§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that the American gooseberry mildew, which has been such a scourge in America, and which is established in Ireland and parts of the Continent, has been discovered in England within the last few days amongst imported stock; and whether he will undertake that immediate steps shall be taken by legislation or other effectual means, to prevent the establishment of this disease in the fruit gardens of this country.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
We were informed last month that the disease in question had been discovered in Worcestershire this summer, but we have no information as to its discovery in imported stocks in the last few days. The Board have no power to prohibit the importation or to order the destruction of diseased stocks, and it is not practicable to introduce legislation on the subject during the present session. A leaflet on the subject has been in circulation for some years and several thousand copies have been distributed during the present year. The Board are now in communication with the Customs with a view of obtaining the necessary information to enable them to warn importers against purchasing gooseberry bushes from countries where the disease is prevalent.