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Commons Chamber

Volume 17: debated on Monday 25 April 1910

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House Of Commons

Monday, 25th April, 1910.

The House met at a Quarter before Three of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

Private Business

Private Bills [ Lords] (Standing Orders not previously inquired into complied with), —Mr. Speaker laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bills, originating in the Lords, and referred on the First Reading thereof, the Standing Orders not previously inquired into, and which are applicable thereto, have been complied with, namely:—

Mansfield Railway Bill [ Lords].

Metropolitan Railway Bill [ Lords].

Gas Companies (Standard Burner) (No. 1) Bill [ Lords].

Gas Companies (Standard Burner) (No. 2) Bill [ Lords].

Gas Companies (Standard Burner) (No. 3) Bill [ Lords].

Nottingham Corporation Bill [ Lords].

Cambridge University and Town Water Bill [ Lords].

Metropolitan District Railway Bill [ Lords].

Reading and District Electric Supply Bill [ Lords].

London Electric Railway Amalgamation Bill [ Lords].

Baker Street and Waterloo Railway Bill [ Lords].

Matlock Bath and Scarthin Nick Urban District Council Bill [ Lords].

Garnant Gas Bill [ Lords].

Thorne and District Water Bill [ Lords].

Ordered, That the Bills be read a second time.

Provisional Order Bills (Standing Orders applicable thereto complied with),—Mr. Speaker laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bills, referred on the first reading thereof, the Standing Orders which are applicable thereto have been complied with, viz.:—

Local Government Provisional Orders (No. 2) Bill.

Local Government Provisional Orders (No. 3) Bill.

Ordered, That the Bills be read a second time to-morrow.

Bankers Guarantee and Trust Fund Incorporation Bill [ Lords] (King's consent signified),

Bill read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.

Great Western Railway (General Powers)

Bill (King's consent signified),

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Worksop Urban District Council Bill,

Read the third time, and passed.

Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway Bill [ Lords],

As amended, considered: to be read the third time.

City of London (Tithes and Rates) Bill [ Lords],

To be read a second time to-morrow.

Message from the Lords,

That they have passed a Bill, intituled, "An Act for incorporating the Wimbledon and Sutton Railway Company, and authorising them to construct railways and works in the county of Surrey; and for other purposes." (Wimbledon and Sutton Railway Bill [ Lords].)

Wimbledon and Sutton Railway Bill [ Lords],

Read the first time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills.

Warden's Divorce Bill [ Lords],

Read a second time, and committed.

Provisional Order Bills

Local Government Provisional Orders (No. 1) Bill—

Second Reading deferred till to-morrow.

Port of London (Port Rates on Goods) Provisional Order Bill.

"To confirm a Provisional Order made by the Board of Trade under the Port of London Act, 1908, relating to the Maximum Port Rates on Goods which may be levied by the Port of London Authority," presented by Mr. SYDNEY BTJXTOX. (Read the first time; to be refered to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills.)

Norwich Charities (No. 2) Bill,—reported, with Amendments, from Standing Committee A.

Minutes of the Proceedings of the Standing Committee to be printed.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be taken into consideration to-morrow.

County Councils (Education Rates)

Return ordered "by the County Council of each administrative county in England and Wales, except London, ( a) of the rate in the pound levied for Elementary Education over the whole of each administrative county; ( b) of particulars of the amounts received during the year ended the 31st day of March, 1910, from Rates raised under Section 18 (1) ( c) and ( d) of The Education Act, 1902, over parts only of the area under the council for purposes of Elementary Education; ( c) of particulars as to the practice of apportioning one-half or three-fourths of the cost in the improvement or provision of provided schools as between the county and the parish or parishes immediately concerned; and ( d) of the rate in the pound levied for Higher Education."— [ Mr. Clough.]

East India (Income And Expenditure)

Address for Return "of the net Income and Expenditure of British India, under certain specified heads, for the eleven years from 1898–9 to 1908–9."—[ Mr. Montagu.]

Oral Answers To Questions

Anglo-German Financial Agreement (1898)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it was a fact that His Britannic Majesty's Government was a consulted and consenting party to the Anglo-German Financial Agreement of 1898, as included in the Blue Book, No. 1, of 1899; and whether the same financial agreement was formally and specifically recognised in the subsequent Anglo-Russian Convention which embodied the principle of spheres of influence regarding railway concessions in China?

I have explained the nature of this agreement in my reply to a previous question by the Noble Lord on the 13th instant. His Majesty's Government were consulted and assented to the agreement between the two financial groups concerned, but it never became an agreement between the two Governments. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative.

Are we to understand that the Government do recognise the agreement as binding?

As between the two financial elements the Government approve of the agreement.

Are the Government prepared to support the English group of financiers in getting the agreement carried out?

That certainly must depend upon circumstances. It is not an agreement which is binding upon the German Government.

British Imports Into Japan

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention had been called to the systematic under-valuation of goods imported into Japan by which British traders who refuse to lend themselves to this practice are seriously prejudiced; and what steps he proposed to take to deal with the matter?

This question has been brought to my notice principally in connection with the consumption tax on imported textiles, and His Majesty's Government some time ago invited the Japanese Government to consider whether they could not see their way to substitute specific consumption duties for duties on an ad valorem basis. At the time the Japanese Government were not prepared to adopt this suggestion; they, however, promised to consider it and the matter will not be lost sight of. I understand that in the new Japanese Customs Tariff it is proposed in many cases to replace the existing ad valorem by specific duties.

Japanese Tariff

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention had been called to the new Japanese tariff which has passed the House of Representatives and will come into operation next year; and, seeing the prohibitive character of many of the new duties, especially affecting Lancashire and Yorkshire goods, what representations he proposes to make to secure fair treatment for British trade?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second it is not possible to say at present what representations it may be ultimately found necessary to address to the Japanese Government pending a consideration of the matter by the Board of Trade, who are in communication with the Chambers of Commerce on the subject, and will consult their Advisory Committee on Commercial Intelligence with regard to it when they learn the views of the Chambers.

Have the Board of Trade taken into consideration the possibility of putting a tax upon the cheap Japanese goods now sent into the Midlands and underselling British goods?

I am quite unable to say what course the Board of Trade would take.

In view of the Home Secretary's declaration as to retaliation by the French Government, does the Government propose to impose any duties on Japanese silk and porcelain?

Mail Service To Mombasa

asked the Postmaster-General if he can ascertain what subsidy is paid by the French and German Governments for the mail service from Marseilles to Mombasa; and whether, in view of the fact that owing to such subsidies the entire commerce of East Africa and Uganda is practically confined to Marseilles and Hamburg, he will consider if an adequate subsidy could be paid to a British service?

further asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the fact that there is a direct loss to the Post Office of£7,200 a year by the contract for the conveyance of mails from Aden to Mombasa, and that the said service is of no value for either passengers or for trade, he will take into consideration the desirability of terminating the contract, with a view to secure a service that will be of some advantage to the commerce of East Africa?

