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Commons Chamber

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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House Of Commons

Wednesday, 21st June, 1922.

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

Private Business

Ayr Burgh (Electricity) Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Second Reading deferred till Monday next.

Public Works Loans

Copy ordered, "of Statement or particulars of Loans of which the balances outstanding are proposed to be remitted or written off, in whole or in part, from the assets of the Local Loans Fund."—[ Sir John Baird.]

Oral Answers To Questions

Tangier

1.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any progress has been made in calling a conference of Spanish and French representatives to discuss the question of Tangier?

It is hoped that this conference will take place in England in the latter part of July.

Sudan

2.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has been agreed that the future position of this country in the Sudan is a point reserved for future discussion between the British and Egyptian Governments; and, if so, whether the question of surrendering any existing British rights or authority in the Sudan will be a subject reserved for discussion?

In regard to the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to pages 29–30 of Command Paper 1592, and; in regard to the second part, I can only repeat the categorical statement made by the Prime Minister on the 28th February last to the effect that His Majesty's Government cannot agree to any change in the status of the Sudan that would in the slightest degree diminish the security for the many millions of British capital which are already invested in its development—to the great advantage of the Sudan.

Will the hon. Gentleman say definitely what are the subjects reserved for discussion?

Perhaps the hon. Member will look at the Command Paper of which I have given him the number in my reply.

Passports And Visas

4.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that Belgians can enter France and Algiers on the simple production of a card of identity, without a passport, and that while the French visa has been dispensed with in the case of Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Paraguay, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador and Siam, it is still in force against Canada and other British Dominions and Colonies; and whether, in view of these facts, the Foreign Office will make representations to the French Government to secure equal privileges for British subjects to those enjoyed by other nations, and will specially ask that any disability now distinguishing the treatment which our Colonies of South Africa receive as compared with the treatment accorded to other Colonies may be abolished?

As the reply is a little long, and very dull, perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

Belgian subjects are enabled to enter France and Algeria on production of a card of identity in place of a passport, in virtue of a special agreement between the French and Belgian Govern- ments to which His Majesty's Government are not a party, owing to the impracticability of introducing the system of cards of identity in this country. An arrangement was concluded between His Majesty's Government and the French Government in July, 1921, whereby all British subjects could enter France and all French citizens could enter the United Kingdom without having French and British visas respectively affixed to their passports. This arrangement did not enable British subjects to visit French colonies and Protectorates or French citizens to visit His Majesty's Overseas Dominions without visas. Negotiations are, however, in progress with the French Government for the extension of the existing arangement to British subjects travelling to the French colonies and Protectorate and French citizens travelling to British colonies and Protectorates. The Governments of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa and Newfoundland have agreed generally to admit French citizens without British visas on their passports.

Near East

Bosphorus (Naval Control)

5.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there is any British naval control of the Bosphorus; whether the warships of all nations are now allowed to pass through the straits; and whether His Majesty's Government were aware that the Greek warships which have recently been passing the Bosphorus were intended to be used for the purpose of bombarding the Turkish coast towns on the Black Sea?

The naval control of the Bosphorus is inter-Allied, not British. The Straits are open to the warships of all nations, except in so far as this may be incompatible with the Turkish armistice. In reply to the third part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer which I gave last Wednesday to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. A. Herbert).

Samsun (Bombardment)

6.

asked the Under Secretary of State for Forign Affairs whether he now has any information regarding the bombarding of Samsun and other towns on the Pontine coast by Greek warships; whether any casualties were caused among non-combatants; and whether any American property was damaged by the bombardment and American or other European citizens killed and wounded?

His Majesty's Government have no official information of any bombardment other than that of Samsun. The protests from the Grand National Assembly at Angora and from the Turkish Government at Constantinople state that there was loss of life and damage to civilian property at Samsun, but give no details, and His Majesty's Government have no other information.

Settlement Proposals

9.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in a position to make any statement in regard to the Near Eastern settlement; and what action has been taken by His Majesty's Government in representing to the Turkish Government the necessity of conforming to the representations of the Allied Powers for the immediate establishment of peace in Asia Minor?

His Majesty's Government are still considering, with their Allies, what step should next be taken to further a settlement in the Near East on the basis of the Paris Conference proposals. In these circumstances, no statement could usefully be made at this stage.

Do we understand that the matter was discussed, as stated in the Press, and particularly in the French Press, with the French Prime Minister?

China (North And South)

7.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any information as to affairs in China at the present time; and whether peace has been arranged between the various contending parties?

President Hsu Shih-chang having resigned his office on 2nd June, General Li Yuan-Hung on 11th June took up the duties of President of the Republic. The new President has appointed a Cabinet of Acting Ministers, with Dr. Yen as Acting Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The latest report received is to the effect that fighting in North China has temporarily ceased, and that an armistice was arranged on the 16th instant between delegates from Generals Wu Pei fu and Chang Tso-lin, who met on board H.M.S. "Curlew" at Chinwangtao. It is hoped that further discussion between the delegates will result in definite peace between the belligerents.

In South China Press reports indicate that fighting between Chen Chiung-ming and Sun Yat-sen has resulted in the defeat of the latter, who is said to have taken refuge on a Chinese man-of-war. A later report states that a truce has been arranged between the contending parties.

Has the hon. Gentleman any knowledge of any post in the Government being taken by Mr. Wellington Koo?

No, I have no information to that effect, but I will inquire, if the hon. and gallant Member desires me to do so.

Is the hon. Member aware that many congratulations are due to His Majesty's Government for bringing about peace, or the beginnings of peace, in at any rate one country?

8.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what date is fixed for the withdrawal of British post offices from China as agreed on at Washington; whether Japan has already withdrawn most of hers; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to imitate this example?

The Washington Resolution provides for the abolition of the post offices at latest by 1st January, 1923. The necessary arrangements are accordingly being made for the withdrawal of the British post offices by that date. His Majesty's Government have no information as to the present position in regard to the withdrawal of Japanese past offices.

Royal Navy

Clasps (Issue)

13.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the cause of the delay in issuing the clasps which are due to be awarded in accordance with Fleet Order No. 2,051?

Owing to the urgent need for economy which has arisen since the announcement referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend, it has been found necessary to suspend action in this matter.

Does the right hon. Gentleman really mean that from motives of economy, these officers are to be deprived of the bars of their medals?

It is not a question of depriving, but the work of settling all the clasps takes a great deal of time, and involves the employment of a very considerable staff.

Are they justified in wearing bars on the miniatures, which they purchase at their own cost?

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me notice of that question.

When will the clasps be issued—in six months, a year, or five years, or when?

