HC Deb 23 February 1978 vol 944 cc1831-2

Order for Second Reading read.

9.33 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Law Officers' Department (Mr. Arthur Davidson)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This is purely a consolidation measure and makes no change in the existing law. The Bill consolidates the enactments relating to the Commonwealth Development Corporation—primarily the Overseas Resources Development Act 1959, the Commonwealth Development Act 1963 and the Overseas Resources Development Act 1969. In general the Bill consolidates provisions dealing with the constitution, powers and functions of the Commonwealth Development Corporation and the relevant financial provisions. It has been before the Joint Select Committee and has been certified as a purely consolidation measure.

9.34 p.m.

Mr. Daniel Awdry (Chippenham)

As the Parliamentary Secretary said, this is a purely consolidation measure. We were informed in Committee that the Commonwealth Development Corporation welcomed this consolidation. A few minor corrections were made by the Committee, but no one made any objections to them. They were, of course, published in the Lord Chancellor's memorandum. The Committee is certain that the Bill represents existing law. It took the view that there was no particular point to which the attention of the House should be drawn.

I wish to mention the work of the Joint Committee on Consolidation of Bills. It is sad that we have run out of work. There are now no Bills awaiting our attention and we have no further work to do. At one time the Committee was considering meeting every fortnight and, if necessary, in two separate Committees. It is disappointing that we shall not be making the progress which we had hoped. I imagine that the reason for this is shortage of parliamentary draftsmen and the amount of new legislation that passes through the House.

I am certainly not making any party-political point about that. However, I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary would agree that the work of the Con- solidation Committee, even if it is very unglamorous and highly technical, fulfils a very important function and is much appreciated by practitioners in the law. Therefore, I express the hope from this Box that more progress will be made in the process of consolidation next Session.

As the Parliamentary Secretary says, this measure is purely consolidation, and I have nothing to add about it.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Tinn.]

Committee tomorrow.