§ MR. BROADHURST
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether any, and what, County and Borough Councils and Urban Sanitary Authorities have been consulted as to the desirability of passing the Technical Instruction Bill; whether he is aware that the Manchester Corporation have petitioned against it; and whether he has seen letters in to-day's Daily News from the right hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), and from the Chairmen of the Huddersfield, Nottingham, and Spalding School Boards, in opposition to the passing of the Bill at this late period of the Session?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster
The hon. Gentleman has had some official experience, and he is aware that it is not the custom for a Government to address Local Authorities as to a question on which the Government have asked the opinion of the House. I am not overwhelmed with the hon. Gentleman's authorities, and the Government, notwithstanding the four letters in the newspapers, still intend to persevere with the measure, which they believe to be of importance to the industrial interests of the country. He draws my attention especially to a letter from the right hon. Member for Sheffield. I am not able to say whether that letter is genuine or not; but I prefer to rely upon the right hon. Gentleman's conduct in this House, where he strongly urged the hon. Member for East Northampton to refrain from opposing the Second Reading of the Bill, and expressed his strong desire that the measure should be passed. It is possible that the hot-water treatment which the right hon. Gentleman is under- 489 going has altered his opinion on the subject. I am sure that if the right hon. Gentleman had entertained any very strong opinion on the subject he would have returned to this House, and that, in common with those hon. Members who desire the industrial progress of this country, he would have done everything in his power to forward this Bill, notwithstanding the very limited operation which it is proposed to give to it.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
Have the Government received copies of the resolution passed by the Parliamentary Committee of the Manchester City Council condemning one of the proposals of the Bill, and urging that relief ought to be given to the School Boards?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I am not aware whether we have or have not received a copy of the Resolution to which the hon. Member refers; but I prefer to rely upon the support of the hon. Members for Manchester, rather than that of a Parliamentary Committee of a Local Authority, much as I respect that Local Authority. I think that the hon. Members for Manchester are better fitted to speak in this House upon the subject.