HC Deb 05 December 1890 vol 349 cc655-6
MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, with reference to the Police and Health (Scotland) Bill, whether he is correctly reported as having said, in answer to a deputation, "that only three Members representing Scotland objected to the said Bill;" and, if this be the fact, whether Her Majesty's Government will arrange after Christmas to give reasonable time in order to pass the Bill, and comply with the all but unanimous wish of the Scotch Burghs, by passing a measure which they have repeatedly represented as being urgently needed and of great importance to the health of the people, and to which there is practically no opposition?


The statement quoted in the question was made, not by me, but by Members of the deputation, and I am not aware of any Report which describes it to me. I believe the objection to the Bill to be confined to a few Members; but the opposition of even a few Members, to a Bill of 571 clauses, constitutes a formidable Parliamentary difficulty in the way of its progress. I stated at the beginning of last Session that if the Scotch Members were practically unanimous in desiring that the Bill should pass through this House in the form in which it left the Select Committee of 1888, the Government would be most willing to effectuate this desire; the offer then made was not accepted; and the deputation which I met last month was unable to say that the situation was materially altered. Under these circumstances, the Government, while adhering to previous statements regarding the Bill, do not feel justified in giving the undertaking suggested by the hon. Member, seeing that the "reasonable time" which he desires would only be obtained at the expense of other measures to which the Government are pledged, and that, at present, they have no adequate assurance that it would be effectively bestowed on the Bill in question.