§ Motion made, and Question proposed [28th June],
§ 4. "That a sum, not exceeding £168,007, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1913, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices." [Note.—£90,000 has been voted on account.]
§ Question again proposed.
§ Mr. GILL
I wish to approach the subject of factory inspection from the point of view of safety, health, and fair dealing. I find at the present time there are 205 factory inspectors, which is an increase of five over last year. A number of these are special inspectors, a medical inspector, an electrical inspector, and one appointed for the purpose of dealing with dangerous trades. The number of factories and workshops which these inspectors have to deal with is 293,243, or an increase of no fewer than 2,444 on the year. If this is divided up by 200 inspectors, and there are scarcely 200 eligible for the ordinary work of inspection, there would be no fewer than 1,466 places which each inspector has to examine. To my mind it appears to be impossible for one inspector to deal with all those places, especially in consideration of the fact that a considerable portion of his time is used in making reports to the Head Office. So that I think it will be well worth the consideration of the Secretary of State as to whether or not he could not afford a larger number. It is regrettable year by year that we find an increase in the number of industrial accidents reported in spite of the extra fencing of machinery which has been done during the past ten years. I find that there were 129,550 industrial accidents in 1910, while in 1911 there were not fewer than 148,945, an increase of over 19,000 a year. If this number of injuries had taken place in connection with a great war the public would have been appalled, but when they are engaged in industrial 422 occupations, in endeavouring to provide for their wives and families, it is equally appalling. I notice that in the inspector's report some steps are being taken for the purpose of providing a museum of safety appliances at Westminster. I hope the Secretary of State is not going to confine it to one museum. It is absolutely necessary to establish museums also in the centre of the country, in Manchester, and perhaps in Glasgow. I recollect being at Charlottenburg a few years ago, where there is an excellent museum of this character, and there are safety appliances and guards of different descriptions for the purpose of protecting people from accidents, and it would be well to follow to a considerable extent the style of museum they have there.
It is undoubtedly discouraging to find these accidents constantly increasing. It is discouraging to the workpeople, and everything ought to be done which can possibly be done by the Horns Office for the purpose of making human life safer in these industrial occupations. Within the past few years, on several occasions when the Home Office Vote has been before the House, I have taken the opportunity of calling attention to the different phases of industrial life in connection with the cotton trade, and I have tried to concentrate upon a few points in the cotton trade. I think it has been wise that concentration has been effected in that way, because there have been some valuable results obtained by pressure upon the Home Office, and then by pressure upon the inspectors. I refer specially to accidents connected with cotton mills and to particular classes of accidents. In previous years reference was made to the necessity for the improvement of gear and fences in regard to machines and cylinders where work was being performed. There have been a large number of very serious accidents in the past. Hands and arms have been lost, and in many cases fingers also. In 1907 there were sixty-eight accidents of this description. That was about the time when special attention was beginning to be called to the matter. In 1909 some steps had been taken for the purpose of insisting upon locking motions being put on engines, with the result that the number was reduced to forty. The Home Office has been displaying still greater activity, and now nearly 80 per cent, of the mills in Lancashire are fitted with 423 locking motions. The result is that, instead of sixty-eight accidents as in 1907, there were in 1911 only seventeen, so that, so far as this is concerned, I think the Home Office is to be congratulated on the work done. There is still something to be done so long as there are any of those mills not fitted with that particular guard, and I think we ought to exert more pressure still for the purpose of getting that work completed. Take another department, namely, that in regard to scroll and draw-bands and pulleys. In 1909 there were 146 accidents. Some of them were very serious. I have known several lads of fourteen or fifteen years of age who have lost their arms in connection with it. In 1911 the number of accidents in that department was reduced to 113 through the same pressure being applied. I will give another instance in regard to carriage wheels and slips. In 1909 there were 116 accidents, and the number in 1911 was reduced to sixty-one. Therefore this policy of concentration upon a few particular points has, I think, been useful in making life in cotton mills and in the textile industries generally much safer than it was previously.
Two or three years ago an Accidents Committee was appointed for the purpose of considering the question of industrial accidents with the view to finding some means of preventing them. That Committee reported in favour of more efficient lighting of staircases and dark rooms, and also in regard to the desirability of improvements in the lighting of foundries. I want to know what is being done in that respect. I think something is being done in regard to illumination, for the subject is mentioned in a special section of the inspector's report. In foundries darkness is a fruitful cause of accidents. Generally speaking they are dark, and although they are lime-washed every fourteen months, they soon become dirty again on account of dust which is created in carrying on the industry. I should like to see legislation to cause lime-washing to be done oftener in this particular department. I notice in regard to the question of lime-washing in different classes of mills, factories, and workshops, that it is stated it is not done as efficiently as it should be. Everyone who has worked in a cotton mill knows that the remark of the inspector for the Oldham district is perfectly true, that although lime-washing was done in the prescribed period, they scamped the ceilings. That matter re- 424 quires looking into and watching more closely. The Accidents Committee made certain recommendations, and one was that conferences should be held between the employers, workmen, and factory inspectors, from time to time for the purpose of trying to arrive at agreements in regard to the fencing of machinery, the cleaning of machinery in motion, and other matters which had to do with the safety of the employment. Several conferences have been held between the cotton trade employers, operatives, and inspectors in the Lancashire district, and it is satisfactory to know that in connection with these conferences very important agreements have been arrived at. The agreements in regard to the cleaning and fencing of machinery, and the making of the industry safer for the operatives will, when carried into effect in future, have a very important bearing on the safety of human life. But why is it that these conferences have been confined to the cotton trade? There is just as much necessity for them in other industries—for example, the engineering industry, and the building trades. In fact, in almost every industry there is just as much necessity for agreements of this description being arrived at mutually as in connection with the cotton trade. I wish to ask the Home Secretary whether he has decided that these conferences shall be established in connection with other industries in exactly the same way, in view of the fact that they have worked so successfully in connection with the cotton industry. I am glad to see from a statement on page 95 of the Report that some of the recommendations of the Accidents Committee, so far as it could be done by administration, have been carried into effect. So far as bleaching and dye works are concerned, there have been some accidents—one or two of them of a very serious kind—where boiling water has been used in the treatment of material. On account of vessels not being sufficiently protected, boys who have been at work have fallen in and been severely injured. I find that protecting rails have been put in, and that guards are being placed where required. I find also that there has been an improvement in the rollers on which cloth is carried upwards. These are all factors which are bound to tell in future in the right direction.
