2. Mr. Joseph T. Price
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider the anomaly created by the Public 177 Authorities Protection Acts, under which claims for damages are barred after 12 months in England and Wales but after six months only in Scotland; and if he will introduce legislation to remedy this.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the Question on this subject asked by the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Wheatley) on 26th February.
May I be permitted, as a mere Englishman, to ask if the hon. Gentleman realises that this continued racial discrimination against the citizens of Scotland is offensive not only to the Scots themselves but to an Englishman like myself? Whatever may be the merits of the wider question which I raised on the Floor of this House yesterday, will he see that the citizens of Scotland will at least be put in the position of standing equal before the law with the citizens of England?
§ Mr. Stewart
I never thought it was anything else. But on this matter it is really a question of finding time for legislation, and I am afraid we cannot find the time for it in the present Session.
§ Mr. Wheatley
Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that when the Limitation Act was passed in 1939, the period of limitation was extended to 12 months in England but retained at six months in Scotland? The understanding was given at that time that the period would be extended to 12 months in Scotland, and will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again pending general legislation on the whole question of limitation of action?
§ Mr. Stewart
We understand the situation and we are in sympathy with it. But it is purely a question of finding time in the present Session for introducing legislation.
§ Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan
Can my hon. Friend say why the former Lord Advocate, the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Wheatley), did not bring forward something of that kind when he was in office?