§ 4.9 p.m.
§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 2:
§ Directions by Ministers to boards as respects certain matters.
§ (5) The Minister may at any time, after consultation with the board concerned, by order revoke or vary any order in force under the said subsection (2) as either—
- (a) to withdraw the whole or any part of the directions in force thereunder; or
- (b) to vary or add to those directions in any manner which he thinks necessary or expedient in order better to attain the purposes for which those directions were given.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
had given notice of an Amendment in subsection (5) to omit paragraph (b). The noble Lord said: My Lords, I do not think I need to detain your Lordships long on this matter. We discussed it very thoroughly on the Committee stage of the Bill, in an Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. Your Lordships will remember that we on this side of the House felt that the Minister was assuming to himself very great powers under Clause 2 but that, in the main at least, under that clause the Minister could operate these powers of giving directions to the marketing boards only after discussion of the problem by the committee of investigation. We felt that by paragraph (b), however, the Minister was given power, without any further reference to the committee of investigation, to make subsequent variations in the decisions he gave. The noble Earl, Lord Huntingdon, gave me a definite undertaking that this was, in fact, not so. He was also good enough to say that if he proved to be wrong he would then put down an Amendment making the point quite clear. I must confess that the Amendment which stands on the Marshalled List in the name of the noble Earl does not go so far as I should have 855 liked. I do not think it gives complete protection. On the other hand, it undoubtedly goes a very long way, and in the circumstances I shall not move my Amendment.
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (THE EARL OF HUNTINGDON) moved to add to subsection (5):
Provided that, except with the consent of the board, the Minister shall not vary or add to any directions under paragraph (b) of this subsection where, in his opinion, the need for the variation or addition arose from circumstances not obtaining at the date when the directions were given.
The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving this Amendment I should like to thank the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, for not moving his. It is true, that we had considerable discussion on this point, and as to the meaning of this clause, and that I undertook that the matter would be carefully looked into. We have now examined this very thoroughly indeed, and in order to meet the noble Earl's point we have introduced this Amendment. I do not wish to go over all the arguments that we had before, but I am glad to think that this Amendment meets the noble Earl's point. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 27, at end insert the said proviso.—(The Earl of Huntingdon.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.