§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 12.27 a.m.
§ Sir ARNOLD WILSON
I wish to draw attention to this Clause for a very particular reason. The Report of the Consolidation Committee, referring to this Clause, states that the position appears to be obscure, and that the only means of exactly revising the law is to reproduce precisely the law as it stands, as nobody apparently knows what it does mean. I submit that the object of consolidation is to make the law clear, as well as to consolidate it, and if the opinion of the Consolidation Committee is that the position is so obscure upon a matter of great importance to His Majesty's subjects, namely, whether the local authority must give or refuse permission when called upon, it should be part of the duty either of the Government or the Department concerned, or of the Consolidation Committee, to make the law clear. There have been three or four Consolidation Bills during the last two or three months in which the same statement is made, in the smallest print known to the Stationery Office, that the law is 1268 unsatisfactory and is no better than before it was consolidated, and that the position is so obscure that even the Consolidation Committee do not know what it is, and, therefore, they reproduce the law in the same unsatisfactory way. Consolidation on these lines is far less satisfactory than consolidation on the lines upon which we have just had the satisfaction of passing the Public Health Bill, where the Committee had power to make such necessary Amendments as would improve the law and give it clarity and conciseness.
§ 12.29 a.m.
§ Major MILNER
As one who sat for some years upon this and other Consolidation Committees, I should like to reinforce what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) has said with regard to powers being given to Consolidation Committees to carry out, at any rate, minor Amendments which would result in uniformity and clarity and a number of other advantages.
I am afraid that on a Consolidation Bill we cannot go into Amendments to the Bill.
§ Major MILNER
I am not proposing to do that. I am merely supporting the hon. Gentleman's remarks on this particular matter with which I entirely agree.
§ Clauses 16 to 191 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Schedules 1 to 12 agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed, without Amendment.