HC Deb 04 July 1900 vol 85 cc493-513

As amended, considered.

MR. STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)

I desire to move a new clause, the object of which is to give a right of appeal to any person aggrieved. I may say that the clause which appears on the Paper is taken verbatim from the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897, except as far as it is necessary to alter it in regard to the different procedure and jurisdiction in Scotland and England. It will be noticed that while the clause gives the right of appeal to any person aggrieved by an order made by the corporation, yet, pending the decision of that appeal, it is provided that the order shall remain in force. I think I have guarded in every possible way, therefore, against any injustice to the corporation in this matter. I am asking the House to remedy a decided injustice, because under this Bill power is given to the corporation to act as judge, jury, and prosecutor, without any right of appeal, except under Clause 90, to the court of quarter sessions. But it might happen that the quarter sessions had just sat, and frequently it would be three months before the appeal could be heard. I cannot see why this clause should be so much opposed, considering that it realty carries out the views of the County Councils Association, and I therefore venture to appeal for the help of all those gentlemen who are interested in county councils and know their worth. The question has been discussed before, and I do not think it necessary to labour the point any further. All I ask is that before a man is judged by the corporation and finally condemned, he should have a right of appeal to an independent body. I beg to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 18, after line 25, to insert the words, 'It shall be open to any local authority, dairyman, or person aggrieved by any such order or withdrawal of such order to appeal in a summary manner to a court of petty sessions having jurisdiction in the district in which the dairy is situated, and the court may either make an order requiring the dairyman to cease from supplying milk, or may vary or rescind any order which has been made by the local authority, and they may at any time withdraw any order made under this section. Pending the disposal of any such appeal the order shall remain in force.'"—(Mr. Strachey.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

I might say I am in hearty sympathy with the wishes of the hon. Member who moved this clause, and I am also a member of the County Councils Association, to whose views he says he is giving effect, but I am bound to say that I have never been able to convince myself that there was any real danger to county authorities, or even to the dignity and reputation of the rural districts, by the clauses which have been asked for by the boroughs. The whole question has been discussed on previous occasions, and I understand that now the opposition to what are known as the model clauses is abandoned, and in its place we are met with what I admit is a far more moderate and defensible proposal, namely, that there should be an appeal against the orders of the corporations in these cases. In principle I entirely agree with that, and so, I believe, does the House as a whole, because there is no Bill before the House, and least of all this Bill, in which there is no appeal clause. My hon. friend has himself pointed out that there is an appeal clause in this Bill, and it stands to reason that in all these Bills which deal not only generally with cases relating to tuberculosis and the general question of the milk supply, but also with a very great number of other questions, following the policy laid down by Parliament in the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, there should be an appeal to the court of quarter sessions. My hon. friend has said, and to a certain extent truly, that the time which no doubt elapses between the meetings of the quarter sessions will in these cases render the appeal to the quarter sessions of no substantial value to the appellant. That also applies to his own clause, because the appeal he proposes is, not to any justices sitting daily, who could deal with the question rapidly and at once, but to justices sitting in petty sessions, and such a court meets only fortnightly, or some- times even monthly. Therefore, the remedy proposed by my hon. friend is not of very great value. But no great harm would be done if the words were added to the Bill, because I think in practice they would not be made use of. That being so I ask whether there would be any objection in adding them. Even putting aside the unwillingness of a dairyman to drag all his doings and alleged misdoings into a court of quarter sessions or petty sessions, which I think is the strongest argument of all, I have very grave doubts as to whether this clause is really worth the paper on which it is printed. There are many minor objections I might urge. I cannot see why a local authority outside the borough, or why another person aggrieved, who might be a rival dairyman, are to be brought in as possible appellants. I am bound to say I cannot see that any good would be obtained by adding the words to the Bill. I was in very great hopes that the Committee up- stairs when they added the appeal clause to the Bill had, to say the least, gone a very long way towards meeting the opposition on this question, but I fail to see that the position would be improved by the adoption of this proposed clause.


