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Commons Chamber

Volume 55: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1913

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House Of Commons

Wednesday, 9th July, 1913.

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

Private Business

Wimbledon and Sutton Railway Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.

London County Council (Tramways and Improvements) Bill (by Order),

London County Council (Money) Bill (by Order),

Consideration, as amended, deferred till Monday next, at a quarter-past Eight of the clock.

East Ham Corporation Bill (by Order),

Consideration, as amended, deferred till Tuesday next, at a quarter-past Eight of the clock.

Greenock Port and Harbours Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

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

London and South Western Railway Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Second Reading deferred till Friday.

Arundell Estate (Closing of Arundell Street and Panton Square) Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Second Reading deferred till Tomorrow.

Broadstairs and St. Peter's Urban District Council Bill [ Lords],

Reported, with Amendments, from the Local Legislation Committee (Section B); Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Private Bills (Group G),

Colonel BATHURST reported from the Committee on Group G of Private Bills; That, for the convenience of parties, the Committee had adjourned till Friday, at half-past Eleven of the clock.

Report to lie upon the Table.

Metropolitan Railway Bill [ Lords],

Reported, with Amendments [Title amended]; Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Local Government Provisional Order (No. 12) Bill,

Reported, with Amendments [Provisional Order confirmed]; Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Bill, as amended, to be considered To-morrow.

Message, from the Lords,

That they have agreed to,—

Tottenham and Edmonton Gas Bill, York Corporation Bill,

Coventry Corporation Bill, with Amendments.

Amendments to—

Barry Railway Bill [ Lords], without Amendment.

That they have passed a Bill, intituled, "An Act to consolidate and amend the Law relating to Ancient Monuments; and for other purposes in connection therewith." [Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Bill [ Lords. ]

And also, a Bill, intituled, "An Act to empower Watney, Combe, Reid, and Company, Limited, to redeem a portion of its existing capital; and for other purposes." [Watney, Combe, Reid, and Company Bill [ Lords. ]

Watney, Combe, Reid, and Company Bill [ Lords],

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

Carolin's Divorce Bill [ Lords],

Reported, without Amendment, from the Select Committee on Divorce Bills, with Minutes of Proceedings; Report to lie upon the Table.

Bill to be read the third time.

Dooner's Divorce Bill [ Lords],

Reported, without Amendment, from the Select Committee on Divorce Bills, with Minutes of Proceedings; Report to lie upon the Table.

Bill to be read the third time.

Divorce Bills

Ordered, That the Minutes of Evidence and Proceedings in the House of Lords on

the Second Reading of Carolin's Divorce Bill [ Lords] and Dooner's Divorce Bill [ Lords], together with the documents deposited in each case, be returned to the House of Lords.—[ The Lord Advocate].

Weekly Rest-Day

Bill to amend and consolidate the Acts relating to Sunday employment, and to regulate the conditions of labour upon the basis of six working days in the week with Sunday as the normal rest-day, and for other purposes connected therewith, ordered to be brought in by Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, Mr. Bowerman, Mr. Noel Buxton, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Goulding, Mr. Arthur Henderson, Mr. W. Hudson, Mr. W. Redmond, Mr. P. Morrell, Mr. Harold Smith, and Colonel Williams.

Weekly Rest-Day Bill

"To amend and consolidate the Acts relating to Sunday employment, and to regulate the conditions of labour upon the basis of six working days in the week with Sunday as the normal rest-day, and for other purposes connected therewith," presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Thursday, 17th July, and to be printed. [Bill 243.]

Revenue And Expenditure (England, Scotland, And Ireland)

Return Ordered, "showing, for the year ended the 31st day of March, 1913 (1) the amount contributed by England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively, to the Revenue collected by the Imperial officers; (2) the Expenditure on English, Scottish, and Irish services met out of such Revenue; and (3) the balances of Revenue contributed by England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively, which are available for Imperial Expenditure (in continuation of Parliamentary Paper, No. 190, of Session 1912–13)."—[ Mr. John O'Connor.]

Oral Answers To Questions

Royal Navy

British Shipbuilding Programme

1.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many large armoured ships have been laid down or provided for by Italy since July of last year; whether, since that date, Austria has adopted a new programme providing for three battleships; and whether, in view of the fact that the British programmes announced in July last were framed with a view to Germany alone, he will state what additional steps it is proposed to take to meet the increased shipbuilding in the Mediterranean and thus carry out the policy announced in July?

So far as the Admiralty are aware no large armoured ships have been laid down by Italy since July, 1912, but, owing to the form in which the Italian Estimates are published it cannot be said whether any provision was made for so doing. Although during the period referred to there have been several reports to the effect that Austria-Hungary contemplates replacing the three ships of the "Monarch" class at an early date, no official announcement has been made that this programme has been approved.

Naval Air Stations

2.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many naval air stations have now been created; and what is the number of efficient hydro-aeroplanes stationed at each of them?

My right hon. Friend has no, wish to add anything to his previous statements on this subject at the present time.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a foreigner has offered to supply me with the information which the Admiralty here refuse me?

That is the first I have heard of it. The hon. Member did not tell me that before.

Armoured Ships On Foreign Stations

3.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many armoured ships, cruisers and destroyers, were serving on foreign stations on the 1st June, 1904, and on the 1st June, 1913; and how many armoured ships there will be on those stations during the period of the naval manœuvres?

Taking "Armoured ships" as including armoured cruisers, the numbers of the different classes mentioned were:—

1st June, 1904.1st June, 1913.
Armoured ships2511*
Cruisers4720*
Destroyers3329

* Six armoured ships and two cruisers were also temporarily in the Mediterranean on this date. The number of armoured ships on foreign stations during manœuvres will be nine.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many will be in the Mediterranean—will there be more than one?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there will only be one in the Mediterranean during October?

Royal Indian Marine (Arming Of Vessels)

4.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the recommendations of Admiral Slade's committee have now been fully considered; and, if so, whether the time has now come when it is possible for him to consider the question of giving permission to the Government of India to arm the vessels of the Royal Indian Marine, so as to enable the Royal Indian Marine to take their share in the police and patrol work of the Persian Gulf and Indian Seas, and to afford the people of India an opportunity of helping to strengthen the Imperial naval forces in Eastern waters?

