§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Arthur Irvine)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I think it well to read to the House the Report of the Joint Committee appointed to consider consolidation Bills. The Committee report that theyhave considered the … Bill and have heard evidence thereon.The enactments repealed in Part II of Schedule 6 to the Bill are repealed on the grounds that they are obsolete, spent, unnecessary or superseded.The Committee have made certain amendments which they consider necessary to bring the Bill into conformity with the existing law and they consider that the Bill as amended is in all other respects pure consolidation and represents the existing law.They consider that there is no point to which the attention of Parliament should be drawn.We feel indebted to the study that the Joint Committee have given to the Bill and I recommend the Bill to the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before the debate begins, may I make a Ruling. This is a Bill, first, to consolidate certain enactments relating to sea fishing and, secondly, to repeal certain obsolete enactments relating to herring. It will be in order in this debate to consider whether this is the appropriate time to undertake the task of consolidating sea fishing enactments and, secondly, to raise the question whether this is the appropriate time to repeal obsolete enactments relating to herring.
§ 10.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)
I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for that direction about the debate on this Bill.
On your second point about the repeal of obsolete laws, I wonder whether, with the leave of the House, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us whether there was any earlier consultation with those concerned about these repeals. We have had an assurance on previous occasions of Statute Law repeal when this House has been faced with a rather formidable schedule of repeals—it is not an easy matter to sit in the Library looking up all these old Statutes, especially when they refer to something 1057 or other bounties years, if not centuries, ago—that the matter has been put before those who might be concerned and that any objections have been dealt with or that there have been no objections. Had any consultations of that kind taken place before it was decided to introduce this part into the Bill?
On the main part of the consolidation it is worth putting on record that at one point the Joint Committee on Consolidation discussed a most interesting Amendment, as it were, and non-amendment to the law relating to Statutory Instruments when it was decided to leave out the words, as they appeared in previous statutes, when a white fish scheme was introduced, that the scheme should have the force of a Statute. Another place, sitting judicially, decided that that had no effect, that the courts could still consider the scheme and its validity, and therefore that the words were purposeless.
It is worth putting on record that the Joint Committee has decided, in consolidating the law relating to the sea fish industry, that it is right and proper to introduce into a consolidation Bill a decision of the courts. It was even advised that a decision of a lower court could be introduced into consolidation Bills. That is not so in this instance. We are 1058 merely introducing a decision of the highest court in the land as existing law—and I think quite rightly, too.
Apart from that, this seems an admirable consolidation of the law. It will be of great assistance in future to those who have to practice in this branch of the law.
§ 10.23 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General
With the leave of the House, I will deal with the point raised so helpfully by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page).
I am not in a position immediately to give him the detail of any consultations, but I invite the hon. Gentleman and the House to draw the inference, from the approval given to the Measure by the Joint Committee, that the Joint Committee, at least was satisfied that the matter had been sufficiently investigated. That is as far as I can go in immediate answer to the hon. Gentleman's inquiry. I hope that it will satisfy the House.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Hamling.]
§ Committee Tomorrow.