I am very sorry I cannot support the now clause proposed by the hon. Member for South Somersetshire, as I have very gladly acted with him in former attempts to alter this particular clause in Corporation Bills. I am obliged to oppose the proposal for two reasons, one sentimental, and the other practical. The sentimental reason is that an elected corporation, like that of Taunton, consisting of twenty members, naturally would not like an appeal from their jurisdiction to perhaps two county magistrates sitting in petty sessions. Such an appeal as that I am certain would lead to friction between the county and the borough. The practical objection is that the petty sessions would have no jurisdiction in the borough, and therefore you would be appealing from a court which had jurisdiction in the borough to another and smaller one which had no jurisdiction there. There is an appeal to quarter sessions contained in the Bill. The quarter sessions have jurisdiction over the borough, but petty sessions have not. It therefore seems to me that you would be introducing a new authority into the borough, and one which would be anything but welcome. After all, it is only a question of whether the milk should be sold in the borough of Taunton. It is not a question of drawing a line around a particular dairy and preventing any dealing with that dairy. It is simply that the milk should not be sold in the borough over which the corporation has jurisdiction, and there is nothing whatever to prevent the whole county outside buying the milk if they care to take the risk.


So far as I understand the position taken up by the hon. Member for South Somersetshire, he appears to me to have abandoned his opposition to the model clauses as they were framed, and the point seems to be narrowed down to the provision of a proper court of appeal. I will say at once that, so far as that question is con corned, I am willing to confer with all the parties concerned with a view to arriving at a satisfactory solution of the matter. But when I come to examine the proposal before the House, I do not think it is one which can command any support whatever. Let me put briefly how the matter stands as regards these clauses and the milk question. Under the thirty-fifth section of this Bill, if the medical officer of the borough, after having inspected the dairy, and, accompanied by a veterinary surgeon, examined the cows, and obtained a sample of the-milk, is of opinion that tuberculosis is, or is likely to be, caused to a person residing in the borough by the consumption of milk supplied from such dairy or any cow kept therein, the following procedure is to be adopted. Let the House listen to what this procedure is: The medical officer must, first of all, report to the corporation, sending in the report furnished to him by the veterinary surgeon; the corporation must then give notice to the dairyman to appear before them to show cause why an order should not be made requiring him not to supply milk within the borough. If in their opinion the dairyman fails to show such cause the corporation may make an order on the dairyman not to supply milk within the borough, and they are bound by the Bill to serve notice of the fact on the county council in whose area the borough is situated, on the Local Government Board, and, in the case of a dairy outside the borough, on the council of the borough or county district in which the borough is situated. The order must be withdrawn by the corporation on their medical officer being satisfied that the milk supply has been changed or is not likely to cause tuberculosis. If any person supplies milk or sells it for consumption in the borough in contravention of such order he becomes liable to a penalty. The House will see, first of all, that there is no prohibition of the supply of milk from an infected area in the county; but the borough authorities merely act for the protection of their own citizens within their own district from a danger of this kind. Surely, that is a power which cannot be denied by the House to any borough authority. But what is proposed to be done? Any person aggrieved by such an order is not denied by this Bill the right of appeal; he has an appeal to quarter sessions under the ninetieth section of this very Bill, and the quarter sessions is an authority which has jurisdiction in the borough, and has power to act within the borough. But what is the proposal made by the hon. Member for Somerset? It is that the corporation, having made this order for the protection of their own citizens, an appeal shall lie—to whom? To the petty sessions of the district in which the dairy is situated. In the first place, that is an authority which has no power to act within the borough at all and whose order would not run even if they issued it. Surely the House is not going to stultify itself by accepting a proposal of that kind. I say it is not fair to the borough to have a court of appeal in which the borough has no voice at all. The borough is the authority aggrieved by the sale of the milk, but under this proposal they would have no voice whatever in the matter. I think when the Bill provides for an appeal to the quarter sessions it is absurd to propose to set up a court of appeal of this kind. That is the main issue upon which the House has to decide. The only question now is the matter of the court of appeal. I agree that there ought to be an appeal, but it ought to be a perfectly independent authority that can decide the matter legitimately as between the borough and the county. I am willing to co-operate with hon. Gentlemen representing both parties in this House, and the Department is willing to co-operate with them in endeavouring to secure unanimity, but a proposal of this kind cannot possibly be accepted; it could not possibly be of any use if it were accepted; it would make confusion worse confounded; it would not benefit the county, and it would give the boroughs a fresh grievance. I must therefore resist the proposal.