In addition to indirect financial contributions of which I have no means of ascertaining the amounts, subsidies of£67,000 and£43,000 are paid by the German and French Governments, respectively, on account of African mail services, which include calls at East African ports, but it is not possible to say what proportions of the subsidies are on account of these calls. From Returns for the year 1908–9 it appears that the tonnages of German, British and French shipping entering and clearing from the British East African ports are in the ratio of 11, 5 and 2. I am not, however, in a position to state the proportion of the trade to and from these ports that is carried in British and foreign bottoms. I have been in consultation on the subject of steamship services to East Africa with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who communicated with the Governor of the East African Protectorate in the matter. The circumstances of the case lead to the conclusion that though the present subsidy for the service between Aden and Zanzibar has a combined trade and postal justification, there are no sufficient grounds for the payment of a large subsidy for a mail service direct from England to the ports in question.

In view of the fact that a well-known line of steamers is running up from South Africa as far as Mombasa, will the Government take the matter into consideration?

I understand that the Union Line does not at present contemplate any extension of the service from Mombasa back to England by the Suez route.

Is the Postmaster-General aware that the interests of Nyasaland are also involved in this question, and that Chinde should be included in the all-East Coast service to be secured by a suitable subsidy?

I am aware that the British India Line are now receiving£7,200 above the value of the postal service they perform.

What is the nature of the indirect further contribution to which the right hon. Gentleman refers?

I should like to have notice of that. There are certain payments given by Continental governments to these shipping companies, which are still under their flag, and these payments do not correspond to any subsidies given in this country.

Newspaper Telegraphists (Parliamentary Recess)

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the withdrawal of the newspaper telegraphists at the beginning of a Parliamentary recess is a cause of considerable inconvenience to the newspapers concerned; and if he can see his way to issue instructions that these telegraphists whose term concludes during a Parliamentary recess shall continue to work till after Parliament is prorogued?

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave a fortnight ago to the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs.

Bangor (County Down) Post Office

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that Bangor, county Down, being a seaside resort, the cost of living there is higher than at Knock, county Down, where the maximum pay of postmen is 27s. per week, whereas at Bangor it is only 23s.; and whether, in view of the difference in pay at these offices, he will cause inquiry to be made at Bangor with a view to its re-classification?

Careful consideration was given to all the circumstances before the classification of Bangor was decided, and I regret that I can find no sufficient reason for altering the decision. The postmen at Bangor benefited under the Parliamentary Committee Revision by an increase of 1s. a week in their maximum pay. Knock was placed in Class 2 because it is situated within the municipal town boundary of Belfast, with which town it is closely connected. Belfast is in Class 1.

Suffolk Postal Facilities (Rushmere)

asked if a vacancy is about to occur on the Rush-mere to Kesgrave, Suffolk, rural postman's walk; whether it is contemplated to break up this established post into two or more unestablished duties to be performed by part-time unestablished persons; and, if so, will he take steps to retain the established character of this post?

The post in question is vacant. In order to accelerate the morning delivery, respecting which complaint has been made, bicycle working has been introduced both on the Ipswich to Rushmere post and on the post in question, Rushmere to Kesgrave. The latter duty is thereby reduced to four hours fifteen minutes a day, which is far short of the minimum qualification for an established post. It will, therefore, be necessary to employ one auxiliary for the present—not two, as the hon. Member suggests.

Old Age Pensions (Ireland)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that Mrs. Bridget Boland, of Woodhill, county Sligo, Tubbercurry sub-committee, was in receipt of a pension of 5s. per week ever since the Act came into operation up to 10th March last, when it was stopped on appeal by the local pension officer on the ground that she was not the required age; whether Mrs. Boland has put in a fresh claim, accompanied by a certificate from the deputy-keeper, Public Record Office, showing that the claimant was two years and two months in 1841; and, if so, whether she will now be placed on the list and the amount of which she was deprived be paid her?

I should be glad if the hon. Gentleman will postpone his question. I have not yet obtained the information he requires.

As the House will shortly adjourn, I shall not have an opportunity of obtaining the information.

I quite recognise that difficulty, but I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the facts. I will endeavour to do so as soon as I get the information from Ireland.

asked whether many old age pensioners in Ireland have been deprived of their pensions on appeals based on the Census Returns of 1841 and 1851; whether, on investigation at the Public Record Office, Dublin, these Returns have in many cases been found to be wholly erroneous, in consequence of which these pensions have been restored; and, if so, whether, seeing that under unreliable official returns these pensioners have been unjustly deprived of their pensions and compelled, in many cases under threat of prosecution, to refund sums properly their own, steps will be taken to have such sums repaid to them?

A considerable number of pensions have been withdrawn on appeals based on the Census Returns. With reference to the second paragraph of the question, while acknowledging that discrepancies have been found in the Census Returns, I am not prepared to admit that they are on the whole unreliable as a test of age in the case of claimants under the Old Age Pensions Act. As a matter of fact, the Returns have been the only means of enabling a large number of persons to establish their right to pensions. If there are any cases in which pensions have been withdrawn upon the evidence of Census Returns which can can be shown to be incorrect, I shall be prepared to consider the suggestion made in the latter part of the question.

Government Officials (Return)

asked when the Return relating to Government officials, ordered on 10th March, will be presented to Parliament?

Death Duties

asked what is the amount of capital which has come under the review of the Inland Revenue authorities for the purpose of Death Duties during each of the last ten years? I should point out, before the right hon. Gentleman answers, that in the question on the Paper it is printed two years; it should be ten years. I sent the right hon. Gentleman a letter giving him notice of the correction.

I did not get the letter until this morning, and I have only got an answer relating to the last two years. I shall endeavour to obtain the information, but if the hon. Gentleman likes I can give him the figures for the two years.

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to circulate it in the Papers?

Ordnance Survey Employés

asked the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Agriculture whether, in the terms of reference to the proposed committee of inquiry into the grievance of theemployé of the Ordnance Survey, such a matter as the retirement of the labourers employed "by that body who are compulsorily retired at the age of sixty can be brought forward with a view of ascertaining whether a scheme of pension can be brought about, either by contribution or otherwise, and thus relieve these men from the hardship of being thrown on the world without being able, through no fault of their own, to provide for themselves or their families in their old age; and whether the question of the transference of the Irish section of the Ordnance Survey to the control of the Irish Agricultural Department will be included in the said terms of referenced?

The subjects to which my hon. Friend refers are not such as could appropriately be considered by the committee which is in contemplation.

