§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, Amendment No. 31, in page 15, line 15, leave out 'May' and insert 'April'.
I think that this amendment is self-explanatory. It is consequential upon the amendment made in Committee to Clause 20(2) by virtue of which the date for the coming into operation of the Bill was advanced from 1st May to 1st April 1974. The effect of the amendment is similarly to advance to 1st April 1974 the date at which registration of a registerable lease will compel the real right of a tenant and establish a preference over the right of any party to an unrecorded lease granted after 1st April 1974.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time. [Queen's Consent and Prince of Wales's Consent (in respect of the Principality and Stewarty of Scotland) signified.]
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald King Murray
This is another milestone on the long and tortuous road to abolition of feudal tenure, The milestones have been many, and measure many dreary miles. We must, nevertheless, welcome progress, although it has been slow.
In the Bill we witness a remarkable about-turn by the Government, which I welcome. They started with the view that it would be impossible to allow the 1001 kind of right of redemption now embodied in Clause 4 until we have arrived at a formula acceptable to both sides in the process of completely abolishing feudal tenure. They have seen that that is not necessary.
I welcome the initial step that has been taken, but it would be wrong if I did not express extreme disappointment that we are not at the stage of the full abolition of feudal tenure. The sooner that stage can be reached, the happier the Opposition will be.
Although we have made progress—very slow progress towards a goal that both sides of the House accept as desirable, we must acknowledge that even a Bill of this kind creates certain problems, one of which has been drawn to my attention since the Committee stage. I do not put it foward as a serious obstacle to progress, but it envisages the kind of difficulty that may crop up between the enactment of the Bill and the abolition of feudal tenure. The moral I draw from this example is that the shorter that interval can be made the better it will be for all concerned and the less injustice is likely to be generated.
The example is that of retired people of modest means, especially self-employed persons, who have chosen to ensure their income for retirement purposes by the puchase of feuduties. I imagine that only a handful of people in Scotland are in that position, but they are a handful who have served the community well and who, on the best advice they obtained at the time, took the course of pulling their money in that very secure, as it appeared, investment of feuduties.
Such people retain security; the Bill does nothing to take it away from them. But let us take the case of a person with a moderate income of about £500 or £600 a year from his feuduties. Suppose the Bill is enacted as it stands and half his vassals decide to exercise their right of redemption and the other half do not. He will be left with a very unsatisfactory capital sum from which he derives his income. It is possible that, in such cases a measure of social injustice will result.
My hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) took this subject very seriously. He had in mind various proposals, which he may tell us about, for 1002 overcoming that sort of difficulty. One solution would be for the Government to have power to step in and take over feudal rights. Where hardship would otherwise be created, they could take an intermediate position as an honest broker and enable such cases to be dealt with fairly and equitably. We cannot do that in the Bill, but this seems to me to foreshadow the kind of difficulties we may well find are generated by the Bill. It is not a reason for not continuing with the Bill, but it is a reason for every haste in getting on with the job, in finally abolishing feuduty and replacing it with a modern form of land tenure that meets the reasonable requirements of all the interests in land.
Having welcomed the Bill, I want to sound a more sombre note. In Committee the Lord Advocate undertook to inform hon. Members of the effect that various multipliers might have, following through the formula embodied in Clause 4 for redemption of feuduty. He kindly did this, up to a point, but he did it belatedly. It may be that that is a result of the bringing forward of the Report stage and Third Reading to today. The result is that my hon. Friends and I received only by hand delivery today the letter embodying the various multipliers. The information is useful, but it cannot be used, as Opposition Members desired to use it, for the purpose of consulting local interests to discover the general feeling. That obviously cannot be done in a way that can affect the passage of the Bill through this House. Only if my hon. Friends have friends in another place will anything come of such consultations. It is unfortunate that the perfectly reasonable desire to get the Bill through quickly has led to this result.
I also believe that the Lord Advocate said in Committee that he would do a little more arithmetic than he has done. I think he indicated that he would work out examples with typical feuduties so that the public could see what the impact would be. I hope that he will do so, because there is not the same argument about urgency, as the Bill has further stages to go through in another place. It would be very satisfactory if, before the Bill appeared there, the other parts of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's undertaking were fulfilled. It would be of great assistance to the general public to know 1003 what their rights are to be under the Bill.
