§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Major Baird)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
This is a Bill which has already passed the House of Lords twice, and it is designed, not to effect any big change of plan, but merely to improve the methods for uniting different benefices in the same parish. At present great hardship is suffered because of the impossibility of doing this owing to the limitation imposed by the Pluralities Act, and the necessity of obtaining the assent of the patrons in writing. In consequence, great suffering is being endured by large numbers of the clergy, and this Bill is designed to remove it. In the ordinary course, this is a matter that would be dealt with by the new machinery that has been set up by the Enabling Bill, but as that would entail at least six or eight months' delay, I hope the House will consent to give this Bill a Second Reading and allow details to be considered at a subsequent stage. I do not think there is any controversy so far as the Church is concerned, and I hope the House will support this most necessary and desirable measure of reform.
Question put, and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for To-morrow—[Major Baird].
The remaining Government Orders were read, and postponed.