HC Deb 13 March 1906 vol 153 cc1099-100
MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N.W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to cases before the magistrates sitting at Wisbech on 24th February, when several labourers were summoned and fined for breaches of the Vaccination Acts, although they had previously, in accordance with the provisions of the Acts, pleaded their conscientious objections to vaccination before the same court and had been refused the exemption certificate; and whether he will call the attention of the Lord Chancellor to cases where magistrates in North West Norfolk constantly refuse to grant these exemptions, though the applicants lose a day's wages and give other proofs of their conscientious objections.


I have made inquiry in this matter from the County Bench sitting at Wisbech, to which I presume the Question relates, but I find that the facts are not quite correctly stated in the Question. It is reported to me that the five persons summoned to the court under the Vaccination Acts on the day mentioned were not fined, but were simply ordered to have their children vaccinated, and that none of these five had ever made application to that court for certificates of exemption.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in several of the cases alluded to the men had costs laid on them to the amount of 10s. 6d., nearly a week's wages?

MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman make some arrangement by which men without losing a day's work may apply for a certificate?


I am quite aware that it presses hard in individual cases, but I have to administer the law as it stands, and I do not see how I can grant relief in the direction indicated.


Will you make it known to the justices that they must grant certificates where there is a conscientious objection?


A circular was issued two or three years ago to justices' clerks. I will consider if it is desirable to issue another.

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