HC Deb 18 June 1896 vol 41 cc1335-6
MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he has now received the detailed Report prepared by the Inspector of Burial Grounds with respect to the alleged breaches of the Burial Acts in the village of Swanscombe, Kent, for the receipt of which his reply to the Question of the hon. Member for Battersea on 21st May was deferred; whether the Inspector's Report shows that the serious and numerous irregularities set forth in a printed Report drawn up by a Committee of the Swanscombe Parish Council, entitled "Swanscombe Burial Matters," have been clearly proved; whether some of these irregularities consisted of the registering of empty graves as occupied and of occupied graves as empty, of graves occupied by single corpses as occupied by more than one, and the reverse; whether these and other irregularities have led to serious scandal and inconvenience in the locality; who is responsible for this state of things; and, what action it is intended to take in the matter?


I have received the Report which I instructed the Inspector to make on the state and condition of the burial ground, and whether the regulations of the Secretary of State have been complied with. The Report shows that in certain of the cases mentioned in the Council's Report irregularities, some of which were such as the hon. Member describes, occurred in connection with the marking of grave spaces and the registration of graves. The burial authority is responsible for the due observance of the regulations; but as the Parish Council are doing their best to put matters straight, I do not feel called upon to take any further action in the matter.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's answer meant this—that so long as the Parish Council did not continue the grave irregularities which had occurred, the Home Office would take no further action; but that if they did not do their duty in that respect, the Home Office would take the matter up?


said that if any further complaint was made, of course it would be his duty to investigate it; but he had every reason to believe that the Parish Council, who had succeeded the Burial Board, were doing their duty.