During the debate on the second reading of the Education Bill, the House of Commons agrees to add a new clause proposed by Liberal MP William Cowper-Temple that ‘no religious catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall be taught in the school’. The effect was that if a school wished to receive public funding it could not refuse pupils on religious grounds. In addition religious instruction should be given at the beginning or the end of the day so that parents who objected could keep their children out of the lesson. The Act, including the Cowper-Temple Clause, became law in August 1870, marking the first major step towards universal primary education.