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Tuesday, 17 November 1959

Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES (Chisholm) . - I think that I can speak for myself on this matter. I can understand the reason for the amendment, although the original proposal has been altered entirely. I can understand that the rules cannot be drafted by 1st January. However, what I want to underline without being misunderstood by any one is that in the note which was circulated with the original amendment, the Attorney General said -

This amendment is proposed because of the doubt whether the legislative programme will permit the bill to pass both Houses before the end of the year.

That was on 7th October. On 14th November, we read in the papers and it was an obvious leak the following: -

Ministers feel that no government should be expected to re-submit continuously legislation of such an important and contentious character.

Therefore, I submit, there was no hurry to get it through then, and there is not now. The AttorneyGeneral did not consider that it was absolutely vital to get it through before Christmas. So far as he, the man in charge of the bill, was concerned, a delay of a few months would not have been of such importance as to warrant the action that is being taken now.

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