SIR JOHN DORINGTON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)

I think the arguments put forward by the Secretary to the Local Government Board rather under-estimate the power and effect of sentiment in this matter. There is a curious conflict of opinion between country and town on this question, and if that conflict could be settled the whole matter could be arranged. I was therefore very glad to hear the remarks of the hon. Gentleman with reference to a conference, at which all parties will be represented, to settle this court of appeal. It might very well happen that the city of Bristol now might want to exercise jurisdiction in this matter inside the city of Gloucester—in fact, any municipality might claim to exercise authority within the precincts of another municipality. But the latter municipality would imme-say, "No, that will not do. It is quite right that you should be able to prohibit our milk coming into your town; but you must do it by taking action through us." That is the right line to be taken, and that is where the model clauses have gone wrong. What is wanted is general legislation by which it will be right for one authority to call upon another to see that the law is properly carried out. At present friction arises, as is admitted, under the model clauses, because municipal authorities have rights extending possibly to the ruin of individuals residing in another area under another jurisdiction, and I do not see how that is to be removed until some agreement is come to between the parties concerned. The error in the commencement with regard to the model clauses was that the county authorities were not called into conference at all. The Association of Municipal Corporations was one of the conferring parties, but the County Councils Association, an equally important body, was left entirely out of the consideration of the matter. With regard to the question of quarter sessions or petty sessions, one of the faults of the proposal is that the corporation have a decision in the matter— that the corporation, which is not a judicial authority, has to exercise an authority which may ruin an individual in the county. It is all very well to say that the individual has his rights to supply milk everywhere except in that particular borough. It may be that the supply within that borough is the man's whole livelihood. If the Secretary to the Local Government Board will have this conference as to the best court of appeal, it is quite possible the matter can be settled, but unless that conference is agreed to I shall support the Amendment.


I hope the House will reject this proposed new clause, because, if passed, it would be a very serious matter for the boroughs of this country. I totally disagree with the remarks of the hon. Member who has just spoken, because I contend that if milk is sold within the borough from dairies affected with tuberculosis outside the borough area the local authority should have power to step in and prevent that milk being sold. The hon. Gentleman stated there was an infringement of the rights of the county council. I do not see where the county council comes in; the county council has no jurisdiction whatever, except in a supervising sense, because the authority is in the hands of the rural or district council for the time being. This clause simply gives the same power as is given under the Public Health Act with regard to diseased meat. When the sanitary inspector or the medical officer of health of a borough finds a diseased carcase in the market he at once obtains an order from the magistrate to destroy it, although that carcase might come from outside the borough area. To place that inspector in a position that he would have to seek the authority of the medical officer outside the borough or the sanitary inspector or the magistrate would certainly place the borough in such a position that it would be unable to protect its inhabitants. Therefore in regard to selling diseased milk inside the borough the local authority ought to have the right to intervene, and if the dairyman feels aggrieved let him go to the quarter sessions. The proposal of the hon. Member is most absurd. Who would ever think of proposing that in ordinary cases the jurisdiction of the judges of a bench inside a borough should be overruled or supervised by a court of petty sessions which may be sitting outside altogether? The only result would be that prejudice would be brought to bear in these cases, and the public would not be protected. I believe the clause as it stands in the Taunton Corporation Bill is a proper one; it is a proper protection to the consumers of milk in our boroughs and urban districts, who ought to be protected, because, after all, it is paramount that the public health should be preserved; and upon these grounds I hope the House will reject the Amendment.

MR. HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)

I feel sure a large section of the House are somewhat tired of these constant discussions on the question of dairy inspection, and I want to point out why these discussions have been repeated. There are two causes. The first is the reluctance of the Government, and especially of my hon. friend the Secretary to the Local Government Board, to indicate any prospect of general legislation on this important subject. It is absolutely necessary for us to bring these questions up on private Bills, because my hon. friend has set his face against any general legislation on this subject.


was understood to say that all he had done during the session was to adhere to certain clauses which had been agreed to at a conference between the parties interested. Those clauses were now called "model clauses," and had been incorporated in a series of similar Bills. The Local Government Board were one of the parties to the agreement, and they had stood by it.


