§ MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is aware that Mr. George James Gilbert on 14th June was refused an exemption under the Vaccination Act of 1898 by Mr. J. Judd and Dr. Hetley, two justices sitting at the Penge Police Court, who told the applicant that to have a conscientious objection you must have a thorough knowledge of vaccination in its relation to small-pox, and that if he brought a medical certificate to say that his child is not in a fit condition to be vaccinated they might accept that; and whether he will take steps to inform the Penge magistrates, 773 and magistrates generally throughout the country, that they are exceeding their powers in refusing exemptions on such grounds.
§ SIR M. WHITE RIDLEY
I am informed by the Clerk to the Penge Magistrates that the first paragraph of the question does not give an accurate account of the remarks made by the justices on the occasion referred to, and that as a matter of fact the applicant did not state, as required by the statute, that he conscientiously believed that vaccination would be prejudicial to the health of the child in question, while the suggestion of a medical certificate was made by way of informing the applicant of the provision of the law that, if a child, even though not exempted under the Act of 1898, is at any time certified by a doctor to be unfit for vaccination the vaccination officer may accept the certificate and refrain from vaccinating the child for the time being. I do not see any need for such action on my part as the hon. Member suggests.