§ MR. T. SUTHERLAND (Greenock)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, If, in the present state of Public Business, it is the intention of the Government to persevere with the Merchant Shipping (Life Saving Appliances) Bill; and, if not, whether he would consider the advisability of nominating a Departmental Committee, consisting of practical men (somewhat analogous to the Load Line Committee), to consider proposals and formulate Rules with regard to the nature and extent of life saving appliances which should be carried in vessels of different classes, with a view to increase the security of life at sea, without, at the same time, placing shipping under disadvantages which would be likely to cause injury to the carrying trade of this country, the Report of such Committee to form the basis of whatever legislation might be considered necessary on this subject?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
The course proposed in the second part of the hon. Member's Question is precisely that which is proposed in the Merchant Shipping (Life Saving Appliances) Bill, to which he objects; and it was adopted upon the unanimous recommendation of a Select Committee of this House, of which the hon. Gentleman was himself a 1393 Member. With regard to the first part of the Question, I am prepared to amend the Bill by inserting in it provision for the special representation of Liverpool and the Clyde ports on the Committee which it proposes to constitute; and, as the Bill has already passed through the other House, I hope to be able to pass it into law this year. If I am unable to do so, owing to the opposition of the hon. Member, I must throw on him the responsibility of stopping a change in the law which, while it will relieve ships which do not carry passengers from a liability now imposed on them, will certainly add to the chances of safety of both crews and passengers of passenger-carrying vessels.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he must refer the hon. Member to the provisions of the Bill. The Committee, as the hon. Gentleman would remember, was proposed first to prepare Rules for the sanction of the Board of Trade and of this House, and would be summoned together afterwards when necessary.