HL Deb 26 July 1968 vol 295 cc1396-7

11.20 a.m.


had given Notice of his intention to move, That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Prayer Book (Further Provisions) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent. The right reverend Prelate said: My Lords, I do not intend to move today the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. But since it has been on the Order Paper for some days, I think the House is entitled to an explanation of my action, and I beg leave of your Lordships briefly to explain my reasons.

It was hoped that the Prayer Book (Further Provisions) Measure would be presented in another place yesterday and would receive an Affirmative Resolution; and it was my intention to move a similar Resolution in your Lordships' House at this time, in the expectation that the Measure could be presented later to-day for the Royal Assent. Yesterday, however, in another place the Speaker was asked to give his ruling on a submission that a stage in the procedure for Measures laid down in the enabling Act had not been complied with and that the Measure could not yet be submitted for an Affirmative Resolution. The Speaker ruled that this was so, and in consequence did not put the Resolution to the House.

This ruling will cause surprise and concern to those responsible for ecclesiastical legislation, since the procedure to which this Measure has been subjected is no different from that which has been applied to Measures in the past. To my certain knowledge, all Measures in the last 30 years have been dealt with in precisely the same way as this Measure, and my expectation is that all Measures presented since the enabling Act of 1919 have gone through the same procedure. However, since the advantages to be gained from obtaining the Royal Assent to-day are no longer available, I think it necessary not to move the Resolution to-day, but to do so at a later date.


My Lords, I am sure we are grateful to the right reverend Prelate for the explanation of why he is not in a position to move his Motion to-day. I think it is another instance of the fact that if occasionally there are delays and inconsistencies in the dispatch of business through Parliament it is seldom this House that causes them.


My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord, and indeed the right reverend Prelate, are not questioning the propriety of the decision taken in another place. There is a slight implication.


My Lords, no; in no circumstances.