I have called attention in previous years to a practice which exists in the cotton trade, but which does not exist to any extent in any other industry. I am sorry to 425 have to make that statement, connected as I am with the cotton industry. I refer to the practice of time cribbing. Time cribbing may be explained in this way. The engines should start at six and stop at eight, but instead of starting at six it is common enough to start a few minutes before that hour, and not to stop until a few minutes after eight o'clock. Then they start a few minutes before the hour at every meal time during the week, with the result that those persons who are engaged by the day work more time than they are paid for. This is a practice which cannot be considered straight as between employer and employed.
§ Sir HILDRED CARLILE
The hon. Member has stated that the workers commence a few minutes before the hour and work a few minutes after they should stop. I want to know if it means that it ever exceeds two minutes either way.
§ Mr. GILL
I should be glad if I could make that statement, but unfortunately I am not in a position to do so. I have seen cases where they started ten minutes before the time and worked five minutes after the time. These cases have been pretty frequent in connection with certain limited liability companies. It is more common in connection with limited liability companies than private employers. There are some employers who work properly, and I say that for the purpose of protecting good employers this matter should be dealt with, for it is distinctly unfair to ask more time from workers than they are paid for. The law ought to be carried into effect.
§ Mr. GILL
Decidedly, if the workpeople are not there, they are blamed for not being in time. This matter has had greater attention paid to it during the past few years. More activity has been displayed by the inspectors lately, especially in some particular districts. In 1907 there were 1,062 prosecutions, and the average penalty was 23s., and the costs 9s. 9d. During the past year there were 807 cases, and the remarkable thing is that this system is concentrated chiefly in two towns. Out of 807 cases there were 507 in Oldham and 143 in Rochdale. The average penalty in Oldham was £1 5s. 3d., and in Rochdale 13s. 10d. I am sorry to say that in my own town (Bolton) the average penalty for fifty-six cases amounted to only 1s 7d.
§ Mr. GILL
I cannot tell that. I cannot see how any magistrate can reasonaly expect that this system can be put an end to by such paltry penalties as these, because it pays to break the law under such circumstances. I find on page 86 of the Report that more attention is now being paid to the purity of the atmosphere in different workplaces. I think that is a step in the right direction. To a workman health is all-important. If health is lost, he is in a tight place indeed. If work places are made as healthy as possible, there can be no doubt that the workman will be better able to perform his work, and the employer will be likely to have better work produced under these circumstances. The inspectors made tests in regard to the purity of the air in 1,076 cases during the past year. Out of that number there have been 233 cases in which it was found that there were twelve volumes of carbonic oxide in the air. In one case it was as high as 54.7 per 10,000 volumes of air, and the remarkable thing is according to the Report that this is considered to be very satisfactory. I do not consider it by any means satisfactory that in practically one case in four it exceeds the standard allowed in a cotton factory. One of the best things that have been done—and this is one of the points on which concentration has been effected—has been in regard to the dust in cardrooms. I said at the beginning that I should approach this question from the point of view of safety, health, and fair dealing. The question of fencing deals with safety. The question of health involves proper sanitary conditions, and the question of fair dealing has reference to wages. The question of health is very largely involved in the question of dust.
An examination was made some time ago—I think by Dr. Collis, a medical inspector of the Home Office—into 136 cases, of men who were stated to be suffering from bronchitis and asthma, who were all employed in the card-rooms. No fewer than seventy-eight were found to be suffering in that respect. It has been a common thing for men to be considered too old at forty, and many had to leave their employment on account of being afflicted in that particular way. In the past few years appliances have been fixed in about 75 per cent, of the mills for the purpose of taking the dust away, and there has been a considerable improvement, and 427 a number of men who had been affected in the way described and had to leave their employment have been enabled to return to work, and are now in satisfactory health. To obtain this result pressure has had to be exercised on some employers, but on others it has not; but it is pressure that pays, for it has resulted in the improved health of the people. So long as that is done I think that the Home Office is entitled to be congratulated on that particular kind of work. But it pays not only the workmen and the Home Office; it pays the employer as well. I know one of the best employers in connection with the fine spinning trade who says distinctly that he wishes he had put them in sooner, because he finds not only are they better for the health of the people, but that, through having the dust taken away, he gets a more marketable yarn than he got previously. I hope that when we have to refer to this question and other questions next year, we shall be able to say that the whole 100 per cent, of the mills in the textile districts have been fitted with these appliances.
