§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Order of the Day read for the consideration of the Commons Amendments.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT KILMUIR)
My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons Amendments be now considered. In moving this Motion may I say to your Lordships what I intend to do? I intend to take the Commons Amendments in four groups: first of all, Nos. 1 to 5, as they are little more than drafting; then Nos. 6 and 7 together, as they both concern a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Charley; then No, 8, which deals with a point originally raised by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and then Nos. 9 to 31 tog ether because, with the exception of one or two on which I should like to say a word as to the Commissioners, they are little more than drafting. I hope that that coarse will commend itself to your Lordships. Of course, I shall be more than delighted to answer questions on any individual Amendment within the groups, should it appeal to your Lordships. At the moment, I am moving what is usually a formal Motion, That the Commons Amendments be now considered.
§ Moved, That the Commons Amendments be now considered.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I rise merely to say that the noble and learned Viscount, with his usual courtesy, had informed me of his intention of dealing with the matter in the way in which he has proposed. I think it is an admirable idea and I wholly approve, because I think it will be to the advantage of the House. In those circumstances, I reserve any comments that I may wish to make.
§ LORD NATHAN
My Lords, before this Bill proceeds to its final point and is passed by your Lordships' House, I may perhaps be permitted to say a word, 858 because in this Bill, as your Lordships know, I have a sort of avuncular interest. It was some ten or twelve years ago that my noble friend Lord Attlee, then Prime Minister, asked me to become Chairman of the Committee on Charitable Trusts. It was in December, 1952, that the Report of my Committee was made to the then Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. A considerable period passed before this Bill was presented to Parliament, in the first instance in your Lordships' House, but it now comes back to its final stage, and in a few moments it will pass from your Lordships' House.
I believe that all your Lordships will agree with me if I say that the smooth passage of the Bill through the House is mostly due to the care, the flexibility, the dexterity, the skill and the sympathy of the noble and learned Viscount who sits upon the Woolsack. It is the first Bill to deal with this subject comprehensively for over 100 years, and that it has attained its present form (reflecting, I am glad to say, many of the recommendations of the Committee over which I presided) is, I think, a monument to the noble and learned Viscount. I should like for my part—and I am sure that all your Lordships will share my feeling—to express to him cordial thanks for the way in which he has dealt with it and express the hope that he may look back upon it with satisfaction, as I am sure it will be for the welfare of those many organisations in whose interests it comes before Parliament.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am grateful and very touched by what the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, said. As he knows, but is too modest to disclose to your Lordships, the immense amount of preparatory work which I took over was done by him and his Committee, and I think "avuncular" was putting the matter in far too modest a way. I do not know whether the word ought to be straight "paternal" or "godfather"— certainly would not say the putative father. I think that all those interested are extremely grateful to him, and I am grateful to him for what he said. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, for accepting my proposal this evening.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.