HL Deb 02 May 1968 vol 291 cc1202-3

3.19 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment) on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]


My Lords, this Bill has been amended by the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills, and a further Amendment is to be moved this afternoon.

Clauses 1 to 59 agreed to.

Clause 60 [Short Title, commencement and extent]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (2), to leave out from "on" to the end of the subsection and insert "1st August 1968". The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name. This relates to the date of the commencement of the Bill. At the moment, Clause 60(2) reads: This Act shall come into force on the day appointed under section 106 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 for the coming into operation of Part V of that Act. It had been intended, and was thought convenient, that the two should come into force together. The preparation of the Firearms Bill was begun at a time when the Bill for the Criminal Justice Act was still before Parliament, and ministerial assurances were given that its introduction would not be long delayed because of the rather confused situation which had arisen due to the accumulation of different forms of firearms legislation. Some Members had complained also that the Criminal Justice Act was, in any case, not the right home for provisions to restrict possession of shot-guns.

In order to meet these criticisms and to help the police to administer the provisions of Part V of the Criminal Justice Act alongside the existing controls on firearms, it was decided that this consolidating Act should most usefully come into force on the same day as the new restrictions in Part V of the Criminal Justice Act. It was thought that everyone—particularly the police, who would be affected by the new restrictions—would find it helpful to have them set against the background of the remainder of the firearms legislation.

Unfortunately, the Parliamentary programme has not allowed for the passage of this Bill into law in time for commencement at the same time as Part V of the Criminal Justice Act. My right honourable friend has made a Criminal Justice Act Commencement Order providing that Part V of that Act should come into force on May 1. As that date has now passed, it is obvious that a new date must be found for bringing into effect this consolidating Act. It must obviously be a date by which we are sure that this consolidating Bill will have received Royal Assent. It is desirable that the police and those concerned should have an opportunity of understanding it. It is thought now that the most convenient date for bringing this Bill into force would be August 1. It is that which this Amendment does. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 7, leave out from ("on") to end of line 9 and insert ("1st August 1968 ").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 60, as amended, agreed to.

Schedules agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with a further Amendment.