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Clause 12—(Officers)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 1 April 1943

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I beg to move, in page 10, line 2, to leave out paragraph (a).

The Clause is rather an important one and it seems to create rather dangerous precedents. I should like to hear the views of the Solicitor-General on the matter. The paragraph is as follows:
"An officer acting for the purposes of this Act may—
  • (a) require any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be, or to have been, a worker to whom this Act applies, or his employer, or the agent of his employer, to give such information as it is in his power to give with respect to the worker's remuneration (including holiday remuneration), his holidays and the other conditions of his employment, and to sign a written statement setting out that information."
  • This officer is entrusted with the job of investigating and interrogating people—not because they have committed any offence. I think this is a most dangerous innovation, and I cannot see an agent or an employer being very pleased at being asked to give information upon which someone may suffer certain penalties. It seems rather unfair to bring him in, in the circumstances. I should be very glad to hear from the Minister or the Solicitor-General whether this has ever been done in any Act before. Is it right to ask an agent or employer to make a statement in writing on which proceedings might follow? If it is being done for the first time I shall be glad to hear the reasons for the innovation.

    This is an extraordinary innovation in the legislation of this House, and my hon. Friend has made out a definite case in his submission to the Minister. Would the Minister tell us precisely from where the officer is to receive his information? How does it come about that an officer can be appointed to go into a business, make these inquiries and get a written statement? I wonder what the Solicitor-General thinks about it. This is a new development in this country that officials can be appointed to make inquiries of this character and we ought to have some definite explanation about it in the House of Commons.

    I am advised that similar powers are required of workers, employers and agents under the trade boards legislation and in the Road Haulage Act, which this House passed only recently. The power is clearly essential for the enforcement of this Measure.

    The hon. Gentleman has just said that under the Road Haulage Act an officer is entitled to get a written statement.

    So I am advised. Apart from that, I am arguing that it is clearly essential, if this Measure is to mean anything, that there shall be powers to enforce it, and if it is to be enforced, officers must have these powers. Without them, enforcement will be almost impossible. Even about wages, additional information is often required, but on such subjects as board and lodgings, holidays and the like it will be essential for our officers to get information which can be vouched for. My hon. Friend may have noticed that we have put down an Amendment that no person need answer any question tending to incriminate himself. I am afraid I must insist that we must have these powers if we are to enforce the Bill.

    How does the inquiry agent obtain his information in the first place before he begins to exercise these powers? Are we to have a system of espionage in operation all over the country?

    I think this wants a little more consideration. I heard groans from behind when several of us got up. Part of our purpose is to get some of those who groaned to start to read the Bill, which might improve their minds. The Clause says:

    "An officer acting for the purposes of this Act may—
  • (a) Require any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be, or to have been, a worker to whom this Act applies…."
  • Accordingly an officer can go into any catering establishment, can go to any employee there, and because in the mind of the officer, which is not a question that can be examined subsequently by the court, thinks that Bill Smith has some information—Bill Smith being an employee in this cafe, restaurant or hotel—he demands the information. Bill Smith refuses to give the information; the real reason may be that he has not got it. He is deemed to have obstructed the officer because, if Members will look at Subsection (6) they will see it says:
    "Any person who obstructs any officer acting for the purposes of this Act in the exercise of any power conferred by this section, or refuses to comply with any requirement of such an officer made in the exercise of any such power, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds."
    Now here is conferred a right on an officer to go and interrogate any person whom he thinks he will interrogate who has been, or at the moment of the interrogation is, employed by a catering establishment and demand from him all sort of information which he may or may not possess. If that person says, "I do not know anything about it," the officer may not believe him. He is then deemed to be obstructing the officer and can be brought before the local "beak" and fined up to £20. That is going rather far. It is not merely an action against the employer; it is an action taken against every employee in the catering industry.

    For the purposes of greater accuracy, I have procured a copy of the Road Haulage Act, 1938. If the hon. Member will look at Section 11, paragraph (b), he will find the exact circumstances laid down.

