HC Deb 04 December 1906 vol 166 c747
MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that at Mansourah, in Egypt, native girls of twelve and fourteen years work in the cotton mills from four o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night, and at times till ten o'clock at night, in a highly deleterious atmosphere, at a wage of from 10 to 15 cents a day; whether it is in the competence of the British Control to urge on the Egyptian Government remedial interference with this state of things; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter. May I say that when I handed the Question in at the Table the words were "whether it is a fact" and not "whether he is aware."


If anything of this kind exists, the proper remedy would be factory legislation. But to make that binding on Europeans, who own most of the factories, would of course require the consent of all the Powers, and it would be necessary for the Egyptian Government to approach them. I will make inquiry into the facts stated by the hon. Member. Till that has been done I cannot say what action is required or can be taken.