HC Deb 19 July 1869 vol 198 cc154-5

said, he wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether any steps have been taken to bring under the notice of the French Government the great inconvenience and delay to which passengers proceeding through Boulogne and France are unnecessarily exposed; if he is aware that the boat from Dover to Calais did not, on the morning of Thursday 1st July, leave Dover for Calais until eleven o'clock a.m., one hour forty-five minutes after its appointed time, and then crossed the channel at half speed, occupying in its passage two hours and twenty minutes; that no fixed service can take place from Dover to Calais in strong easterly winds; and that the English packets from Dover and Folkestone to France are insufficiently provided with boats, and that in case of a collision at sea, the loss of life must be enormous; and to ask him if he would not consider that a Select Committee or an International Commission would prove of the greatest service to the International communication between the two countries of England and France?


Sir, I shall not pretend to give an answer to all the particular Questions of the hon. Baronet. I can only say that I agree with him as to the very unsatisfactory state of the arrangements of the passage from England to France. The Board of Trade have had an inquiry into the subject, and a very interesting and able Report has been presented to the Department. That Report has already been laid upon the table of the House, and it will, I suppose, almost immediately be in the hands of Members. I may state further that it is intended to send a copy of that Report—I am not quite sure that it has already been forwarded—to Paris, in order that it may be laid before the French Government, in the hope that the question, some time before long, may be considered with a view to an improvement in the means of transit between England and France. That is all I can say at present with regard to the Question of the hon. Baronet.