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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 17: debated on Wednesday 15 June 1910

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Admiralty And Bournemouth Aviation Races

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Admiralty had refused to assist the aviation races at Bournemouth in July by providing a destroyer to patrol the Solent during the principal international race; and, if not, whether the Admiralty could see its way to assist in this manner?

I regret that we have not found ourselves able to assist the Bournemouth meeting in the manner proposed.

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered that this assistance was given in France, and will he reconsider his decision?

Naval Programme (Additional Contingent Ships)

asked whether the four additional contingent ships of the 1909–10 programme were laid down on 1st April in accordance with the official promises?

No promises that the keels would be laid on 1st April were given. The date for laying down the keel of a ship is a matter for the contractors and not the Admiralty. The contract date of completion in the case of each of the extra four ships of the 1909–10 programme is 1st April, 1912.

Destroyers (1908–9 Programme)

asked whether any destroyer of the 1908–9 programme is yet completed or commissioned?

Torpedo-Boat Destroyers (Period Of Construction)

asked what was the average time occupied in the construction of the last twenty torpedo-boat destroyers completed for the British and German navies, respectively, reckoning from the voting of the first instalment of the cost of their construction, from the date of of the order, and from the date of laying down?

No information is available as to the dates of ordering and of laying down German destroyers, or any exact information as to the dates on which they are finally considered as completed. In the case of the last twenty destroyers for the Royal Navy, the occurrence of the engineering and shipbuilding strike caused such heavy delays that any comparison sought to be drawn in the time taken in their construction would be purely misleading. The Estimates time for completion of the destroyers of our last three programmes is twenty months, eighteen months, and eighteen months respectively.

Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what he means exactly by laying down a ship?

The hon. Gentleman refers to a preceding question. This does not arise out of this question.

Supply (Navy Estimates)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he would inform the House when he intends to take the remaining Naval Votes, namely, Votes 8, 9, 10, and 12; and in what order they would be taken?

I regret that I am unable to give the Noble and Gallant Lord any precise date, as the arrangements for the business of the House do not rest with me. The Votes referred to will, however, be placed on the Paper before the end of July.

Will full facilities be given for discussion or will the closure be applied on these Votes?

I am unable to say how much time will be given or how much time will be devoted to any particular Vote.

Dockyard Workmen (Portsmouth And Devonport)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he was aware that petitions from dredgermen, skilled and unskilled workmen, and hired workmen in Portsmouth Dockyard have not been answered; and whether he will make inquiries into the matter with a view to sending replies as early as possible, the replies having been promised by the end of April?

also asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he can now inform the House of the date on which replies may be expected to the petition from Devonport Dockyard?

I would refer the Noble and gallant Lord, and also the hon. Member for Devonport, who has a similar question on the Paper, to the reply given yesterday to the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle Division, in which I explained how it is that the replies have not yet been issued, and regretted the delay that has taken place.

Breaking-Up British Ships (Employment Of Foreigners)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention had been called to a case which came before the Rochester magistrates on Tuesday, 7th June, in which a Dutchman named Van Drunnen, in the employ of a Dutch firm of shipbreakers engaged in breaking-up His Majesty's ship "Anson," was fined 2s. 6d. and 15s. costs for assisting British bluejackets to improperly absent themselves from duty at Chatham Dockyard by rowing them across the river in his boat; and whether he would give instructions that in future when any British ships were to be broken up the work should be given to British hands?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. It would not appear that any stipulation such as that suggested in the second part of the question would have any effect in the prevention of such an occurrence as that referred to in the first part of the question, and no additional restriction of that nature is proposed.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give instructions when His Majesty's ships are to be broken up that they will only be sold to firms employing British labour?

I could not give any instructions of that kind, and we should not be able to enforce any such condition.

Admiralty Contracts (Fair Wages Clause)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he could now state the result of the inquiries into the alleged violation of the Fair Wages Clause in the wages paid to certain workmen employed on painting work and cork dusting by the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company on His Majesty's ship "Glasgow" and some torpedo boats under construction, and by Messrs. Beardmore, of Clydebank, in the wages paid to certain workmen engaged in painting work and cork dusting on His Majesty's ship "Gloucester"?

The inquiries into the statements brought to my notice by the hon. Gentleman in these questions are not yet completed.

