§ MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, in view of the fact that magistrates throughout the country place different constructions on the term "conscientious objection," as defined in the Vaccination Act, 1898, cases having recently occurred in which a man, who had been granted a certificate of exemption for one child, has been refused a certificate for another, although he has in each instance raised precisely the same conscientious objection to vaccination, will he consider the expediency of so amending the Act as to remove the difficulty experienced by magistrates.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I believe that there has been some divergency of practice amongst magistrates in this matter, but, as I think the hon. Member 127 is aware, the Lord Chief Justice made some observations at the Birmingham Assizes in July last with a view to a more uniform administration of the law on the subject. In order to bring these observations under the notice of the magistrates throughout the country my right hon. friend the Home Secretary embodied them in a circular which he has issued to clerks to justices, and I trust that the result of this action will be to secure greater uniformity in the practice of magistrates under the enactment in question. It does not appear to me to be necessary to amend the law on the subject.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the magistrates continue to entirely disregard the observations of the Lord Chief Justice? Can nothing be done?