HL Deb 20 January 1997 vol 577 cc384-5
The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

Your Lordships will be aware that Her Majesty appoints a lord lieutenant for each county in England and Wales or area in Scotland. The lord lieutenant appoints deputy lieutenants. Her Majesty may also appoint one or more "lieutenants" for each county or area. The lord lieutenant, lieutenant and deputy lieutenants of a county or area perform a number of statutory and non-statutory functions in the area for which they are appointed. The system is slightly different in the City of London and in certain cities in Scotland.

This Bill consolidates provisions in the Reserve Forces Act 1980 relating to the lieutenancies. Those provisions, themselves a consolidation of numerous earlier enactments dating back to 1662, have been heavily amended since 1994 in relation to local government reorganisation. Further amendments to the 1980 Act are made by Schedule 6 to the Reserve Forces Act 1996, and this consolidation is therefore a timely one.

As lords lieutenants now have relatively few functions relating to defence, it is thought more appropriate for the law relating to them to be separated out from the legislation governing the reserve forces. The Bill contains all the general statutory provisions relating to the appointment, jurisdiction and functions of lord lieutenants, lieutenants and deputy lieutenants in Great Britain. It does not include a few remaining provisions conferring specific functions on lord lieutenants or deputy lieutenants; these are best left in their existing statutory context. Most of the functions of lord lieutenants and deputy lieutenants are now non-statutory.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time. (The Lord Chancellor.)

Lord Taylor of Blackburn

My Lords, I take it that this consolidation Bill has been brought about because of reorganisation in local government as much as anything else. Clause 5 on page 3 of the Bill relates to the clerk of the lieutenancy. Perhaps I may ask the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor whether it is correct that, where a new authority is created, deputy clerks cannot be appointed as well as clerks.

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, on this aspect of the matter the Bill is a consolidation of the existing law and therefore the statutory provision to which the noble Lord refers to in Clause 5 on page 3 is the present statutory position. If a power to appoint deputy clerks were implied, it would be implied in this respect also. No change in the law is made in this respect by the consolidation.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.