§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT HALDANE):
My Lords, this Bill is a very simple one. It follows the principle which your Lordships laid down about three 4 weeks ago in connection with the Guardianship of Infants Bill. In that Bill you decided that it was well that while a married woman living with her husband and cruelly ill-treated, with the children neglected, should be able to get an order which should provide for their maintenance under her guardianship, that order should not be enforced while the husband and wife were still living together. There is always a chance that things may come right. The advantage of the order is that it gives the woman somewhere to go to with her children, if she is driven out of the house by her husband.
This Bill follows the same principle. It has been represented to us by some of the Stipendiary Magistrates that it would be a very great advantage to them if, in the case of orders made on the ground of cruelty, the orders could be made so that the woman might be sure that she had somewhere to go to and yet should not be enforced while she remained living with her husband. There is the advantage that the husband knows that she has got an order from the magistrate. The whole subject of the Bill is contained in Clause 1, where your Lordships will find that the law is proposed to be made as I have stated. There are other things in the Bill; for example, it extends the jurisdiction in cases where the husband drives his wife into prostitution. I do not think there will be much controversy about the measure. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.— (The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM:
My Lords, I think this is rather a good Bill. It is the first Bill which the Labour Government have brought in which, in my opinion, deserves any commendation. I sincerely hope that the Government have turned over a new leaf, and are in future going to bring in Bills which may possibly do some good.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW:
Was not the substance of this Bill brought in by the late Government in the last Parliament?
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House