HC Deb 21 June 1878 vol 241 cc98-101

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [13th June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


said, without wishing to raise a discussion upon the particular Bill, the second reading of which had just been moved, he would remind the House that the Government had brought forward, in "another place," a very important Bill relating to the Medical Profession. That Bill had been very thoroughly discussed, and, without wishing to refer to its details then, he suggested whether, before the Bill now before the House, coming from a private source, was read a second time, the Government should not say if they consented to such a course, before the second reading of their own measure, which was fixed for Monday? He also desired to know if it were intended to refer the whole question to a Select Committee, and so delay most important legislation which had been desired for years'?


could not help thinking that his hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. A. Mills) would do better by not pressing his Bill to a second reading until the Government measure was brought before the House. He did not wish to express an opinion at that moment upon the Bill of his hon. Friend, because he had not given it any careful consideration; but he was aware that it related to a rather important question with reference to the constitution of the Medical Council. He suggested to his hon. Friend to agree to a further adjournment of the second reading, and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would move that the debate be now adjourned.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)


said, he should be quite content to act upon the suggestion of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He only wished to say, in reference to the remarks which had been made by the hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland), that his (Mr. Mill's) Bill had been printed for three weeks, and more than 100 Petitions had been presented to the House in its favour from medical men in various parts of the country. It also had very cordial support from the medical journals. Importance was attached to the one element of his Bill in which it differed from the Government measure—namely, the introduction of the direct representation of the Profession upon the Medical Council. As that provision was considered of great value by the Profession, he certainly should not withdraw the Bill; but, on the contrary, should persevere with it to the end. In so acting, he did not wish to show any hostility to the Government measure; nor, as suggested by the hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon, had he any desire to delay legislation on the subject. He (Mr. Mills) was as anxious as anyone that the question should be at once dealt with; but, at the same time, he wished to have a thoroughly good and complete Bill while they were about it. He hoped an arrangement might be come to, whereby the Government would be able to embody in their Bill that one feature by which his differed from theirs—that providing for the direct representation of the Profession on the Medical Council. He did not propose this alteration in consequence of any want of confidence in the Medical Council, but he thought it would be very satisfactory to the Profession and tend to strengthen the Council if such an element were introduced into it as proposed by him. Agreeing with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the two measures should be taken together, he should put his Bill down for Monday, on which day he understood the Government measure was to be taken. He might mention to the House that the Bill had on its back not only his name, but the names of the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers), so that it could not be said to be a Party measure.


pointed out to his hon. Friend the Member for Exeter and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that great practical inconvenience would arise if the Bill of the hon. Member for Exeter were brought forward as antagonistic to the measure of the Government at so late a period of the Session. He reminded the hon. Member for Exeter that it would be competent for him to raise the question which his Bill was intended to bring before the House upon the second reading of the Government Bill. He therefore put it to him, whether that would not be the best time of raising the question as to the direct representation of the Profession on the Medical Council. At any rate, it seemed to him that if the two Bills were to be considered, they should be taken at a period of the Session when the House would be able to give such attention to them as the importance of the subject really demanded. There was no question of a large and widespread feeling of dissatisfaction existing throughout the Medical Profession as to the constitution of the Medical Council. Whether that was just or not, it was not for him to say, but it did exist; and he hoped that some assurance would be given by the Government that a fair opportunity should be afforded for raising the question, brought before the House by the Bill of his hon. Friend the Member for Exeter.


appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do what the majority of those interested desired —refer this intricate question to a Select Committee. He considered that the principle of the Bill of the hon. Member for Exeter could hardly be fairly discussed at that period of the Session. The Bill raised a very important consideration, and he (Mr. Errington) believed it would be much more in accord- ance with the desire of the bulk of the Medical Profession if the matter were referred to a Select Committee, so that another year the whole subject might be completely and properly dealt with.


desired to speak as strongly as he could in favour of the suggestion of his hon. Friend who had just addressed the House. The whole subject was too important, and involved too many interests, for it to be properly discussed at such a period of the Session. The College of Physicians, the College of Surgeons, and many others, felt very strongly on the question; and he did not think that the interests which such a measure would affect should be dealt with without the parties most concerned by such legislation having an opportunity of expressing their views before a Select Committee. Therefore, he hoped the Bills would not be pressed on to a second reading, unless on the understanding that they should be referred to such a Committee. He did not disguise from himself, or from the House, that the effect of such a reference would be to defer the whole subject to another Session. But, surely, it would be infinitely better to delay legislation for a year than allow those Corporations to be under the impression that they had suffered by the Bills being unduly pressed forward at such a period?


thought it would be better not to proceed with the Bill until the Government measure had been brought before the House. He therefore moved that the debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock, till Monday next.