§ MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the deputation of Members of Parliament and Miners' Representatives which waited upon him on 10th February to urge, among other things, that after a certain time, not specified, all women should be forbidden by law to work in connection with mines, even above ground, Whether the deputation admitted that the women who now work at the pit's bank are "thoroughly honest and virtuous," and whether they gave any reason for preventing them working except that the work was "hard and unwomanly;" whether he can state the number of women who are employed at the pit's bank in connection with mines, and if it is not the case that their average health is better than that of seamstresses and of women who work in cotton mills; what steps do the Government propose to take in the matter; and, will he consent to receive a deputation of women who work at the pit's bank, and others, to state their case?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.),
in reply, said, that the hon. Member correctly stated the views of the deputation which recently addressed him. He was informed by the Inspector that in 1885 the number of women working on the pit's bank, in connection with mines, was little short of 6,000. The Government did not feel disposed to interfere with the employment of those women, and did not consider the limitation of 1407 their numbers necessary. Consequently, he did not consider a deputation from the women necessary, although he would be happy to receive one.