§ 3.15 p.m.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to consolidate certain of the enactments relating to income tax and corporation tax, including certain enactments relating also to capital gains tax; and to repeal as obsolete Section 339(1) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 and paragraphs 3 and 4 of Schedule 11 to the Finance Act 1980. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, I must take this opportunity to congratulate the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, upon his accession to the Woolsack. We came to know the noble and learned Lord when he was Lord Advocate. We found him able in debate and reasonable in his reactions, always ready if necessary to reconsider the position in the light of the argument. We like Ministers who are prepared to take things back for reconsideration.
I am personally delighted to see an identifiable Scotsman on the Woolsack. I understand that it is very many years since a Scottish lawyer assumed this high office. Indeed, I understand that it is possible that he is the first Scottish lawyer to become Lord High Chancellor. We regretted his translation to the Bench, and we are glad to see him back.
Campbell, in his Lives of. the Lord Chancellors, says of Brougham:
Although born in Scotland he had not been endowed with the second sight, or coming events casting their shadow before".All of us feel that the noble and learned Lord can do better than that, and we much look forward to what we feel sure will be a constructive tenure on the Woolsack.
Perhaps I may say finally that we deeply regret the departure of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Havers. The noble and learned Lord was well liked in the other place and in this House and we are very sorry to lose him. We hope that he will continue to attend this House as often as he can and give us the benefit of his experience. We wish the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, good fortune in his great office.
§ Lord Gladwyn
My Lords, perhaps at this point I may be permitted to say that, as the great, great grandson of Hal Dundas, the first Viscount Melville, I particularly welcome the appointment of a Scot to the office of Lord High Chancellor of this kingdom, thus emphasising, as I see it, the essentially federal nature of our constitution.
I should also like to say, in addition to what the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn, has said, that we on these Benches also deeply appreciated the all too brief services of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Havers. We much regret his departure on the grounds of ill-health and wish him a very happy retirement.
§ The Lord President of the Council (Viscount Whitelaw)
My Lords, I should first like to thank the noble Lords, Lord Cledwyn and Lord Gladwyn, for their generous remarks about my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay, the new Lord Chancellor. I am extremely grateful to the noble Lords for what they have said. I should like to associate my noble friends with that same welcome to my noble and learned friend, who is not unknown to us and with whom many of us have worked with great pleasure in the past. We should also like to be associated with the congratulations to him.
We also wish to be associated with the kind remarks that the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn, has made about my noble and learned friend Lord Havers. Obviously for me, as one who as served with the noble and learned Lord in many capacities in another place, this is a painful experience. I deeply regret the circumstances which made my noble and learned friend feel that the burden and stress of the job of Lord Chancellor was too much for him. I am sure that the whole House would wish to be associated with me in hoping that his health will be fully restored at the earliest possible moment.
§ Baroness Hylton-Foster
My Lords, we on the Cross-Benches are proud that one who graced our Benches is now established on the Woolsack. We send him all our good wishes on his appointment and look forward to hearing from him.
§ The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, I am extremely grateful for the kind words that have been spoken. It is particularly sad for me that I am here because my noble and learned friend Lord Havers felt unable to continue. He was an extremely good friend and close colleague while I was in government as Lord Advocate. It is with great regret that I knew that he was too ill to continue. It is typical of his generosity, and it is heartening to me in taking on this position, that he spoke so generously of my appointment when he learned of it.
I was encouraged to assume this important and arduous office by my experience of this House in the past. I knew that I could expect, not only from the Government but from all sides of the House, understanding if not always agreement. It is a great honour for me, and also a fitting honour for Scotland, that at this time this office has come to me. Thank you.
On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.