The opinion of the Government of India on the recommendations of Admiral Slade's Committee has not yet been received, the second part of the question therefore does not yet arise.

We hope to receive the Report soon, but I cannot say exactly when. After it does come it will have to be considered by the Admiralty.

Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (Workmen's Wages)

5.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that contractors to the Admiralty for metal cases are busy on Admiralty orders while the workmen in the department responsible for such work in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, are working only four days a week; and whether he will arrange to place such orders in the nation's workshops as will enable the workmen in Government employment to earn a decent wage?

On every occasion when orders are placed the most careful consideration is given to all the circum stances of the case prior to the allocation of those orders as between the Ordnance factories and the outside trade. Beyond that I cannot go, except to say that, so far as I am aware, firms are by no means busy on metal case work; in fact, representations have been made to the Admiralty that they are unusually short of work at the present time.

"Dreadnoughts" (Number In 1915)

6.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what will be the position of the British Empire, the United States, Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary, respectively, as to "Dreadnoughts" in commission and "Dreadnoughts" completing afloat or under construction, respectively, in the spring of 1915?

I must refer the hon. Member to the full information given in the Dickinson Return, Parliamentary Paper No. 537 of 6th March, 1913. It is not possible to give information which is contingent upon prospective programmes.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that- the Dickinson Return does not give the information I have asked for?

Shipwrights' Mess

7.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the desire on the part of the shipwrights in the Royal Navy that all shipwrights in the same ship should mess together; and whether, seeing that boy artificers on joining the fleet are allowed to mess with the engine-room artificers, he will consider the advisability of making such arrangements as will allow of naval shipwright apprentices on joining the Navy being placed in the Shipwrights' mess?

No representations have been received on the subject. The arrangements for messing of the ship's company are at the discretion of the commanding officer subject to the rules laid down in Article 838, King's Regulations Addenda. In most ships the numbers of shipwrights are not sufficient to form a separate mess, and it is not proposed to alter the present rules.

Are we to understand that the Government do not intend to alter the rule on the ground that there are not sufficient shipwrights?

Fresh Meat Contract

8.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that delay has been experienced by His Majesty's ships when visiting Great Yarmouth in obtaining supplies of fresh meat owing to the fact that the contract for such supply has been made with a firm in Essex which has no efficient means of supplying meat at Great Yarmouth; and whether he will state what action he will take to prevent such delay?

A report has just been received that one of His Majesty's ships visiting Great Yarmouth last week failed to obtain 100 lbs. of fresh meat which had been ordered under the contract, owing apparently to the local agents of the contractors failing to take the necessary steps. The matter is being investigated, and any necessary measures to prevent a recurrence will be taken.

9.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, having regard to the fact that the Admiralty makes it a condition of contracts for the supply of fresh meat that the contractor must either reside on the spot where the supplies are to be made or must have an agent residing there who must himself carry on business as a butcher, if he will state whether these provisions were complied with when the Admiralty made the contract for the supply of meat at Great Yarmouth?

Motor Pinnace Contracts (Fair Wages Clause)

10.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the firm of J. W. Brooke and Company, Lowestoft, contractors to the Admiralty for motor pinnaces, are paying boat builders in their employ 7d. per hour and two or three leading men 7½d. per hour, whereas the district rate for such work is 8d. per hour; and whether he will have inquiry made with a view to securing observance of the Fair-Wages Clause?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I am having inquiry made into the matter.

Sheerness Naval Store Department

12.

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that since the 20th January, 1913, extra attendance amounting to 1,994 hours has been given by the clerical staff of the Naval Store Department, Sheerness dockyard, out of which total payment for ninety-five hours only has been made; whether he will say when authority for the payment of the remaining hours will be given; and, in view of the inadequacy of the clerical staff to cope with the work of the department, the necessary increase in the numbers borne will be sanctioned?

It is known that there has been great pressure of work in the Naval Store Department at Sheerness of late, and for this reason three writers were added to the staff temporarily at the beginning of May. Three hundred and eighty-five hours' overtime has been paid for since 20th January last, and a report has now been received detailing the further overtime worked by the clerical staff since that date. The question of making payment for the further overtime is being considered. The question of staff is already under consideration.

Chief Yeoman Or Signals

13.

asked if the extra pay of 6d. per day promised under the Admiralty letter of 19th December last to chief yeoman of signals has not yet been paid; when it is intended to make such payment; and if the payment will be retrospective from 1st December?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. It is hoped to issue orders on the subject in the course of next week. Payment will be retrospective to 1st December, 1912.

Egyptian Prisons (Treatment Of Women)

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received replies to his inquiries as to the treatment to which a British woman would be subjected in Egyptian prisons; and, if so, what was the nature thereof?

My right hon. Friend has as yet received no reply to his inquiries regarding the conditions with regard to the treatment of women in Egyptian prisons. My right hon. Friend has, however, received from Lord Kitchener a report which satisfies him that Madame Tripet's allegations are wholly baseless and that so far from being treated with indignity, she received exceptional consideration.

The right hon. Gentleman has not replied to my question. I am asking to know what is going to happen if British women are arrested and taken to Egyptian prisons?

Armenia

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what the result has been of the inquiries he promised to make at Constantinople regarding massacres in Armenia?

His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Constantinople has reported that he has no news that massacres have taken place in the Eastern Provinces of Asia Minor.

Colonial Service (Appointments)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of appointments within the last three years to the post of Governor or Colonial Secretary which have been given to gentlemen who have not entered the Colonial service through the ordinary channel of competitive examination; whether the appointments are due to a lack of officers in the Colonial service who are fit for promotion; and, if not, whether he has any compensation to offer to officers who have entered by examination and who now find themselves, through no fault of their own, superseded by gentlemen from outside who have been imported into the Colonial service?

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. With the exception of Ceylon, Hong Kong, the Straits Settlements, and Federated Malay States, for which officers are recruited by means of the annual competitive examination for Eastern Cadetships, the Colonial service is not entered by competitive examination. But as a matter of fact, taking the last three years, out of twenty-six appointments to the office of Governor (excluding the military Governments and those of the self-governing Dominions which are in a special category) only two have been conferred upon men who were not already in the Colonial service, and out of nineteen appointments as Colonial Secretary only two were conferred upon officers who had not had long previous service in the Colonies. My desire has always been to establish and maintain an interchangeability between the Colonial and Home Civil Services as exhibited by the appointments of Sir Matthew Nathan to the chairmanship of the Inland Revenue, Sir J. Anderson to the Colonial Office, and Sir Sydney Olivier to the Board of Agriculture.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Lord Selborne, who was only in the Colonial Office, was made Governor of the Cape and Lord High Commissioner of South Africa, at a salary of £12,000 a year?

