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Lords Chamber

Volume 41: debated on Friday 6 August 1920

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House Of Lords

Friday, 6th August, 1920.

The House met at a quarter past three of the clock, The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Juvenile Courts (Metropolis) Bill Hl

House again in Committee (according to Order).

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Constitution of juvenile courts in the metropolitan police court district.

1.—(1) An Order in Council made under subsection (5) of section one hundred and eleven of the Children Act, 1908, for the establishment of one or more juvenile courts for the metropolitan police court district may, notwithstanding anything in the Metropolitan Police Act, 1840, provide for any such court being constituted of a police magistrate (who shall be the president of the court) nominated by the Secretary of State, and two justices of the peace for the county of London, of whom one shall be a woman, and both of whom shall be chosen from amongst a panel of such justices nominated for the purpose by the Secretary of State:

Provided that nothing in the Order shall prevent a police magistrate sitting alone in any case where he considers that it would be impracticable for the court to be constituted in manner aforesaid, or that it would be inexpedient in the interests of justice to adjourn the business of the court.

(2) The Order shall provide for the justices who are to sit at the several sittings of the court being chosen by the panel, or, if necessary, by the police magistrate, and in case of the absence of the police magistrate through illness, leave or other cause, for the appointment of a deputy to act in his stead, being either another police magistrate or a justice of the peace approved by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Order may for the purpose of facilitating the establishment of juvenile courts provide for the discontinuance of any of the existing police courts or for the use of an existing police court solely for the purposes of a juvenile court.

On resuming the Committee proceedings on this Bill, I think it may be desirable that I should say a few words on the subject of the proposals which we now make, and of the course which we have taken since the Bill was last in Committee. It will be remembered that upon that occasion very considerable divergence of opinion was revealed among your Lordships. Two sets of opinion were manifested. Some noble Lords appeared to be expressing the views of the Metropolitan Police Magistrates; others spoke more from the point of view of those men and women whose chief interest in the subject resides in their zeal for the administration of the law relating to child delinquents. I do not think that the objections taken by these two sets of critics were upon the same lines, or that they moved towards the same object. It would, I think, be idle to suggest that the Police Magistrates view with favour the proposals of the Bill. They were, I think, prepared to accept them, or some modification of them, as an unfortunate necessity. The object of the other critics to whom I have referred appeared to me to be, on the whole, in favour of the proposals of the Bill, although no doubt they criticised certain details.

Both bodies of opinion, however, appeared to centre on one particular feature of the Bill as it then existed—namely, on the proposal that the functions of the magistrates in relation to children, so far as they are performed by Metropolitan Police Magistrates, should be performed by one such magistrate selected from among the general body. It appeared, as far as I could collect the opinion, to be thought that it would be impossible for one such magistrate to get through the work. It was said that if he dealt with these children's cases only he might possibly tend to lose his touch with the general administration of the criminal law, and even to become faddy and fanciful, while, from the point of view of the magistrates themselves. there was evidently—and one must face it—a reluctance on behalf of the general body to abandon the work in which many of them have had much experience and take a deep interest. There were other criticisms of the Bill which appear to me to be based upon misapprehension. It was never intended, as appeared to be supposed, that children should be dealt with at one Central Court, and no observation of mine at any stage of the Parliamentary proceedings on this Bill afforded any justification for this suspicion. My proposal was that the one selected magistrate should perambulate through the Metropolis, sitting from day to day in different Courts where local convenience required his presence. This proposal also, like every other, found critics among those who thought that he would be overburdened by such a task, and that he might be lacking in the requisite local knowledge.

For my own part, there are three vital principles which I regard as essential to any legislation to be brought forward by the Government in this matter. Firstly, it has always seemed to me to be essential that the women who are to be associated with this work should sit and act on equal terms with their colleagues the men, just as they do in Children's Courts, and indeed in Petty Sessional Courts generally throughout the provinces. And, so far as I am concerned, I will never agree to any proposal which does not meet this first condition. Secondly, it appears to me, having regard to the plain intention of Parliament—this House and another place —expressed in the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, and the valuable contribution that it is now in the power of women specially to make to the administration of criminal justice as it relates to children, that women should be associated with Metropolitan Police Magistrates in the administration of the children's Acts. I say to the Metropolitan Police Magistrates quite plainly that in so far as their opposition to this measure proceeds from the circumstance that they do not accept this principle, it is an opposition which cannot be conceded. The third point is this. The treatment of children who offend against the law, or come in any other way within the purview of the Petty Sessional Court, should be dissociated from the ordinary administration of the criminal law, and, in particular, that such children's cases should be heard and determined in buildings that are not used for ordinary police purposes.

With those three principles in mind, I have, since the Bill was last in Committee, in conjunction with the Home Secretary, had personal communications with those lay men and women who are interested in the matter, and at the same time a further opportunity has been given by the Secretary of State to the Metropolitan Police Magistrates for them to express their views on the matter. So far as the Magistrates are concerned, I am sorry to say that we have not succeeded in obtaining any substantial measure of agreement with either the proposals of the Bill as originally made or any modification of them to which I myself, or the Home Secretary, on behalf of the Government, will consent. The Amendments that I am about to propose in my view go as far in the direction of meeting the wishes of the Metropolitan Police Magistrates as is possible in the circumstances, and I hope and believe that this zealous and efficient body of men will in future, when the Bill becomes law, give it a cordial welcome, and conduct their work in the future, as they have done in the past, with a single eye to the good of the State and of the children who come before them.

As regards lay opinion, the proposals which we are about to make are of such a nature as, I may boldly claim, will be satisfactory to them, and it is right that I should state to your Lordships that I received, in common with the Home Secretary, 'a deputation introduced by my noble friend Lord Lytton—whose knowledge and experience of these matters is known to all your Lordships—which represented, I think, almost every important body of opinion that is entitled to speak on behalf of the women and on behalf of the children, and they concurred entirely in the proposals which the Bill, as amended, makes to your Lordships. We adhere to the three principles which I have already enumerated. On the other hand, we are abandoning—and I think that this abandonment will be agreeable to the Police Magistrates and to the societies and bodies interested in the welfare of children —the proposal that there should be only one Police Magistrate selected for this purpose. We adhere to the principle of selection. That is an indispensable principle, and one which is exercised by every Judge in a high position, by myself, by the Lord Chief Justice, and by the President of every separate and independent Court. We adhere, therefore, to the principle of selection.

But the first Amendment which is down in my name will render it possible for a number of Police Magistrates to be selected by the Secretary of State for the purpose of carrying on the work. This does not differ very materially from the present arrangement. The work of the Children's Courts is, in fact, at the present time carried out by a limited number of magistrates—I think nine magistrates constitute the panel—and it will henceforth be open to the Secretary of State to select such a number of magistrates as experience demonstrates to be necessary, under the changed conditions, for the purpose. It is not possible, nor would it be desirable, to prescribe on the face of the Bill the exact number, which must, I feel, be such as the change in the circumstances of the times may render necessary. I think the House. will agree that it is plainly a matter on which the Secretary of State must have a discretion. The same Amendment requires in terms that the Children's Courts are to be held in buildings which are not used as Metropolitan Police Courts. I am sure I need not labour that point. As I have already said, in my view it is essential, and I would not be a party to any proposals which did not embody it. In taking that view I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have the unanimous support of all instructed opinion on the subject.

My second Amendment requires the Secretary of State, in nominating Metropolitan Police Magistrates who are to carry on the work, to have regard to their previous experience and to their special qualifications for dealing with juvenile offenders. The remaining Amendments which stand in my name are not new; they were down on the Paper when the House was last in Committee on this Bill. Their object is merely to give further power to the Secretary of State to supplement the ordinary Police Magistrate when he is on his holiday or from any other reason is incapacitated from sitting, by the appointment of a barrister-at-law. It is a small but very useful reform which has been asked for by those who have this responsibility.

I will add a final word, because I think it is worth while giving your Lordships particulars of the deputation which was introduced by Lord Lytton and which addressed myself and the Home Secretary. The deputation consisted of representatives of the Howard Association, the Joint Parliamentary Advisory Committee, the Labour Party, the National Council of Women, the Penal Reform League, the Standing Joint Committee of Industrial Women's Organisations, the State Children's Association, the Wage-earning Children's Committee, and the Women's Local Government Society, and I am in a position to state to your Lordships that all these influential bodies, after a full and I hope a clear explanation to them of the proposals which I intended to make to your Lordships, and which I now make, expressed their complete acquiescence and concurrence in them, and insisted, with a degree of vehemence which I do not wish to exaggerate but which I entirely share, upon the three points as I have defined them which, in the view of the Government and of these important bodies, are indispensable.

Amendment moved:—

Page 1, line 7, leave out ("one or more")(The Lord Chancellor.)

My Lords, I cannot help saying in a very few words how cordially I welcome the changes which the Lord Chancellor proposes to make in the Bill as it has hitherto been before your Lordships. The noble and learned Lord has in no way exaggerated the weight of the representations that were made to him by the deputation which he described. The three points to which, as the noble and learned Lord has said, he attaches the greatest importance are just those which have been uniformly and strongly advanced by all those who have been interested in the establishment of Juvenile Courts; and I am certain that general gratitude will be felt by all those experienced and enthusiastic people at the course which the noble and learned Lord has taken.

It is quite true—and the difficulty, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, has largely arisen from this fact—that the eminent body of men who are the Police Magistrates in London have not been able to arrive at a uniform opinion on this question. Some have entirely shared the views which the noble and learned Lord has expressed; some others, equally conscientious and high-minded I am sure, have held the view that they are perfectly competent and that there is no valid reason against the regular taking of children's cases at the Police Courts and in a similar manner to that in which the cases of adults are taken. I am very glad myself that that particular view has not prevailed; but the fact that it was held and that some Police Magistrates were therefore unwilling to countenance separate Courts away from the Police Courts—a point to which, like the noble and learned Lord, I attach the greatest possible importance— has made the solution of the matter more difficult. I therefore merely desire to congratulate the noble and learned Lord on the happy conclusion which he has reached and which I hope will obtain the unanimous assent of your Lordships.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

moved in subsection (1), to leave out "any" ["provide for any such Court"] and insert "such Courts being held elsewhere than in the buildings used as Metropolitan Police Courts and for every."

Amendment moved—

Page 1, line 9, leave out ("any") and insert ("such Courts being held elsewhere than in the buildings used as Metropolitan Police Courts and for every)."—(The Lord Chanceller.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

moved, after the proviso in subsection (1), to insert the following new subsection—

"(2) The Secretary of State in nominating the magistrates to be presidents of juvenile courts shall have regard to their previous experience and their special qualifications for dealing with cases of juvenile offenders"

Amendment moved—

Page 1, line 20, at end insert the said new sub-section.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

I cannot say that I agree with this Bill, which I consider to be unnecessary; but some of the Amendments that the noble and learned Lord has brought forward are certainly a considerable improvement. With regard to the constitution of the Court, he seems to have enlarged it from one justice for males and one justice for females into a Panel, not only for males and females, but also for the particular Stipendiary Magistrates who sit as president of the Court. This is a change of the system in London, where we have had the great blessing of having Stipendiary Magistrates dealing with these cases by themselves; but it is a change that is apparently desired by a good many people. I would, however, suggest that as this clause apparently causes every Court which is dealing with children to be composed of the Stipendiary Magistrate, a male justice and a female justice, there should not be in the proposed subsection such an invidious suggestion as that the Stipendiary Magistrates are to be picked out because of their experience and special qualifications. I would suggest to the noble and learned Lord that it would be quite open to him to do that without putting this clause in the Bill.

I do not regard these words as important. If the history of the matter interests the noble Lord at all I will tell him that the deputation desired that it should be made plain on the face of the Bill that the selection which would become necessary should be made upon the basis which is indicated in the words to which the noble Lord objects. The point seems to me to be one of very little importance. The Bill, as it is proposed to be amended, would contain these words—

"The Secretary of State in nominating the magistrates to be presidents of juvenile courts shall have regard to their previous experience and their special qualifications for dealing with cases of juvenile offenders."
No one would suppose, I agree, that the Secretary of State, in nominating these presidents, would have regard to any other consideration, and it might be said in reinforcement of the contention of the noble Lord that it would be absurd to direct the Lord Chief Justice, when he is selecting Judges to try revenue cases, to select for the panel those who have had special experience on such points.

At the same time, in arriving at an almost agreed conclusion on this matter it must be remembered that we have had several awkward corners to get round, and there was a very great desire that this consideration should be expressed on the face of the Bill. Although I do not think it adds anything to what the Home Secretary would do, and although it was not sought, either by the Home Secretary or by myself, it is a provision which cannot do the slightest harm to anybody. The noble Lord even would not desire that the Home Secretary should proceed upon any other principle, and therefore the only point between us is on a mere question of form—namely, as to whether or not it should appear, as the deputation desire—the deputation have given great thought to this question—on the face of the Bill. I do not think the noble Lord will think this is a point which is worth pursuing.

I hope also that the noble Lord will not think it necessary to press his Amendment. His view, I understand, is that some Police Magistrate who is not selected might consider himself slighted by being left out. But, on the other hand, I have no knowledge —I do not know whether my noble friend has—that all Police Magistrates are particularly anxious to sit in these Courts. I think it would be found that there are a certain number of them who might be quite content to be relieved of this particular duty and of the necessity of sitting in this special Court.

For that reason, the selection being, as the Lord Chancellor said, obviously guided by the principle mentioned in the Amendment, I cannot believe that the great body of Police Magistrates would raise any objection to it, or that individuals would consider themselves ill-treated by being left out.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Page 1, line 25, leave out from ("for") to ("another") on page 2, line 1, and insert ("his place being taken by")—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

moved, in subsection (2), before "or a justice of the peace approved by the Secretary of State," to insert "or by a barrister-at-law in practice for at least seven years appointed."

Amendment moved—

Page 2, line 1, after ("magistrate"), insert the said words.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

May I suggest that possibly the noble and learned Lord may see his way to put in five years instead of seven, if he wishes equality, as it were, between the country and London. I understand the Stipendiary Magistrates can be appointed after five years in the country. This is a barrister-at-law taking the place of a Stipendiary Magistrate. It will give an opportunity for some of the women who are now studying for the Bar to take the chairmanship upon such occasions, and, with the intensive work that is being done now by young barristers, it will give them an opportunity of studying for such a position.

I think the noble Lord will see that a slight consideration of what is, in fact, taking place in the country would render such an Amendment as he proposes undesirable. It is quite true that the technical qualification is five years, not seven, but my information—though I should not desire to be pinned precisely to it, as I did not know that the noble Lord was to raise this point—is that, although there is theoretically a five years' qualification, in no single case has any barrister with only five years' experience ever been appointed. I think that the force of that experience will commend itself to anybody who has reflected much upon this question.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

moved at the end of subsection (2), to insert ("a barrister-at-law so appointed shall have all the powers of a Metropolitan Police Magistrate so sitting in such Juvenile Court as aforesaid.")

Amendment moved—

Page 2, line 2, at end insert the said words—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

had on the paper an Amendment, after subsection (3), to insert the following proviso:—

"Provided that all charges against children and young persons for offences committed within a district assigned to a Metropolitan Police, Court shall be heard and determined at a juvenile court situate in such district."
The noble Lord said: I understand there is very great feeling throughout London as to the suggestion that the children and the witnesses—the witnesses, of course, and the fathers and mothers lose a day's work if they have to attend the Court—should not be moved from the district from which they come. I do not think that, if certain consolidation takes place, the words are exactly suitable, and therefore I do not desire to move them. I suggest that the noble and learned Lord might consider the point. Some very strong resolutions have been passed lately, such as one passed by the Metropolitan Boroughs Standing Joint Committee. They view with alarm this suggestion of a Central Court, not understanding what the proposals of the Bill are. It is most important, in the interests of the children and in the interests of witnesses and parents, that they should not have to go to Courts at a distance from their locality, and it would be much better if some words were inserted in the Bill on the subject.

I am very much alive to the importance of the point indicated by the noble Lord that these Courts should be brought to the homes of the people, and I am able, I think, to give him the most complete reassurance. I cannot, of course, say as to a week or a month that we shall attain our goal in every district, but it is our distinct and definite intention to establish a Court in each district. We are making arrangements now with the local authorities, who are giving invaluable assistance in this matter, that in every single district the same geographical conveniences should be afforded to those who are resident in that district as are available under the existing system.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Clause agreed to.

Dangerous Drugs Bill

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (The Earl of Onslow.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL of DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to.

Clause 12:


12. Licences for the purposes of this Act may be issued by a Secretary of State and may be issued on such terms and subject to such conditions (including the payment of a fee) as the Secretary of State thinks proper.

The Amendments which I have on the Paper to Clauses 12 and 13 are of a drafting character. In Clause 7 (1) (b) reference is made to "persons licensed or otherwise authorised," and in Clause 7 (2) to the authorisation of persons to do the things set out in that clause. My Amendments are in order to make it clear that Clauses 12 and 13 refer both to licences issued to persons and authorities which may be granted generally to bodies of persons.

Amendments moved—

Clause 12, page 5, line 29, after ("Licences") insert ("or authorities"), and after ("issued") insert ("or granted")

Clause 12, page 5,line 30, after ("issued") insert ("or granted")

Clause 12, page 5,line 31, after ("including") insert ("in the case of a licence").— (The Earl of Onwlow.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 13:

Offences and penalties.

13.—(1) It any person acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any regulation made under this Act or acts in contravention of or fails to comply with the conditions of any licence issued under this Act, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

Amendment moved—

Page 5, line 36, leave out ("under") and insert ("or authority granted under or in pursuance of").—(The, Earl of Onslow.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Ministry Of Food (Continuance) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, the duties of the Food Controller are laid down under the New Ministries Act of 1916; on the other hand, the powers of the Food Controller are established under the Defence of the Realm Act. The New Ministries Act brings the Ministry of Food to an end twelve months after the end of the war, unless it is done earlier by Order in Council; whereas the Defence of the Realm Act, under which the Minister's powers are conferred, comes to an end on whatever date is fixed for the termination of the war. The object of the present Bill is, in the first instance, to bring the powers and duties of that Department into line in respect of the date of termination. The Bill proposes that practically two years shall be allowed during which the Government may continue this measure—namely, until the first day of September, 1922.

I will briefly outline the necessity for continuing this Department. In the first place it has duties of liquidation, not merely of adjusting outstanding accounts but disposing of property, and the liquidation of what, in its way, I take to be one of the largest commercial concerns in the world. It is the confident hope that during the period allotted by the Bill this liquidation can be completed. Should it prove possible to do it at an earlier date, power is taken to transfer to some other Department whatever may remain of the duties of the Ministry of Food. When I use the word "liquidation" I do not mean the mere adjustment of financial accounts, but the disposal of stocks held by the Ministry. There are considerable amounts of mutton, cheese, feeding-stuffs, and so On—

Will the noble Earl explain what is included under the head of feeding-stuffs?

I take it that the ordinary cattle cakes of various descriptions are meant, but I will give my noble friend a Schedule if he desires to have it.

Feeding-stuffs for cattle; the dried fruits are for human beings. So much for the liquidation of stocks. With regard to the supply situation, there are still three commodities of which a notable shortage exists—sugar, hog-products, and butter. Your Lordships are probably very well aware of the sugar situation in the world; production has fallen very seriously, and consumption naturally has to follow suit. But in the process prices have risen to an unreasonably and unprecedentedly high standard and, in consequence, the rationing of sugar is still being continued. Indeed, for the moment I do not quite see how it can come to an end. The administrative costs of this rationing—which, together with the transactions by the Royal Commission, if I may say so respectfully, seem to show a very great standard of efficiency—amount to 2d. per year for every consumer in the country.

As regards the expense, those of your Lordships who have looked at the Estimates will see that during the present year the outlay upon this Ministry has very largely fallen, but I wish to point out specifically that the Ministry, of Food has always been self-supporting. Thanks to the defeat of the German submarine campaign, the marine reserve in the hands of the Ministry, combined with the balance of its modest profit on trading, will amply cover all expenses of liquidation and all costs of administration for the period contemplated by the Bill. In point of fact, it is quite possible, though I do not dogmatise upon the point, that at the end of the period there still may be a substantial sum to be paid over to the Exchequer.

I should like to refer in detail to one or two of the clauses before filially moving the Second Reading of the Bill. Clause 1 deals with the extension of the period of existence of the Ministry. It refers to the powers of the Minister, which are again referred to in the Schedule of the Bill on which I should like to make a few remarks. As I said, practically all the Food Controller's powers are conferred on him by the Defence of the Realm Act, and those powers are continued, subject to two broad limitations. In the first place, powers which are no longer required are dropped out of the Schedule altogether, and, secondly, the powers referred to in Clause 1 and subject to the limitations of the Schedule are modified in various respects. Broadly speaking, the powers are: to hold, where and when necessary, surveys of supplies; to ascertain conditions of production and manufacture; and to make Orders relating to the distribution, the storage, the sale, or the purchase of articles of food. Then there are further Orders relating to dealing as to, for instance, the sale by weight of tea, or bread, or flour, and Orders relating to the display of prices, so that the public may be informed what they are authorised to charge Finally, there are certain Orders restricting the use of certain food stuffs, flour, for instance, under the Cereals Restriction Order, which may not be used for purposes other than human consumption or seeds, assuming that the grain is in a sound millable condition.

Regulation 2GG of the Defence of the Realm Act empowered the Food Controller to take charge of premises where articles of food were manufactured, stored, or produced. It is no longer considered necessary that such power should be maintained, and, therefore, in Section (4) of the Schedule, the power of the Food Controller in this respect is limited to flour and other mills to which the Regulation applies at the time of the passing of this Bill. Hitherto the Ministry of Food has been able to take control of premises and thus govern the output of jam manufacturies, bacon curing stations, or sugar refineries. These powers, fortunately, need no longer be exercised, and it is only in respect of flour mills, which are controlled by the State and gualanteed by the State, that the power under Regulation 2GG still continues necessary. Clause 1 is, of course, the most important clause in the Bill.

Clause 2 is intended to simplify procedure under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts. It provides a uniform penalty, there having been, up to the present, two systems under which prosecutions have taken place. Clause 3 requires a word or two of comment. Powers mentioned here, of course, are existing powers. In the first instance it would appear needless that the Food Controller should regulate the importation or export of food long after the war, It is, however, still necessary. It is obviously necessary that the export of subsidised foodstuffs cannot be allowed. To do so would be to allow the trader in this country to buy the article at subsidised prices, at cheap prices, and sell it abroad at the world's price, which clearly, in the case of flour, is enormously higher. That involves the necessity of this power being retained by the Food Controller. The subsidised articles to which this would apply to-day are bread, flour, wheat-flour, and wheatmeal, and all articles containing any of these products. Free export cannot be permitted of foodstuffs purchased for the Government apart from subsidised foodstuffs. To do so would be to allow a private trader to profiteer by selling abroad at a high and, indeed, at an exhorbitant price, articles which the Government here had purchased at lower prices. Government purchases are not made unless there is a world shortage of the article, or unless private enterprise is unable to, fulfil the obligation of ensuring adequate supplies in this country. Under such conditions to permit free export would probably involve, or possibly involve, a reduction of necessary supplies at home and it certainly would involve an increase in their prices in this country.

As regards the importation of foodstuffs the invariable experience of the Ministry of Food has led one to see that when an essential commodity is rationed on account of short supplies, if it is to be managed with efficiency and economy there must be regulation of the import of that commodity by private traders. Take the case of sugar. A trader or retailer could import sugar into this country and possibly he could sell that sugar at a lower rate than the average rate charged by the Government for the total sugar supplies of the country. If one, for instance, allowed free importation of sugar, it would injure and perhaps defeat efficient and economic distribution in more ways than one. In the first place, it would involve a duplication of distribution, and one must remember that rationing of sugar nowadays involves complete Government distribution from the importer to the actual retailer. Secondly, if free sugar were imported into this country at a higher price than the sugar distributed to the trade by the Sugar Commission, the temptation for those who held the sugar bought at a low price from the Government to treat it as sugar purchased at higher prices through private importers might be irresistible. The sugar would be interchangeable; they are identical articles, and if there was a block of expensive sugar in the market it would tend to raise the price of sugar which should be sold at a much lower figure, and of which the quantity supplied would be greater. That is why it is necessary to maintain these powers to regulate both the import and export of certain food articles. I should add that under the clause any Order which is made to effect this is to be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and may be annulled on the presentation of an Address to the King by either House within twenty days.

Clause 4 should, I think, be mentioned. During the war, under instructions of the Government, a large acreage of hops was grubbed up with a view of increasing the production of cereals. Clause 4 gives to the Ministry of Food power to encourage the production of hops for the next five years. It is the duty of the Government to ensure that this important, though localised, industry should be assisted to recover from the injury inflicted upon it at the instance of the Government during the war. It it be not so, I am not at all sure that it would be possible to re-establish this particular branch of husbandry. The clause provides that the Ministry, either itself, or by some other Department, shall exercise powers for the next five years with regard to the regulation of the importation of hops into this country as may appear necessary, bearing always this object in view. That really completes my short exposition of the Bill as I have already referred to the four limitations laid down in the Schedule. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .— (The Earl of Cranford).

My Lords, I rise under some difficulty to make a few observations upon the Second Reading of this Bill—a difficulty which arises, unhappily, from the fact that I have not the same facility of hearing everything said by those in charge of these measures which I formerly enjoyed. Personally, I have always entertained the notion,and entertained it very strongly, that this was one of the most costly, and unnecessarily costly, of the new Departments which have been created under this Government—bureaucratic Departments which are costing such enormous sums to the country at the present time, without there being, as far as I am able to judge, any serious intention on the part of the present Government materially to reduce their number. I came into the House with the full intention of moving the rejection of this Bill on Second Reading, but after listening to the noble Lord who has just sat down, so far as I have been able to follow him, I think there are some powers given under this Bill, especially with regard to flour—which is, after all, the main ingredient in what is by far and away the kind of food most largely consumed by the population of this country—which are important, and I should hesitate to take that step without hearing more than I have done already upon the subject.

Let me remind the House of what I said about the costliness of this Department—and that began at its very early stages. I find, on referring to what happened in 1918, that the expenditure of that Department for the month of December, 1917, was only £48,000, but within six months after that time it amounted, under Lord Rhondda's administration, to the enormous sum of £183,185,908. That is for the six months following the month of December, 1917, and that information was given to me by the noble Earl opposite.

I also gave my noble friend information of the receipts during that period. Will he please quote them?

No, I do not think you did. I have endeavoured, to the best of my ability, to follow whatever Papers have been given in regard to the expenditure of this Department, but I have never been able to find any account whatever of that expenditure for the six months, which is at the rate of nearly £400,000,000 a year. I have never had any satisfactory answer upon that question from that day to this. I should have pursued the matter and brought it home if it had been possible for me to do so, but, unfortunately, I was laid up just afterwards for many months by a serious illness, and was unable to take any further part in the proceedings of this House. Now what is it that the noble Earl has told us to-night? Among other things I was astounded to hear that under Clause 4 this Department, or some other Department of the State, is to be enabled to continue its work for another five years. Am I right or wrong as to that?

Correct, but only in respect of hops. The Department, as such, can last for two years, but the powers in relation to maintaining and stimulating the growth of hops may last for five years.

Even two years is a great deal more than I should think necessary in any circumstances for the continuation of this Department. I labour, as I have said, under a great disadvantage, but I still adhere to my opinion, and while I am not prepared, after hearing the statement of the noble Lord, to move the rejection of this Bill, I shall certainly take whatever course I find within my powers to reduce the period for which it is proposed that this Department should last. It is only fair that I should give notice to my noble friend that that is my intention. This Department, of course, will have to be wound up, and I cannot see any reason in the world why a Department where the accounts are satisfactorily kept and which is properly administered should not be wound up within six months from the present time. I think a period until, say, March 1, 1921, would be sufficient for this Department to be properly closed.

There is no Department that I am aware of which has given more hindrance to what we have been told by the Government themselves, over and over again, is one of the most pressing necessities of the present time—namely, an immensely increased production of food within our own borders. Over and over again the Ministry of Food has interfered with and arrested that most desirable progress. I will give your Lordships one instance. The Prime Minister, who has grasped the agricultural position in this country more quickly, I think, than anyone I ever knew who had really only a very small practical experience of it before, raised his voice at one time, or issued a manifesto, emphasising the enormous importance of greatly increasing the production of pigs in this country. He was perfectly right. He was very wise in making that recommendation, because where an old ewe produces two lambs, and a cow one calf, in the year, a good old sow thinks very little of producing fifteen or twenty little pigs at a litter, and of doing it twice a year. If there is any danger of running short in the matter of meat the first thing you ought to do, not only for the food of the people, but in the interests of the small holders in this country, is to encourage them in the keeping of pigs, and where they have kept one pig before to enable them to keep two pigs now.

What was the outcome of this statement on the part of the Prime Minister? A Director of Pigs was very shortly appointed, and one of the best men in the country was selected for the position, Mr. Cautley, a member of the House of Commons, and one of the most representative county members in that House. What happened then? He set to work, with very little assistance indeed from the Board of Agriculture, and started the pig-breeding industry all over the country, and just as it was growing and might have continued to grow to any extent, what occurred? A message was sent from the Ministry of Food, if you please, to the Board of Agriculture: "You must stop this immediately." Why? "Because we cannot find the food to give to the pigs." That message was sent at a time—I remember the period perfectly well—when there was such an enormous amount of grass, owing to the season in the country, that animals could hardly be found in sufficient number to consume it. And pigs will eat grass just as well as bullocks will, and what is more they do more good to it, and manure the land better than bullocks. And after all this expense had been incurred it was stopped by the Ministry of Food saying: "We cannot provide the food that you want for the animals."

I have given your Lordships an instance of the intolerable mischief of this Department in interfering with matters regarding which they were consummately ignorant, and of which they remain, I have not the slightest doubt, equally ignorant at the present moment. That is one reason why I want to get rid of this Department, and why it ought to be got rid of at the earliest possible moment. It does nothing but interfere with what is one of the most serious requirements of the country at the present time—an immense increase in the home production of food. Looking at the general political position at the moment, and reading the news which we see every say, one naturally asks: "How long may it be before a greatly increased production of home-grown food becomes a more vital necessity to this country than perhaps it ever was?" I do not think I need delay your Lordships longer upon this. When we go into Committee I shall be prepared to move Amendments, and although I shall not move the rejection of the Bill now, as I had intended to do before the speech of the noble Earl, I shall take every opportunity within my power to reduce the period of the existence of the Ministry of Food.

My Lords, I should like to reply in a very few words to one or two of Lord Chaplin's observations. With regard to the pig control, Lord Chaplin was good enough to say that it came to an end owing to the intolerable interference of the Food Ministry—

And owing to their deplorable ignorance which still survives, perhaps in an exacerbated form.

It is quite true that at one stage Mr. Cautley was invited to do whatever lay in his power to stimulate the production of pigs—a very proper proceeding, too. But the pig, notwithstanding the vivacity of the animal to which Lord Chaplin has referred, produces its increment of population in due course, and at the moment when the increment of population matured, very grave events had happened quite irrespective of the Ministry of Food—namely, serious checks on the Continent and continued loss of food ships. It became impossible for this country, therefore, to continue to import the necessary barley and maize, because the tonnage had to be diverted to other and more urgent purposes. An increased importation of munitions into this country and an enormously enlarged programme of bringing over American troops became necessary. That is why the increased production of pigs failed. It was unfortunate, but I think it is almost frivolous to apply the blame solely to the Ministry of Food.

The noble Lord quite forgets that I stated—and it is a positive fact—that there was an extraordinary production of grass that year, and more than ample as a substitute food for the pigs.

If that be the case, then perhaps this year our farmers will not require to import maize. Yet they are making every effort to import maize and barley for pig-feeding. There is plenty of second-class grass this year, and if it does equally well for fattening pigs our farmers must be very ill-informed if they do not use it instead of the normal pig-feeding cereals. In regard to the statement that two years is too long for the duration of this Ministry, I would point out that it is stated in the Bill in terms that such period may not be necessary, and powers are taken to end the Ministry at an earlier date if the liquidation makes that possible. But the scale of liquidation is immense, and I do not think it is possible that by March, 1921, as Lord Chaplin suggests, this liquidation can be concluded.

Let me reply to two other comments of Lord Chaplin, drawn in such very wide and, may I say, extravagant terms that I should at least like to record my dissent to them. Lord Chaplin said that this Department was one of the most costly that has been established since the war. He quoted the figures of expenditure by the Food Control Department in six months. It was a big figure—£1200,000,000 I think —but if he had taken another six months he might have quoted an expenditure of £500,000,000. It is no good quoting expenditure in a commercial concern unless, at the same moment, you quote income and assets.

May I intervene for a moment? I remember this con- troversy occurring between us before. I said then that it should not be treated as a trading concern. Government Departments never ought to be trading concerns.

This Government Department has to import. Does Lord Chaplin think that a Government Department should conduct its transactions at a loss to the taxpayer?

Does Lord Chaplin mean that a Government Department in these circumstances must not make a profit? Huge expenditure—gigantic expenditure—was involved. The expenditure to-day on bringing the necessary breadstuffs into the country amounts, I suppose, to £100,000 a day. I do not know if that is the figure. But it is all re-sold; the great bulk of it has actually been re-sold and the books have been balanced long ago. I repeat in categorical terms that the Ministry of Food, since its inception till to-day, has been self-supporting and has not cost the taxpayer one penny.

The Comptroller-and Auditor-General, of course, has had the figures; they are laid before Parliament. I will quote the Report on the Ministry of Food by the Select Committee on National Expenditure which was presented to the House of Commons about a week ago:—

"The Ministry has consistently aimed at conducting its operations in such a way that there is, after including the administrative expenses of the Department and of other Departments on its behalf, neither appreciable profit nor loss upon the transactions taken as a whole."

This is paragraph 29 of the Report that was printed by the House of Commons on July 20 last. I hope Lord Chaplin will accept that statement—

"From evidence supplied it appears to be highly probable that the trading and administrative accounts, when closed and audited, will show that the above object has been attained and that only a fractional profit, if any, will remain after any unforeseen losses on realisation of stocks, together with the costs of liquidation and of administration have been met."
I submit that Lord Chaplin, who says that this ought not to be a commercial concern—

Will the noble Erl kindly tell me—for I have never been able to find them—where the figures which he gave me for the first six months after December of the total expenditure of the Ministry of Food— namely, £185,195,268—can be found? Will he tell me where the account of what was received for the same period is to be found in any Papers that have been laid before Parliament? I have never been able to find them.

