HL Deb 04 July 1978 vol 394 cc844-7

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on re-commitment of 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.]

Clause 1 agreed to.


It may be for the convenience of the Committee, as no Amendments have been put down until we reach the Schedules, if I propose the clauses en bloc.

Clauses 1 to 26 agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Words and expressions defined]:

The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 10, line 24, leave out ("under") and insert ("by").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a minor drafting Amendment substituting the word "by" for "under" in relation to the relevant Act. I beg to move.


While accepting all that the noble and learned Lord has said, and is going to say. may I perhaps—and I hope that I am not wholly out of order—respectifully remind him that as long ago as 1969 the Law Commission recommended Amendments to the Interpretation Act whereas this is a purely consolidation Bill. Will the noble and learned Lord perhaps persuade his colleagues, should there be another Session of Parliament, to consider that as a possible candidate for legislation?


I do not like the ominous words of the noble and learned Lord: "should there he another Session of Parliament". At any rate, no abolition of Parliament, so far as I know, is under immediate contemplation by any responsible party.


Read the Manifesto!


I take note of what the noble and learned Lord has said. No doubt we will get round to reforming the Interpretation Acts in due course.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendment No. 2: Page 10, line 25, at end insert ("[1st April 1974").

The noble and learned Lord said: It may be convenient for me to take the remaining Amendments, Nos. 2 to 6, together and en bloc. They all concern the definition in the Bill of the expression "England" and they are all prompted by a point raised in the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. The definitions of "England" and of "Wales" both operate by reference to the Local Government Act 1972, and a question was raised why the definition of "England" is applied to existing Acts of any date while that of "Wales" is applied only to existing Acts passed on or after 1st April 1974. It appears that the reason is that both "England" and "Wales" are defined by reference to the Local Government Act 1972 which came into force on 1st April 1974. However, until the Welsh Language Act 1967, England ", surprisingly, was defined by the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 to include Wales and, between 1967 and 1974, England included Monmouthshire.

So confusion has apparently arisen as to the definitions and it is now proposed that the definition of "England" shall, like that of "Wales", be applied to the Acts passed since 1st April 1974. In relation to Acts passed before that date, the definition is modified to take account of the position prior to 1st April 1974 and also of that prior to the passing of the Welsh Language Act 1967. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Schedule 1, as amended, shall be the first Schedule to the Bill?


I should like to intervene briefly to point out that, although the definitions are marshalled in their alphabetical order, with few exceptions, the expression "Commonwealth citizen" is not defined in its proper alphabetical place but comes under "British subject". That, I think, means that the reader could be excused for missing it and supposing that "Commonwealth citizen" is not defined in the Bill. It would have been so easy to put an entry in the proper alphabetical place simply to say: "'Commonwealth citizen' has the same meaning as 'British subject'". I think it is a pity that that has not been done.


I think endeavour has been made to avoid repetition in the Schedule. It is right, as the noble Lord has said, that it is stated that "British subject" and "Commonwealth citizen" have the same meaning and then the meaning is defined. I venture to think that it was thought, perhaps, not necessary to have a repeat reference to "Commonwealth citizen". It might have been better, but I do not think the noble Lord is prepared to go to the stake on this minor point of criticism.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Application of Act to existing enactments]:

The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendments Nos. 3 to 6:

Page 14, leave out lines 39 to 43.

Page 15, line 7, at end insert— ("( ) in any Act passed before 1st April 1974 a reference to England includes Berwick upon Tweed and Monmouthshire and, in the case of an Act passed before the Welsh Language Act 1967, Wales;")

Page 15, line 19, at end insert ("England") leave out lines 30 and 31.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Schedule agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.