HC Deb 10 March 1915 vol 70 cc1498-500

This Act may be cited as the Legal Proceedings against Enemies Act, 1915.


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words, "This Act shall not apply to Scotland."

It may be said that the Amendment is really not necessary, and that the framework of this Bill makes it perfectly clear that it could not apply to Scotland. It is fell desirable, however, to put the matter beyond all doubt. I may take the opportunity of saying that to add a Clause applying the Bill to Scotland seems to me very undesirable. In the first place it is too important a Bill to apply to another country in that rough and ready manner, and in the second place the scheme of the Bill is such as to render the enterprise a hopeless one. With reference to the observations of a somewhat minatory character which fell from the hon. and learned Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Mr. Watt) yesterday on the Second Reading, as reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT this morning, I desire to assure him that I have very carefully considered the propriety of extending this Bill to Scotland by means of a separate measure. I have considered it as carefully as the time at my disposal has permitted, and having regard to our law and practice in Scotland now, and having regard to the fact that, so far as I am aware, there is no demand for a measure of this sort in Scotland, I have formed the conclusion that at present it is unnecessary and undesirable to introduce a separate measure for Scotland on these lines. But I may add that view is subject to reconsideration, and if, to use the phrase of the Scottish courts, "cause is shown"—if my hon. and learned Friend can show me that there is any demand for such a measure—that necessity exists for it, and that it is feasible to carry it out upon those lines, I shall be very glad to reconsider the matter.


I am surprised at the line of action which the Lord Advocate has taken. He had indicated that no similar measure is no be brought forward for Scotland, and he has said that his conclusion is based on the fact that no demand exists for it in Scotland.


I said my conclusion was based on the existing law and practice in Scotland and on the fact that there is no demand in Scotland for it.


I was referring to the assertion that there is no demand existing for it. The mercantile community there is under the same disability as the mercantile community in England, and they are asking for the same measure of relief as is afforded to the English trade. Their outcry is not so loud as that of the English trade, but nevertheless the demand exists, and I venture to say that when the traders of Scotland get to know that relief is being given to their brethren in England by an Act of Parliament their outcry will become a little more loud. It is a characteristic of the Scottish nation that they do not like to see much going past them, and if this boon is granted to the merchants and traders of England there will be an outcry from Scotland. I am very glad to learn that the Lord Advocate is open to reconsider the matter, and that if the outcry is such as to warrant the measure he will not be precluded by anything he has said from bringing one forward for Scotland on the same footing as England and Ireland.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported; as amended, considered; read the third time, and passed.