HC Deb 17 July 1903 vol 125 cc1089-91


Order of the day for the Second Leading read.


said he thought this was a very large order. It would repeal a number of Scottish Acts of Parliament which had gone into desuetude. Of course a Bill of this magnitude would have to be very carefully considered, and no doubt there had been an enormous amount of labour bestowed upon it in its preparation. Labour of that kind must not be lost, but there was a great danger that in the course of repealing such an enormous number of statutes they would be repealing something which would have very serious consequences. This Bill had only been newly brought forward, and it was obvious that it could not yet have been carefully considered, and therefore, while there was practically nothing in the Second Leading, he thought on the Committee stage there might be a few Amendments. If the Lord Advocate looked to the bottom of page 3 he would find the words "strangers that sell merchandise in the realm and take nothing therefrom." Having regard to the present question of fiscal relations, perhaps that particular Scotch Act of Parliament might become useful. That was an Act passed in the year 1424, and they would therefore see that the English people were now coming forward to the stage at which the Scottish people arrived in 1421. He wanted the Lord Advocate to notice that while they agreed that the Bill must be read a second time they would think it necessary to go into it minutely on the Committee stage, and he trusted that an opportunity of so doing would then be afforded.


said he could not agree with the hon. Member's somewhat unparliamentary expression that this Bill was a big order. This Bill had not been at all hastily prepared. It had taken some three years time of very experienced persons, and it had been for some time before the country. Of course he recognised that it was a Bill that would take up some of the time of the House, and that without the consent of the House it could not possibly be passed, but he did not think he was going too far in saying that the hon. Member would not try to stop the Bill at a future stage unless he saw something wrong in it. If the hon. Member would promise to go through it during the long vacation, he might possibly do so with advantage, but the hon. Member doubtless had his own methods of enjoying his holidays, and it was improbable that they consisted of studying old Acts of Parliament. Therefore there was no ground for thinking that the Bill would be any better next year. More than ordinary precautions had been taken to sweep away nothing that could be of any service and there was the usual saving clause inserted. He hoped the hon. Member would not oppose the Second Reading.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

appealed to the hon. Member to allow the Bill to go through the Second Reading, especially as, although he had listened to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, he failed to find that he had brought forward any valid or sufficient reason for objecting.


I did not object.


said the speech of the hon. Gentleman seemed to have been made with a view of emphasising the fact that Scotland was a very superior country to England. He understood the hon. Gentleman to found his argument on the fact that England was only now in the position occupied by Scotland in 1424, therefore that Scotland was 680 years in advance of England, and he gathered that it was desirable in the view of the hon. Member that the Bill should be passed in order to enable England to reach the same degree of efficiency as that already obtained by Scotland. As his hon. friend did not object to the Bill he hoped that the House would consent to take the Second Reading.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.