HC Deb 10 June 1910 vol 17 cc1007-9

Order for Second Reading read.

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


I would like your ruling, Mr. Speaker, on a point of Order. I would like to know whether this Bill is in order? The provisions of this Bill include the appointment of a Church Commission. In the fourth Clause it is said that the Commission, to be called the Church Commission, is for the better enforcement of the laws relating to public worship. Now that varies, I think I may say repeals, one of the provisions in the Bill of Rights. [The Noble Lord quoted Section.] I submit that a Bill bearing in any way on so important a statute as the Bill of Rights ought to have the fact stated in the title. The Bill, as it stands, provides for that which is outside the leave of the House to introduce it. Therefore it is out of order, and ought to be withdrawn.


On that point of Order, may I say that the Bill is in precisely the same form in which it has been brought before the House on several occasions. No alteration whatever has been made.


Possibly attention has not been directed to the matter before. Now my attention has been directed to it, I do not think there is really anything in the point raised by the Noble Lord. If this Bill does in any respect repeal the Bill of Rights, it can only do so by implication, and it seems to be hardly necessary to mention it in the title. It is impossible to draw a distinction between various Acts of Parliament, and to say that this is a very important Act, and therefore we shall call the attention of the public to the fact that we are about to repeal it in part, and that another Act is not of particular importance and that therefore we need not call attention to it. It is impossible to draw a line between Acts of Parliament. If eventually it is found that this Bill does repeal the Bill of Bights, it will be possible to introduce a clause drawing attention to that fact.


It is, of course, impossible for me, at the eleventh hour, to open a discussion on the subject of this Bill. But I want to make one appeal to the House, if I may, and that is that they will allow a Division to be taken on the Second Reading. The promoters of this Bill want to know where they stand. They want to know who is for them and who is against them. This Bill was fully debated the year before last. It has been before the House a number of years. Its provisions are well understood. The necessity for them is well understood. That necessity is growing greater day by day and year by year. Therefore I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


I beg to second the Motion.


I do not think that many Members in this House will consider the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend below in favour of a Division on this Bill very powerful arguments. In the first place this proposal, although it is identical with the Bill produced by the hon. Gentleman in 1908, has not at any rate been considered or discussed by this present Parliament, the composition of which is very different to the composition of the Parliament of 1908. As I do not think the discussion even then was of sufficient length—

And it being Five of the Clock the Debate stood adjourned. Debate to be resumed on 24th June.