HC Deb 16 January 1913 vol 46 cc2258-60
73 and 74. Mr. KING

asked the right hon. Member for Morpeth, as Chairman of the Public Petitions Committee (1) whether the Committee propose to present a further Report to the House, showing how many signatures are attached to Welsh petitions against the Established Church (Wales) Bill which are reported on by the Committee as contravening the Rules of the House, and especially as containing several names signed in the same handwriting, and how many signaturse are contained in the petitions that are in order; and (2) whether his Committee has taken into consideration the fact revealed by the fourth Report of his Committee that 387 petitions from Wales against the Established Church (Wales) Bill contravened the Rules and Orders of the House, especially in respect of many signatures being in the same handwriting; and whether a further Report of the Committee on Public Petitions will be issued showing the total number of petitions found to be in order and the total number found to contravene the Rules of the House, and the total number of signatures on the two classes of petitions, respectively?


The subject has been fully considered by the Committee, and they have decided not to take any further action or to issue any order at the present time. I may add, my hon. Friend will find all the information he requires, both as regards the number of petitions and of the signatures appended thereto, in the Reports of the Committee on the Petitions from England and Wales against the Established Church (Wales) Bill.


Arising out of that answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that many of these breaches of the rule were purely technical, such as the Prayer must be on each sheet, and that in those cases the numbers had already been deducted before the Committee made their Report to the House?


No, Sir; the numbers had not been deducted; but the other statement of the hon. Member, namely, that many of the mistakes were of a trivial and technical character, is correct.


Had the Committee the advantage of the services of a handwriting expert?

75. Mr. KING

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the petition against the Established Church (Wales) Bill signed by inhabitants of the parish of Cefnllys with Llandrindod, containing 2,058 signatures, whereof 665 gave addresses showing that they were visitors from distant places, he will move that the petition be rejected?


This subject has been considered more than once. It was considered by the Committee yesterday, and the answer is in the negative. The Committee have no intention of taking any further steps in the matter of rejecting any of these petitions beyond their report of the 18th December on the petition from Llanbadrig. I may add that I myself examined the petition referred to by my hon. Friend. The signatures were quite genuine and the addresses were given, and, as far as I could judge, the mistake was due to an over eagerness on the part of some of the signatories to pass themselves off as Welshmen or as inhabitants of Welsh towns, a sentiment with which my hon. Friend will sympathise.