Temperature is another matter in which more interest has been taken. On page 89 of the inspector's report it is stated that they found a large number of cases in which the temperature of the room had been from 90 to 104 degrees. This is very hot indeed. It is not necessary that mills should have rooms heated to the extent of 104 degrees. What is required is more efficient ventilation. It may be said that it cannot be done, but those who make that statement say something which cannot be proved. In fact, the opposite can be proved, because during the last two years installations which have effected a remedy have been established in some of the worst mills. One set of mills I have in my mind is over 100 years old, and has very hot rooms. A new installation has been fixed and the rooms are very healthy indeed. The fact is that when people engaged in a heated atmosphere like this in winter go out into the cold air they are apt to get chilled and contract various diseases. Consequently, the Home Office might pay even more attention to this question than it has been doing. It is satisfactory to find that the Particulars Clause has been extended to more industries. I feel that the agitation in which the cotton workers were engaged some twenty or twenty-five years ago has borne very good fruit. The Particulars Clause 428 is simply a Clause which requires employers to supply pieceworkers with particulars of their rate of wages and other particulars necessary to calculate their wages at the week-end. Formerly they had not these particulars, and they did not always get properly paid. They might have been improperly paid on account of mistakes, but it is obvious that now they are more satisfied and their wages generally are higher than they were formerly. In addition to the cotton trade and the textile trade there are now thirty-four industries with two and a quarter million workers in 7,809 factories and 1,740 workshops that have this Particulars Clause applied to them. But all workers engaged on piecework are entitled to have particulars supplied to them if they are engaged to do a certain class of work at a certain rate. If it is necessary to have a lot of technical details for the purpose of enabling them to calculate their rate of wages, it is only common justice that they should be supplied with those particulars. As in the other cases I have mentioned, there are still some trades that require to have this Particulars Clause applied to them, and I should like to know from the Home Secretary how soon we may expect these to be put on the same footing as the others, because they are just as much entitled to have this done as are the people in other industries.
My last point is in regard to the Report of the Accidents Committee. The Committee were sitting for nearly two years for the purpose of inquiring into the question of accidents and also the status and appointments of inspectors. I want to know whether anything has been done or whether it is intended to do anything to carry out the recommendations of that particular Committee in regard to the organisation of staff. Are the Committee's recommendations to be followed in selecting candidates for inspectorships? The chief of these recommendations I think was that the candidates should have a practical acquaintance with factories and workshops, and have a sound education. That, to my mind, is very important, because you cannot reasonably expect thoroughly efficient inspection unless the person who has got to do the work has a thorough knowledge of the business. The Committee was fairly unanimous on that particular point. I also desire to know whether it is intended to alter the character of the qualifying examination as is suggested? Quite a number of questions 429 in that examination have no bearing in any way whatever on the work which the inspectors have to perform after they are appointed. There is a large number of inspectors' assistants who have been in office, ever since the Prime Minister was Home Secretary, for quite twenty years, and a number of them seem to have very little chance of promotion indeed. Each one of these inspectors' assistants is a practical man and has been taken from some particular industry, and these are now, or until quite recently they have been, confined to the inspection of workshops as distinct from factories which are concerned with slipper-making, dressmaking, and such industries as those which do not need such a great amount of technical education to do. I think that the knowledge and experience of this class of inspector could be used to very great advantage by the Home Office for the inspection of factories. It is true that a few of them have been promoted, not to the full inspectorate, but to rather a higher class of inspectors' assistants, and set aside for the purpose of dealing with certain matters in cotton mills, but the other subjects with which they are fully competent to deal they are not allowed to touch. This ought to be looked at from a broader point of view. These men, who are acquainted with the industries in a practical way, should be given the opportunity of using the knowledge which they possess for the purpose of seeing that the Factory Act is fairly carried into effect. The Committee after full consideration decided that alterations were necessary, and I want to know if there is any possibility or probability at an early date of these recommendations being carried into effect?
§ Mr. HILLS
I wish to refer to the subject of lead poisoning in the Potteries. I have a certain amount of hesitation in raising the question again, and I only do so because it seems to me from the figures that the condition which was bad three years ago is now considerably worse. I do not in the least want to exaggerate, but I think I can convince the Committee that so far from things improving they are going back. No doubt most of the Committee know that lead poisoning is caused by the lead in glaze which is put on china and earthenware. The glaze is the outer coat of china and earthenware which is put on to make it impervious, and also to make it hard, and in the case of high-class articles to add a finish and a beauty. A certain proportion of this glaze is com- 430 posed of raw lead. The glaze in process of being placed on the body of the china is splashed on to the floor or on to the clothes of the worker, and comes off afterwards as dust. The dust is inhaled by the worker, and the lead is absorbed into the system. The absorption of the lead into the human system has very serious and terrible consequences. It causes in men a partial or total paralysis of the wrist and hands. The first symptom is usually what is known as wrist-drop. The man's wrist fails to work; after a bit he cannot raise his arm to his shoulder, and in bad cases complete paralysis sets in. It also affects very seriously the stomach and the kidneys; but bad as are its effects on men they are far worse on women. In the case of women you have superadded to all these terrible consequences the far worse result that lead poisoning induces miscarriage. In fact, the figures in the Potteries show that the miscarriage of workers suffering from lead poisoning is three or four times the amount of the normal average. Further, it is quite clear that those figures, so far from being overestimated, are underestimated, for it is very hard to obtain reliable figures. The women working in the dangerous process are very loathe to give particulars, for they feel that if they make out their case to be as bad as it is they will lose their job. In 1896 the first real attempt was made to grapple with it, and the result was that in four years, from 1896 to 1900, the number of cases was reduced from 400 a year to under 100 a year. This showed that it is quite possible to tackle this evil.
