HC Deb 25 February 1892 vol 1 cc1318-20

  1. £2,000, Supplementary, Law Charges.
  2. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1892, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Police Courts of London and Sheerness."

(11.8.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I do not want to go over the arguments in regard to the scandalous character of this particular Vote, but it is well known that almost every Gentleman on this side of the House who does not happen to be a London Member is of opinion that any charge for the Police Courts of London ought to be thrown upon London itself. We are obliged to pay a sum towards the Bow Street Court because some extradition cases are tried there; but we on this side of the House do not see why we should be obliged to pay for Police Courts at Sheerness and Wandsworth and other places in the vicinity of London. Though really anxious as I am to expedite Public Business—

THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. COURTNEY, Cornwall, Bodmin)

The hon. Gentleman is not to enter into the subject of the original Vote, except so far as it is necessary to illustrate the present Vote.


I merely wish to point out how monstrous and excessive the original Vote was, and how super-monstrous it is to ask us to pay £100 more. I certainly shall divide on this Vote.

(11.10.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)

It certainly happens in our country that we have to pay all these charges out of local rates; and when we clean our Courts and have these medical witnesses we pay for, it is not out of the Imperial Exchequer, but from the local rates; and I think it is right that the people of London should be in the same position as all the people in the provinces, and that they should put their hands in their pockets and pay for the cleaning of their Courts, and not ask the poorer parts of the country, such as Caithness, to pay for it. I join with my hon. Friend in protesting against this Vote.

(11.12.) MR. MORTON (Peterborough)

I certainly objected last Session to pay these expenses out of Imperial Funds, whereas the expenses for other Courts outside London have to be paid by the constituencies themselves. I join in the objection to this Vote for £100; and I think we ought to have some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman why he wants more than was voted last year. I am not aware of any reason why the Courts should want more cleaning this year than the year before, or why they should want more cleaning than was estimated during the last Session. I object to this Vote, therefore, on two grounds—the one is, that we ought not to be called upon to vote this sum out of the Imperial Funds at all; and the other is, that we have had no explanation from the right hon. Gentleman at all as to the reasons for asking these supplementary sums.


The explanation of the necessity for the sum stated in the Supplementary Estimates for which we have had to apply is this. The House will remember that a Committee was appointed under the presidency of Mr. Justice Wills for the purpose of seeing what improvements were necessary to be made in certain of the Police Courts for the better accommodation of untried prisoners. The recommendations of this Committee have led to a very considerable enlargement of some of the Courts and an increase in the number of cells, and further improvements. That necessitated considerably increased labour for cleaning. These improvements proceeded gradually step by step, and some of the expense has fallen outside the time in which the ordinary Estimates could be presented to Parliament.

(12.18.) MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

When we ask for money for improving the Courts in Green Street, in Dublin, as we have done over and over again, not one single sixpence can be screwed out of the English Treasury, and we have been met practically with a stern refusal unless the Corporation pays a certain amount. But the moment Mr. Justice Wills says he is not quite comfortable because there is a draught on his poll, there is an Estimate for better accommodation presented to Parliament. The explanation of the hon. Gentleman is quite acceptable, and we shall know how to turn it to account at the proper moment.


The hon. Gentleman did not explain as regards the medical fees. I know there were very many complaints, especially during last August, of the want of medical attendance. In one case a prisoner died who was said to be drunk, and I think there should be more attention paid to these police cases by the medical officers. I should like to have a little explanation of this item.


The amount for the medical witnesses' fees fluctuates very much, and is an item extremely difficult to estimate; but it forms a very small portion of this Estimate which is applied for.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 125; Noes 90.—(Div. List, No. 7.)

Resolutions to be reported.

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