HC Deb 27 February 1964 vol 690 cc609-10
13. Mr. David James

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the recent Vatican Council's recommendation that the date of Easter should be fixed, he will now initiate discussions with the Christian churches in this country with a view to reaching agreement on bringing into operation the Easter Act 1928.

Mr. Brooke

If the Easter Act, 1928, were now brought into operation, the effect would be that, at any rate for a period, Easter would be celebrated on a different date in the United Kingdom from the rest of the world. I believe that this would not be acceptable to the Christian Churches in this country. A new situation would arise if a worldwide agreement among Churches on a fixed Easter seemed to be attainable, and I think that I should now institute consultations with the Churches in this country as to the possibility of that happening.

Mr. James

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that Answer. Is he aware that if he were to attempt to interpolate a year-day to rationalise the calendar he would meet objections from Christians, Jews, and I believe Mohammedans? Is he aware that the proposals of the 1928 Act—that Easter be the first Sunday after the second Saturday—would meet no religious objections and that among the national institutions that would benefit would be the financial year, school holidays and Parliamentary Recesses.

Mr. Brooke

I deduce from my hon. Friend's supplementary question that he approves the terms of my Anwer.

Mr. Wade

In the meantime, is it the Government's intention to make any statement on altering the dates of Bank Holidays?

Mr. Brooke

That is not a question for me.