§ MR. PAUL (Edinburgh, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he has received a Memorial from a Conference attended by representatives of the Town Councils of Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Greenock, and Perth, the Couvention of Royal Burghs, the Parochial Boards of Edinburgh, and a number of philanthropic societies in Scotland, praying for a Royal Commission to inquire into the best means of dealing, by means more effective than now exist, with habitual offenders, vagrants, beggars, and inebriates; and whether Her Majesty's Government will in the public interest issue such a Commission as prayed?
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN,) Glasgow, Bridgeton
I have received the Memorial referred to. The question of dealing with habitual drunkards was considered and reported upon in 1893 by a Departmental Committee appointed by the late Home Secretary. There was no Representative of Scotland upon the committee, which is matter for regret; but witnesses from Scotland were examined 1436 before it. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary proposes to bring in a measure, in accordance with the recommendations of that Committee, which will contain provisions applicable to Scotland, as well as England. It would, therefore, seem desirable to await the consideration of the terms of this measure before deciding whether a further Committee should be appointed to inquire into the mode of dealing with inebriates in Scotland. I will, however, consider whether a kindred inquiry of the same character might be conducted in Scotland into the important question of habitual offenders.