HL Deb 30 November 1950 vol 169 cc656-7

4.13 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a Second time. The real purpose of the Bill is to prepare the way for the consolidation of the various Acts dealing with this subject. However, it has been found impossible to get a simple consolidation out of the Acts as they exist, because, since the enactment of the first Act, the Northern Ireland Parliament has been established, and subsequent to the establishment of that Parliament the Acts which have been enacted at Westminster have been divided as to reserved and transferred legislation. It had been the hope that in the process of adapting the legislation in Northern Ireland simplicity should be the order of the day; but unfortunately affairs have unavoidably become inextricably mixed and it has been found necessary to approach the Northern Ireland Government for the purpose of getting their agreement to the repeal of the Northern Ireland legislation and to the application to Northern Ireland of those parts of the United Kingdom Acts which hitherto have not been in force in Northern Ireland. As we now have the consent of the Northern Ireland Government, consolidation can now proceed.

I do not need to argue the case for the Bill, but there are one or two brief remarks that ought to be made about the respective clauses. Clause 1 carries out the repeal which I have just mentioned, and applies to Northern Ireland those parts of the United Kingdom Acts and reserved legislation which have not applied to Northern Ireland hitherto. Clause 2 deals merely with the position which has arisen as a consequence of the demise of the League of Nations and the establishment of the United Nations. Clause 3 deals with an omission or a piece of forgetfulness on the part of the draftsman when the Act of 1933 went through. This attempts to bring into new legislation the phraseology that was used in the 1933 Act in the place of the term "open shop"—that is to say, by the substitution of the term "premises which are duly registered." Clause 4 is proposed as a drafting device to reserve the rights! of the Parliament of Northern Ireland to legislate in relation to the control of dangerous drugs which have been within its competence since the passing of the Government of Ireland Act of 1920. That safeguard has been found necessary as this Bill, when it becomes an Act, is going to have a very short life. Indeed, under Clause 5 there is provision that when the Bill becomes an Act it shall come into operation immediately before but on the same day as the subsequent Consolidation Bill, and shall then cease to be. So the life of this Act will be a mere moment of time. The Schedule makes merely the necessary modifications in the Dangerous Drugs Acts, 1920 and 1923, for the application of these Acts to Northern Ireland. 1 beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Shepherd.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.