§ MR. P. A. TAYLOR
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, considering the use that is being made of the Act 20 Charles 2, c. 7, and the difficulty in the present state of Public Business of getting an opportunity for a fair discussion of the subject, the Government will bring in a Bill to suspend for one year the operation of the said Act?
§ MR. BAINES
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the suspension of the Act 29 Charles 2, c. 7, without any other Law being substituted for it, will not take away the legal protection which labour now enjoys for a weekly day of rest, as well as the legal recognition of the Lord's Day for the purposes of religious worship?
§ MR. DIMSDALE
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will undertake, early in the next Session of Parliament, to introduce a Bill for the regulation and modification of Sunday trading?
I think, Sir, that the interpretation put on the statute by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds is the 220 correct one—that the only legal recognition of the right of abstinence from work on Sundays rests upon the Act of Charles II. Considering the very divided opinion of the country on this question, I certainly am not prepared to introduce a Bill to suspend the operation of this Act, as I believe that such a proceeding would be objectionable in itself, and would not receive the support of the House. With respect to the other Question, I have repeatedly supported in this House anything that appeared to me to have for its object a reasonable modification of the existing law. Last year a Bill came down which I think had passed without a division from the House of Lords, and I gave it my support in this House. It had been objected to previous Bills on this subject that inasmuch as the mischief complained of existed only in London the Bill should apply only to the Metropolis, and the last Bill was altered accordingly. It was then objected that a Bill of such importance ought not to have reference to the Metropolis only, but ought to deal with the whole of the country, and the measure was rejected by this House I quite admit the imperfections of the present Act—that there are portions of it that are not enforceable, and I regret exceedingly the manner in which certain over-zealous persons are enforcing it. A complete remedy is a matter of extreme difficulty, and I am bound to say that I am not at this moment prepared to suggest any remedy that I think would meet with the acceptance of the House. All I can say is that this question does deserve the attention of Government and of Parliament; but I cannot undertake to give a positive assurance that I will introduce a Bill on the subject next Session.