§ 3.36 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, this Bill continues the series of useful measures which tidy up our Statute Book and form an important part of law reform. I am sure your Lordships would wish me to pay tribute to the skill and devotion of the Parliamentary Counsel who labour so hard in this field. Future Statute Law Revision Bills will come from the Law Commission, although they will of course be drafted by the Parliamentary draftsmen on the staff of that Commission.
I will not take up the time of the House by mentioning all the provisions which this Bill repeals, but those of your Lordships who care about our constitutional history may be comforted to know that the Billeting Act 1679 can now be repealed for the very good reason that it is redundant, the same law being declared and laid down by the Petition of Right. The draftsman is also on safe ground, I judge, in assuming that there are no living Members of your Lordships' House who had the misfortune to become bankrupt in Scotland before March 13, 1871, and that some part of Section 9 of the Bankruptcy Disqualification Act 1871 can accordingly safely be repealed. Any such Members of your Lordships' House, if my arithmetic is correct, would have to be at least 115. It is a little sad to learn that the Piracy Act 1670, which imposes penalties on masters of merchant ships of 200 tons burthen or upwards, and mounted with sixteen or more guns, who without fighting, yield cargos to Turkish ships, pirates or sea rovers, is regarded by the Board of Trade as obsolete; but perhaps your 403 Lordships will nevertheless be prepared to allow it to go.
This Bill, like others of its kind, will be scrutinised by the Joint Select Committee on Consolidation Bills, whose Report will be laid in the usual way before your Lordships' House, when your Lordships will have a full opportunity of considering the details of that Report. My Lords, I commend this Bill to the House and beg to move that it be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.