HC Deb 10 August 1914 vol 65 cc2294-5

Order for second reading read.

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


What is the reason for this Bill being suddenly introduced in this way? We are met together to-day to do what we can to support the country against the common enemy. Why, then, should this Bill, about which no one knows anything, be suddenly introduced? It has nothing whatever to do with defence. It has probably been sprung upon us because some hon. Member on the other side wants to put his hand into some charity.


It has come down from the House of Lords.


We are met here today for the given purpose, and why should Bills, apparently satisfactory to hon. Members opposite, be put forward? In this case the Memorandum of the Bill states:—

"The object of this Bill is to enable the benefits of charities which are at present restricted to parishes or other defined areas in towns to be extended so as to be available within the area in which the benefits can be utilised to the best advantage."

That may be all right. But what about the wishes of the pious benefactors? This may be a good sort of departmental Bill to bring on under ordinary circumstances, but I venture very seriously to say that it is not fair to the Opposition for the Government to take advantage of their desire to do the best they can for their country in this emergency to put forward Bills of this kind, and to rush them through all their stages, without anyone knowing anything about them. They have nothing to do with the crisis.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Stanley Buckmaster)

I regret that the hon. Baronet has taken this attitude with regard to this Bill, which was introduced by Lord Parmoor in another place, has passed through its stages there, coming down here in the hope that it will receive a very considerable support—it is not a Government Bill—and pass. Having regard to the history of the Bill and where it was introduced, I should not have thought that any objection could possibly be raised. If there are objections, the Bill cannot possibly be proceeded with. It is surely not unreasonable but very important at this moment that we should have at our disposal all possible charitable sources of relief! This is a Bill whose object is simply this: that where the populations of boroughs or towns have shifted those concerned may be able, not to alter the purpose of the charity at all, but simply to alter the area originally defined, so that the operations of the charity may be extended within the boroughs. The Bill, in the opinion of many people, promises to be a very useful Bill, and I hope it will be passed.

Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.

Resolved, "That this House do immediately resolve itself into the Committee on the Bill."—[Sir S. Buckmaster.]

Bill accordingly considered in Committee, and reported without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.