It is quite impossible for me to say off-hand. where the figures are printed.

Of course I can find out, but I cannot at this moment say on what page and in what volume the accounts for 1917 are printed. At a hazard I should suggest the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, but of course I can inquire. There is no secret about the figures. I quote the unanimous Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Financial Expenditure to prove that this great commercial organisation has not set out to make a profit, has done its best to avoid a loss, and in the process expects, when its accounts are concluded, that only a fractional profit, if any, will remain after unforeseen losses have been met. I wish to say one more word in defence of the Ministry of Food, because I cannot help feeling that it is unfortunate that such broad and easily-made charges should go by default. There was the statement, for instance, that not only was it the most costly of all the Departments but one of the most unnecessary. May I ask your Lordships to take your minds back, we will say, to September, 1916? The submarine campaign, though not at its height, was then giving such grave anxiety to traders in this country that in October of that year the dislocation of our bread supplies was imminent. Traders had stopped bringing and directing breadstuffs to Great Britain.

The price was high, the risk was intolerable, and unless the Government had taken action at that moment, by Christmas there would have been no bread in this country. That is a commonplace; it is acknowledged by every wheat trader in the land. Therefore it became necessary that the Government should take control of the importation, and, consequentially, of the internal control and management of all breadstuffs. That extended to other cereal articles. Had that not been done by Christmas of 1916, or at any rate by March, 1917, there would have been practically no bread in Great Britain.

May I ask my noble friend, when he makes that statement, it he takes into account the flour which is made from wheat, and flour which is made from barley, from oats and even from potatoes, from which it was made in great quantities during the war?

I do not know what you mean by breadstuffs. I have given you particulars of what I mean.

I am taking into account all breadstuffs and all that we used to call "diluents," with which we made the output of flour go further. I do not want to enter into this; but that is the case. Now I ask your Lordships to carry your minds back to the winter of 1917 and the early months of 1918. The Ministry of Food was then in full operation. If it had not possessed the powers some of which are now renewed in this Bill, there would have been no rationing. The result of no rationing would have meant that sugar and meat would have been unobtainable by the artisan classes of this country. Your Lordships will remember in the winter of 1917 what to me was almost one of the most melancholy sights that I can recall, apart from seeing people evacuated from a French village, that there were rows four hundred yards long and ten yards deep of people standing waiting outside the shops to get the most elementary foodstuffs. At that stage the Ministry of Food wisely settled that rationing was imperative, otherwise only those who could afford to pay the inflated prices would obtain those essential materials which were in such short supply. A rationing system was set up—almost extemporised—which in my opinion worked quite admirably. It has been tried in all sorts of other countries in Europe, and it has certainly succeeded, but never so well as in our own country, with one possible exception.

Those are two achievements which food control has accomplished. At the outset it secured the bread supply of this country at a moment when private enterprise had hopelessly broken down. At a subsequent and much more serious stage in our history, by this system of rationing which was carried out with most marvellous efficiency, and above all with unflinching honesty, we were carried through what in my opinion would otherwise have been the greatest crisis in the war and one which we as a country might have failed to survive.

My Lords, I feel bound to support the Second Reading of this Bill, although I hope that at the earliest possible moment the power which is vested in the Privy Council will be brought into operation in order to terminate the existence of this Department. I should like to ask the noble Earl whether what he has said with regard to the Ministry of Food applies also to the two Royal Commissions, of one of which he has been, since the very commencement, himself the chairman. It is perfectly true that they have operated under the supervision, if not under the actual control, of the Food Controller, but I fancy that in law they are quite distinct corporate organisations, and I should like to know whether, in fact, they will stand and fall with the Ministry of Food.

May I say, as having for a long time presided over the Royal Commission on Sugar Supplies, and as being still one of the members of the Commission, that I do not think it would be at all safe to attempt to wind up the Government control in respect to that commodity, at any rate at present. But I hope and believe that, long before the period mentioned in this Bill, probably in the spring of next year, and with the increased and cheaper freights available, it may be possible to discontinue control in the matter of sugar. It is almost common knowledge throughout the world when the British Government is in the market, whether for sugar, wheat, flour, or any other similar commodity and, consequently, as soon as freights are available and cheap enough to bring those commodities in increasing quantity from other countries, it is obviously in the best interests of the consuming population to reinstate the laws of supply and demand and create that competition which does, in the long run, enable the consumer to obtain his food at a reasonable cost. There is this unfortunate fact with regard to all Government control in respect of essential food commodities, that you are bound to base your prices upon the cost of production under the least favourable circumstances which, of course, means that, whereas a certain number of producers make very large profits, others are kept alive in their industry as the result of control, to the detriment of the pockets of the public.

My Lords, would the noble Earl be so good as to look at Clause 1 (2), which says:—

"The Food Controller shall after the passing of this Act during the continuance of his office have and exercise all the powers possessed by him, at the time of the passing of this Act, under the Regulations referred to in the schedule to this Act—"
Now, the Schedule refers to a Regulation to which I want particularly to draw attention. It is Regulation 2B, under which the Food Controller has power to requisition articles of food and so forth, and there is a special provision in that Regulation for the price which is to be paid. Then the subsection goes on—
"which regulations, so far as they relate to the powers of the Food Controller, shall, subject to the limitations set out in that schedule, have effect as though set out in this Act, and shall cease to have effect as regulations made under any enactment relating to the Defence of the Realm."
Regulation 2B originally was a Regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Act and it only derived its validity from that Act. This is, on the face of it, quite c'early a re-enactment of 2B as a clause in this Bill. It happens that 2B has been held, by a decision of the High Court, to have been ultra vires as a Regulation under the Defence of the Realm Act.

I have not read the decision, I have formed no opinion about it, and I do not even know upon what particular train of reasoning the result is arrived at, but that was the decision. I understand the case is under appeal, but the fact that a decision is under appeal does not in the least prevent it from having all the force of a binding decision of the High Court, so far as it goes, and so long as it stands. It appears to me that this subsection (2)—I do riot know whether it is inadvertent or not—has taken advantage of the opportunity of the introduction of this Bill to overrule that decision before it has been brought before the Court of Appeal; because it enacts that the Regulation is to operate, not as a Regulation under the Defence of the Realm, but as something validated by this Bill, and deriving its, validity front this Bill. That is to say, whether that decision were right or wrong, henceforward 2B is to be enacted, and 2B is to be enacted in time of peace, although its whole origin was in the early part of the war.

When this matter was considered in the earlier part of this year under the War Emergency Laws (Continuance) Act, the Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Act were continued by Section 2, but subject to this proviso—
"Provided also that no such Regulation, as so continued, shall have greater validity than it had before the time when, but for this Act, it would have expired."
That is to say, in March of this year the Legislature continued 2B, only subject to its infirmities as they then existed, and deliberately refrained from re-enacting it as a new enactment. This Bill comes up to us from another place re-enacting it as a totally new matter, and giving it a validity which, according to the decision of Mr. Justice Salter, it had not at the time it was made. There may be good reasons for doing that. I cannot help thinking that they should be laid before your Lordships' House at some stage or other.

I do not say anything about the attitude of the measure towards a decision of the High Court, though I think that is to be regretted, because I should have thought it would be presumed that that decision was right until it had been, at any rate, argued and reversed upon appeal. But, if there be reasons making it desirable in time of peace to make valid a Regulation which was framed under the Defence of the Realm Act for the purposes of the war, and exceeding the powers of that Act, I suggest that at some stage the noble Earl would perhaps be so good as to lay before the House the reasons for it. I admit this is rather a Committee point, but as the noble Lord, Lord Bledisloe, put a question to the noble Earl, I thought I might take advantage of this opportunity to bring it before his attention, because he may consider it between now and the Committee stage and perhaps see reason to propose an Amendment. I suggest that there is no reason at all to go beyond the words "Food Controller" and there is no reason to say that it should have effect as though set out in this Act.

My Lords, before the noble Earl opposite replies to the interesting and important point which has been raised by the noble Lord on the cross benches, I desire to make one observation on this Bill. I listened with attention and admiration to the gallant defence which the noble Earl opposite made of the Food Controller's Department. I am not quite sure that he has altogether realised that, certainly so far as this House is concerned, and largely also with regard to the country, the undoubted unpopularity which has pursued that Department almost since its inception has been owing to the belief that many people have entertained, and entertained I think not without good reason, that from time to time the Food Controller was engaged in a sort of death grapple with the Minister of Agriculture on matters affecting the food supply of the country.

As the interests of agriculture are so largely represented in this House it is not surprising that the office of the Food Controller has not been regarded as a rule with great favour by your Lordships. The only point I desired to make is this. My noble friend Lord Chaplin has announced his intention of moving that the term during which the life of the Ministry should be continued should be abbreviated from that which is prescribed in the Bill. I wonder whether it would not be possible for His Majesty's Government to accept some shortening of the period. The Bill proposes that an extended period of rather more than two years should be named for the further continuance of the Ministry, His Majesty's Government holding out hopes that, as time goes on and events mature in a way which it is not possible to foresee at the moment, it may be possible from time to time to drop certain portions of the control, and conceivably even to conclude it earlier. That, I take it, is the object of the provision for transference of certain remaining powers to some other Department. I am afraid the country has not very full confidence in the disposition of His Majesty's Government to shut down these surplus Offices, and therefore it would seem to be wiser, even from their own point of view, if they were to take a shorter period.

I think my noble friend suggests six months; that conceivably might be too short for the winding-up process. I do not profess to know. But the Government could come to Parliament again with the necessary explanations, assuming it to be imperative that still further life should be given to the Department. It may not be possible entirely to wind it up in six or twelve months, although I do not think the noble Earl has committed himself so far as that. In any case, why should not the Government accept a shorter term now and come to Parliament again when, if the reasons are adequate, they would be accepted by another place and here? His Majesty's Government find no difficulty in getting their measures through Parliament with great speed, and I am quite certain that no little satisfaction would be felt in the country if the noble Earl—I do not ask him to say so now, but after consultation—would agree to an arrangement of that kind.

My Lords, I desire to detain your Lordships for one moment more. I assure the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, that there is no indisposition to shut down superfluous Offices. He is much too critical and scholarly a student himself to beg the question deliberately, but that is a question-begging term. It is because this Office is not, in our opinion, superfluous that it has to be carried forward. May I put tins particular difficulty to the noble Marquess? It is conceded that, quite apart from the Sugar Commission and the Wheat Commission, there are gigantic obligations still upon the Food Ministry, and if we announced to-morrow that these Departments were to be wound up in six months we should lose the whole of our staff. The clerk, the warehouseman, the computer, the accountant, everybody wants a certain security of tenure, and if you say the Office is going to be closed in six months your staff vanishes. I think the noble Viscount, Lord Chaplin, really carries it a little too far. I have given him three or four statements which will require a great deal of reply on his part before he can repeat that this Ministry is both incompetent and costly. One has to think about the actual work that is before us day by day. As it is, the Treasury and other Departments are so exacting in their demands that it is difficult to get the necessary staff to carry on day by day the work of accounting. I give this guarantee on behalf of Mr. McCurdy, not to mention the rest of the members of the Government, that the moment this Department can be wound up it will be wound up. I can personally give that guarantee about the Wheat Commission, and Lord Bledisloe will, I have no doubt, give the same personal guarantee on behalf of his colleagues on the Sugar Commission. There is every desire in the world to end these Departments as soon as conditions permit.

Turning to Lord Bledisloe's question as to these two Commissions, technically they are not within this Bill. Both of them were established before the Ministry of Food came into existence, and the termination of that Ministry does not technically involve the termination of offices which are worked under Royal Warrant. There again, as soon as these Departments can be done away with, of course they will be done away with, and the sooner they can be done away with the sooner everybody will be pleased.

In regard to Regulation 2B, I am certainly not going to embark upon an answer at the present moment. I shall ensure that Lord Sumner's remarks are carefully perused; we shall read them in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow morning. The Regulation in question deals with the requisition of articles of food, and the Ministry of Food desire that the powers should be continued. They are, of course, emergency powers. It is hoped that they will never be put into operation, but we do want to maintain them intact and, of course, we want them to be conferred without any possible doubt as to their validity. If they are included in this Bill in this form I take it they will have statutory validity. There is no concealment as to what the powers are; they are powers which, in certain cases of emergency, might be very important for us to have. But we will look into the question, and when the Committee stage comes forward, if Lord Sumner cares to put down Amendments, I will put myself in a position to give him a reply.

My Lords, I should not have intervened in this debate but for a sentence which fell from tie noble Earl towards the end of his speech. If he will allow me to say so, I listened with considerable satisfaction and conviction to his defence of the Food Ministry and its transactions, but I hope that if the noble Lord, Lord Chaplin, puts down an Amendment in Committee to shorten the life of this Ministry, the noble Earl will be able to produce a rather better argument than he produced just now when he said that they would lose all their staff if they were to terminate the Office in six months. I think there is a little fear outside that security of tenure is precisely what the staff seeks, whereas what is desired by the people is the end of the Ministry. I think we should all feel more happy if provision was made for the staff to finish up the work in six months, or twelve months, or whatever period it may be, rather than it should be said to them: "You probably have two years, anyway." I hope, if the point is raised in Committee, that the noble Earl will offer a better excuse.

I know it cannot end in six months. It is a perfectly incidental thing.

On Question, Bill read 2a , and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Resident Magistrates (Ireland) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, the salaries and allowances, which are borne on the Votes, paid to Resident Magistrates in Ireland, are governed by a Statute well over forty-five years old. These Magistrates are appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, and their salaries are today very low compared with the salary of other men in similar positions. Under this Bill it is proposed to empower the Lord Lieutenant to make orders prescribing the scale and rates of salaries and allowances of Resident Magistrates. At the present moment their maximum salaries are £675, £550, and £425 respectively. Having regard to the increased cost of living, and to the onerous, not to mention the difficult, conditions under which they do their work, it is considered that the statutory maxima are now quite inadequate, and it is proposed, under tins Bill, to abolish the present. classification and raise these salaries and allowances to an extent which will involve an increased charge on the Exchequer of something like £14,000 a year.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .— (The Earl of Crawford.)

I cannot say. The Bill merely empowers the Lord Lieutenant to change the salaries and allowance, but I can easily find out into what categories the changes will fall.

On Question, Bill read 2a , and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Proprietary Medicines Bill Hl

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (Viscount Astor.)

My Lords, as I was unavoidably absent during the Second Reading debate, and as I was instrumental in getting the Select Committee appointed upon whose Report the Bill is founded and as I sat for nearly three years on that Committee considering the problem which tins Bill is designed to meet, perhaps you will allow me to say that I hope there will be no serious attempt on the part of your Lordships' House to whittle down the admittedly drastic provisions of this important Bill. Probably never has such a tissue of fraud and falsehood been disclosed to any Parliamentary Committee of either House as was disclosed to us on that Select Committee. Nor, probably, has there ever been told such a sad tale of human misery, mortality, and breakdown of health, following the deception of ignorant and credulous persons, particularly those who belong to those classes represented by domestic servants and shop assistants. This deception is largely practised through the medium of advertisements appearing in the less reputable newspapers. I emphasise the "less reputable newspapers," because I am bound to admit that, through the medium of Viscount Burnham, the particular class of newspapers which he and Lord Riddell represent in this House were to a great extent exculpated in the course of the evidence given to us, and if ever there was a good champion of any interest who sat upon a Parliamentary Committe and did his best to secure that the reasonable interests of that class should be safeguarded, that person was the noble Viscount.

I want to remind your Lordships that in no civilised country in the world is there less protection afforded against the class of imposition which this Bill deals with than in the United Kingdom. Even in our own Colonies and Dependencies there is far more effective protection for the credulous public against this kind of deception and fraud. I hope your Lordships will welcome almost every provision in this Bill, and especially the provision which deals with those particularly noxious types of attempted cure—namely, the cure of incurable diseases and attempts to bring about abortion in women, by preparations all of which are poisonous and which must in the course of killing the fœtus, or child, either kill the mother or create permanent disablement or disease. I do hope, if only out of deference to the Committee which has devoted an enormous amount of time and trouble to get at the real truth of this problem, that you will strenuously resist any attempt to whittle down the provisions of the Bill.

My Lords, I should like to ask one or two questions before we go into Committee. The noble Viscount was good enough to afford us an opportunity of reading the Report of the Committee and I have refreshed my memory since the Second Reading debate. I would like to call his attention to their recommendation, namely—

"That a special Court or Commission be constituted with power to permit or to prohibit in the public interest, or on the ground of non. compliance with the law, the sale and advertisement of any patent, secret, or proprietary remedy."
This appears in the Bill in a much milder form. I think it is Clause 5 which prescribes the causes for which, and the manner in which, a registered owner shall be removed from the register, and I think that somewhere else in the Bill the reason given is, that "it is dangerous to health." The words "dangerous to health" or "injurious to health" are of a much narrower scope than the words of the Committee's recommendation, which are "in the public interest." It may well be in the public interest to prohibit medicines on the ground not necessarily that they are actually dangerous to health, but on the ground that they are swindles and fraudulent. I am aware of the fact that the noble Viscount said the Bill is not intended by the Government as a Bill to protect the pockets of the public, but is intended only as a means of protecting their health, and that may be his argument why these wider words are not included. But there may be other grounds under "public interest," and I do not see why that recommendation is excluded from the Bill.