Are we to understand that the issue is merely postponed, or postponed sine die?

Brazilian Centenary Of Independence

15.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what Powers have so far decided to send ships or squadrons to represent them at Rio de Janeiro; and if he can give the names of the ships which will be present?

19.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what British vessels of war are stationed on the East coast of South America; and what will be the nearest British warships to Rio de Janeiro when the exhibition is being held?

As regards the first question, I understand that it is the intention for the following men-of-war to be present at the Brazilian Centenary of Independence at Rio de Janeiro:

  • United States of America—3 dreadnought battleships.
  • Japan—3 old armoured cruisers.
  • Argentina—1 dreadnought battleship.
  • Chile—1 dreadnought battleship.
  • Portugal—1 sloop.
With my Noble and gallant Friend's permission, I will circulate the names of the ships in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It is also probable that France and Italy will send ships, but nothing is yet definitely decided. As regards the second question, none of His Majesty's ships are stationed on the East coast of South America. The nearest British men-of-war to Rio de Janeiro will be those attached to the North America and West Indies station.

Does the effect of that answer amount to this, that the only great maritime Power unrepresented at Rio will be this country, as at present arranged?

May I ask why it is that the British Navy, which had so much to do with the freeing of the South American Republics, is going to be the only big Navy unrepresented at this great national festival?

Will the right hon. Gentleman most seriously consider this question, as it is a matter of great importance to this country that it should be represented at the Rio de Janeiro Centenary Exhibition?

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire what it would cost to send out battleships?

Why is it that our Navy is not to be represented at the centenary of the birth of Republics, but is only engaged in trying to suppress them?

The names of the ships detailed to be present at the Centenary are as follow:

  • United states of America—Maryland, Nevada, Arkansas or Utah.
  • Japan—Idzumo, Iwate, Asama.
  • Argentina—Morena or Rivadarvia.
  • Chile—Almirante Latorre (late Canada).
  • Portugal—Republica or Carvalho Aranjo.

Lieutenant-Commanders (Pay)

16.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on what grounds the payment of their rank was withheld from the officers of the rank of lieutenant-commander who were promoted to the rank of commander on the 31st March, 1922, and ante-dated to the 1st January, 1922 and whether it is intended to allow such an unsatisfactory state of affairs to continue?

A Lieutenant-Commander who is promoted to the rank of Commander while holding an appointment must, under the Regulations, be reappointed in the higher rank before he can receive the pay of that rank. In general, this Regulation, which is of long standing, gives rise to no difficulty, since a promoted officer is either re-appointed in the higher rank from the date of promotion, if the post is one authorised for an officer of either rank, or else immediately relieved, if the post is authorised only for an officer of the lower rank. The announcement of the promotions due on the 31st December last was, however, delayed until the end of March, and consequently those officers who held posts authorised only for Lieutenant-Commanders could receive only the pay of that rank for an exceptionally long period extending over three months. As I stated in my reply of the 14th June, the case of these particular officers is now under consideration; but apart from specially considering the case of these particular officers, which is admittedly exceptional, the Admiralty see no reason for interfering with the present Regulation, which has worked satisfactorily for many years.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in no fewer than five cases the officers were re-appointed, that in the remainder of the cases they were not re-appointed, and that therefore a difference was made as between some of these officers, and does he realise that there is very great feeling and that these officers' promotion was delayed through no fault of their own, because the Government had further to consider them?

Of course, the officers were only re-appointed in those posts which could be held by either Commanders or Lieut.-Commanders. They could not have been re-appointed Commanders in posts which are only held by Lieutenants.

As these are very exceptional cases, cannot the Admiralty give serious consideration to making an exception in the cases of these five officers?

Widows' Pensions

17.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is still willing to accept, or in any way assist, a contributory scheme of pensions for the widows of the officers and men of the Royal Navy; and if such a scheme can be considered and put in hand forthwith?

It is understood that this subject was considered by the representatives at the recent inter-port meeting held under the Welfare Machinery, and is dealt with in one of their requests. It will be considered by the Admiralty in conjunction with the rest of the requests, when these have been forwarded through the Commanders-in-Chief, but I am afraid that I cannot in the meantime give any indication of what the decision will be on such a large and difficult question.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this matter was considered by one of his predecessors, who favourably entertained the proposal, and will he look at it from the national point of view?

I think the conditions of service have improved very materially in other respects.

Engineer Officers

18.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he can explain why engineer officers, Royal Navy, entered prior to 1903, are the only officers or men who are not allowed to count their acting or probationary time; and if he is aware that in every other branch, as well as the engineering branch itself after 1903, acting or probationary time does count?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply of the 31st May to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy).

Nationality Law

3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any progress has been made in regard to the granting of British nationality to descendants of British citizens born in Japan; whether, seeing that such people, being of purely British descent, are entitled to look solely to the British Government for a settlement of this matter, and as their interests are confined to a definition of their position as regards their mother country, further delay will be avoided with regard to this practically agreed subject; and can he say when the necessary adjustment of the law may be looked for?

I have been asked to reply. The hon. Member's point is met by the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill, which my right hon. Friend introduced yesterday.

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say when it will be put forward for Second Reading, as it is of a non-contentious nature?

Metropolitan Water Supply (Littleton Reservoir)

24.

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the shortage of water in the London area owing to the drought, what steps have been taken by the Metropolitan Water Board to complete forthwith their new storage reservoir at Littleton; if any special steps have been taken since the War to complete the work; and whether, as it is necessary to complete more water storage for London consumers, his Department can take any steps in order to urge completion of this necessary reservoir?

The construction of the Littleton reservoir was interrupted by the War, and a fresh contract became necessary. Considerable progress has been made, and I am assured by the Metropolitan Water Board that the work is being proceeded with as rapidly as possible.

Lunacy Acts

26.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has had any communication from the Merthyr Tydvil Board of Guardians urging the amendment of the Lunacy Acts of 1890 and 1891 so as to enable the statutory forms to be altered by substituting the words "mental patient" for "pauper lunatic," "mental hospital" for "lunatic asylum," and "institution" for "workhouse"; and whether he can give an assurance that such legislation will be promoted?

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I have nothing to add to my reply given on the 14th instant to a similar question by the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir T. Bennett).

Unemployment

Relief Loans (Poor Law Guardians)

27.

asked the Minister of Health the amount of the loans which have been made available to Poor Law guardians for purposes of relief; what are the terms as to interest and repayment upon which they have been made; at what date the money already so granted to those authorities will be exhausted; and whether, on the exhaustion of these funds, he intends to grant further loans?

