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Reserve Forces Bill Lords

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 19 February 1980

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Order for Second Reading read.

10.55 pm

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This is a Consolidation Bill which consolidates a number of enactments relating to the reserve and auxiliary forces, and lieutenancies, and which repeals certain obsolete enactments relating to these matters going back to a statute of 1662.

No fewer than 29 Acts will be removed from the statute book if we put this one on to it.

The Law Commission made a recommendation proposing a minor change in the law to facilitate the consolidation. This relates to the application of the measures consolidated to the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man authorities have been consulted and are in agreement with the recommendation which has been incorporated in the Bill.

There is one matter of detail to which I would draw the attention of the House, and that relates to clause 144 of the Bill. As a result of an oversight, the penalty provisions in this clause do not take into account the statutory maximum fine that may be imposed in England and Wales under section 28 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and the corresponding Scottish provision.

It is my intention to move at Committee stage an amendment to rectify that oversight.

The Bill has been considered by the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills. In its fifth report to both Houses dated 28 November 1979 the Committee reported that it was of the opinion that, apart from those parts of the Bill which are the subject of a Law Commission recommendation—that is the one relating to the Isle of Man—the Bill is pure consolidation and represents the existing law. It was satisfied that the recommendation is for the purposes of producing a satisfactory consolidation of the law and that the amendments which the Bill proposes to make to the existing law give effect to that recommendation. The Committee further recommended that there was no point to which the attention of Parliament should be drawn.

I commend the Bill to the House.

10.57 pm

Having read the speech made in the other place by Lord Wigg, some of us think that it is relevant to put forward a quotation that my noble Friend took from Captain Waterhouse, who said:

"The fact remains that when this crisis came we had no plan, no ships, no aeroplanes and no men available in sufficient quantities to hit quickly."
This is not the time for a long debate on the merits or otherwise of the reserves. However, I wanted to put on record that some of us rather take the view of Lord Wigg.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[ Mr. Cope.]

Committee tomorrow.