There is a further recommendation of the Select Committee to the following effect—
"That it be a breach of the law to give a false trade description of any remedy, and that the following be a definition of a false trade description:— 'A statement, design or device regarding any article or preparation, or the drugs or ingredients, or substances contained therein, or the curative or therapeutie effect thereof, which is false or misleading in any particular."
Those provisions again I cannot find within the four corners of the Bill as drawn. I do not know whether the noble Viscount can point out any place where they do come. Then there is a smaller point which can conveniently be raised in Committee, but I should like to draw attention to it at this moment, because it seems to me somewhat a matter of principle. In Clause 5 (b) Regulations may be made "for regulating the manner in which applications for registration … may be made, including the payment of such fees as may be prescribed." It is left entirely to the ipse dixit of the Department to fix the fee at 5s. or £50 a time. I should have thought that it would be better to fix a minimum or a maximum, and put it in the Act of Parliament, and not give so large a power to the Department without having it mentioned in the actual Statute. The Depart- ment may make the fees anything they like from 1s., which I should think deplorable, to, say, £500, which I think some other Lords who seem to be supporting the medicine makers would think to be deplorable.

My Lords, in the main the Bill carries out the recommendations of the Select Committee. It does not, I understand, contain any point which was not recommended definitely and specifically by the Committee. Certain recommendations of the Select Committee have not been included in the Bill which is now before your Lordships, because they were not really matters affecting the Ministry of Health; matters, for instance, connected with the Stamp Act. it understand it is very possible that legislation may follow if, and when, this particular Bill is put on the Statute Book, dealing with that portion of the Committee's recommendations. Then there is a second recommendation that the Indecent Advertisement Act be amended on the lines of Lord Braye's Bill. That is not in the interest of health but of public morals, and what we have done in our Bill is to try to prevent injury to public health. As the noble Earl said just now, and as I explained on the Second Reading, we are trying to limit the Bill to matters which are for the protection of the health of the public.

We have not attempted to deal with the question of profiteering. I am prepared to go into that later—on an Amendment which I see Lord Bledisloe has on the Paper. We have not dealt with the recommendations concerning fancy names, nor with the recommendation giving a period to the validity of names used as trade marks for drugs. Nor have we dealt with two other points which Lord Bledisloe is going to raise—namely, fictitious names and promises to return money. The Committee recommended an Amendment of the Merchandise Marks Act. This is a matter primarily affecting the Board of Trade, and for that reason also, this being a Ministry of Health Bill, we are not dealing with that particular point. Since the Committee issued their Report an Act has been passed dealing with venereal diseases. To that extent we have modified their recommendation.

As regards the question of fees, and the fixing of fees in the Act of Parliament, I think if the noble Earl will look through the Bill he will see that everything which is dealt with by Regulation—and it is by Regulation that we should fix the fee—is to be submitted to Parliament. It would probably be unwise, particularly with the changing value of money, to put into this Bill a definite fee, whether of 5s., 1s. or 10s. or whatever it might be, because we might find in a few years time that it was not a satisfactory fee. I think it is far better that it should be dealt with by Regulation, which has to be sanctioned by Parliament, so that there will be an opportunity for objection.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Control of manufacture and sale of proprietary medicines and appliances.

1.—(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to manufacture or prepare for sale any proprietary medicine or any proprietary surgical appliance unless—

  • (a) he is duly registered under this Act as the owner of the medicine or appliance, as the case may be, or is a person authorised by the registered owner to manufacture or prepare for sale the medicine or appliance on his behalf; and
  • (b) the medicine or appliance is a medicine or appliance duly registered under this Act; and
  • (c) in the case of a medicine, it is compounded of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register, or, in the case of an appliance, it corresponds with the specimen furnished under this Act to the registrar.
  • (2) It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, or have in his possession for sale, any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance which is not registered under this Act, or any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance registered under this Act unless it bears the number assigned to it in the register, or any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance which is manufactured elsewhere than in England or Wales unless the owner therof or his representative is duly registered under this Act.

    (3) If any person acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    (4) This section shall come into operation on the expiration of six months from the date on which notice is given by the Minister in the London Gazette that applications for registration under this Act will be received.

    had on the Paper an Amendment in subsection (1), after "sale," where that word first occurs, to insert "sell or offer for sale." The noble Lord said: I think I should be candid with regard to this Amendment. It was prepared by me hurriedly (and for that I have to apologise), and I could not possibly press it for two reasons: In the first place it is proposed in the wrong place, and if it were adopted at all it should appear in subsection (2) of Clause 1, and then in somewhat different words. My object in suggesting the Amendment was to meet a rather important matter. My desire in connection with this Bill is, as Lord Bledisloe has urged, that it should not be whittled away but made as strong and effective as it possibly can be, and I am rather afraid that unless the clause receives amendment somewhat on these lines it way not be quite satisfactory in practice. It is only with that object that I draw attention now to the Amendment which stands in my name, although I shall ask the noble Viscount who has charge of the Bill to consider the general matter afterwards, and to take such action as may be necessary on Report.

    The clause is constructed so as to make it penal for any person to prepare for sale, or to manufacture for sale, any proprietary medicine, unless it is composed of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register. That, of course, only affects the manufacturer. Sometimes the manufacturer may be himself a very small vendor of physic, who prepares and sells retail, but for the most part the mere retailer is not intended, as the clause stands, to be affected. It does appear to be drastic to suggest in the Amendment that the retailer should be made liable when perhaps he is innocent of any wrongdoing, while the manufacturer, front whom he buys these sometimes worthless and sometimes harmful preparations, may escape. But the provision as it stands, it seems to me, will not enable you to get at the manufacturer. A man starts a factory and puts all these things into the pot. How are you to find out, unless you have power of entry, whether he is doing it rightly or wrongly? I do not find anything in the Bill which, either directly or by incorporation of other Statutes, would enable any person authorised by the Ministry of Health to enter and inspect. If there be any such power I shall be content, hut if there is no such provision then I think it would be a matter requiring correction.

    It may be said, however, that if samples are purchased from retailers and are made up in wrappers purporting to have been issued by the manufacturers, the analysis of those samples might possibly be evidence against the manufacturer or evidence under subsection (1). On that I do not seek to dogmatise. It may or may not he evidence, but it would certainly appear to me, if you want to be quite sure of making it evidence, that you should do so by an express clause in the Statute. I can certainly imagine, speaking without any desire to be dogmatic upon it, great practical difficulties in finding evidence against the manufacturer. My suggestion for dealing with it may be too drastic. It would not be too drastic for my own view, because I think that anything which prevents the sale of these things altogether would be most desirable. But I do not imagine that your Lordships would be prepared to go beyond the provisions dealing with the manufacture. At the same time experience in connection with the Food and Drugs Act has shown, I think, that the only practical way of getting at these things is by catching the person who has the article on sale, and if that person has a grievance against any manufacturer let him settle it with that manufacturer.

    I will not, however, now move the Amendment which, I frankly admit, is crude and inappropriate. But the point I have in my mind is not unimportant. I do not think the clause at it stands provides the necessary machinery for getting at the concocter of these nostrums in a so-called manufactory. I would suggest that there should be a power of entry, or at any rate that there should be an express provision that when there is an analysis of the contents, that analysis should be evidence against the manufacturer of the offence contained in subsection (1)

    I gather that the noble and learned Lord proposes to put down other Amendments on the Report Stage, so that perhaps it will only be necessary for me now to say that his Amendments will receive very careful consideration. But he is quite right in saying that the present Amendment would not do at all.

    If I understand the noble Lord's point, it does want a little answering. I think that perhaps the noble Viscount might consider it now. What I understand the noble Lord to mean is this. Under subsection (1) you may not manufacture this medicine unless it is corn-pounded of the proper ingredients contained in the register. Subsection (2) deals not with the manufacturers of the medicine, but with the person who sells it, and subsection (2) does not do anything to him for selling a medicine which is not compounded of the proper ingredients. should be glad to have it confirmed that the retailer who receives the thing wrapped up, prepared for sale with the Government stamp on it, and sells it as he gets it, is not to be made responsible if what is in the bottle is not what the manufacturer says it contains.

    I understand the noble Lord has stated that it is not his intention to move the Amendment.

    It is not easy to withdraw an Amendment which has not been moved. I think it would be more convenient if we were to pass to the next Amendment.

    May I point out that if the noble Lord moved the Amendment that would regularise the discussion.

    I raised the matter simply to elicit the view of the House. I formally move.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 6, after ("sale") insert ("sell or offer for sale").—(Lord Shandon.)

    As we are now in order, will not the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill take the opportunity, of which Lord Emmott endeavoured to deprive him, and tell us what is his view.

    My view is that the Amendment down on the Paper, as the mover has quite recognised, is impossible. We propose to put the owner and the manufacturer on the register. We do not want to make it impossible, or unreasonably difficult, for the retailer to sell these various proprietary remedies, and the Amendment down on the Paper would, in fact, have made it almost impossible for the retailer to have been appointed as the person authorised by the registered owner to manufacture or prepare for sale the medicine or appliance on his behalf. I think we protect the public by saying in subsection (2) that it shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, any medicine which is not registered, and which does not bear the proper number so that it can be identified. In our opinion that gives the public a safeguard that is reasonable.

    We are right in thinking that the retailer is not responsible for the ingredients.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (1) (b), after "act" to insert "and under one designation only." The noble Lord said: In moving this Amendment I have in mind a certain part of the Report of the Select Committee (paragraph 16, on page vii), in which attention is drawn to the extreme inconvenience and, in some cases, personal harm, resulting from a large number of trade designations being given to a single drug or preparation. As a case in point, may I remind your Lordships of what is generally known as aspirin, a remedy with which I dare say many of your Lordships are familiar. The proper chemical name of that is acetyl-salicylic acid. But it is known in the trade under no less than five different names. Some of them are aspirin, saletin, salacetin, and xaxa. Another very serious case referred to in the Report of the Committee is that of acetanilide, which is referred to in another part of the Report as a most dangerous drug that ought not to be sold at all. This is, in fact, sold under a variety of names, some of which are antikamnia, ammonol, antitoxin, phenalgin, and phenolphthalein. Some of it comes from the United States and that which comes from America is wrongly called antikamnia. We attribute that name to a quite different English drug. There is another case mentioned, but I will not go into the details. This drug is sold in this country under no less than sixteen different trade names.

    Apart from the extreme inconvenience of this system, the register will become very little of a guide either to the Ministry or to the public if the same drug is entered in the register under a great variety of names. Moreover, I may remind the noble Viscount opposite that there are a certain number of persons who are well aware that certain drugs do not agree with them, or possibly their doctors tell them that they ought not to take them. Let me suggest that possibly aspirin is to some persons one of those drugs, and yet they may find themselves purchasing from a retail chemist exactly the same drug under a totally different designation. I do not feel happy about this Amendment, I am bound to say. I am not quite sure whether I have put it down in the right place. If there is no other way of meeting what I desire to meet I hope the noble Viscount, if he is not prepared to accept this Amendment, will accept the one which I have put down on page 4, line 22. That would require, in the case of a synthetic drug sold as a proprietory medicine, that the chemical name should appear on the label and in every advertisement relating thereto, just as is invariably the case in the case of seeds, where the botanical as well as the popular name is given. I suggest that the case here may be partly met by adopting a somewhat similar principle, and insisting on every packet or bottle containing the chemical name and the full trade designation, whatever that may be. In any case there is considerable inconvenience under the present system and I hope the noble Viscount will see his way to accept this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 14, after ("Act") insert ("and under one designation only.")—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I shall be prepared, when we reach the subsequent Amendment to which my noble friend refers, to accept that Amendment. I do not know if he wants me to discuss this particular one at this stage. On that understanding perhaps he does not want to press this particular Amendment.

    I do not desire to press this Amendment if the noble Viscount is prepared to accept the other. But I am bound to say that from the point of view of himself and of his own Ministry I should have thought the register would be a much better guide to the contents, if he were prepared to accept the Amendment which I am now moving.

    Does the noble Viscount desire to have the same substance registered on the official register under various names? Is it not desirable that there should be but one name for one substance?

    The difficulty, when you have different owners of these various remedies, made up entirely, if you like, of the same substances, is that there has been a great deal of money spent in establishing the good will, and it might be rather unfair and unreasonable to prejudice the owners of certain proprietary remedies by accepting the Amendment which is now before your Lordships. That is really my difficulty. Over a long period of time a considerable amount of money has been spent in creating a good will, and if I were to accept the Amendment of the noble Lord I should seriously prejudice people who have established a good will.

    Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (1) (c), to delete "it is compounded of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register," and insert "in respect of which a statutory declaration has been furnished to the registrar, it is compounded in accordance with the declaration." The noble Lord said: This Amendment is really anticipatory of the substantial Amendment which I desire to move on paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of Clause 5 of the Bill, and I presume it would be convenient to the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill, and to your Lordships, if I deal with the larger question at this point rather than with the narrower one.

    I would therefore ask your Lordships' attention to the subsequent Amendment on paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of Clause 5 of the Bill. I desire to strike out the words: "full particulars of the ingredients

    of the medicine and the proportions in which those ingredients are used have been furnished to the registrar, including," and to insert words which will make the paragraph read as follows:—

    "prohibiting the registration of any medicine unless and until there has been furnished to the registrar a statutory declaration: (i) that the medicine does not contain any article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908 (as originally enacted or as amended in the manner provided by section two of the Pharmacy Act, 1868); or (ii) specifying the article or articles mentioned in the said Schedule which are contained in the medicine and the proportions in which they are used; and".

    The preparation of many of these proprietary medicines is, of course, a secret. As the noble Viscount has reminded us in regard to the Amendment which has just been withdrawn, a good will has been built up in reference to them. A great deal of this trade is an export trade; yet if Clause 1 passes in its present form nobody will be allowed to manufacture for export in accordance with the law of the country to which the commodity manufactured is to be exported, if it contravenes the provisions of this Bill. I do not know what is intended as regards the export trade in reference to this matter. It is a very important matter. It would seem to me, with the little knowledge I have, a rather monstrous thing to interfere with a legitimate export trade in the way suggested in this Bill.

    I do not want to worry the question of procedure again, but in face of this I think it would have been better to give more time for the Committee stage of the Bill. It cannot be passed before the autumn session because it has to go to another place where they have no time to consider it, and I find myself in a very considerable difficulty. I have had no time to study the Bill. I am intensely busy at the present moment with a hundred and one different matters. I have no personal interest in the Bill at all and no previous knowledge of it, but the case put to me by the manufacturers seems to demand careful investigation at your Lordships' hands. When a body of manufacturers appeal to me, as the manufacturers of some of these articles have done—not at all in a spirit of opposition to the Bill as a whole, which contains very many useful provisions—approving much of the Bill, but honestly believing that a trade which they consider as legitimate is going to be ruined by some of the provisions of the Bill, I do feel bound to state, as best I can, the points that they urge against the provisions which are now contained in the Bill.

    I am all the more disturbed in regard to this matter because of the statements made by the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill in reference to the staff that would be required for the working of the Bill. The noble Viscount, if I did not misunderstand him in the Second Reading debate, led us to suppose that only a registrar would be required. On the one hand, we are told that a great trade is being conducted in this country with many maleficent effects, which requires careful control, which is producing articles the formulae for all of which require to be examined and the composition of many of which requires to be checked, and yet, on the other hand, we are told that only a registrar will be required as a new permanent official to deal with the whole question. Obviously, if there is a great evil—and I am in no position to deny it—it must be a large and expensive matter to control it. The idea that only a registrar is needed for the purpose does not carry any conviction to my mind. A large staff must be required. Either that staff is in existence at the present moment or it is not in existence. If it is in existence it must be kicking its heels at the Ministry of Health at the present time, doing nothing—a supposition which, I think, is entirely absurd. If it is not in existence it has to be created, and it is going to be costly. I am sure the noble Viscount used his argument in perfect good faith, but I have no particular confidence in the financial estimates of the Minister of Health, and I do not think he ought to have instructed the noble Viscount to make a statement of this kind, carrying no conviction. If it does carry conviction to anybody, I fear it can only do so by misleading them.

    The real controversy that I want to bring before you, the controversy on formula deposit, is really one between the medical profession and the manufacturers. Many doctors want a complete disclosure. The manufacturers say that some members of the medical profession are out to destroy their trade, with the effect, incidentally, of increasing their own remuneration. I am not in the least concerned in that quarrel; all I desire is to see justice done and the best arrangements possible made for the public. In regard to this particular Amendment the voting in the Select Committee was six for the particular proposal in the Bill and three against. Broadly speaking, I believe no such provision is required in any English-speaking country at the present time. I fully admit that many English-speaking countries (our own Dominions among the number) are greatly ahead of us in regard to legislation on this matter. But this particular provision, I believe, is not in force, broadly speaking, in any English-speaking country. It has been debated in Canada, in Queensland, and, I am told but am not sure, in Western Australia also, and it was defeated there. Canada is the most recent example. The Canadian Bill requiring formula deposit was withdrawn last year by the Government, and the Act now requires a statement on oath that preparations do, or do not, contain certain drugs which are mentioned in the Schedule to the Act.

