§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 (Short title and construction).
§ MR. WHITLEY
said, he should like to have some explanation of the Bill. It seemed a very simple measure, providing merely for the transfer to the Board of Trade the registry of shipping. But he thought the general feeling was that the Board of Trade had already more than they could manage, and therefore he did not know why it was proposed to transfer to that Board from the Customs the registry of shipping. So far as he knew, the present system had given satisfaction to the mercantile community, and therefore he should like to hear why that change was proposed?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Baron HENRY DE WORMS)
said, it had been found that the present system did not work satisfactorily; and, therefore, in order to simplify the regis- 1940 tration of shipping, it was proposed by this very short Bill that in future the Board of Trade should be alone responsible for the registration. The Bill was brought in by the late President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain); it passed the second reading without opposition; and he (Baron Henry De Worms) trusted that it would not now be opposed.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he did not think the hon. Gentleman was quite right when he said that the Bill passed the second reading without any opposition. He (Mr. A. O'Connor) had some recollection of having objected to it himself. The fact was this Bill extended to Ireland a jurisdiction which did not at present exist. The Board of Trade was in Ireland only concerned with the Irish Board of Lights; but this Bill would introduce the Board of Trade into Ireland in a very different character. The people of Ireland had not a very satisfactory experience of the Board of Trade; and they had, therefore, no reason to desire an extension of the Board's authority to the other side of the water. It had not by any means been proved that the Bill was likely to improve matters even with respect to England. Seeing that in Ireland there was now a tendency to decentralize matters, it seemed to be a rather backward step to propose legislation which would centralize matters still; more, at any rate in one respect. Would the Government consent to the limitation of the Bill to Great Britain, leaving matters in Ireland as at present?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir E. ASSHETON CROSS)
thought that, under the circumstances, the better plan would be to report Progress.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.