HC Deb 13 March 1896 vol 38 cc962-4

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now Read a Second time."

* MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

explained that most hon. Members probably knew, for it was well known to the public, that the object of the Bill was to promote efficient and sanitary plumbing work. It was proposed that examinations should be held in the theoretical and practical knowledge of the trade of plumbing, and that the examining body should grant certificates to men who passed the examinations and showed that they were competent, so that householders would be protected against incompetent men and inferior work. The measure had received a very large degree of support, and upwards of 50 municipalities in the country had petitioned in its favour. It was scarcely necessary for him to give instances of the risk which householders ran from plumbing work on their premises being done by incompetent and careless men, for the experience was common to most of them. ["Hear, hear!"] He believed the Bill, which he had advocated for five years past, would prove a useful one, and contribute to the safety and convenience of the community, and he hoped the House would assent to the Second Reading.

MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)

asked whether the Bill contained any provision for the protection of the vested interests of men who could not, or did not, pass the proposed examination.


said, there was no desire on the part of the promoters of the Bill, nor was there, in his belief, anything in the Bill, to interfere with the vested interests of anyone. The Measure was in the interest of plumbers and the public.


asked whether there was any penal provision against bad plumbing—whether it would be possible, under the Bill, to prosecute and punish a plumber who did his work badly. He thought they ought to have an assurance from the hon. Member that the work of the plumbers would be lasting and good; if it was not, should they have any action against the plumber in consequence of the passing of this Bill?


said, he thought Clause 13 of the Bill answered the point raised by the hon. Member.

MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W. R., Holmfirth)

said, as he understood, this Bill did not impose any disability on existing plumbers.


That is so.


It only grants a diploma, as it were.


That is so.


said, there were many provisions of the Bill with which one would heartily sympathise. He understood the memorandum of the Bill—it was excellent—but he did not understand why they required two preambles. He understood that the Statute Law Revision Committee had advised that all preambles should be struck out of Acts of Parliament, and all preambles had been struck out of Acts of Parliament. He did not see, therefore, why they should have a longer preamble to a Bill for the Registration of Plumbers than to any Bill he had ever seen. The first preamble was very interesting, and the second one still more so. The first said it was expedient to protect health. They would all agree with that. The second asked the House of Commons to say that, whereas the Worshipful Company of Plumbers were anxious that the Bill should pass—and so on. Was this an advertisement for the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, or what was its object? He thought they had gone too far in registering everybody. Then, again, ho wanted to know what "sanitary plumbing" meant? He saw that "sanitary plumbing,'' which went to the very root and foundation of the Bill, was defined by the Bill as "plumbing as commonly understood." Understood by whom? And if it meant the art of plumbing as commonly understood by common plumbers, why should there be any need for registration? This was practically the same Bill that was sent to a Committee upstairs, and the Committee laughed it out of Court, a proceeding which he thought was unique in the history of a Private Members' Bill. He thought it would be really wasting the time of the House to read a second time a Bill which was really the same which had already been laughed out by a Committee upstairs. At any rate, he could not allow it to pass now.


observed, that the Bill had been altered and modified to meet the objections which were urged before the Standing Committee.

And, it being after Midnight, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Friday next.