    In effect my proposal is the same as the Canadian legislation at the present time. I may mention incidentally, as a somewhat analogous case, although, I admit, it is not by any means entirely on all fours, that in the Profiteering Act there is a section which says—

    "Nothing in this Act or the principal Act shall require particulars of any secret process or preparation to be disclosed."

    So much for what I may call precedent. The next point I want to bring forward, is that I very much doubt, according to the information of those who have advised me, whether any protection will be afforded by formula deposit. How many of us know the quality of one-tenth or one-hundredth of the drugs used? Indeed, there are many drugs of which I do not even know the name. How many of the people whom we are trying to save from the evil effects of obnoxious drugs and obnoxious medicines would be deterred by a knowledge that the medicine which they took had in it certain ingredients with long Latin or Greek names, of the meaning of which, and the qualities of which, they have not the faintest conception. Many of these proprietary medicines are, after all, in the nature of very harmless soothing syrup. Their virtue is somewhat analogous to that of the present Government; it is a harmonious Coalition exercising a soothing effect upon a considerable portion of the public.

    The real protection in regard to this matter is in paragraph (f) of Clause 5, which enables the Minister, if he thinks fit,

    to direct that the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug—I shall propose an Amendment later on to alter those words to "article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908"—forming an ingredient of any registered medicine shall be stated in the prescribed manner on all vessels or other packages in which the medicine is sold or offered for sale. There is an immense list of these drugs now in the Schedule. I do not know how many hundreds, but hundreds and hundreds of them. I think am correct in that. And they are being constantly added to, quite properly and rightly, by the Privy Council. Veronal, for instance, a drug of which we have all heard, has, I think, quite recently been added to this list. It is admitted, of course, that a great many vegetable compositions are very difficult to detect by chemical analysis. If the Government proposal is to be defended, it clearly must be on the score that harmful drugs are being used, or processes are being used, which make medicines harmful, which would not be covered by disclosing the drugs which are in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act. If I am correct in my information, clearly the real remedy is to add to the Schedule and put the harmful drugs upon it.

    There is a further protection at the present time in the prohibition of all advertising, I understand, as regards abortificients and as regards cures for venereal disease. I believe the principle that I adopted at the War Trade Department is the right one, mutalis mutandis. In that case we required disclosure of articles which were prohibited from export at the time, if they entered into the composition of the compound articles that were sent out. In this case it seems to me that there should be a disclosure of the use of any drugs in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act. I do not think that disclosure to a large number of Government officials (and I maintain that there must be a large staff who will know) is at all desirable, if it can be avoided. The registrar cannot possibly deal with tens of thousands of registered proprietary medicines himself, and I do ask your Lordships seriously to look at the temptation, first of all, to sell knowledge—a direct method of corruption—and, secondly, the much more subtle temptation to a manufacturer to offer a high salary to a man who is soaked in the secrets of this new Department, and who could give

    him valuable information, if he could be induced to enter his service.

    I beg that this matter should have further consideration. I think the case to be made against this particular proposal is very strong. If the case that can be made in its favour is stronger still, of course, one must give way, but, so far as I see it, I think the case is very strong against the proposal, and I would urge that this Bill should be passed without this particular proposal. If, when it has been passed and has been put into force, it is found that it is not sufficient, it will be a very simple matter to remedy it.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 15, leave, out from ("medicine") to ("or") in line 17, and insert ("in respect of which a statutory declaration has been furnished to the registrar, it is compounded in accordance with the declaration").—(Lord Emmott.)

    Lord Emmott has just moved an Amendment which would take out one of the important proposals in the Bill. Next to Clause 2 the disclosure, in confidence to the registrar, of the ingredients of these remedies is certainly the most important proposal contained in the Bill. I hope that we shall be able, during the course of our discussion, to persuade the noble Lord that it would not be in the public interest to persevere with this Amendment. Before going into greater detail I might, perhaps, deal with some of the more general points which the noble Lord raised. First of all, he has again, I will not say complained at the Bill being taken in Committee to-day, but he has suggested ant we should not proceed with it to-day or during the time that remains to us, but should rather postpone its further consideration to the autumn. I have not been a member of your Lordships' House for very long, but since I have been here I have heard frequent complaints that your Lordships have not enough constructive legislative work to do, that you have been too much restricted to being merely in the position of revising the legislation submitted by the other House. This is an attempt on the part of the Ministry of Health to introduce legislation here. Perhaps I may elaborate my point a little. I know the noble Lord is not complaining of that.

    As I said on the Second Reading, we hope to get this Bill through your Lordships' House in August in order that it may be ready for the House of Commons to consider it the first week of the autumn sittings. The noble Lord, who has wide experience of the House of Commons, knows perfectly well that very often during the first week important Bills can be taken for which, perhaps, it is difficult to find time later in the session, when big, important, contentious measures are brought in by the Government. Therefore I earnestly hope your Lordships will assist us in passing the Bill through all its stages in this House before the recess. I believe, as a matter of fact, that on examining the Amendments your Lordships will find there are not a large number of points which really need take up your Lordships' time. When we have dealt with this Amendment, I believe that we shall, in fact, have dealt with most of the contentious Amendments which are on the Paper.

    My noble friend complained of the smallness of the staff which it was contemplated we should have under the Ministry of Health in order to work this Act effectively. We do not suppose that we shall have inspectors going all round the country; we do not expect to be looking into every medicine. We know perfectly well how right he was in saying that many of these proprietary medicines are quite harmless, and therefore it is not necessary to have a large staff analysing them and going into them in every detail. Still, as I shall attempt to show your Lordships, we consider it is vitally necessary, if we are to carry out the object of the Bill—namely, to safeguard the health and welfare of the public that buy remedies—that the Minister of Health, who is responsible for the administration of this Bill, should know what they contain. The noble Lord also said that in no English-speaking country was the owner of a proprietary medicine obliged to disclose the formula. I understand that in Western Australia the owner not only has to disclose the formula in secret to a Government Department; he has to put the ingedients on the label so that every man who buys a bottle of the remedy knows exactly what it is he is buying.

    I do not know. The noble Lord said there was no country, and I have given him one example.

    I said, broadly speaking; but I added that I was not quite sure about Western Australia.

    I beg the noble Lord's pardon; I did not catch the qualification. In moving his Amendment the noble Lord said that it was essential to maintain the secrecy of the formula. He said that the doctors were in favour of the Bill, as now drafted, implying that the medical profession at large would get to know the composition of the various remedies.

    As long as the noble Lord did not mean that, well and good, because he certainly went on to say that there would be a great temptation to the officers of the Ministry of Health to sell to the public, or to a trade rival, or to a doctor, the information which had been supplied to the Minister in the strictest confidence. I have too high an opinion of our Civil Service and our officials to believe that they would, in fact, be tempted to sell such secrets. The noble Lord further said that, generally speaking, the medical profession was in favour of doing away with proprietary medicines because it would be to their interest, and their remuneration would go up. I could point to many passages in the evidence given before the Select Committee where it was said that, on the whole, the medical profession stood to gain by the public buying a large number of these remedies; that over and over again cases were known of serious injury to health, of disease having been allowed to get worse through delay in going to a proper medical practitioner for advice during the time the unfortunate individual was treating himself as best he could by using some of them. It was stated in evidence before the Committee that it was rather to the interest of the profession that the public should use these remedies. I dare say Lord Bledisloe, who was a member of the Committee, may deal with the point; I do not want to make too much of it.

    Perhaps I may be able to satisfy Lord Emmott on the question of export. As I understand it, the Bill is not intended to touch the export trade at Medicines for sale abroad can be consigned to an agent abroad, and no sale within the meaning of Clause 1 need take place at all; no property need pass until the goods have left this country. If the noble Lord is not satisfied with that explanation and would care to put down an Amendment, I shall be very pleased to consider it sympathetically on the Report stage.

    Dealing now with the main point of the Amendment, may I say that there are two big proposals in the Bill. First of all, we prohibit by Clause 2 the advertising of remedies purporting to cure certain diseases. The Bill is also designed to prevent the sale of remedies which may be injurious and prejudicial to the health of the purchaser. There are a large number of substances, not poisons, which, if taken in excessive doses or given to children, or taken without proper warning against excessive doses, in fact seriously prejudice the health of those who take them. Antipyrine, antifebrin, the bromides, sulphate of zine and various other ingredients which I could name if your Lordships wish for more information on the point, if taken by the man in the street without due warning against excessive dosage, seriously prejudice his health. They are not technically poisons, but there are cases in which they act prejudicially. I have before me a case in which two children lost their lives by taking a patent, medicine containing an ingredient which is not a poison. The case was fought out before the Courts; counsel was employed by the owner of the remedy—counsel who is now a learned Judge—and the Court reported quite specifically that these two children had lost their lives because they had taken this particular proprietary remedy containing an ingredient which ought not to have been given to children in the doses in which it was given to them.

    1905. If your Lordships want to go into the question of injury to health, I am quite prepared to do so in detail and to quote a large number of examples, but I do not want to create a prejudice against the trade in patent medicines as a whole. A large number of these remedies do not prejudice life and if I went into it at great length it might seem to imply that all patent medicines are prejudicial to health. The Committee certainly came to the conclusion, and it will be borne out by any medical practitioner, that it is unwise for any mother to give bromides to her children unless there is proper medical supervision, and that there are many other substances which, if taken in large quantities, are injurious to the individual who takes them. We want to be in a position to see that the public are warned about the quantity of the dose they ought to take, and it is essential for us to know what are the ingredients in these medicines.

    I have put down an Amendment which, I believe, will give reasonable safeguard to the trade. I have an Amendment to Clause 1 which makes it impossible for a trade rival to try and ascertain the ingredients of any proprietary remedy by bringing a trumped-up case against the owner of the remedy. That will be a real protection. The Amendment restricts proceedings against the owner of a medicine to the Minister of Health; it is not possible for a trade rival to bring the owner of one of these medicines into Court to try and extract publicly the composition of the remedy. I have also an Amendment to Clause 4 which will give further protection to the trade, and if the noble Lord, upon the Report stage, is able to suggest any further Amendment which will give reasonable protection to the owners of proprietary medicines I will willingly and gladly consider it. But we think it absolutely vital that the ingredients which go to make up these remedies should be disclosed in absolute confidence to the Government. The particular Amendment now before the House strikes at one of the fundamental clauses in the Bill and I trust your Lordships will not accept it, if it is pressed, though I hope the noble Lord will not press it.

    I do not rise to deal with the Amendment now before the House but some observations fell from the noble Viscount, with which I cordially agree, on which I should like to make a remark. He said that it was his desire that measures should be first introduced in this House. I quite agree with him and rejoice that the noble Viscount, who has just arrived from the House of Commons, holds that view. But in my opinion measures of such importance as this should not be introduced into your Lordships' House in the last hours before the House adjourns. It is an important measure, and the Amendments on the Paper are very important. I do not know whether the Government have considered what they are doing by dealing with these numerous Amendments at this hour. Are we going to sit to-morrow, or after dinner to-night? Is the adjournment for the holidays to be postponed until the week after next? These are questions which your Lordships should consider at this moment, because we may have to go on for hours, for days, dealing with this Bill and then regret that we have not sufficient time to do justice to so important a subject. Measures like this should be introduced earlier in the session and the House should have more time to give to the details in order that Bills may be sent to the other House in a perfect form, doing credit to your Lordships' House.

    I do not think we can pass by the appropriate remarks of the noble Lord who has just spoken without signifying our assent to the general proposition he has laid down. I agree with him, and also with the noble Viscount, that it is important that Bills should be introduced in the first instance in your Lordships' House, but I cannot say that August 6 is a suitable date on which to deal in Committee with an elaborate Bill of this kind. I do not say it is an unacceptable procedure in the case of a Bill which is to be passed by consent. There are certain Bills, important Bills, upon the provisions of which all reasonable men are agreed and these may, no doubt, be suitably dealt with at any time in the session. I do not know how far the noble Viscount's persuasive eloquence has prevailed upon Lord Emmott to modify his view. I do not want to pronounce any opinion against the contention of the noble Viscount, but I do not think his argument was quite full. I am not very satisfied with the precedent of Western Australia. It may be an important Colony, but it is not one of the most important Colonies in the British Dominions, and I am not much impressed by that precedent. If he can persuade Lord Emmott that he is correct there is no reason in the world why the matter should not proceed, but if there is a serious difference of opinion upon an important Amendment of this kind the Government have only one course to pursue, and that is to make some modification. It is perfectly clear that if your Lordships went to a Division they would be compelled to do so. There would not be a quorum in the House, and it follows they would have to make some sort of concession.

    One is, of course, anxious to deal with everything on the basis of consent, but it is impossible to conciliate divergent opinions. Last night the noble Marquess protested against sitting after dinner and now he protests against taking a Bill at half-past five in the afternoon. The Government desire to make as much progress with this Bill as possible, they attach considerable importance to it. My noble friend Viscount Astor was only explaining that his wish is that the Bill should be passed in order that the House of Commons may begin with it early after the recess. I do hope that because it is the month of August and because we began this Bill at half-past five, we are not to be precluded from continuing it, as that means the abrogation of work by the House of Lords.

    There has been only one speech in support of the alleged merits of this particular Amendment. If the Amendment is carried it will strike a blow, and a fundamental blow, at the Bill itself. This particular Bill would have been introduced some five years ago had it not been for the war. The problem with which it deals is one of the greatest possible urgency. The scandal which existed with regard to these proprietary remedies of a detrimental character was great before the war, and it is infinitely greater at the present time, as the result of war and post-war social conditions. Considering that we sat as a Select Committee for very nearly three years, and made a most meticulous examination of the whole problem, and particularly this side of it, I should deprecate your Lordships accepting the argument of my noble friend opposite, in support of his Amendment, as sufficient in effect to kill this Bill or so to emasculate it as to render it, to a very large extent, valueless.

    On the merits of this Amendment I should like to remind Lord Emmott that while seeking, as he does, to maintain absolute secrecy as to the composition of all proprietary remedies, this is not a course which is adopted in the leading countries of Europe to-day. France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and other European countries took steps some years ago to prevent the perpetuation of this secrecy in the preparation of proprietary medicines. In the countries of Western Australia, France, Italy and Austria the real prescription or formula has to be made known to the public. We do not go so far as that. I am bound to say that some of the strongest evidence brought before us was in favour of making known to the public, by printing on the bottle, the actual ingredients. We did not think that was fair to those who dealt in perfectly reliable proprietary remedies, but we ask that the law in this respect shall be brought up to the average level of that of the more civilised nations of the world, and it would not be so if this Amendment were carried.

    In support of what the noble Viscount has said I may say that when the noble Lord, Lord Emmott, asked the House to rest satisfied with a mere declaration that the ingredients of these preparations are not contained in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, he is excluding a very large number of ingredients which are noxious to human health and, in fact, poisonous if administered in more than an infinitesimal quantity. The noble Viscount opposite mentioned only a few, but I could mention a very much larger number if I desired to do so. In addition to that the noble Lord has not dealt with the important consideration that there are other ingredients which, although they may not be actually poisonous, are wholly useless for the particular ailments for which they are recommended and advertised. For both those reasons I would ask your Lordships to decline to accept this Amendment, which strikes at the whole root of this Bill, and at the whole labours of the Select Committee, who, as I have said, have taken enormous pains to make recommendations which will absolutely protect the public against fraud. I hope that your Lordships will not accept the Amendment but will make progress with the Bill.

    I have little doubt that this Bill will go through this evening if an arrangement can be made upon this particular point, which is the crux of the Bill. The great industry which is engaged upon medicines of this nature, some few of which may be of a harmful kind, rely upon their having formulæ which are not known to the general public. The public have not asked for these formulæthey would not understand them— but it is now asked that these should be deposited with the Government. It is suggested that the Government have not provided sufficient safeguards in order to prevent these formulæ leaking out. It goes to the very root of this great industry that secrecy should be maintained with regard to these preparations, on which a huge trade may be built up. If there is to be risk of such a huge trade being overthrown by some one man giving away the formula, or by its leaking out, or by its being betrayed through breach of faith, or anything of that kind, then this great industry will not be built up.

    The industry in many respects is one which has been of incalculable value to the public at large; many doctors make use in their prescriptions of the results which are obtained from it. Quack medicines have been really the pioneers of other medicines, and have often led to scientific discoveries; but all this would go, and this great industry would be overthrown, if you had not this secrecy which Lord Bledisloe has so attacked as being unsatisfactory. If the Government want to know what these medicines are made of, in ninety-five cases out of a hundred they can find it out by analysis. Lord Emmott has suggested that the practice which, during the war, was so satisfactory—namely, that poisons should be disclosed— should be followed, and he has been asked whether on Report, he can bring up a sufficient protection which the Government could accept. To my mind it is for the Government themselves to say how they are going to prevent this industry being overthrown by unfair disclosures, and it is for them, in the interests of the industry, to bring forward their own proposals.