May we rest assured that those gentlemen who do enter the service through the ordinary channel of competitive examination are not passed over because their number is small and that they have no means of making their grievances known?

I do not think either of those qualifications especially belongs to these gentlemen.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the question of some compensation to the men who are superseded?

Wireless Telegraphy

18.

asked whether any decision has yet been reached with regard to the construction or equipment of wireless stations in the West Indies, Mombasa, Penang, Singapore, or Hong Kong?

A low power 5-kilo-watt wireless station is now being erected= in the Bahamas, and contracts are being entered into for the erection of similar stations at Barbados, Mombasa, Singapore, Penang, and Hong Kong.

49.

asked the Prime Minister what communications, if any, have been received from the British representatives of the Goldschmidt system of wireless telegraphy since Transatlantic wireless communication was established by means of that system last week?

The Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. I received a letter on Monday last from the British representatives of the Goldschmidt system conveying the information which had appeared in the newspapers of the preceding week, and inquiring respecting the contract for the Imperial wireless chain. I at once asked them to be so good as to arrange for representatives of the Post Office and Admiralty to attend a demonstration of the working of the system, and I hope that such a demonstration can be arranged for a very early date. I have as yet received, however, no definite reply from the company.

Will the demonstrations be given before any contract is made with the Marconi Company?

Demonstrastrations were given by the Marconi Company to the Parker Committee.

72.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has formed any estimate of maximum annual royalty which may become payable to the Marconi Company under the terms of the new agreement with that company now under negotiation?

The amount of royalty which would be payable to the Marconi Company would depend upon the rates fixed for the transmission of telegrams, and upon the amount of traffic obtained. Any estimate would be speculative and it would not be advisable to quote a figure.

Is it not possible to arrive at some estimate based on the earning capacity of an Atlantic cable?

75.

asked what steps will be taken in the event of a contract being entered into with Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company to safeguard the interests of this country thereunder in the event of the failure of the American Marconi Company or any other associated company, or by the action of any foreign country adversely affecting such other company?

Is it not a fact that the Marconi Company in entering into contracts with some of the other countries in which installations have been carried out have utilised the services of some of these subsidiary companies?

I do not how that may be, but the American Marconi Company would not be utilised in any way to assist the Imperial chain. They have nothing whatever to do with it.

76.

asked the Postmaster-General whether, having regard to the fact that the expression of opinion concerning the Goldschmidt system of wireless telegraphy, embodied in paragraph 20 of the Advisory Committee's Report, has been justified by the establishment of communication between Tuckerton, Atlantic City, and Hanover, a distance of 3,600 geographical miles, he will at once consult Lord Parker, and the members of the Committee of which he was chairman, and ascertain from them further details of the Goldschmidt system, and its merits or demerits as compared with other systems?

I would refer the hon. Member to my answer to questions on this subject yesterday.

I cannot say what steps may be necessary until I have ascertained from the investigations of my own officers what has actually been achieved by the Goldschmidt Company.

South Africa (Strike Of Miners)

19.

asked what cost has been incurred through the Imperial forces having been used in connection with the recent trade dispute in the Transvaal; and whether this will fall upon the South African Government or the British Exchequer?

I cannot say what cost was incurred, but I understand that the Army Council will reclaim from the Union Government any extra expense entailed by the employment of the troops.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now received information from South Africa as to the origin of the trouble which led to the use of Imperial troops; whether this was the prohibition of a public meeting at a time when there was no disorder; whether he was asked to sanction the use of the Imperial troops, and whether he gave or wihheld his authorisation; and whether the troops have now been withdrawn?

I cannot add anything to what I said on Monday and to what has appeared in the Press with, regard to the origin of the trouble. With regard to the use of Imperial troops, I think it well that I should give the history of the matter at greater length. On the morning of 1st July I received the following telegram from Lord Gladstone:—

"Just received following from Smuts:—
'Owing to sudden very serious development of strike East Rand, I have found necessary ask General Bait send 500 Infantry Benoni to-night protect mine properties and power Stations, and request another 500 should be held in readiness if required. Trust Your Excellency will confirm action.'
Have sent reply:—
Presume that you have taken every precaution to avoid collision between military and civilians unless absolutely necessary. Are troops under control of civilians? Telegraph what directions have been given. Shall come myself Pretoria to-morrow morning.'
Hart telegraphs troops leave Pretoria to-night, accompanied by necessary number of magistrates. Have telegraphed to him, requisition having been made he will no doubt see necessity for sending adequate force.—GLADSTONE."
I believe that I had no legal, and I am sure that I had no moral, right to interfere with the decision of the Union Ministers who are the responsible Government of the =country, and Of the Governor-General, the principal Imperial officer on the spot. The employment of Imperial troops in such a case can, however, only be justified by extreme necessity, and on Thursday, 3rd July, I telegraphed as follows to Lord Gladstone:—
"Your Ministers will, I am sure, bear in mind that it is very desirable to employ local South African forces in all matters connected with strike disturbances rather than Imperial troops, which are primarily there for other purposes."
To this telegram I received the following answer from Lord Gladstone during the night of the 4th of July:—
"Your telegram of 3rd July. Ministers are duly impressed with the great desirability of employing only local South African forces in connection with strike disturbances on Witwatersrand area. They wish, however, to point out that just prior to these disturbances coming to a head, the old volunteer organisations had been broken up tinder the provisions of the South African Defence Act, and there has not been sufficient time to organise the new active citizen force under that Act. In the meantime, the only local forces available are those volunteers who enrolled for entry in the active citizen force, and they are only some 4,000 in number and scattered throughout the length and breadth of the Union. Those old volunteers who are resident on the Rand are to a large extent either strikers or so mixed up with them that it is futile to contemplate their effective employment for the purpose of suppressing disturbances in connection with the strike.
Steps are being taken to call out those old volunteers in other parts of the Union, but in the meanwhile a large force is necessary on the Band in view not only of the large numbers and the menacing proceedings of the strikers but also of the quarter of a million of native workers, etc., who are spectators of the proceedings on the part of the white men. It is only extreme necessity that would justify the employment of Imperial troops, but under the circumstances just referred to, such necessity clearly existed, and failure to call in the aid of the Imperial forces might have resulted in great destruction of property and irreparable loss of life.
Ministers beg to express their appreciation of the readiness of the Imperial authorities to come to their assistance under these circumstances.—GLADSTONE."