"The Truth About The Navy" (Ships' Libraries)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has read the book styled "The Truth about the Navy" which was issued by Admiralty Order to the men's libraries on His Majesty's Fleet in 1906; whether he is aware that it contains matter of a political character, also sentiments with regard to a friendly nation that might cause irritation; whether he is aware that it contains statements that amount to a defence of Admiralty policy, on which there has been much public controversy; and whether, looking to the fact that these books have been issued to some fleets and not to others, he will order the immediate recall of all these books from the ships' libraries of all the vessels in the Navy?

I believe I read the paper-bound pamphlet referred to in the question two or three years ago, but I have not seen it since, and I am unable to recollect whether it "contains matter of a political character or sentiments with regard to a friendly nation which might cause irritation." As I have no reason to doubt that the title of the pamphlet accurately represents its contents, the statements therein would amount to a defence of Admiralty policy. I do not think the matter is of sufficient importance to justify a consideration of the question whether it should be recalled from ships' libraries.

Trinidad Railways

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, since oil had been found in large quantities in the district, it had been thought practicable to continue at once the San Fernando—Siparia Railway in a westerly direction through the Morne L'Enfer reserve, to a point on the Cap de Ville— Erin Road, about midway between the seas or even further west; and whether there was any scheme to accomplish this at present under consideration?

This matter has engaged the attention of the Colonial Government, but was dropped last year for financial reasons. The Secretary of State has not heard that the project has been revived.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state the cause of the continued delay in the commencement of the construction of the various railway lines in Trinidad; whether he is now in a position to state the estimated cost of construction, respectively, of the Tabaquite Rio Clara and the San Fernando—Siparia Railways, and in what particulars the present estimated costs differ, if at all, from previous estimates; what has caused the difference; and whether any additional cost has been incurred owing to surveys being taken in directions not authorised?

Some time has been occupied in discussion of the manner in which construction should be organised and controlled, and of certain legal questions in connection with the extension from San Fernando to Siparia. The general manager of the Trinidad Government Railways is now on his way to England to discuss plans and estimates with the consulting engineers. The estimates for the cost of construction which have lately been approved by the Legislative Council are £123,708 for the line from Tabaquite to Rio Clara and £141,891 for the line from San Fernando to Siparia. These sums, amounting to £265,599, are in excess of the rough estimate of £225,000 which was approved by the Council in March, 1908, and the difference is due to the more exact knowledge of the country to be traversed which has been acquired by the surveys made in the meantime, and to the alteration which it was found necessary to make in the route of the Rio Clara line, in the circumstances stated in my answer to a question by my hon. Friend on 3rd November last. In regard to the last part of the present question I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by me to another question on the same date.

Port-Of-Spain Post Office

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether he was aware that various small improvements lately introduced in the working of the Port-of-spain post office have been of little use because their introduction has not been made known; whether he will take steps to remedy this omission on the part of the local officials; whether it has come to his knowledge that the pillarboxes of Port-of-Spain are largely of the nature of traps for the unwary, a letter posted in one of them at 11 a.m. not being generally delivered till the next day; and, if not, will he inquire into the matter?

The Secretary of State has received no information regarding the matters to which my hon. Friend refers, but he has no doubt that any representations which may be made to the Colonial Post Office will receive attention, and that any defects which may exist will, if possible, be remedied.

Trinidad Savings Bank

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether he had received any complaints regarding the work of the clerks in the Port-of-Spain branch of the Trinidad Savings Bank; whether he could say upon whose authority they enforced a rule that money deposited must not be withdrawn, wholly or partly, before a month has elapsed, and that depositors are not to withdraw money more than once in a month; and, if the matter had not already claimed his attention, would he cause enquiry to be made?

The Secretary of State has not received any complaints regarding the work of the clerks in the Port-of-Spain branch of the Trinidad Savings Bank; nor has he heard of the rule referred to; but he will cause enquiries to be made.

Governor Of Trinidad (West India Committee)

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether Sir George Ruthven Le Hunte, Governor of Trinidad, is a vice-president of the West India Committee; and, if so, whether he will consider the advisability of not allowing him to hold such an office in view of the necessity of preserving the impartiality incumbent on a governor in a Crown Colony?

Sir George Le Hunte is not a vice-president of the West India Committee.

Euphrates Delta (Disturbances)

asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he could give the House any information regarding the recent disturbances in the Euphrates delta; and whether the position of the Sheikh of Koweit had been injuriously affected by any of the reported or unreported hostilities between the Arab tribes at the head of or along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf?

