§ Mr. GEORGE YOUNGER
asked the Lord Advocate whether the attention of the Secretary for Scotland has been called to the fact that in the case of nine of the eighteen Provisional Orders deposited at the Scottish Office last December the parties promoting and opposing those Orders lodged representations and attended before the Lord Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means of the House of Commons to request that, in the exercise of their powers under the Act, they would report that these nine Provisional Orders ought to proceed as Private Bills and not as Scottish Orders, and that five of these nine were so ordered to proceed; and whether, in view of the persistent efforts made by promoters and opponents of Scottish Provisional Orders to have them proceeded with as Private Bills, he will reconsider his decision as to the need for early legislation to remedy the alleged defects in the Act which lead to this course of action?
§ Mr. URE
In the case of eight of the eighteen Provisional Orders referred to application was made by promoters or by opponents to the Lord Chairman and the Chairman of Ways and Means that the Order should proceed as a private Bill, but the Secretary for Scotland cannot agree with the inference the hon. Member seeks to draw from these facts. Applications that Orders should proceed, as Bills can only be based on the grounds set forth in Section 2 of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1899, and in no case was any application based on alleged defects in the Act, nor could the Chairman have considered an application based on such grounds. The answer to the last part of the question is, therefore, in the negative.
§ Mr. GEORGE YOUNGER
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is not aware that no less than eight promoters and twenty-five opponents attended on that particular occasion, showing that upon both sides there was a desire for a change and may I ask whether any stronger facts than these could be brought to waken up the Scotch Office from its sleep?