Now comes the bad part of the picture. From 1900 to the present year there has been practically no decline at all. From 1900 to 1909 the cases have averaged 90 a year, and have ranged from 117 to 58. In 1909 they were 58; in 1910 they were 77; in 1911 they were 92; and in the first half of 1912 they were 41. It is surely quite clear from these figures that we are now on a dead level of cases. From 1896 to 1900 we succeeded in reducing the number of cases of lead poisoning by three quarters but from the year 1900 we have seen no reduction at all; in fact, in the last three years the figures have gone up. So much for the number of cases. If you take the number of fatal cases, the deaths, the figures are even worse. For the nine years from 1900 they averaged about five-and-a-half a year. In 1909, there were five; in 1910, there were eleven; in 1911, 431 there were six; and in the first half of 1912 there were nine. So there, again, you have a rise in death rate. The history of the attempts to put down this terrible evil are extremely interesting. I do not want to deal at any length with the question previous to the arbitration of 1903. In that year there was a great movement of public opinion; various exhibitions of lead-less glazes were held all over the country, and Parliament was urged to make an attempt to regulate the industry, and thereby to reduce the number of lead poisoning cases. In consequence, the Home Office started operations and held a conference with the employers. At first all looked well, for the employers promised that they would exclude all the raw lead glazes and would use entirely the leadless glazes.
I may perhaps explain that the poisonous danger from lead springs entirely from the amount of soluble lead in the glaze. When the dust of that glaze is inhaled the soluble lead is absorbed into the system, and it is that which poisons the worker. When you have either a low percentage of soluble lead, or use your lead in such a form that it is insoluble, then the glaze becomes innocuous. The well-known chemist, Dr. Thorpe, whose name ought always to be mentioned with admiration, was the first person who invented the non-poisonous lead glaze, and who set up what is known as "Dr. Thorpe's test," By that test you can ascertain the proportion of soluble lead in the glaze, and, provided that proportion does not rise beyond 5 per cent., the glaze is perfectly harmless. But to come back to 1903. All the big employers, all the big manufacturers, I think without exception, promised the Home Office that they would use only the low soluble glazes, and a rule was drawn up which would have precluded entirely glazes which had a high percentage of soluble lead. Unfortunately they went back upon that decision, and they came again to the Home Office stating that they had been misled in regard to this new rule, and that they found they could not use those low soluble glazes. Accordingly the whole question was referred to Lord James of Hereford, as arbitrator, before whom the employers produced witnesses who said that they could not, without ruining their industry, employ the glazes of low solubility. At the same time, they assured him that they were willing to submit to regulations, and they also said that if those regulations were enforced they would promise him that 432 they would extirpate lead poisoning. That was the promise which was made to the arbitrator in the course of the arbitration. I need not tell the Committee that it has not been fulfilled.
Lead poisoning is worse, now than it was nine years ago; yet the employers nine years ago promised that if they were allowed still to use these poisonous glazes they would extirpate lead poisoning. In consequence of this assurance, Lord James of Hereford made an award whereby he made the use of non-poisonous glazes optional only. He gave certain advantages, which I need not detail, to the firms which used the non-poisonous glazes, but he did not prohibit the use of poisonous glazes. If he had gone one step further and caught the employers in their first and better mind we would not be discussing this question to-day, for it is absolutely certain that provided the proportion of lead does not exceed 5 per cent, no poison can result. In the evidence given before the Commission only two cases were quoted of possible poisoning by these glazes, and in both cases the subject had also been exposed to raw lead glazes in previous years; so that if Lord James of Hereford had gone as far as the employers were willing to go, we should now have extirpated lead poisoning. Lord James of Hereford only did not go as far as that because he received a pledge from the big manufacturers that they would extirpate lead poisoning. I think it is time the Government called for a performance of that pledge. It was a pledge that was given in a judicial proceeding, and. I would remind the Under-Secretary that whether it is legally binding or not, it is morally binding. It was an absolute, distinct, and unqualified pledge that if certain precautions were taken the employers would extirpate lead poisoning. Let me come to five years later. In 1908, a Departmental Committee was appointed. It was a very strong and representative Departmental Committee, and they had the whole of the facts before them. They noted that the poisoning was not getting less, but certain figures for the years 1908 and 1909 were before them, and it looked at the time as though the evil was diminishing, though subsequent experience has shown it has not.
