§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I rise to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading to this Bill. The Memo- 1097 randum which is prefixed to the Bill fairly, and I think with sufficient completeness, describes the scope and intention of the Bill. With one exception, which I must mention to your Lordships, it is perfectly accurate, and that exception is on page 2 of the Memorandum, in the fourth object. It states that the Bill is intended to assimilate the municipal and police boundaries of all burghs. That statement was accurate in regard to the form in which the Bill was introduced into the other House, but it has been found that the assimilation of boundaries would be too complicated a matter, and touch too often private interests, to be dealt with in a Bill of this kind, and therefore those pro-visions have been dropped. By an oversight, the statement that the Bill effects this purpose has not been deleted from the Memorandum as reprinted for your Lordships' House. In all other respects the Memorandum is, I think, accurate. My Lords, this Bill is largely a consolidation Bill. I will not say that there are not some amendments of the law, because there are some here and there throughout the Bill; but those Amendments are all in conformity with the general policy which has been adopted by Parliament for many years past—namely, to assimilate the conditions under which the government of the two classes of burghs in Scotland is carried on. This Bill is very complicated—it is full of detail; and although it has not been discussed at length in the other House of Parliament it has been very fairly and very fully considered. A very large number of Amendments have been made to meet suggestions made during its passage through the other House. It has also been considered with great care by the officers of my Department, and I have no hesitation in recommending the Bill to your Lordships for Second Reading. There are still some Amendments which will be necessary—some to protect the rights and interests of some of the larger burghs and cities of Scotland, and in one or two cases to adjust the rights of some of the counties—but with these exceptions the Bill, I think, will not cause any serious discussion, and, at any rate, I hope on this occasion your Lordships will give it a Second Beading.
§ Bill read 2a (according to Order), and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Friday, the 20th instant.