The total amount of loans sanctioned for the current expenditure of Poor Law authorities (including expenditure on relief) is £5,524,276. I will send the hon. Member a statement as to the terms and periods of these loans. If further loans are necessary, they will be sanctioned.

Empire Settlement

39.

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been called to the suggestion made at the Poor Law conference last week that, in the interests of the unemployed adult who desired to migrate to another part of the Empire, authority should be given to commute the guardians' relief and the unemployment benefit into short-period maintenance training grants for suitable persons of both sexes desirous of qualifying for overseas settlement and employment; and whether he will confer on this subject with the Overseas Settlement Board?

I am aware of the suggestion referred to, and I will obtain the views of the Overseas Settlement Committee in regard to it.

Benefit Payment (Missing Papers)

20.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the hardship inflicted on men and women who are refused the unemployment grant for which they are eligible owing to their papers having been lost or mislaid by officers of his Department; if he will see that the proper recipients are not penalised by the mistakes of officers; and if he is also aware that applications have to be made for Poor Law relief owing to this delay in payment of amount due?

I have no reason to believe that cases of the kind referred to by my hon. Friend are other than exceptional, and I will have immediate inquiries made in any such case brought to my notice.

Dock Labourers, Newry

22.

asked the Minister of Labour if his attention has been called to the case of the Newry casual dock and wharf labourers, whom it is alleged have been refused unemployment benefit, though idle for the full qualifying period, on the grounds that they could earn 30s. per week under normal circumstances and if he will make inquiries into the case?

My hon. Friend's question relates to the administration of unemployment insurance in Northern Ireland, for which the Government of Northern Ireland is responsible.

Are we to understand that we have no jurisdiction over our own Act of Parliament?

Will the right hon. Gentleman make representations to Northern Ireland to see that this is put right?

Statistics

23.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can explain the difference between the statistics of unemployment published every Wednesday in the newspapers and those published in the "Labour Gazette" seeing that, according to the figures published in the Press, the numbers unemployed on 1st May and 29th May, respectively, were 1,617,082 and 1,471,600, while in the "Labour Gazette" the figures given were 1,675,456 and 1,521,887, respectively?

The statistics of unemployment published monthly in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," as stated in a footnote, relate to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Those forwarded weekly to the Press relate to Great Britain only, and are so described. In order that the record may be complete, I am continuing to include the figures relating to Northern Ireland in the tables given in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" until such time as the Northern Ireland Government is in a position to issue information on its own account, which, I understand, will be shortly.

Destitute Families (Relief)

55.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the procedure whereby destitute families receive relief in money and in kind from three separate authorities, namely, boards of guardians, education authorities, and borough or urban and rural district councils, commonly results in an uneconomic and defective dietary; and whether he proposes to take any steps to centralise the organisations concerned, with a view to a better physiological use of the resources available?

I am aware that in certain circumstances assistance may be given to destitute families from the three sources mentioned, but the particular result suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend has not been brought to my notice, and steps are being taken so far as practicable to prevent overlapping.

In the steps taken to prevent overlapping is any definite basis laid down as to the physiological requirements for men in active work as described by the Committee of the Royal Society?

We are trying to avoid overlapping in the giving of relief, but I do not quite connect the latter part of the question of the hon. and gallant Member with that policy.

May I send a copy of the results of the investigations to which I refer to the right hon. Gentleman for his consideration?

Cancer (Statistics)

35.

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the recent correspondence in the "Times" on the subject of the probable causes of cancer; and whether, in view of the need which exists for more precise information as to the extent of the increase in the death rate from that disease in the various countries of the world, he will obtain and publish the fullest possible statistics as to the death rates from year to year in every country where such records are available?

My attention has been called to this correspondence. While fully aware of the importance of investigating the causes of cancer by all possible means, I am unable to undertake that the subject should be pursued in the manner proposed in the question, as there are insuperable difficulties in drawing accurate inferences from comparison of recorded cancer deaths rates in the different countries of the world. The question of international study of cancer prevalence is, however, receiving attention in my Department, and is being brought before the international bodies concerned with public health questions.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware-that on certain instruments, which are used in the cure of cancer, there is a duty of 333 per cent., and, therefore, is interfering with the progress of science?

Borough Extension

36.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in appointing his promised Royal Commission to consider the whole question of borough extension, he will also consider, either through the mediation of this body or otherwise, the possibilities of greatly cheapening and simplifying the present authorised procedure of attaining this end?

Yes, Sir; I should certainly propose that this should be considered as part of the general question.

Will local authorities have representation upon that Royal Commission?

37.

asked the Minister of Health whether he proposes to await the findings of the Greater London Royal Commission before setting up another Royal Commission to consider the whole question of borough extension; when he anticipates these findings will be ready; whether he is aware that various towns have all prepared cases for the creation of county boroughs; and whether he can arrange for the appointment of the second Royal Commission without the delay which would otherwise appear inevitable?

I understand that it is possible that the Report of the Royal Commission on Greater London may be made by, or not long after, the close of the year, and I think that there will be advantage in not appointing the new Royal Commission until that now sitting has reported. I sympathise with the councils whose cases are delayed, but, having regard to the need for the strictest economy at the present time, the delay may not be altogether an evil.

Vaccination

41.

asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the increasing practice of many medical men to certify successful vaccination on the production of one vesicle with commercial lymph, he will authorise public vaccinators to use their discretion, in cases of objection to four marks, to insert a smaller number, but not fewer than two, in order that a larger number of children may become protected by the more effective and purer lymph supplied by the National Vaccine Establishment?

I regret I cannot do as my hon. Friend suggests. It is essential that vaccination performed at the public expense should be maintained at a high level of efficiency. I am advised that the number, area, and character of the vaccination marks have an important bearing upon the degree and permanence of the protection afforded by vaccination against smallpox.

Housing

Municipal Schemes

42.

asked the Minister of Health what is the present position of municipal authorities as regards the building of houses; and can any authority now undertake housing schemes entirely on their own responsibility and on the security of the local rates, or must they still submit all such schemes to his Department for approval before any local authority can undertake or commence building?

There is nothing in the Housing Acts to prevent a local authority at the present time from building houses on its own responsibility, and without any approval from my Department, except in the case of schemes intended to rank for assistance from the Exchequer. Where, however, a local authority desires to raise a loan for the purpose of a housing scheme, my sanction is required, and I shall be glad to give the most favourable consideration to all applications of this kind. In the case of Metropolitan borough councils, the sanctioning authority for loans is the London County Council. I have no doubt that their policy in the matter would be the same.

