HC Deb 31 May 1892 vol 5 cc405-11
Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens 15,000
Houses of Parliament Buildings 8,000
Admiralty, Extension of Buildings 4,000
Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain 6,000
Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain 3,000
Diplomatic and Consular Buildings 4,000
Revenue Department Buildings 54,000
Public Buildings, Great Britain 20,000
Surveys of the United Kingdom 35,000
Harbours, &c, under Board of Trade, and Lighthouses Abroad 3,000
Peterhead Harbour 2,000
Caledonian Canal
Rates on Government Property 10,000
Public Works and Buildings, Ireland 20,000
Railways, Ireland 30,000

Resolution read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

(6.37.) MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (&c.) Carnarvon,

During the discussion last night the subject of Welsh mining royalties was mentioned, and the Secretary to the Treasury was good enough to promise to inquire into the royalties imposed on Crown tenants in that part of the country. A public inquiry was held, and it was fully reported in the local papers, and what I desire this afternoon is to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he is prepared to let us have that Report. If that is done I shall not press the matter further; otherwise I shall feel it my duty to remove a reduction in order that this matter may be fully discussed.

(6.39.) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square

I have not seen the Report myself, but I do not know that there is any objection to the hon. Gentleman seeing it. I shall be very glad to let him see it if he will apply to me.


I shall not proceed further in the matter.

(6.40.) MR. ROBERTSON (Dundee)

Earlier in the week I mentioned a case to the House which I think comes under the Law of Conspiracy. The Government have insisted on maintaining that law in its present position, and have refused to make the Amendment we desired. I do not challenge their right to do that; but I do say that it is the duty of the Government to see that the law is administered equally, and I maintain also that the law is not equally administered. I called attention the other day to the fact that three men, who had obtained service in the employment of a certain Railway Company, were dismissed at the instance of a combination called the Farmers' Alliance. If this alliance of farmers did combine to deprive these men of their situations, undoubtedly they are guilty according to the Law of Criminal Conspiracy, and I think it is only fair that the law should be put in force against them. The law is enforced against poor people, and I think it should also be enforced against those who are comparatively rich. I see that three labourers are being prosecuted for preventing another labourer from following his lawful employment, and we heard the other day of a meeting being proclaimed because it was said to be an unlawful conspiracy. This law is always set in motion against poor men, but poor men cannot move the Attorney General to act. In cases of this kind the Government ought to be the Attorney General of the poor. Surely this is a matter that might be taken up by the Public Prosecutor, but that functionary seems to be something more or less of a constitutional mystery, and it is far from me to say what is within the line of his duty. The Attorney General told me the other day that the facts laid before him were not sufficient to enable him to give an opinion on the point. I did not want his opinion. What I want to call attention to is that this law is enforced against labourers and poor farmers, and I think it is the duty of the Government to step in for protection of the poor in a case like that I have mentioned.

(6.43.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the laws should be equally administered, and that no class favour should be shown. But what machinery there is at the disposal of the Government in a matter of this kind I am not sufficient of a lawyer to know. I will, however, inquire into the matter.

(6.44.) MR. KNOX (Cavan, W.)

I should like to ask whether the Labour Commission proposes to hold sittings in Ireland to give the agricultural labourers an opportunity of tendering their evidence?


As a member of the Commission, I may say that that subject is now under the consideration of the Commission, and I have no doubt that one or more Assistant Commissioners will be appointed to conduct inquiries in Ireland.

(6.45.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

I should like to call attention to the wants and requirements of the fishermen on our southern coasts, whose interests I have already asked that the Government should safeguard. The French fishermen come over in their steam trawlers in the early part of the year, and their operations go far to destroy the mackerel fishing off the coast. Sir Thomas Brady, whose services are not now at the disposal of the Dublin Office, said that these practices if continued would seriously damage the mackerel fishing. The importance of the Irish fisheries needs no demonstration, but it is absurd that with all our care, with all the endeavours of Baroness Burdett - Coutts and others to encourage this industry, we should allow these depredations of foreign fishermen. If an Irish fishing smack chances to enter a French harbour with fish on board, even though there is no intention of sale, the fish is subjected to heavy dues; yet here are the French fishermen permitted to reap the harvest of our Irish seas unchecked. I hope the newly appointed Board, to which two Members of our Division will be added, will take this matter into serious consideration. I want an expression of opinion from the First Lord of the Treasury as to whether any steps will be taken to safeguard this valuable Irish industry. Last year I was told that the three-mile limit prevented any steps being taken, but these French trawlers I am informed come inside the limits of the fishing banks.

(6.48.) Mr. A. J. BALFOUR

rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put accordingly, and agreed to.