10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 3

The Population Bill The Government has decided to defer the

Committee stage- of the Population Statistics Bill till the Ministry of Health has had time to consider the criticisms made in the Second Reading debate last week ; but it is hoped that the Bill will be taken before Christmas. There should not be great difficulty in deciding what changes need to be made. It is clear, both from the debate and the controversy which has followed_ it, that opposition is not directed either at the main purpose of the Bill, or at the three questions which statisticians have claimed to be of fundamental importance. Mr. A. P. Herbert, indeed, claimed both that the questions were addressed to the wrong people and that in any case no further information is necessary ; but at this point his argu- ment reduced itself to absurdity and obscurantism. The real objections are to the excrescences and irrelevancies which have grOwn up around the measure in the process of drafting, to the vagueness of the Schedule, and the conventional but objectionable omnibus clause, authorising "any further informaiion ", added at the end of the Schedule. Fortunately there is evidence that Sir Kingsley Wood has accepted the clear view of the House and will have the Bill amended accordingly. * * * *