HC Deb 10 September 1942 vol 383 cc274-5
17. Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Makins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider putting into operation the Adoption of Children (Regulation) Act, 1939, or at all events parts of it, to meet the present conditions which have arisen?

27. Mr. Mander

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider the advisability of now bringing into operation, in view of developments that have taken place since the war started, the Adoption of Children (Regulation) Act, 1939?

30. Mr. Lipson

asked the Home Secretary whether, in order to protect the interests of the children of this country, he will take steps to bring into operation the Adoption of Children (Regulation) Act?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

Whether there are new circumstances, calling for a reconsideration of the decision taken by Parliament in 1939 to postpone the operation of this Act, is a matter about which I am making inquiry, but I am not at present in a position to make a statement.

Sir E. Makins

Is the Minister aware of the growing demand among responsible people for the operation of this Act? Does he not think that this Act, if it was necessary before the war, is all the more necessary now, when so many unwanted babies are being born?

Mr. Morrison

I have seen a number of comments, some of which are accurate and some rather out-of-date. I think we had better be sure of the facts before we make up our minds, The other point is that there is a good deal of administrative work entailed by this Act, both for my Department and the local authorities, who are very badly pressed. I must take those factors into account.

Viscountess Astor

Will the Minister not ask the people who are dealing with these children? It is frightening. Many societies and many people who are deeply interested in children are aware that things are going on about which the House of Commons, if it knew the facts, would not lose a day before passing that Act.

Mr. Morrison

I have no doubt that the societies concerned have made their views known to the Home Office, but if not, I shall welcome any observations and experience they care to give us, and will take them into account.

Viscountess Astor

Will the right hon. Gentleman put the matter before the House of Commons?

Mr. Morrison

I do not know about that.

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