HC Deb 28 February 1957 vol 565 cc1389-90
40. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Her Majesty's Government intend to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on the Adoption of Children.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Her Majesty's Government are sympathetic to the proposal to legislate on the subject of adoption as soon as Parliamentary time can be found for it. I am sorry I cannot at present say when that is likely to be.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not a fact that it is nearly two and a half years since this Departmental Committee reported, and would the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is not much point in asking committees to study these questions unless action follows their recommendations? Is he not aware that some of these are extremely important to the children of this country, such as the suggestion that a parent who has no intention of discharging his responsibilities should not be able to hold up indefinitely the adoption of his child? Would not the Government be better employed on legislation like this than on some of the other legislation now before the House?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, I happen to be very sympathetic towards this legislation, but I cannot give an undertaking that it will be brought in this Session. I can and do undertake to give it my sympathetic and earnest consideration.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that hon. Members on this side of the House are also interested in this matter? Would it not be a good idea if there were some legislation on which the women Members on both the Opposition and Government sides of the House could co-operate—and the quicker the better?