§ The PRIME MINISTER
I beg to move for leave to bring in a Bill "to provide for the administration of the Government in case the Crown should descend to any issue of His Majesty while such issue shall be under the age of eighteen years, and for the care and guardianship of such issue."
I rise to ask leave to introduce this Bill consequent upon His Majesty's Gracious Message of yesterday, and the Address, passed in reply to that message by the House. The Bill seeks to make provision for a contingency which we all hope and pray may never occur, the contingency, that is to say, of the demise of the Crown before the person next in succession has attained legal age, namely, eighteen years. The Bill follows in all substantial respects the latest precedent, namely, the Act of 1840, which was passed at the beginning of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It provides that if on the demise of His present Majesty, whom God long preserve, any child of His Majesty succeeds to the Crown while under the age of eighteen years Her Majesty Queen Mary shall be the guardian and have the care and tuition of such child until the child attains the age of eighteen years. It goes on to enact that Her Majesty Queen Mary shall, until that time, have full power and authority, in the name of the child and under the style and title of Regent, to exercise and administer the Royal power and government of this realm and of the dominions and territories belonging to the Crown. It further provides that certain oaths which are set out in the Schedules shall be taken by the Regent before she enters upon her office. It prohibits any marriage on the part of the infant Sovereign without the consent in writing of the Regent and of both Houses of Parliament. It provides that the powers given to the Regent shall not include the giving of the Royal Assent to any Bill varying the order or course of succession to the Crown as established by the Act of Settlement, or to any Bill for 1322 repealing or altering the Act of Uniformity, or that part of the Act of Union with Scotland which relates to the establishment of the Presbyterian Church. Then, finally, following precedent, it disables the Regent if, at any time after having become the holder of that office, she should be reconciled to or hold communion with the Church of Rome, or should profess the Roman Catholic religion, or should marry a person professing that religion, from continuing to exercise or hold the office. In all these respects the Bill is strictly in accordance with the precedent I have named, and I hope the House will now give leave for the introduction of the Bill.
Bill "to provide for the administration of the Government in case the Crown should descend to any issue of His Majesty while such issue shall be under the age of eighteen years, and for the care and guardianship of such issue," ordered to be brought in by the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, the Attorney-General, the Lord Advocate, and the Attorney-General for Ireland. Presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Monday next.