HL Deb 10 July 1961 vol 233 cc54-69

5.22 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. It is a short but, I am afraid, rather complicated Bill. It is not, I hope, a controversial Bill in the Party political sense, but it is an important Bill because it gives precise statutory authority to remarkable new operative techniques which can relieve pain and suffering, restore functions which have been lost, and even save life. It also raises considerations of some delicacy, because it impinges upon the deeply felt and almost universal belief that dead bodies should be treated with reverence, both before and during burial or cremation. Moreover, as the history of the Anatomy Act, 1832, shows (and that is an Act which is amended by this Bill), there was in this country a long tradition of bitter hostility to the dissection of bodies, mainly, perhaps, because it had been the English law from the time of Henry VIII that only the bodies of executed murderers could be handed over to anatomists.

The strength of public hostility to the practice of anatomy and the strength of medical opposition to external control can be gauged from the facts that the first Anatomy Bill of 1829, the purpose of which was to regulate schools of anatomy and to assist them in the interests of medical knowledge, was actually petitioned against by the Royal College of Surgeons; and that, after passing through all its stages in another place, it had to be withdrawn on Second Reading here in your Lordships' House because of the opposition of the then most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. It was in that debate that the Lord Harewood of that time said [Hansard, New Series, Vol 21, col. 1748] that, although the parliament had a right to legislate for the people of this country while living, yet that every man in the country had a right to Christian burial when dead, and parliament had no right to pursue people beyond the limits of the grave". The Anatomy Act, 1832, fared better, but it met strong opposition in both Houses. For instance, on Second Reading Lord Wynford said [Hansard, Third Series, Vol. 13, col. 826] that every man admitted the importance of finding remedies for disease, but it was better, in his opinion, that the bodies of the people of this country should be subjected to disease, than that their minds should be contaminated, which, he contended, would be the effect of the present measure". And on Third Reading Lord Teynham said [Hansard, Third Series, Vol. 14, col. 533] that he was confident that the feelings of the people were more averse from the present Bill than from any parliamentary measure of late years. But perhaps the most significant commentary of all upon the times was the anecdote related in another place about the great William Hunter, who, among his other accomplishments, was responsible for dissection of the human body becoming a regular part of the training of medical students. Mr. Hunt, the Member for Preston, said [Hansard, Third Series, Vol. 9, col. 302] this in that connection: Look at the case of Dr. Hunter; it was wished to dissect him; but he who had dissected so many himself, tip to the very last moment of his life declared that he objected to the operation being performed on him. He had heard the anecdote from one of Dr. Hunter's best pupils, Mr. Brown, a surgeon who lived in Stamford-street, Blackfriars". In this Human Tissue Bill which I am presenting to your Lordships this afternoon, my right honourable friend the Minister of Health has been at great pains to consider the feelings of those who may have scruples about its provisions. There are careful safeguards. I know that some people think they are too careful. But, my Lords, even though public sentiment to-day may be far removed from what it was in 1829 or 1832, it is still essential, in my judgment, to avoid the risk of causing offence, To cause offence would not only be wrong but might even defeat the whole object of the exercise.

The removal of doubts about the state of the law involves amending the Anatomy Act, 1832, and repealing the Corneal Grafting Act, 1952. I must therefore trouble your Lordships with a brief account of the events which led up to those Acts. After William Hunter had opened his school for dissection in 1747, there was a rapid growth in the practice of anatomy. As the number of students increased, the supply of executed murderers became insufficient for their needs, and there came into being the loathsome, lucrative and illegal trade of body-snatching by the so-called resurrectionists or resurrection men, some of whom were, of course, medical students themselves, often led by the professor's assistants. At first, body-snatching tended to be winked at by the authorities. But by 1828 it had become a major public scandal. By then, body-snatchers were actually importing corpses from abroad, mostly from Ireland; and, on top of everything else, sixteen murders of the notorious body-snatchers Burke and Hare were discovered. Accordingly, a Select Committee was appointed, and that led to the introduction of the unsuccessful Anatomy Bill of 1829 and the successful Anatomy Act of 1832.

