§ 3.45 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, perhaps the House will allow me to interrupt the debate for one minute in order to make a statement which has been made in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has spoken as follows:
"I wish to inform the House that Her Majesty's Government have had under consideration for some time the operation of the law relating to the certification and detention of persons suffering from mental illness and mental defect, and realise that legislation is desirable to bring that law into line with modern thought and development. They consider, however, that there should first be a comprehensive review of the subject by an independent body, and for this purpose the Queen has been pleased to signify her intention of setting up a Royal Commission
'To inquire, as regards England and Wales, first, into the existing law and administrative machinery governing the certification, detention, care (other than hospital care or treatment under the National Health Service Acts, 1946–52). absence on trial or licence, discharge and supervision of persons who are or are alleged to be suffering from mental illness or mental defect, other than Broadmoor patients; secondly, to consider, as regards England and Wales, the extent to which it is now, or should be made, statutorily possible for such persons to be treated, as voluntary patients, without certification; and to make recommendations.'
§ "The names of the Chairman and other members will be announced later."