§ 3.9 p.m.
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
In moving the Second Reading, I do not propose to say anything whatsoever about the merits of this or either of the other two Bills. Your Lordships will undoubtedly recollect that 20 days ago—namely, on 3rd June—this House agreed to a recommendation by the Procedure Committee that marriage enabling Bills should, so far as possible, be dealt with in the same way as other private Bills. In other words, that they should be give a formal Second Reading and be fully considered in a Select Committee which would then report to the House. I hope your Lordships will agree that on this, the first occasion since the Procedure Committee report was agreed to, these three Bills should be given unopposed Second Readings and be committed to an appropriate committee for full investigation.
In the case of the first Bill, the Evans Bill, and in the case of the third Bill, the Rolfe Bill, they will both be committed to a Select Committee consisting of the Chairman of Committees, a bishop, and two other noble Lords. The second Bill, the Owen Bill, falls within the terms of the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act and, as recommended by the Procedure Committee, it will therefore be considered by an Unopposed Bill Committee. The Act has not yet been brought into force and the parties wish to proceed with their marriage enabling Bill.
I should like at this stage to say that in my view the Lord Chairman of Committees is deserving of the highest praise for having initiated this adaptation of the procedure, which is a great improvement on the 12 old procedure. I should also like to thank the learned Clerks, who have assisted all the way along the line. I am also delighted to be able, for a change, to congratulate the usual channels, both temporal and spiritual, on their speedy agreement to the change in procedure which, as I say, I believe is an enormous improvement. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Morris.)
§ On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee.