§ Order of the Day read for the consideration of Commons Amendments.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons Amendments be now considered. Your Lordships are placed, I am sorry to say, under a great disadvantage owing to the unfortunate indisposition of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor, but I must do my best very inadequately to supply his place. The course which I should propose to take is to make this Motion and, as I understand that my noble and learned friend opposite, Lord Parmoor, may have some observations to make upon it, if it be agreed to, I should then move the Amendments seriatim, giving such explanations as are necessary if any noble Lords should challenge them.
§ Moved, That the Commons Amendments be now considered.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I think it would be convenient to adopt the 346 course suggested by the noble Marquess and to say a few words at this stage. In that way I think time will be saved. I regret as much as the noble Marquess the absence of the Lord Chancellor, who has given so much attention to this subject, but as the Bill was framed on the Report of a Committee of which I had the honour to act as Chairman there are one or two matters to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention. The Commons Amendments to this Bill as it left your Lordships' House may be divided under three heads: There are Amendments which are no more than questions of drafting; there are Amendments which make mattere clearer—not merely drafting Amendments, but alterations in language which I think are improvements—and there are one or two new matters of substance which have been introduced and which were not in the Bill when it left your Lordships' House.
I have considered all these Amendments very carefully in detail and with reference to the Report on which the Bill itself is founded, and I do not think there is any alteration in principle from what was determined in your Lordships' House when the Bill was sent to another place. Nor do I think that any of these Amendments are such that they ought to be questioned in any way in this House. They may all be accepted by your Lordships, as has been suggested by the noble Marquess. I am naturally very anxious that this Bill should go forward and become law at the earliest possible moment, because the Committee to which I have referred pointed out a large number of very grave abuses affecting poor people in the law of industrial assurance, all of which, in my opinion, have without exception been dealt with in the measure introduced by the Government. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Government for having introduced a Bill based on the Report and following its terms, and I believe it will be found an effectual method of dealing with what undoubtedly were found to be very grave abuses. So far as I am concerned, having looked carefully through all these Amendments, I think no objection should be taken to any of them.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.