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Leicester Vaccination Prosecutions

Volume 92: debated on Tuesday 2 April 1901

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I beg to ask the President of the Local

† See pages 178.
Government Board whether he is aware that, after an interval of sixteen years, a number of prosecutions under the Vaccination Acts are now taking place at Leicester; and whether, since the vaccination officer has received no instructions to prosecute from the board of guardians, this officer is acting under direct instructions from the Local Government Board; if so, will he say under what authority the Local Government Board gives such instructions, and if these instructions include proceedings against the parents of the 60,000 children who are liable to them; if so, whether he will give notification of his intention to the local authorities, in order that precautions may be taken to avoid any breach of the peace that might result from prosecutions on so large a scale.

(Mr. GRANT LAWSON, Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)

I am aware that steps are being taken with a view to enforcing the Vaccination Acts at Leicester. It is the duty of the vaccination officer to take all reasonable steps to put the Acts in force without any instructions from the guardians or the Local Government Board. The Board, through one of their inspectors, have reminded the vaccination officer of his duly in this matter, but they have given him no instructions as regards the particular cases referred to. I understand that the vaccination officer is only proceeding in a limited number of instances, and that these are cases of recent default in complying with the law.


May I ask whether the Local Government Board will give their inspector instructions to order the prosecutions to be taken more methodically, and to be directed against the mayor, magistrates, and town councillors, who are equally liable and who ought to know better instead of against—


I may answer the first part of the question, as it gives rather a wrong impression. The inspector does not make the selection of those who are to be prosecuted. That is done by the vaccination officer, whose duty it is to see that the law is enforced, and therefore the inspector cannot be "more methodical" in his selection.