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Marriage (Scotland) (Emergency Provisions) Bill Hl

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 21 May 1940

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Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

4.32 p.m.

My Lords, this is a small Bill which follows a provision made in the last war to deal with the difficulty which may confront two people, one of whom is on war service, and who desire to contract a regular marriage after notice given to the registrar. The necessity for this Bill arises from the coming into operation of the Marriage (Scotland) Act of last year, which will have the effect of bringing to an end, when it is brought into operation, the irregular marriages generally known as "Gretna Green marriages." There are certain formalities which have to be observed in connection with marriages other than irregular marriages. Each of the parties must have resided in Scotland in a particular place for a period of fifteen days before notice of the marriage is given, and seven further clear days must elapse after the giving of the notice before the necessary certificate to enable the marriage to take place can be issued. Your Lordships will readily see that this may cause hardship at a time like this when there are members of His Majesty's Forces who are unable to satisfy these conditions and to wait for the time to pass. It is therefore proposed that in the case of an intended marriage where one of the parties is a member of the Forces (including not only members of His Majesty's Forces strictly so called, but also auxiliaries, including nurses and fishermen or merchant seamen) notice may be given on the strength of the residence qualification of the other party and the certificate may be issued twenty-four hours after the giving of the notice. I hope your Lordships will think that this will meet the circumstances of the case after July 1 next, from which date it is proposed to bring the Marriage (Scotland) Act into operation. I therefore beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .—( Viscount Caldecote.)

4.34 p.m.

My Lords, my noble friends do not propose to offer any opposition to the passing of this Bill, which is a war measure designed to be of assistance in a very difficult period. We recognise that difficulties of this kind will arise, and this Bill is designed to make them as few as possible. We should like therefore, to give it our support. One purpose of my rising to-day is to offer, on behalf of my noble friends and myself, to the Lord Chancellor our very sincere and hearty congratulations. Some of us have been his colleagues in another place for many years. We have frequently differed from him but never quarrelled with him, and personally I have always received from him exceptional kindness and generosity. I congratulate the noble Viscount further in that he inherits the position of Lord Chancellor at a time when Party acerbities are somewhat softened, and that, I am sure, will make his task all the more agreeable to him. My noble friends will offer to him any support that it is in their power to give in the responsible position which he has assumed.

On Question, Bill read 2a , and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.