§ Order for Third Heading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Vans Agnew.)
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, he had no wish to oppose the Bill; but he regretted exceedingly to find that the hon. Member (Mr. Vans Agnew) had got the Bill passed through Committee without Amendment the previous morning, at a time he did not expect it to pass in that form. What he regretted was, that the hon. Gentleman himself, and Scotch Members generally, considered the Bill susceptible of, and requiring amendment, and, notwithstanding, they were asked to pass the Bill in its present form. He did not think this was right, although he sympathized with the hon. Member in his desire to have the Bill passed through this stage, so that it might go into the other House. It was right, he thought, to take notice of the fact that the Bill was being sent admittedly in an imperfect form to the other House, and he desired to record his protest against any such practice.
§ MR. VANS AGNEW
begged to say a word or two in explanation. The Bill, he remarked, stood for Committee on the day on which they were informed of the approaching Dissolution; and as there was no difference of opinion among Scotch Members in regard to its principle, and no alteration wanted except as to the wording of some clauses, it was considered that such alterations might easily be effected in "another place." He had been in communication with the Lord Advocate and other hon. Members; and with their concurrence he was advised, if possible, to take the opportunity he had of passing the Bill through Committee. The count-out the previous evening showed that it would have been dangerous to postpone the Bill even for one day. He hoped the hon. Member opposite would not consider that he had tried to take any advantage over Members in this matter. He had consulted him as to the Amendments that might be desirable, and these were found to be mere matters of detail. He trusted, therefore, the House would consent to the third reading.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
bore testimony to the desire of the hon. Member for Wigtownshire (Mr. Vans Agnew) for making the alterations referred to. The clauses of the Bill were chiefly taken from those which he (Sir George Balfour) had submitted to the House in order to remove the desire which existed to protect the interests of landlords. He had done his best to make them as clear as possible, and, towards this end, had obtained the services of a professional gentleman, the late Mr. Neil Caird, whose early death was so much regretted. Indeed, if he compared the Bill with some Bills drafted by the Government—especially the Army Discipline and Regulation Bill—it was perfection itself. Whatever course might be pursued towards it in the House of Lords, he thanked the hon. Member for drawing up such a Bill as would abolish hypothec, and would admit of improvements in the present Act being introduced before it came into operation; and he thanked the hon. Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay) for assenting to its third reading.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.