§ 46. Major Vernon
asked the Prime Minister whether he intends to recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the marriage laws.
§ 47. Mrs. Eirene White
asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the Government's intentions concerning the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into divorce law reform.
§ 49. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Prime Minister whether he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the marriage laws.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)
I have decided to recommend to His Majesty the appointment of a Royal Commission to review the law relating to divorce. I am not yet able to announce the precise terms of reference or the names of members of the Commission, but I will make a further statement on these points as soon as possible.
§ Mrs. White
While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask him to assure the House that the terms of reference will be sufficiently wide to cover not only the law directly relating to marriage, separation and divorce, but also such cognate matters as pensions, insurance and marriage guidance and advice, so that people may be helped to avoid broken marriages? May I also ask my right hon. Friend whether the Government, who have shown some hesitation in reaching a further decision on this matter, recognise that it is very undesirable for the public to be kept for so long in uncertainty on questions which affect the lives and futures of so many thousands of men and women? May we have an answer to these points as soon as possible?
§ The Prime Minister
I will certainly take into account the points put forward by my hon. Friend when considering the terms of reference. I know she would not expect an answer now. But in my experience people have had to wait a considerable time on these questions of the divorce laws. I cannot promise how soon we shall get a result, but we shall appoint the Commission as soon as possible.
§ The Prime Minister
I have always understood that that was one of the points taken into consideration by Royal Commissions on this subject.
§ Lieut-Colonel Lipton
Could my right hon. Friend give an assurance that this Commission, which cannot possibly report for some years and which, in any event, binds no one to anything, will not be made the pretext for murdering the Bill passed in this House on Friday with a decisive majority and with widespread public approval?