HC Deb 02 April 1962 vol 657 cc149-63
Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move, in page 6, line 35, to leave out from "Act" to "shall" in line 36.

The Chairman (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

It would be convenient also to take the second Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), in page 6, line 37, to leave out from "Parliament" to the end of line 40.

Mr. Graham Page

Perhaps the Committee will bear with me while I read out the subsection as it would read if these two Amendments were accepted: Subject to the following subsection, a statutory instrument containing an Order in Council under this Act shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. 9.30 p.m.

As the subsection stands, it provides for two different types of Order in Council. One type, which is to be subject to annulment, is an Order in Council which adapts or modifies any Act. The other type, which is merely to be laid before the House, is that which does not adapt or modify any Act. I suggest that this distinction raises suspicion as to the intentions of subsection (3).

As I understand the procedural position—and my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary will correct me if I am wrong— a statutory instrument containing an Order in Council under this Act would be a Statutory Instrument under the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946. If it is directed that it shall be laid after being made, all that the House of Commons can do is to pray against it; but that Prayer would not delay its operation. If a Statutory Instrument is subject to the annulment procedure and the House were to pass a Resolution annulling it, that would stop it coming into operation. That, I understand, is the only distinction between the two types of Order which are provided for in the subsection. In one case, the House can by annulment stop the Order operating. In the other case, although the House can pray against the Order and may pass a Resolution asking Her Majesty to withdraw it, that does not stop the operation of the Order. That second type, which we cannot stop operating, may apply to almost every Clause in the Bill.

As I read the Bill, once one has altered the Federation Act and taken any unit out of the Federation, any Order in Council may be made without adapting or modifying any Statute. For example, under Clause (2, a), an Order in Council might provide the whole of the laws for a territory—wholly new laws for a territory—without necessarily adapting or modifying any particular Act. Under subsection (2, b), it could even delegate to some authority the power to make all those laws. This could be done by Order in Council which would come before the House of Commons only after it had been made and the operation of which we in the House of Commons could do nothing to stop.

Under Clause 2 the interim authority, or the permanent authority under Clause 5, could provide complete government for a unit colony—the legislative, executive and all the judicial functions—by Order in Council. It would be a heyday for the back-room boys in my right hon. Friend's Department if they could produce all these Orders in Council and merely lay them before the House after they had been made. Furthermore, I draw attention to the fact that they can be brought into operation even before they are laid before the House.

There is a proviso to Section 4 of the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946, which allows an Order in Council to be made and to come into operation before it is laid in the House if the Government Department concerned certifies to the Lord Chancellor and to Mr. Speaker that it is urgent and essential that it should come into operation. The type of Order with which we are concerned, and which I want deleted from the subsection, could operate before it was laid before us and before we had any opportunity commenting of upon it.

All the compensation schemes under Clause 3 could be brought into operation by that type of Order—even to the extent of creating taxation, under subsection (2). Under Clause 4, courts might be established for the West Indies, with provision for the raising of the expenses of those courts—all by means of that type of Order, upon which the House could not comment until it had come into operation. This raises what are perhaps unnecessary suspicions as to the intentions of the Government under subsection (3) of this Clause. It is to press my right hon. Friend to give us reasons for the distinction made between the two types of Order that I move the Amendment.

Mr. Chapman

I support what the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) has said. Until he recited the very wide powers that are so clearly placed in the hands of the Colonial Secretary—which he did very ably, after much homework—I had not realised how far-reaching they were. They are quite revolutionary as they affect the Caribbean.

I realise that for constitutional reasons—reasons of precedents—the Government are unlikely to accept the Amendment, but I hope that the Colonial Secretary will be able to give an alternative assurance that from stage to stage, as events begin to unfold themselves in the coming months in the Caribbean, he will make considered statements in the House as to the main landmarks in the regrouping of territories, the alteration of constitutions, and the setting up of authorities.

If we could have these clearly mapped out by the right hon. Gentleman as he makes his important decisions, and if he will announce his decisions as he makes them, a great deal of the concern that is rightly felt at the vesting of sweeping powers in one Minister would be abated.