Slum Areas

43.

asked the Minister of Health whether any circular has ever been issued by his Department to local authorities asking them to make a return of all slum areas in their districts; and, if not, whether, in view of the reduced cost of building, it is proposed to urge all local authorities to consider the rebuilding of all slum areas possible in order to provide better housing accommodation and also building work for the unemployed at the present time?

A return was obtained in 1919 showing the areas which, in the opinion of the local authorities, might have to be dealt with as unhealthy areas under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. Progress is being made with a number of schemes in various parts of the country already operative, or in preparation, and negotiations are proceeding with other local authorities for the adoption of further schemes.

Could not the right hon. Gentleman bring some pressure on bodies like the London County Council, where a good many schemes are not making headway?

I am in continual touch with the London County Council, and two or three schemes are on the point of being started now, and more are being considered.

When an order for demolition is made, is alternative accommodation provided, in view of the fact that I have just come from the eviction of an ex-service man in Dartford who has to go into the workhouse with a family of five?

Of course, these schemes of rehousing form part of the scheme for the provision of houses.

I mean is it not under the Rent Restrictions Act, 1920, a condition of the demolition order that the tenant must be provided with alternative accommodation?

Quarry Bank (Mining Operations)

56.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the occupiers of five houses at Dunn's Bank, in the urban district of Quarry Bank, have been warned by Messrs. King Brothers, Limited, of Stourbridge, who are the lessees of the fireclay mines in the area, that mining operations are approaching the houses, with consequent risk of subsidence, involving the probable destruction of the houses; that it is impossible to obtain alternative accommodation in the neighbourhood at the present time; and whether he will take such steps as will prevent these families being rendered homeless by the action of the mining company?

The facts stated have been brought to my notice. I strongly deprecate any action which would tend to reduce the existing housing accommodation during the present period of shortage. I should hope that it would be possible to arrange with the firm in question that the operations should for the time being be directed to some other part of the workings which would avoid this difficulty.

Enfield

25.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, in connection with the Enfield housing scheme, a public inquiry was held by one of the Department's inspectors respecting the purchase of a site situate at the corner of Hadley Road and the Ridgeway, Enfield, Middlesex; and that, as a result of this inquiry, sanction was given for the purchase of this site as being eminently suitable for the erection of working-class houses; whether he has now sanctioned the sale of this site and approved, as one of the conditions of sale, that houses of a less rateable value than £50 shall not be erected thereon; and, if so, will he state the reason for this complete change of policy?

The site in question is surplus to the scheme being carried out by the district council, and the council are quite properly taking steps to dispose of it and so to discharge the loan raised in connection with it. I am advised that the conditions of sale proposed by the council are such as to secure the best use of the land and the best price for it.

National Health Insurance

Medicines And Appliances

44.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the distinction made as regards the prescription of necessary medicines and appliances between insurance practitioners in country and metropolitan areas; whether he is aware that the former, who have their prescriptions periodically checked by the committee, are liable to be surcharged for expensive drugs and appliances that would be regarded as necessary in the case of private patients, and that in the metropolitan areas fixed sums are granted, also periodically, to the local group of practitioners, and that any surplus at the end of such periods is regarded as the perquisite of the insurance practitioners concerned, and is so divided between them; and whether, seeing that under either method the interests of the panel patients must suffer, he will consider some method of remedying this state of affairs?

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. There is no difference between the arrangements in force in London and in the provinces.

Panel Doctors

54.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that it is the practice of panel doctors in certain parts of London to lock up their surgeries after a certain hour and depart to other districts, and thus to be inaccessible to patients requiring immediate attention; if this practice is in accordance with the terms of their agreement under the National Insurance Act; and if he proposes to take any action in the matter?

My attention has been called to certain cases of this kind, and I am having further inquiry made. Such practice would not be regarded as complying with the terms of service of insurance practitioners.

Cocaine

34.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that cocaine is not a drug which is essential to the medical and dental professions, owing to the manufacture of many less toxic substitutes; and will he therefore take steps to prohibit the importation of so pernicious a drug into this country, if necessary, by legislation?

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. The Home Office is in consultation with the Ministry of Health as to the need for cocaine in medical and dental practice, and I am not prepared at present to express any opinion as regards the suggestion in the first part of the question. As regards the second part of the question, the importation of cocaine except under Home Office licence is already prohibited.

German Property (Great Britain)

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the serious hardship caused by the continued appropriation of the private property of British-born wives of ex-enemy subjects; and whether, with a view to the property of innocent people being restored to them, he will arrange for an early adjustment of the claims of British subjects against the German Government?

I have been asked to reply. On the recommendation of Lord Justice Younger's Committee, whose Report has just been laid before the House, steps are being taken to set aside the property or its proceeds belonging to certain classes of German subjects, including those referred to in the question, in case it may prove possible to return it when British claims have been satisfied. In reply to the second part of the question, every effort is constantly being made to expedite the settlement of the claims of British subjects.

Am I to understand that what the hon. Gentleman has just said applies to the British-born wives of other ex-enemy subjects as well as Germans?

It applies to the conditions contained in the Report of the Committee to which I will refer my hon. and gallant Friend for figures.

Does it apply to the British-born wives of Austrians, Hungarians and Rumanians?

France (Correspondence And Interviews)

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will lay papers showing the correspondence and minutes of interviews with French statesmen relative to the four questions of cancellation or funding of debt, the Turkish Question, Tangier, and reparation and sanction?

I am unable to lay papers regarding the cancellation or funding of debt, and until the situation has developed no decision can be taken regarding the publication of correspondence on the Turkish Question. The desirability of laying papers in regard to reparation and sanctions is under consideration. In regard to Tangier, it is hoped that a conference will take place here in the latter part of next month, arid pending this discussion it would be premature to consider laying papers.

Could we get any papers laid on the question on the cancellation or the funding of the debts before the House rises—may we have these papers shortly?

I could not say whether it is possible to lay papers before the end of the Session. At the present time I am not in a position to lay any.

Are we to understand that when the conference takes place in London on Tangier it is to be between the British and French Governments or between the British, French and Spanish Governments?

Has the British Government suggested to the French Government that it is undesirable to proceed with the building of the fort at Tangier, in accordance with their order, until after the conference has been held arid a decision arrived at?

Wages And Hours Of Labour

51.

asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to pass into law this Session of Parliament a Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Bill?

In view of the fact that this has been promised by the Government ever since they came into office in 1919, is this pledge not to be honoured before we come to a General Election?

Honours List

53.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will appoint a Joint Committee of both Houses to review the present Departmental procedure in submitting names for the Honours List?

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware of the growing dissatisfaction in this House and outside in regard to the way in which these Honours Lists are made up?

