HL Deb 15 June 1906 vol 158 cc1247-9

Order of the day read for receiving Report of Amendment.

Moved, "That this Report be now received."—(The End of Elgin.)


My Lords, I should like to take this opportunity of explaining my position in regard to this Bill. I am opposed to it, and would have moved to postpone its Second Reading for six months or some equivalent Amendment had I thought that I should have obtained a majority in this house. But, as a matter of fact, the Bill had been previously discussed, and I thought it was wise that those who recognised that the general feeling of the House was in favour of it should not raise the question, again. Some comment, however, was made on my action in pointing out that to my mind the Bill would not effect the object for which it was intended. I believe that the defect to which I then called attention has been to some extent remedied, but some observations were made to the effect that I was endeavouring to improve a Bill to which I was opposed. I think it is important that it should be understood that one may quite properly and fairly endeavour to improve the drafting of a Bill, although he may be opposed to its passing into law. I have myself on many occasions received assistance from the other side of the House when I have been in a similar position, and I should be very sorry indeed to think that it was inconsistent with the position of a person who was opposed to a Bill to give whatever assistance he could to make the drafting effective. I thought it would not be respectful to your Lordships to allow a Bill to go down from this House purporting to effect an object which it did not achieve, and I therefore intervened in order to point out what I considered a cardinal defect in the drafting.


My Lords, my noble and learned friend has referred to certain observations that were made, and I am very much afraid those observations were made by me. I hope I may assure my noble and learned friend that if he drew any inference that I was criticising the action he had taken it was due to the faultiness of my language. I am aware that my noble and learned friend has consistently opposed this Bill, and I thought it a generous act on his part to refrain from opposing it this session in view of the general feeling of the House. I really was in my own mind honestly thanking him for his suggestion, and I did not intend to convey anything else. If I did convey any such impression as the noble and learned Karl seems to think, I very sincerely regret it. The defect to which my noble and learned friend called attention was a blot on the Bill, and words making the provision more effective have been inserted as the result of his generous suggestion.

On Question, Report of Amendment received.

Bill to be read 3a on Tuesday next.