Mr. Maudling

I will certainly keep the House fully informed of developments in the situation. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) is right in saying that it would be out of line with precedents on procedure and legislation in these matters to do otherwise than we are doing. In the Clause we are making the normal provision for negative Resolutions where Acts are involved and, exceptionally, making provision for the affirmative Resolution procedure when questions concerning the setting up of a new Federation or association are concerned. Otherwise, the general Orders for carrying into effect the policy which we hope the House will approve will be in accordance with normal precedents and not subject to these procedures. They will be carrying out in detail the general policies which we hope the House will approve.

They are threefold. First, as has been explained already, we intend to dissolve the Federation, and we are asking for authority to do that by the Bill. The orders will carry out the details. Secondly, we are setting up an interim authority, which is purely a holding operation, to act as the trustee until the Governments of the various territories concerned can meet us in conference and decide the long-term future of these common services and assets.

Thirdly, we shall be providing, in some way or another, for the long-term future of the islands, apart from Jamaica and Trinidad. It may be that we shall propose a Federation of the eight islands, and if we do so we shall be bound by the Bill to bring such a proposal before the House by means of an affirmative Resolution. The proposals which we have put into the Bill are in line with precedent and the procedure clearly followed when there is delegated legislation in these matters.

I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) and the hon. Member for Northfield that what we have in mind has been explained on a number of occasions, the dissolving of the existing Federation and the creation of a holding organisation to keep the thing in being until something else can be found, and, if we have approval by affirmative Resolution, to put something in its place. We have no other intention, and we are following precedent by providing for an affirmative Resolution to set up something new and for a negative Resolution if we are amending any Act. Otherwise, we are taking the normal powers to legislate by Order in Council within the general framework set before us. I hope that on that basis we may be accorded the powers for which we asked.

Mr. Graham Page

My right hon. Friend has not explained the reason for the distinction between the negative Resolution Orders in Council and those merely to be laid. He said that it is the normal procedure; that I would not deny. But there are many abnormal things which will be done by the Bill and I think that we might have gone outside precedent in this instance. There is no reason why the wide powers for Orders in Council, throughout the Bill, should not all be subject to the negative Resolution procedure.

What is the basic distinction in principle between Orders in Council changing an Act and Orders in Council which do not change an Act? It seems to me that the latter can be just as devastating and far-reaching, if not more so, than the former. I do not think that my right hon. Friend has explained why it is necessary to have this procedure for laying one type of Order.

Mr. Maudling

This has been the practice which has been followed. Where an Order affects an Act of Parliament there should be a negative Resolution—we are following precedent to that extent—and, equally, that there should be an affirmative Resolution for creating something new.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. D. Foot

I beg to move, in page 7, line 4, after "approved", to insert "or amended".

This Amendment raises a point somewhat different from most of those which have been discussed. It is a little similar to the point raised by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) in connection with the last Amendment. I think it of some importance to the Colonies concerned and also to the House of Commons. It brings up the vexed question of control by Parliament over delegated legislation. That is something which has been discussed in many contexts on a number of occasions.

We know that there are hundreds of Acts empowering Ministers acting in pursuance of the Statute to make Orders and Regulations. That must be so, otherwise the House of Commons would be overwhelmed with detail. Nobody suggests that the drafts of all the Regulations and Orders should be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. Generally, it is sufficient if we adopt one or other of the procedures referred to when we discussed the last Amendment, the affirmative or the negative Resolution. But when, as in this case, we have very sweeping powers entrusted to the Executive to make laws, and we make Orders in Council not as a supplement to but as a substitute for Acts of Parliament, it represents a real derogation from the power and authority of this House of Commons.

9.45 p.m.

This is not the first time that it has been attempted and, indeed, achieved. I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), who is sitting beside me, and I are the only two Members present in the Chamber this evening who were here in the 1930s. We can both remember the days When we discussed the household means test. In those days Regulations were introduced affecting great numbers of persons and affecting intimately the lives of many thousands of families. Although we debated them by day and by night for many hours at a time, Parliament was powerless to alter a single word or a single syllable. That is one example to which my mind goes back.

