§ Amendments reported (according to Order): Then Standing Order No. XXXIX. considered (according to Order), and dispensed with.
§ On the Motion that the Bill be read 3a,
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HALSBURY)
said, he should like to state that he had received a communication from the representatives of a Friendly Society containing a large number of working class members interested in the Bill. It was the Blackburn Friendly Society, numbering 175,000 members. The first ground of complaint was that Clause 6 altered the present law by making the second marriage of a member operate as a revocation of a previous nomination of the person entitled to benefit. It was argued that this interfered unduly with the implied wish of a member who, on his marriage, did not alter the nomination formerly made of the first wife, and that the change would transfer the benefit in many cases to persons who had not the strongest claim to it. The second point the society had asked him to bring to the notice of the House was that the Bill proposed to raise the age at which children could become members of a society from 16 weeks to 12 months. They urged that that was a very serious change, and contended that there was no reason for it. He had thought it his duty to call attention to these points, and he now suggested that it would be as well that the Bill should be postponed for a day or two in order that they might be considered. It seemed to him a very serious thing to pass the Bill in this summary way without considering the objections this society took.
§ LORD PLAYFAIR
said, that with regard to the first point raised by the Lord Chancellor, the provision to which he took exception, was particularly desired by the Conference of Friendly 61 Societies which met in January last, and which represented 2,500,000 members; but if the Lord Chancellor thought that that point ought to be reconsidered, he should not object to postpone the Bill for that purpose, though he should much regret having to do so. With regard to the second point, he had only to say that the registered societies desired very much that insurances should not be effected before the age of one year, and strongly recommended that there should be a provision in the Bill to that effect; but of course he was quite willing to adopt the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord if he was of opinion that these points ought to be reconsidered.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he expressed no opinion at all on the subject, and if the noble Lord said that these matters had been fully considered, he did not propose to put any impediment in the way of the passing of the Bill.
§ LORD PLAYFAIR
said, he should be very unwilling to lose the Bill, which the Friendly Societies considered of such great importance, and unless the Lord Chancellor had any formidable objections to raise, he would wish to get the Bill through now.
§ Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, passed, and returned to the Commons.