§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
My Lords, I could not ask your Lordships to read this Bill a second time at this hour were it not that an identical Bill has been in the last two or three years twice passed by your Lordships' House with the assent of His Majesty's Government, and has only failed to receive the consideration of the House of Commons through want of time. The Bill is word for word the same Bill that passed your Lordships' House last year. Its object is to facilitate the formation of new bishoprics by substituting another procedure for the existing system, by which separate Bills are necessary with the creation of every fresh Bishopric or even an alteration of boundaries. The procedure proposed to be substituted is that of an Order in Council. It would be made on the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who would first obtain the assent of the Archbishop of the Province and the Bishop of the Diocese and satisfy themselves that sufficient income was provided for the new Bishopric, no part of such income being allowed to be provided from their common fund. The Order in Council would then have to be approved by the Government of the day and to lie on the Table of both Houses for thirty days, and if objection was taken to it by either House it would not become law, but if no such objection was taken it would obtain the force of law. There are three new bishoprics, I believe, already provided for so far as funds are concerned which might be created within a comparatively short time if this Bill became law—the Bishopric of Sheffield, to relieve the enormous diocese of Yorkshire, and the five Bishoprics for Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Cambridge and Huntingdon, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to relieve the present dioceses of St. Albans, Norwich, and Ely. I hope I need not detain your Lordships with any further observations on the Bill this evening, but, of course, I shall be very happy to consider at a future stage anything that your Lordships may desire to say with regard to it. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)676
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I shall not detain the House for more than a moment, but I should be sorry if silence were misconstrued into apathy on this subject. The noble Viscount has explained that this matter has been more than once before your Lordships' House, and every month that has since elapsed has made the need of passing such a Bill more urgent. The reasons in favour of it are overwhelming, and I hope no difficulty whatever will attend this Bill on its way to become part of the Statute law of the realm, for I am certain that the gain which would result from it in every way would be immense. I cannot conceive that any one would be wronged or harmed in the smallest degree if it became law.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.