I have, been a long time in this House and at recurrent intervals I have heard dissatisfaction expressed, and have known allegations to be made, which, for the most part, I believe have been entirely unfounded. I do not know that this Government should hope to escape the fate which has befallen most of its predecessors.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think, in that case, that the time has not really arrived for a full inquiry into these complaints which have constantly been expressed, with more or less foundation?

Personally I do not think that an inquiry by a Select Committee, or a Joint Committee of the two Houses, into the exercise of the prerogative is desirable.

Would it not he possible to indicate when announcing the honours the services for which they have been given?

Will the right hon. Gentleman give facilities for a discussion into the allegations made? There is great feeling in this matter. Would it not be much better that it should be ventilated rather than suppressed?

I should like to know exactly what my hon. and gallant Friend means by "ventilated"? It has been ventilated pretty freely—at any rate, charges have been made pretty freely. I am not prepared, in present circumstances, to offer special facilities, and I am somewhat doubtful whether there is a general wish for them.

What steps are taken to investigate the private characters of those persons whom everybody knows ought not to be submitted?

Well, I am rather inclined to think that what everybody knows is apt to be a very false guide.

How does it happen that nearly always it is only rich men who are made peers?

If my hon. and gallant Friend will look at the lists of peers for the last ten years, I do not think he will find that that is borne out?

Perhaps the Noble Lord will allow the hon. and gallant Gentleman to put his own question in his own way. I think my hon. and gallant Friend will find that these allegations are not sustained.

Is it not the fact that there has always been supposed to be a very strong connection between the Honours List and the party funds, and will the right hon. Gentleman allow the House to have a discussion on the matter?

I am not prepared to provide special facilities for this or many other questions for which I am asked to provide special facilities, to the abandonment of Government business for the day, in order to enable some section of the House to raise a question in which they are interested—

If the action of the Prime Minister be challenged, the House can ask for the salary of my right hon. Friend to be put down, and can challenge his actions—

It is in order to challenge the action of the Prime Minister upon the salary of the Prime Minister—the Noble Lord no doubt knows better than I do—but I should have thought it would have been in order to challenge the action of the Prime Minister, or the advice he tenders to the Crown, upon his salary. It is not possible for me—

This is a case where the prerogative comes in. It has been the rule that it is not possible, on the Prime Minister's salary, to raise questions about advice given to the Sovereign on these matters.

If that be so, Sir, then I think it would be a very grave matter for me to make a breach of the rule a special opportunity for such a discussion. Apart from that, it is quite impossible for me to give all these special opportunities. Hardly a day passes when which I am asked by some section of the House to allot a day, at the expense of the Government business for which we have been called together.

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether as a matter of order, the only way of raising this question is not by direct Motion in the House?

I think that would be the case, though I am not quite clear as to the form the Noble Lord suggests. I am sure it is the duty of the Chair to uphold the rule with regard to the prerogative.

Divorce Cases (Assizes)

58.

asked the Attorney-General whether arrangements have been made for the hearing of divorce cases at assizes; and at what date such arrangements will become operative?

The Supreme Court Rule Committee has approved rules by which such divorce cases as are prescribed under the Act will be triable at Assizes. It is hoped that the rules will come into operation before the end of July so that cases may be set down for the Autumn Assizes.

Army Railway And Road Construction

59.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the principle adopted in Palestine in valuing the railway work done by the British Army and charging that value as a debt against the present Government has been, or will be, adopted in regard to the railway or road construction and repair work done by the Army in Iraq, Kenya, Tanganyika, or Persia?

In the case of Iraq the answer is in the affirmative. In the case of Kenya, it has been decided that capital expenditure shall be borne on the Common Charges Account of Military Expenditure, the apportionment of which is under consideration. In the case of Tanganyika, the answer is in the affirmative, subject to the settlement of certain matters of detail which are being considered by the Colonial Office and the War Office. The situation as regards railway work in Persia is not a matter in which the Secretary of State for the Colonies is concerned.

Opium Traffic, British North Borneo

61.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the League of Nations has made any inquiry of His Majesty's Government as to the traffic in opium conducted by the British North Borneo Company for consumption by the labourers on the plantations; and whether His Majesty's Government proposes drawing the attention of the company to the undesirability of any administration under the British Crown profiting by this traffic?

No, Sir, no inquiries have been received from the League of Nations relating specifically to North Borneo; but at my request the British North Borneo Company has from time to time furnished for the League of Nations information relating to that territory similar to that supplied regarding the Colonies generally. With regard to the second part of the question, I would remind the hon. Member that apart from the limitations imposed by the Charter, the administration of North Borneo is a matter for the company, and I would add that so long as the complete suppression of opium smoking in the Far East cannot be attained, it is, in ray opinion, essential that the traffic should be under strict Government control and that any profits should accrue to the administration rather than to private persons.

Is it not extremely undesirable that this company should engage in this traffic?

However undesirable that may be, it must be regarded as less undesirable than that this traffic should pass into private hands.

Palestine (Concessions)

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies who is responsible for the granting of Palestine concessions?

Responsibility rests with the High Commissioner, who exercises it subject to instructions from the Secretary of State.

River Wye (Pollution)

65.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that, as a consequence of the discharge of a tar-like effluent from the gasworks situate above Holme Bridge, Bakewell, Derbyshire, a large number of fish in the River Wye have been killed; and will he use his powers to prevent any recurrence of such discharge of poisonous effluent from this or any other source along the banks of the Wye?

I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend is aware of the occurrence referred to, and understands that legal proceedings are pending. He has no powers to prevent the pollution of rivers, but it is hoped that by means of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Bill, now under consideration in another place, more adequate powers may be conferred upon Boards of Conservators for preventing the pollution of rivers in their districts.

Fat Cattle And Dead Meat (Price)

66 and 67.

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) whether he will state the price of fat beasts per cwt., and the price of home-killed beef for each month during the year 1921;

(2) whether he will give particulars showing the number of cattle of one year

MONTHLY AVERAGE PRICES OF FAT CATTLE AND DEAD MEAT IN ENGLAND AND WALES DURING THE YEAR 1921.
(Compiled from Reports furnished by the Market Reporters of the Ministry of Agriculture.)
Quality.Jan.Feb.March.April.May.June.
s.d.s.d.s.d.s.d.s.d.s.d.
Fat Cattle, Live, per cwt.11068105111044104111016948
29669659479449410852
English Beef (Wholesale) per cwt.1168616801656167615601486
2156015761550157014461366

Quality.July.Aug.Sept.Oct.NovDec.
s.d.s.d.sd.s.d.s.d.s.d.
Fat Cattle, Live, per cwt.18418457611676628625
2749742668581540527
English Beef (Wholesale) per cwt.1129012861196950880906
2117011761080846796810

Horse Shoeing

69.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that before the War farmers paid between 2s. 4d. and 3s. 6d. for shoeing all round for horses, whereas now they are charged from 9s. to 12s. 6d. for four shoes, although iron was never so cheap; and, seeing that this bears hardly on small carters, carriers, and other small traders, will he have an inquiry made into the matter?

old and under for the years 1919, 1920, and 1921.

