§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD STANMORE
My Lords, this is purely a consolidating measure. The question of a Consolidating Bill came before your Lordships during the debate on the Agriculture (Amendment) Act, and it was the late Lord Balfour of Burleigh who pointed out the desirability of some such measure as the present Bill. The noble Earl, Lord Ancaster, gave an undertaking, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Scotland, that a Bill of this kind should be prepared. The condition of the law in Scotland at the present time is very confusing. This measure is based upon provisions contained in the Agricultural Hold- 633 ings (Scotland) Act, 1908; the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Amendment Act, 1910; the Agricultural Land Sales (Restriction of Notices to Quit) Act, 1919; the Agriculture Act, 1920; and the Agriculture (Amendment) Act, 1921. Should your Lordships give a Second Reading to this Bill it is proposed to refer it to Lord Muir Mackenzie's Committee on Consolidation Bills as soon as that Committee is set up. I beg to move.
§ Moved, that the Bill be now read 2ª.—(Lord Stanmore.)
THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY
My Lords, this Bill was circulated only yesterday morning, and this is the first time we have had it in our hands. It has not been considered in Scotland yet. I should like to ask whether it is to be referred to a Committee of this House or a Statutory Committee. The noble Lord is not right in saying that it merely consolidates five important Acts. It goes a great deal further than that. Some of the arbitration clauses give extended powers to the arbitrator, and I hope, therefore, that sonic time will be given to its consideration.
THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH
My Lords, might I also point out that there has not been very much time to look into the Bill? I would ask my noble friend to give an undertaking that it shall not go to the Committee before we in Scotland have had some time to examine it and see if it requires amendment.
§ LORD STANMORE
I will certainly give the undertaking for which the noble Duke asks, and I can inform the noble Marquess that the Committee to which it is proposed to refer the Bill has not yet been set up, so that there will be some considerable interval before the next stage.
§ On Question, Bill read 2ª.