§ 3.10 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, this is a Consolidation Bill and accordingly, according to the usual practice, it will no doubt after the Second Reading be referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills as soon as it has been constituted. Accordingly, I need only move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD DILHORNE
My Lords, I should like to say only this. When one sees the size of this Bill, it is perhaps possible to gain some idea of the amount of detailed work and consideration which must have gone into its production and how long it must have taken to prepare it. I should like to express some gratitude to those responsible for producing this result. I cannot, of course, forbear to comment on the fact that this must have been one of the Bills in the Lord Chancellor's cupboard which the Lord Chancellor overlooked two days ago, because, of course, the greater part of this work must have been done in the lifetime of the last Government.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, replying to what the noble and learned Lord has said, I am sure that those responsible for the Bill will be gratified. It is not, in fact, the Lord Chancellor's Department at all. As the noble and learned Lord knows, the whole of this work is done entirely by the Parliamentary draftsmen, who do not come under the Lord Chancellor's Department but under the Treasury. They have not only done the whole of the drafting but the whole of the Explanatory Memoranda, and the only thing the Lord Chancellor has done was to sign it when they prepared it.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.