§ MR. P. STANHOPE (Burnley)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the report of a case heard at the Borough Police Court, Preston, on Saturday the 24th of February last, when a certain firm of cotton manufacturers were charged under Section 24 of "The Factory and Workshops Act, 1891," with failing to supply to certain weavers in their employ sufficient particulars with their work to enable them to ascertain the rate of wages at which they were entitled to be paid for the work, when the Magistrates held that a sign or symbol, which no one but the employer and his manager understood, was sufficient, and might be used instead of plain characters; and if it is competent for the Magistrates to insist, as in this case, upon the Inspector or witnesses stating whether the persons whom the employer is charged with failing to supply sufficient particulars to have complained or not, or even if they have felt aggrieved or are dissatisfied?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
My attention has been drawn to this case with a view to the amendment of the law if necessary. Mr. Birtwistle has received instructions that if such questions should be again asked in any case—namely, from whom he received information, or if one of his witnesses is asked whether he or she gave information to Mr. Birtwistle, he should very respectfully submit to the Court that to answer such questions would be contrary to public policy.