is employed, the allocation of time for the Report stage should not be made until the Committee stage has been completed; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to give effect to this recommendation in future?
§ The Prime Minister
In drawing up the Time-table for the Military Training Bill the Government endeavoured to secure reasonable opportunity within the time available for the discussion of the important points arising in connection with the Bill. I am not quite clear as to what the hon. Member means by the use of the term "Kangaroo closure." If he is referring to the power to closure specified words in a clause, commonly called "Kangaroo closure," I would remind him that the Procedure Committee of 1931–32 recommended its abolition; if, on the other hand he is referring to the power to select Amendments, sometimes called the "Kangaroo," he will find that the Committee, while agreed that in modern conditions the use of the Guillotine was inevitable, expressed a preference for the use of the power of selection. Standing Order No. 28 (Selection of Amendments) is always in force during the proceedings on Bills, and in the case of the Military Training Bill a Time-table Motion was decided upon because it was considered that the normal exercise of this power by the Chair, as well as the ordinary use of the closure, would be inadequate to secure the passage of the Bill by the required date.
As regards the allocation of time for the Report, the recommendation of the Committee was conditional upon the Guillotine becoming the normal practice for all Bills. In the case of the Military Training and Reserve Forces Bills owing to 1612 the shortness of time it was impracticable to defer the allocation of time for the Report until the Committee stage of the Bill had been concluded. Bills have been passed in recent years under voluntary Time-tables or by arrangement with parties and hon. Members specially interested in the Measures, and it is the intention of the Government to adopt this method whenever possible.
§ Mr. Foot
Did not the Select Committee on Procedure say that, although the use of the Guillotine under modern conditions was inevitable, the Kangaroo closure is preferable, and is it not clear that I was using the term "Kangaroo closure" in my question in the same sense as it was used by the Select Committee on Procedure?
§ The Prime Minister
If the hon. Member will read carefully the passage in question he will see that the Kangaroo closure was not used by the Committee in the sense that he thinks it was.
§ Sir Nairne Stewart-Sandeman
Is it not a fact that if those who are opposing the Bill would only put their heads together, as we did on the India Bill, there would have been time for discussing all important Amendments?