    The Road Haulage Act provision has been, so far as I can recollect, brought almost word for word into this Bill. A far more apposite Act was the Factory Act, 1901. That Act contained a proviso, which the Minister has only put into this Bill now because of representations, that a person under interrogation by one of the officers was not bound to say anything which might incriminate himself. If those who have sought to make various Amendments to this Bill have done nothing else, they have done one good thing in getting that most essential proviso put into this Bill. I am glad the Minister has seen fit to meet us in that matter. I understand there is an Amendment down later on this question.

    I confess I am troubled about this Clause, particularly this Sub-section which is before the Committee at the moment. The main difficulty really goes deeper. It is this: A Commission is appointed for the purpose of investigating conditions in the catering trade and making recommendations, appointing wages board, and so on. That Commission—it is rather a curious omission from the Bill—is given no power to convene any witnesses or to get any discovery of documents or to get any information as a Commission might normally do, and the method by which apparently the Ministry has here seen fit to adopt is a perpetration of the unpopular war-time conception of the snooper. If I may say so, there is a sort of super-snooper appointed in this case, because almost every power under the sun is given to him, and we come across this extraordinarily wide Clause. I do not want to go beyond the scope of the Clause. It seems to me that the whole idea is objectionable. I can see why the Minister wants to give wide powers, and that the Commission is compelled to take these reports from these people and that they do not seem to have the power to do anything else.

    Coming to the Clause itself, it provides that off his own bat some subordinate official appointed by the Minister can compel whoever he makes up his mind to interrogate, at any hour of the day, to sign statements; and, even with the proviso which is to be inserted, there remains the possibility that these people will be trapped into making statements which will incriminate them. It has to be remembered, too, that the very person who is taking these statements will be the prosecutor. That is another interesting novelty. This House has given this Measure a Second Reading, and has approved of it in principle. It is up to us now to see if we can make it a workable Bill. The right hon. Gentleman should reconsider this whole Clause, and see if he cannot find a better way of getting information.

    Some people think that this provision is something novel. They forget that it applies under the Shops Act, under which an inspector can enter a shop and demand to know whether the assistants are getting a proper meal hour, what is the closing time at night, and whether there are seats for the assistants.

    On a point of Order. The speech of the hon. Member relates to paragraph (c) and not to paragraph (a).

    Trade board inspectors have the right to inspect books, and to see that the proper wages are paid. I happened to be a member of a Tailoring trade board, and we had 365 logs, one for every day of the year. It is necessary for the inspector to find out how these logs are applied. There are apprentices, and the inspector has to look into their conditions. I see no reason for any objection to the inspector getting information which is necessary if he is to see that the Act is complied with.

    Reference has been made to the Road Haulage Act. Surely the officers employed under that Act are not given the powers which are given in Sub-section (4) of this Clause. I understand that the new proviso will simply mean that a person may refuse to give information which will incriminate himself. If he refuses to say anything to an inspector it will suggest that something is wrong, and it will tend to incriminate him. Everything that is necessary, I suggest, can be done under paragraphs (b) and (c), and (a) should be taken out.

    The fact that Parliament has decided previously to insert a certain form of words in an Act of Parliament, even if it is of a similar type to this Bill, does not necessarily mean that that form of words is the right one for all time. Hon. Members who have argued that are reactionary. Parliament in discussing a new Measure should, it is true, have due regard to precedent, but if the precedent has been found to be not satisfactory, or even dangerous, Parliament should reconsider the decisions of previous Parliaments. I do not like paragraph (a) at all. It means that anyone that the Minister can find in his Department, or whom he may beg, borrow or steal from another Department—for that is what the preamble to this Clause means—can come in and require any person he believes to be a worker or employer to give him all sorts of information verbally and indeed in writing. Is not all that kind of information that an inspector may require covered by paragraph (b)? Surely the operative evidence should be the wages sheet or the record of holidays. You should have certain specific things upon which the inspectors could rely for their information. It is not right to send along any inspector; it is offering him far too great powers, especially if he happens to be the wrong kind of man to have a roving commission to try and find out something which has gone wrong. It is putting power into the hands of an inspector which he ought not to be given. The right hon. Gentleman has already overloaded him, and I am not sure that the powers already conferred by Acts of Parliament are not from time to time abused. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous for Parliament to pass a provision of this kind although a precedent has been created without further and very careful consideration.

