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The Board's General Functions

Volume 76: debated on Monday 1 April 1985

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Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 2, line 9, after "to" insert "and interpreted for".

11.33 pm

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10.

Amendment No. 1 is straightforward. It is intended to emphasise the importance of interpreting for the public the items in the museums' collections. That duty is already implicit in the Bill, but the amendment serves to add a degree of emphasis to what is now generally agreed to be a central part of the museums' role.

I come to amendments Nos. 2 and 3, with which go amendments Nos. 9 and 10. Hon. Members will recall that following our dicsussions in Committee we added "artistic" and "archaeological" matters to the lists in clause 2(1)(d) and paragraph 3 of schedule 1.

Amendments Nos. 2 and 9 provide for the addition of the word "architectural", and the word "historical" is added by amendments Nos. 3 and 10.

Amendment No. 4 adds a new subsection to clause 2 which requires the board, in promoting the public's awareness, appreciation and understanding of the matters specified in subsection (1)(d), to have due regard to the Scottish aspect of these matters.

In the light of the discussions that we had in this House, I hope to get the support of the Opposition in commending the amendments to the House.

I should like in particular to welcome Lords amendment No. 4. Recognising the hostility with which the Minister in Committee greeted my proposals to enhance the Scottish aspects of the administration of the museums, will the Minister say why the Government have now so changed their mind as to make special reference to the Scottish aspect? Was the amendment wished on them by the House of Lords? Why have they changed their attitude?

When will it be convenient to discuss the vexed question of the register of gardens?

I think that the answer to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) is that that discussion would be appropriate on Lords amendment No. 8 to which we shall be coming later.

May I say to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) that the amendment, in contrast to the one that he tabled in Committee, is worded in such a way as to avoid the danger of encouraging a chauvinistic approach which might lead the new board, paradoxically, to neglect the international aspects of its work. That was the point, as he will recall, that the hon. Member for Linlithgow also put to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 2 to 4 agreed to.