Again they were met by the assurance of the employers that if certain extra precautions were taken they would extirpate lead poisoning. They had not kept their first promise, and they made a second, and in some respects a more stringent promise. 433 A whole schedule of rules and regulations was drawn up, and witness after witness assured the Committee that if those rules were carried out lead poisoning would cease to exist. The Departmental Committee reported in 1910, and yet in the last two years the evil has been more rampant than ever. Let me come to the Report of the Chief Inspector for last year, which was a very bad one, there having been very nearly 100 cases and six deaths, while in the first part of 1912 there have been nine deaths, which is almost the highest figure for the last ten years. I do not think there has been a case of nine deaths in any year for the last ten years. The Chief Inspector in his report gives three main reasons for the increase. The first is good trade; the second is the hot summer, and the third is the Workmen's Compensation Act. Mr Shuter on page 52 of the Report says, "Trade has been very brisk indeed"; and that two firms have seven cases each. It is a very terrible feature that there should be so many cases of preventible deaths. Again Mr. Shuter says, that "in the majority of the cases the conditions were by no means bad." It is not the fact that all these cases occur at the small or badly equipped potteries, and Mr. Shuter says that they occur at potteries where the conditions are by no means bad. Miss Sadler, the well known lady inspector, says among the younger workers under thirty there are far more cases than among those over thirty. That, again, is a terrible feature of this disease. Miss Lovibond says that out of fourteen factories which she visited, in thirteen the regulations were not observed. Out of nine ventilation fans which she inspected, six were defective. And so I could go on multiplying cases. You have set up a very complicated system of regulations. It depends largely upon the way the works are run, and it depends upon the men as well as the employers. You cannot inspect the potteries more than once a quarter, and the times are generally known when the inspector is coming. All these regulations depend for their efficacy upon certain acts being done daily. The floors must be swilled down every night; the racks in which the pottery is to be dried have to be scraped every day, and fans have to be always at work in order to draw the dust of the glaze from off the workers.
In regard to the working of these regulations you have to rely on the fact that the employer is doing his duty, and it is 434 quite clear that where you have an inspection once in three months and where certains operations must be performed every day, all depends upon the wisdom of your Regulations, and upon the efficacy of your inspection. I will not say anything about the wisdom of the Regulations, and, under the circumstances perhaps, they are as good as can be obtained; but no regulations are of any use unless they are observed, and you cannot be sure that they will be observed. I may be told that though the cases are numerous, they are happily all of a less serious character than they used to be. I quite agree that is so. Dr. Tunstall says, on page 213, that terrible cases are wiped out, but it is only fair to point out that though in some respects the cases are not so serious there were six deaths in 1911 and nine deaths in the first half of 1912; and Miss Sadler states that out of the forty-five cases among women, eight were severe and twelve were "moderate." When we turn to the description of "moderate," we find that "moderate" includes partial paralysis, and if the cases are up to the standard of partial paralysis, if not over that, I do not think we can say that the old terrible cases are out. What is to be done? I want the Government to do something. I want them to make a real attempt to grapple with this evil. I believe they can do it. I venture to suggest to them that they should remind the employers of their pledge given in 1903 and repeated five years later. It still remains. They are responsible for all these cases. If they had not given that pledge Lord James of Hereford would have prohibited poisonous glazes. If they had not given that pledge to the Committee, I think it is clear from their report that they would have done the same. They have only kept on foot those poisonous glazes by time after time saying that they will extirpate lead poisoning.
There are, I suppose, three ways in which we could deal with the evil. We, first of all, could regulate the works. We could insist on ventilation fans. We could insist on the dipping of the ware into the glaze being carried on in separate rooms. We could insist on the workers wearing overalls and head covers and other things. I do submit, however, that we have tried all these, and they have failed. They do not go far enough to fight the evil, and you must do something more stringent if you are going to do any, real good. The next alternative for dealing with the evil is to give special exemption to the firms 435 which use non-poisonous lead glaze, or to impose special penalties on those which use the poisonous glaze. I do not think that will work for one moment. This plan was tried by Lord James of Hereford, and yet in spite of the stringency of the regulations which he laid on the firms which still use poisonous glazes, less than one-quarter of the firms engaged in the trade used the non-poisonous glaze and thereby escaped those stringent regulations. It is quite clear that however stringent you make the rules for the employers who use the raw lead glaze, it still will be more profitable for them to use it, and you will not get what we all want—the extermination of this disease. Lastly, and I believe the best, and only way, is the prohibition of raw lead glaze altogether. I am perfectly aware of the great difficulty that attends this, and that, it is not a simple question where you can prohibit in this country and by the imposition of an Import Duty prevent the import of lead ware from outside. I am quite aware that the conditions here are very complex, and that owing to the different methods of manufacturing our china here, which is made with the raw lead glaze and competes against French china, which is baked at a very high temperature and on which leadless glaze is used, that it is by no means a simple problem. I say at once I am not sure that we can treat it individually here in England. I will make a suggestion as to that in a moment. Before I do so, I have here some cases which have been given to me, and which I am assured are taken at random from the books of the Pottery Fund, which was formed to help these poor people who are suffering from lead poisoning. Here is a case of a woman worker at Stoke. She was first examined in 1908, she having then been eight years at work:—Taken ill ten weeks ago, legs, feet, and ankles affected. Pains in stomach