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Jurors (Enrolment Of Women) (Scotland) Bill Hl

Volume 41: debated on Monday 9 August 1920

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Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, this is a Bill which I anticipate your Lordships will think it right to pass through all its stages to-night. I can describe the necessity for it and its nature in a few sentences. Parliament passed some months ago the Sex Disqualification Removal Act, and among its consequences was that women became available for service on juries. As the House knows, women are to-day sitting on juries in England, but it was found impossible to apply the system in Scotland owing to the cast-iron statutory restrictions upon the jury rolls which exist in that country. It is obviously undesirable that full effect should not be given to the will of Parliament as expressed in that Act, and it is the purpose of the present Bill to remove the technical objections of which I have spoken. The matter is highly technical, but if noble Lords desire more exact information I shall be glad to afford it. I have satisfied myself that the difficulties exist and can be dealt with in the manner proposed.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read 2a .

It is not necessary, but I hope your Lordships will do so. No one has ever suggested that there is any other possible consequence than the one which I have indicated, and we have a great number of Bills to deal with. It never occurred to me that there would be any objection to this course.

I shall not, of course, resist if the Lord Chancellor wishes it, but it is a great pity to do away with the various stages of Bills too frequently. They are a great security of the privileges of the House and of the business of the country.

I am much obliged to the noble Marquess. I venture to press this course to-day because tomorrow, and on lator days, we shall be very busy. It is, I think, the first time I have asked your Lordships to take this course.

Committee negatived.

Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.