What this Act of 1832 does is to regulate schools of anatomy and lay down the conditions under which dead bodies may be permitted to undergo anatomical examination. But, my Lords—and this is the point I have been leading up to—it is not clear whether or not the Act applies to the post-mortem examinations which have been carried out in hospitals for many years to establish or confirm the cause of death, or to study the effects of disease in the interests of teaching and research. If the Act does apply to them, then some quite unnecessary and irksome provisions also apply: if it does not apply to them, then their legality can be open to doubt. My Lords, dead bodies have for long been required for the purposes of teaching or research, but nowadays it is possible to use parts of them for therapeutic purposes—that is, as I think a layman might say, for healing purposes. This is an extension of the familiar processes of blood transfusions between living persons and the grafting of skin from one part of a living body to another.

This brings me to the Corneal Grafting Act, 1952. This Act—a Private Member's Act; as, incidentally, was the Anatomy Act, 1832—was the work of two friends of mine, former colleagues in another place: Mr. Gerald Williams, the former Member for Tonbridge, and Dr. Horace King, the Member for the Itchen Division of Southampton. Before its enactment, there was no firm legal basis for the removal of tissues from a dead body for therapeutic purposes. The Act provides that basis in the case of eyes, and lays down the conditions under which the eyes of a deceased person may be used for corneal grafting in the treatment of the blind. But, my Lords, one effect of this Act has been to add to the doubt about the legality of using other parts of a dead body.

The time has now come, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, to remove that doubt, because other tissues besides corneas can be used for grafting—namely, skin, arteries and bone; and, as research proceeds, one may look forward to even more dramatic grafting techniques. Therefore, my Lords, Clause 1 of this Bill authorises, subject to important safeguards, the removal of any part of a dead body for therapeutic purposes, or for purposes of medical education or research.

My Lords, the Common Law does not recognise any property in a dead body, so that it cannot be the subject of a valid bequest. This Bill therefore follows the Anatomy Act and the Corneal Grafting Act in placing responsibility upon the person lawfully in possession of the body. This person is not defined, but in practice he is the executor or, in the absence of the executor or executors, the occupier of the premises in which the body lies, provided he is not the undertaker. In the case of a hospital or other institution, the "person" in possession, until the executors or relatives come along to claim the body, is the managers. The person lawfully in possession of the body is enabled by Clause 1 of this Bill to authorise the removal of any part of it in either of two sets of circumstances. First, he may do so if the deceased expressed such a request, either in writing at any time during his lifetime or orally in the presence of two or more witnesses during his last illness. Such a request cannot be overridden by any relative after the death of the deceased. Secondly, he may do so if, having made such reasonable inquiry as may be practicable, he has no reason to believe that the deceased had expressed an objection or that the surviving spouse or any surviving relative of the deceased objects.

My Lords, if this Bill passes into law, it is proposed by my right honourable friend the Minister to give to hospitals the same advice as was given to them after the passage of the Corneal Grafting Act—namely, that they should actively seek the consent of all available relatives. The objection of any relative will be decisive in the absence of any expressed wish by the deceased. I believe that this right of objection is as important to-day as it was during the protracted debates on the Anatomy Act in 1832. The position of coroners is carefully safeguarded. Both the person lawfully in possession of the body and the doctor who proposes to operate on it are obliged to obtain the consent of the coroner if they have any reason to believe that an inquest or a coroner's post-mortem may be required. Doctors are already well aware of the interests of coroners, which, of course, must not be prejudiced in any way. Nevertheless, my right honourable friend the Minister believes that coroners will give their consent whenever possible.

Clause 2 deals with the legal doubts which I have already mentioned about the post-mortem examinations carried out in hospitals in order to establish or confirm the cause of death or to study the effects of disease in the interests of teaching or research. It makes clear that post-mortem examinations, if carried out by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor, are entirely lawful, and it rescues them from the shadow of Section 15 of the Anatomy Act. There are the same safeguards as apply under Clause 1 to the removal of tissues, and relatives will have the same right and opportunity to object. Clause 3 amends the Anatomy Act by permitting a body which has been anatomically examined under that Act to be cremated instead of buried.

