HC Deb 08 March 1951 vol 485 cc640-1
13. Mr. Hollis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will appoint a commission, or committee, to inquire into the present state of the law concerning the disqualification of ministers of religion for membership of this House, and to make recommendations for its reform.

Mr. Ede

No decision has yet been reached about the appropriate method of inquiry into the problem of clerical disqualification.

Mr. Hollis

Can the Home Secretary hold out any hope that he will carry out the specific pledge he gave on 19th October, that an inquiry would be held?

Mr. Ede

I am hoping to be able to do this at no very distant date. We shall deal generally with the question of disqualification, as the Attorney-General informed the House a few days ago.

Professor Savory

Has the Home Secretary's attention been called to the anomaly that whereas clergy of the Scottish Episcopal Church are eligible to sit in the House, clergy of the Church of Ireland are not allowed to do so?

Mr. Ede

I am not sure that the first of these alternatives was correctly stated by the hon. Gentleman. I know of the general anomaly that exists.

Mr. Sorensen

Will my right hon. Friend also consider the anomaly of bishops sitting in another place?