HC Deb 03 March 1853 vol 124 cc977-8

I rise, Sir, to put the question, perhaps I should rather say the three questions, to the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, of which I have given him notice, and I am sure that in putting a question upon a subject so delicate and so important as this, I may be allowed to disclaim the slightest intention to show any disrespect, or anything that can approach to disrespect, towards the distinguished prelates to whom I refer. I wish, also, to disclaim the least intention to prejudge in any way the important question whether it is desirable or not for the interests of the Church that the powers of Convocation should be enlarged, or its constitution remodelled. I wish, firstly, to ask the noble Lord whether the attention of the Government has been called to the proceedings of the Upper House of Convocation which took place on the 16th ultimo, and which were of a somewhat unusual character, and the legality of which was very strongly disputed by some of the prelates there present? I wish to ask the noble Lord, secondly, whether the Government are of opinion that in appointing a Committee to transact business during the prorogation, and to report to Convocation at their next meeting in August next, the Upper House acted legally, and whether that Committee can legally execute the functions so assigned to it? And I wish to ask the noble Lord, in the third place, if it is the intention of the Government to take any steps in this matter?


Sir, in answer to the question of the right hon. Baronet—although he has already once postponed it—at present I can only say that the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been directed to the subject to which he refers; that the Law Officers of the Crown have been asked their opinion as to the legal power of Convocation respecting the Committee which is to sit from the 16th of February to some day in August next; but at present, although the question occupies their attention, the Government have not yet received their formal opinion on the subject. I therefore wish the right hon. Baronet to defer asking his question till to-morrow.

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