HC Deb 25 March 1897 vol 47 cc1325-6

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the evidence given by the influential deputation from the Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture and other representative bodies, received by the President of the Board of Agriculture on the 2nd instant, that a Bill to give effect to the recommendations of the Select Committee on Food Products Adulteration would receive general support from all quarters of this House; and whether, under these circumstances, the Government will introduce and press forward such a Measure in the present Session?


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is aware that in large cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow, much objection is taken to a recommendation of the Committee on Food Products Adulteration directed against the free sale of a wholesome and nutritious article of food much used by the working classes; and whether, seeing that tins recommendation was carried by a majority against the Chairman of the Committee, who has described it in the House as of a highly contentious character, and in view of the numerous measures promised in Her Majesty's gracious Speech, he will defer the introduction of another Bill which will be keenly contested both in and out of Parliament?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask whether he is aware that the deputation was attended by and had the warmest support of Members of this side of the House as well as on the other side?


As my hon. Friend will see if he looks at the next Question on the Paper, (standing in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee)—which I may, perhaps, answer at the same time—the general support which he believes, and I hope rightly believes, would be given to any Measure of tins kind on both sides of the House, is, at all events not universal. I cannot at this moment make any promise as to the introduction or passage of such a Bill, but I will consult with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture as to whether in any case it might not be desirable to bring a Bill before the House and read it, at all events, for the first time, in order that the public may be able to judge of the character of the provisions which, in the opinion of the Board of Agriculture, it is desirable to introduce.