Forms and Documents (Welsh Language)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st July 1966.

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Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire 12:00 am, 21st July 1966

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will arrange for a survey of public forms and documents in current use in Wales to be made with a view to their translation into the Welsh language as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave him on 1st July, 1966. I hope to have the result of this investigation some time next month.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

Can the right hon. Gentleman give some indication of the nature of the documents and forms to be translated and of the numbers involved?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

It is not possible to give this information until the results of the survey are available. I will have discussions with my colleagues who are responsible and, following this, it will be possible to determine what forms can be translated in advance of legislation and to assess which of them are in fair demand.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Is the right hon. Gentleman contemplating a Welsh edition of Erskine May?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

No, Sir, but if such an edition were to be published, my hon. Friend would not be able to read it.

Photo of Mr George Forrest Mr George Forrest , Mid-Ulster

Is it not possible that in less than an hour from now this issue will be tied up?

Photo of Mr James Jones Mr James Jones , Wrexham

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether, in circumstances where it is necessary to await legislation to validate the use of certain forms and public documents in the Welsh language in Wales, he will authorise the preparation of adequate and suitable translations of such forms and documents in anticipation of such legislation.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

I will certainly bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind, but I cannot at this stage anticipate the extent to which the many Ministers who issue forms in Wales will find it practicable to do so in Welsh.

Photo of Mr James Jones Mr James Jones , Wrexham

I appreciate the complexity of this matter, involving as it does the mass of legislation passed since the Act of Union of 1542, but can my right hon. Friend give us any information about when this legislation is likely to be introduced?

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

As my hon. Friend said, this is a complex issue, but good progress is being made, and I hope that it will be possible to introduce the Bill during the next Session, and before then to make some of the administrative changes recommended by the Committee.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

May I take it from that that the Government intend to bring in a permissive all-embracing Bill to give effect to the Hughes Parry Report, which is supported by all parties in this House?

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Our purpose is to introduce a Bill in due course, and work on the Bill is now proceeding. I cannot give details at this stage, but it will be on the basis of the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths) in the Welsh Grand Committee on 14th December last.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

Will the Secretary of State accept from this side of the House that we shall certainly support the Government in any legislation which they bring forward with regard to equal validity in law of the Welsh language? We will not go as far as the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) has gone and support everything in the Hughes Parry Report.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

It is the principle of equal validity which has been accepted by the Government.