    While the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Leslie) was talking, I raised a point of Order, because it seemed that his remarks were addressed to paragraph (c), which deals with entering the premises where the business is carried on in order to find out information. We are discussing paragraph (a), which contains nothing at all about entering. Under the provisions of that paragraph evidence can be demanded from a man in the street or a private house or anywhere where the officer searches for him, and if a man is asked for information in the street and in any way obstructs, he is liable to a penalty. As the hon. Member seemed to be under a slight misapprehension, I thought that the point ought to be made clear.

    Amendment negatived.

    Amendments made:

    In page 10, line 3, leave out "this Act," and insert "a wages regulation order."

    In line 11, leave out "this Act," and insert "a wages regulation order."

    In line 17, leave out "this Act," and insert "a wages regulation order."—[ Mr. Bevin.]

    I beg to move, in page 10, line 21, at the end, to insert:

    "Provided that no person shall be required under paragraph (a) of this Sub-section to answer any question or to give any evidence tending to criminate himself."

    With regard to a person being bound to give evidence tending to incriminate himself, this seems to raise a difficulty for an agent who will be bound to give him evidence which might have the effect of incriminating his employer. This seems rather unfair.

    I wonder whether the Solicitor-General would deal with this point. It occurs to me that the proposed proviso is not well drafted. Paragraph (a) to which the proviso refers requires persons to give information in the form of a written statement. The proviso refers only to answering questions and giving evidence, neither of which are directly referred to in paragraph (a). I question whether the proviso secures that no written statement under paragraph (a) can be required by an officer if it tends to incriminate the individual concerned.

    Surely it is the case that the officer asks questions and then writes out the statement based on those questions. The person is not asked to prepare a written statement; he is only asked to sign it.

    At the first stage the officer asks questions, and the Amendment meets that. Taking the second stage, when questions are asked and are reduced into writing, that would still be evidence against the person himself if it were produced. I am not quite sure what my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) is apprehending here, but if he will make it clear, I will endeavour to deal with it.

    If the proviso was really to be effective, the words should be:

    "provided that no person should be required to give information which can incriminate him-self."
    That would cover the entire Sub-section by referring to the words used in it instead of using a different phrase, which may give rise to some misapprehension.

    I should have thought that this gave greater protection, but if my hon. Friend still thinks there is a doubt about it and will communicate with me, I shall be pleased to consider it again.

    Can I have a reply to my question about agents who may have privileged conversations with their principals, and who may be bound to give information even though that may incriminate their principals?

    There is a long line of authority and statutory provision for dealing with a case where someone incriminates himself. I cannot think of any provision that is given for the protection of someone against the incrimination of his own employer. If my hon. Friend can find a similar provision in similar circumstances, I shall be pleased to consider it, but I should not like to make such a startling innovation in the law without very serious consideration.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 10, line 22, to leave out Sub-section (3).

    This is another very objectionable provision and, in spite of the precedent of the Road Haulage Act and others, I think we should make a stand about it. It seems quite improper for the person who puts in this written statement to be the person to conduct the case and institute proceedings.

    I support the Amendment, because it is very important that there should not be the impression that the machinery of the Act is in force by some sort of inquisition or minor Gestapo. If the officer who has obtained the written statement is to conduct the proceedings, it seems that we are giving up one of the best institutions that operate in this country. It is very undesirable to have one person acting as prosecutor, information officer and police officer. He will be given such tremendous power that it will defeat its own object. It always happens that, if you place too much power in the hands of an officer, and people get the impression that the thing is not being conducted on the usual lines, prosecutions fail and there will be considerable prejudice against this officer and against the evidence that he offers to secure a conviction. That is a great mistake because it is essential that the Act should work effectively and that everyone connected with it should believe that the proceedings are conducted in accordance with the best traditions of British justice.

    I am a strong supporter of trade unions. Can my hon. and learned Friend say whether this procedure is supported by his own trade union?

    I support the Amendment for a different reason Anyone who has had experience of police courts knows that proceedings are often carried on most effectively by the local sergeant or inspector. In this case think what is going to happen. The officer acting for the purposes of this Bill takes a statement. He then converts himself into the prosecuting counsel and somebody objects to the admissibility of the evidence on the ground that it was improperly obtained. What will happen if the man who has taken the statement is an advocate, and how can you determine whether or not the statement has been properly taken? In spite of the Solicitor- General's ingenuity, I suggest that from a practical point of view this provision as drafted is absolutely unworkable.

