HC Deb 26 January 1897 vol 45 cc506-7

I bog to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in view of the inequality of the burden imposed on the outports for the expense of measures necessitated by the Government regulations for protection of the entire area of the United Kingdom against cholera, yellow fever, and plague, the Government will consider the advisability of contributing towards such expense out of Imperial funds?


, who answered the Question, said: I have not had an opportunity of conferring with my hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board on this matter, and I am not aware whether any fresh circumstances have arisen with regard to it. But I may say that last year I received a large deputation on the subject, and after communicating with the Local Government Board, I was obliged to inform the deputation that Her Majesty's Government saw no sufficient reason for altering the decision that had been arrived at by previous Governments, or for relieving the outports from the duty that had always been incumbent on them of preventing, at an expense by no means large, the introduction of these diseases into the country.

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether it is true that the Governor of Malta, after first imposing a 20 days' quarantine, has since issued a total prohibition on all vessels, however healthy they may be, arriving from India; and (2) whether, seeing that this country, which is in unceasing communication with Indian ports, finds it sufficient to rely for the purposes of plague on the systems of inspection and isolation, which were so successfully tested both during the European cholera invasion of 1892–4, and recently again in the case of the Nubia at Plymouth, he will take such steps as will secure the adoption by our Crown Colonies in the Mediterranean of those more scientific and less inconvenient methods to prevent the introduction and spread of foreign diseases?


The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative. As to the second paragraph, my predecessors and I have continually urged the Government of Malta to adopt the more scientific and convenient methods of preventing the introduction and spread of foreign diseases instead of the stringent system of quarantine hitherto in use; but partly from the supposed necessity of conforming to the practice of Italy; and partly from the inveterate belief of the population of Malta in the necessity of the strictest quarantine, which might lead to disturbance if the rules were relaxed, we have not as yet succeeded in effecting the change. I am now in correspondence with the Governor, and have pointed out to the colonial Government the serious injury which is being inflicted, not only on commerce but on the interest of Malta by the action of the Government, and I shall be glad if my remonstrances may induce them to adopt a more reasonable course.