§ 3.57 p.m.
§ Lord Glenarthur
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Elton, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time. In doing so, I should like to express my personal thanks to your Lordships for the courteous way in which our explanations of the complexities of this Bill were received, and my thanks also on behalf of the Government to those of your Lordships whose constructive comments and support for the principles of the Bill we much appreciate. Perhaps I may briefly mention in particular the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby, who made such helpful contributions to our debates and were generous enough to withdraw an amendment in the light of assurances from the Government to clarify a point of principle.
Although our discussions have largely centred on prisoners, I think that in sending this Bill to another place we can feel particular satisfaction that we have taken action to benefit a small, underprivileged section of the community—those who are disabled and housebound—so that they may enjoy a right that the rest of us perhaps take for granted. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a third time.—(Lord Glenarthur.)
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, I am sure that the whole House will be grateful to the noble Lord for the way in which this Bill has gone through its various stages up till this one in your Lordships' House. I personally, 1022 and I believe that the right reverend Prelate would agree with me—and he will have an opportunity of saying so if he so desires—very, very much appreciated the way in which the matter that concerned both of us and many of your Lordships in regard to prisons and marriages was dealt with after a lot of patient consideration by the Government. I personally feel very delighted with the outcome of this matter, and I am sure that we all wish the Bill well in its further passage.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester
My Lords, in the absence of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Derby, I should like to speak from these Benches and to associate ourselves with what the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, has just said. First, I should like to express our very special thanks to the noble Lord for the way in which he has carried the Bill through the House, and not least for the assurance which he gave us in response to the amendment moved by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby, without which I think he would have been quite unable to withdraw the amendment. It was a matter about which we knew those who served in Her Majesty's prisons as chaplains to feel very strongly. However, with the assurance that the governors will be given a firmer voice on that matter, we were very happy to withdraw the amendment. I hope, too, that the Bill will now go forward and become law before long.
§ Baroness Macleod of Borve
My Lords, as one who took a very minor part in the Bill, I should like to express to my noble friend the Minister how much I and many of my noble friends appreciate the way in which he has conducted this matter. Those of us who know quite a bit about the old people, the disabled, the prisoners, the psychiatric cases and the people who are unable to get either to a registry office or to a church, appreciate that with the passage of the Bill those people will be able to be married in their homes or in the place in which they reside. I personally feel that this is one of the most humane Bills that I have ever witnessed being passed in your Lordships' House in the 12 years that I have had the honour of being a Member. I certainly join with other noble Lords in wishing it a speedy passage through the other House.
My Lords, I, too, should like to wish the Bill a speedy passage through the other House because I am so glad to think that at last the poor underprivileged English are to be equal to those of us who live in Scotland, who have always been able to get married in our own homes.
§ Lord Glenarthur
My Lords, I am grateful to all those who have spoken for the kind remarks that they have made.
§ On Question, Bill read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.