Purchase Of Army Remounts

asked how many copies of the pamphlet, issued by the Board in January, 1909, containing photographic illustrations and a full description of each of the types of horses required for remount purposes in the Army, were distributed in Wales; and through what channels were these pamphlets distributed?

The pamphlet was sent direct by the Board to every occupier of an agricultural holding in Great Britain, who had returned horses as being in his possession on 4th June. 1908. No record was kept of the number despatched to different parts of the country.

Will the Department inform the breeders of the types of horses needed and the prices that the War Office is prepared to give for three and four-year old horses of the description required?

In view of the inquiries directed to the hon. Gentleman from Members in all quarters of the House representing every part of the United Kingdom, cannot the hon. Gentleman make known throughout the country what types of horses are required for these purposes and the prices?

I have already informed the hon. Member that pamphlets containing the information have already been despatched to every occupier who has made a return of horses on his holding.

Will the hon. Gentleman see that copies of the pamphlet are circulated in the country districts of Ireland?

The matter has reference to the Board of Agriculture for Great Britain, and not to the Board of Agriculture in Ireland.

Will the hon. Gentleman communicate with the Department in Ireland as* to the circulation of these pamphlets?

Will the hon. Gentleman call the attention of the Board of Agriculture in Ireland to this matter?

If the hon. Gentleman desires it, but I should have thought it was a matter for the Chief Secretary.

Blight Of Apple Trees

asked whether the Board of Agriculture's attention has been called to the serious increase in the infestation of apple trees by American blight, particularly in the West and South of England, and the consequent prevalence of canker even among newly-planted trees; and whether the Board will take steps to prevent owners and occupiers of infested orchards and gardens from inflicting injury and loss upon their neighbours, by compelling them to cut down and burn all infested trees which, after due warning, have not been effectively treated with a view to the removal of this wind-carried pest?

The Board are aware of the prevalence of this pest throughout Great Britain, and a leaflet on the subject has been widely distributed. I shall be happy to send the hon. Member a copy of it, together with two other leaflets dealing with the case of orchards. The Board hope that the spread of education among fruit growers and the facilities for washing fruit trees now available will result in a diminution of the various pests affecting neglected orchards without recourse being necessary to the extreme measures of coercion suggested, which the Board are not at present prepared to adopt.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is just those who do not read those leaflets which come from the Board of Agriculture who are the greatest sinners in this matter and are causing the pest to spread to the orchards of their neighbours?

Admiralty Yacht Guests

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, during the last two years, an occasion has ever arisen when the number of guests on board the Admiralty yacht was so great that accommodation could not be found for one of the Lords of the Admiralty?

I am not aware of the occasion referred to by the hon. Member. It has, however, been the custom on such occasions, as the review of the Fleet at Spithead, to detail one or more cabins as cloak-rooms for the official guests of the Board. These cabins become available for the Board on the guests leaving.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state the amount of Appropriation in Aid in each of the last four years in respect of sums paid for guests entertained on board the Admiralty yacht?

As I informed the hon. Gentleman in reply to a supplementary question on 6th April, I do not think it is desirable to make such a statement.

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will give an opportunity of thanking him, on behalf of the nation, for his generosity?

Will the right hon. Gentleman state the reason why it is undesirable?

It is purely a personal matter. I am not speaking for myself en this matter. My predecessors in office have always adopted t*he same course in personal matters.

No; as I am informed it is purely a voluntary payment. The practice has been adopted by all First Lords of the Admiralty ever since the existing yacht was built. I am informed that there is no claim to be made on this subject, but my predecessors have always regarded it as desirable that payment should be made in respect of guests who are entertained on board the Admiralty yacht.

Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether there is any limit to the number of guests?

No. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to know the number of guests on any particular day or any particular time I should be very happy to inform him.

German Armoured Cruiser "Blucher"

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has any official information as to the proposed sale of the German armoured cruiser "Blucher" to the Turkish Government?

Would it not be possible for the right hon. Gentleman to give unofficially information or must he always base his replies to questions on official information?

It would be undesirable for me to state on the authority of the Admiralty information which was not official.

In view of the fact that this affects the balance of naval power, will the right hon. Gentleman give the information to the House at as early a date as possible?

As soon as I have official information on the subject I shall be very happy to give it to the House, but, as anybody will see, the balance of power would be affected favourably to this country, and therefore the matter has not the same importance.

"Neptune" And "Indefatigable" (Construction)

asked when it is anticipated that the "Neptune" and "Indefatigable" will be completed; and whether it is expected that delays are likely to extend their construction beyond the two years' limit?

The reply to the first part of the question is January and February next respectively. With regard to the second part, so far as can be seen at present, such delays are not expected.

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of preventing unanticipated delays such as kept back the "Collingwood" and "St. Vincent" this year?

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to anticipate that which cannot be anticipated?

Devonport Dockyard

asked whether new construction in machinery was undertaken in Devonport Dockyard; if not, would he explain why; whether the work of refitting a repairing ship was always done in the scheduled time, and in cases where delay had taken place was that frequently due to insufficiency in the number of workmen available; if not, would he state to what cause he attributed the delay; was emergency work frequent; and was the present working staff sufficient to cope with the general routine work of the yard?

The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. The reason asked for in the second part is that the engines and boilers required for the large cruisers and battleships built at Devonport could not be manufactured with the present resources of the yard in time to complete these vessels in two years from the date of laying down. As regards the third part of the question, if, during progress of work, the repairs prove more extensive than expected, there may then be some delay in completion, or, in other words, had the full extent of the requisite repairs been known, a later date for completion would have been taken. The answer to the fourth part is in the negative, and to the fifth in the affirmative.

If the answer to the fifth part of the question is in the affirmative, will the right hon. Gentleman tell me why they are constantly taking on men at Devonport Dockyard and sending men away?

We can never at any moment be absolutely sure what amount of repairs will be requisite during the year, and we have to take on men according to the requirements of the service.

I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the working staff was sufficient to cope with the general routine work—is that so?

How does he reconcile the last answer with the answer he gave to the former question?

The general routine work is a certain quantity which we can anticipate. There may be for short periods an excess of that amount or deficiency of that amount, when we have to take in view men and dismiss other men, according to the conditions of the work, which could not be regarded as included in the general ordinary work of the yard.

I think the hon. Gentleman might be satisfied. He has had four very full answers.

asked how many temporary hands are now employed in the works department at Devonport Dockyard; how many have been so employed for a continuous period of fifteen years; how many for twenty years and over; whether he will consider the advisability of extending to men who have been employed continuously in the works department for a long period of years the same privileges as to establishment as are extended to workmen in other departments in the yard; and, if not, will he explain on what ground he justifies a distinction being made?