In Committee my hon. Friends emphasised the desirability of the general public's being fully informed of the new rights which vassals are to have under Clause 4. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) in particular made that point. I repeat what was said in Committee, namely, that the Opposition are most anxious that the public should know that as feuars they are entitled to redeem their feuduties when the Bill is enacted. It should be known that they can do it and how they can do it. It is also important that feuars should realise that no great expense is involved. That is important, because many feuars are old-age pensioners, people who are infirm and living on their own, who are just a bit afraid of bureaucracy, people who will take no action unless steps are taken to bring the advantages of the Bill to their notice.
I welcome the Bill, and urge the Government to proceed apace with the final abolition of feudal tenure.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchan
I made a maiden intervention on the Bill earlier, but in a sense this is my maiden speech on it. It was rather difficult to wait at a distance while the Bill went through. I think that it would be appropriate if I said a word or two now, because I gave up three years of my life to the topic. The Government have made a mess of the three years which I left to them.
Today the Lord Advocate made much of what he referred to as difficulties mentioned by the previous administration—in other words, mentioned by me. He also made much of them in Committee. But there is a mighty difference—a difference of three and a half years. That which was seen as difficult when we were moving at great speed into the beginning of our implementation of these provisions is rather different after three and a half years have passed. I cannot equate any difficulties I might have mentioned then with the difficulties that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned now, three and a half years later.
I left the Lord Advocate with only one main problem to solve—how to deal 1004 with private land conditions when a feudal superior is abolished. I accept that it is a big problem, but it is one of principle. The Government do not require three and a half years to make up their mind on a principle. I do not believe that the Civil Service requires three and a half years to work out the details. Therefore, I cannot accept that there is such an equation as is suggested or that there is in it a proof of the Government's intention to carry out the abolition of feudalism with speed, as they said in their election manifesto.
It is an ironic comment on history that today we are discussing the abolition of feudalism when earlier this afternoon we saw another demonstration of one of the final crises of capitalism. It is an extraordinary concurrence of events.
In the debate in 1970, the present Secretary of State for Scotland said:Because feuduty is at present an integral part of the system it cannot disappear altogether, except as part of a major reform. We shall ensure that, in this complex field, reform is carried out in a fair and orderly way.That was said in the course of a speech when the present Secretary of State was lambasting me, as to a greater or lesser extent and with greater or lesser effectiveness all hon. Members opposite did, because I was not then abolishing all feuduties. The right hon. Gentleman said that he accepted that feuduty was such an integral part of the system that it could be abolished only as part of a major reform, and that the Conservatives would ensure that that was done in an orderly way. In fact, they have done precisely the opposite. By introducing Clause 4 they have abolished feuduty without continuing the major reform.
§ Mr. Buchan
On the contrary, Mr. Speaker; this extremely important provision—Clause 4—was introduced in Committee. It offers the possibility of redeeming—or as we would say in our vernacular, North of the Border, abolishing—feuduty by payment. It is very much in the Bill, although I am not surprised by your surprise because it was not in the Bill when first introduced to the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
It sounded as though the hon. Gentleman was complaining about something not being in the Bill.
§ Mr. Buchan
I am not complaining at all; I am drawing attention to the fact that that which it was said was not possible to introduce except as part of a reform, and therefore the abolition of the whole structure, has in fact been so introduced. To add to your astonishment, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that it was not even introduced before you, but in the late stages of Standing Committee. I make the comment because we are left with the important fact that Clause 4 is included so that the abolition of feuduty is included but the system itself remains.
It was to the system that I referred when, three years ago, I said of the Conservative Party:What they want to do is to wipe out the system of feuduties by some kind of compensation, while retaining the superiority written into the system. What they say is that they will wipe out the cash relationship, but the whole injustice of feudalism will remain. This is the position at which they have arrived. It is one which I find slightly contemptible and which should, perhaps, be dismissed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Grand Committee, 19th February 1970; c. 67–71.]I still find it slightly contemptible and it should, perhaps, be dismissed.
