HC Deb 09 February 1954 vol 523 cc1096-7

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

8.12 p.m.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I apologise to the Scottish Members who are present for intervening in this debate. I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating the National Museum on securing in subsection (1 f) the provision that will enable it to with the consent of the Secretary of State destroy any object vested in them which appears to them to be infested by destructive organisms or, by reason of physical deterioration, to have become useless for the purposes of the museum. This is a most valuable provision, particularly with regard to any museum which preserves specimens of natural history, because in the course of time these become infested with parasitic organisms which not merely destroy the particular specimens to which they attach themselves but in a very short time spread and do considerable damage. I think that this is the first time that a museum acting under an Act of Parliament has secured this provision. I can only hope that it will be extended to other museums.

There was a Bill prepared by the late Government which would have dealt with this matter. It was introduced by the present Government in its first Session, but some unkind remarks made by the hon. Member for Stroud and Thornbury (Mr. Perkins) made them apparently fearful of going on with it. This is an important matter, and I congratulate the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland on securing this provision. I sincerely hope that the fact that it has not been opposed will encourage the Government to make it of wider application.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 3 and 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.