    There are before the House two methods of protection for the health of the people. One is the protection offered by the Bill, and the other is the method of protection offered by the noble Lord. He says, in effect, that it is not necessary to disclose the composition of a remedy confidentially to a Government Department, but, on the contrary, that it is quite sufficient for a declaration to be made that a given remedy either does not contain a poison, or, if it does contain a poison, stating the proportions of the poison. I would like to bring before your Lordships certain reasons why I think the mere stating that a thing is a poison is not only inadequate, but is entirely unsuitable. Remedies are not to be judged suitable or unsuitable, according to whether they are poisons. Many remedies which make for good in proper hands make for harm in unskilful hands. And the practice winch has arisen of adding to the Scheduled poisons in the Poisons Act is a wholly undesirable practice. That Schedule contains many drugs, unfortunately, which in the strict sense of the word are not poisons at all, and it produces an undesirable prejudice in the public mind to overstate the number of poisons.

    The fact is that knowledge tends to make the composition of drugs more and more precise, and as their composition becomes more precise their action becomes more accurately known, and as their action becomes more accurately known, they become powerful for good and for evil—powerful for good in the hands of people who know, and powerful for evil in the hands of people who do not know. That is one of the reasons why, in my judgment, you must allow a wide discretion to a Government Department. On the one hand, you do not want to do any injustice to remedies which are either harmless, or (as many of them are) useful, and on the other hand, you must protect the public against remedies which may be potentially remedies for evil. What are the criteria which would enable us to say whether remedies are harmful or not? I would suggest one criterion, and that is, a patent medicine is not necessarily harmful per se in its ingredients, but it has the effect of masking the early symptoms of serious and grave diseases. One of the tragedies of patent medicines is that they put the people who take them into a fool's paradise. They mask the symptoms of a grave disease, with the result that month after month goes by and the true investigation of the disease from which the person is suffering is delayed. Ultimately, there is a very delayed investigation, and it is then found that it is too late to do anything. I would suggest, therefore, that one criterion is not whether a particular drug is a poison or not, but whether a particular combination of drugs does, by having this particular effect, do such harm to the public as to require that the public should be protected.

    I will not detain your Lordships by giving needless examples. Malignant disease immediately comes to one's mind. It is quite easy to assuage the symptoms of malignant disease for six months by various remedies, whereas, if a protection existed, the unfortunate victim would go and be properly examined, and an early and scientific diagnosis would not be delayed by inefficient and haphazard treatment. There are certain drugs which are extremely efficacious when properly handled, but which, in the hands of inexperienced people, are dangerous, and that number will assuredly increase. Those drugs are not poisons. It is the abuse of the drugs which is the poison. Take for example the analine group. Another reason for supporting the dye industry is found in the innumerable drugs that are being carefully and scientifically built up with analine and other compounds as their basis. This group of drugs is being extended year by year. These drugs are not poisons, but they are extraordinarily dangerous in the hands of people, either singly or in combination, who do not know how to use them. Many of the simple head-ache powders in the hands of skilful persons are most efficacious. It is very easy to see people in a state of collapse who use them without knowledge.

    Take the remedies for sleep. The remedies for sleep are improved and increased month by month, and this is one of the most important aspects of medical research. No one would pretend that the remedy for sleep is a poison, yet it would be a great temptation to a patent medicine vendor to put such a remedy into a patent medicine. It need not be a poison in the hands of a skilled man. It may ease a large amount of suffering, and aid in the recovery of illness, because there is nothing so efficient in the bringing about of healing as giving a patient rest. But what is very good treatment in the hands I of a skilled man becomes a drug of a most dangerous character if it is allowed to be sold anyhow to members of the public. I submit that the question whether a drug is a poison or not is no criterion whatever. There is only one way, in my judgment, of deciding whether a particular remedy needs to be protected in such a way that the public may not arrive at any harm from it, and that is to look at that remedy all the way round, not only as regards its individual ingredients, but as regards the combination of ingredients and the purpose for which it is used. Although I am by no means one of those who wish to multiply the work done by Government Departments, I can see no way, except by some simple method such as is set forth in this Bill, of giving the protection which is so much needed.

    Perhaps as a member of the medical profession I ought not to sit down without making it perfectly clear that I am not against proprietary medicines as such. I think there are a large number of proprietary medicines which are harmless, and, further than that, there are some which are very efficacious, and anything which would unduly restrict their use would be against public interest. It is only the public interest which should be the criterion and the guide not only of your Lordships' House but of the profession to which I have the honour to belong. There are many remedies which may not only be harmless, but which may be efficacious. And there is this further to be said about patent medicines—that they not only have a physiological basis for their efficacy, but they have a psychological basis for their efficacy also. If, for example, you find your symptoms set forth in lurid print which describes or illustrates to you a massed attack by microbes on your entrails, and if you see, side by side with that wonderful picture, a remedy that is going to remove it, and that is going to give you victory over your enemy, that inevitably will, if it is suitably advertised, have a greater effect in curing you of your ailment than the same ingredients prescribed under a prosaic prescription.

    But my view would be this. Supposing that is true, providing that the remedy is harmless why remove the illusion? We live amongst such illusions. Every time your Lordships take a cup of tea you suffer from that illusion. You say to yourself, "How refreshing this cup of tea is," whereas, if you analyse what really occurs, the actual physiological action of a cup of tea is not refreshing you at all. The amount of the active principle of the tea is so small as to satisfy the most expansive of our homeopathic friends. And as for its effect from the point of view of time, by the time it has had its effect you have forgotten you ever took the tea. The real thing which does you good with your cup of tea is the association of ideas; its association with rest, the pleasantness of the aroma, and the warm water, and that does you quite as much good. Therefore, I do not think we must neglect the psychological basis of patent medicines. In ending the remarks I have ventured to submit to your Lordships I wish to make it quite clear that one is not against a proprietary medicine as such, but one needs some amount of discrimination to decide whether it falls into the category that it is good or that it is harmful. I venture to suggest that the most efficient way of doing that is to do it as set forth in this Bill.

    I am most reluctant, to prolong this discussion. Therefore I will merely read to your Lordships two sentences from this Report of the Select Committee on Patent Medicines. The first is relevant to the theory put forward by Lord Askwith of the value of those medicines with which you might be interfering by disclosing their formulre. This is paragraph 47—

    'So far as we have been able to discover, no scientific chemist and no qualified medical man, with rare exceptions, is connected with or employed in the manufacture of secret remedies such as those we have placed in Class B. And we have failed to find that any new drug, or new discovery of a method of compounding known drugs, has been placed at the service of the public as one of that class of secret remedy."
    And then as to whittling down the proposals of the Bill, which carry out practically the proposals of the Committee, in paragraph 59 the Report says—
    "Your Committee believe that Departmental and legislative action as outlined above will not inflict injustice upon any patent or proprietary medicine or appliance—"
    and they go on to say that no measures of a smaller scope will secure the result of protecting the public.

    I am in complete sympathy with the objects which the noble Viscount has in view, but I am bound to confess that I do not quite understand the scheme of Clause 1. The Bill provides in elaborate terms for the securing by the Department of information; but, so far as I can gather, the Minister, when he has secured information, would have no power to take any action. I must confess that I am surprised that the noble Viscount has proposed certain Amendments which seem to cut down the provisions of the Bill, such as they are. He proposes that no person shall have any right to inspect these particulars when they are furnished. Apparently, the Minister is to be the only person who is to have the information in his possession. Nothing is said in the Bill as to any action by the Minister, and I should have thought it was a monstrous thing to deprive persons who suffer from pernicious patent medicines of their right to know the ingredients of the medicine which has poisoned them, and to deprive them of the evidence to which obviously they are entitled for the purpose of establishing a case in the Courts. The Amendments which the noble Viscount proposes interfere with the ordinary provisions as to evidence. He proposes to set aside the provisions of Section 14 of the Evidence Act of 1851, and to make the particulars which are furnished secret. I take it that the object of this Bill is to protect persons from fraudulent patent medicine vendors.

    A NOBLE LORD: It is "injurious," is it not?

    The object of the Bill, I take it, is to protect the public against fraudulent patent medicines. One would imagine that when these particulars have been secured by this elaborate process they would be available to the public for the purpose of any legal proceedings. We all know that Government Departments are very active in drafting Bills, in setting up large staffs, and in making analyses; but they are very backward in bringing legal proceedings. I have had a good deal of experience in connection with these matters, and I know from that experience that it is very difficult to get a Government Department to take any action. What is the good of putting the country to all this expense unless the Department is going to take some steps for the purpose of seeing that these patent medicine vendors do not defraud the public? That is the point.

    As I have said, the provisions of Clause 1 of this Bill are merely directed to the question of information. I have no wish to delay this matter, but the subject is one of great importance. You are dealing here with a big trade involving millions of capital; you are dealing with a favourite recreation of a large section of the public, because a great many people find it a recreation to take patent medicines. The noble Viscount said that fifteen years ago it was proved that two children had been killed by patent medicines. We know, of course, that every day people are being poisoned by doctors and other- wise, and I do not for a moment imagine that patent medicine vendors in the matter of remedies have any monopoly of poisoning.

    I do not propose to detain your Lordships any longer, but I would like to say quite seriously that it is most important in the interests of the public that a well thought out measure should be devised for the purpose of dealing with this trade. So far as Clause 2 is concerned, although I am in the newspaper business, in which connection I thank the noble Lord for the compliment he has been good enough to pay me, I think that part of the Bill which deals with advertising requires less attention. The portion of the Bill which does require attention is the question of registration, and what the Ministry of Health is to do when it has the particulars. I think it would be a lamentable thing if this House passed a Bill containing no carefully thought out scheme giving powers to the Ministry to prosecute fraudulent persons who sell these remedies. We all know that certain remedies are harmless while others are efficacious. But so far as concerns remedies which are poisonous or deleterious in any way it is absolutely necessary in the interests of the public that a proper scheme should be produced which will enable the Ministry to take effective action. My objection to this clause is that it does not provide a scheme of that sort. Therefore I support the noble Lord who has moved the Amendment.

    The noble Lord, Lord Dawson of Penn, made a most interesting speech this afternoon in which, I must honestly say, he gave some rather cogent reasons for the lines on which this Bill is drawn. I will try to show later where I think his reasons fail as a practical matter. At any rate, from the medical point of view, he did show how certain drugs which are not scheduled in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act have a deleterious effect when they are taken in sufficient quantity. But I was reminded in the course of the noble Lord's speech how very far from an exact science the science of medicine still is, and probably will remain for many a long year to come. I would engage to say that if one approached other doctors to express an opinion on the physiological effects of a cup of tea they might differ materially on that subject from the noble Lord. I know that after a cup of tea I feel much better and can enjoy a smoke much more—and I have missed both the smoke and the cup of tea this afternoon.

    The point of the explanations of Lord Dawson, of my noble friend in charge of the Bill, and of Lord Bledisloe, fail, it seems to me, because they have not shown that the particular provisions of the Bill are going to safeguard the public against the evil that they deplore. Supposing this disclosure is made. Supposing some addition is made to the labels as to the quantity to he used, and so on; who is going to benefit by them? Are the people who are now taking these proprietary medicines, which for a time stave off the earlier pains of malignant disease, going to stop taking them on that account? Are they going any sooner to a medical practitioner on that account? I do not think so for a moment. I wish I could think they were. I believe you will get just the same practical good effects from what I propose as you are going to get under this Bill. That, however, is a matter for argument.

    What I feel is this. I have said I know little about this question. Most reluctantly I have brought the Matter before the House, and, though we have spent a long time over the Amendment, I think the time has not been wasted. I do not feel that I know enough about it to be dogmatic, but I feel that it is unfair to spring on the country a Bill of which we have had the very shortest notice, about which the manufacturers have not had time to see the Government, and then to ask us to go into the Committee stage on a matter on which we are very imperfectly informed. I really am in a difficulty as to what to do. I do not feel that, even if there is a quorum in the House, a Division on this Amendment would be of any great value.

    I do not want to detain the House unnecessarily, but I would remind your Lordships that this is not the only point. There are a large number of Amendments that will take a lot of time, as far as I can judge. I do not see how we can get through this Bill this evening. I want to give the manufacturers time to confer with the Government Department and thrash this matter out. I am really not capable, of my own knowledge, of carrying this thing very far, because it is a highly technical matter. Whatever is done, I am not now going to press this Amendment to a Division, but I do want to know what we are going to do about the Bill in general, and what chance the manufacturers and the experts will have to thrash the matter out with the Government Department, to see if some middle, or some different and better way, can be found for what is admittedly a most difficult matter. The difficulty of it to my mind seems greater after our debate this afternoon.

    I should like to mention that I was right —or rather I should have been right had I said that Western Australia did not enforce disclosure. Since I spoke I have ascertained that our manufacturers send to Western Australia proprietary medicines without any disclosure at all. Therefore, whatever the Select Committee may have said, no such legislation is being practically enforced at the present time. I did make a caveat about Western Australia, but I find that the legislation has not been enforced, and when Lord Bledisloe suggests that all the more advanced and cultured nations of the world have legislation which, on tins particular point, resembles this Bill, I beg to remind him that the United States of America and our own country still stand out.

    A NOBLE LORD: France.

    I thought France had it. But some of the highly civilised nations have not got this particular provision which we are discussing.

    I should like to thank the noble Lord for the way in which he has met my suggestion. I am sure we are all agreed on two things. First, we want to do nothing which will injure the public; secondly, we want to do nothing which will injure the legitimate interests of a trade which has been built up in connection with these remedies. I have already put down some Amendments on the Paper which, I think, give them increased protection. I would point out that this Bill is not being rushed upon the country. The Select Committee sat for three years, heard evidence, and went into it most searchingly. Their Report has been before the country for years. This Bill is framed entirely on their recommendations. I do not think we have put anything in it which they did not recommend.

    This Bill is now being considered in this House. It has not been through the other Chamber, so, even if we did get it through now, there is the whole of the summer during which the Ministry of Health can be in touch with the trades concerned, and then, after that, it will be scrutinised most carefully when it gets to another place. I can assure the noble Lord that the Ministry of Health will do all they can in conference and in informal discussion to hear anything which the trade have to say, and to see whether we can meet them by adding any further safeguards to the Bill. But we consider that it is vital that the ingredients which go to make up these remedies should be disclosed confidentially to the Government. There is no question of unfair disclosure to a rival; we want to do all we can to protect them. We will do all we can to hear anything that the trade have got to say.

    I have listened with the greatest care to every speech which has been made in this discussion, and if there is to be a Division I shall find it my duty to vote with the Government. I think, on the whole, their arguments prevail. But I do share with my noble friends—who, as I am sure the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill will admit, have approached this subject in a publicspirited manner—the view that probably this very important trade will have a feeling of resentment if this Bill is pushed right through before the recess. I do not know whether the Government will allow me to make a suggestion. It is that, after they have taken the Committee stage, they should postpone the remaining stages of the Bill until the autumn. That, I think, would be a natural thing to do. The Bill would be very nearly through, so far as time is concerned, but there would remain the Report stage for any subsequent dealing with it. In the meantime proper representations would be made, and I think very likely an agreement might be arrived at under which the Bill would pass with universal consent.

    May I say in his presence that the noble Viscount has been most conciliatory in the way in which he has dealt with this Bill, and the fact that he has put down an Amendment to deal with the point shows that he is most anxious to carry with him the general assent of your Lordships. If he would push that spirit just one step further and adopt the course which I very respectfully suggest, I think he would find the Committee stage would go through perfectly easily, and that there would be very little difficulty, in the early days when we re-assemble, in passing the Bill through the stages which remain.

    I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, at the end of subsection (3), to insert—

    "Provided that proceedings shall not be brought against any person for manufacturing or preparing for sale a proprietary medicine compounded of other ingredients or in other proportions than those specified in the register except by the Minister."

    The noble Viscount said: I do not think I need take up your Lordships' time in discussing my Amendment because I have, in fact, explained its object already. I think we have now dealt with the most important Amendment on the Paper, and I hope we shall be able to get through the Committee stage this evening, as I do not think the points which remain will take any length of time. If that is the case, perhaps I might be able to discuss with Lord Emmott and with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, whether they still think it is desirable not to take the further stages of the Bill before the recess. I still hope that I can get their sanction to passing the Bill through this House in order that the House of Commons may be able to discuss it in October. That is really what I am aiming at.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 4, at end insert the said proviso.— (Viscount Astor.)

    I rather hope the noble Viscount will carefully consider before the Report stage the exact effect of this Amendment. I do not suppose I am in general agreement with Lord Riddell with regard to Clause 1, but I certainly share his view that this particular proviso will remove the common law right of action for fraud which the aggrieved party would have in its absence, without imposing a definite duty upon the Ministry of Health to take proceedings for the protection of the public. I have an Amendment ready to put down on the Report stage making it the duty of the Minister to initiate proceedings in such cases as this. If that were added to this Amendment I do not see any great difficulty. Otherwise it seems to me the public would be deprived of the common law right which they at present possess.

    I think the noble Lord is mistaken in regard to the public remedy for fraud to which be refers. The fraud alleged surely would be that the medicine was represented to be good for something for which it was not good. It would not be that it was compounded of the particular drugs A, B, and c, because the public does not know of what it is compounded. The prosecution which is dealt with here is a prosecution simply in regard to a medicine which is not what it is supposed to be, and it does not seem to me that a member of the public is affected in any way by that, because what the member of the public would complain about would be that it did not do what it was supposed to do.

