§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
trusted his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General would not persist in pressing forward the second reading of the Bill at that period of the night. Although he (Mr. Morgan Lloyd) was in favour of the measure, yet it contemplated making such great changes in the law, that he thought they ought not to give it a second reading without an opportunity of having its principle fully discussed.
§ MR. HERSCHELL
hoped his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Morgan Lloyd) would not oppose the second reading, by agreeing to which they would be committing themselves to nothing. They were all agreed as to the principle of the Bill, which was merely a consolidation and simplification of the law. The alterations proposed were so very important, and would lead to so much discussion, that he thought the several points could be better considered in Committee on the clauses than by a 1672 general discussion on the second reading.
§ MR. BIGGAR
also hoped the second reading would not be opposed, believing that in the case of a Bill of such magnitude and importance it would be impossible to discuss the details before they were in Committee. The Bill proposed to do away with a great many acknowledged abuses, and there should be no obstacle thrown in the way of making progress with it.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir JOHN HOLKER)
said, he sincerely hoped that the Bill would be passed that Session, and he did not see why there should be any difficulty in the accomplishment of that object. As the hon. and learned Member for Durham (Mr. Herschell) had said, the main object of the Bill was to consolidate and simplify the law; and no doubt, in addition to that object, it proposed certain alterations and great amendments in the law, which would have to be discussed. It would not be reasonable to suppose that alterations of the importance of those introduced by the Government in this measure could be allowed to pass into law without full and adequate discussion; but there would be abundant opportunities of discussing these seriatim when the Bill came before the Committee. He, therefore, earnestly hoped that his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Morgan Lloyd) would not oppose the second reading of this Bill.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
asked the hon. and learned Attorney General whether, if he (Mr. Morgan Lloyd) consented to withdraw his opposition now, the hon. and learned Gentleman would give them an opportunity of discussing the Bill on going into Committee? It seemed to him that there was great inconvenience in having a measure of that sort go into Committee without an opportunity being afforded of discussing some of the important principles which it contained. If that opportunity was to be afforded, he should be perfectly prepared to withdraw his opposition at the present moment.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
hoped the hon. and learned Attorney General would not give any such assurance. It was not at all convenient to the House that such an undertaking should be given in matters of this kind. It would be much better to take the sense of the 1673 House on the second reading; because the almost universal opinion of the House was in favour of the principles of this Bill.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
thought the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Anglesea, that an opportunity should be afforded of discussing the Bill on going into Committee, was a very reasonable one; and he hoped the Government would put down the Bill as the first Order of the Day on going into Committee, so that an opportunity might be given to Members of expressing their opinions on the Code as a whole. Subject to this, he had no objection to now reading the Bill a second time.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, he had, in conjunction with his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, taken some trouble in this matter, and he hoped the advice of the hon. and learned Member for Durham (Mr. Herschell) would be followed. There could be no advantage in discussing the Bill on general principles; but if they were going to discuss it at all let them discuss it now, and not on going into Committee.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.