Here, we are dealing with just such a case. We are dealing with powers which are very sweeping indeed, particularly the powers set out in Clause 2. Under Clause 2, authorities may be established to discharge functions in place of the existing Federal authorities—that is to say, we are creating new constitutions. Clause 2 (2) provides that An Order in Council under this section may— (a) empower an authority established by the Order to make, for such purposes as may be specified in the Order, laws for the colonies for whose benefit it is to perform functions … This is a complete law-making power.

We may be able to pray against that Order. It may be laid on the Table. However important it may be, possibly however startling it may be, we shall not be able to alter a single line. Therefore, my hon. Friends and I suggest that on this occasion we take the exceptional course of enabling Parliament to amend the Orders in Council. This is an exceptional course, but it is not unprecedented. There is a precedent in the Government of India Act, 1935, Section 309 of which provides as follows: Any power conferred by this Act on His Majesty in Council shall be exercisable only by Order in Council, and subject as hereinafter provided, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament the draft of any Order which it is proposed to recommend His Majesty to make in Council under any provision of this Act, and no further proceedings shall be taken in relation thereto except in pursuance of an address presented to His Majesty by both Houses of Parliament praying that the Order may be made either in the form of the draft, or with such amendments as may have been agreed to by Resolutions of both Houses … That is a perfectly good precedent, for which the party opposite was responsible. There is no reason why, when dealing with a very different subject matter, we should not follow the precedent in this case. This concerns the territories which we are debating, but it also concerns the House of Commons.

Mr. Maudling

The hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) has raised a very important point. My advisers were wise enough to forewarn me about the Government of India Act, 1935. I am advised that that provision, which is exceptional, gave rise to difficulties owing to the need to ensure that the same amendments emerged from both Houses, which is probably quite a point. Although it is a precedent, it is a very unusual one, and I am advised that it has not proved entirely satisfactory.

Mr. D. Foot

It was an unusual Bill.

Mr. Maudling

I hope that it will remain an unusual Bill, but it was a practical Bill.

The proposals in the subsection do not go as wide as the hon. and learned Gentleman suggested, as we are dealing in subsection (4), which he seeks to amend, solely with the question of setting up a new Federation or new grouping of Colonies within the area. We are not, as I understand it, dealing with some of the other purposes of the Bill to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred. We have provided that when we set up a new Federation or a new grouping it shall be done by an affirmative Resolution. That would be in accordance with precedent but, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, there are some precedents the other way.

I would urge on the Committee that in this we are, on the whole, following the practical and sensible course. Either we delegate or we do not delegate. If we are not to delegate, then, of course, a new Federation must be set up by a separate Act of Parliament. If we are to delegate, I think that it would be unwise to provide for amendment of an affirmative Resolution because, frankly, we would be up against exactly the same thing as we would if we had to deal with the legislation itself.

What we clearly have in mind here is the possibility of the setting up either of a Federation of the Eight, or of some of them, or of some other grouping. I do not want to commit myself at all at this stage to what we would think would be the best solution of the problem. Both sides are aware that there are conflicting considerations. There are obvious advantages in a number of these islands working together; and, on the other hand, obvious disadvantages in trying to establish a new grouping if it is not to be a permanent grouping. That is why we wish to keep ourselves uncommitted in this matter.

As the Committee is aware, I have received from the Chief Ministers of the Seven and the Prime Minister of Barbados a scheme that we are very carefully examining. As I have said, it seems to us to be a very promising scheme. If we should be convinced that it is the right way to handle the future constitutional arrangements for these islands, we would try—in consultation with them, of course—to produce a new scheme which we would lay before Parliament in the form of an affirmative Order. That would be subject to debate, but I think that if we made that affirmative Order subject to amendment it would be tantamount to saying that we could only produce a new Federation by a Bill, subject to the normal procedures and the normal amendments.

