HC Deb 18 June 1886 vol 306 cc1866-9

Bill, as amended, considered.

Clause 9 (Exemption of members of the same family).

MR. WESTLAKE (Essex, Romford)

, in moving the rejection of the clause, said, it did not appear what constituted being one of the family, and he thought that the clause would only lead to litigation. There was no necessity for the clause at all. If it was thought desirable to declare the excessive employment of young persons to be improper and criminal, he did not see why an exception should be made in the case of young persons who were members of an employer's family. The word "family" might include servants; and, besides, there was, in his opinion, no reason why they should give power in the Bill to work their own children longer than the Bill allowed them to work their ordinary employés.

Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 9.—(Mr. Westlake.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 9 stand part of the Bill."

MR. LEWIS (Londonderry)

said, he objected to the way in which the House had been treated in connection with this Bill. Two hours of yesterday's Sitting were occupied in endeavouring to give shape to the Bill, and the result was still very unsatisfactory. He protested against that sort of legislation at the end of the Session, in the absence of the Home Secretary and of the promoters of the Bill, and in such a very thin House.


said, he thought that the Bill would be a somewhat dangerous one to pass without the clause.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 103; Noes 15: Majority 88.—(Div. List, No. 137.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Sir John Lubbock.)


, in moving, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read the third time that day three months, said, he must protest against contentious Business being taken after the statement of the Prime Minister that it should not. He objected to the Bill because he was of opinion that such a mischievous piece of legislation, belonging to the harum-scarum order, should not be allowed to pass into law. The whole drafting of the Bill was lax. No provision was made for enforcing its provisions, and it infringed the principle of free trade. The Bill should be withdrawn this year, and brought forward on a more suitable occasion next Session, in order that it might be thoroughly considered and discussed.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Cavendish Bentinck.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)

, in pressing the necessity that existed for reading the Bill the third time, said, it had been most carefully considered by a Select Committee and by the Committee of the House, whilst its principle, on the second reading, was accepted without a division. With one exception, in which the Bill was strengthened, and the omission of the power of relaxation intrusted to the Home Secretary, the Amendments passed last night were mainly verbal. The Select Committee were, with one exception, in favour of the Bill; and even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Manchester (Sir James Fergusson), who still objected to the Bill, himself admitted the gravity of the evil. The omission of Clause 9, against which he voted just now, would rather have strengthened the Bill; but it only related to members of one family, and parents were not likely to overwork their own children. He hoped the House would assent to the third reading.


said, that if the Bill had been considered thoroughly by the Select Committee, it was strange to find that it had been considerably altered in its passage through the Committee of the House. As a matter of fact, the Bill was an entirely different measure from that which came before the Select Committee. It now included public-houses, whereas, formerly, the Committee proposed to exclude them, and the dispensatory power to be placed in the hands of the Home Secretary was taken away. It was the worst drawn Bill he had seen, and a more unworkable measure had probably never been presented to Parliament.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 84; Noes 17: Majority 67.—(Div. List, No. 138.)

Main Question put.

Bill read the third time, and passed.