However, the result has been practically to substitute for any attempt at general legislation individual clauses in individual Bills. That is what necessitates these constant discussions. My hon. friend has made an offer of a conference with all parties concerned, so I imagine he now recognises the fact, which he absolutely did not recognise last year—that among the parties concerned are the county councils, who have important duties to per form towards the dwellers in their counties I hope the House will not imagine that a far as the county councils are concerned this question is one of jealousy of the local authorities. Far from it. If my hon. friend had been present when a resolution was passed unanimously the other day by a large meeting representing the different county councils of the kingdom, he would have seen that the ruling feeling among us was simply that those farmers in our districts should not suffer the severe injury they are now exposed to, without having an opportunity of putting their case in due time before a proper judicial authority. I must point out that this question arises directly out of the form in which these model clauses were passed. The mistake to my mind is that of giving the corporation—or not the corporation as a whole, but a committee of the corporation—judicial authority to exclude a farmer from trading in their borough. It is not a question of the borough magistrates. The hon. Member for Stockton referred us to the case of diseased moat, but, as he said himself, that is destroyed by an order of the justices—a judicial authority. There would not be the same objection in that case as if the order was made by a sanitary committee who had no authority to hear persons on oath, and so on. These model clauses, if they had come before the House instead of being settled by a conference upstairs, would have been properly amended. It does not bear argument that a corporation which is not a judicial body should have power to make a judicial order—an order which would injure a dairyman very seriously. It is said that the dairyman has a protection by having the right of appeal to the quarter sessions. In my own county the quarter sessions assemble at intervals of three months, sometimes longer. What you are really saying is that the order of this non-judicial authority is to stand for three months or more, during which time this dairyman may be ruined in his trade, without having the opportunity of appealing to any judicial body whatever. That is why the proposal has been made to appeal to the petty sessions; that Court sits oftener, and I believe in some cases my hon. friend would even go to the borough justices and not to the county justices. The substantial thing is to give a man who is resting under the imputation of a non-judicial body a proper opportunity of appealing within a reasonable time. If the Government would undertake to give us the matter of substance, the matter of form would be a matter of comparative indifference. I do not think, after the speech of the hon. Member representing the borough, that the Corporation of Taunton would be unreasonable, and if an arrangement could be come to, I do not think the Government should stand in the way. After the very important statement of the Secretary to the Local Government Board, I think we should have further time, and therefore I beg to move that the debate be now adjourned.

CAPTAIN PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Wood bridge)

formally seconded the motion.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."— (Mr. Hobhouse.)


Upon this question I should like to say that the matter is now narrowed down to one of a proper court of appeal. I stated I was ready to confer with the parties, but not on this question as a whole; I never contemplated that. I am willing to confer with all parties interested with a view to getting a suitable court of appeal. As regards this Bill, it has passed the Committee, and I think it ought to go through. I am quite certain the court of appeal proposed in this Amendment would be of no use to anybody, and I hope my hon. friend, after my offer of a conference on this point, will withdraw his motion and allow the Bill to go through.


I ask leave to withdraw my motion, in order that the debate may go on.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

*MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.)

I am sure none of us would wish to force tuberculosis milk upon any of the boroughs, and as long as they can protect the milk supply of their boroughs without harassing the farmers we should all be satisfied. We do not wish to prevent boroughs taking all reasonable precautions, but it has been considered that if it was left in the power of one county justice to make an order of inspection and then of the corporation to make an order prohibiting the introduction of the milk into the borough, an injustice might be done to the farmer, who has not been called. The Secretary to the Local Government Board has promised to consider this matter, and to draw up rules appointing a proper court of appeal. I cannot help thinking that that is exactly what we want. At the County Councils Association, the other day, the hon. Member for East Somersetshire brought up a motion, which was passed, but the motion was merely that there should be a court of appeal to which the farmer could appeal. My hon. friend's Amendment reads— It shall be open to any local authority, dairyman, or person aggrieved by any such order—— What does he mean by "any such order"? Does he mean the order which the county magistrate first of all gives for the inspection, or the order which the corporation make prohibiting the supply?


The order of the corporation.


Then I think it is wrong in the order in which it is placed, because it is proposed to place this at the end of line 25.


explained that there was a difference in the printing of the Bill.


At any rate, it is the order of the corporation. Is the appeal to the borough sessions or to the county sessions? There would be a great difficulty in appealing from the borough magistrates to the county quarter sessions, and vice versâ. All this my hon. friend below me has promised to consider, and to appoint a proper court of appeal.


