§ Brought from the Commons, read 1a, and to be printed.
§ Then, Standing Order No. XXXIX having been dispensed with:
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. It is not necessary, I think, for me to detain your Lordships for more than a very few moments in making that Motion. Your Lordships will recollect that in the gracious Message which we had before us yesterday the wish was expressed by His Majesty that this matter should be dealt with by both Houses with all possible expedition. The Bill itself is plain, simple and short. Your Lordships will observe that in the second paragraph of the Preamble the Bill records the consent of the Dominion of Canada and the Assent of the Commonwealth of Australia, 774 the Dominion of New Zealand and the Union of South Africa to it. That Preamble is drawn in rather complicated form consequent upon the form Given to the Statute of Westminster. The Preamble represents the result of protracted consultations with the Governments of the Dominions, and as it stands carries the full agreement of all the Dominion's that are mentioned in it.
Clause 1 gives effect to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication, and makes the necessary provision to that end. I might particularly call your Lordships' attention to the words in subsection (1):and there shall be a demise of the Crown.The purpose of those words is to make it clear that the passing of the Crown other than by death does in fact constitute a demise of the Crown, in order that what I may call the machinery of State shall continue without interruption. I believe that up to a certain date in our history that was not so, and various remedial measures to avoid such interruption have from time to time been proposed. These remedial measures have always talked about demise, and therefore it is important to secure the remedial effect of these measures for the continuation without interruption of the matters to which they refer by employing that phrase in this Bill. Subsection (2) makes it plain that the necessary alteration of the Act of Settlement follows the surrender by His Majesty, on his behalf and of his descendants, of his right in the succession to the Crown. Lastly, that having been done, and his descendants thereby excluded from the line of succession, subsection (3) makes it plain, as indeed would no doubt be considered appropriate, that the Royal Marriages Act, 1772, no longer applies to any such issue. I think that is all, at all events at this stage, that I need say, and I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Halifax.)
§ LORD SNELL
My Lords, the necessities of the situation with which we are confronted require that this Bill be passed with all convenient speed. Because of that necessity I do not propose to do more, on behalf of my noble friends, than give their assent to the passing of the measure.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
My Lords, it is only necessary for me to say that we on these Benches identify ourselves with the statement made by the noble Lord in desiring to facilitate the passing of this Bill.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.
§ Committee negatived; Bill read 3a, and passed.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.