The number of temporary hands now employed in the works department at Devonport Dockyard is 1,051, of whom fifty-seven have been employed continuously for fifteen years, and thirty-six for twenty years and over. With regard to the last part- of the question, I must refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him in reply to a similar question on the 13th of this month.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he considers the fifty-seven and thirty-seven men who have been working for fifteen and twenty years respectively should be regarded as temporary men; and whether it would be possible to have them established?

I have already fully explained to the hon. Member that the system of working in the works department does not properly permit of the establishment system being introduced. The works department endeavours so far as is possible to re-engage the same men as they have employed before. The result is that in individual cases certain men are employed for a considerable number of years. I do not understand the hon. Member to wish the works department to dismiss those old workmen.

The hon. Member must really have some regard to the large number of questions on the Paper.

Royal Dockyards (Wages)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he could see his way to approximate more closely the wages of skilled labourers in the royal dockyards to the wages of skilled labourers doing similar work for private firms; whether, in view of the discrepancy at present existing, he would consider whether it would promote efficiency in the yards if the minimum rate of pay for day work for hired skilled labourers was raised from 22s. to 26s. per week and the maximum from 28s. to 30s. per week; whether he was aware that the present rate of pay for ordinary labourers at the royal dockyards is 21s. per week, whereas for similar work at Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester, and London, public bodies pay their ordinary labourers 25s., 26s., 28s. 3d., and 29s. 3d., respectively; and whether he would consider the advisability of raising the weekly pay for established ordinary labourers to 23s. 6d. per week, and of hired ordinary labourers to 24s. per week?

The question of the rates of pay of skilled labourers and labourers employed in His Majesty's dockyards has recently been under consideration in connection with petitions received from the workmen, and in regard to which members of the Board of Admiralty received deputations of the workmen at interviews at the several dockyards. The replies to the various requests made by the workmen are now being prepared and will be promulgated to the workmen shortly; in the meantime it is not considered expedient to discuss the arguments urged in support of the requests or to forestall the replies.

May I ask whether in addition to improving the position of the skilled labourers first and second grade storehousemen and sawyers at Devonport Dockyard, he will do something for the log rollers of that establishment?

asked whether he would consider the advisability of removing the present limited classification in respect to skilled labourers in the Royal dockyards and arranging for competent workmen (both established and hired) to rise to the maximum rates of pay by increments, granted annually, of 1s. per week; and whether, in view of the small number of skilled labourers borne on the establishment and to the substitution of other hands when filling vacancies caused by retirement, he would cause all vacancies to be filled by men of the same class as those creating the vacancies?

Both these subjects have been raised by the workmen concerned in their petitions to the Admiralty, to which replies are now being prepared. It is not deemed expedient to anticipate the replies to the workmen.

asked whether he will explain why, when a first-grade storehouse man vacates his post, a second-grade storehouse man is often appointed to that post without necessarily receiving any rise in pay?

As stated in reply to the hon. Member on the 21st of this month, the growth and development of the supply services necessitates reallocation of the charges from time to time as their importance increases or diminishes, and a possible consequent change of duties as between the two grades. I have nothing to add to that.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has answered the point which I put to him, namely, whether he will explain why when a first-grade storehouse man vacates his-post, a second-grade storehouse man is often appointed to the post without necessarily receiving any rise in pay? That is what I want answered.

When a post which was held by a first-grade storehouse man, in consequence of the reduction of the number of stores in charge becomes a post suitable for a second-grade storeman, I have explained very fully to the hon. Member that in such a case as that, when the first grade storehouse post is diminished and reduced in importance, and a second-grade storehouse man succeeds the first, there would not be necessarily any increase of pay to the second-grade storehouse man.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, seeing that provision is made in the Naval Estimates for 1910–11 for an establishment of 5,928 men in the Royal dockyards, and no more, he will say whether any negotiations have passed between the Admiralty and the Treasury on the question of increasing the establishment since that number was settled; whether the total number now authorised is the same as the number stated in the Naval Estimates, and, if not, what is the number now authorised; and whether Treasury approval had been received to the reopening of the establishment before the day of the election at Devonport last January?

The Admiralty has been for some time past in communication with the Treasury on the question of resuming the establishment for workmen. As a result of that correspondence, it has been decided to resume the establishment, but as to what the revised total number of established places is to be, I must refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 18th April. The answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.

Hm Ships "Shearwater" And "Algerine"

asked how many bluejackets are carried by the "Shearwater," and how many by the "Algerine;" what is the tonnage of each ship and the nominal speed; and what is the size and number of guns carried by each?

The first part of the question concerns complements, and the information is confidential. The other figures asked for are: "Algerine," 1,050 tons displacement, 12.9 knots speed; "Shearwater," 980 tons displacement, 13.4 knots speed. The "Algerine" carries six 4-inch guns and four 3-pounders; the "Shearwater" carries four 4-inch guns and four 3-pounders.

Naval Protection (American Pacific Coast)

asked whether there are any British warships, except the sloops "Algerine" and "Shearwater," stationed between the Behring Straits and the most southern extremity of the whole of the American Continent for the protection either of British commerce at sea or of the lives and property of British subjects on shore?

No other vessels are stationed there permanently, but the Pacific coast of America is visited occasionally when thought necessary by ships from the China or Australian stations.

May I ask how long it would take to put first-class cruisers which would provide adequate protection for British subjects in time of trouble in these waters?

It depends where the first-class cruisers found themselves at the moment.

Suppose they were in the China station or had to be sent from the Mediterranean or Atlantic?

If the hon. Member would give me notice of that question I could measure the distancs.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he considers one of the occasions has now arisen for him to consider it desirable to transfer some of those ships from Chinese waters?

The Admiralty will be advised on the point by the Foreign Office, and any request made to the Admiralty by the Foreign Office will be, I can assure the hon. Members, complied with.

Prison Commission (Medical Member)

had given notice of the following Question (No. 31 on the Paper): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, when the place on the Prison Commission, recently rendered vacant by the retirement of Dr. Donkin, was filled, regard was had to the official Minute which was placed on record in the Home Office, on the undertaking of the First Lord of the Treasury and of the Home Secretary when the Prisons Act of 1898 was under discussion, and at the urgent request of Members of the present Government, to the effect that one of the Prison Commissioners should, if possible, be a medical man; and why, in view of the Minute so placed on record by their own demand, the vacancy was filled by the gentleman who acted as private secretary to the late Home Secretary?

As this subject was discussed on Friday last, and such information as could be given was given, I do not propose to ask the question.

As the question contains some statements which are inaccurate, perhaps I might be permitted to read the answer.

Would it not have been better if the right hon. Gentleman had been present during the discussion on Friday? I have not put the question.