    It seems to me that it is absolutely necessary to confine the powers of prosecution to the Minister, whatever you add to them, because if any ordinary member of the public chose to act as prosecutor whether he considered himself injured or not, he would at once be up against the provision which prevents the disclosure of what is on the register, and would never get any further. Consequently it seems to be logical that the Minister is the only person who ought to prosecute.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 2:

    Prohibition of sale, &c., of remedies for certain diseases.

    2.—(1) After the expiration of six months from the commencement of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or to offer or advertise for sale, any medicine or surgical appliance of any kind whatsoever purporting or stated directly or by implication to be effective for the prevention, cure, or relief of any of the diseases or infirmities mentioned in the Schedule to this Act.

    If the Minister is of opinion that the provisions of this subsection should extend to any other disease or infirmity he may by regulations under this Act add the name of that disease or infirmity to the Schedule to this Act.

    (2) No person shall publish or distribute, or be concerned in any manner in the publication or distribution of, any advertisement or com munication relating to any article expressed in such terms as may, or are likely or calculated to, suggest that the article may be used or may operate as a means of producing an abortion or miscarriage.

    (3) If any person acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty a a misdemeanour.

    had on the Paper an Amendment at the end of subsection (1), to insert "or any medicine purporting or stated directly or by implication to be effective for the prevention, cure, or relief of deafness or rupture without operation or the use of arty surgical appliance." The noble Lord said: Clause 2 as originally drafted was admitted, on Second Reading, to be rather too wide in its provisions relating to medical instruments or appliances for deafness and rupture, so I put down an Amendment in line 15. It has been suggested by the Government draftsman that the point would be better met by inserting an Amendment in line 13, which would make it read in this way—

    "it shall not be lawful for any person to sell … any medicine or surgical appliance of city kind whatsoever purporting cm stated directly or by implication to be effective for the cure of deafness or rupture or for the prevention—"
    and so on. Then, when the Schedule comes to be dealt with the words "deafness and rupture" should be taken out. It is suggested that would be an effective method of meeting the difficulty, if the Government care to accept it.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 13, after ("the") insert ("cure of deafness or rupture or for the").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I understand that Amendment takes the place of the noble Lord's Amendment in line 15.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    had an Amendment to omit from subsection (1) the words—

    "If the Minister is of opinion that the provisions of this subsection should extend to any other disease or infirmity he may by regulations under this Act add the name of that disease or infirmity to the Schedule of this Act."
    The noble Lord said: Surely the Schedule is large enough. The Schedule comes before Parliament and Parliament decides what are the diseases that are put in, and for the Minister suddenly to come down and add diseases without any notice to the public at large, or to Parliament, seems to be an administrative act of a very drastic character which might have serious effects.

    I am quite prepared to move in line 19, at the end of the paragraph we are now discussing, the insertion of the following words—

    "Provided that before any regulations are made for the purposes of the foregoing provision a draft of the regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and the regulations shall not be made unless both Houses by resolution approve the draft either without modification or with modifications to which both Houses agree, and upon such approval being given the regulations may be made in the form in which they have been approved."
    That is to say, that the Ministry of Health should not add any other disease to those shown in the Schedule without an affirmative Resolution by both Houses. I trust that will meet the noble Lord.

    There is one point I would like to bring to the attention of the noble Viscount. I have not put down an Amendment on the Paper, but this clause, as drafted; would have the effect of preventing the publication in the medical papers of advertisements which I think it is conceded properly appear there, and I would ask him to be good enough to consider that point with a view to adding words to protect the Medical Press as is customary on such occasions. Diabetes is one of the diseases mentioned in the Schedule. I do not know whether it is intended to apply the clause to advertisements of diabetic foods which I should imagine would be quite proper things to advertise.

    I hope your Lordships will receive with some. reservation the remarks made by Lord Riddell about the Medical Press. I am sorry to have to say it, but it was made perfectly clear to the Select Committee that some organs of the Medical Press were by no means careful as to the sort of advertisements they admitted to their pages. Some of those advertisements were really of a most reprehensible character, enticing people to purchase medicines which did not have the particular properties they purported to have.

    I would like to urge the reconsideration of this clause as it stands. If you have a Schedule of diseases such as you have at the end of this Bill, it would be quite easy for any manufacturer of a patent medicine so to alter the announcement of his remedy as to enable the patent medicine cure, or so-called cure, to be available for the public. If it is desired to make this really effective the wording of the clause is very good. It says "diseases or infirmities," and the word "infirmities" is sufficiently wide to enable such proceedings to be rendered nugatory. We want to protect the public, and the more widely the clause is drawn and the wider the discretion given to the Minister the better.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2), after "shall," to insert "print." The noble Lord said: This is to ensure that a person who prints, as well as publishes, advertisements such as are referred to will be liable for so doing.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 20, after ("shall") insert ("print"). —(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 21, after ("the") insert ("printing").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 3:

    Offences in connection with advertisements.

    3. If any person—

  • (a) encloses with or in the parcel or wrapper containing a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance any written matter (not being an ordinary trade catalogue) advertising or recommending the use of some other proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance; or
  • (b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance, or the agent of any such owner or vendor, solicits or invites, whether by advertisement or otherwise, any person suffering, or believing himself to be suffering, from any ailment to enter into corre- spondence with him, either directly or indirectly, with reference to the ailment, or by correspondence treats or offers to treat any person suffering or believing himself to be suffering from any ailment, or offers to give medicine to any person with reference to the cure, relief, or prevention of any ailment; or
  • (c) publishes or otherwise makes use of any fictitious, false, or misleading testimials in relation to any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance; or
  • (d) publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a statement to the effect that a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is recommended by a duly qualified medical practitioner without including in the statement correct and full particulars with respect to the name and qualifications and, in the case of a living person, the address of the medical practitioner; or
  • (e) publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a false statement to the effect that, or a statement calculated to induce any person to believe contrary to the fact that, a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance was discovered, invented or compounded by a medical practitioner;
  • he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    moved to leave out paragraph (a). The noble Lord said: The Government have not realised what this paragraph means. It means that two proprietary medicines could not be sent in one parcel though they were legitimately ordered and paid for. it further means that if a cough mixture were being sent it man would be debarred front recommending a gargle. This is really going too far in grandmotherly legislation.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, lines 29 to 34, leave out paragraph (a). —(Lord Emmott.)

    This is one of the recommendations of the Select Committee. It is intended to prevent what I believe are called "trailer" advertisements. The vendors of these proprietary medicines get in touch with people and, if they do not get a cure from the first, recommend a second; then if that does not succeed they recommend a third; and so it goes on. It is because it enables the owners of medicines to get in touch with people who are nervous and get them to go in for selfdiagnosis, that the Committee recommended the proposal.

    It seems to me somewhat difficult to defend this particular provision. The whole spirit of the Bill is that people should not be misled by a patent medicine which contains dangerous drugs. That is the foundation of the measure. There is no misleading about this. We must look upon our fellow-subjects as being reasonable men; we must not think of the people of this country as being idiots. That is not the least what they are like. They will read these advertisements and no doubt will accept them at their proper worth. If it was thought that they contained something objectionable, on the other grounds with which the Bill deals, I could understand the provision more, but if it suggested that people might like to buy some other proprietary medicine surely they are the best judges of what they ought to do.

    This is not a recommendation on which the Select Committee set very great store, and now that legislation has been introduced dealing with venereal diseases it becomes of far less importance than before.

    I hope we shall not consider the whole of the Report of the Select Committee as sacrosanct and put into legislation the ipsissima verba of the Report. Surely it is the business of the Government to consider what will be the actual effect of the recommendations they make; and the effect of this will be that two patent medicines cannot be sent in the same parcel, however harmless they are. I must press the Amendment.

    If the noble Lord presses the Amendment on Report stage we would not ask your Lordships to keep it in the Bill.

    It is true that since legislation dealing with venereal diseases has been passed this proposal is not so important, and, if the noble Lord presses the Amendment, I will not ask your Lordships to keep the paragraph in the Bill.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    had on the Paper an Amendment, after paragraph (a), to insert the following new paragraph:

    "(b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance or the agent of any such owner or vendor, by advertisement or otherwise, claims therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients or by the specimen thereof furnished to the registrar respectively, or offers the same for sale at a price grossly in excess of the market value of its ingredients or constitutents, and of the labour and ingenuity expended in its composition or manufacture."
    The noble Lord said: This is an important Amendment, but I am prepared to move it without the last part which deals with the excessive charges made for medicines of very low monetary value. It is undoubtedly a serious matter that a large proportion of the most credulous women and not too well-instructed sections of the population do pay an enormous price for medicines of very little worth. This point, however, may raise a somewhat contentious debate and I am quite prepared to let it stand over until the Report stage. I move the first part of this Amendment, because it is a matter which the Committee, having had a large amount of evidence, regard as serious. I refer your Lordships to pages 15, 16 and 17 of the Report, which contains a long list of remedies, of proprietary medicines, which do claim thereapeutie effects grossly in excess of those they are justified in claiming.

    May I refer to one only which is described as "Mer-syren," and has the following advertisement description: "Composed of the active principles of certain rare plants which flourish in the valleys situated on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, between the immense gorge separating Nepaul from Bhutan on the east, and Almorah on the north-west. Recommended by Dr. Pearson, late Principal Medical Officer, North Bhangulpore, India." First of all, no place named Bhangulpore is to be found in any gazetteer or atlas. It is described as "a cure for dropsy, insanity, small-pox, angina pectoris, diphtheria, erysipelas, etc." and yet it contains no substance which could be detected by analysis except potato starch. That is one of the cases in which some drastic provision is necessary in order to prevent this species of fraud.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 34, at end insert the following new paragraph:

    ("(b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance or the agent of any such owner or vendor, by advertisement or otherwise, claims therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients or by the specimen thereof furnished to the registrar respectively.") —(Lord Bledisloe.)

    This proposal would undoubtedly strengthen the Bill, and it would prevent the owners of these remedies from claiming for them excessive therapeutic benefits or advantages, but if there is any opposition to the proposal I would suggest that it should be raised subsequently on the Report stage. It is, I understand, copied from the Australian Statute, and if it is your Lordships' desire that it should be added to the Bill I would not oppose it.

    So much depends on when we are going to take the Report stage. If it is to be next Monday it is very difficult, but if it is to be next sittings then we shall have time to consider it. I should like to hear what the Government have to say on that matter.

    A good deal of business has to be done next week and, as my noble friend has repeatedly assured the House, he is anxious to get the Bill through this House in order to begin elsewhere early after the recess. In any case I do not see how it is possible that the Report stage can be taken before Wednesday of next week. That is all I can answer at present.

    I understand that by the great courtesy of the Government the noble Viscount has been good enough to say that he will be guided by a private conference with several of us, including, no doubt, the noble Earl (Lord Russell) if he is interested in the matter, as to whether the Report stage shall be taken this or next sittings, and so far as that is concerned I think we may let the matter rest there for the moment. With regard to the particular Amendment, I hope the Government will not accept it, because it really does carry the thing much too far. Supposing, for example, one of these patent medicines contained tea as one of its elements. We know from a noble Lord that the therapeutic effects of tea are grossly exaggerated, and it would be at once brought within the purview of this clause. Indeed, it is quite evident that this question of whether the therapeutic effects are grossly exaggerated is a matter of doubtful opinion, and I do not want to admit matters of doubtful opinion into the Bill. Therefore, I think that the noble Viscount will be better advised not to accept the Amendment.

    May I say that I agree with the noble Marquess that the Amendment goes much too far.

    I suggest that it really goes so far that it leaves very little else behind, because it makes it an offence for any person, being the owner or vendor of any proprietary medicine, by advertisement or otherwise, to claim therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients. Why, there is scarcely one of those things which would not come within those words, because if we take the analyses made by the British Medical Association they are no good for anything. And how is it to be determined? I suppose by the registrar. There would be very little left if this Amendment were accepted. I hope it will not be passed.

    I suggest that it would be very inadvisable to use terms such as are set forth in the Amendment. "Grossly in excess" are not terms of art. We know the difficulty of determining between fraud and gross fraud. I believe the lawyers have found a method of distinguishing between the two, but when you come to deal with the ordinary affairs of life, such as patent medicines, it is a difficult thing to say whether what is claimed is grossly in excess, and I should think it would be very unfortunate if the House were to agree to an Amendment of such an inartistic description as this. No doubt the noble Lord has certain grounds of substance for what he claimed, but I think the words that he has devised are entirely inappropriate for the purpose, and would lead to an enormous amount of litigation.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 4, leave out ("medicine") and insert ("advice").—(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved to add to Paragraph (b): "or to return money paid therefor if such cure, relief or prevention does not take place." The noble Lord said: I may mention that this appears to be a very common mode of inducing the sale of these proprietary nostrums. Many cases were brought to our notice where there were lock-up shops, with no one as a rule to be found inside, at which letters only were collected. The vendor of the remedy does not, in fact, return the money, but if any communication takes place between him and the consumer it is to the effect that if only the latter goes on using the remedy long enough he will derive benefit. It is a means of obtaining money by false pretences, and in accordance with the Report of the Select Committee I hope you will accept the Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 6, after ("ailment") insert ("or to return money paid therefor if such cure, relief or prevention does not take place").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I understand that the Committee considered that the practice which is described in this Amendment was practically fraudulent, and again I am quite prepared to accept the Amendment.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, at the end of paragraph (c), to insert "or makes use of the name of a fictitious person in connection therewith." The noble Lord said: This, of course, is in connection with proprietary medicines or surgical appliances. It was another case brought to our notice, and on which the Select Committee have reported. The more serious case is that in which the name of a doctor is used, although the doctor does not in fact exist. We have heard of Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People. I do not say that there was no Doctor Williams, but certainly in the case of Dr. Roulet's specific for gonorrhea it was proved that no such person as Dr. Roulet existed. And there were other preparations in connection with which the name of a doctor was mentioned. He was found not to be a person in existence. There are many other cases, such as that of Mother Siegel's soothing syrup, where certain purely fictitious names are used in connection with certain remedies. Of course, no such person as Mother Siegel ever existed. The same applies to the name of a large number of ladies, very often with French names, who are supposed to have taken the remedies with very great advantage to themselves. In every case which we probed to the bottom, in order to find out what the origin of the name was, the name was found to be wholly fictitious, and used obviously in order to deceive those who intended to buy the remedy.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 10, after ("appliance") insert ("or makes use of the name of a fictitious person in connection therewith").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I cannot advise your Lordships to accept this Amendment. I do not think it really matters to the public whether Mother Siegel existed, or whether Doctor Williams did or did not exist, provided that the remedy advertised does not injure the public health. It is obvious, if this Amendment were carried, that you would strike at many businesses which depend entirely upon the familiarity of the name to the public. A great deal of money has been expended in establishing good will, and, as I do not think it would give the public any protection, I suggest that your Lordships should not accept this Amendment.

    In these circumstances, I do not press the Amendment, although the noble Viscount has not defended the use of the fictitious names which are meant to deceive ignorant persons.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in paragraph (d), before "statement," where that word first occurs, to insert "false." The noble Lord said: The meaning of this Amendment is to alter the paragraph to this form—

    "Publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a false statement to the effect that a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is recommended by a duly qualified medical practitioner."
    I am not an authority on medical appliances, but this particular paragraph as drawn seems to me to be a roundabout way of the medical profession saving to its members that they are not to recommend any particular proprietary medicine. That seems to me to be a matter of medical etiquette, rather than one to be remedied by legislation of this kind, and I hope the noble Viscount will be able to accept this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 12, after first ("a") insert ("false").—(Lord Emmott.)

    We do not want remedies advertised with the names of doctors attached to them, who have what I might call worthless degrees. It is only fair to the public, if a doctor's name is attached to a remedy, that his degree, qualifications and address should be stated. There are cases which I could mention in which almost bogus doctors have been referred to in connection with a particular remedy. That is one reason why I cannot accept the Amendment. The second reason is that it is probably inadvisable to encourage doctors to give these recommendations or certificates. It was found by the Select Committee that a certain number of doctors gave the certificates in return for a considerable number of free samples of the remedies. I think there should be a guarantee ofbona fides to the public, and the best way of securing that is by retaining the clause as drafted.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved in paragraph (e), before "medical practitioner" at the end of the paragraph, to insert "duly qualified." The noble Lord said: I desire to cover the case of herbalists and other quacks who may claim to be medical practitioners but who are not duly qualified doctors.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 24, after ("a") insert ("duly qualified").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

    had an Amendment on the Paper, after Clause 3, to insert the following new clause—

    ("(4) Every proprietary medicine registered under this Act shall bear upon the wrapper a true statement of the ingredients of such medicine, and any person offering for sale either wholesale or retail any such medicine which does not contain such statement upon the wrapper shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.")
    The noble Earl said: This is a recommendation to which I attach some importance, although perhaps not such importance as some people do. I have read the Report of the Committee, and I know the line which they took. The suggestion made in the new clause that I desire to insert is that upon the wrapper there should be a true statement of the ingredients of the medicine. The answer which the Committee made to that is twofold. They first say that disclosing the ingredients would damage the medicine. I am not sure how far that is true, because it is really the advertisement that has given it its good will, and not the ingredients that have done so. The second objection they make is that the meaning of the true scientific names of the ingredients of the medicine would not be known to the public or to many of your Lordships. I dare say there is a something in that second objection.

