§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he had to move that this Bill be now read a second time. It might be in the recol- 1919 lection of the House that, three years ago, there was a debate in "another place" on the Statutes of the Cathedrals. It was found that the cathedrals were greatly hampered in their development, because there was no existing machinery by which their Statutes could be amended according to modern ideas and requirements. The Government of the day—the Government of Lord Beaconsfield—appointed a Royal Commission, at the head of which was the Archbishop of Canterbury, which had the peculiarity, in common with the University Commission, that there were in the case of each cathedral temporary members added in the persons of the Dean and a Canon. The Statutes, after being discussed and revised by the Commission, were sent to the Chapters, and, their advice being taken, the Statutes came back to the Commission; and, finally, after this minute sifting, anyone, if this Bill passed, could be heard who had anything to say respecting them. It was found that the machinery of proceeding by legislation, which was the only one which certainly existed for giving validity to the new Cathedral Statutes, was too cumbersome; so this Bill provided new and more simple machinery, in the shape of a Cathedral Committee of Council. It had been brought in "elsewhere" by the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Commission, and had passed after discussion, but without a division. Its opponents said that the promoters of the Bill were afraid of the full glare of public opinion; that they were afraid of bringing their schemes before Parliament. Let him assure the House that none of those criticisms were based upon fact. In a very few words he thought he could show that the machinery which was proposed by the Bill was one which bristled with opportunities of criticism. The Committee proposed by the Bill was based on the recognized relations of Church and State, and the Cathedral Statutes were not to pass that Committee till they had been duly and properly sifted by it. All men would have a right to claim a hearing. The Statutes were then to go before the high authorities who acted in the name of Her Majesty; and finally, after passing these two trials, the Statutes would have to be for 12 weeks on the Table of both Houses of Parliament. He thought the House 1920 would not hesitate to give the Bill a second reading.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Beresford Hope.)
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he did not think this was a proper time to discuss the Bill. The Bill was one of considerable importance. It was a Bill calculated to diminish the control of Parliament over cathedral establishments—cathedral establishments being National establishments of the country. He did not think that in the last days of Parliament they ought to take the second reading of a Bill of this character. There were, from both sides of the House, no less than six Amendments against the Bill. Pour of the Amendments were directly against the principle of the Bill. One of them was to the effect that, so long as the Church of England continued to be established by law, it was not expedient to diminish the control of Parliament over the cathedral establishments, or to exclude, by Act of Parliament, any portion of Her Majesty's subjects from the exercise of their existing Constitutional rights in the government of the National Church. Another was that it was undesirable to give powers as proposed by this Bill until the final Report of the Royal Commission on Cathedral Churches, and the Evidence taken before them, should have been submitted to Parliament. He did not wish to move a direct negative; therefore, he would move that the debate be now adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Dillwyn.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 21; Noes 31: Majority 10.—(Div. List, No. 339.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. MONK
said, that, as the House desired to have a debate on the Bill, even at this late hour, he would be happy to indulge the right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope) with a few observations. The right hon. Gentleman had said little about the Bill itself. One of the Bishops in "another 1921 place" had designated this Bill as "a leap in the dark;" and he (Mr. Monk) was anxious, before they took this leap in the dark in this House, to consider some of the provisions of the Bill. It was proposed that a Committee should be appointed to consider such Cathedral Statutes as should be presented to them by the Royal Commission; and this Committee was to have the power of enacting1 the Statutes; and, when enacted, the Statutes, so altered and so rearranged, were to have the force of law. That seemed to him to be a total change in the whole regulation of the cathedrals. If any change were to be made in the Statutes, it should be made by Parliament itself, and not committed to four Members of the Privy Council.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
§ House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.