§ 3.40 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. The Bill consolidates the law relating to what used to be the Post Office Savings Bank and is now the National Savings Bank. The law was, in fact, consolidated before in 1954, but since then substantial changes have been made by the Post Office Savings Bank Act 1966 and the Post Office Act 1969. The Bill incorporates Amendments recommended by the Law Commission and its Scottish counterpart. All the recommendations are minor and most of them correspond with recommendations made and approved by Parliament in 1969 when the law relating to the Trustee Savings Bank was consolidated. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.
§ LORD STOW HILL
My Lords, I know that my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner would very much have wished to be present to give a welcome to this Consolidation Bill and to the two others with which the House has just dealt. Unfortunately, it has not been possible for him to be here this afternoon 597 and I hope that your Lordships will allow me to express on his behalf his regrets. I wonder whether your Lordships will also allow me to express the pleasure that I know he must feel in seeing this substantial measure towards comprehensive consolidation achieved by your Lordships' House. It must be a great pleasure to him, and I think the House would share it, to say "Thank you" to the Law Commission for the extremely valuable work that they have done in this connection. We benefit from their labours almost every other day. It must be a pleasure to my noble and learned friend particularly, as the intellectual progenitor of the Law Commission, to see how satisfactorily they are accomplishing their most valuable work. I wish to say no more except to mark the sense of gratitude I feel, and I am sure we all feel, at what has been done this afternoon.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I ought to express my thanks to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stow Hill, for what he has said both on his own behalf and on behalf of his noble and learned friend. We are getting on with this business both of consolidation and of law reform, and I can assure the House that the zeal with which we are pursuing the matter equals that of the noble and learned Lord and of his noble and learned friend, Lord Gardiner. It is important to remember not only that this could not be done without the Law Commission but that it cannot be done and will not be able to be done without the continuing support of both Houses of Parliament, for anybody can obstruct individual measures of reform proposed by the Law Commission—unless, of course, they are Consolidation measures which I can pass through Parliament probably without much difficulty. But individual Back Benchers of both Houses have been content to use Private Members' time to advance these other projects. Otherwise we should be at a loss to get on with the extensive work which lies before us. I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for what he has said.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.