Subsequently—

May I, Mr. Speaker, with great respect, submit to you a point of Order with reference to question No. 31 on to-day's Order Paper, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Glasgow University (Sir Henry Craik), but which was not asked by the hon. Member, and which, having regard to your ruling, could not be answered. May I, with great respect, submit to you the footnote to Rule of Procedure No. 57, which says:—

"A. Minister may, if he thinks fit, on the ground of public interest, answer a question appearing on the Notice Paper although it be not asked."
May I respectfully say that the public interest involved in this question is that it reflects upon the position of my Noble Friend, Lord Gladstone, my predecessor, and as that reflection appears upon the Paper, I was anxious that a proper answer should be given to it upon the same day. May I ask your ruling again?

We had a Debate of considerable length on this subject on Friday, when a full statement was made by the Under-Secretary, and I presume the Under-Secretary said everything that was to be said on that occasion. If he did not say all that could possibly be said it was his own fault. The House had a full opportunity of discussing it, and the Under-Secretary had a full opportunity of stating all the reasons, and nothing fresh has occurred since.

With great respect, Sir, what I draw your attention to is, the reiteration of statements which are directly—

The hon. Member's question must have been down upon the Paper before Friday. It must have been down last Thursday or it could not appear upon the paper to-day.

Passive Resistance (Case Of Mr Ford, Minchinhampton)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he had any further information to give in regard to the case of Ford, Minchinhampton?

I have now received full reports dealing with this case. Mr. Ford, who is the Baptist Minister at Minchinhampton, was committed to Gloucester Prison on 14th April for two months for non-payment of rates, the amount in dispute being 1s. 9d., which he declared himself conscientiously unable to pay, as being applied to denominational instruction. There had been an open enmity in political and social matters between Mr. Ford, who has a wide influence in the district and is highly esteemed, and Major Ricardo, who was Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates on the occasion when the sentence was inflicted, and who is also, I am informed, chairman of the Conservative Association. I am advised that this enmity did not influence Major Ricardo in the sentence which he passed.

On a point of Order. Might I ask whether it is a proper thing, in answer to a question in this House, to make a reflection upon a magistrate upon the Bench?

Is it not a reflection on a gentleman to mention the fact that he is a Conservative—which was not asked for in the question—when it is introduced in relation to a question about his magisterial functions?

The point I wished to submit to you is this. The suggestion was that the magistrate acted with prejudice.

I understood the next sentence of the answer to be that that had no influence with him. [An Hon. Member: "Then why mention it?"

(continuing answer): I am advised that this enmity did not influence Major Ricardo in the sentence which he passed, and it is right to state that the sentence was concurred in by the five other magistrates present on the Bench. [An Hon. Member: "Oh.") Is there anything wrong in that?

I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to answer the question in the usual way.

And, with great respect to you, Sir, I trust that I may be heard with the usual courtesy. (Continuing answer.) Without expressing any opinion upon this, I am bound to observe that it would have been better for all concerned if Major Ricardo had withdrawn from the Bench on this occasion, instead of taking a leading part in sentencing a neighbour, with whom he had been notoriously engaged in the sharpest controversy on the very political and religious matters which were the cause of the refusal to pay rates. The sentence itself will, I believe, be regarded in every quarter of the House as harsh, excessive, and conspicuously inappropriate to the circumstances of the case. The rate has since been paid, not by Mr. Ford or with his cognisance, but by some person unknown to me; and Mr. Ford was in consequence released on Wednesday last.

Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will at once draw the attention of the Lord Chancellor to the conduct of the Chairman of the Bench? That is to say, when the Home Secretary in his place in Parliament alleges that there was open animosity—

Then I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the general character of his answer, will at once call the attention of the Lord Chancellor to the matter with a view to his considering the removal of the Chairman from the Bench?

I have told the House that the sentence was concurred in by the rest of the Bench, and that I think owing to the notorious ill-will prevailing between the person sentenced and the Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates inflicting the sentence, it would have been much better if Major Ricardo had withdrawn from the Bench during the case.

In fairness to the magistracy of the country, will the right hon. Gentleman call the attention of the Lord Chancellor to the allegation that he has made officially today against a magistrate on the Bench, and back up what he has said by recommending the Lord Chancellor to remove that magistrate?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Chairman refused to suspend the execution of the warrant although urged to do so, but insisted upon the warrant being immediately executed?

I have given my answer to the House, and the information which has reached me on the subject. I have expressed an opinion upon it, and I certainly do not withdraw or modify that opinion in any way. As to whether further action should be taken, I am not prepared to give any opinion at the present time.

Police And Cab Calls

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he was aware that, owing to whistles practically similar to police whistles being used by residents in many parts of London for the purpose of calling cabs, the use of police whistles to summon aid was practically nullified; and if he would take steps to ensure the police force having a distinctive whistle or other form of call which, if used by citizens, should be used only for the purpose of summoning the police in cases of emergency?

It cannot be said that in practice real difficulty is experienced in obtaining a response to a police call for aid. The time, the surroundings, and other circumstances, as a rule, make such a call unmistakable. Experience has shown that there would be practical difficulties in restricting the use of any form of whistle.

Use Of Birch In Prisons

asked the Home Secretary whether, on some date within the last two months, a youth undergoing sentence in Pentonville prison had been birched, with the result that his death occurred the day after; and, if so, whether he would now consider the advisability of having the use of the birch as a mode of punishment abolished?

No youth has been birched in Pentonville prison during the last four years. An adult, aged thirty, was birched on 3tst January, 1910, and he is still in the prison, and in good health

Political Clubs (Sunday Entertainments)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he would initiate measures to prevent the violation of the Sabbath Day by political clubs, which were in the habit of holding variety entertainments and social functions of a similar nature regularly every Sunday morning and evening, thus leading to a great increase of drink upon the premises?

I cannot accept the suggestion that Sunday entertainments in clubs ought to be wholly suppressed. If they lead to offences against the law, the remedy lies in legal proceedings. One of the objects of the Licensing Bill of two years ago was to strengthen the law with regard to clubs; but I see no opportunity of reviving those provisions at present.

As I understand the right hon. Gentleman is not prepared to deal with the matter, may I ask if he will draw the attention of some of the reverend and hon. Members on his side of the House to the question?

Could not the matter be dealt with by an Amendment to the Finance Bill?

In dealing with this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman also make provision for preventing Members of Parliament from playing golf on Sunday, and also whist-playing in West End clubs?

I do not think the Home Office is called upon to take any such steps?

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the various forms of entertainment which take place in West End hotels and clubs, and will he satisfy himself that those who attend them are all teetotallers?

Census, 1911

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he could arrange to indicate on the Census papers of 1911 the nationality by birth and by naturalisation of each resident recorded in them?

The Census Bill provides that the birthplace and nationality of every person shall be stated on the schedules.

Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907 (Medical Treatment)

asked the President of the Board of Education whether an application has been made by the London County Council for the recognition of attendances at hospitals of school children for medical treatment as attendances at school for grant purposes in the same way as recognition is given in respect of their withdrawal for purposes of medical inspection; and whether he proposes to obviate the loss of Grant, which would otherwise be incurred in carrying out the provisions of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, by including in the Code for 1910–11 a provision for such recognition in respect of medical treatment similar to that made under Article 44 (h) in respect of medical inspection?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question, I am not prepared to extend the scope of Article 44 (h) of the Code, as suggested. I am not satisfied that a case has been made out for such an extension of the scope of the Article, and I am unwilling to add to the complication of our present system of Grants.

British Traders Abroad

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of, or whether he will make inquiries to inform himself as to, the practice of foreign Governments operating through merchants who are their subjects, and to whom special financial accommodation and Consular services are freely afforded, in the creation of political commercial spheres of influence in Oriental countries to the exclusion of British traders; and whether he proposes to take any and what action, and whether by international convention or how otherwise, to preserve to British traders the continued right to trade on equal terms with their foreign competitors in such spheres as are now in course of formation?

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. I have no official information as to the private operations between foreign Governments and merchants to which the hon. Member refers, nor is this a subject on which official inquiries could properly toe instituted. As regards the second part of the question, I am unable to give an answer to an inquiry of so comprehensive a character within the limits of a Parliamentary question, but if the hon. Member will specify any particular country I will endeavour to give him information in regard to the position of British traders therein.

Will the hon. Gentleman in the interval do his best to inquire whether or not the facts stated in the question are true?

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give particular information; that will make it more easy for me to inquire.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the highly organised Government Departments existing in Germany and in the United States of America, corresponding to the Board of Trade in this country, which, acting through the Consular Service, constitute a propelling force for the advancement of commerce abroad, he proposes to take any and what steps to secure to this country equal efficiency and vigilance; and whether, to this end, he would consider the advisability of conferring executive powers on the present Consultative Committee of the Board of Trade?

I am not prepared to admit that the organisation and machinery at the disposal of the Board of Trade for the promotion of British commerce are in any degree less effective for that purpose than the corresponding organisations of other countries. I desire to utilise to the full the co-operation and assistance of the Advisory Committee to which the hon. Member refers, but I do not think that the usefulness of the Committee would be increased—on the contrary, it would probably be considerably diminished—if it were invested with executive powers.

Trade And Commerce (Rules Of The Supreme Court)

asked the President of the Board of Trade: (1) Whether his attention had been drawn to the injury caused to the trade and commerce of the country owing to the infrequent and insufficient action of the Rule Committee to amend, revise, or add to the Rules of the Supreme Court to meet cases of proved injustice which, under existing conditions, remain uncorrected; and, if so, whether he proposed to take any action in the matter? (2) Whether he will confer with the Lord Chancellor and with His Majesty's Attorney-General with a view to the consideration of the present operation of the Rules of Court adversely affecting commercial interests and, if approved, take steps to establish a vigilance department of the Board of Trade in legal matters, whose duty it should be to invite and receive from His Majesty's judges, chambers of commerce, and others, quarterly returns of such suggested amendments or additions as may be considered necessary, and to initiate legislation or frame for the consideration of the Rule Committee such draft rules or amendments as the department may recommend to give effect to needed alterations? And (3) Whether he will confer with the Lord Chancellor and His Majesty's Attorney-General upon the subject of the expediency of giving to His Majesty's judges discretionary power to award that the costs of the interpretation of obscure or doubtful provisions in Acts of Parliament affecting commercial interests should be borne by the Consolidated Fund in those instances where the imposing thereof on the parties to litigation would entail an unreasonable burden?

My attention has not been drawn to the matter referred to in the first question, but I may say generally that if any specific case of hardship resulting from the operation of the Rules is brought before me I shall be ready to consider it, with a view to possible representations in the proper quarter. This course has been followed in one or two cases which have been brought before the Board of Trade. As regards the second question. I do not see that any good purpose would be served by the establishment of such a Department as the hon. Member proposes. As regards the third question, it does not appear that the Board of Trade is the Department especially concerned.

Labour Exchanges (Suggested Post Office Registration)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered the possibility of enlarging the scope of the Labour Exchanges by some system of co-operation with the Post Office so as to enable persons residing in rural districts to register their names at the Exchanges free of cost?

The extent to which the services of the Post Offices for the exten- sion of the Labour Exchange system can be utilised is still under consideration by the General Post Office and the Board of Trade.

Japanese Tariff And British Trade

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he, as Chairman of the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Board of Trade, has called for reports from the various chambers of commerce throughout the United Kingdom on the proposed changes in the Japanese tariff which is to come into force next year, and especially chambers in Lancashire and Yorkshire, with a view to ascertaining the effect upon British trade and the nature of the representations which should be made forthwith to the Japanese Government?

Yes, Sir. Such reports were called for more than a month ago; and, when received, will be considered by the Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade.

May I ask whether this is an occasion when the right hon. Gentleman might follow the example of his predecessor at the Board of Trade, and at least use a threat of retaliation to get fair terms?

I am considering what action, if any, shall be taken. But we had better wait until we know what are the views of the chambers of commerce, to whom the matter has been referred, and of the Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade, which represents all opinions.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has received the new draft tariff of Japan which recently passed the House of Representatives and is to come into force next year; and whether he will publish the same for the information of British exporters, whose trade is seriously threatened by increased imposts?

A translation of the new draft Japanese Customs tariff has been prepared by the Board of Trade, and will shortly be issued as a Parliamentary Paper. The provisions of the new Japanese Tariff Bill have been communicated to chambers of commerce and other representative associations with a view to ascertaining the probable effect of the new proposals, if enacted, on British trade. When the replies have been received they will be considered by the Board of Trade Advisory Committee on Commercial Intelligence.

Scottish Agriculture (West And South West Aberdeenshire)

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has-been drawn to the extensive alterations being made in West and South-West Aberdeenshire in the use of land, so that districts occupied by small cultivators or by sheep-farmers have been cleared and are now given over exclusively to sport; and whether, in view of the necessity of preserving a population thus sacrificed he will propose to introduce and carry such land legislation for Scotland as will make it impossible for landlord interests to sacrifice national interests?

I am quite alive to the importance of the matter to which the hon. Member refers, but he will not, I am sure, expect me to give any pledge at the moment as to the reintroduction of legislation dealing with Scottish land or as to new legislation on the subject.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in consequence of the policy pursued, the assessment for the rates in this area which has been cleaned has been reduced?

In view of the necessity of preserving our agriculture and keeping up the agricultural population, can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to put as large import duties upon competing goods as our own food producers have to-pay in rates and taxes?

Spring Recess (Subsequent Business)

asked the Prime Minister whether he can say what will be the first Parliamentary act of the Government after the Spring Recess?

