§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board (1) whether he is aware that the wife of the late relieving officer at Oswestry (Mr. Price) performed the duties of her husband during his illness for about a year, and that, when the office became vacant, the Guardians unanimously appointed Mrs. Price to the position; (2) whether, as such appointment though unusual is not illegal, he will explain on what grounds the Local Government Board addressed a letter to the Guardians to the effect that, having regard to the duties which devolve on a relieving officer, they are unable to concur in the proposal that the office should be held by a woman, and in consequence cannot assent to the appointment of Mrs. Price; and (3) if he would state what duties of a relieving officer Mrs. Price is unable to perform; and, if there be none, whether the Local Government Board will withdraw their objection to her appointment?
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I answered the Question in the first two paragraphs last week. With regard to the third Question, among the duties which we think could not be equally well performed by a woman are those in connection with lunatics, such as those of taking lunatics before Justices and removing to the workhouse or county asylum. As the hon. Member will realise, if the Board were to assent to such an appointment as that proposed at Oswestry they must be prepared to assent to similar appointments when they are proposed elsewhere. It would be an entire departure from the 397 practice hitherto recognised, and I have no reasons before me at present sufficient to warrant me in making the change.