HL Deb 21 July 1949 vol 164 cc340-1

3.22 p.m.

Amendments reported (according to Order).

Then, Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 13):


My Lords, before I move that the Bill be read a third time, I have it in. command from His Majesty to signify to the House that His Majesty, having been informed of the purpose of the Bill, gives his consent, so far as His Majesty's interest is concerned that the House shall do therein as they think fit. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, that the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Morrison.)


My Lords, may I be permitted to say one or two words? This Bill has had rather a stormy passage both in the country and in the House. In fact, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison, rather chided me for my moderation in dealing with it. The first reason why I have not pressed certain points more strongly is that the structure of the Bill has been selected by His Majesty's Government. To be perfectly frank, I do not like much of it, and I would like it changed. Secondly, I have not pressed certain points because it is clear that if any points had been pressed unduly there would have been difficulty in getting the Bill through by the end of this Session. I do not think that any small change could have made a great deal of difference.

However, I do want to emphasise this. It has been thrown in our faces that certain principles of this Bill could have been objected to at an earlier date. I want to make it clear that there are features of this Bill which I view with a certain anxiety, an anxiety which I think is felt over a fairly wide circle. There is a feeling of regret that a Bill dealing with legal aid in Scotland could not have followed more closely the Morton Report. I am fortified in that view by certain remarks made by the Lord Chancellor, when he spoke of the financial burden which this type of Bill may impose. I would have preferred to see a Bill on a wider basis, which would not have placed such a heavy burden on the taxpayer. I very much hope that the anxiety which one feels will not prove justified, but I do ask that there may be an end to what I may describe as some of the petulant expressions which have been made on both sides in regard to this Bill, and that those who are responsible for carrying it out will endeavour to meet the requirements of the other party as fully as they can. We wish this Bill well, even if we do not approve its structure, and we will certainly watch carefully the regulations which will have to be made under it.


My Lords, in reply to the noble Earl I can only say that I am grateful to him for the helpful attitude he has adopted during the necessarily short discussions that we have had on this Bill. I appreciate his attitude very much.

On Question, Bill read 3a with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.