HC Deb 23 July 1991 vol 195 cc1109-10

Order for Second reading read.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

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

The purpose of this Bill, which applies only to the Isle of Man, is to remove an anomaly whereby many obsolete Westminster statutes continue to form part of the law of the Isle of Man even though they have been repealed for the United Kingdom.

The Bill therefore extends to the Isle of Man a series of enactments that have already been used to repeal statutes in United Kingdom legislation. It also takes the opportunity to repeal for the island 30 or so miscellaneous measures which are similarly obsolete.

During its passage in another place, the Bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. The Committee reported that it was satisfied that all the enactments proposed to be repealed by the Bill were either obsolete, spent, unnecessary or superseded—in due course, that will apply to every hon. Member—and that there was no point to which the attention of Parliament should be drawn.

This is yet another Bill that has been prepared and drafted by the Law Commission, this time in conjunction with the Isle of Man authorities. I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the House, to acknowledge and express appreciation for the work of the Law Commission and of parliamentary counsel in preparing the consolidation and statute law revision measures—such as those before the House this evening—that do so much to tidy up the statute book and present it in a modern form. Study of this Bill is a fascinating microcosm of 1,000 years of Isle of Man history. I commend it to the House.

8.11 pm
Sir Teddy Taylor (Southend, East)


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

Order. I shall call the hon. Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), but I remind the hon. Gentleman and the House that this is a consolidation measure and it is only in order to discuss whether consolidation should take place.

Sir Teddy Taylor

That is exactly the point that I want to raise. As the Solicitor-General rightly said, this is a technical Bill that repeals some 700 obsolete enactments that have been repealed for the United Kingdom but not for the Isle of Man. The Solicitor-General omitted to mention that there are two items that are not in that category and I wonder whether we should consolidate them. One of those measures is the Military Lands Act 1900 and the other is described as 7 Jac. 1 c.4.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but if I understand him correctly, he is dealing with Acts that are not consolidated. If that is the case, it is out of order.

Sir Teddy Taylor

I am not seeking to do that. I am simply saying that we are repealing two proposals that did not apply to the United Kingdom but only to the Isle of Man. I simply want to know what they are. This went through the House of Lords without any discussion. The Isle of Man has no representative in the House, and it would be wrong for us to repeal this legislation without knowing what it is. The measure is entitled Assurance of the Isle of Man.

I went to the House of Commons Library because we have an obligation to the Isle of Man. I asked about that measure. We looked up the books and found that it was an Act for the execution of divers laws made against rogues, vagabounds, sturdy beggars and other lewd persons. The Library said that it must be a private Bill but, sadly, it was not available.

Although we are restricted in our discussion, bearing in mind our obligations to the Isle of Man, it is important to know what we are repealing. My simple point is whether the Solicitor-General can tell us what it is; what was the assurance of the Isle of Man and why is it necessary to repeal it now? It is a technical matter, but it is important. If we are dealing with legislation that applies to the Isle of Man, we should know what we are doing. If we do not, we are not doing our job for the Isle of Man.

8.13 pm
The Solicitor-General

I understand fully the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), and I shall give him an answer.

If I understand him correctly, he was referring to the Bill that is mentioned in abbreviated form and described as 7 Jac. 1. c4 under the title, Assurance of the Isle of Man.

That Act settled the lordship of the Isle of Man on the Earl of Derby and his heirs. The lordship was revested in the Crown by the legislation of 1765, 5 Geo. 3 c. 26, which was repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1976. Therefore, this Act is obsolete. I hope that that gives my hon. Friend the information that he requires.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

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

Bill immediately considered in Committee; reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 75 (Third Reading) and agreed to.

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