HC Deb 03 May 1870 vol 201 c109

I wish, Sir, before putting the Question of which I have given Notice, to say a few words as to the circumstances which gave rise to it. The circumstances are these—The local Inspector of Middlesex had inspected the canteens at Hampton and Hounslow for 18 years, and had instituted proceedings from time to time, under 5 & 6 Will. IV., c. 63, from which convictions for unjust weights and measures had resulted. In August last the Inspector was ordered out of the barracks by the adjutant and a sergeant under instructions from the War Office. He summoned those officers, and the Middlesex magistrates fined them both, under section 76 of the Mutiny Act. There have been similar occurrences elsewhere. So that the arrangement between the War Office and the Home Office, mentioned on Thursday last by the Home Secretary, seems founded on a misconception of the law, and a conflict of authorities has arisen which, among other inconveniences, has much embarrassed the Standards Commission, as a member of which I venture to put the Question which I have placed on the Notice Paper,—to ask the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the reply of the Home Secretary on Thursday last, Whether instructions have been issued from the War Office to the effect that local Inspectors of Weights and Measures are to be excluded from canteens in barracks; and, if so, on what provision of Law such instructions are founded?


Sir, the Law Officers of the Crown have advised us that the canteens are not within the Act. We are desirous to have the assistance of the local Inspectors whenever the magistrates are willing to afford it, and have consequently asked the Home Secretary to request that they will inspect the canteens and direct the Report to be sent to us.