Despite severe opposition, notably from Mr. Beverley Baxter and Sir Patrick Hannon, the Matrimonial Clauses (War Marriages) Bill passed to its third reading in the Commons on Tuesday. This Bill is designed to eliminate the time-limit imposed by the Herbert Bill of 1937 on certain wartime marriages.
This Bill, said Mr. Battier, will enable an English girl to marry a foreigner without serious thought. They might say, " Let us marry because you can fake adultery and we can get divorced as soon as we want." It may be caprice, drunken romance or real romance. but always with the thought that the House of Commons says " Marry a Pole or an American and you need not take it seriously." This girl could marry three Poles or three Americans, and. could go on marrying and divorcing, almost thinking she was living on the outskirts of Reno. " If we are to create this bad precedent of freedom to marry and to get out of it, then why not trust your own people and accept the amendment and give them the same privileges ?"
Sir Patrick Hannon, the only Catholic Member to spear, protested against
the Bill. " We ought not to bring divorce measures before this House. We should, in these days, concentrate more on stimulating family life and the unity of the home, which is the unit of our society, rather than break it up by introducing divorce measures. I should he wanting', in my duty to the House and the strong principles I maintain about building up family life in this country if I did not make my protest against the third reading of this Bill." An amendment, which, in effect, would have extended the Bill to marriages between British subjects as well as between British and foreign was defeated. Among the "Noes" 'were two Catholic members. Sir Patrick Hannon and Mr. P. C. Loftus. Three Catholics tinswered " Aye," Major J. J. Stourton, Mr. J. .1. Tinker and Captain I H. McEwen.