But not on this Bill.


No; but it must be remembered that this Bill has to go through another stage in another House, and if a conference were called and an appeal clause agreed to it might be inserted in another place just as well as in this House. Other Bills have already passed through all their stages in this House, and it is too late to discuss them; but if this appeal clause were agreed to it could be inserted in all the other Bills as well. It seems to me that my hon. friend has promised the most reasonable course. I should like to remind the House that this order is in force in London under the Public Health (London) Act, 1883, exactly the same order runs, but it has not been felt to operate harshly. At the meeting of the County Councils Association the other day a farmer said he supplied London with a large quantity of milk, and it would be a very great hardship if this order were made upon him prohibiting the supply. I reminded him that the order could be made at any time now, and, although he had been supplying milk to London for years, he had no idea that this power existed. That shows that it cannot operate very harshly, and so long as it is safeguarded by the appeal which the secretary to the Local Government Board promises to give, I think the hon. Member for South Somersetshire and his supporters ought to be satisfied; they will get what they want, they will get what the County Councils Association wants, and they will get protection from any injustice which might be done to the farmers. I therefore think my hon. friend would be wise if he withdrew his Amendment.

*COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)

It has been suggested that it is infra dig for a corporation to appear before the petty sessions outside the borough, but as far as that goes I think there is nothing in it at all, because corporations are the same as individuals in that they are amenable to the law of the country, and they have to appear before courts to justify their action. I cannot see that there would be any great difficulty in the Corporation of Taunton having to plead its case before a court of petty sessions outside the borough. It is not a question of one authority against another; it is a question of the whole of the proceedure before the courts, and the humblest individual in the land has just as much right before a court of law as the most powerful corporation. In regard to this question of appeal, is it not an injustice that a farmer supplying milk should have to wait for three months before he had a chance of bringing on his appeal? I think it is quite clear that a court of appeal ought certainly to be instituted before any Bill of this nature is passed. The cart is before the horse in this case. The Government have had plenty of time to put this most important question right before passing private Bills where individuals are affected. With regard to this question of boroughs appealing before county magistrates and so on, all over the country, the decision of the borough magistrates is subject in many cases to the decision of the county magistrates sitting at quarter sessions. Therefore, it appears to me that we are greatly indebted to my hon. friend the Member for South Somersetshire for having made the first proposal in the direction of establishing a reasonable court of appeal which shall sit at a reasonable time. It appears to have been forgotten that the corporations in any number can proceed against a milk seller and get a conviction against him. A corporation in Lancashire, for instance, may proceed against a farmer outside their area in regard to the sale of milk. They may prove their case and get a conviction against that man, but surely that is ample treatment. If the corporation are going to ask for these strong orders to stop the sale of milk, we ought to have on the other side proper machinery for an appeal, and a quick appeal in a case like the one I have mentioned. Supposing a man is convicted of selling such milk, and he has to wait for three months for the court of appeal to hoar his case, he would be ruined in the meantime. I think some hon. Members who have spoken upon this question appear to think that this provision only applies in the borough, but the moment that order takes effect the man is subject to it, not only in the borough, but also in the county, and the farmer has to sit down under a very unpleasant order. Naturally and rightly with the members of a corporation their patriotism is local, and it is only right that a court of appeal should be set up where justice can be done, and done speedily if the order is to be carried out. I think the proposal of my hon. friend the Member for Somerset is a most sensible one in this direction.

MR. WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

What has been clearly brought forward in this debate is that the authority will be the sanitary committee of the town council. There ought to be an appeal of some sort to a body who can deal with it at once. The proposal of the hon. Member for South Somersetshire is not perhaps exactly what we all wish for, but he has stated that he is prepared to accept any suggestion to improve the clause or any reasonable proposal to establish a court of appeal to deal with the matter at once. Of course, an appeal to the court of quarter sessions is absurd, because a delay of three months would ruin anybody. I will suggest that the House pass this clause, and that the representative of the Local Government Board shall afterwards put in such an Amendment as he thinks proper for the protection of town councils, instead of giving a point blank "no" to the protection of the former by his own authority.


It is perfectly impossible to amend the clause.