    I cannot help seeing that this Amendment is contrary to the line of the Bill as drawn up by the Government, and put forward by the Ministry of Health. Their whole scheme is to have the ingredients disclosed confidentially, and to keep them confidential. On the whole I am convinced that this is not an Amendment which would make for health, which, as the noble Viscount has frankly said, is the object of the Bill. It is an Amendment which deals rather with cases of fraud and protects the public. Where it would protect the public against fraud would be in cases where they paid, say, a shilling for something which was really yellow soap, and they would probably prefer to buy the yellow soap as yellow soap, though that, I admit, omits the important psychological element to which the noble Lord, Lord Dawson, referred. The noble Viscount in charge of this Bill has, however, been so kind and considerate that I do not propose to put him to the trouble of having to reject this Amendment. I therefore do not move.

    Clause 4:

    Register of medicines and appliances.

    4.—(1) For the purposes of this Act the Minister shall form and keep, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of this Act, a register of owners of proprietary medicines and owners of proprietary surgical appliances, and of proprietary medicines and appliances.

    (2) The register shall consist of the following parts:—

  • (a) A register of the persons registered as such owners as aforesaid;
  • (b) A register of proprietary medicines;
  • (c) A register of proprietary surgical appliances.
  • (3) The Minister shall appoint a proper person to be registrar for the purposes of this Act, and shall assign to him such duties in connection with this Act as he shall think fit.

    (4) If the registrar or any other person without lawful authority publishes or communicates to any person any information which has, for the purpose of procuring the registration of any medicine under this Act, been furnished by any person with respect to the ingredients or composition of that medicine he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

    had down an Amendment to move in subsection (2) (b) after "medicines" to insert "specifying the respective formulæ thereof." The noble Lord said: This, I think, is specially provided for in Clause 5 (b), but what I want to be quite certain of is that this matter will find a place in the Bill.

    There can be no doubt about that. I do not think, therefore, that this Amendment is necessary.

    moved, in subjection (3), to delete "in connection with this Act as he shall think fit," and insert "as shall be necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act," and at end insert the following new subsection—

    "(4) Upon the requirements for registration under this Act being complied with in respect of any proprietary medicine, or any proprietary surgical appliance, the registrar shall register and assign a number to the same within thirty days from the date of the receipt by him of the application to register."

    The noble Lord said: The assigning of these duties to register occurs in Acts generally which establish registries. The registration may be held up for an unlimited time unless a period were given in which a person shall register after the proper preliminary steps have been taken by the trader who wishes to have his particular goods registered.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 38, leave out from ("duties") to the end of subsection (3), and insert (" as shall be necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act"), and at end insert the said new subsection.—(Lord, Askwith.)

    I am afraid I am not in a position to move an Amendment, but I have put some words on paper which will show your Lordships what our intention is and what we are prepared to accept. The words I suggest are to this effect—

    "Provided that no proceedings shall be instituted for any offence under this section, in connection with any medicine or appliance, an application to register which has been duly made, until the article is registered or unless a refusal to register has been given to the person making the application."
    That is to say, you could not proceed against the owner of a remedy for not being on the register merely because the Government had not granted his application to be put upon the register. If the noble Lord will be satisfied with an undertaking that I will move an Amendment somewhat on these lines, though not exactly in these words, I think that would give full protection and prevent the sort of injustice which he has in mind.

    There is one point on this clause. Nothing is said about the salary of the registrar or the expenses of the Department.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, at the end of subsection (3), to insert—

    "(3) The register of proprietary medicines shall be kept in two separate books, in one of which (in this Act referred to as 'the formulœ book') there shall be contained the particulars with respect to the ingredients and composition of the medicines, and in the other of which there shall be contained all the other matters which are required to be registered in relation to proprietary medicines.
    "(4) Notwithstanding anything in section fourteen of the Evidence Act, 1851, or any other Act, the registrar shall not furnish any copy of or extract from any entry in the formulœ book relating to any medicine to any person other than the registered owner of the medicine, and the registrar shall not, except with the consent of the registered owner of a medicine, produce or otherwise disclose the entry in the formula book relating to that medicine on any proceedings in any court, other than proceedings against a person for manufacturing or preparing for sale a pro- prietary medicine alleged to be compounded of ingredients or in proportions other than those specified in the register or proceedings on an appeal against the removal of a medicine from the register.
    "(5) A certificate purporting to be a certificate under the hand of the registrar stating that any person or any medicine or appliance is, or was at any date, or is not, or was not at any date, duly registered under this Act, or stating that any other particulars are, or were at any date, or are not, or were not at any date, contained in the register with respect to any person, medicine, or appliance registered therein, shall be conclusive evidence in all courts of law of the facts stated in the certificate."
    The noble Viscount said: I do not know if your Lordships want me to go into this Amendment and explain it in detail. I really explained the purpose when we were discussing Lord Emmott's Amendment.

    I suggest that the noble Viscount should put it in and then it will be a matter we shall have to consider on Report.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 38, at end insert the said new subsections.—(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 5:


    5.—(1) The Minister may make regulations for the following purposes:—

  • (a) For regulating the formation and maintenance of the register:
  • (b) For regulating the manner in which applications for registration under this Act may be made, including the payment of such fees as may be prescribed, and for prescribing the conditions to be complied with by a person applying to be registered as the representative of the owner of any medicine or appliance:
  • (c) For proscribing the causes for which and the manner in which a registered owner may be removed from the register and the manner in which notice of such removal is to be given:
  • (d) For enabling particulars entered in the register with respect to any medicine or appliance to be varied or amended, and a new registration number to be issued in any case in which particulars are so varied or amended:
  • (e) For providing for any matter for which provision may be made by regulations under this Act and for prescribing any matter which is to be prescribed under this Act.
  • (2) Regulations under this section shall contain Provisions—

  • (a) requiring the prescribed particulars of the name or description under which a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is to be sold or offered or advertised for sale to be included in the register:
  • (b) requiring that a number shall he assigned to every medicine or appliance included in the register, and that every vessel or other package in which the medicine or appliance is sold or offered for sale shall bear the registered number:
  • (c)prohibiting the afflxing to or insertion in any such vessel or package as aforesaid of any other reference to the fact that the medicine or appliance is registered under this Act:
  • (d) requiring every person registered as an owner under this Act, who is not himself the manufacturer of the medicine or appliance, to furnsh in the prescribed manner the prescribed particulars with respect to the person by whom the medicine or appliance is manufactured:
  • (e)prohibiting the registration of any medicine unless and until full particulars of the ingredients of the medicine and the proportions in which those ingredients are used have been furnished to the registrar, including in the ease of medicated wines or spirits particulars of the alcoholic strength thereof, and prohibiting the registration of any medicine or appliance until full particulars have been furnished to the registrar of the directions for use which are to be supplied with the medicine or appliance when sold:
  • (f)enabling the Minister, if he so thinks fit, to direct that the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug forming an ingredient of any registered medicine shall be stated in the prescribed manner on all vessels or other packages in which the medicine is sold or offered for sale:
  • (g) requiring every proprietary medicine containing more than such an amount of alcohol as ought in the Opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein, having regard to the purposes for which the medicine is to be used, to bear on the vessel or other package in which it is contained a statement, in writing of the proportion of alcohol contained therein:
  • (h) prohibiting the registration of any surgical appliance unless and until a specimen thereof has been furnished to the registrar:
  • (i) prohibiting the afflxing to or insertion on or in any vessel or package containing any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance of any statement declaring that the medicine or appliance possesses any therapeutic qualities other than such qualities as are specified in the register as being the therapeutic qualities of that medicine or appliance.
  • (3) If any person acts in contravention of or fails to comply with the provisions of any regulation made under this section, or furnishes any false or misleading particulars for the purpose of or in connection with an application made under any such regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    (4) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid before each House of Parliament forthwith, and if an address is presented to His Majesty within twenty-one days on which that House has sat next after any such regulation is laid before it praying that the regulation may be annulled His Majesty in Council may annul the regulation, and it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

    moved to add to paragraph (a) of subsection (1) after "register," the words "and providing for the publication of any part of the register other than the formulœ book." The noble Viscount said: This enables us to maintain the secrecy of the formulœ and yet to publish for information a list of the owners of proprietary remedies. I think there can be no objection to this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 10 after ("register") insert ("and providing for the publication of any part of the register other than the formulœ book ")—(Viscount Astor).

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Before we come to Lord Bledisloe's Amendment on subsection (d), may I ask the noble Viscount again whether, at a later stage, he would be prepared to say the sort of fees that are in the contemplation of the Ministry. I really do not know what fees are likely to be prescribed, but my own view is that they should be something substantial—something like £10, £20, or £50 a year in the case of those doing a large trade. It might be possible to vary them in the first or second year of a medicine's existence. I do not know whether any such scale has been considered, but perhaps the noble Viscount can give us some idea.

    I will see if I am in a position to give some sort of indication of the fee that would be charged.

    moved, at the beginning of subsection (1) (d), after "For enabling," to insert" the name and other." The noble Lord said: I do not want to press this Amendment, but I should think it would make clear what the intention of the Clause is.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 22, after ("enabling") insert ("the name and other").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, after paragraph (a) of subsection (2), to insert the following new paragraph—

    "(b) requiring that in the case of any synthetic drug sold as a proprietary medicine, the chemical name thereof shall appear on the label and in every advertisement relating thereto."
    The noble Lord said: That is to meet the cases of remedies sold under a great variety of names, although in fact identical. It is some little protection, particularly to the retail chemists who sell these preparations.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 36, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I said earlier this afternoon that I was prepared to accept this Amendment if the noble Lord did not move a previous one.

    I take a synthetic drug to be a drug which is composed of a variety of natural products. I rather hesitate to give a definition in the presence of Lord Dawson.

    The question is what is the definition of a synthetic drug? I take it a synthetic drug is a drug which is not a natural product but by the mixture of certain natural ingredients becomes a drug.

    Would not a proper course be to provide us with a definition of the term "synthetic drug" so that it could go in the Bill?

    We have got a very great authority here. Perhaps he will be kind enough to give us a definition.

    It is rather awkward to give a definition right off, but, firstly, a synthetic drug is a drug which consists of one particular substance, and which is built up, molecule by molecule, from simpler substances so as to form one substance of varying complexity. For instance, if I may give an example, let us take aniline. It is a synthetic drug because it has a molecule made up partly of a nitrogen molecule and partly of a molecule derived from benzine. You may then go on building it up, adding or taking off molecules until you get a drug of varying complexity. That is the way 606 was built up. The point is it is a synthesis; it is a building up of one substance by adding molecule on molecule.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection 1(e), to delete "are to," and insert "will." The noble Lord said: I think the noble Viscount will accept this. It simply means that the particulars for use will be supplied instead of are to be supplied.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, lines 21 and 22, leave out ("are to") and insert ("will.").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2)(f) to leave out "poisonous or dangerous drug" and insert "article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908." The noble Lord said: This is a matter of the Minister being able to direct the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug to be stated. It seems a very wide power, and rather an uncertain power as regards its exercise, for the Minister to have. I have suggested that it should read: "any article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908."That contains a very large number of articles. It is continually being added to, and could be added to supposing there was anything discovered which the Minister wished to add.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, lines 25 and 26, leave out ("poisonous or dangerous drug") and insert ("article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1008").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I do not want to cover the ground again as to whether there are other drugs than poisons which could be injurious or prejudicial to health if unwisely used, and I suggest to Lord Askwith that, your Lordships having decided the point on Lord Emmott's Amendment, he should not move it here, particularly as there are a certain number of people who know perfectly well that certain drugs which are not poisonous do not agree with them, and it might be wise in certain cases to give them a warning by seeing that these particular drugs are labelled. I think it is probably only fair also that the doctor should know the contents, where the ingredients of particular remedies may be prejudicial to health, before recommending them.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (2) (f), to leave out "drug" and insert "substance."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, line 26, leave out ("drug") and insert ("substance").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment. agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2) (g), to leave out "ought in the opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein, having regard to the purposes for which the medicine is to be used," and to insert "is in excess of that required for solvent or preservative purposes." The noble Lord said: This again is vague as to what is meant—"such an amount of alcohol as ought in the opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein." I suggest that, as it is well known what amount of alcohol is required in certain cases, according to the class of goods, the words I have proposed should be put in instead of the vague words at present employed.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, line 31, leave out from ("as") to the second ("to") in line 34, and insert ("is in excess of that required for solvent or preservative purposes").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I am prepared to accept this Amendment if the noble Lord would allow me, after the word "required," to add" in the opinion of the Minister," so that it would read

    "(g) requiring every proprietary medicine containing more than such an amount of alcohol as is in excess of that required in the opinion of the Minister for solvent or preservative purposes."
    I understand that sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to the exact amount of alcohol required—not a large amount; it may be a very small percentage—but I think it would be reasonable to make the Minister responsible for saying how much alcohol is required for this particular purpose.

    Amendment to the Amendment moved—

    After ("required") insert ("in the opinion of the Minister").—(Viscount Aster.)

    On Question, Amendment to the Amendment agreed to.

    On Question, Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 6:

    Removal from register of medicines and appliances.

    6. The Minister may, where it appears to him that any medicine or appliance which has been registered under this Act will or is likely if used in accordance with the directions for use issued therewith, or will or is likely for any other reason, to cause injury to health, direct that the medicine or appliance shall be removed from the register, and where the Minister gives any such direction he shall cause notice of the removal to be given in the London Gazette, and in such other manner as he thinks fit.

    moved, at the beginning, to insert: "Subject to the provisions of this section," with a view of inserting a further Amendment. The noble Viscount said: The object of the two Amendments in my name on the Paper is to give the registered owner an opportunity of stating his case in writing before a medicine registered by him is removed from the register. In order to try to meet Lord Askwith, who has an Amendment on the Paper, I should suggest adding the following words to my second Amendment—"And the Minister shall not give any public intimation of his intention until the expiration of the said twenty-one days." Thus, my second Amendment at the end of the clause would read as follows:

    "Provided that the Minister before giving a direction under this section shall send by post to the registered owner of the medicine or appliance notice in writing of his intention in that behalf and shall take into consideration any representations which may be made to him in writing with respect to the matter by or on behalf of the registered owner at any time within twenty-one days after the date of the sending of the notice, and the Minister shall not give any public intimation of his intention until the expiration of the said twenty-one days."
    I have put down this Amendment as an alternative to those which stand in Lord Askwith's name, and I have added those words to try still further to meet his point. I hope I have succeeded in doing so.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 6, line 19, at beginning insert ("Subject to the provisions of this section").—(Viscount Astor.)

    So far as it goes the Amendment seems to satisfy a good deal of the feeling that would have arisen if a Man's name were removed from the register, and possibly his whole business stopped, before he had any chance of saying anything in his own favour. But this Amendment, so far as it goes, leaves the matter with the Minister, and does not give a man who may have a very big business the right of appeal to the High Court from the Minister. Under the Bill, as introduced, it meant that the Minister might simply remove a man from the register without giving him any notice. desired that he should have notice first, and that then he should have the right of appeal to the High Court, and that prior to the decision of the High Court no steps should be taken to his detriment. As the noble Viscount proposes it, the Minister would give the decision and would give notice. I should be glad if he would consider the matter, or, after seeing exactly what his proposal is, I might possibly on the Report stage give the man that right to go to the Court.

    I should like to press the noble Viscount on the point I raised on going into Committee. This clause is the one I was trying to find when I made those observations, because it provides that the Minister may, where it appears to him that any medicine or appliance will or is likely to cause injury to health, direct that the medicine or appliance shall be removed from the register. Is that the only power of removal from the register which the Minister possesses? And is it limited to Clause 6? If so, I should like to ask what is the meaning of clause 5 (1)(c)

    "The Minister may make regulations for the following purposes:—
    "(c) For prescribing the causes for which and the manner in which, and registered owner may be removed from the register, and the manner in which notice of such removal is to be given."
    As I understand (c), there appears to be nothing limiting this, and the Minister has the absolute power to make Regulations for removing a man from the register because his name begins with B, if he likes, or any other reason.

    It is not limited at all. I do not know whether it is intended to have these two powers concurrently, or whether some Amendment to the drafting is wanted to make them agree. But I would submit the point of substance that I put before—namely, that it would surely be better not to limit himself to the fact that this "will or is likely to" cause injury to health, but to take the power to remove from the register if, in the opinion of the Minister, it is reasonable to do so. There may be other considerations. The public interest does give you a free hand, and does give you the reasons on which you desire to act. I should be glad to know what view is taken upon that point by the Ministry.

    Before the noble Viscount replies, might I enforce the views set forth by the noble Earl? Having very small experience of the drafting of Acts of Parliament it occurs to me that it is very important to have it made quite clear that, in the public interest, the Minister shall be able either to refuse the registration of a new remedy proposed—which would be fairly easy—or possibly even to withdraw the registration of one already existing. But the latter does not seem to be so important as the making of some provision whereby the Minister can refuse registration to any new remedy proposed, without any odiu