and head. Examined again in November, and still very ill. In 1909 examined again. Head still very bad, feet and legs swollen, and are very painful. Husband out of work In…In April going to the infirmary, but feeling worse. In October worse, and ordered Turkish baths, but cannot afford them. In December another attack of illness: acute pain. Dr. Hopwood says it is lead. In January 1910, feels better, and Dr. Arlidge advises light work. February, has begun work, but does not feel well. In May sent to Rhyl for a holiday. In July resumed work, but tumbled over, and was obliged to come home. Tried again, but obliged to give up. Her right wrist has begun to give way. In November is expecting a baby. Has had twelve miscarriages in seven years. In March, 1911, child born, and in May of this year (when last examined) husband out of work since coal strike. They have been living on her £30 compensation, and are now destitute.436 The next case is that of a woman who worked eighteen months at Longport:—First seen in June, 1911. Went to Dr. Partington, who said she had lead…On 7th June, had a miscarriage. Doctor said it was caused by lead. July 28th she received compensation. November 18th, had a miscarriage three weeks ago. Dr. Francis said it was due to lead. 1912: In January, doctor said she was tit for light work, but could not find any. May 4th has had another miscarriage. Dr. Francis has told her that the lead in her system will cause this to happen repeatedly.I am assured those two cases are not exceptional, but taken at random from the books of the Pottery Fund. I do not think I can say anything to add any force to them. In conclusion, I want to make a practical suggestion. This is a very terrible state of affairs, but after all the area is small. The whole number of persons employed in the dangerous process is only 7,000, and the number of deaths are not very numerous, though they are a large ratio of the workers. Therefore it is far easier to grapple with a question of this sort than where you have a very large number of workers and many more people affected. But this is a preventible evil. In certain trades you cannot prevent danger, such as the seafaring trade or the coal mining trade. Whatever we do there will always be danger in manning our ships and in getting our coal; but there need not be any danger in making china. It is entirely a preventible evil, and could be stopped by the stroke of the pen of the right hon. Gentleman. In September of this year there meets an International Congress at Zurich. They are going to discuss various questions of industrial legislation, and amongst them the question of lead poisoning. I do not believe that you can settle this purely by internal action. I believe you must follow the procedure adopted in the match trade, and prohibit absolutely all over the world the use of lead glaze, or its use in certain articles. I myself had the honour, when a conference was sitting in London last month, of talking to several gentlemen who came from different parts of the world. They all agreed in this, that the time was ripe for some action to be taken, and that it is up to us to give a lead. They still, with very flattering unanimity, do look to Great Britain to lead them, and I am perfectly certain if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to send a representative to Zurich to discuss the question with the view to international action he will meet with hearty support and will have put on foot a plan for dealing with this evil. I do not believe short of that you can do anything, but I do believe the time is ripe 437 for action. I am certain the right hon. Gentleman is as much horrified as we are at these terrible cases, and I do appeal to him to act, and to act at once.
§ Mr. NOEL BUXTON
My excuse for adding a word or two in support of the hon. Member who has just spoken, is that I was a member of the Departmental Committee to which he has referred, and in the course of our inquiry we had occasion to visit a great number of potteries; and we also personally became acquainted with some of the victims of the poisoning mentioned. Having been for many years myself a factory employer, I realised also the point of view of the employers, who are naturally irritated and harassed by a proposal to interfere with their method of working, and to interfere also in great detail and by means of a very large amount of inspection. I am quite sure my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is fully alive to the urgency of dealing quickly with this matter, because it is universally recognised that it has dragged on too long, and that it is one of the scandals of the industrial life of this country. Not to repeat what the hon. Member has said, the facts I should like to give are those which came before our Committee. Our Committee began to sit in 1908. We sat for nearly two years continuously. We reported more than two years ago. Then inquiries were made to ascertain the opinions of employers upon our proposals, and those lasted for many months more. The agent of the Home Office made extensive visits in order to classify the factories according to the various regulations proposed. Again an extension of time was granted to the employers, in order that every possible complaint might be heard, and more than 240 firms made complaints up to last autumn; but there is an interval of eight or nine months from the time of the latest date on which complaints were heard.
Therefore it is about time that things moved on a little quicker. We know that the Home Office has been overworked. We know that its staff is none too large, and that the Treasury is none too generous to it; but this unfortunately is a case where, if the existing system is to go on at all it cannot be a tolerable system unless it is very well inspected indeed. We came to the conclusion on Sir Ernest Hatch's Committee that to really carry out inspection adequately very many times the number of present inspectors were required, and as you cannot possibly expect the Treasury 438 to pay for them, that does necessitate stringent rules, and a very great advance on the present special rules, as they are called, in order to secure any measure of safety for the workers in the trade. Roughly, the figures for the last few years show that the need is rather greater, and not less, than it was at the time of the Committee. In 1909 there were fifty-eight cases, in the next year seventy-eight, while last year they had risen to ninety-two. It is true that the medical inspector, in the factory report for last year, points out that the extreme type of case has diminished, but that does not do away with the fact that on the whole the cases have increased. To give the words of the chief inspector:—The reports of industrial poisoning affecting women and girls referred to senior lady inspectors for investigation in 1911, have considerably risen, being ninety as compared with sixty-nine the previous year.Then we have to note that Dr, Hill, certifying surgeon of Tunstall, the