HC Deb 10 July 1978 vol 953 cc1205-6

Order for Second Reading read.

11.40 p.m.

The Lord Advocate (Mr. Ronald King Murray)

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

This is a pure consolidation measure which consolidates a number of enactments relating to the National Health Service in Scotland, the 30th anniversary of which we are celebrating this year.

The enactments relating to the National Health Service in England and Wales were consolidated last year. This Bill does the same for Scotland. The House of Lords has approved the Bill after a report by the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills to the effect that it is pure consolidation and does not change the existing law. I commend the Bill to the House as a useful measure which reenacts a considerable number of enactments from 14 separate statutes in a readily accessible and clearly set out form. I am confident that it will be useful to all those involved in the administration of the Health Service in Scotland.

11.41 p.m.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

I shall not try the patience of my colleagues at this time of night by mentioning the unmentionable. But why was it necessary to do this—there might be excellent reasons—before the Assembly is set up? I should have thought that from the Government's point of view this, of all things, should have been left until the Assembly has been set up at the High School.

The Lord Advocate

This is a highly desirable consolidation measure. That is reflected by the consolidation for England and Wales which took place last year. There are technical drafting reasons why it is satisfactory to pass the Bill before devolution. My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) will realise from his careful study of the Scotland Bill that there are inter-connections with almost every aspect of the devolved functions. One must start somewhere in legislation if one is to make it into an integrated whole. The simplest and best way, from a drafting and legislative view, is to do it this way.

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 approval of the Committee, I shall put the Question on clauses 1 to 110 together.

Clauses 1 to 110 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 to 17 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.