§ MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that great dissatisfaction and even alarm exists among sellers and consumers of petroleum oil in all parts of the country, and especially among the working and poorer classes, at the provisions of the Inflammable Liquids Bill; and whether there is any truth in the statements in the newspapers that the 473 Government, in consequence of the adverse opinion so generally expressed of the Bill, are prepared to withdraw it?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS,) Birmingham, E.
Yes, Sir; I am aware that considerable opposition has been manifested by the retailers of petroleum oil against this Bill. I have no information about consumers. This opposition appears to have arisen without a sufficiently careful examination of the proposed measure, which is framed with a view of safeguarding small retailers, and which improves the position of hawkers. If the hon. Member will refer to the Bill of 1883, and to the Report of the House of Lords Committee upon it, he will see that large concessions have been made to the convenience of traders in the Bill of this year, which has been introduced after repeated conferences with the trade, and in consequence of the strong representations of Local Authorities and of the Admiralty, the Board of Trade, the Thames Conservators, the London County Council, and other Public Bodies that amended legislation is urgently needed in the interests of public safety. I shall, however, be glad to consider any proposals for amendments in detail where it is shown that the Bill is of too restrictive a character. The answer to the second paragraph is in the negative.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will lay upon the Table copies of the Memorials he has received?
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say at the same time whether he will allow a full discussion upon the Second Reading of the Bill?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
No doubt there will be a full discussion on the Second Reading.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
Are we to understand that the Second Reading will not be taken on this side of Easter?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
It will not be possible to take it on this side of Easter; but it is a matter which will be arranged by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.
§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman when the Memorandum of Data and Reasons on which this Bill is based, and which he was good enough to promise, will be issued; and whether he will defer the Second Reading of the Bill for a sufficient period to allow of the Memorandum being publicly ventilated and considered by the many trades and industries affected?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
I hope that the Memorandum which I have promised my hon. Friend will be in the hands of Members in the course of a week or ten days, and I will defer the Second Reading of the Bill until a reasonable time has elapsed for its consideration.