My Lords, those are the main provisions of this Bill. If they seem macabre, I hope that it is not because of my presentation, for they should not seem so. The details of modern grafting techniques may fill the layman's stomach with butterflies, but they must also fill his mind with admiration. That, at any rate, has been my experience in preparing myself for this debate. As this wonderful work develops, it is to be hoped—and, I believe, is to be expected—that there will come a wider public understanding of the worthiness of supporting it by use of the machinery provided in this Bill. Such understanding will come slowly, and propaganda will have to be handled with care and with taste. Nevertheless, my Lords, I trust that your Lordships will agree with me that it is important to spread as widely as possible the news that human beings can be of practical service to their fellow men and women even after death. I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time.

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

5.40 p.m.


My Lords, I am quite sure that your Lordships will thank the noble Lord for his lucid exposition of this short but important Bill. I was glad to see that he had done a great deal of research, and I am sure he found his research into the progress of medicine over the last one hundred years was not only fascinating but very encouraging. I hope that he did rot do all his research in anticipation of any objection which I might raise to this Bill. I can assure him that on an occasion of this kind, when a constructive little Bill is presented to the House, I am more inclined to purr than to scratch. The questions he anticipated from this side he answered quite adequately. I am sure your Lordships will be surprised to hear who legally owns your own body after death. I am sure that in another place, and in this place, it was a surprise to everybody to learn that the executor had, indeed, very little power over a person's body after that person's death.

I have one point of criticism for the noble Lord. He has considered this matter very carefully, and has recognised the importance of this little Bill to the blind, the sick, and the disabled of this country—indeed, those whom we might say are inarticulate so far as pressure groups are concerned. But would the noble Lord tell me why there has been this delay? I am in the rather curious position that the Second Reading of this Bill in another place came at a time when I was a Member of another place, and I find it difficult to understand that, whereas they had a Second Reading of this Bill over six months ago, there has been this delay before it has reached this place. Let us recognise that those who have been waiting are a little impatient.

To-day the provisions of this Bill should be accepted by all rational people who recognise the great contribution to medical science which it will make. But unfortunately irrationality has been known to dominate debates, as the noble Lord explained to-night in recalling debates on the Anatomy Bill about a hundred years ago, and when he recalled what Lord Harewood said. I think he said that nobody had the right to legislate for people who were beyond the limits of the grave. That was entirely irrational because, as the noble Lord has said, at that time the body-snatchers were literally snatching people from the grave, and it was a violation and a desecration of the grave. But apparently the noble Lords in this place were more prepared to allow the Hares and the Burkes, the resurrectionists, to snatch people from the grave for dissection purposes, and, indeed, to murder people for dissection purposes, than to introduce a Bill into this House which they themselves viewed with some distaste. Such is irrationality. I think it took five or six years to persuade both Houses of Parliament to put the Anatomy Act on the Statute Book.

I have no doubt that if this House were filled to-night (and I am very glad it is not), there would be noble Lords—and I hope I shall not include my noble friend when I say this—who are possessed of such suspicions that they would not approve of the propriety of the proposal. I am glad my noble friend is silent.


My Lords, I have not heard the earlier part of the argument.


That is my noble friend's fault, and not the fault of myself or the noble Lords opposite. In that case, I hope he will be patient and desist from interruption.

This Bill, the noble Lord, Lord Newton, says, makes a great advance in therapeutic practice, because it will permit the removal not only of the cornea but of other tissues from a dead body. I agree again with the noble Lord when he asked, what has the future in store? Probably even more dramatic changes. I suppose a hundred years hence noble Lords in this place will refer to this Bill and think of us as unprogressive, and as being unable to anticipate the tremendous progress which may come about in the next one hundred years. There is one thing about this grafting operation that I am sure all noble Lords will be glad to learn, and that is that there is no age limit for those who offer their eyes for corneal grafting. The elderly are not excluded. They are especially privileged in this Bill, because it is better to get a cornea from an elderly person for grafting purposes.

I think we may well regard this Bill as a significant milestone on the road of medical progress, and it is interesting to speculate on the possibilities of these comparatively new techniques of modern surgery. The noble Lord looked back. I have tried to anticipate the future in this way. While we have accepted that, morally and intellectually, we may benefit from the examples and the writings of the dead, we can now consider the physical benefits, other than hereditary characteristics, which the dead can confer upon the living. It is now possible to graft these tissues for therapeutic purposes in order to make life more bearable, or to prolong it for some unfortunate invalid.

