HC Deb 10 August 1904 vol 140 cc9-10

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the draft Home Office regulations in connection with the loading, unloading, and discharging ships as advertised differ substantially from the draft regulations finally submitted to the Commission; and, if so, whether, having regard to the nature of the proposals and to the fact that the public at large, particularly shipowners, are not acquainted with the new proposals, he will agree not to enforce the regulations until Members have had the opportunity of considering them and, if necessary, debating them.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) I think my hon. friend is under some misapprehension as to what has happened in connection with the inquiry which has been held in regard to the draft regulations for docks. The facts are as follows: At the close of the Home Office case it was suggested by the counsel representing the great majority of the objectors to the regulations that the inquiry would probably be shortened if, before the case for the objectors was opened, a conference were to take place between them and the Home Office for the purpose of discussing the points at issue. This suggestion was agreed to on behalf of the Home Office, and several conferences were held, with the result that a settlement was finally arrived at with the majority of the objectors on practically all points. This settlement was embodied in a print which was handed to the Commissioner and also to those of the objectors who had declined to take part in the conference. The latter, however, after consideration, declined to accept the settlement, and accordingly laid their case in full before the Commissioner. The Commissioner has now the whole matter under consideration, and will, I understand, shortly present his Report. It will be seen that before I proceed on that Report to make the regulations all parties will have been fully heard; and, as I stated in reply to a Question on the same subject the other day,† I do not propose to postpone the date when the regulations will come into operation.