In other words, at that time it was possible to say that the Conservatives Intended to abolish the cash aspect but retain the superiority that is written into the system. That is what they have done by the Bill, and there are one or two comments that must be made. They have not made clear what the future is to be. They leave in the right of the feudal superior and they have not solved the basic problem by a fresh approach, by deciding whether there should be private conditions—and, if so, how—or social conditions. That is where there must be an element of re-thinking.
After the kind of statement that we had earlier this afternoon, for example, with the comments made by the Chancellor about land and earlier remarks about the unacceptable face of capitalism, there is a re-thinking on the part of those who were closely involved in the Labour administration on the question whether we were right to say that conditions should remain in private hands instead of passing into public and democratically-controlled 1006 hands. That is an important question to which we require an answer.
In Committee the Lord Advocate said:If it is as simple as they say, why did not the last administration do it in 1970? … One could simply abolish the system at a stroke"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, First Scottish Standing Committee, 4th December 1973; c. 126.]That was an unfortunate choice of phrase, but I shall not pursue it, for the Prime Minister has already suffered sufficiently for it.
The Lord Advocate knows that the pledge was to abolish feudalism. The Government have had three and a half years to do it, but they have failed utterly. They have left vassals having to pay to avoid payment of feuduty, but the vassal has gained nothing more for that payment in terms of control over his own land.
For instance, what happens to a vassal who owns an acre on which he redeems feuduty? Is he then entitled to sell half of that land? The feu and the control will remain in the hands of the superior. The basic right to do with the land what he likes, within planning permission, is not to be given to the vassel; that freedom has not been extended to him.
We all received the figures this morning. I understand that they came from the Under-Secretary, who attempted to give an analysis to show the equivalent cost of redemption over the past few years. The figures varied between 11 and eight times the annual feuduty. That has to be set against the fact that we are in a period of roaring inflation and no one in his senses would want to redeem a feuduty when the cost is drastically diminishing from year to year. Anyone would be stupid to do so when inflation is roaring at more than 10 per cent. and when the pound has fallen by more than 20 per cent. in the past two years and he cannot get anything in the way of improved conditions.
I vividly remember the present Secretary of State saying that he was champing like a warhorse to abolish feuduties. After three and a half years, he is still champing. We achieved something in 1970, however—the setting up of the Land Tribunal, which could cope with existing conditions.
When I introduced that measure, the present Lord Advocate accused me of 1007 expropriation. He was quite right. I took without compensation the right of the feudal superior to demand money in return for waiving certain conditions, and in that sense I was an expropriator. But it was a form of expropriation of which the Scottish people approved. That is why they did not fight it. Those Opposition Members who are afraid of radical policies should remember—
§ Mr. Buchan
It is my maiden speech on the Bill, Mr. Speaker.
What efforts have the Government made to publicise the use of the Lands Tribunal? As I understand it, between 90 and 100 cases have been brought before it, but certainly more were expected. I understand that one of the difficulties is the time taken to deal with cases, but there should be no need for delay.
This was meant to be a simple and direct form of the use of the Lands Tribunal, and it was meant to wipe out the sort of case that was discussed in Committee when we heard of the instance of Lord Vestey and others using their powers to determine whether hotels should have licences. If people in Scotland do not know of this method, the legal profession in Scotland is failing to advise clients that the system exists and may be used without recourse to the legal profession.
I hope that the Lord Advocate, who is the leading Law Officer for Scotland, will make it known to members of the legal profession that we expect them to advise their clients that they do not need to enter into negotiations about the cost of a waiver but that a waiver can be achieved without the payment of compensation, at the Lands Tribunal. In the case described in Committee, Lord Vestey and similar people used the system as a means of preventing competition to their own enterprises.
In giving my blessing to this minuscule mouse of a Bill, which takes us half an inch further forword on the road to the abolition of feudalism, I ask the Lord Advocate to do all in his power to ensure that the importance of the Lands Tribunal is made known to his profession and to the people of Scotland, who are suffering, 1008 and perhaps will continue to suffer after the passage of the Bill, from the worst aspects of feudal superiority.