Indeed, when I think of the future, I realise that people's minds may have a new subject to think about in their old age. Old age is the time when people generally dwell upon their memories. There is nothing new. They are nostalgic, and memory itself is life to them. But now an individual who has led an idle and dissolute life may, after death, enable a genius to continue to produce work of outstanding merit which will benefit posterity. Now no one need despair that his life's work has been valueless to the community; he may have another chance after death in this world. There are many religions which teach that this life is of little value, that all we should think about is the after life and the delightful paradise which we shall enter and which will erase all the horrible memories of this life. Now medical science is able to tell those who have been rather unhappy about their conduct in this life that there may be another chance after death in this world, by bequeathing organs to somebody who may need them.

But these modern miracles which prompt us to speculate in this way—and I would say here that I am very sorry the noble Lord has not mentioned this, and that the Minister in another place did not mention this aspect of the Bill—cannot be performed without the expert knowledge and skill of a dedicated surgeon. Indeed, this Bill would be useless unless there were those who could translate the authority which it is giving to the hospitals into action. I should like to pay a tribute to those men and women who will be responsible for using the provisions of this Bill as an instrument for the relief of suffering. Let us praise those surgeons who possess the technical ability and the physical stamina to work for long hours in the close atmosphere of the operating theatre in the performance of these delicate and arduous operations.

As I speak now, in operating theatres around us in all the great teaching hospitals, men and women are working, sometimes for hours, in the over-heated atmosphere necessary because their patients on the operating tables are nude, or almost so. We are now, in your Lordships' House, considering a Bill which will give them even greater opportunity to exercise their skills in these operations of a grave nature, which call for a great deal of patience and expertise. It is only those men and women who are dedicated to their profession who are prepared to undertake operations of this kind, the number of which will increase now with the years.

The other thing I want to say to the Minister concerns propaganda. I believe that there is still much to be done in the field of education and propaganda, for often people are prejudiced against new approaches in medicine and are slow to discard their primitive fears. Not until this present Bill has authority been given for the cremation of bodies which have been used for anatomical examinations. Cremation, apart from religious objections, is still regarded with dread by some people. That is why successive Governments have rightly been reluctant to give this power of cremation, which is now given in Clause 3 of the Bill.

The hospital authorities will be aware of the provisions of this Bill and there will be no difficulty in hospitals of meeting the expressed wishes of patients. Indeed, if two nurses are standing by the bed of a patient, when he expresses a wish that his cornea or other part of his body should be given for the purpose of therapeutic work, that would be in order. And we must remember that 50 per cent. of people die in hospital. But the noble Lord has not mentioned the general practitioners who attend the other 50 per cent. The general practitioner is a very busy individual who may not follow the detailed progress of this Bill. I have no doubt that the medical Press will deal with it in detail, but the ordinary general practitioner is often too exhausted to read all through his British Medical Journal or Lancet every week. In my opinion, he should be fully informed about these new provisions, particularly with regard to any costs incurred. I understand that in the event of a man or woman dying at home and expressing a wish that his body or any part of it should be used as a gift, the cost incurred in transporting the body to hospital will be the responsibility of the hospital receiving the gift. That is the sort of detail which the general practitioner must be told. He may feel that the relatives of a patient might be reluctant to do this, if they thought that they would be involved in further costs.

The Minister in another place stated that the Royal National Institute for the Blind are undertaking a publicity drive. I hope that this will be supplementary to the publicity undertaken by the Ministry of Health. I feel that the Ministry understand the machinery of the hospitals and the general medical service so well that they should be primarily responsible. We are only too grateful to the National Institute for the Blind for coming in with their special help. The urgency of this matter cannot be over-emphasised. There is a tragic queue of blind people, ever patiently waiting and hoping that their sight may be restored one day by the priceless legacy which may be bequeathed to them, possibly by a stranger with no other assets.

5.55 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to join with the noble Baroness in giving to the Bill we are now considering a very warm welcome. At the same time I would congratulate the noble Baroness on what must be a remarkable feat—to have been present at the Second Reading of the Bill in another place and now to take part in the Second Reading of the Bill in your Lordships' House. I think that this must be something quite unique.

