HC Deb 07 February 1958 vol 581 c1579

Order for Second Reading read.

3.58 p.m.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

In the remaining moments before four o'clock, I wish very briefly to commend the Bill to the House. It is only an enabling Bill which, by its passage alone, would make no change at all in the present arrangements. But it confers upon the Secretary of State the right to establish advisory Human Rights Commissions in all British Colonies and territories which, in the first instance, would report their findings to this House. It is a Bill which is in line with all the work done by the British Government and other Governments of the United Nations on Human Rights and one which, by focussing interest on the matter, will, I think, help towards education both in the Colonies and here and will lead to improvement.

I very much hope that as it is only an enabling Bill and in content is quite uncontroversial and follows up proceedings which have already taken place in the United Nations the House will be ready to give it a Second Reading.

Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

I beg to second the Motion.

3.59 p.m.

Mr. Dudley Williams (Exeter)

I welcome the opportunity to speak about the Bill, and in doing so, I shall have to take up a few minutes of the time of the House.

When the Title of the Bill was first drawn to my attention, I was a little confused as to what it was all about. I thought that the word "rights" was spelt "rites," and I could not think what on earth our discussions this afternoon were going to be about. I now see from a copy of the Bill that it refers to a number of interesting things, referring in particular to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Friday, 21st February.