HC Deb 05 July 1897 vol 50 cc1095-6
SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate (1) whether he has received from the North Uist District Committee of the Inverness County Council a resolution deploring a public insult offered by Sir John Orde to the sheriff substitute of the district; (2) whether he is aware that the insulting language used arose out of some question as to the sheriff's residence as a tenant under Sir John Orde, and that the sheriff has since felt constrained to quit the island:(3) and whether, seeing that Sir John Orde is a J.P. and D.L. of the county, the Scotch Office will bring the matter to the attention of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Lieutenant of the county.


I have received a copy of the resolution referred to. As information was laid before the Procurator Fiscal, the incident referred to was investigated and reported upon by Crown Counsel who have come to the conclusion—with which I agree—that, though the language used was insulting and offensive the facts do not amount to a breach of the peace. It is not the fact that the sheriff's absence from the island is due to the incident in question. In view of the determination of Crown Counsel that no proceedings should be taken, the Scottish Office do not propose to take any steps in the direction indicated in the last paragraph of the Question.


I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, whether his attention has been called to the proceedings of the North Uist District Committee of the Inverness County Council on 26th June, the statements therein put forward that owing to the refusal of Sir John Orde to sanction a scheme for the proper supply of water to Lochmaddy, the water supply of that place was filthy and unfit for human use, and the resolution agreed to by the District Committee to prosecute Sir John Orde under the Public Health Acts; and whether, considering the danger to public health entailed by a continuance of the state of matters described, the Local Government Board can intervene and compel its remedy?


The Local Government Board are aware that the water supply of Lochmaddy has long been in an unsatisfactory condition and repeated efforts have been made by the Board to bring about improvement. A Special Water Supply District has been formed but as the proprietor saw reason to disapprove the proposed direction of the pipe-track, the Board, looking to the urgency of the situation, took the somewhat unusual course of remitting to a Special Engineering Commissioner to report on the whole matter in order to be in a position to advise the Local Authority; that gentleman accompanied by the medical member of the Board visited Lochmaddy recently and his report is understood to be nearly ready. The Local Government believe it is the case that the Local Authority have resolved to prosecute the proprietor. I am not aware that the Local Government Board can do anything further till their Commissioner's report is before them.