I beg to give notice that I shall hand in a Motion, according to the forms of the House, for the recall of Lord Gladstone, and ask for time for its discussion.

May I ask whether, in all this correspondence from Lord Gladstone and the South African Government, there has been no word of the breaking up of public meetings held in connection with the strike; and, further, has the right hon. Gentleman in communicating with the South African Colonies mentioned the principal objects taken here to the use of British troops in preventing freedom of meeting? Has that question been raised at all by either side in this controversy?

In that case, will the right hon. Gentleman find out the reason the troops were called for and whether the cause of the disturbance was that the Transvaal Government prevented peaceful miners meeting together in public to discuss their grievances?

I have asked for a report generally on the origin of these disturbances.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the fact that the Government of South Africa appealed for the dispatch of Imperial troops to the East Rand before making any particular endeavour to increase the police force there, he will represent to the Government that Imperial troops are not to be regarded as available under such circumstances?

It will be seen from my answer to the hon. Member's next question that it is not correct that the Union Government made no particular effort to increase the police force on the Rand before applying for the dispatch of Imperial troops.

22.

asked the date on which the Union Government appealed for the dispatch of Imperial troops to the Rand, and that on which any considerable number of extra police were drafted there?

The Union Government applied for the aid of Imperial troops on 30th June. There were then 1,500 police on the Rand, which was. 500 in excess of the normal police strength, and approximately 1,400 more were then being drawn from police posts all over the Union to concentrate on the Rand.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in these disturbances it seems that in the first place the police fired on the strikers and that then the military were called in to deal with the circumstances which arose from their action, and will he see that British troops are not called in to deal with conditions arising out of the action of the Johannesburg police in preventing public meetings?

May I ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now received a list of the killed and wounded, and whether the names can be published at once?

I have not received it yet, but I hope to receive it during the day, and as soon as I get it I will send it out to the Press. I may say that last night I received the following telegram from Lord Gladstone:—

"The Governor-General of the Union of South Attica to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
(Received Colonial Office, 6.20 p.m., 8th July, 1913.)
Reports show men hack at work. Some of the natives refused to go down mines, but no serious trouble anticipated.—(Signed) GLADSTONE."

British Army

Territorial Review In Hyde Park

23.

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers and how many of other ranks were on parade with the dismounted units at the Territorial Review on 5th July; the total establishment of those units; and their total strength according to the most recent Returns?

24 and 25.

also asked (1) the total numbers of establishment of London Mounted Brigade, their total present strength, and the numbers actually on parade dismounted in Hyde Park on 5th July; and (2) the total numbers of the establishment of the 1st and 2nd London Territorial Divisions, their total present strength, and the total numbers actually on parade in Hyde Park on 5th July?

The complete figures for the numbers present at the review are not yet available. I will furnish them as soon as they are received. I have been asked a great many other questions on this, as will be seen on reference to the Order Paper; but I have not yet the particulars to enable me to answer them.

Clyde Rubber Works, Renfrew

27.

asked if the Clyde Rubber Works Company, of Renfrew, have any contracts for the War Office; and, if so, a strike is taking place at the works in question on a question of wages?

The firm in question does not at present hold any War Office contract.

Royal Arsenal, Woolwich

29.

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, in the case of transfers of workmen from one shop to another in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, being necessitated, he will so arrange that men on wages shall not suffer a reduction of pay?

I am afraid that it is impossible to give any guarantee on this point. Transfer is often an alternative to discharge or suspension for want of employment. Reduction in earnings shall be avoided as far as possible, but in some cases it is inevitable.

Artillery (Recent Changes)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for War, if the total result of the recent changes in the Artillery Will be that the seventy-two batteries of the Expeditionary Force will be placed on a higher establishment than before; if so, if he will give the total number of field batteries serving at Home at present, as well as the number which are on the higher establishment; and if he will also give the number of field batteries which will be present at the forthcoming manœuvres which will be on the higher establishment, with officers, with noncommissioned officers, with men, with horses, and with guns?

The total number of batteries now serving at Home is ninety-nine, of which the seventy-two allotted to the Expeditionary Force are on the higher establishment. The field batteries attending the forthcoming manœuvres will be on the manoeuvre establishment.

Land Valuation

34.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in making a demand for payment of Undeveloped Land Duty, attached thereto should be a statement clearly indicating the land in respect of which such demand is made, and the amount thereon charged with duty?

So far as I am aware, demands for payment for Undeveloped Land Duty contain a clear reference to the notice of assessment, on which or accompanying which is a full description of the land and the amount of duty payable.

Would the right hon. Gentleman be surprised to know that the demands do not include this information?

If the hon. Gentleman will kindly supply me with information I will inquire.

36.

asked how many of the provisional valuations, amounting to 4,500,000, already served are for agricultural land; and to how many of these objections have been lodged by owners?

The information desired by the hon. Member is not available, and cannot be obtained except at an excessive cost of time and labour.

37.

asked whether the value of tenant right has been included in the total site value of the provisional valuations already served; and whether valuers in future valuations have received any instructions as to inclusion or exclusion of tenant right values in view of the recent decision of the referee in the Norton Malreward case?

No specific sum has been included, either in the total value or the site value of provisional valuations of agricultural land for seeds sown, unexhausted manurial values or acts of husbandry performed in anticipation of an ensuing crop, in respect of which an outgoing tenant would be entitled to claim compensation. Pending an authoritative decision of the Courts, which will be obtained as soon as possible, the referee's decision, which governs only the case to which it is directed, does not call for the issue of fresh instructions.

Is it desirable to proceed with these valuations until the right hon. Gentleman has succeeded in obtaining a decided opinion from the highest Court? Is it not almost fallacious to assume that that opinion will be in his favour?