Some hostilities have occurred between the forces of the Sheikh of Koweit aided by Bin Saoud and those of Sheikh Sadur of the Muntafik tribe, after which the former retired. We have no information to show that the position of the Sheikh of Koweit has been injuriously affected by these occurrences.

Labour Exchanges (Staff)

asked what was the number of persons on the staff of the newly-created Labour Exchanges who were previously members of the Civil Service and the number of persons appointed by private recommendation; whether those persons who were not previously members of the Civil Service passed any examination before being appointed; and in how many cases appointments were made as the reward of political services?

Fifteen persons of the rank of manager of Labour Exchanges or above that rank were previously members of the Civil Service. No appointments were made on private recommendation only, though testimonials from private individuals as to character and ability were of course considered. No examination was held, but most of the managers were appointed on the recommendation of a committee presided over by the First Civil Service Commissioner. Similarly, the more important women's appointments were made on the advice of a committee with the same chairman.

There is no examination in the ordinary Civil Service sense of the term, though applicants are examined as to their qualifications.

Are any of the higher appointments in the first rank made from the ranks of the Civil Service?

In the first part of my answer I said fifteen persons were recommended who were previously members of the Civil Service.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether steps had been taken to open a Labour Exchange at Workington; and, if so, about what date it would commence its business?

Steps are now being taken to open a Labour Exchange at Workington. It is not possible, at present, to give a date when the exchange will be able to commence business.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he had found it possible to make it generally known that persons desiring employment need not attend personally at labour exchanges, but might register through the post; if not, would he take such steps as would make it known?

Applicants for employment residing more than three miles from an exchange are, as was stated in my printed answer to my hon. Friend's question dated 25th April, entitled to register through the post. Applicants living within three miles of an exchange must register in person. This procedure is prescribed by the General Regulations for Labour Exchanges made in pursuance of Section 2 of the Labour Exchanges Act, 1909, and laid before Parliament. I considered the point, but it did not appear to me that any special announcement on the point raised by the hon. Member was necessary.

asked how many of the appointments made in connection with the Labour Exchanges Act were the result of open competition; how many appointments in all have been made; and what is the aggregate amount to be paid away in salaries on the present basis?

As I have already stated in the House over 20,000 applications were received from the public for posts under the Labour Exchanges Act. Of these applicants, about 600 altogether have been appointed. The salaries of the staff already appointed amount in the aggregate to £64,344 a year. As regards the other points raised I may refer to the answer just given to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight.

Is it in future to be the policy of the Government to abandon the system of open competition, and to substitute for it that of nomination?

Will the appointments to these Labour Exchanges be made in the ordinary Civil Service manner, after examination?

I have already explained in reply to an earlier question the method in which they have been appointed.

I am asking about future appointments to these Labour Exchanges, whether they will be made from the Civil Service after examination?

I do not think there is any proposal to alter the present system of appointments. As far as we can judge it has worked well, and we have a very efficient staff.

Cattle Disease (Argentina)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he would state what information he had received relative to a new outbreak of cattle disease in Argentina?

The Board have received official information that foot-and-mouth disease exists in the provinces of Corrientes and Entre Rios, in the territory of Chaco, and in the zone north of Santa Fe.

asked whether, having regard to the recent and further prospective rise in the price of meat and the hardship thereby inflicted upon the great mass of consumers, the Board can relax any of their restrictions upon the importation of cattle into the United Kingdom, whether for slaughter at the port of discharge or for store purposes?

The importation of cattle into this country is already allowed by the Board in all cases in which the statutory conditions designed to prevent the introduction of animals affected with foot-and-mouth disease are satisfied. The requirement that imported cattle shall be slaughtered at the port of landing is a statutory one, and the Board have no power to relax it. I may add that I do not believe that the rise in the price of beef is due to the exclusion of Argentine cattle for slaughter at the ports.

Acetone (Government Supply)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Office of Woods and Forests, whether, in view of the possibility, in the event of war with one of the chief manufacturing countries, of a shortage in the supply of acetone, a necessary medium in the manufacture of cordite and other Government explosives, the difficulties inherent in its profitable production by private manufacturers, the amount of second-rate timber and of coppice in the Royal forests suitable for conversion into this product and not otherwise easily realisable, and the necessity for the development of woodland industries comparable with those existing in Germany, Belgium, and other Continental countries, His Majesty's Commissioner of Woods will, with the concurrence of the Treasury, the War Office, and the Admiralty, set up, either in the Forest of Dean or the New Forest, a factory for the manufacture of acetone in sufficient quantities to meet all national requirements?

