§ MR. TANKERVILLE CHAMBERLAYNE (Portsmouth)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the re-appearance of the cholera in France, and the serious danger of it reaching this country, he will afford facilities for discussing the question as to what precautious should be taken by Her Majesty's Government to effectually protect our coasts?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. H. FOWLER,) Wolverhampton, E.
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this question. The Department responsible to the House and the country for taking precautions against cholera is the Local Government Board. That Board has the advice of the most competent and experienced experts in the Kingdom on this question; and, so far as the precautions taken last autumn are concerned, I believe both the House and the country were satisfied with the course which the Board pursued. I can conceive no course more prejudicial to the public interest than a discussion in the House of the precautions to be taken. The Local Government Board feel that the responsibility of their position is very great; and they are prepared to carry out those precautions which, on the best and most competent authority, they believe to be necessary.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAYNE
May I explain why I put the question? A deputation from the seaport towns has already waited upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and, in consequence of his answer not being satisfactory, it was thought that the only course open to us was to appeal to the House.
§ MR. HARRY FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
May I ask whether it is not a fact that, however competent the Department may be to advise, they 1196 have no power to compel Local Authorities to carry out their advice?
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
I think it is inadvisable to discuss, in the form of question and answer, the powers of the Central and of the Local Authorities. But if the Local Government Board think it desirable to ask the House to give them further powers by legislation they will not hesitate to do so.