This Bill will certainly be welcomed by every member of the medical profession, and by a large number of people outside it. The provision it makes for bodies for dissection is a great step forward. At present, if I am not mistaken, it has been possible for a body to be given for dissection only if the executors wish, and not if the person himself expressed a wish while he was alive. If the executors objected, the objection held. But now a person's wish will go forward.

There are two points I should like to raise. Clause 1 (1) says that the person lawfully in possession of his body after his death may,…authorize… Should not the word "may" be "shall", in command to obey the wishes of the person deceased? The second point which I feel might cause a certain amount of difficulty is in subsection (2) (b), where it says that any surviving relative may object. Does that not take it too widely? One may find some obscure second cousin with antique ideas who may come along and stop what a person wished to do from being carried out. I am wondering whether it is not worded a little too widely and in some cases may defeat the object of the Bill.

We are extremely grateful if people do leave their bodies for dissection because the sources from which bodies were obtained by the anatomy schools is drying up. Most of the bodies are those of paupers who died in Poor Law infirmaries whose bodies are not claimed by relatives. But now, because there is a higher standard of living, and because there is a certain amount of money available for people to bury their relatives, the supply of bodies available from that source is not so great as it was, and some medical schools are finding considerable difficulty in finding enough bodies for dissection.

I would make one further comment on this matter from the point of view of medical education—I refer to the training of the ordinary doctors who do not wish to be surgeons. I think that the amount of anatomy they require during their education for the normal practice of medicine could be obtained from films, cartoons and film strips, and one might want to keep full dissection of bodies to those who wish to become surgeons, who will have to pass, and indeed do, a specialist examination in anatomy, and one wonders whether the need for bodies may not be relaxed a little in time.

There is a further thing I should like to say about post-mortem examinations. They are, as I am sure the noble Baroness and the noble Lord will agree, a most important part of investigation or research—call it what you will. Every time I attend a post-mortem examination of a patient I feel that I have learned something from what I have seen. One wonders whether the actual mechanism for obtaining a post-mortem is not now a little complicated and difficult. When I was young it was in a way simpler, but perhaps rather more callous. A notice was put up at the entrance to the hospital saying that supposing a patient were to die in the hospital a post-mortem examination would be carried out provided the relatives did not object.

That sounds somewhat callous, I agree, but I wonder whether it is more callous or more difficult than what is done at the present time. When a patient dies the examination has to be carried out fairly soon after death and sometimes the relatives are approached by a rather embarrassed and often young doctor with a request that a post-mortem examination should be carried out. It is difficult for relatives to make up their minds within such a short time of the death of someone who is dear to them, and on a number of occasions they refuse because they say, quite sincerely, that their relative has suffered enough and they do not want anything more to be done. I wonder whether something more approaching the other practice could not be made possible, because no relative need, or should, be able to see any of the signs of the examination when the body is given back to them for burial.

The noble Baroness referred to the enormous benefit obtained from cornea grafting and arterial grafting, and I should like to support her in that. I think this is a form of surgery which will increase. More and more things will be capable of being grafted, and more and more use will be made of various parts of dead bodies as time goes on. The time is so limited that the parts required have to be extracted fairly quickly, and mechanism must be made to work so that people dying in their homes (and as the noble Lady said, about 50 per cent. of people who die in fact die in their homes) can be got to hospital or the appropriate place before the tissues tend to become useless. I have this one last point. It is now possible for bodies which have been dissected to be cremated and not to be buried in the ordinary way. That seems to be a great advance, so long as provision is made for those who have principles or convictions against cremation, which I think is very right and proper. I give this Bill a warm welcome, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.

6.3 p.m.


My Lords, I had not intended to take part in this debate, but some words that my noble friend Lady Summerskill uttered made me feel that perhaps I might be allowed to. She paid tribute to the surgeons who are going to operate these new techniques, and I am glad that she did so. But that took my mind back to the people who carried out research in the past and those who carry out research at present to make these new techniques possible.