    It is easier to deal with this matter in three stages—first, whether there is anything new about it; second, whether it is defensible on its merits; and third, whether I have infringed any trade union regulations in regard to it. With regard to the question whether there is any innovation, I may tell my hon. and learned Friends who are anxious about it that there is a similar provision in the Trade Boards Act, 1909, the Road Haulage Act, the Factories Act, the Agriculture Wages Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1935, and the National Health Insurance Act, 1936. I am surprised that the immense experience of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warrington (Mr. Goldie) at Manchester quarter sessions, has not brought one of these Acts before his judicial notice. Apart from the precedents, if we consider the matter on its merits I am a little surprised at the astonishment professed by my hon. Friends. They must know on a moment's reflection that anyone can bring proceedings. There is no special virtue in that. There are very few cases in which, if any person knows of a breach of the law, he cannot bring proceedings.

    When we come to the question of those acting as advocates in the proceedings, there are many precedents, as I have said, but I would like my hon. Friends to face the practical points. Those of them who are in the law must know that there are thousands of private prosecutions brought in courts of summary jurisdiction every year. In the case of a private prosecution a solicitor conducts it; he prepares the prosecution, he takes the statements, calls the witnesses and argues the case. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warrington can think of many great solicitor advocates in the North of England who have done that many times. That brings me to the point of my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Colegate), whether those who are not lawyers should appear at all. The Committee has already shown its sense of the delicacy of my position, but I must make it clear that in certain special forms of litigation and prosecution, the great experience which officers like factory inspectors get in a particular class of case makes them most valuable to the courts. I have on many occasions defended in cases in which the factory inspector has prosecuted. No one with any experience has, to my knowledge, anything to complain of about the fairness with which these cases are presented. I think that in the interests of our general desire to get on with the job and have the Bill workable, we might leave this provision as it is.

    The learned Solicitor-General has spoken of the manner in which solicitors excelled in this work, but surely solicitors work under the shadow of the Law Society, with severe pains and penalties and a strict code of conduct laid down in these matters, which would not apply to a "snooper" under this Measure.

    I know that my hon. Friend was only using the last phrase in the most Pickwickian sense and did not mean to say anything offensive in any way, but the point he raises is quite a serious one, and I have tried to answer it. I can only say that from my experience—and many hon. Members have seen this from another angle in their trade union experience—I have never found anything to complain about or heard any complaint about the way in which factory inspectors and people in the same position have done the work. I think that is the best answer.

    No member of the legal profession can view with complete equanimity any suggestion that his job is so easy that a layman can take it over, without any experience. I have had considerable experience with lay magistrates and prosecutions under the Factory Acts in which I have discovered that lack of knowledge of the rules of evidence and procedure is not by any means a thing to be easily ignored, and if we are to have a set of men let loose on the country who have no such knowledge, it will not be in the interests of justice, particularly when those men are vested with the complete powers which they are given under this Bill. Of course we have had the precedent of the Road Haulage Act, which seems to have been a very bad precedent and not one that should be followed. The Factories Act, 1901, did, in fact, give power to officers to prosecute, but that is very easily understood, first because technical questions like the fencing of machinery were matters upon which the officer was far better able to form a judgment and put his case than a non-technical man like a lawyer. Therefore, one can see why that power was given, but it is only right to point out that under the Factory Acts every officer does not have the power. If I recollect aright, it is only certain superior grades of officers. But in this Bill any officer, of whatever grade, without regard to his capabilities or lack of capabilities, is to be allowed to go into court and try his prentice hand as a lawyer.

    Will the hon. Member recognise that, in speaking as he has done, he was certainly not speaking for his constituency to which this particular Sub-section will not apply when the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. This Sub-section does not apply to Scotland.

