§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 2:
§ Regency during total incapacity of the Sovereign.
§ 2.—(1) If the following persons or any three or more of them, that is to say, the wife or husband of the Sovereign, the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chief Justice of England, and the Master of the Rolls, declare in writing that they are satisfied by evidence which shall include the evidence of physicians that the Sovereign is by reason of infirmity of mind or body incapable for the time being of performing the royal functions, then, until it is declared in like manner that His Majesty has so far recovered His health as to warrant His resumption of the royal functions, those functions shall be performed in the name and on behalf of the Sovereign by a Regent.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (VISCOUNT HALIFAX) moved, in subsection (1), after "functions", where that word first occurs, to insert "or that they are satisfied by evidence that the Sovereign is for some definite cause not available for the performance of those functions." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, those of you who were here when we were considering this Bill in Committee, two days ago, will remember that I was the recipient of several appeals from all quarters of the House to endeavour to meet a point that had been very strongly pressed upon me by my noble friend Lord Rankeillour, and which had won support in other parts of the House. In response to those appeals, I undertook to do so to the best of my ability, bearing in mind the warning that a noble Lord opposite had given that he considered the 226 words of my noble friend were in danger of being too wide; and, being naturally cautious, I intimated to your Lordships that I was not very sanguine that I should be successful in finding words that would at all steer the middle course. But as your Lordships will see, I have been rather more successful than I anticipated, and I have put down an Amendment which I hope, though it is not in the same form as that which my noble friend had on the Paper, he may feel substantially meets his point, without, as I trust, causing anxiety to any of your Lordships in any other quarter of the House. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 27, after ("function") insert ("or that they are satisfied by evidence that the Sovereign is for some definite cause not available for the performance of those functions").—(Viscount Halifax.)
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
My Lords, I desire most sincerely to thank the Lord Privy Seal and, indirectly, the Home Secretary for having met the points that I, supported by other noble Lords, put forward. Indeed, I think, the words he has found cover a case, for instance, that I did not think of—that is, a case of shipwreck, where presumption of death would be difficult. I think the matter is now, so far as I can see, completely cleared up, and I am only too grateful to those who have taken the trouble to do so.
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Snell asks me to say, as I deputised for him at the preceding stage of the Bill, that we consider these words valuable and appropriate, and we are very glad to support them.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX moved, in subsection (1), after "functions," where that word occurs for the second time, to insert "or has become available for the performance thereof, as the case may be." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this is a consequential Amendment, and I beg to move.
Page 2, line 29, after ("functions") insert ("or has become available for the performance thereof, as the case may be").—(Viscount Halifax.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.