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Law Of Intestacy

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he proposes to introduce legislation to amend the law of intestacy.

As the hon. Member is aware, there was not time to introduce a Bill on succession in either of the last two Sessions of Parliament, and, in view of the claims of other Measures in the Government's programme, I can give no undertaking to do so during the current Session.

Can the right hon. Gentleman at least give an undertaking that it is still his intention to introduce this Bill, even at some far distant date?

I know that this matter has been under consideration for a considerable period, but it is not of the very highest urgency and it represents changes in very long-standing laws. I could not undertake at this moment to say when it would be possible to introduce it.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recall that, two years ago, in the Gracious Speech, he promised this legislation? Will not he come clean with the House of Commons and tell us that he has shelved this legislation at the request of the Scottish Landowners' Federation?

Not at the request of anybody. There are difficulties, and this is a subject on which there are profound differences of view. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, time in the Scottish Grand Committee for Measures of this kind is not too plentiful at the moment.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why, when I brought in a Bill on this subject last Session, the Government blocked it?

I am afraid that, offhand, I cannot remember any details of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Bill.