HC Deb 30 November 1920 vol 135 cc1205-6

Order for Second Reading read.

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

7.0 P.M.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Can we have a word of explanation about this? I do not want to strain the Members of the Government too much, but I do not know how much money there is involved. It is not mentioned in the Bill. I should like to protest once more against taking Bills of this sort on a Tuesday so early in the Session. All sorts of restrictions on the liberty of the subject, to mention no other objections, are now being imposed by bureaucrats because certain Peace Treaties have not been ratified. Why should not these be brought before the House to be dealt with? We are fobbed off again and again by the Leader of the House, when we ask for important legislation to be brought in, by saying, "There is no time," or "The pressure of work is too great," or "Certain Bills have not come down from another place," and here we are being put off with Bills which the Government do not consider important enough to give a word of explanation on, and I presume if this Bill passes Second Reading now, the Government will move that it be committed to Committee of the whole House. I really think the matter is most serious. The Government is apparently shirking its responsibilities to the country in bringing in most important legislation which is urgently required by saying there is no time, and yet here we are at 7 o'clock discussing these Bills of tenth-rate importance. They may be important, but they cannot compare with the Bills I have mentioned as urgently needed by the country which we are told cannot be brought in because the work of the Session is crowded or some other excuse. At any rate, let us have a word of explanation before we pass the Second Reading of this Bill.


This Bill is on all fours with the last one, except that it applies to a charity, whereas the previous Bill applied to a Congregational church. This Bill is brought in by the Charity Commissioners. Under their statutory obligation they are obliged to frame these schemes for the management of charitable estates. It is simply as a matter of form that they have to be submitted to the House of Commons. I believe it to be strict constitutional doctrine that the responsibility rests entirely with the Charity Commissioners, and ultimately with the Court of Chancery.