As the answers to these questions contain a number of figures, I will, with the permission of my hon. and gallant Friend, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The answers are as follow:

The classification in the returns collected annually in June is "Cattle, under one year (including calves)." The numbers of such animals returned in the three years 1919-21 in Great Britain and the United Kingdom respectively were as follow:—

Great Britain.Great Britain.
No.No.
19101,444,8082,667,163
19201,123,2982,319,388
19211,341,4832,580,144

My right hon. Friend (Sir A. Boscawen) is aware that the charges of farriers have increased considerably since 1914, but as the Government have abandoned the policy of fixing prices, he does not think that any useful purpose would be served by an inquiry into the matter. He would point out that this question was fully investigated at the end of 1919 by a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Trusts.

Mining Industries (Accidents)

71.

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents for the period January, February, and March, 1922, and the period January, February, and March, 1913, occurring in mining industries other than coal mining or metalliferous mines, i.e., open quarrying; and whether the statistics of fatal and non-fatal accidents in 1922 in mines other than coal mines or metalliferous mines; i.e., open quarrying, show an increase when compared with the figures for the year 1913, having regard to the numbers of persons employed and the hours worked?

In the first three months of the present year deaths from accidents at quarries more than 20 feet deep numbered 10 and the number of persons injured (excluding minor injuries) was 132. In the first three months of 1913 the figures were 16 deaths and 326 persons injured. There is no record of the hours worked at these quarries in either year or of the number of persons employed in 1922. But from such data as are available the relative number of fatal and non-fatal accidents, particularly of the latter, appears to have been considerably less in 1922 than in 1913.

Coal Industry

Miners' Welfare Fund

72.

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the coal industry in the Lancashire and Cheshire district have asked the Board of Trade or the Committee set up under Clause 20 of The Mining Industry Act, 1920, for an allocation in aid of wages from the miners' welfare fund in order to relieve the distress which prevails in that district; whether this request has been refused and, if so, for what. reasons; whether he is aware that the Law Officers of the Crown have advised that the Committee would be acting within their powers by making such a grant; and whether he will state the total sum paid into the welfare fund by the Lancashire and Cheshire district up to date and how much of this sum has been spent?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I understand that the application was refused by the Committee on the grounds that it was not the intention of Parliament, in instituting this fund, that it should be used for the purpose of augmenting wages, that the result of using it for this purpose would be to exhause the entire sum available in a, comparatively short time, without having made any lasting contribution to the social well-being of the miners as a whole. In refusing this application, the Miners' Welfare Committee acted upon their own responsibility and entirely within their rights as the independent body in whom Parliament vested the duty of allocating the fund. I am aware that the Law Officers of the Crown have advised that allocation for such a purpose would be admissible, so far as the terms of the Act are concerned. The total sum paid into the Miners' Welfare Fund from the Lancashire and Cheshire district is £87,376 11s. 4d., and the sum which, under the Act, must be allocated in the district amounts, with interest, to £70,627 10s. 10d. No part of this sum has at present been allocated, owing to the fact that no application, other than the application referred to in this question, has been put forward by the District Welfare Committee.

Is not the £70,000 of which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken still in this fund; and as it has been produced by the Lancashire and Cheshire miners, why cannot it be used for keeping these men from starving, or is the only alternative of the Mines Department starvation for the men who have produced this £70,000?

No, Sir. The position is that we do not think the hon. Member has rightly interpreted the intention of Parliament in passing the Act in assuming that this money was raised to be spent for that particular purpose.

Shot Firing (Accidents)

81.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the great number of accidents and the loss of life throughout the British coalfields caused by shots that have missed fire or blown out; and whether His Majesty's Government are prepared to make com- pulsory the use of some of the safety appliances now on the market with a view to minimising this danger?

I have been asked to reply. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on the 15th June to a question asked by the hon. Member for Spennymoor.

Pensions (Tuberculosis And Diabetes Cases)

73.

asked the Minister of Pensions why longer notice has not been given that the Ministry of Pensions will.cease to be responsible, except in certain cases of pulmonary tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus, for the cost of special diet, where it has been medically certified to be necessary as part of the treatment provided by the Ministry for certain disabled men?

Between four and five weeks' notice was actually given. My right hon. Friend considers this period ample, and is not prepared to extend it.

Army Officers' Accommodation, Maresfield

74.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the inadequate accommodation for officers at the signal training centre, Maresfield; whether he is aware that two officers are in many cases allotted quarters originally intended for one officer; and what steps he is taking to remedy this defect, in order to keep up the supply of suitable officers for this important corps?

I am aware of the shortage of accommodation at Maresfield, which is due to the fact that expenditure there is being advisedly and necessarily postponed pending decision whether the Signal Service Training Centre shall be permanently accommodated there.

Territorial Army (Medical Services)

75.

asked the Secretary of State for War what compensation is proposed for those D.A.D.'s M.S. of the Territorial Army whose appointments, originally made for a period of four years, have been prematurely terminated at the expiration of two years or less?

Those Deputy Assistant Directors of Medical Services of the Territorial Army whose appointments, originally made for a period of four years, have been prematurely terminated from 1st March last, will be given as compensation for the professional loss involved in the premature termination of their Army contracts, a sum representing one-third of what they would have received in pay and allowances if they had been allowed to complete the term of their appointments.

Clubs (Liquor Traffic)

76.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the Inland Revenue Department are supplying, or have at any time supplied, information to local justices or to the Magistrates' Association as to the sales of intoxicating liquors in clubs; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that the clubs supply these particulars to the Inland Revenue for taxation purposes only, he will state the authority for disseminating information of this character?

I am having inquiry made in the matter and will communicate further with the hon. Member in due course.

Education

Church Of England School, Hunwick

77.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to the result of the communications of the Board with the local authority and school managers with regard to the Church of England school at Hunwick, in the County of Durham?

My right hon. Friend presumes the hon. Member refers to the case of the Hunwick school. He is awaiting the reply of the local education authority to communications which the Board addressed to them on 24th January and 15th March.