    I have not taken part in discussions upon this Bill except in the shortest way. I am a supporter of the Government, but I desire to call attention to a very important and substantial point which has arisen. If I may say so without offence, I have seldom heard a more retrograde argument than that used by the many hon. and learned Gentlemen on the other side who have supported this Amendment. I have taken part on more than one occasion in discussions on the Measures cited by the Solicitor-General and I say that it was accepted as a matter of course by Parliament that in certain circumstances—and I am going to use the words, however much opposition there may be—we should not be burdened with advice either from barristers or solicitors, and that certain persons should be allowed to take action in the courts, whether they are officials or otherwise. We are now told by this galaxy of legal talent opposite that this is an extremely wrong principle. I rise only to say, speaking for myself and I think some others in this House, that we shall resist any attempt which is made, on this or future Bills, to prevent what has been a custom for many years, as the Solicitor-General said, namely, that persons who are not solicitors or barristers should be allowed to appeal. I had never heard such tenuous arguments put forward. It is not the case that solicitors or barristers always prosecute in magistrates' courts. Constantly, as we all know, cases are brought by police officers, and the local superintendent of police puts the case. If we are to be told by these legal gentlemen that justice is not done unless one of their profession is in court, I say that that is a retrograde point of view, which has been rejected in Acts of Parliament after Acts of Parliament for the last 20 years.

    Can a police officer conduct a case before the magistrates other than through the superintendent?

    The Noble Lord has made certain observations in regard to the legal profession, but, like the Noble Lord, I have had many opportunities, on the bench and elsewhere, of seeing experts dealing with these matters with reasonable efficiency and I have yet to hear the suggestion that members of the legal profession, as the Noble Lord hinted——

    The only advantage of the Amendment, if there is any advantage in it at all, is that the prosecution will be rather better done. All over the country in countless courts people do these jobs quite harmlessly.

    I belong to the same profession as the hon. Member who interrupts. I am an engineer. The Noble Lord got the matter a little muddled. He spoke of his experience as a magistrate in Horsham or Worthing or wherever he sits in justice. What happens when a policeman decides to report him for a traffic offence is not that the same policeman acts as prosecutor and then goes into the box and gives evidence. The policeman gets the information and submits it to a superior police officer who decides whether there is to be a prosecution. The man who has collected the information then appears as a witness. That is the proper procedure—not that the person who gets the information should act as prosecutor and then go into the box and give evidence.

    I am rather surprised at the attention which is being given to the words set out here. In the large county of Durham we have a number of inspectors in connection with weights and measures. They get the information, take out a prosecution and conduct the case. They take the samples. They deal with the coal merchants. We have no trouble with this matter at all in Durham. It is exactly as set out in these words. In fact, it is part of the man's contract, it is part of his appointment when he takes on his job. He goes on the job and takes the samples; he goes to the coal salesman and deals with him. With milk it is exactly the same. Whatever comes underneath his particular appointment, he carries right to the court and carries on with the prosecution. That is not because we have not solicitors or barristers in Durham, but because we get satisfactory service rendered by these individuals. I cannot understand what we are wasting time about in this matter.

    I am grateful to the Noble Lord for including me in "the galaxy of legal talent," but no one with legal experience objects to officials conducting prosecutions. That is not the point I am putting before the Committee. I say this proposal will be absolutely unworkable for this reason. In the ordinary case which comes before the Noble Lord on the bench at Worthing, you may find objection taken to evidence. There will be no objection whatever under this Clause.

    May I ask the hon. and learned Member in what way this procedure differs from the procedure so clearly expressed by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Murray)?

    Yes, with the greatest pleasure. It is the preceding Sub-section which causes the difficulty. If there was not the Sub-section at the top of page 10, no difficulty would arise, but anyone who has had experience of defending in criminal cases knows that one acts on instructions. You may be told to make an objection that a statement has been improperly obtained. It is your duty to do so. The proceedings are then switched off, while the court determines whether or not the statement was properly taken. Evidence is called on one side and the other about whether the statement wag properly taken or hot, and the court rules according to the evidence. It is the commonest experience in a criminal court particularly in indictments. What happens here is that, perfectly properly, the officer conducts the proceedings, but unfortunately that officer will be the man who has taken the statement. In my respectful submission, it will be a virtually impossible position if you have a man who is your learned friend at one moment and who then has to go from the advocates' seat to the witness box and be cross-examined by you. I agree with the Noble Lord in that I am not objecting to people who are not counsel or solicitors being allowed to conduct these proceedings. I say that something should be done to avoid causing difficulty in actual proceedings. I am sure that the Solicitor-General, with his great ability, will be able to find some way round the difficulty which he appreciates as much as I do.