I must differ from the hon. Member upon that point, for I never knew a clause yet which it was not possible to amend. It may be amended in many ways, even if it has to be done at a further stage of the Bill. What is wanted is some pledge that something will be done in this Bill for the protection of the farmer and to give a right of appeal in his own district, instead of being under the control of somebody he has nothing to do with, and being at the mercy of the sanitary authority of some small town council.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

This is an immensely important question. When the hon. Member opposite drew attention to the fact that the City of London had powers similar to those proposed to be given in this Bill, I think he and other hon. Members were not aware of the fact that the whole of this question of milk inspections is in process of revolution. i Under the old system of sanitary laws those powers of milk inspection were con-fined to cases of evident disease in cows, and to the inspection of dairies where there was some disease that could be immediately detected by any person who had a fair amount of knowledge. But, as hon. Members are well aware, within the last two or three years a complete revolution has taken place in this matter, and doctrines and theories have been started, no doubt with excellent foundation, by medical experts as to the widespread existence of tuberculosis amongst cattle and cows resulting in danger to the public health which were quite unknown some years ago. The existence of tuberculosis in cattle is not at all an evident matter; in fact, in many stages, it is extremely difficult to determine. The first point I would draw attention to is that when you come to deal with the examination of dairies with a view of preventing the sale of milk containing the germs of tuberculosis, you have to deal with a case requiring a great deal of medical skill, and a peculiar form of scientific training. That being the case, it is perfectly manifest that, in the case of a great many municipal authorities in this country, it cannot be expected that they will have in their employment men of sufficient skill and training whose decision would be infallible in a matter of this kind. For many years to come, it will be unreasonable to expect that men of really expert training will be at the disposal of every town which requires them. Whilst those of us representing country districts recognise the justice of the demand on the part of all municipalities to have full and most stringent powers to protect themselves against the sale of milk infected with tuberculosis in their district, we are entitled to ask for some machinery which will afford the unfortunate farmer protection against orders such as those which are contemplated in this Bill. What would be the position of a farmer proceeded against under this clause? Take the case of a man whose whole living depends upon the sale of milk. He will be forbidden to sell his milk in the only market he has got. Not only this, but the order which is to be made under this section is to be served on the district council or county council, and the man is to be boycotted, and the alleged character of his dairy is to be published all over the country, and his premises will be avoided as a sanitary plague. If the order happens to be based upon a mistake, the position of the unfortunate farmer will be that for three months his entire business will be brought to a standstill, and the man would be entirely ruined before he could make an appeal. The hon. Member who represents the Government on this occasion, recognises that it would be an intolerable grievance for a farmer to have to wait for such a long period for an appeal. I must confess that I shall be disposed to vote for this Amendment, because I think the case against the clause is unanswerable. I think it would be an unwise thing to give power to one or two local magistrates to force such milk on the town against the desire of the town council or municipal authority. On the other hand, I think it is a great hardship, amounting almost to cruelty, to a farmer if he is to be left at the mercy of an order of this kind —which may turn out to have been improperly made—for a period of three months, during which the man may be utterly and absolutely ruined without any just cause. The Secretary to the Local Government Board says he recognises that such a case cannot be defended, and that some proper court of appeal ought to be instituted. I followed his speech very closely, and I noticed that he did not constitute any court of appeal in this Bill, nor did he mention any period by which he would have his proposals ready to do this; neither did he say how they would be submitted to the House. I do think we ought to have some definite statement, before we allow this Bill to pass, that before the session closes some general scheme will be submitted by the Government establishing a satisfactory court of appeal in this matter. I desire to say a word or two upon what I think the only satisfactory court of appeal should be. I do not think you will be able to get a satisfactory court of appeal all at once. What you require is a court of appeal which will be rapid in its action and also inexpensive. There would be a natural tendency to set up an antagonism between town and country upon this question, and my notion of a court of appeal would be that if the farmer does not think he is really in the wrong in the matter a perfectly simple process would be that he should have the right to get down an expert from the Local Government Board, who should be a thoroughly trained and skilled scientific man, who can really determine whether there is tuberculosis matter in the milk. The farmer should have the right to get this expert down from headquarters, who. should proceed to hold an inquiry and bring to bear on the subject not only evidence, but his own skill and knowledge in dealing with the subject matter of investigation. I believe it is in this direction, and this direction alone, that you can look for a satisfactory court of appeal. I do think the Government ought to give some assurance that before the end of the session they will bring before the House of Commons their proposal for a court of appeal, and not leave for an indefinite period this most serious matter in a state of uncertainty. I ground that appeal strongly upon my conviction that most properly and most necessarily a revolution has taken place in the whole question of milk inspection, and we have got to deal not with a matter of which we can judge by precedent, but with an entirely new state of things. I hope the inspection will be conducted in a much more rigorous and effectual manner than was ever dreamt of two or three years ago.

