§ MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR (Liverpool, East Toxteth)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will give an early day for the discussion of the Report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline; and if an opportunity for discussing the Report will in any case be afforded the House of Commons before letters of business are issued to the Convocations or action of any kind taken.
MR. CATHCART WASON
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman 1073 was aware that Scottish affairs had not received one day of the time of the House.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
My hon. friend need be under no apprehension on that account. With regard to the first paragraph of the Question, I am afraid that in the existing state of public business it is scarcely possible to find an early day, and I would remind the hon. Member that the subject could hardly be discussed with advantage before the evidence is in the hands of Members. With regard to the last paragraph of the Question, I cannot give any positive assurance.
§ MR. PAUL (Northampton)
asked the Attorney-General whether he had soon the recommendation of the Commissioners on Ecclesiastical Discipline that the two Convocations should meet together and discuss a certain specified subject and whether the clerical representatives of the separate and independent provinces of Canterbury and York were legally entitled to sit or vote together.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (SIR JOHN WALTON,) Leeds, S.
My hon. friend has asked me a Question on a somewhat recondite subject, but, giving such attention as I have been able to the matter, I have come to the conclusion that there is no constitutional argument against the Convocations of the two provinces sitting together. I find that right down to the thirteenth century they frequently sat together, but that the latest occasion on which they adopted that practice was in the year 1268. So that, assuming that letters of business were issued to the two provinces, I see no reason why they should not, at all events, debate the subjects referred to them together; but, possibly, it might be well, though the subjects were debated by the two Houses, representing the whole Church, to vote separately. I am led to make that suggestion because the clergy have a somewhat larger representation in the Convocation for the Province of York than the clergy have in the Convocation for the Province of Canterbury. Therefore, while their deliberations might be joint, it would, perhaps, be as well that their decision should be separate.