HC Deb 03 May 1904 vol 134 cc366-8


Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

said he appealed to the Government not to press their advantage too far, and he hoped the adjournment of the House would now be moved.


said that he hoped the House would allow the Bill to be read a second time. Marriages Legalisation Bills had been passed unanimously by the House on former occasions. All denominations in the House were agreed as to the necessity of it; and the Provisional Order System would keep the control of the House over the legalisation of informalities of marriage.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said that it would be remembered that, three years ago it was possible to raise a very important and far-reaching question in regard to this particular Bill. There was no particular schedule attached to this Bill as there had been to former Bills. As it stood, the Bill gave very large powers to the Secretary of State to make valid marriages which appeared to be invalid, because they were solemnised under certain informalities. The danger of a Bill of this kind was that while absolutely dealing with a general question, special influence might be brought to bear to use the Bill, when it became an Act, to deal with one particular case. That had occurred some years ago. He begged to move that the debate be now adjourned.

Mr. SPEAKER, being of opinion that the Motion was an abuse of the Rules of the House, declined to propose the Question thereupon to the House.

Question again proposed.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)

said he thought that the debate would adjourn itself naturally very soon. The reason for introducing a public Bill of this kind every year was the relationship of the Church of England to the marriage laws of the State. Certain formalities had to be gone through before the solemnisation of marriages, such as the proclamation of banns, and the licensing by the Bishop of the church where the proclamation of banns was made. Such was the disorder in the Church of England, that cases frequently occurred where marriages had been celebrated without the requirements of the law being observed, and these marriages were illegal. Such a Bill as this was necessary to legalise such marriages.

And, it being Midnight, the debate; stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed to-morrow.