I am not assuming anything of the kind. I am only following the usual practice when cases are sub judice.

If the decision of the highest Court is the same as that of the referee, will not the valuations now being carried out be invalid?

38.

asked when the capital expenditure on the National Land Valuation will cease and the cost of the valuation department be deemed an income expenditure?

Capital expenditure on the National Land Valuation as now being undertaken should cease in the course of the financial year 1915–16. It is hoped that the cost of the valuation department will then approximate that to its permanent annual level.

39.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the inconvenience and uncertainty occasioned to all agricultural landowners by doubt as to the validity of the deduction of tenant right from the total value, and the inclusion of grass in assessments of the full site value of agricultural land pending the hearing by the High Court of the appeal of the Crown from the referee in the Norton Malreward case, he will take steps to accelerate the hearing of such appeal before the Courts rise for the long vacation?

I will endeavour to accelerate the hearing of this appeal as far as possible.

Does that mean the right hon. Gentleman will have application made on his behalf to the Court to have the case taken before the Long Vacation?

40.

asked what security there is, seeing that no further payments can, under the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909, be made by the Treasury into the Development Fund, and that it is proposed not to capitalise any part of the unexpended residue of the fund, that the whole cost of upkeep of farm institutes and other like projects which are being embarked upon on the strength of the assurance that half the cost of their annual maintenance will be provided by Grants from the fund will not fall ultimately upon the ratepayers?

There is no security, in the sense in which the hon. Member apparently uses the term, for any of the charges ordinarily borne from Votes of Parliament being met in future years, as it is a principle of the national financial system that the expenditure of each year is met by Parliamentary provision in that year.

How is it possible for the Treasury to promise a Grant out of the Development Fund for the maintenance of farm institutes when in fact there is nothing further corning from the fund, and nothing further can come without further legislation?

There is a sum voted out of the Estimates every year, and that amount is fixed to meet the necessities of the year.

But was it not stated that the Grants for these institutes should be made out of the fund and not out of the Treasury?

41.

asked if the first periodical valuation of agricultural and other=undeveloped land will be made in the year 1914, although the original valuation will not then have been completed?

I hope to deal with this question in the Revenue Bill shortly to be introduced.

42.

asked whether an estimate could be given of the number of owners of land in the United Kingdom and the annual cost to them of the national land valuation apart from the annual cost of £680,000 to the State?

43.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue originally served a provisional valuation in respect of grazing land situated in Killiney, county Dublin, belonging to George Bower, placing the agricultural value at £720, and subsequently reduced this amount to £37 on the ground that a statutory fee farm grant subject to a rent and tithe rent-charge should be deducted; and whether he will state under what Section of the Finance Act the Commissioners claim to deduct the capital value of these fixed charges from the agricultural value?

The provisional valuation was reduced on its being found that there were certain fixed charges which the owner had not disclosed, although he was served with Form IV. As regards the second portion of the question, I beg to refer to the answer given to the hon. Member for Enfield on the 1st instant.

44.

asked if the referee in the ease of Smyth v. the Commissioners of Inland Revenue reduced the site value of Norton Malreward farm from £8,909, as given in the official valuation, to £4,143, which latter sum includes the value attributable to stone walls, water supply, and agricultural drains; and whether the Revenue Bill will contain provisions requiring the exclusion from site value of all owners' and tenants' improvements?

The Commissioners amended estimate of assessable site value of the land was £7,534. Although the Referee in fixing the assessable site value at £4,143 included therein, as did the Commissioners in their valuation, the value attributable to the factors mentioned, he assumed the land to be divested of a road and of the grass, the values attributable to which were comprised in the official estimate. I am considering the point raised in the last part of the question.

55.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Board of Inland Revenue is prepared to recognise fellows of the Faculty of Surveyors of Scotland on an equal footing for appointments in the Valuation Department with Fellows of the Surveyors' Institution (England); and, if not, is there any reason why this should not be done?

The Board of Inland Revenue have under their con-consideration the question raised by my hon. Friend.

Consols

35.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the low record price of Consols at present prevailing, he will consider the desirability and necessity of fixing a date of maturity to the annuities, it being the opinion of bankers and others that Consols bearing a fixed date of redemption, even though distant, would be more stable in price than under present conditions?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the general opinion in the City is that some fixed period of redemption is desirable?

I went into the matter with a number of bankers a short time ago, and I was surprised at the diversity of opinion. I have had suggestions on these lines, but I have found that other bankers have criticised them very severely.

Government Of Ireland Bill

Speaker Of Irish House Of Commons

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether, if a separate Parliament is set up for Ireland under the Government of Ireland Bill, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons will be a member of the Board of Trade, as was the case with Speaker of the last Irish Parliament?

As stated by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary, in reply to a question asked on the 17th April, 1912, it is not intended that the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons should be a member of the Board of Trade. Whether it will be necessary to alter or revoke the Order in Council of 1786, which regulates the legal constitution of that body, is a matter for further consideration.

Marconi Committee

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give a day for the hearing of a Motion for the reappointment of the Marconi Committee to take the evidence of Lord Murray; and whether he will give a day for the discussion of the Committee's Report presented upon Wednesday last?

Are we to understand that there is to be no further inquiry into this matter and that it is to be hushed up?

It is not a question of hushing up. I have answered the question in the negative.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of appointing a permanent Royal Commission so that this subject may always be considered from year to year?

Poet Laureateship

48.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in making a new appointment to the Laureateship, he will consider the advisability of limiting the appointment to a definite number of years instead of for life; and whether he will, at the same time, consider the advisability of appointing separate Laureates for the separate countries in order to stimulate the cultivation of national literature?

The question has been considered in all its aspects. I am afraid I do not see my way to adopt my hon. Friend's suggestions.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think, in view of the impossibility of any one poet representing all the nationalities in the United Kingdom, that it would be very much better either to agree to some such suggestion as I make or to use the money available for that post for the Civil List in appreciation generally of literary achievements?

I do not think so, but I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.

When this matter comes to be inquired into, will consideration be given to the undoubted poetic ability of the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore)?

:I shall be glad if the hon. Member will furnish me with a copy of the poems of the hon. and learned Member.

