HC Deb 06 August 1890 vol 348 cc17-20

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 3.

(1.45.) MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella).

Amendment proposed, Clause 3, page 1, line 12, to leave out "sixteen" and insert "eighteen."—(Mr. Buchanan.)

Question proposed, "That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

(1.46.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

I should have been most happy if I could have acceded to the Amendment, but I must point out that we are by this Bill placing new burdens on the Local Authorities, and it is necessary to proceed with caution. The point has been carefully considered, and I am not able to accede to the Amendment. I am satisfied that, at all events for the present, it would be injudicious to go further than we are doing with the Bill at present in adding to the burdens of the Local Authorities. I may say I am ready to assent to all the other Amendments standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella).

(1.48.) MR. BUCHANAN

I think it is a matter of regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen his way to accede to this Amendment. I do not know whether he will be prepared to accept 17 years as a compromise. I do not think that the burden that will be imposed on the Local Authorities will be one of very considerable extent, and I am sure it is not the kind of burden that will be objected to either by the Local Authorities or the ratepayers.

(1.50.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

I am sorry I cannot accept that proposal. It is true the number of children is not very large, but the principle is one of some gravity.


I take some interest in this question as far as my own country is concerned, and I may say I think the principle of the local rates paying nearly exclusively for these children is a wrong one. This is a question of public charity, and I think the whole nation should bear the cost.

(1.51.) MR. C. S. PARKER

I am sure the Scotch Members are obliged to the hon. and gallant Member for his opinion on this point, but his remarks might, I think, be used to enforce the appeal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan). He said money spent on purposes of this kind should come from an Imperial source. But only the other day the Government agreed to place £50,000 from Imperial Tax at the disposal of the County Councils in Scotland, and I presume that funds might be available out of that money for this purpose. Considering how far natural infirmity places these children behind ordinary children, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consent to raise the age to seventeen.

Question put, and agreed to.

Other Amendments agreed to.

Question proposed, "That Clause 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

(1.58.) DR. CLARK

This is rather an extraordinary clause. You place these children under the care of the School Board; you give the School Board power to educate, clothe, and maintain them, and you give the Sheriff authority to decide summarily on questions arising between the School Board and the Parochial Board. However, as philanthropic people are anxious that this experiment should be tried, I will raise no objection, especially as I trust that before long the case of the care of the poor and education will be added to the work of the County Councils.

Question put, and agreed to.

Question proposed, "That Clause 6 stand part of the Bill."

(1.59.) DR. CLARK

I think this the most objectionable clause in the Bill, and I know that 99 per cent. of my constituents would strongly object to it. Personally, I have no objection whatever to a Catholic child being maintained and educated at the expense of Protestants, but it is a new principle, and I think a very objectionable one. I do not see why if a parent is unable to maintain his child he should go to the State and say, "You have got to teach and maintain my child in a school belonging to any special denomination." I suppose if the man were a Mahomedan he could, on the same principle, maintain that the child must be sent to a school where Mahomedanism was taught, and if he held the views of the hon. Member for Northampton his child would have a right to go to a place where agnosticism was taught. I think you are going too far. Where they are boarded out they must be boarded with people of exactly the same denomination, and it might be very difficult in some cases to fulfil this condition. It might be necessary, for instance, to send a very long distance from some districts in Scotland to find a Roman Catholic family with whom a child could be boarded. However, I have no objection, and I am quite aware that the principle has been recognised in Scotland where school fees are paid by Parochial Boards.


This proviso is absolutely essential for the protection of the minority, and there is a strong Catholic minority in Scotland deserving protection. Without such a provision it would have been the duty of Irish Members to have taken an interest in the Bill that would have considerably prolonged discussion.

(2.2.) MR. C. S. PARKER

I agree that this is necessary for the protection of the minority. It is no new principle, and to that conclusion the hon. Member for Caithness himself seemed to arrive when he mentioned the case of children educated by Parochial Boards. The principle is that in such cases, so far as is possible, regard should be had to the religious convictions of parents.

(2.3.) DR. CLARK

I have no sectarian bias on the matter, only it might be very difficult in the boarding-out to find persons belonging to the same religious persuasion.

(2.3.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

I do not think so. In the case of the Parochial Boards, no friction of the kind has been found to exist.

Other Amendments agreed to.

(2.5.) Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—(Mr. J. P. B. Robertson.)


Are there any Amendments?



MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

I think there were some Amendments.


That is why I asked.


I said "No" under the impression that there were no Amendments down to Report.

(2.6.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

To take Committee, Report, and Third Reading at one sitting at a time when Supply is not taken, and the Appropriation Bill not reached, seems rather straining the relaxation of rules usually allowed at this period of the Session.


Only by the consent of the House can it be done; in such a case as the present, if there is the least objection the Bill stands over.


I do not make an objection.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed with Amendments.