I feel that, in the circumstances of the West Indies and in the circumstances of Parliamentary business, that is probably unwise. I believe that this is the practical way to do as we all want. What we all want, of course, is to try, in consultation with those islands, to find the right solution, to work it out with them, and then to produce to Parliament what we believe to be the right solution, in which circumstances we would have to ask for the approval of the House—

Mr. David Weitzman (Stoke Newington and Hackney, North)

The right hon. Gentleman says that he will leave it to Parliament, but does he not appreciate that if there is no possibility of amendment, he is not leaving it to Parliament; that Parliament is not having the opportunity to express its views?

Mr. Maudling

As the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) has said, that is a problem that ranges pretty wide. Once we delegate by way of Order we automatically remove from Parliament the power to amend; otherwise, what is the purpose of delegation? Otherwise, we have to do the whole thing in detail by Act of Parliament. In all the circumstances, we feel that the right thing is to provide for this to be done by Order subject to what I think is the rather unusual procedure of affirmative Resolution, whereby opportunity has to be provided by the Government for full debate.

I would urge on the Committee that that is the better way to do it, rather than rely on the procedure of amendment of the affirmative Resolution proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich which, as far as I am advised, has few precedents, and the precedent to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred has not, in practice, been found to be satisfactory. I therefore hope that the Committee will be prepared to let us carry on on the lines we have proposed.

Mr. Weitzman

I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but I have been listening very carefully to the argument put forward and I cannot understand the Government's objection to this Amendment. In answer to the case made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot), the Minister used exactly the same argument as he advanced in answer to the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page). He simply said, "Don't let us interfere with precedents." He gives no grounds at all for any real objection to the purpose of the Amendment.

We all know that we must have delegated legislation, but we all know, too, the dangers of delegated legislation. One of the dangers that we all recognise is that we do not get a discussion by Parliament, or do not, in the discussion, get the chance of putting forward an Amendment. Surely, in a matter so crucial and so important as this. Parliament should have the opportunity of expressing its view by way of Amendment.

Mr. Maudling

The purpose of the affirmative Resolution procedure, somewhat exceptionally provided, is to give Parliament the opportunity to express views in full, but if we were to have to go further and argue it in detail there would have to be a Bill, and, therefore, it would not be delegated legislation.

Mr. Healey

The Colonial Secretary has not, if he has a case, done it justice by what he has said on this. All he is really saying is that some anonymous advisers told him there were difficulties about the Government of India Act. Then he suggested that there was some possibility that the Lords and Commons might put in different Amendments. I do not know whether this happened at that time; he gave no examples of this. One thing I am fairly sure of is that it would not happen in the very different circumstances of 1962 or 1963. I find it almost impossible to conceive of the other place introducing Amendments to an Order in Council of this importance to which it did not know that this House would assent.

I really feel that I cannot commend my right hon. and hon. Friends to withdraw this Amendment when the Colonial Secretary has given us no reason whatever for rejecting it.

Mr. Graham Page

I think that there is one point that has not been put as yet in this discussion on this Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) put forward his Amendment in a rather wide frame. Of course, we should all like to be able to snipe at Statutory Instruments and Orders in Council which come before us and amend them if we could, but this Amendment is not quite as wide as that. If a Bill comes before us to provide by Order in Council a new form of government for a certain place and then it is an affirmative Resolution merely putting a complete Order, which the Committee is asked to approve, that would not be objectionable.

However, I do call my right hon. Friend's attention in this case to the fact that Clause 6 gives a power to establish a new form of government—for where? For what? We do not know. It may be for the whole of the little Eight. It may be for two or three of them. We do not know in respect of what territory or country power is being given by Order in Council. In that case, I do not think an Amendment to that draft Order could be very great. The draft Order would merely provide a form of government for a particular area—we do not know what area—under this Clause.

It is not, as I understand it, an Order setting up all the laws for that area. It would be merely stating the area to which it applied. Therefore, an amendment to it would not be a very elaborate business. That is why I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment is sound in this case. We are not given in Clause 6 any real clue as to what the Order in Council may be or what area or territory it may affect.