    Amendment negatived.

    Amendment made: In page 10, line 31, leave out "or," and insert "and."—[ Mr. Bevin.]

    I beg to move, in page 10, line 35, at the end, to insert:

    "Provided that an officer acting for the purposes of the Act shall have no right of audience as a plaintiff suing in person in civil proceedings undertaken on behalf of or in the name of any such employee."
    May I ask for an assurance from my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General that there will not be a right of audience, as a plaintiff, for an officer of the Ministry, in civil—not criminal—proceedings of this kind?

    I wish to support the Amendment. We have debated something of this kind in the last few minutes, but this Amendment does not apply to criminal proceedings. It is not clear in Sub-section (4) whether an official of the Ministry who is not a solicitor or barrister can appear in court in respect of civil proceedings under the Act. Parliament has always been very keen to make it clear that those who advocate civil causes should either be qualified under the Solicitors' Act or should have been called to the Bar by one of the Inns of Court, according to the court in which they appear. As recently as 1940 these matters came under review by this House, and it was pointed out to what extreme expense solicitors are put in taking their Articles when they first enter the profession and by the cost of their practising certificates, and the dues which barristers are called upon to pay. We must remember that in civil actions it is in accordance with public policy that those learned in the law should conduct these cases in the courts, and that writs should be issued by solicitors. Barristers can be disciplined by their Inns, and solicitors are liable for wrongful advice and can be dealt with by the Law Society. These are safeguards to the public. In the Trade Board Act, 1901, and in the Road Haulage Act some sort of precedents are provided in this matter. We want to know whether they will be followed in respect of this Sub-section. I do not regard those precedents as being quite complete in themselves, and I would deplore that Acts of quite recent date should serve as precedents in regard to these matters. I trust that we shall have some definite assurance from the Solicitor-General in regard to this point.

    I understood that we had gone a long way towards meeting my hon. Friends by the last Amendment, which was in the rather cryptic form of substituting "and" for "or." The effect of that substitution is to bring about the position which my hon. Friends wish, and, apart from the legal consequences of that alteration, they may take it that as a matter of practice, the civil proceedings which they have in mind will be conducted by the Solicitor to the Ministry of Labour and National Service, who will act as a solicitor does in these cases, and instruct counsel. That is, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, a practice undertaking, which he understands very well.

    Having regard to that undertaking, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Amendment made: In page 10, line 40, leave out from "possession," to "being," in line 41 [ Mr. Bevin.]

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

    I have a comment to make on this Motion, as I have not known quite where to raise it. As I look through the Clause, there is, first of all, Sub-section (1), which provides for yet another category of Government official. Sub-section (2, a) gives officials the power that caused an hon. Member to describe them as "snoopers." Sub-section (2, b) requires officials to have the qualities of an accountant; (2, c) gives them the power of entry at all times; Sub-section (3) gives them the qualities of a prosecuting attorney, and Sub-section (4) leaves with them the decision as to whether or not a suit shall be brought irrespective of whether the worker in question wishes it to be brought or not. Sub-section (5) gives an official power to act as an informer. When one considers all these matters taken together, one may well feel that it is a matter to which large enterprises will have to stand up and face, because they are accustomed to it and have the means of dealing with it. But I have to observe that these impositions can fall upon every boarding-house, small or large, along the entire front of Hastings and St. Leonard's, and that is something which may cause considerable concern, not only in Hastings and St. Leonard's, but also in similar constituencies throughout the country.

    When I was referring to Clause 1, I called the attention of the Committee to the fact that every little house that took in a lodger would come within this category and that they would be subject to all the inspections that would take place with regard to this matter and to all the penalties that might be imposed for a breach of the provisions. This is very important, and my object in raising the matter here is not in order to detain the Committee, but to enter my protest. One of my chief objections to the Bill is the creation of a large number of inspectors who will be employed throughout the country for no other purpose than to form a sort of Gestapo with power to enter all these houses, which we, as Members of Parliament, ought not to allow.

    Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Clause 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

    Can the Parliamentary Secretary say when it is intended to resume the Committee stage?

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Committee report Progress; to sit again upon the next Sitting Day.