Industrial And Provident Societies (Amendment) Bill

54.

asked the Prime Minister if it is still the intention of the Government to proceed with the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Bill during the present Session; and, if not, whether, in view of the inconvenience and hardships caused to thousands of members of such societies by the existing provisions as to nomination, he will give facilities for passing Clause 6 of the Bill into law during the present Session?

I am very sympathetic in this matter, but I can at present only refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on 30th June last to the hon. Member for Norwich. I will consider the matter.

64.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, if it is the intention of the Government to carry the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) this Session; and is he aware of the unrest and anxiety this subject is causing among industrious workmen?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which has just been given to the hon. Member for Huddersfield by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Traffic In Worn-Out Horses

56.

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he will personally make investigations into the traffic to the Continent of worn-out horses?

I will gladly investigate any complaints which may be made to me, if sufficient particulars are given.

Is it not a fact that the majority of these animals are slaughtered for food on the other side, and, if that be the case, would it not be infinitely better to have them slaughtered on this side?

Canals And Waterways (Royal Commission)

63.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if any steps have been taken since the publication of the Report of the Royal Commission on Waterways to ascertain whether the local authorities, which would presumably be directly benefited by the construction of a main system of waterways in this country, would be prepared to consider the possibility of contributing in some way to the cost of such an undertaking; and, if so, what were the steps taken, and with what result?

The Royal Commission reported in 1909 that their efforts to ascertain whether local authorities and traders would be willing to share the burden of waterway improvement had met with no encouragement or success. I have not thought it necessary, therefore, to renew the inquiries they made in this direction. But the question of local contributions is one on which I should look to those who advocate the acquisition and improvement of canals to supply me with further information.

Isle Of Man (Constitution)

65.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any decision has yet been come to regarding the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on the constitution of the Isle of Man; and, if so, whether he can state what the decision is?

The Government have accepted the greater part of the Committee's recommendations, including the proposal to reconstitute the Legislative Council partly on an elective basis. Their decision has been communicated to the Lieutenant-Governor, who has been requested to have the various reforms—except so far as they can be put into operation by executive action on his part—embodied in a Bill or Bills and submitted to the Manx Legislature at an early date.

Vivisection

66.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, for the better protection of animals and in view of their greater experience and knowledge of animals which qualify them better than medical men to detect the symptoms of pain, he will appoint qualified veterinary surgeons to be the two additional inspectors of vivisectional experiments; and whether, as the object of inspection is to prevent cruelty, he will see that no person is appointed to these posts who is known to sympathise with the practice of vivisection?

With regard to the first part of the question, I cannot add anything to the replies which I gave on the 12th. February and 18th March last. With regard to the second part, I shall hope to obtain inspectors who are in sympathy with the objects of the Act they are called on to enforce.

Women Workers (Fines And Deductions)

67.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has had his attention called to the report of the chief lady inspector of factories and to the numerous instances of unfair and capricious fines and deductions from wages inflicted on women workers; and whether he intends to introduce a Bill to strengthen the powers given by existing legislation to remedy this hardship?

I have seen the report referred to in the question. The Amendment of the Truck Acts is one of the industrial questions with which I hope to be able to deal in the near future, but I am not in a position to make any statement on the subject at the present moment.

Army And Navy Clothing Stores (Women's Deputation)

68.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a deputation of women workers from the Pimlico Army and Navy Clothing Stores marched to the War Office on Wednesday, 2nd July, and that, whilst standing outside the War Office, one of the young women was badly kicked by a man, who was arrested by Inspector Nevill and was taken to the Cannon Row Police Station, and that it was then found out that it was a plain-clothes policeman; if he is aware that the young woman that had been badly kicked was told that she had better not make a charge against Collins because he would be punished by the superior officer; and if he intends taking any action to punish Policeman Collins for committing such an unwarranted and unprovoked assault?

I have made inquiry and cannot find that any such incident as is described in the question occurred near the War Office. There is no foundation of any sort for the statement that a plain clothes officer was arrested, and that a woman was advised not to prosecute him. What, as I am informed, actually happened, was that on the afternoon in question the police, acting under the Sessional Order of this House, prevented a number of women from passing in procession through Millbank Street, and subsequently a young woman who had, with a number of others, endeavoured to force her way through the police lines, complained that she had been hurt. A medical examination, however, discovered no sign of injury. If the young woman was in fact hurt it is much to be regretted, but the police were only discharging a necessary duty without using any unnecessary force.

Underground Workrooms

69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the report of Miss Meiklejohn, in the annual report of the chief inspector of factories and workshops for 1912, on the unsatisfactory character of underground workrooms, the only means of ventilation in which consisting of a grating to the street, more or less stopped up, the worst ones being near Bond Street, in Sloane Street, and Shaftesbury Avenue; also to the statement in the report of Miss Whitworth that one cellar, about 80 feet long, built under and in the middle of very large premises used by provision merchants, was just being fitted up for a workroom for the employment of several girls, and that there was no natural light, and the nearest point at each end from the external air was quite 40 feet; and whether, in view of these facts, he will adopt as a Government measure, and pass into law this Session, the Underground Workrooms Bill, which has already passed the House of Lords?

I have seen the reports referred to in the question. I should be glad to see the Underground Workrooms Bill pass into law this Session, and if it is found that there is general agreement in favour of the Bill, I will certainly do my best to assist its passage.

National Insurance Act

Vivisection

33.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the public feeling against vivisection, he can give an assurance that experiments on living animals shall not be allowed to form part of any scheme of research to be financed by the moneys provided for research under the National Insurance Act?

All research work that may be undertaken under the auspices of the Medical Research Committee, under the National Insurance Act, will be carried out under precisely the same restrictions that obtain under the Act of 1876 and the Regulations of the Home Office thereunder in other cases of research work.

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the Report of this Committee is laid in due time this Session, so that the House may have an opportunity of discussing it?

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that nothing is done to hamper the useful labours of this Committee?

Sanatorium Benefit

58.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of insured persons suffering from tuberculosis who have applied for treatment in the borough of Walsall and the number who have received treatment, distinguishing between those who have received treatment in sanatoria or other institutions and in their homes?

