§ MR. BIRKBECK
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether a Memorial from a portion of the trawling smack-owners at Grimsby was presented to the Board of Trade, during the week ending 6th December last, in favour of a new proposal for trawlers' lights, viz. a duplex coloured lanthorn in addition to a white masthead light; whether such proposal was condemned at a Conference of delegates from Scarborough, Hull, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Ramsgate, Brixham, and Plymouth, held in London on 16th December last; whether he is aware that the Memorial was only supported by a portion of the smack-owners of Grimsby and some Northern ports, principally interested in steam trawlers; whether it is a fact that the duplex lanthorn proposal was only submitted to individual members of a Departmental Committee (not assembled), and was recommended, without previous trial by the Board of Trade, for legalisa- 1158 tion within twenty-three days of the presentation of the Grimsby Memorial, and without any opportunity being afforded by the Board of Trade to the smack-owners of England to express an opinion on the new regulation; whether the proposal was legalised by Order in Council on 30th December last; and, whether he is aware that at the conclusion of the debate on fishing vessels lights on 31st May 1881, he is reported by Hantard to have said—As to the new regulations he would undertake that they should not come into force until a further Report was made;" and "that the House would have an opportunity of considering any new regulations that might be proposed, anything that differed from the present practice?
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
The history of the case as set forth in the hon. Member's Question is, in the main, correct. The proposal, however, for the adoption of a duplex lanthorn came from a large and influential section of the trawling interest. The hon. Member has quoted some observations which I made in the course of a debate with regard to fishing vessels lights, which took place in this House in May, 1881. If he will carefully refer to the context he will see that the pledge which I gave was that the present regulations should not be altered until the House had had an opportunity of considering the proposed alterations. The existing regulations have not been altered, and are not affected by the permissive use of the duplex lanthorn, which is all that has been sanctioned by the Order in Council.