HC Deb 08 March 1965 vol 708 cc27-8
45. Captain Orr

asked the hon. and learned Member for Brigg, as Second Church Estates Commissioner, by what authority the Cross of Canterbury has been taken out of the country by the Archbishop on his present world tour.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

The Cross of Canterbury is vested in the Church Commissioners. The Archbishop is entitled to take the Cross with him when he travels officially.

Captain Orr

I am very grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his courtesy and the trouble he has taken in this matter. Is he aware that I am not suggesting that the Archbishop might have absconded with the Cross, but I am most concerned that important and irreplaceable national treasures should not be taken out of the country without the greatest care for their safety and return? Will he be good enough to give an assurance that such will never be the case in future?

Mr. Mallalieu

I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that in this instance the Church Commissioners knew of the Archbishop's intention. They always insure this Cross and specifically informed the insurers of the intention to make this particular journey.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can my hon. and learned Friend say how much it is insured for?

Mr. Mallalieu

No, Sir; not without notice.

Mr. Ogden

Has my hon. and learned Friend had any indication that the Archbishop of Canterbury will not himself take the greatest possible care of the Cross, regardless of what its value might be to the insurers or to anyone else?

Mr. Mallalieu

No, Sir; I have had no such indication.

Mr. Rankin

We have heard that the Cross is insured, but, Mr. Speaker, is the Archbishop also insured?

Mr. Speaker

I do not know to whom that observation was addressed. I can only say that it does not raise a point of order.