HC Deb 10 July 1978 vol 953 cc1207-8

Order for Second Reading read.

11.46 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 Bill, like its two distinguished predecessors, is also a consolidation measure. It consolidates the Interpretation Act 1889 and other measures relating to Acts of Parliament and other instruments. It is based upon the report of the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission and incorporates recommendations made in that report. The net result of the consolidation will be that in future Acts of Parliament and subordinate legislation certain verbiage will no longer be necessary. For that, I am sure, we all will feel deeply grateful.

I wish to associate myself with the remarks of my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate. I, too, would like to pay tribute to the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Awdry). He and I have sat many a night in what is the most exclusive little group of people debating—not at length, because that would be inaccurate—this erudite subject. He is very distinguished in that exclusive area and I am sorry that he will no longer be debating this subject. I am sure, however, that as a practising lawyer he will at least have the practical benefits of the legislation he has helped to pass.

11.48 p.m.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

What happens to this cosy little club to which my hon. Friend referred if the Government get their way and there is an Assembly in Edinburgh? Will it be duplicated? What is the practical effect of the Scotland Bill on my hon. Friend's—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

Order. The Chair, although indulgent, is now becoming mildly impatient. We can discuss only the reasons for consolidation. I am afraid that we must not stray away north of the border.

Mr. Dalyell

I am sure that my hon. Friend is itching to give a 30-second answer.

Mr. Davidson

I am itching to say something about the devolution Bill because I am one of the few people in the House not to have said a word about it. However, itching though I am, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am always most respectful to your rulings, with which I entirely agree. Therefore, unfortunately I cannot help my hon. Friend, much as I should like to do so.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

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

Bill immediately considered in Committee.

[Mr. OSCAR MURTON in the Chair.]

The Chairman

With the permission of the Committee, I shall put the question on clauses 1 to 27 together.

Clauses 1 to 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 to 3 agreed to.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 56(Third Reading) and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, without amendment.