The Commissioner of Woods brought this matter to my notice, and he is at my suggestion making inquiries into the subject.

Is there any real justification for the statement that the difficulties inherent in the production by private manufacturers are insuperable?

Crown Land (Inclosures)

asked whether it was proposed, in accordance with previous practice and custom, to appoint local Commissioners to formally authorise the contemplated further inclosures of Crown land for the purpose of making new timber plantations in the Forest of Dean, or whether His Majesty's Commissioners of Woods proposed henceforth to inclose lands hitherto uninclosed up to the legal limit of 11,000 acres without any such authority?

It is not intended to make any new inclosures or new plantations, but it is proposed to reinclose existing plantations which have been thrown open in time past until the legal limit of 11,000 acres is reached; and as soon as the actual measurement of the areas to be reinclosed has been ascertained Local Commissioners will be appointed in the usual way for the purpose of authorising the reinclosures.

Wireless Stations (Staff)

asked the Postmaster-General whether it has been decided what position on the establishment the staff at present employed at wireless stations are to occupy when transferred to the Post Office service; and whether he will inform the House how the scale of pay at the wireless stations will be determined, and in what way it is proposed to recruit the staff for these positions?

The matter is receiving my careful consideration, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement on the subject.

King Edward's Funeral Procession

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether it would have been competent for the Office of Works on their own responsibility to erect stands in the Royal parks or in front of Government buildings on the route to enable Members of both Houses of Parliament to view the funeral procession of His late Majesty?

No doubt it would have been within the competence of the Office of Works, but it was not considered advisable.

Motor-Driven Vehicles (Mudguards)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the propriety of requiring the provision in the case of motor-driven vehicles of front mudguards of such a character that vehicles to which they are fitted would push in front instead of overrunning obstacles before them?

The question of imposing such a regulation on motor vehicles generally is one which comes within the province of the Local Government Board. But if my hon. Friend is referring to motor omnibuses licensed in the Metropolitan Police District, the answer is that the Commissioner of Police has from the outset impressed upon proprietors the importance of providing a suitable guard, and has intimated to them that when one is available certain concessions will be made as to the minimum road clearance of these vehicles. No satisfactory device, however, of the nature indicated has yet been submitted to him.

I will certainly do my best to give an answer. I will consider the point.

Employment Of Children By-Laws (Ilford)

asked whether the employment of children by-laws proposed by the Urban District Council of Ilford have yet been sanctioned?

I have only recently received the council's reply to the letter sent to them by the Department in September asking for further information and explanation as to certain exceptional provisions contained in their by-laws. The council's observations are receiving my careful consideration.

Law Guarantee, Trusts, And Accident Society

asked the Attorney-General whether he will take steps in the public interest to cause a full inquiry to be made into the circumstances attending the failure of the Law Guarantee, Trusts, and Accident Society?

It is not within the power of the Attorney-General to order such an inquiry as is described in the question. I understand this society is in voluntary liquidation under the supervision of the court, which, in my view, would not confer upon the court any power to compel such an inquiry unless the order for voluntary liquidation of the society showed there existed prima facie evidence of fraud against the individuals who could be made responsible for its management and control.

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman consider the question of instituting criminal proceedings against the legal luminaries more or less respon- sible for the management of this company and of taking the opinion of Sir Horace Avory on the subject?

Poplar Board Of Guardians (Surcharge)

asked if the Local Government Board has recently remitted a surcharge made by the district auditor of the Board upon Mr. George Lansbury and other members of the Poplar Board of Guardians in respect of an excess expenditure upon clothing which was proved to be wasteful and illegal; and, if so, what were the grounds of the Board's decision?

In the case to which the hon. Member refers, the auditor found that certain articles of clothing purchased by the guardians from the Central (Unemployed) Body for London had cost more than the amount for which they could have been obtained from manufacturers who had submitted tenders. He surcharged the excess upon four of the guardians who voted for the purchase. The effect of the action of the guardians in the matter was to assist the work of the Central (Unemployed) Body for London at the expense of the ratepayers of Poplar, which, in my opinion, was not justifiable, but as there was no question that the persons surcharged had acted otherwise than in good faith, I came to the conclusion that, though the surcharge was lawfully made, it was equitable to relieve those persons of the obligation to pay the amount surcharged. I intimated, however, that I should not be prepared to remit any future similar surcharge in the guardians' accounts.