I had the opportunity some 30 years ago of learning the technique of tissue culture in the Strangeways Laboratories at Cambridge. There I came across some of the people who were doing the pioneer work in tissue culture from which so much of this new method of saving life and saving suffering has now come. I think it would be right, when this Bill is being discussed, which in its way is a milestone along the road of progress, that we should remember such people as were working in those days, not only in Cambridge but in many other places, and be grateful for the work they have done. It would be to them, I am sure—and many of them are now dead—a great encouragement to know that this was happening, and it must also be an encouragement to those who are still performing this form of research. I think it would be a pity if on this occasion we did not acknowledge the enormous value of work, which on many occasions seems entirely divorced from human disease or from suffering, but which is really the foundation on which so much of our medical advance has been built. I should like to place on record my gratitude, and I am sure that of your Lordships, for the work that those people have done and are still doing.

6.7 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful for the reception which my noble friends opposite have accorded to this Bill. I assure them that what they have said will be studied both by me and, which is more important, by my right honourable friend and his Department. The noble Lord, Lord Amulree, in congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, on speaking on this subject to-day, said that she had done something unique in having spoken on the Second Reading of a Bill in your Lordships' House having been present in the other place when the Bill received its Second Reading there. I can assure the noble Lord that it is not unique, because I did precisely the same thing just about a year ago; indeed, when I made my speech on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill last year it was also my maiden speech as a Back Bencher. I must confess that one reason why I read the proceedings on this Bill in another place was to try to discover whether the noble Baroness had spoken on Second Reading there, because, while I am not sure whether it would have been unique, it probably would have been very near to it; and I always regret that I did not do that.

The noble Baroness said that this was an occasion when she would purr rather than scratch. I do not think I will make any comment on that, except to say that I found her purring very gratifying.


Her scratching was for her own colleague.


He does not look too badly on it.


Again, I will not comment on that. The noble Lady complained mildly that it had taken this Bill such a long time to reach your Lordships' House, and she asked for the reason. I think she said she would be willing to have it privately outside the Chamber. There has not been any political controversy so far on the proceed- ings of this Bill, and far be it from me to start any now; but I could, if I wanted to be polemical, suggest reasons why it has taken so long for the Bill to reach your Lordships' House.

The noble Lady pointed out—and I am glad she did so—that this wonderful work of grafting could not be performed without the ability, stamina and dedicated service of surgeons. I not only agree with that, but would add that I do not think it could be performed either without the equally valuable services of those who have to assist the surgeons during the operations. I imagine that in complicated operations of this kind there must be quite a number of assistants. Perhaps I may say now how glad I was that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, paid his tribute to research workers, both past and present, who have contributed or are contributing to the further development of grafting techniques.

What the noble Baroness said about the importance of propaganda, particularly with regard to acquainting general practitioners with what the law will be after this Bill is enacted, will be very carefully considered. As I said in my speech, propaganda must be carefully handled, but that does not mean it is not necessary that there should be propaganda. As the noble Baroness said, the Royal National Institute for the Blind are planning a suitable leaflet which it is intended to distribute widely, and which it is hoped will attract many more donors of eyes in the future. The preparation of this leaflet is being carried out in co-operation with my right honourable friend's Department.

The noble Lord, Lord Amulree, asked me why the word "may" appears in Clause 1 (1) instead of the word "shall". In other words, he is asking why the person lawfully in possession of the body is not actually required to act upon the request of the deceased person. There are two reasons for that. The first is that the person lawfully in possession of the body may not know in time that the deceased had expressed such a request, or he may not know in time that the deceased person had actually died. If there was a time lag of even several hours between the death and its discovery, there would be no point in authorising the removal of parts of the body. The other reason is this. If it were made compulsory—in other words, if the clause read "shall" instead of "may"—then there would have to be a penal clause in the Bill, and I feel that this is really not the sort of matter in which non-compliance should be made a penal offence.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for the answer he has given, which quite satisfies me.


I am obliged to the noble Lord. The noble Lord also said that he thought it was possibly going too wide to permit any surviving relative to object. This was carefully considered, and my right honourable friend had to make up his mind whether he would be more likely to defeat the purpose of the Bill by putting in too many safeguards, or whether he would be more likely to defeat its purpose by not having sufficient safeguards, thus offending public opinion and causing offence. He has come down—and I believe rightly—on the side of incorporating very full safeguards indeed.

I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for his intervention. I always find it rather embarrassing to be the only layman to address your Lordships. Thanks to him I was not in that position this afternoon. I hope your Lordships will now feel able to give this Bill a Second Reading.

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