As I have said, our present intention is that the first business on our reassembling after the Recess will be to get the Speaker out of the Chair on the Civil Service Estimates.

asked the Prime Minister whether he proposes to pass a Consolidated Fund (No. 2) Bill immediately after the Recess?

It will probably be necessary to introduce a second Consolidated Fund Bill early in June, but I am not yet in a position to specify the precise date.

Superannuation (Labourers In Government Service)

asked the Prime Minister whether he can see his way to introduce a scheme or Bill whereby labourers employed in the Government service will be provided with a pension when compulsorily retired at the age of sixty; whether he is aware of the hardship occasioned to these old people, whose wages do not allow them to provide for old age; and whether he will consider the advisability of placing them on a footing with other members of the Civil Service?

I fear that I cannot contemplate any extension of the superannuation system to classes of Civil servants who are not now subject to its provisions.

If the right hon. Gentleman cannot see his way to the extension to these Civil servants of a pension, can he see his way to bring in a Bill to enable them, by contribution or otherwise, to particpate in the event of a scheme being carried out?

Adulteration Of Foodstuffs (Court Of Reference)

asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange with the Presidents of the Board of Agriculture and of the Local Government Board for the appointment of an Inter-departmental Committee of those two Departments, as recommended by the late Sir Henry Camp-bell-Bannerman in May, 1006, to consider and report upon the best means of establishing a permanent Court of Reference, whose duty it shall be to investigate the various methods of adulteration (including the adulteration of animal feeding stuffs and fertilisers) which exist or may arise, and to advise as to the steps to be taken to protect effectually the public from the fraudulent sale to them of adulterated articles?

:I do not think it necessary to set up a Departmental Committee to report upon the particular question—which, I may add, is not the question dealt with by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman—referred to by the hon. Member. The actual appointment of a Court of Reference would need legislation, and may, I think, be deferred pending the result of further experience of the working of the new Foods Department, which has been formed under the Local Government Board. As regards the Board of Agriculture, I understand that the Department have begun the collection of analyses, which is the necessary preliminary to the fixing of a standard.

Postal Letter Rate To France

asked the Prime Minister whether he would grant a small Select Committee to inquire into the financial difficulties connected with the question of the reduction of the postal letter rate to France and to recommend some reasonable method of solving them, in view of the declared readiness of the French Government to offer a similar reduction?

This is not a matter which can properly be referred to a Select Committee, but I can assure the hon. Member that the desirability of establishing penny postage with France and other countries on the Continent of Europe will be kept in view by the Government.

In view of the fact that this is a non-party question, that the whole House of Commons is in favour of the reform, and that may right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is in favour of it, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will appoint a small Committee to get over the financial difficulties, apart from the House of Commons?

Budget, 1910–11

asked the Prime Minister whether he can now give any indication as to the date at which the Budget statement for 1910–11 will be made?

asked the Prime Minister if he proposes that the Budget for the year 1910–11 shall be introduced immediately after the Recess; and if the taxes and duties are to be collected until that time at the rates settled by the Budget for the year 1909–10?

The only taxes included in the Finance Bill now before Parliament, to which permanent validity will not be given by that Bill when it becomes an Act, are the Income Tax and Tea Duty. As regards Income Tax, the same procedure will be followed as is usual in cases in which the Budget is not introduced until after 5th April. As regards tea, the duty unpaid by the Bill will remain in force until 1st July next.

Asylum Attendants (Ireland)

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the hours worked by asylum attendants in Ireland; whether he will grant a Return showing the average hours of attendants in similar institutions in England and Scotland; whether he is aware that consumption is a very general complaint amongst lunatics, the mortality amongst whom is very heavy; that the attendants have to be shut up with the patients so afflicted for very long spells at a time, with the result that many contract consumption and die of it; whether at the present moment two of the attendants are ill with this disease in the Omagh County Asylum; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the state of affairs at present existing?

The Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. If the hon. and gallant Member will refer to page 25 of the Sixty-first Report of the Commissioners of Lunacy, which has been presented to Parliament, he will see that the hours of duty for attendants in county and borough asylums in England and Wales are practically the same as at Omagh Asylum. I have no information with regard to Scotland. The Inspectors of Lunatics in Ireland inform me that, so far as they are aware, there has been no general feeling amongst attendants in Irish asylums that their hours are too long. It is a fact that consumption is very prevalent amongst the insane, but it must be borne in mind that the patients affected in asylums are under constant medical supervision, and that efforts are made to keep the insane as much as possible in the open air. The inspectors do not consider that the statement that many attendants die of consumption contracted from the patients is correct. I understand two of the female attendants at Omagh Asylum are on sick leave. In one case symptoms of phthisis set in after bronchitis. It is doubtful whether the disease exists in the other case. The question of the hours and conditions of work of attendants of asylums is one for the local committees of management over whom I have no direct control in such matters.

Old Age Pensions Act, 1908 (Friendly Society Membership)

asked whether the Government will introduce this Session a Bill to amend the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, so as to provide that in calculating the yearly means of a pensioner or applicant for a pension no account shall be taken of any sick pay or superannuation allowance received by such pensioner or applicant as a member of a friendly society, seeing that no private Member is permitted to introduce such a Bill?

The first matter to be dealt with by the Government in connection with Old Age Pensions will be the removal of the pauper disqualification, and I am afraid that until that has -been done I cannot give pledges as to further extensions of the right to pensions.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this will be the second point to be dealt with?

May I ask whether persons in receipt of outdoor relief up to Christmas of this year will receive old age pensions next year?

I hope, when the House reassembles, after the Spring Recess, that a Bill will be introduced dealing with that matter.

Universal Penny Postage (England And France)

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the resolution unanimously passed by the Corporation of the City of London on Thursday last, that the court, recognising the great social and commercial advantages which have resulted from the progress already made towards the ultimate adoption of a universal penny postage system, trusted that His Majesty's Government would now further assist and support that movement by endeavouring to secure its early establishment between England and France; and whether he intends to take any action on this appeal?

I have seen a report in the newspapers of the resolution to which the hon. Member refers. The views of His Majesty's Government on this question were expressed by the Postmaster-General in his reply to a deputation in this House on Tuesday last, which included the hon. Member.

General Election And Harvest Season

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the disorganisation of rural industry consequent upon a General Election during the summer or early autumn, he will, so far as lies in his power, arrange for the development of the political situation in such manner as to avoid the occurrence of such an election during either hay or corn harvest?

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask whether in the unlikely event of a General Election, will he consider the advisability of introducing a Bill for the purpose of holding all the elections on one day?

I have no such control over the development of the political situation as would enable me to give any such assurances as the hon. Member desires.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take counsel with agriculturists below the Gangway, who will be able to give the information?

Will the Prime Minister give an undertaking that the General Election will not take place either before, after, or during the hay or corn harvest?

