HC Deb 18 May 1939 vol 347 cc1669-71

In the application of this Act to Scotland—

  1. (1) for any reference to a local education authority there shall be substituted a reference to an education authority;
  2. (2) Sub-section (8) of Section one of this Act shall have effect as if the proviso were omitted;
  3. (3) Sub-section (1) of Section two of this Act shall have effect as if for paragraph (e) thereof the following paragraph were substituted:—

(e) is the subject of an order or warrant for his detention or custody under the Lunacy (Scotland) Acts, 1857 to 1919, or is being entertained and kept in an asylum in pursuance of Section fifteen of the Lunacy (Scotland) Act, 1866, or is a person for whose safe custody during His Majesty's pleasure His Majesty is authorised to give order or is a prisoner whom the Secretary of State or the Prisons Department for Scotland has, in pursuance of any Act, directed to be removed to a criminal lunatic asylum or to the criminal lunatic department of Perth prison or to an asylum, or is a person placed in an institution or a certified house or under guardianship under Section four of the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Act, 1913, or is the subject of an order under Section seven, nine, or ten of that Act.—[The Lord Advocate.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

5.3 p.m.

The Lord Advocate (Mr. T. M. Cooper)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The purpose of this Clause is to make certain adaptations in the Bill in applying it to Scotland. Sub-sections (1) and (2) are in common form, but the House may like a short explanation of Sub-section (3), which is to be read in conjunction with an Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy in Clause 2, page 4, line 25, which proposes to insert the English counterpart of this Sub-section (3). The purpose of the Sub-section is to exclude from the operation of Clause 2 all those categories of persons who are mentally disordered or mentally defective and are subject to one or other of the Statutes specified in the Sub-section. Obviously, no purpose would be served by requiring such persons either to register in the Military Training Register or calling them up and subjecting them to examination by medical boards.

5.4 P.m.

Mr. Benn

This new Clause provides an extraordinary illustration of the shoddy way in which we are legislating; it was only thought of by the Government last night and did not appear until this morning. However, we are now assured that lunatics in Scotland and England will not be subjected to the provisions of this Bill. There are other classes of persons about whom I should like to ask a question or two, because we get so few opportunities of putting these inquiries. What about people in prison? Blind people were thought of last night, and not thought of till last night, but what happens to people who are serving a term of imprisonment?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Dennis Herbert)

The position of those people does not arise on this Clause.

Mr. Benn

I am only making a comment. This is legislation by decree. When we are legislating by decree the officials are responsible for the legislation and it is not legislation by the House of Commons, because we have not any opportunity of discussing it. It is a betwixt and between method which will result in a very shoddy Measure.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The right hon. Member's comment makes it necessary for me to make another comment—that his is not relevant.

Mr. Benn

I quite agree.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.