§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the certificate of death given in the case of a certain Lily Graves, whether he is aware that it is alleged that the certificate was so far false that it omitted a material circumstance, and that the Registrar General has been asked, and has declined to take any action in respect of such allegation; and 916 whether the Home Secretary will take steps, either in regard to this particular certificate or generally, to safeguard the accuracy of certificates of death.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
My right hon. friend has asked me to answer this question. The reply to the first two paragraphs is in the affirmative. As regards the third paragraph, I have no authority to interfere in the matter, but I may state that the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1874, provides that any person who wilfully makes a false certificate for the purpose of the Act shall be liable to a penalty. There can be no doubt that the omission from the certificate of death of the fact that the deceased person died while under the influence of an anæsthetic is to be regretted but I understand that the Registrar General was not satisfied that the omission constituted a definite offence against the Act, and that under all the circumstances of the case he did not consider that any action could usefully be taken by him, more especially as the matter was not brought under his notice until eight months after the death occurred.