very centre of that great inadequately organised district of the five towns, with which Mr. Arnold Bennett has made everyone more or less familiar, says in his remarks on this particular point:—One cannot hope or expect that the incidence of lead poisoning will entirely cease as long as lead, either raw or fritted, is used in any but a very small percentage.This was the main conclusion which we on the Departmental Committee arrived. Apart from the actual cases of poisoning, there is the general incidence of ill-health of pottery workers concerned with lead generally, and not only with lead but with dust of other kinds as well. It was felt that the ideal thing would be to impose a general prohibition except of lead of very low solubility, and then to make certain exceptions of particular classes of goods in which lead is certainly an economic factor of great value, these exceptions being fairly agreed upon as in a rough and ready way meeting the case. But the general rule ought to be a low solubility rule. The point I want to make is that the reason the Committee reported on the whole in favour of regulation instead of prohibition, was that we had urged upon us the necessity of getting the consent and general agreement of the employers, who were represented upon our Committee by some of the very ablest employers in the country. It was represented to us that if we would compromise our views a little, there was a chance that the regulations would very quickly come into force; that after two or 439 three years we should have experience to go on, and it would be seen whether or not it was necessary to go in for more interference by absolute prohibition. To make the matter clear to the Committee, I may mention a particular proposal that we made. It was that women, who are admittedly more susceptible to lead poisoning than men, should be excluded from the dipping house altogether. Against this, which everybody felt would be a great benefit if it could be carried out, it was urged that we might quickly get an experiment by means of regulations. Years have passed since then, but no experiment at all has been made. Some of the Committee, certainly I myself, would have insisted on a Minority Report in favour of a prohibitory system in the main, as against a regulation system, if we had foreseen that the employers would raise so many difficulties; that, after all, their consent was not involved in a compromise report, and that it would be years before it could be ascertained whether prohibition was necessary or not. To give the Committee an idea of what a dipping house may mean, let me quote in the cold language of the Home Office Factory Inspector's Report an extract describing a dipping house. In the Report of a well-known inspector, Miss Sadler, occur these words:—The dipping house and place in which ware-cleaning is carried on is lighted mainly by artificial light, and the structural conditions contribute to high temperature and defective methods of ventilation. No exhaust is installed for the ware-cleaning; the dipper in his evidence at the inquest (in a case of death from load poisoning), proving that, the ware might be quite dry when handled, as it may have to be cleaned three or four days after dipping. An excessive amount of dry lead dust was found scattered on the floor and benches. Both men and women looked in poor condition and pale and anæmic.It can hardly be surprising to anyone that the Committee, by a majority, would have preferred to advocate the exclusion of women at least from that very dangerous process, but we compromised on an understanding, which I submit has not been fulfilled. Therefore the case is urgent for drastic action by the Home Secretary. The main points are that we trusted the employers to fall into line, but, in spite of that, the things which the Report of the Lead Committee revealed are still going on. These are some of the most urgent things that came to light in the evidence we received—that work in lead, even if only before marriage, caused an excessive miscarriage rate in women, and the Committee considered that if the 440 new Regulations did not prove effective it might be necessary to prohibit the employment of women in lead processes altogether. It was made very clear that, quite apart from the particular certified cases of poisoning, the general health of many operatives was seriously impaired by work in lead, even where no lead poisoning was certified. To make that clear, here is a brief extract from the report of another inspector—again in very unemotional language—but the Committee will easily realise what a poignant state of suffering may be conveyed in these cold words:—Coming into this work of investigation, fresh from another division, I am impressed by an absence of personal inquiry by employers, such as one often finds in cases of accidents in country districts. Even where the occupier admits a worker has been 'one of his best hands' and the report of the certifying surgeon is that she is 'careful,' the human touch coming from personal knowledge of suffering is lacking, and the matter is treated as another 'case,' the personal responsibility being rarely brought home.'The Report goes on to show that there are cases such as this:—(2) Worked some years in a factory, was gradually going back in health and left to be confined. It was her first child after five years of married life. Ailing from the first, the baby died at five months old, and the mother eight months later was unfit for work, as her doctor thought her work had conduced to her state of debility, although she was not actually suffering from lead poisoning.That, I think, is sufficiently convincing as to the facts. If hon. Members will transport themselves for a moment to that dismal portion of England in the neighbourhood of the five towns, and realise that a great many of the potteries are extremely old buildings, very crowded, ill-ventilated, and some of them not too sanitary; if they will see the very miserable surroundings in which the work is carried on, in an air in many parts of the old potteries necessarily heavily laden with lead dust; if they will imagine for a moment the workers overworked, as appears from the Report, in a prosperous year like last year; if they will follow them to their homes through extremely mean streets, they will realise all that it means. Let me mention one of these diseases resulting from lead: for instance, wrist-drop, where the hand is distorted in a manner which none of us could voluntarily induce it to follow. In other cases the result is a succession of intense headaches; in others, neuritis of the optical nerve. There is hardly any limit to the extreme misery involved. If hon. Members realise that, they will understand that the Report for which the Committee made itself responsible was an extraordinarily moderate and restrained document, and that it will not 441 be at all unreasonable towards the employers if, after such a long delay, the Home Secretary exerts himself with great force and speed.
