HC Deb 26 July 1963 vol 681 cc2042-3

Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 34, leave out "and Reconciliation".

Mr. Abse

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

I would have thought that after all the travail that this Bill had had, it would not be possible to have any further conflict, but so it is and it appears that in another place, for reasons which I will indicate, there is a desire to change even the Title of the Bill. This is the crowning irony.

The reason which was advanced and which I now put before the House was that all the earlier Acts which dealt in some way with this topic were described as Matrimonial Causes Acts. It was considered that because this would not be the last Act of its kind, there must be a number of Acts and therefore in a series it would cause difficulty to practitioners who are always known for their passion for economy, if they should be burdened with a prolix title such as the Matrimonial Causes and Reconciliation Act.

Therefore, in the interests of this economy and for this convenience this Amendment is now passed to us and I ask with a little less enthusiasm than on the previous Amendment, that the House should pass it. There is considerable logic in what has been urged. The Lord Chancellor in another place in connection with this Title supported this change, characteristically logical and characteristically unimaginative. I would have thought that it would be desirable that lawyers should have a Bill which emblazoned forth their passion and desire to have reconciliation and their diffidence about having causes and severances of marriage.

Fortunately, whatever the House may do, we have been saved by the more imaginative journalists, for whatever we may call it, if it goes down in history at all it will be known as the "Kiss and make up Bill". I confess to a nostalgic feeling for my original Title, but I would certainly not desire, nor, I believe, would the House, to destroy or imperil such value as is within the Bill by having a contest concerning the Title.

Mr. A. J. Irvine

In view of the decision reached by the House earlier this afternoon, I am bound to regard the proposal contained in the Amendment as wholly appropriate.

Question put and agreed to.