State-Assisted Scholarships

80.

asked the President of the Board of Education if an Order has been issued, without giving previous notice, withdrawing all grants for State-assisted scholarships; is he aware that many boys have been studying during the past two years for the examination that should have been held this month, and that the sudden withdrawing of the grants has inflicted a real hardship to these boys and their parents; and will he make arrangements so that the boys who had prepared shall sit for examination this year?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answers which my right hon. Friend gave on the 13th March and the 6th April to the hon. Members for West Fulham and Canterbury.

Chief Medical Officer (Salary)

87.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what grounds the salary of Sir George Newman, chief medical officer to the Ministry of Education, has recently been advanced to £2,500 per annum; what are the duties of Sir George Newman; if the appointment is a whole-time appointment; and by whom is the Department in which he is engaged controlled?

Under an arrangement made when the Ministry of Health was founded, and very much to the advantage of the public service, Sir George Newman performs the duties pertaining to the posts of chief medical officer of the Ministry of Health and chief medical officer of the Board of Education.

The salaries before the posts were combined were

£
Principal medical officer, Local Government Board1,500
Principal medical officer, Board of Education1,800
Total£3,300

It will be seen therefore that the cost to the Exchequer has been substantially reduced.

The appointment is whole-time. The medical departments of the Ministry of Health and Board of Education are controlled by the Permanent Secretaries of those Departments under the respective Ministers. Sir George Newman has the status of a secretary in the Ministry of Health and his salary was raised from £2,100 to £2,500 per annum as part of arrangements made for the whole service by the Treasury arising out of the Report of the Committee presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley.

Is not this salary £500 in excess of the salary of the President of the Board of Education? What relationship does it bear to other salaries in the Department?

As this official is subordinate to me, and not to the President of the Board of Education, the comparison should be with my salary.

How does the right hon. Gentleman justify this increase of £500, in view of the statements made in the House that the country cannot afford the present cost of education?

Has the right hon. Gentleman observed that it is millionaires in this House who ask these questions about the salaries of men who have done great service for the country?

Local Taxation (Scotland)

83.

asked the Secretary for Scotland what action he proposes to take to give effect to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on Local Taxation in Scotland?

My right hon. Friend is at present considering the Report of this Committee. He is not yet in a position to make any announcement as to the action he may take.

Will the right hon. Gentleman be able to make a statement on this question before the House rises, in view of the different education rates in different parishes of the same county?

There will be no undue delay, considering the complexity of the subject.

Summer Time

84.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what foreign countries and British Dominions summer time has now been adopted as a permanent institution; and what form the Government inquiry into the working of the system in this country will take?

I am unable to say definitely what countries have adopted summer time as a permanent institution. The last paragraph of the question appears to be due to some misapprehension. On the Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill my right hon. Friend said an effort would be made to come to some arrangement between the urban interests and the agricultural interests, but such an inquiry as is indicated in the question was not contemplated.

Egypt

11.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the election of a Parliament in Egypt is to take place; whether the Act of Indemnity will await the election; and whether martial law has meanwhile been suspended in regard to the free exercise of the political rights of Egyptians?

As regards the first part of the question, I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member for Barnard Castle on this subject on 22nd May. In reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle East on 8th May, the constitutional position with regard to the passing of an Act of Indemnity was defined at some length. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Barnard Castle on 27th March.

12.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the proclamation of martial law in Egypt of the. 2nd November, 1914, remains valid now that that country has become by the British declaration of 15th March, 1922, an independent sovereign State?

Will the Under-Secretary inform the House as to the legality of the action of the British Commander-in-Chief, in view of the fact that Egypt is supposed to have been declared a sovereign State?

I shall be happy to do that if the hon. Gentleman will put down a question.

Prescot Board Of Guardians (Overdraft)

32.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the serious financial position of the Prescot Board of Guardians, Lancashire, he will favourably consider extending the period of two years' sanction for repayment of loan or overdraft of £65,000 with interest to at least five years under Section 3 of the Local Authorities Financial Provisions Act, 1921?

Further inquiries are being made into the present financial position of the Prescot Union, and I will consider the question of extending the loan period when these inquiries have been completed.

Imperial And Local Finance

38.

asked the Minister of Health whether he can now state a date on which legislation will be introduced to relieve the burden of the ratepayers by adjusting the relations between the Imperial and local exchequers?

I am not at present in a position to make any statement as to the prospect of legislation on this subject.

Russia And Japan

50.

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that an official Russian Government organ published a statement on 24th May to the effect that the remnants of Semenoff's army are arriving in Vladivostok with the aid of the Japanese; whether, in view of the uneasiness which this development will cause to the Russian Government, His Majesty's Government will make repre- sentations to Japan to withdraw her troops from Siberia; and whether His Majesty's Government regards the action of the Japanese Government as a violation of the pledge given both at the Washington and Genoa Conferences?

His Majesty's Government have received no confirmation of the accuracy of the statement referred to by my right hon. Friend. The second and third parts of the question, therefore, do not arise.

East Africa (British Trade Commisstoner

62.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the suggestion put forward by the Nairobi chamber of commerce that, the four British territories in East Africa should be asked to share the cost of the British Trade Commissioner for East Africa will be adopted; and, if not, what steps are being taken both to safeguard our markets in these regions and to assist the local producers?

Before my attention was drawn to the Report of the suggestion of the Nairobi Chamber of Commerce, I had invited the Governments concerned to consider the question of contributing towards the cost of maintaining the British Trade Commissioner's office up to 31st March, 1923. I have not yet received replies from all of the Governments. I may observe that, if an arrangement is made on these lines, it can only be temporary. I do not think that as a permanent arrangement it would be desirable that the Trade Commissioner should be subject to local ties and control.

Foot-And-Mouth Disease

68.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any case of foot-and-mouth disease has occurred amongst the fat cattle imported from Ireland during the last three months; and whether any outbreaks of the disease during that period can be attributed to Irish stores being admitted into this country?

The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. With regard to the second part, there is no evidence to show that the disease was introduced into Great Britain by Irish store cattle.

Smithfield Market (Meat Sales)

70.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he, is aware that it was admitted in evidence before the Royal Commission by representatives of the National Federation of Meat Traders that beef killed in Holland or Denmark is sold in Smithfield as home killed; and, if so, are any steps being taken to put a stop to this?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative in answer to the second part, it is an offence under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, to apply to any merchandise a trade description which is false within the meaning of that Act, and offenders can be prosecuted by any persons interested. If sufficient evidence of a specific offence were brought under the notice of the Ministry of Agriculture, it would institute proceedings under the Merchandise Marks (Prosecutions) Act, 1894.