MR. RENSHAW (Renfrewshire, W.)

said that under the Scotch procedure the provision made for an appeal to the sheriff worked exceedingly well. He did not know what was the nearest approach to a Scotch sheriff in England, but his own opinion was that it would be a county court judge. In view of the course which the discussion had taken he suggested that the Secretary to the Local Government Board should give some undertaking to those who had moved this Amendment in this House to insert a clause to meet the difficulty between the time when the Bill left this House and its passage through the House of Lords. The conference which the Secretary to the Local Government Board had suggested could take place, so that any decision arrived at by that conference could be dealt with in the House of Lords. He very much sympathised with the general principle expressed by his hon. friend the Member for South Somersetshire.


An appeal has now been made to me to endeavour to arrange a conference, so that any compromise that may be arrived at can be inserted in the Bill before it passes through the House of Lords. In the first place, conferences are not things that can be summoned at a moment's notice, and it may not be very easy to come to an agreement when that conference takes place. I think it will be recognised that there are some difficulties in the way of the conference suggested. I admit that the court of appeal is an absolute necessity. In the second place, I wish to point out that under no circumstances can we accept this Amendment or this court of appeal, because it is unworkable and mischievous in every sense of the word. I shall use my best endeavours to have a conference with all the parties interested in this question at once. I can go no further than that, and if it is possible to arrange matters at that conference I shall throw no difficulty in the way of a clause being introduced into this Bill in the House of Lords in order to carry out any satisfactory compromise which may be arrived at.

*MR. SEELY (Lincoln)

said he thought that the hon. Member opposite might accept the solution of the difficulty suggested by the Secretary to the Local Government Board. He considered that while it was most essential to deal with the sale of such milk, it was not reasonable that a committee of the corporation should, without any appeal whatever, have the right to practically ruin a particular farmer, because that is what it would amount to. At the same time he did not think that county magistrates should be given authority within the borough either directly or indirectly under this clause. He thought the only solution was something in the nature of an appeal either to the county court judge, as was suggested by the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, or to the borough magistrates. He was not sure that the borough magistrates would not make a perfectly satisfactory court of appeal. The Secretary to the Local Government Board had stated that the clause could not be amended; but, as a matter of fact, the introduction of a few words would alter it and make it quite a practical one. He thought the best course to adopt under the circumstances was to have this clause withdrawn, and accept the pledge given by the Local Government Board in the hope that after the conference a satisfactory clause to meet the difficulty would be inserted in another place. Of course they could not bind the House of Lords, but he did not think they would find them particularly hostile.

MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)

I should like some further explanation as to what the real difficulty is of providing for a court of appeal in this Bill. The Secretary to the Local Government Board has told us that it is important to have such a court of appeal, but at the same time he says that in the present Bill nothing will induce him to put anything of the kind in it. If such a proposal is good for future legislation I should have thought that it was good for present legislation also. I think the conference suggested is hardly good enough for country Members. If that conference decides in a certain way, I should like to know if the hon. Gentleman will do all he can to get a clause to that effect inserted in another place. The hon. Gentleman must know now whether he is going to put this in or not, and if he has any doubt about it I think that the wisest and best thing we could do would be to adjourn the question until he has had this conference.


I have no desire to trouble the House a second time with a speech, but I simply want to point out that if hon. Members desire that this matter should be gone into I believe it would not be out of order to move that the Bill be recommitted in order to insert such a clause as has been suggested. That course would allow a Conference to take place, and by allowing this stage of the Bill to pass the House does not necessarily deprive itself of a further opportunity of dealing with the matter.


I should be quite ready, if the House accepted the Second Reading of this clause, to agree to the Amendment suggested by the hon. Member for West Renfrewshire and the hon. Member for Lincoln.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension; this is not moved as a new clause, but simply as an Amendment.