The number of applicants for sanatorium benefit in Walsall from the 15th July, 1912, to the 30th April last was ninety-four, of whom three were ineligible for benefit. The number who received treatment was eighty-six, of whom forty-four were treated in sanatoria and forty-two at home.

Agricultural Labourers (Scotland)

59.

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the Circular X 124 recently issued by the English Insurance Commissioners providing that, in cases where some services are ordinarily required on Sunday, the insured persons will receive sick benefit on a seven day basis, this provision will be extended to Scotland; and whether he will take steps to amplify it so that all Scottish agricultural labourers might have the option of being paid sick benefit on a seven day basis instead of on a six day basis?

The circular has no relation to the question to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, but deals entirely with the calculation of the rate of remuneration of insured persons in order to determine what share of the weekly contribution is payable by employer and employé, respectively. As I have previously stated in reply to similar questions, it depends upon the rules of each particular approved society whether sickness benefit is paid on a six or a seven days' basis.

Could it not be arranged that agricultural labourers should have the option of receiving the benefit on either a six or a seven days' basis?

They have the option of joining a society which pays on a seven days' basis, but is very doubtful under which system they really get the advantage.

If they have a choice, is there any society that pays on a seven days' basis to agricultural labourers, which they can join?

Will the right hon. Gentleman give me the name of a society which agricultural labourers can join?

Prosecutions

60.

asked how many prosecutions have been brought against persons for failure to comply with the provisions of Part I. of the National Insurance Act; the number of successful cases; and the total cost of the same?

The total number of prosecutions brought in England up to the present time is 134, of which 116 have been successful. Ten of the remainder have been withdrawn with the consent of the magistrates on the defendants agreeing to comply with the Act. The total cost to the Commissioners of these proceedings amounts to £782 10s. 6d. The costs recovered amount to £429 17s. 3d., making the net cost £352 13s. 3d. I may add that of the total cost £499 16s. 11d. represents the cost of cases which were taken by the defendants to the High Court on appeal, and which were all decided in favour of the Commissioners. I am obtaining similar particulars from Scotland, Irleand, and Wales, which I will communicate to the hon. Member.

Norwich Friendly Societies Medical Institute

62.

asked if, although at the end of the first quarter of the payment of benefits under the National Insurance Act of £676 18s. 3d. due to the Norwich Friendly Societies Medical Institute for medical treatment and drugs, it was not till the beginning of May that £370 was paid on account, and that though another quarter is ended nothing further has been paid; whether the local insurance committee is thus acting on instructions from the Health Insurance Commissioners; and whether any action is contemplated to prevent a recurrence of delay so that medical institutes are treated in the same manner as doctors and chemises under the Act?

I am informed by the Norwich Insurance Committee that an advance payment of £370 was made to the institute on 2nd May last, on an undertaking given by the trustees for the due application of the money, although the rules of the institute had not at the time been approved by the Commissioners, or by the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The committee have offered to make a. further advance, and, acting on the instructions of the Commissioners, are prepared to do so on a liberal basis, but inasmuch as they arc only empowered by the Act to make a contribution towards the expenditure incurred by the institution on the medical attendance and treatment of insured persons, they must be satisfied that such expenditure has in fact been incurred. I am not aware that there has been any avoidable delay on the part of the Committee. I may, perhaps, add that an agreement is being arrived at between the Commissioners and the representatives of approved institutions as to the basis on which contributions towards their expenditure may be properly made by insurance committees.

Bangalore

30.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he can state the reasons why the taxes in the Bangalore civil and military station are nearly double those of the adjoining city under the government of His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore; and whether he is aware that the district of the civil and military station is suffering from bad drainage, imperfect public latrines, out-of-date public market, and an antiquated hospital situated in the centre of the bazaars, that there is also a limited water supply, that two large tanks are waiting to be repaired owing to lack of sufficient funds, and that the population is accordingly restricted in the amount of water they are able to use for purposes other than for drinking?

No such complaints have reached the Secretary of State, but if my hon. Friend will forward me the complaints he presumably has received they shall receive attention. As regards his statements as to the rate of taxation they are not borne out by the most recent administration report, from which it appears that in the civil and military station it works out at Rs. 3 per head, as against Rs. 2¾ Per head in Bangalore City.

31.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he will consider the desirability of appointing a European district judge in Bangalore of the status of a district judge in the Madras presidency; and whether he will consider the desirability of placing the civil and criminal courts of Bangalore under the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court?

I am not aware of any necessity for altering the present system and have received no such suggestion.

32.

asked the Undersecretary of State for India whether he is aware that the civil and military station of Bangalore, containing a population of about 1,000,000, is not represented on the Legislative Council; and whether he will delay the refunding to the Government of Mysore of the unexpended balance derived from the assigned tract revenue until the urgent needs of the civil and military station have received proper attention?

The civil and military station of Bangalore and fifteen villages—the population of which is 100,834 and not 1,000,000, as stated by my hon. Friend—were in 1881 assigned to the British Government, the Maharaja renouncing all jurisdiction in the lands so assigned. There can therefore be no question of representation on the Mysore Legislative Council. The administration of the area being British, the latter part of the question does not arise.

Criminal Law Amendment Act

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to a case in the Police Court taken under the White Slave Act, in which a woman purporting to be a nurse by being dressed in nurse's uniform was concerned; and whether, in view of the growing frequency of this abuse, he will, pending the extension of the franchise to women, take any steps, by legislation or otherwise, to protect the nursing profession in this respect?

The matter is receiving attention, but it presents very serious difficulties, and I cannot at present add anything to the answer given to a question by my hon. Friend on 13th March last.

Prisoners (Temporary Discharge For Ill-Health) Act

50.

asked the Prime Minister whether, having regard to the fact that the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-health) Act has failed in its object of making women serve their sentences, he intends introducing legislation for that purpose?

The answer is in the negative. I cannot agree with my hon. Friend that the Act has failed in its purpose.

Irish Lambs (Detention In Port)

57.

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether any tests have recently been made as to the increase or decrease in the weight of Irish lambs while undergoing the period of detention at British ports; if so, will he state the results; whether the owners of the animals were notified of the intention of the Board's officials to perform the test, and that they might be present; and whether, in future, if the exporters of lambs intimate to the Board their desire to have their lambs weighed at the beginning and the termination of the detention period, their wish will be complied with and in their presence?