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to a statement by the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland), to the effect that he would not seek re-election to the present Parliament; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the Department is represented by a Member of the House of Commons?

I am informed by Mr. Russell that he did not make the alleged statement referred to in the question.

Can the Prime Minister tell us how soon a seat is to be found for Mr. Russell, so as to enable him to take his place in this House in accordance with the declaration made by the Prime Minister?

British Hides (Exportation)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will explain why hides from imported cattle which are slaughtered at the ports are, on exportation, classed in the British Trade Returns as British hides; and whether, in view of the importance of the ascertainment of this information, he will make inquiries as to what proportion of the exports of hides are of this category?

All goods which undergo any process of manufacture or alteration in this country, other than sorting, repacking, or blending, are on exportation classified as exports of the produce and manufactures of the United Kingdom. A substantially similar practice is adopted by all the principal commercial countries in the classification of their exports. I will communicate with the Commissioners of Customs and Excise with a view to seeing whether anything can be done towards meeting the point raised in the last part of the question.

Unemployment In Germany And Great Britain

asked what are the present percentages of unemployment, so far as corresponding data are available, in Germany and in this country, respectively?

I regret that there are no corresponding data available in Germany and in this country with regard to unemployment which can be properly compared.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his predecessor at the Board of Trade gave similar information, care being taken to say that the data was not corresponding?

Meat Consumption (Great Britain)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can state the amount of meat consumed per head of the population in. Great Britain during the years 1908 and 1909?

I will have the necessary information prepared and will forward it to the hon. Member.

Railway Travelling (Corridor Carriage Doors)

asked whether, in consequence of the repeated accidents arising from passengers during night journeys mistaking the outer doors of railway carriages for the doons leading to the corridors, he will issue instructions that railway companies be compelled either to lock such outer doors or provide them with an extra catch on the inside, similar to those used on foreign railways on the outside of doors?

The Board of Trade are fully aware of the importance of the question, which is being carefully watched. They would, however, hesitate to recommend the adoption of any arrangement which might make it difficult or impossible for passengers to leave the train in an emergency.

Zeebrugge Port And Canal

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that a new port has recently been established at Zeebrugge and a canal constructed from Zeebrugge to Bruges, 6¼ miles long, 229 feet wide at water level, and with a minimum depth of 26 ft. 3 in., and that the roadstead at Zeebrugge is protected by a breakwater a mile long; and will he consider the advisability of publishing, for the benefit of the commercial community in this country, the fullest possible information on this subject in the Journal of the Board of Trade?

These works, of which the hon. Member appears to have just become aware, have been open for over three years, and are doubtless well known to the commercial community in this country. Several references to them have appeared from time to time in past Consular Reports.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman can he see his way to publishing the particulars available?

For the moment I do not see there is any particular need to do so. Reports in reference to this matter have appeared from time to time. The matter is fully known to the commercial community of this country.

Bills Presented

The following Bills were presented, and read the first time:—

Workmen's Compensation Bill

"To amend The Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906," presented by Mr. Baird; supported by Mr. Pollock and Mr. Robert Brassey. (To be read a second time upon Monday, 6th June.)

Local Government Qualification (England And Wales) Bill

"To extend the qualification for being elected on county and borough councils," presented by Mr. Charles Roberts; supported by Mr. Samuel Butcher, Sir Francis Channing, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. John Robertson, Mr. Cameron Corbett, Mr. Adkins, Mr. Arthur Henderson, and Mr. Dunn. (To be read a second time upon Monday, 6th June.)

Controverted Elections

informed the House that he had received the following communication from the Judges appointed to try the several Election Petitions, the following Certificate relating to the Election for the North Lonsdale Division of the county of Lancaster:—

To the Right Honourable The Speaker.

In the High Court of Justice, King's Bench Division.

In the Matter of the Parliamentary Election for the North Lonsdale Division of the county of Lancaster, holden on the 25th day of January, 1910;

and

In the Matter of a Petition relating to the said Election presented to the High Court on the 15th day of February, 1910, wherein Joseph Bliss was the Petitioner and George Bahr Haddock was the Respondent.

The case raised by the above-mentioned Petition having been stated as a Special Case—

It is hereby certified by the King's Bench Division of His Majesty's High Court of Justice that they did, on Friday, the 22nd day of April, 1910, determine as follows:—

That George Bahr Haddock, the Respondent in the above-mentioned Petition, was duly elected and returned at the above-mentioned election.

J. C. LAWRANCE.

WALTER G. F. PHILLIMORE.

Business Of The House

Suspension Op Eleven O'clock Rule

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Proceedings on the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act (1909) Amendment Bill be not interrupted

Division No. 59.]

AYES.

[3.50 p.m.

Addison, Dr. ChristopherHaslam, Lewis (Monmouth)Pearce, William
Adkins, W. Ryland D.Havelock-Allan, Sir HenryPease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
Ainsworth, John StirlingHazleton, RichardPhillips, John (Longford, S.)
Alden, PercyHenry, Charles SolomonPirie, Duncan V.
Anderson, Andrew MacbethHerbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)Pointer, Joseph
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryHindle, Frederick GeorgePrice, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)Hodge, JohnPringle, William M. R.
Barnes, George N.Hogan, MichaelRadford, George Heynes
Barry, Edward (Cork, S.)Holt, Richard DurningRaffan, Peter Wilson
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)Reddy, Michael
Barton, WilliamHome, C. Silvester (Ipswich)Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Beale, William PhipsonHudson, WalterRedmond, William (Clare, E.)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)Hughes, Spencer LeighRees, John David
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineHunter, William (Lanark, Govan)Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Boland, John PiusIllingworth, Percy H.Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Bowerman, Charles W.Isaacs, Sir Rufus DanielRobson, Sir William Snowdon
Bowles, Thomas GibsonJardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Brady, Patrick JosephJohnson, WilliamRoche, Augustine (Cork)
Burke, E. Haviland-Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)Roche, John (Galway, East)
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnJones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Burt, Rt. Hon. ThomasJowett, Frederick WilliamSamuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)Joyce, MichaelSamuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Poplar)Keating, MatthewScott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Byles, William PollardKelly, EdwardSeely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Kilbride, DenisSheehy, David
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)King, Joseph (Somerset, North)Snowden, Philip
Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Haywood)Lambert, GeorgeSoames, Arthur Wellesley
Chancellor, Henry GeorgeLaw, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)Soares, Ernest Joseph
Chapple, Dr. William AllenLayland-Barratt, Sir FrancisStanley, Albert (Staffs. N.W.)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.Lehmann, Rudolf C.Strachey, Sir Edward
Clancy, John JosephLewis, John HerbertSummers, James Wooley
Clough, WilliamLincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.Sutherland, John E.
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. DavidSutton, John E.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Lough, Rt. Hon. ThomasTennant, Harold John
Collins, Sir Wm. J