My hon. friend the Secretary to the Local Government Board practically says that he will accept no

compromise whatever, and I do not think there is anything for us to do but to proceed to a division.

MR. PHILIPPS (Pembrokeshire)

My hon. friend the Secretary to the Local Government Board says that he will not accept this Amendment, but at the same time he says that the Bill will not be satisfactory as it stands. What he offers to do is that if the Bill is allowed to leave this House in its present shape he will get a conference together, and if that conference agrees upon something which he says it will be very difficult to get them to agree upon—if these difficult things come to pass—he will endeavour to get a clause inserted to meet the case in another place. What I wish to ask is whether the hon. Gentleman will not go a step further. He admits that this Bill in its existing shape requires amendment, but he is not satisfied with this Amendment. Will he definitely promise that whatever the conference does, or whether it comes to any decision or not, the Government will put in an Amendment in another place to meet this difficulty? Surely it is a reasonable thing to give a pledge of this kind when the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board admits that the Bill may create a great injustice to farmers.


I have already gone as far as it is possible for a Department to go in this matter. If the House accepts this Amendment it will put an impossible provision in the Bill, and I think I have made a perfectly fair offer.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 98; Noes, 99. (Division List No. 174.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Cohen, Benjamin Louis Flavin, Michael Joseph
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Colville, John Giles, Charles Tyrrell
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Cooke, C.W. Radcliffe (Here'd) Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.
Baldwin, Alfred Crombie, John William Gold, Charles
Billson, Alfred Cubitt, Hon. Henry Goldsworthy, Major-General
Birrell, Augustine Dalkeith, Earl of Goulding, Edward Alfred
Blakiston-Houston, John Daly James Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)
Boulnois, Edmund Dickinson, Robert Edmond Gull, Sir Cameron
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Dillon, John Gunter, Colonel
Broadhurst, Henry Donelan, Captain A. Gurdon, Sir William Brampton
Buxton, Sydney Charles Doogan, P. C. Hardy, Laurence
Caldwell, James Dunn, Sir William Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-
Carew, James Laurence Engledew, Charles John Hermon-Hodge, Rbt. Trotter
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Evershed, Sydney Hudson, George Bickersteth
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Field, William (Dublin) Jacoby, James Alfred
Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.) Morrison, Walter Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.
Kenyon, James Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth Murnaghan, George Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Kitson, Sir James Nicol, Donald Ninian Sidebottom, William (Derbys.)
Langley, Batty O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Stock, James Henry
Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Macaleese, Daniel O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.) Tollemache, Henry James
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.) O'Malley, William Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
M'Ghee, Richard O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim) Pender, Sir James Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.) Percy, Earl Wills, Sir William Henry
M'Killop, James Philipps, John Wynford Wylie, Alexander
Malcolm, Ian Pilkington, R. (Lanes., Newt'n) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Power, Patrick Joseph Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J. Pretyman, Ernest George
Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Pym, C. Guy TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.) Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.) Mr. Strachey and Mr. Hobhouse.
Morrell, George Herbert Robinson, Brooke
Anstruther, H. T. Flower, Ernest Myers, William Henry
Ashton, Thomas Gair Galloway, William Johnson Palmer, George Win. (Heading)
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gibbons, J. Lloyd Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Baker, Sir John Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Helder, Augustus Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bill, Charles Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Renshaw, Charles Bine
Blundell, Colonel Henry Holland, William Henry Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Horniman, Frederick John Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Brassey, Albert Howard, Joseph Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Brown, Alexander H. Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Bullard, Sir Harry Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.) Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)
Butcher, John George Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow) Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derby.) Johnston, William (Belfast) Seely, Charles Hilton
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.) Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Knowles, Lees Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)
Clancy, John Joseph Lafone, Alfred Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Souttar, Robinson
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swansea) Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Colomb, Sir John C. Ready Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. M.
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool) Wason, Eugene
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Curzon, Viscount Lowther, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Cumb'd) Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macartney, W. G. Ellison Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Maclure, Sir John William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Doxford, Sir William Theodore M'Crae, George Wortley, Rt. Hn. C.B. Stuart-
Duckworth, James M'Kenna, Reginald Wrightson, Thomas
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Melville, Beresford Valentine Wyndham, George
Fisher, William Hayes Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Yoxall, James Henry
FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose- More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Mount, William George Colonel Welby and Mr. Purvis.
FitzWygram, General Sir F. Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)

Bill to be read the third time.