HC Deb 11 December 1893 vol 19 cc1040-2
MR. J. AUSTIN (York, W.R., Osgoldcross)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can say when the Report of the Featherstone Commission will be considered by the House?

The following questions on the same subject also appeared on the Paper, and were answered at the same time:—

MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether, having regard to the recommendation set forth in the Report issued by the Featherstone Inquiry that the law as to dealing with civil disturbances should be consolidated, he would take steps to have a Consolidation Act drafted for submission to the House; whether, in view of the recommendation of the Report, he will consider the advisability of modifying the arms to be used by the troops on occasions of apprehended public disturbance; whether he will make any recommendations to the Magistrates with regard to organising themselves in times of disturbance; and whether he has considered the advisability of directing any grant by way of compensation to the families of the two men who were killed at Featherstone, and who are found by the Report to have been innocent spectators?


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Government propose to give some portion of a day for the discussion of the Featherstone Inquiry Report?

MR. DODD (Essex, Maldon)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take, on consideration of the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the late occurrences at Featherstone, to enlarge and improve the composition of the Local Authorities responsible in the first instance for notifying the necessity for soldiers or extra police to put down or prevent apprehended civil disturbances in the counties, by making such authorities more fully representative of all classes; and whether an opportunity could be afforded at an early date to this House for a short discussion on this Report?


In reply to this question, I would submit to my hon. Friends that the Government cannot come to any decision on the various points raised in this Report, nor can the matter in any of its aspects be adequately or profitably discussed by the House until we are all in possession of the evidence upon which the Report is founded, and to which its recommendations refer. When the evidence has been printed and circulated my hon. Friends can, of course, if they think fit, renew their questions to the Prime Minister, who will, I hope, be then able to be in his place.


When will the Evidence be printed?


The Evidence is being printed, and will be circulated without any avoidable delay.


May I ask the Home Secretary to give the House a little more information as to this question. Can he hold out any reasonable expectation that we shall have an opportunity of discussing the question before Christmas?


I am afraid that I cannot answer that question. The First Lord of the Treasury will answer it in a few days, I hope.