HC Deb 21 June 1894 vol 25 cc1641-2

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the trial of certain Tollesbury fishermen and dredgers for alleged piracy, at the Essex Assizes, and to the observations of the Judge (Mr. Justice Day) that if the Legislature had time to devote to such objects as the preservation of the public oyster fishery, he thought they would do well to make removals of cultch, to the destruction of such fisheries, unlawful; and, if so, whether he would take steps to obtain a suspension of the Twelve o'Clock Rule, if the present opposition continues to the Bill now before this House having that object, so that it might become law this Session?


As I have blocked the Bill referred to, I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks it is reasonable, seeing the Government have taken the whole time of the House, that I should allow a Bill which involves the destruction of the trade of my constituents, the fishermen and owners of the Tollesbury oyster fisheries, to pass entirely without discussion?


Yes, Sir; I have seen the newspaper account of the proceedings referred to by my hon. Friend. I venture to hope, having regard to those proceedings and to the widespread demand for the Bill referred to, that the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Essex will withdraw his opposition to the Bill. He is, I believe, the only Member in the House who opposes it, and who delays legislation which the other Members for Essex and the Fisheries Committees all over England are anxious to obtain, and which would be very much in the interests of the consumers of oysters. But I am not at present able to state what course it will be proper to take with regard to the suggestion of my hon. Friend. In reply to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Essex, I cannot admit that the description he has given of the Bill is correct. On the contrary, it is far from being so. Still, that, of course, is a matter which involves argument.


Is it not the case that in the last Parliament the Government took non-contentious Bills as the first Order of the Day?


I beg to inform the right hon. Gentleman that I cannot withdraw my opposition.