Several tests were made during the month of May to ascertain whether Irish lambs increased or decreased in weight during detention at the landing places in Great Britain. With few exceptions, a substantial increase of weight was recorded. I understand that the owners of the lambs were not specially notified beforehand, but in some cases at any rate they were present when the test was carried out. There is no objection on the part of the Board to their presence, and I have more than once invited Irish farmers to visit the landing places and see for themselves, with the result that when they acted on the invitation they have been satisfied that the detention does not cause deterioration. The weighing tests necessarily interfere to some extent with the ordinary work of the Board's inspectors at the ports, and the number must, therefore, be kept within reasonable limits, but subject to that condition I will gladly do my best to meet the wishes of any Irish exporter who wishes to see his lambs weighed before and after their detention.

Elementary School Teachers (Pensions)

71.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether, looking to the anxiety of those teachers who retired owing to age limit before April, 1912, in regard to their pensions, he will urge upon those engaged in the actuarial calculations in connection therewith the necessity to the retired teachers concerned of a speedy Report of the result of those calculations?

The Board are in constant communication with the actuaries engaged on the calculations, which are being proceeded with as expeditiously as possible.

Post Office (Contracts)

73.

asked whether Messrs. Pickford and Company, Limited, have any contracts with any department of the Post Office?

In London the firm do not hold any Post Office contract, but they are occasionally employed for the conveyance of certain stores. As regards the provinces, I am unable at so short a notice to say whether or not any small contracts have been placed with them by my local officers.

78.

asked the Postmaster-General whether the Clyde Rubber Works Company, Limited, Renfrew, hold any contracts for the supply of goods to the Post Office or telephone departments; and, if so, what is the amount of such contract and how long is such contract likely to run before its completion?

Telephone Service

74.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will explain why he insists upon ten subscribers and an annual donation of £33 for taking the telephone five and a half miles to Blair Atholl, when four subscribers and a donation suffice for six and three-quarter miles in Dunning, and three subscribers and a guarantee of £22 suffice for a distance of five and a half miles for Kinrossie; whether he will give the same terms amounting to the same total subscription to the inhabitants of Blair Atholl as to those of Kinrossie; and, if not, will he say why this cannot be done?

In the case of the proposed extension to Killiecrankie and Blair Atholl, new poles will have to be provided for 5½ miles out of a total route length of 7 miles, whereas in the Dunning case new poles will only have to be erected for 1½ miles, and in the case of Kinrossie for ¾ of a mile. The additional annual expenses involved in the Killiecrankie and Blair Atholl extension are nearly three times as much as those arising from the Dunning or Kinrossie extension. Moreover, in those two cases the same circuits will be used for the telegraph and telephone services, thus reducing the expenses chargeable to the telephone scheme, but in the Killiecrankie and Blair Atholl case the amount of telegraph traffic precludes such an arrangement. I would add that the amount of the annual subscriptions at Dunning, which I was unable to furnish in my reply to the Noble Lord's question of the 7th instant, is £40 1s., including a special payment of £4 15s. by one of the subscribers.

Temporary Postmen (Theft Of Letters)

77.

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to statements made at the Warwickshire Assizes during the trials of two temporary postmen for stealing a large number of letters, including jewellery and cheques, that these men had been engaged at the Labour Exchanges and that the postmasters were not allowed to make inquiries as to their characters, and that it was even known that these men had been convicted before; and whether he will now withdraw the circular instructing postmasters to get their temporary postmen through the Labour Exchanges where they cannot get characters?

My attention has been called to the statements referred to. One of the men was temporarily employed by the postmaster of Coventry in September last, and the usual inquiries respecting his character were made by the Post Office; on his re-employment in January further inquiries were made by the postmaster as to his character during the interval. There was nothing in the replies to any of the inquiries to suggest that the man had been previously convicted. The other man was obtained for Christmas work through the local Labour Exchange. I am in communication with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade as to the circumstances of this case.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to whether these men have been in Borstal institutions or not, because one man was there, if not both?

Yes, inquiries are made by local officers, as was done in the case of the first man. It was not disclosed that he had been previously convicted. I need not say how much I regret that the inquiries were insufficient in this case.

Charity Bazaars (Scotland)

79.

asked the Lord Advocate whether there is any intention of altering the enactment prohibiting children and others from selling lottery tickets at charity bazaars in Scotland?

Are we to understand from that answer that the Government approve of the punishment of children for selling tickets for the purpose of helping people in distress, whilst Ministers are not even reprimanded—

Land Purchase (Ireland)

81.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what progress has been made with the acquisition of the Fuller estate, near Cahirciveen, by the Congested Districts Board; and when an inspection is likely to be made?

The Congested Districts Board have purchased this estate.

83.

asked the Chief Secretary when he will be in a position to give an approximate indication of the date when he will be able to introduce the promised Land Purchase Bill?

Subject to revision by the Prime Minister, I think that the Bill can be introduced on Monday, the 21st instant.

Peamount Sanatorium

82.

asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that, in the appointment of a resident medical superintendent for Peamount Sanatorium, it has been decided that no candidate for the post will be considered who is not a Roman Catholic; and if the determination to conduct this institution, which has been provided out of public funds, upon sectarian lines has the sanction of the Local Government Board?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Lady Aberdeen has stated that the senior medical superintendent Must be a Roman Catholic?

No, I am not aware that anybody has made that statement. Anyhow, it is not one of the qualifications for the post as stated in the advertisement.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the committee of managers of the sanatorium, who are representatives of county councils, actually elected Dr. M'Grath to the position of medical superintendent, and, if that is not so, on what grounds was his election not approved of?

Scientific Research

80.

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will give the names of the investigators, employed on scientific research, to whom Grants have been made during the past three years other than out of the sum of £1,900 voted by Parliament for auxiliary scientific investigation; and if he will give the subjects investigated and the amount paid in each of these years to each investigator?

I will send the hon. Member a statement giving the particulars for which he asks.

Imperial Wireless Chain

May I ask the Prime Minister when we shall have an opportunity of discussing the statement made the other day about the Imperial wireless chain?

I hope very soon. Any suggestion which the right hon. Gentleman makes as to the date we shall be prepared to consider.

Orders Of The Day

Weekly Rest-Day Bill

Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK