In principle I am attracted by the idea of consolidation but the task would be heavy involving substantial expense and additional staff for which I can see no practical necessity at present.
Does my right hon. Friend not agree that this is a classic example of the advantages of consolidating statutes, and that if over a period of 60 years there have been so many Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act, it would be of the greatest assistance to ship owners, trade unions and others if they could find the law in a consolidated statute? Will my right hon. Friend reconsider his decision?
As my hon. Friend, who is familiar with this subject, knows, many of the Measures which are in form amendments of the original Act are really additions to it and do not amend the substance of it. While, as I have said, I sympathise with my hon. Friend's desire to see consolidation, there are many other aspects of the law where the need is even more urgent.