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Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 23 May 1922

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Oil Concessions


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any explorations or drilling for oils is proceeding in Iraq, and with what result; what companies or persons are engaged in this work; whether any oil concessions have actually been granted; and, if so, to whom?

For answers to the first and second parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which was given him on 9th May. As to the third and fourth parts of the question, no concession in respect of oil in Iraq have been granted since the British occupation. The Turkish Petroleum Company claim to have certain rights granted to them by the Turkish Government before the War in respect of all oil deposits (other than those in the transferred territories) in the Bagdad and Mosul vilayets.

Is this not a very unsatisfactory explanation, in view of the fact that were told there were rich oil deposits that would pay us our expenditure, and should not something be done?

British Mandate


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether King Feisal and the Iraq Ministry have informed Sir Percy Cox that the people of Iraq have refused the British Mesopotamian Mandate?

Shops Act


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a comprehensive Bill to amend the Shops Acts has been promised for some time; and whether he proposes to introduce such a Bill this Session?

I am aware of the need for comprehensive legislation on the subject, but as stated in reply to recent questions in this House, I do not contemplate the introduction of amending legislation during the present Session.

Mounted Police


asked the Home Secretary the number of mounted police in this country for each year from 1913 to date, and the number of motor cycles and cars in use by the police covering the same years?

The information desired is not available in the Home. Office, and I would not feel justified in present circumstances in imposing upon local authorities the labour involved in preparing special returns.

Taxi-Cab Fares


asked the Home Secretary whether he has received any communication from any society, association, or union that represents the travelling public to the effect that the fares for travelling by taxi-cab should be reduced in view of the fall in running and operating expenses; and what answer has he been able to make?

I have received a communication to the effect stated from the National Citizens Union, and have told them in reply that I was considering the matter.

Probation Of Offenders Act


asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the statement contained in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Probation Officers, that out of 1,034 courts of summary jurisdiction in England and Wales there are still, 14 years after the principal Act was passed, no less than 215 courts without a probation officer, the Government will state what steps they propose to take to enforce the proper carrying out of this Act?

The use of the procedure provided by the Probation of Offenders Act and the appointment of probation officers rests with the magistrates. The Home Office has on several occasions drawn their attention to the desirability of releasing offenders on probation in all suitable cases and urged the appointment of probation officers, and I propose to send to every Bench a copy of the Report of the recent Departmental Committee. I hope also that the Advisory Committee which, in accordance with the recommendation in the Report, it is proposed to appoint, will be able to assist greatly in the development of the probation system in this country.

Factory Acts


asked the Home Secretary whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce this Session a Bill to amend the Factory Acts?

It is not proposed to introduce a Bill to amend the Factory Acts this Session.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware this reform is greatly overdue; and that it was promised last Session and the Session before that?

Yes, Sir, I am aware that it is overdue, but I am afraid it is not possible to introduce it this Session.

Inspector Of Factories (Report)


asked the Home Secretary when the Report of His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Factories will be presented to Parliament?

I much regret to state that the Chief Inspector, Mr. Graves, died suddenly last Sunday and his death may somewhat delay the Report. He had, however, brought it near completion, and the further revision still required will be carried out as speedily as possible. The House will perhaps allow me to take this opportunity of paying a public tribute to the distinguished services rendered by Mr. Graves during a long official career in many capacities and not least in connection with the "national service" administration during the War. He will be much missed in the Home Office.



asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to a case of strychnine poisoning by misadventure in which one of His Majesty's judges suggested that mistakes of this kind could be obviated if it was enacted that all poisons should be of definite and distinctive colours; and, if so, whether he will consider the desirability of issuing Regulations under the Poisons Act or otherwise to carry the suggestion into effect?

I am advised that the Regulations for the keeping of poisons direct them to be "kept in a room or cupboard set apart" for the purpose, and that the observance of this rule should in ordinary circumstances render such occurrences impossible. Inquiries are being made of the Pharmaceutical Society as to the practicability of employing definite and distinctive colours for poisons, and if a favourable report is received the possibility of making new Regulations under the Poisons and Pharmacy Acts will be considered.

Motor Parks (London Streets)


asked the Home Secretary whether he can state clearly, for the guidance of motorists, exactly where motor vehicles may be parked in the London streets; whether he can ensure that the police have clear and intelligible instructions and are able to inform anyone who may seek information on the point; and whether he will consider the appointment of a Committee to deal with the question in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport?

As parking places are fixed in the central parts of London, particulars are sent to the Press for general information, and are also supplied to clubs, business premises, etc., in the area affected for the information of persons calling there. Police in the neighbourhood concerned have full instructions on the subject, and will inform inquirers. There is already in existence a small Police Committee, which includes a Member of Parliament.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the police are unaware of the instructions which, according to the information supplied to him, have been issued, as to where motor cars may be parked, and that, for some reason, members of the public are kept chasing about all over the place to find their cars?

I am not aware of that. If the Noble Lord will give me any information as to this being the case I will inquire into it.

Ex-Service Men (Orkney And Shetland)


asked the Secretary for Scotland whether, in view of the fact that no land settlements have yet been effected for ex-service men in Orkney while 165 are on the waiting list, that only 46 settlements have been made in Shetland where there are still 203 applicants, and having regard to the great hardship and loss to which these men and their families are being subjected, and also in view of the intense feeling of indignation caused by the delay in arranging settlements, he will take steps to ensure that settlements in both counties are now completed without further delay?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply to his questions on the 16th instant given by my right hon. Friend in which he informed him that schemes for the settlement of ex-service men in Orkney and Shetland have reached an advanced stage. The normal term of outgoing in these counties is Martinmas and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland are making every effort to put the schemes referred to into operation at Martinmas next.