Lunacy (Visiting Committees)

I beg to move,

"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable local authorities to co-opt members of visiting committees, and to provide for the appointment of women as members of visiting committees."
I apologise to the House for detaining it a short time, but my object in asking leave to introduce this Bill is so simple that I hope when the House has heard what little the Bill proposes it will at once assist in getting it placed on the Statute Book. The object of the Bill is to enable County Councils and other local authorities to co-opt a certain number of persons from outside their bodies to serve on Asylum Visiting Committees. As the law stands at present, public bodies such as county councils can co-opt certain outside persons to serve on education and other committees, and guardians can co-opt a certain number of persons to serve on their boards. But this does not apply to lunatic asylums in the counties of the country. There are no fewer than 50 per cent. of the county councils which have no women members, and in less than 50 per cent. no woman has been appointed on the Asylum Visiting Committees. When we consider that the majority of the unfortunate inmates of these asylums are women, it certainly seems to me—and I think it will so appeal to the House—it is to be regretted that not a single woman should be serving on the committees in so many cases. It is quite true there is a provision in the Act of 1913 which enables local authorities to appoint women, but this is conditional on them appointing their visiting committees to asylums as committees to deal with the care of the mentally defective. Anyone who has had experience, as I have, of the work of local authorities knows that councils very often rather object to reconstructing the whole of their committee for the purpose, perhaps, of enabling some women to be appointed. That is my only object in bringing forward this Bill.

May I, in conclusion, point out one thing which I think will weigh with the House? A great number of these unfortunate women have to be taken to these asylums, far away from their homes. Their relatives, very often, are not rich people, and cannot visit them very often. It is hard enough, in these circumstances, to place them in asylums that are far away, but I venture to think that many a man, who has to put his wife or his daughter in one of these asylums, would feel a considerable amount of relief in his mind if be thought that, at any rate, there were a few ladies on that visiting committee, instead of its being a committee consisting only of men.

Question, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable local authorities to co-opt members of visiting committees, and to provide for the appointment of women as members of visiting committees," put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir Robert Newman, Mrs. Wintringham, Lieut.-Colonel Hurst, and Lieut.-Colonel Fremantle.

Lunacy (Visiting Committees) Bill

"to enable local authorities to co-opt members of visiting committees, and to provide for the appointment of women as members of visiting committees," presented accordingly, and read the First time; to be read a Second time upon Tuesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 157.]

Consolidation Bills (Fraud And Falsification Bill Lords)

Report and Special Report from the Joint Committee, in respect of the Fraud and Falsification Bill [ Lords] (pending in the Lords), brought up, and read, with Minutes of Evidence.

Report and Special Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Message From The Lords

That they have agreed to,—

Audit (Local Authorities, Etc.) Bill, without Amendment.

That they have passed a Bill, intituled, "An Act to confirm a Provisional Order of the Minister of Health relating to the counties of Carnarvon and Denbigh." [Ministry of Health Provisional Order (No. 4) Bill [ Lords].

Ministry Of Health Provisional Order (No 4) Bill Lords

Read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 156.]

Bills Reported

Halifax Corporation Bill [ Lords],

Stretford and District Gas Board Bill,

Reported, with Amendments; Reports to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

Selection (Standing Committees)

Standing Committee C

Sir SAMUEL ROBERTS reported from the Committee of Selection; That they had added the following Ten Members to Standing Committee C (in respect of the Naval Discipline Bill [ Lords] and the

Wireless Telegraphy and Signalling Bill): Rear-Admiral Adair, Mr. Amery, Captain Viscount Curzon, Major Farquharson, Mr. John Guest, Mr. Kellaway, Dr. Murray, Sir Douglas Newton, Sir Henry Norman, and Mr. James Wilson.

Sir SAMUEL ROBERTS further reported from the Committee; That they had discharged the following Members from Standing Committee C (during the consideration of the Allotments Bill [ Lords]): Mr. Foot, Mr. Hayward, and Mr. Holmes; and had appointed in substitution: Mr. Acland, Mr. Newbould, and Mr. Trevelyan Thomson.

Reports to lie upon the Table.

Orders Of The Day

Finance Bill

Considered in Committee. [Third Day.]

[Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]

May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Leader of the House if he will give the committee now, before we start discussing the Bill, some idea as to how far he proposes to proceed with the Committee stage to-day?

After the two late sittings that we have had, I should be very reluctant to ask the House to sit late again, and, if we can make reasonable progress, I think we must try and rise as near to Eleven o'clock as possible to-night. I am not making any pledge, but I do not want to fix a particular point to which we should go, because, if we make reasonable progress, I think the House is entitled to expect to rise early on one night.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last night we wanted to continue the Debate, but, unfortunately, some of the Government supporters who had Amendments down were not present, and, therefore, Progress was reported, in order that those Amendments might be discussed fully today? Is he, further, aware that we desire to get a discussion and a Vote on certain new Clauses that we have put on the Paper? It was perfectly well understood, when we came to our arrangement as to how far we should go last night and to-day, that those Clauses would be reached, but if we rise at Eleven we shall not reach them, unless the Government closure their friends instead of closuring us, as they were doing last night. Can the right hon. Gentleman make any arrangement—

I simply wanted to ask a question. Can the right hon. Gentleman make any arrangement whereby, if we rise at Eleven without reaching the Amendments to which we attach great importance, we shall be able to have our next day, or two days, on the Finance Bill, not next week, but the week after, so that they may be discussed?

No, Sir. I certainly do not want to initiate a discussion, but it is a little difficult to know how far I can answer the hon. and gallant Member's question.

I think it would be better to move to report Progress.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Mr. Hogge.]

The hon. and gallant Member's question—and in putting it he made a good many statements which, if he will permit me to say so, were of doubtful accuracy—was whether I would arrange that the fourth day, granted at his request for the Committee stage of the Bill, should be, not next week, but the week after. That is a request with which I am sorry to say I cannot concur. It is very desirable, when we deal with a Bill of this kind, that we should, as far as the Rules of the House and the necessities of Supply permit, deal with it consecutively, at any rate as regards a particular stage. As at present advised, I propose to take the fourth day, which, in response to the hon. and gallant. Member's request, we agreed to give for the consideration of the Committee stage of this Measure, on Monday. As regards what happened last night and the night before, I was in the precincts of the House on both occasions, and was in the House itself last night. The night before last an appeal was made, as I understand, publicly, across the Table, for an extra day, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that. he would give a fourth day, on the understanding that the Committee stage would be finished in those four days—he will correct me if I am wrong—without sitting beyond a reasonable hour. We sat last night till past three o'clock before the Motion to report Progress was made. I make no sort of complaint or suggestion that there was any kind of breach of faith.