Local Authorities (Surcharges)

asked how many surcharges have been made during the past three years by the Local Government Board or its auditors upon members of local authorities; and to what extent have such surcharges been enforced or remitted?

I am unable to give the total number of surcharges made by the district auditors on members of local authorities; but as regards cases in which appeals were made to the Board against such surcharges, the facts are that during the past three years 998 surcharges were remitted by the Board and 165 were confirmed and not remitted. In the latter cases, and all those in which appeals were not made, the surcharges would be enforced by the auditors.

Rearrangement Of Assizes

asked whether it is proposed by the Treasury that Assizes shall be rearranged; and, if so, whether care will be taken to avoid the delay to litigants and the inconvenience and loss to jurors and witnesses likely to arise from any interference with the present circuit system?

The Government has not yet arrived at any decision in regard to the rearrangement of Assizes, nor has any definite proposal been formulated at present, although various plans are under consideration. In any case, the object of any change will be to diminish delay to litigants and inconvenience and loss to jurors and witnesses. Full care will be taken to accomplish that object.

May I ask whether ample opportunity will be given to the local authorities specially interested to make representations, and to be fully consulted before any decision is reached?

I understand that such opportunity is being given. I have no doubt it will be given.

Rural Education Conference

asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in accordance with the memorandum of arrangement between the Board of Education and the Board of Agriculture in respect of agricultural education issued in September, 1909, and iii compliance with the assurance given by him, the minute constituting the Rural Education Conference will now be published without further delay, so that the conference may commence its work at an early date; and, if not, what is the cause of the prolonged deferment of its publication?

I am informed by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture that invitations to appoint representatives were issued on 15th January to the various associations and bodies whom it was desired should be represented on the Conference. The last of the replies to these invitations were not received till the 9th of this month. My right hon. Friend and I now hope to be in a position to make the promised announcement in the course of a few days.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Commissioners of Customs and Excise have power to require from a taxpayer who has duly paid his Income Tax to a tax collector the payment of such tax a second time in case default has been made in its payment to the Commissioners by the tax collector; and have they in fact so required it?

asked whether he will state, for the information of those upon whom notices have been served to make income returns for Super-tax, or will he refer specifically to the Act or Acts and the sections thereof which state, what the precise manner is in which income is estimated for the purposes of exemptions or abatements under the Income Tax Acts; and will he direct that in future a full, plain, and unambiguous statement of that manner shall accompany all notices for a return of income for Super-tax?

I may refer to Sections 163, 164, and 190 (Schedule G) No. XVII. of the Act 5 and 6 Vic, c. 35. I may remind my hon. Friend that instructions on the point accompanying the form of return, but my right hon. Friend will be happy to consider any suggestion for their improvement.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reply to the second part of the question?

I do not know whether my right hon. Friend will question the fact that they are unambiguous at the present moment.

asked, in view of the fact that there is no machinery provided by the Income Tax Acts empowering the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to receive taxes direct, will His Majesty's Government consider the expediency of establishing such machinery as will enable taxpayers to pay their taxes direct to the Commissioners, instead of by the circuitous method of payment through collectors of taxes, of whom three are recorded last year to have made default and fled the country?

My right hon. Friend does not think it would be desirable to adopt any alternative method of payment such as that suggested by my hon. Friend, which he is advised would lead to considerable delay and multiplication of labour.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that Commissioners of Income Tax, as well as inspectors, surveyors, assessors, and collectors, make oath that they will not disclose any particular contained in any schedule or statement excepting to such persons only who shall be sworn to the due execution of the Act, and where necessary for the purposes of the Act with respect to any duty charged by the Act, will he state whether in fact disclosures have been and are made to officers of the Estate Duty Office by Income Tax officials sworn as aforesaid, and is it a fact that these Estate Duty officials are not so sworn; and, if so, will he prohibit in future any such infraction of the law and of the oaths of Income Tax officials as is involved in such disclosures?

The reply to the first and second parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the third part, I may refer to the reply given in the House of Commons to the hon. Member for Norwood on 6th December, 1906, by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to say what that reply was which was given four years ago?

There were particular reasons why my hon. Friend should have occasion to remember that reply, because it was given to a relative of his who was then a Member of this House, and I thought that possibly the hon. Member would have domestic opportunities of informing himself. The answer was as follows:—" The Board of Inland Revenue do not consider that any use they may make of Income Tax returns within their own Department and for their own use constitutes a disclosure of such returns within the meaning of the provisions of the law relating to secrecy in Income Tax matters. Care is taken, however, that only responsible officers should have cognisance of such matters."

Do I understand that it is a fact that these officers constantly violate their own oaths?

asked by what authority I the repayment branch of the Board of Inland Revenue have reversed their practice of allowing repayment of Income Tax on single premiums in purchase of life insurance policies?

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question, of which I have given him private notice, whether, in view of the fact that Section 72 (2) of the Finance 1909–10 Act only requires a return from persons chargeable with Super-tax upon whom notice is served in manner prescribed by regulations; of the fact that, although the regulations were presented in dummy to this House on 8th June, no copy, or sight of them, has hitherto been obtainable by any Member of the House; and of the further fact that any of these Regulations may be annulled upon Address to His Majesty by either House of Parliament within forty days after they have been laid before it, can he explain why these Super-tax notices have been served so early as 4th May, and a return of them required by 1st June, although the regulations in question were not presented to this House until 8th June; and, although until the expiration of the forty days, during which they may be annulled, they do not become final and valid? And seeing that without access to these regulations the taxpayer cannot know how to fill up the return issued under them, will he direct that no such return shall be required before a reasonable time has elapsed after the regulations have thus become finally authoritative and valid?

These regulations were presented in full and not in dummy on 8th June. They are already available in the Vote Office.

They are in the Vote Office I understand. Undoubtedly a great deal of inconvenience has been caused, by circumstances over which the Government have certainly no control, in the matter of the collection of taxes. This is one of them. It is an inconvenience not merely to the tax collector, but to the taxpayer as well, and so far we have been doing our best in a very trying position.

With reference to the last part of my question will the right hon. Gentleman undertake that until these regulations are in the hands of the taxpayer they shall not be informed that they are bound to make the return? Indeed, I think they are not. Will the right hon. Gentleman direct that the returns shall not be enforced until the taxpayer has an opportunity of seeing the regulations?

I think my hon. Friend had better console himself with the fact that, as I understand, the whole of this question will be raised in the course of the Debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill, and therefore I think we had better leave the discussion of this matter over.

I beg to ask Mr.Speaker, in view of the fact that certain regulations by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for the serving of notices for Super-tax are stated in the Votes and Proceedings to have been presented to this House on 8th June; of the fact that by Section 93 of the Finance (1910) Act an Address may be presented to His Majesty within the next subsequent forty days after these regulations are laid before it, praying that any of them may be annulled, and of the further fact that neither on the Table nor in the Library is any copy of these regulations yet to be obtained, can he state for the information of the House when the prescribed forty days will begin to run?

The prescribed forty days begin to run from the time the notice is effective; that is to say, when there is a reasonable opportunity for Members of the House to avail themselves of it and make themselves acquainted with it. The mere laying of a single Paper on the Table of the House with orders to have it printed does not bring effective notice to the House. I have already pointed out to the Departments that it is their duty to lay two Papers, or, rather, two copies, of the same Paper, one of which may be placed in the Library while the other can be sent to the printer. The trouble arose in this case from the fact that the Treasury, on 8th June, only laid one Paper, and as that was ordered to be printed, it had to go to the printer, and therefore no copy was available in the Library. If the public Departments carried out what I have already notified to them as being the proper course, namely, that two copies of every paper should be laid, then there would be no difficulty, for while one copy could be sent to the printer, the other would be available in the Library for the use of Members.

Would the Prime Minister have an intimation sent to the Departments calling attention to the ruling which Mr. Speaker has made?

Boycotting In Ireland

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether minor boycotting had been denned as attempts to boycott where the effects are inappreciable; and whether he would state the number of persons comprised in this category throughout Ireland who are refused the necessaries of life in the districts in which they reside, and who are compelled to procure them from a distance?

The definition given by the hon. Member is not complete, but it may be taken as approximately correct. The Inspector-General of Constabulary, under whose direction the returns are compiled from reports furnished by the local police, has no reason to believe that there are any cases returned under the heading of minor boycotting in which the persons affected are refused the necessaries of life in the districts in which they reside and are compelled to procure them from a distance.

asked the Chief Secretary whether the landowner who is referred to in the footnote (b) to the Return of boycotting cases presented to this House on the motion of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (No. 116 of 1909) is Mr. C. N. Clarke, of Holycross, Thurles; and, if so, will he explain the statement in that footnote that Mr. Clarke is now only boycotted in a minor degree, in view of the facts given in evidence at the recent trial before the Court of King's Bench in Dublin?

Mr. Clarke is the landowner referred to. I am informed by the constabulary authorities that in the early part of 1909 he and the men in his employment were very severely boycotted. In or about April of that year there was a distinct improvement; the boycotting of Mr. Clarke's men ceased, and it was understood that the severity of the boycotting in his own case had been considerably relaxed. In these circumstances it was stated that at the date of the Return, the 22nd April, 1909, Mr. Clarke was boycotted in a minor degree. In the following June, however, it was ascertained that Mr. Clarke was still considerably, but not completely, boycotted.

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that when twelve policemen have to be stationed in the district Mr. Clarke is being boycotted in a minor degree?

No, Sir, I do nothing of the kind, but just at the moment when the return was made, Mr. Clarke's case was very considerably ameliorated. However, it was only a temporary improvement, and a short time afterwards it became clear that he was severely boycotted.

Inspector Of Lunatics (Ireland)

asked whether it is in contemplation to fill the post about to be vacated by Sir George P. O'Farrell, inspector of lunatics, by the appointment of a candidate who is thoroughly conversant by training and experience with the administration of lunatic asylums and the practical treatment of the insane?

Veto Conference

asked the Prime Minister whether, in any conference that may be entered into with the Opposition as to the House of Lords' question, the Government propose to commit the Liberal party to any change in their present announced policy without first submitting such change to their supporters in the House of Commons?

It would be useless for the Government to enter into any such conference unless they could rely —as I believe they can—upon the confidence of their supporters in the House of Commons.

Explosives (Available Supply)

asked the Prime Minister whether, seeing that acetone is indispensable as a solvent in the process of manufacture of cordite, gun cotton, and other Government explosives, he will state what is the available supply at present in this country; to what extent, and where, is it being manufactured in Great Britain; what proportion of the supply required for naval and military purposes is derived from other, and what, countries; and whether, in the event of war with any of these countries, the Government are satisfied that an adequate supply can be obtained and maintained from other, and, if so, what sources.

It must not be assumed that acetone is indispensable in the manufacture of cordite. It would not be to the public interest to give the particulars asked for, but the hon. Member may rest assured that the subject is constantly in view and that adequate steps have been taken to secure a sufficient supply of acetone for an emergency. There is no present intention of starting a Government factory.

Are we to assume from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that cordite can be manufactured without the use of acetone?

Yes. There is what is known as the wet process which is adopted by some of the manufacturers whom we employ. We use acetone in Government factories because it is very convenient, but we are not by any means absolutely dependent upon it.

Has any of the cordite which has passed a satisfactory test for naval service been made without acetone?

I do not wish it to be taken as a final answer, but very strong impression is that a large quantity made by the wet process has been used.

Do the right hon. Gentlemen and the Government realise the intense importance of this matter?

Is cordite made without acetone as satisfactory as cordite made with acetone?

There is a great controversy as to which is the better process. At Waltham the acetone process is the one we use, and we have a large reserve of acetone, but we are not dependent on that process. We can make it without acetone. Cordite is made by certain of the leading manufacturers by what I have described as the wet process.

Resident Magistrates' Qualifications (Ballinasloe)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether Mr. Patrick Sarsfield Brady, of Belfast, has been appointed resident magistrate for county Galway, to be stationed at Ballinasloe; and, if so, whether one of Mr. Brady's qualifications for the post was that he was president of the West Belfast executive of the United Irish League?

Mr. Brady has been appointed a resident magistrate, his qualification being that he was a practising solicitor of several years standing.

Dead Cows (Gorey)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that on 4th June the dead body of a cow belonging to District Inspector O'Neill was found at Gorey with a bullet wound in the forehead; whether, two months ago, another cow belonging to the same officer was also found under like circumstances; and whether anyone has been arrested in connection with these offences?

I understand that a cow belonging to District Inspector O'Neill was found dead on the 4th instant with a bullet wound in the forehead. In September last another cow belonging to him was found dead, but the veterinary surgeon who examined the animal stated that it had died from disease. No arrests have been made up to the present in connection with the case.