Normally, in a Measure of this sort, we give power to the Executive, by Order, to create a new form of government for a certain fixed area stated in the Bill. We are not given that in this case. I do ask my right hon. Friend to reconsider his answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment.

Question put, That those words be there inserted:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 101, Noes 157.

Division No. 142.] AYES [9.59 p.m.
Beaney, Alan Herbison, Miss Margaret Pargiter, G. A.
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Pentland, Norman
Blackburn, F. Hilton, A. V. Prentice, R. E.
Bottomley, A. Harper, Joseph Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.) Holman, Percy Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Brockway, A. Fenner Holt, Arthur Rankin, John
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Houghton, Douglas Redhead, E. C.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Callaghan, James Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Ross, William
Chapman, Donald Janner, Sir Barnett Short, Edward
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Cronin, John Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Small, William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Kelley, Richard Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Delargy, Hugh Lawson, George Spriggs, Leslie
Dempsey, James Ledger, Ron Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Diamond, John Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stones, William
Dodds, Norman Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Loughlin, Charles Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. MacColl, James Taverne, Dick
Edelman, Maurice McKay, John (Wallsend) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Wade, Donald
Evans, Albert MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wainwright, Edwin
Fletcher, Eric Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Weitzman, David
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Manuel, Archie Whitlock, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mapp, Charles Wilkins, W. A.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mason, Roy Willey, Frederick
Gourlay, Harry Mendelson, J. J. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Greenwood, Anthony Millan, Bruce Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mitchison, G. R. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Mulley, Frederick
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Oram, A. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayman, F. H. Oswald, Thomas Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Healey, Denis Owen, Will Mr. Grey.
Agnew, Sir Peter Fisher, Nigel Lindsay, Sir Martin
Aitken, W. T. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Linstead, Sir Hugh
Allason, James Foster, John Litchfield, Capt. John
Atkins, Humphrey Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Longden, Gilbert
Barlow, Sir John Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Batsford, Brian Freeth, Denzil McLaren, Martin
Berkeley, Humphry Gammans, Lady McMaster, Stanley R.
Biffen, John George, J. C. (Pollok) Macoherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Biggs-Davison, John Gilmour, Sir John Maddan, Martin
Bingham, R. M. Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Black, Sir Cyril Gower, Raymond Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Bossom, Clive Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Bourne-Arton, A. Green, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Gresham Cooke, R. Mills, Stratton
Braine, Bernard Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Miscambell, N.
Brewis, John Gurden, Harold Morgan, William
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Hall, John (Wycombe) Nabarro, Gerald
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Neave, Airey
Bryan, Paul Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Bullard, Denys Hastings, Stephen Noble, Michael
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Cary, Sir Robert Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hocking, Philip N. Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Holland, Philip Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hopkins, Alan Page, John (Harrow, West)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hornby, R. P. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Collard, Richard Hornsby Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Peel, John
Cooke, Robert Hughes-Young, Michael Percival, Ian
Corfield, F. V. Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, John
Costain, A. P. Iremonger, T. L. Pilkington, Sir Richard
Coulson, Michael Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pitman, Sir James
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony James, David Pitt, Miss Edith
Critchley, Julian Jennings, J. C. Pott, Percivall
Dance, James Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Digby, Simon Wingfield Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Prior, J. M. L.
Doughty, Charles Kerr, Sir Hamilton Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Drayson, G. B. Kershaw, Anthony Quennell, Miss J. M.
du Cann, Edward Kimball, Marcus Rawlinson, Peter
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kitson, Timothy Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Fell, Anthony Leburn, Gilmour Renton, David
Finlay, Graeme Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Ridsdale, Julian
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Studholme, Sir Henry Walker, Peter
Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.) Tapsell, Peter Ward, Dame Irene
Roots, William Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Scott-Hopkins, James Teeling, Sir William Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Seymour, Leslie Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Woodnutt, Mark
Shaw, M. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Woollam, John
Shepherd, William Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Worsley, Marcus
Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Smithers, Peter Tilney, John (Wavertree) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stevens, Geoffrey Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Mr. Whitelaw and
Stodart, J. A. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Mr. Michael Hamilton
Storey, Sir Samuel Walder, David

It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress.