HC Deb 24 May 1880 vol 252 cc320-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, with reference to a Resolution on the Notice Paper of the last Session of the last Parliament declaring That, in the opinion of this House, the Land Laws of the United Kingdom, in respect to entail, primogeniture, settlements, and transfer, and in other particulars, are not in a satisfactory state, and require the attention of Her Majesty's Government with a view to their alteration, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government, at an early convenient period, to deal comprehensively with this whole subject, and in the spirit of the Resolution referred to?


Sir, there are, undoubtedly, a very large number of matters relating to the occupation, denotation, and transfer of land, the registration of transactions, and other points which, by the confession of all parties, require careful attention; and it is in the knowledge of the House that in the last Parliament four Bills were introduced by the Lord Chancellor of the late Government for the purpose of dealing with a number of those points. I believe it is theoretically known to us that these Bills have been re-introduced. Her Majesty's Government speedily became aware that it would not be possible for them to deal with the most important portions of the subject during the present short Session; but, admitting the great importance of the portion which relates to the damage done to what is popularly known as "ground game," we have thought that that admits of treatment during the present Session. With regard to the other subjects, undoubtedly the Government consider that they have great claims upon our careful attention, and that they will be best considered in connection with one another; and, though I cannot say at the present time when Her Majesty's Government will call upon the House to allow them to submit the results to their consideration, yet, undoubtedly, it is their intention not to allow the Recess to go past without giving consideration of the fullest nature to those subjects, and they cherish the hope that they may be able at a very early period hereafter to submit the results to the consideration of the House. I may say, we are not yet aware what proceedings may take place in the other House of Parliament with respect to legislation; and, therefore, I shall not be expected to make any distinct announcement at the present time as to the course we may take in case Bills of that sort are sent down to us from the House of Lords.