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I thank the Lord Advocate for dealing with the question of skat. We had a short exchange on this matter on Second Reading and, in case you think I am out of order, Mr. Speaker, I would point out that there is reference to skat in line 25 of page 2 of the Bill.
Although I always speak with a certain amount of diffidence about anything to do with the law, particularly Scottish law, I understand that those who pay skat will have the opportunity of redeeming it on certain terms. I agree with the hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) that it may be a very bad bargain to redeem one's feu in times of inflation, but as skat is founded on such peculiar calculations as the price of lispunds of butter, which may arise now that we are in the Common Market, it may not be such a bad bargain to redeem skat.
I thank the Lord Advocate because, since I have been a Member, he is practically the only Lord Advocate who has addressed his mind seriously to Udal law and the vestiges of Scandinavian law which exist in my constituency. I am glad to think that this totally indefensible impost may be in its last days.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
I should like to put to the Lord Advocate a question which we are all being asked in our constituencies, namely, what next? The Lord Advocate will not be in the next Parliament and therefore I wonder whether he will throw away that caution which behoves Law Officers and let us into the secret of what he would recommend as a timetable for the next stage—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I do not think that it can possibly be in order on Third Reading to ask what further legislation is contemplated.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Dempsey
I have been asked to raise certain matters. The Bill refers to the abolition of feuduty, which plainly 1009 will take some time. What will be the Lord Advocate's attitude in the interim period? Chartered surveyors advise me that when dealing with a feuduty that was fixed some time ago a general settlement is based on 10 years' capitalisation of the amount of the feuduty.
Some documents were handed out to one or two Members who served on the Standing Committee. I am sorry that I did not have the opportunity of studying them. In one document the Lord Advocate mentioned a formula of 8–11 years capitalisation. First, does he look favourably on the practice, which is being adopted more and more by chartered surveyors, of buying out the feu on a capitalisation of 10 years?
Secondly, once feuduty has been abolished what will happen to the feus owned by local authorities? One of my town councils owns quite a number of feus in the town and draws revenue from them. Authorities purchased the feus at the expense of ratepayers. They wish to know whether, in the event of abolition, they will receive compensation. I should be grateful if the Lord Advocate would advise me on that matter.
To err on the safe side, I draw the Lord Advocate's attention to the fact that in the County of Lanark there are feuars who suffered drastically as a result of the old legislation when the feu ran out and when the property or structure erected on the feu reverted to the superior. Owner-occupiers of houses which had been built at their expense found that their houses were in danger of reverting to the superior—to the land owner, for example—and they were on the brink of losing their all.
Have adequate steps been taken in the legislation to ensure absolute security for property owners against avaricious superiors who, when the lease runs out, take over the property on the feu? This is a burning issue in my part of Scotland and I should like to be assured that there is no possibility of any superior being in such a legal situation that he could confiscate the houses of people who had spent their lives in them.
§ The Lord Advocate
An amendment was tabled in Committee by the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) on the irritancy of a feu, to which the hon. 1010 Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) has just referred. I had hoped that it would be possible, in the de minimis area in which we are operating with the 1p feuduty, to abolish the right of irritancy. I was advised, and I have satisfied myself, that we cannot do that while retaining the feuduty system. Until we can make the major change we cannot make changes of this kind.
We introduced a provision in the Bill whereby the period of two years in which one had the right to irritate the feu after two years non-payment of feuduty, which was incorporated in a statute of 1597, was altered to five years. I gave the assurance that by that time the present administration or their successors on this side of the House would be able to abolish the system. Therefore, for practical purposes, the problem of the irritancy of the feu with regard to the nonpayment of feuduty has been solved.
We are dealing with the land law of Scotland. The Scottish system of land tenure extends back almost for a millennium. No one who knows anything about it would suggest that one could readily or carelessly make changes in the system. The matter must be carefully considered before changes are made. As I said from the benches opposite when we discussed the 1970 legislation, the terminology does not appeal in this day and age, but not everything about the system of land tenure is bad. It has many advantages over any system of long leasehold tenure which obtains elsewhere in the United Kingdom. There are many aspects of the feuing system which recommend it.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland) rose—
§ The Lord Advocate
I shall give way later to the hon. Gentleman. I know that he is interested in this matter.
We came to the conclusion some years ago that the system had to be changed. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) never accepted that. When, in Committee in 1970, I said that on the Opposition bench, and when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said the same, no one believed it. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West kept on saying that it was not true. Even today, he still casts doubt on the intention of the Conservative Government to abolish the 1011 system. I use "abolish" advisedly. I do not mean to modify, change or reconstruct but to abolish the system of land tenure known as feudal tenure. We have all along been committed to that policy.
The hon. Gentleman will remember that in Opposition we had a working party looking into this matter long before the 1970 Bill was introduced. We have been among the first to recognise that the 1970 legislation was an invaluable contribution to resolving the problems of the Scottish feudal system, but it in no way fundamentally altered it. It made provision for the allocation of feuduties, but that is a technical matter that I need not go into now. It imposed on the Lands Tribunal for Scotland a discretion to vary or quash land conditions in the exercise of an equitable jurisdiction. The Opposition supported the Labour administration in that.
As did the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leigh (Mr. Ronald King Murray) in Committee, I should like to express on behalf of the Government my appreciation of the work done by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, in particular by its President, a leading Queen's Counsel of the Scottish Bar, who has made an enormous contribution. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West said that more should have been done, but the work of the president of the tribunal merits an assessment on a four-fifths basis. It is very nearly full-time. As I said in Committee, it will abviously go full time. I congratulate the hon. Gentleman for the legislation which he introduced, which was valuable. The machinery which has been implementing it has had full support from the present administration, and I know that great care has been taken about the nominations that have been made to the membership of the tribunal.
§ Mr. Buchan
The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to my doubt of the intention to abolish the whole system and said that a working party had been in existence before 1970. The documents from that working party, as published by Conservative Party headquarters and which I quoted at great length in the Second Reading debate on the 1970 Bill, made us doubt it. I quoted today what the Secretary of State said at that time—that feuduty could not be abolished without abolishing the whole system. In fact, that has been done. What I predicted in 1012 1970 has taken place. I am pleased about the inclusion of Clause 4, but what I predicted then in doubting the intention is exactly what has taken place.
§ The Lord Advocate
The hon. Gentleman is wrong. We have not abolished feuduty. We cannot abolish feuduty. We have retained the 1p nexus for the very reasons the hon. Gentleman gave. I do not want to introduce controversy, because both sides of the House are at one. If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that we could have done this, and if he is saying that if the Labour Government had been returned at the last election they would have abolished the system in 1971—
§ The Lord Advocate
Yes. The hon Gentleman, who handled the Committee stage of the 1970 Bill, was given two invitations, one of which came from myself about the 1s. feuduty. He said that there was a danger of a run into long leasehold tenure if we did that. I have always doubted that, but it is a difficult view and I, no doubt, have had the same advice that he had when he was Minister. Secondly, Mr. James Davidson, who was at that time the Member for Aberdeenshire, West, inserted a new clause advocating the redemption of existing feuduties. For the same reasons the hon. Member for Renfrew, West said that that could not be done until we were able to change the system as a whole.
Basically, I accept that that is right. If the hon. Gentleman, or his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), thought at that time that within a year or 18 months there would be a major reform, there was no reason for rejecting either of those two propositions. There would not have been a run into long leasehold tenure in such a short space of time. Had that opportunity been taken about 11,000 people a year since then who are paying feuduty today would not be paying it.
Governments always tend to be overcautious, and I well understand that. We are all under the same pressures. I do not believe that within 12 or 18 months there would have been a risk of a run into long leasehold tenure in Scotland following a provision for a redemption of existing feuduties to a nominal value 1013 and following a restriction of future feu-duties to 1s. nominal value. That is what we are doing here. With the lapse of time we have been able to work out the highly complicated statutory provisions to deal not only with long leasehold tenure but also with the associated problem of standard security. The right hon. Gentleman cannot claim that as a reason for not doing it in 1970. He had not spotted it then either.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I am sorry that I have not heard the earlier part of the debate but, for obvious reasons, I was committed elsewhere. The right hon. and learned Gentleman misses the point that the Bill we are dealing with today is not the Bill that we dealt with on Second Reading. The redemption of existing feuduties was argued against on Second Reading because it was said that it could not be done. It suddenly appeared in Committee as an amendment.
§ The Lord Advocate
The right hon. Gentleman—whom I rather like—cannot have it both ways. He cannot say, as he did on Second Reading, "If the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate will do his best to improve the Bill, we will give him every support" and in the next breath say that because we have done that it is rather shocking. I am perhaps more flexible than was the right hon. Gentleman in handling the 1970 Bill. I believe—and I say this advisedly—that many of the essential changes contained in this Bill could have been done in 1970 without the risks that the right hon. Gentleman and others advised us would be run. There is nothing wrong with flexibility.
I acknowledge my indebtedness to the hon. Member for Dundee, West and the hon. and learned Member for Leith. Amendments were tabled dealing with the major change in the Bill—the optional redemption. I am not sure how much it will be used, but I hope it will be used widely. I agree entirely with what the hon. Member for Renfrew, West said. We shall make every possible effort to advertise and publicise the effects of this legislation and of his legislation in 1970 with regard to land conditions. One rarely comes across problems on land conditions. It is feuduties that worry most people. Where land conditions inhibit 1014 development, as in the example given by the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), it is desirable that the public should know of the existence of the Lands Tribunal and the provisions of the 1970 Act.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Will the Lord Advocate take this opportunity—which he has not taken at any earlier stage of the Bill—to explain to the people of Scotland why it is that they should take his assertion today that he intends to go on with the total abolition of the feu-duty system any more seriously than they took the assertions made by the Conservative Party before the 1970 election? He has today given some clue as to the possible time scale he has in mind—it is to be within five years. We have now had three and a half years of Conservative Government during which time this matter could have been dealt with. The right hon. and learned Gentleman emphasised the enormous difficulties of tackling this problem and, apart from saying that the system has lasted for a thousand years, he did not explain where the difficulty lay. Is it an intellectual difficulty on the part of the Lord Advocate in retaining this aspect of feudalism, or is it a problem of resources, advice, or interest? Unless the Lord Advocate gives an explanation the people of Scotland cannot be blamed for not taking seriously the Government's assertions.
§ The Lord Advocate
This raises a point which was also mentioned by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). I indicated on Second Reading the kind of time scale which I thought would be possible. I said I thought that it was possible to deal with the final stage of the problem of land tenure within the course of the next one or two years I said that there were competing commitments. There is the problem of land registration and registration of title. The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock will remember raising this matter in his opening speech on the 1970 legislation. It is important that we should go ahead with registration of title. This involves an evenly balanced argument whether one alters the basis of title before dealing with the machinery of registration. There are arguments both ways, but one or other of these competing requirements should be dealt with within the next one or two years. I cannot go further than that.
1015 As an outgoing Member of Parliament, I should not be too glib in the undertakings which I give. I repeat that enormous difficulties are involved. The hon. Member for Renfrew, West must have been fascinated by these intellectual problems, and I appreciate that the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland will not accept that there are problems. But the House must accept from me, as Lord Advocate, that serious legal problems are involved. I am not basing this statement only on my position as Lord Advocate, since we have been advised by the most eminent advisers—and the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock will know who I mean—including the leading authority on land tenure in Scotland. The Government have been given the most expert advice on these complicated matters.
I wish to record my appreciation of the general reception given to the Bill. Criticism was predictable on the lines, "Why have you not done more?" and also, "We would have done it so much quicker." But we have heard that all before. The main thing to bear in mind is that we have made a massive stride forward—not just a small step—to reform land tenure in Scotland. It is sufficiently material to make it impossible to stop at this stage, for various technical reasons, and this process will have to be completed by the next Conservative Government. I have every confidence in recommending the Bill to the House.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.