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Clause 5—(Extension Of 9 Geo 4 C 25)

Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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I beg to move, in page 6, line 16, to leave out the Clause.

Hon. Members who took part in the Committee proceedings will recall that this Clause gave rise to a considerable volume of discussion, some of which, I venture to suggest, was a little beside the point. I endeavoured then to explain the very limited purpose of the Clause, and it is right that I should inform the House that I have since received a letter from the Deputy-Keeper of the Signet, representing the Joint Committee of Legal Societies in Scotland, stating that in view of my explanation and of certain further explanations given by my right hon. Friend, the committee no longer regarded this Clause as raising any general question of principle. Nevertheless I have reason to understand that there are certain hon. Members who still entertain some doubt or dissatisfaction, and in those circumstances my right hon. Friend and I have resolved to take a course, the motive of which and the reason for which I think hon. Members will appreciate, and that is to drop the Clause, not because we are in any way altering the view which we expressed in Committee, but simply because it seems to us undesirable that the time of this House should be taken up in debating a subject which, one way or the other, is of comparatively little practical consequence and is calculated to create the entirely false impression that there is controversy within the ranks of the profession. Without referring further to the merits of the subject I accordingly move the Amendment.

As the Member who first raised this point in Committee, may I say a word of thanks to the Lord Advocate and to his right hon. Friend for the course that they have taken?

Amendment agreed to.

4.2 p.m.

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

The provisions of the Bill have been fully discussed by the House and in Committee, and the proposals, as amended, have obtained a wide measure of acceptance. I do not propose to outline them again, but there is a technical point which it is right I should make, and this is the opportunity to make it. In Clause 2, Sub-section (8), opportunity has been taken to provide that the method of appointment of the clerks of the Board of Control, that is by the board with the approval of the Secretary of State, shall also extend to the Secretary of the Board of Control. The Secretary's appointment now lies with His Majesty. The change that we are proposing has necessitated, in accordance with precedent, that in order to put the matter in proper form I should have His Majesty's permission for the change, and I have to acquaint the House that I have it in command from His Majesty to signify to the House that His Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Bill, gives his consent, as far as His Majesty's interest is concerned, that the House may do therein as they shall think fit. Whereas the appointment before lay with His Majesty, it is now proposed that it should lie with the Board of Control, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.