HL Deb 23 October 1906 vol 163 cc18-20

My Lords, I beg to ask the noble Marquess opposite a question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government, in consequence of their decision to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of "The King v. West Riding County Council," to modify in any way the arrangement under which the clauses of the Education Bill are to be taken into consideration on Monday, s the 29th inst., and subsequent days.


My Lords, it is not the intention of His Majesty's Government to make any alteration in the arrangement they have proposed to your Lordships' House for proceeding with this Bill. The appeal has been presented on purely administrative grounds. It has been found that the decision of the Court of Appeal, if it should ultimately be made good, would involve many difficulties of a serious kind affecting over 300 local authorities in various parts of the country. But, as the Bill which your Lordships are about to discuss will not come into operation until the beginning of 1908, there will be a period of more than a year in which the law would be in a state of uncertainty.

In these circumstances His Majesty's Government have thought it fit to make an appeal to your Lordships' House, as the supreme judicial tribunal, against the judgment given in the Court below. But it does not appear to us that the question raised by the decision of the Court very materially affects the consideration of the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House. If that Bill should pass, in whatever form, it will supersede altogether any judgment which has been given by your Lordships' House in its judicial capacity. In these circumstances, subject, of course, to what your Lordships may choose to do, the Government are ready, and it is our intention, to proceed with the Bill on Thursday as arranged.


My Lords, perhaps it would be for the convenience of the Government and of your Lordships that I should state now that I do not propose to proceed with the Instruction which stands in my name for Thursday next, namely— On the Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee being read, to move 'That it be an instruction to the Committee to amend the Education (England and Wales) Bill so as to provide for Christian religions teaching each day in all elementary schools for those children whose parents desire such religious instruction within school hours, and not secular instruction only.' I am given to understand that there are a number of your Lordships who desire to discuss parts of the Bill dealing with administration which were not discussed on the Second Reading; and as I can perfectly well bring forward the points I desire to raise on one of the first Amendments to Clause 1 I shall not move my Instruction.