HC Deb 05 May 1913 vol 52 cc1666-7
46. Mr. KING

asked the Prime Minister whether he has taken notice of the recent decision of the University of Oxford to continue to exclude those not in holy orders from examining for, and obtaining, degrees in divinity; and, having regard to this being only one in a series of futile attempts to bring the University of Oxford into line with modern ideas, whether he will now advise the appointment of a Royal Commission to report on the changes desirable in our ancient universities?

48. Mr. DENMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the achievement of Convocation of the University of Oxford in the matter of theological degrees; whether he has considered whether the time has arrived when Oxford should be allowed a constitution whereby it might be governed in national rather than denominational interests by persons of less specialised tastes than non-resident Masters of Arts; and whether he will advise His Majesty to appoint a Royal Commission to consider the best method of attaining this end?


asked the Prime Minister whether, as the University of Oxford has determined to continue the interposition of religious tests as to examiners in its divinity schools and graduates in divinity degrees, thus excluding the ministers and laity of the Presbyterian churches of Scotland, he Will consider the expediency of submitting the question of religious tests to a Royal Commission whereon the Presbyterians shall be represented?


Speaking for myself, I greatly deplore the recent decision of the Convocation of the University of Oxford. I have for a long time had under consideration the various proposals for the appointment of a Royal Commission or Commissions to inquire into the constitution of, and other matters connected with, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that in existing circumstances the setting up of such an inquiry might lead to delay in the prosecution of necessary reforms and is not likely to be productive of fruitful consequences.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I hold in my hand a book written four years ago by the Chancellor of the University advocating this and other reforms and that not one of these reforms is yet brought about? Does he think we must have at least four more years before anything can be done?


I have read the book. It is not quite accurate to say nothing has been done. A Financial Board has been appointed for whose enquiries and operations I personally anticipate good will result. I cannot add to what I have already said.


Will the coming Education Bill take in not only the abolition of tests for teachers—


The hon. Member is getting a long way from the subject.