HL Deb 03 June 1897 vol 50 cc151-2

in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said it was a Bill for the consolidation of the many provisions relating to Excise licences. The Liquor Commission, with which he had the honour to be connected, had felt in course of their inquiry that it would be of great use if there were a consolidation of the various enactments relating to one branch of the subject on which they were engaged. The principal Acts were passed as long ago as 70 years and more, and in the course of that time various provisions had been passed—some contradictory to existing enactments, some explanatory, and some repealing. The whole state of the law was in the utmost confusion, and if this Bill were allowed to pass as many as 25 Acts would be totally repealed and about 52 others would be partially repealed. The Bill did not in any way affect that branch of the subject which dealt with the law as administered by the justices and local authorities, but simply with the provisions of the law relating to Excise licences. It embraced ft great deal more than licences connected with the liquor trade, but he assured their Lordships that the Bill was a purely consolidation Bill. If he might cite an instance in proof of what he said, he would point out that the Bill as first introduced did contain some Amendments which gave a statutory sanction to some acts of practice which the licensing authorities had introduced. It was thought that these did amount to fresh enactments, and knowing the suspicion with which, in a Consolidation Bill, any amendment was regarded which seemed to repeal or alter the law, those amendments had been scrupulously cut out of the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"] The result was that the Bill was purely and simply a consoli- dating Measure, and effected no alteration in the law. It would be a great convenience to have the whole law reduced to one statute, with the different provisions expressly set forth. He might say, for instance, that the stamp duties and excise duties, formerly collected as such, were now collected as the excise licences, and a great deal of confusion had arisen in consequence of the change of name under which these various duties were collected, and that was only one out of many instances he could cite to prove the necessity for the consolidation of the law. If their Lordships would consent to the Second Reading of the Bill, he should move that it be referred to the Joint Committee for Statute Law Revision in order that any Amendment of the law might be scrupulously excluded, and the Bill made a purely consolidating Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]

Read 2a (according to Order), and referred to the Joint Committee on Statute Law Revision Bills and Consolidation Bills; and a Message ordered to be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.