§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [9th August], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ * THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER, Isle of Wight)
In asking the House to read this Bill a second time, I wish to say that it is a measure which has been received with almost universal approval. It has been introduced in order to make it clear, without putting in technical clauses, that Acts of Parliament should have a certain meaning. An hon. Gentleman opposite has objected, with regard to future Acts, to the word "England" including "Wales." Of course I cannot myself express much sympathy with his view, but if the hon. Member will kindly put down such Amendments as he thinks necessary to carry out his meaning, I will endeavour to see whether the operation of the Act can be made entirely retrospective. Subject to this, I hope the House will consent to the Second Reading, the Bill being one which I am very desirous of seeing passed.
§ MR. T. ELLIS
I am glad the hon. and learned Member has made this concession. The President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) last year said he had no objection to a similar proposal, and it was inserted in the Local Government Act of last year. I desire to say that unless the Amendment be inserted in this Bill, I shall oppose it on its future stages.
§ MR. DILLWYN (Swansea, Town)
I quite sympathise with the suggestion of my hon. Friend, and I am sorry to hear the Attorney General say he does not sympathise with the national feeling of Wales on this subject. There is a strong feeling that Wales is more distinct from England than probably any other parts of the United Kingdom.
§ * MR. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
I hope that, if this point affecting the national feeling of Wales can be satisfactorily settled, no further opposition will be offered to this Bill. It is a most valuable measure, calculated not only to save the time and trouble of Members of this House, but also the public time and money by reducing the bulk of our voluminous Statute Book.
§ * MR. S. RENDEL
I desire to confirm what has fallen from my hon. colleagues, and to assure the Government that there is a very widespread feeling on this matter in Wales. If that feeling is not satisfied it will be our painful duty to make our voices heard on the subject.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Friday.