There was one other matter not connected with lead poisoning included in the scope of our inquiry. We were to make general recommendations on the conditions of work, affecting stone dust as well as lead dust, and any other features affecting pottery life. We came upon one thing which certainly added to the unpleasant impression given in some of the factories, namely, the excessive weights carried by girls and boys. I remember that in one case the hon. Member for Stoke, whom we should like to have seen present to-day, as he is very familiar with these matters, saw a particularly small emaciated boy carrying an enormous load of clay. He asked that the clay might be weighed, and we found that it was considerably heavier than the boy himself. That was not at all an uncommon state of things in some of the less well-regulated potteries. As a result of our observations we recommended that there should be stringent regulations by which the doctors or medical inspectors officially appointed to examine in the potteries should lay down exact rules and conditions within which weights might be carried. All these evils, which in some measure affect the general health of the whole population of the five towns, are still untouched. The conditions are absolutely the same as they were when the Committee sat four years ago. In fact they are worse, for this reason: that new regulations are being held back, and special rules, which are always more or less a matter of interfering with and worrying the employers, are not carried out even so stringently as they were before. The employers excuse themselves sometimes for not taking the necessary steps under the old rules, as to putting in new exhaust fans or making alterations in ventilation, and so on, on the ground that new regulations are expected. That represents a very serious state of things. I will not add further illustrations of the evils that all this means, because the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Hills) has made them so vivid to the Committee. I submit that the present state of things may fairly be called a blot on our civilisation. If an industry is to be carried on in this way, and the health of the people injured, we are hardly living up to our position as an Imperial people. The heart of the Empire must be sound. The Home Office is justly and admirably 442 active in enforcing such factory regulations as there are, but I think the Home Office is a little timid about asking for more powers. It has not as many powers as it ought to have. If nothing can be done, except by agreement or by getting the consent of the employers generally, who are, on the whole, more expert in technical matters than the inspectors of the Home Office—or at any rate equally expert—something must be done by way of legislation to obtain more drastic powers of imposing regulations at the option of the Home Secretary. This is not a matter where my right hon. Friend will fail to find support from the public. If I may say so, it has been one of the best advertised causes of the humanitarian kind in connection with this district. It is very well known, and there is plenty of public support. It has been a popular cause for several years past. Even from the point of view of the employer, I submit, as an employer myself, that stricter regulation is not an injury, but a benefit to the good employer. The grievance of the good employer, if you regulate at all, is that you do not level up the bad employer, but you leave him competing and excused from many worries that the good employer, not voluntarily perhaps, but willingly, undertakes himself. Therefore, it is really in the interest of the good employer that you should be as stringent as possible. Even from that point of view, I think we may say that the social organisation is in this respect suffering from a serious disease, and the best thing to do when you have disease in your social order is to carry out a drastic operation.
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
The two hon. Members who have preceded me have dealt with lead poisoning in the potteries. Therefore I need not deal with that subject at all, except to say how heartily I agree with them, and how heartily I agree with what the hon. Member for Norfolk has said that this non-compliance, this not carrying out of the recommendations of the Committee, is nothing less than a scandal and a blot upon our civilisation. I canont help thinking it is somewhat of a blot upon the administration of the Home Office. Not that I want to bring a railing accusation against the Home Office; and particularly against the staff of the Home Office, because nobody has a greater admiration for the zeal and energy that they throw into their work. Indeed, I think they deserve 443 our sympathy, because there is no doubt that the office is very much under-manned. In view of the work, and specially of the reforms urgently needed, the staff should be increased. I hope, too, the right hon. Gentleman will not be offended if I say that I hope he will show a little more reforming zeal than his predecessor has done. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to make his mark as Home Secretary, I cannot help thinking that he could not possibly do better than by increasing the staff of inspectors, and also by reorganising the whole staff. It is not enough to add to a number of lowly paid inspectors at the bottom without any avenues for promotion being created. It is contrary to the welfare of those concerned that there should not be new avenues of promotion. You cannot expect good work to be done under these circumstances. Doubtless the Committee will feel very strongly that there is a very great need for more inspectors. The inspector has to visit and go round every factory once a year, and that is at the rate of ten factories per day. It is absurd to suppose that this can be done. He cannot possibly get round. Allusion has been made by the hon. Member for Bolton to the increase in the number of accidents. To my mind there is an intimate relation between the number of accidents and the lack of inspectors. The Accidents Committee recommended that the best methods of fencing and guarding machinery should be enforced with speed and uniformity. The Committee went on to say in their Report that—where a machine was partly dangerous it was sometimes a year or two years before that particular machine was adequately guarded.That is a question for the inspector, but if the inspector can only get round the factory once a year, or once every two years, it is ridiculous to expect that the proper safeguards can be carried out. I do think also with regard to the Accidents Committee that there has been a sad lack of energy and zeal in the Home Office in not carrying out the Report. One of the most fruitful causes of accidents is cleaning machinery while in motion. The Committee recommended that conferences should be held between employers, inspectors, and workmen in certain areas and certain trades with the idea of stopping the machinery for a day to be cleaned. So far as I know nothing has been done. The Committee also recommended that young 444 persons should be forbidden altogether to clean machinery while in motion. Again, nothing has been done. The Committee on Accidents spoke very strongly about the lifting of heavy weights. Again, nothing has been done. Some very striking facts are given in the Report of the factory inspector which prove, I think, the intimate connection between the lifting of heavy weights and accidents. For instance, the Report says:—Heavy weights lifted, pushed, or carried by women or young workers were observed during the year by inspectors in jam and sweet factories, biscuit factories, textile factories (especially weaving sheds), glass works, potteries, breweries. Samples are: (1) Two women carrying copper pan full of syrup weighing 156 lbs. (2) Two women carrying same thing weighing 121 lbs.The accidents registered in this factory recorded five recent accidents to women lifting pans and jars. Again, two girls were found carrying a beam in a cloth factory which weighed 266½ lbs. A little girl just over fourteen in the Potteries was seen carrying 62 lbs. of clay upstairs, and a little boy of thirteen was seen carrying 53 lbs. I think it is rather a disgraceful thing that this country should be behind other countries in this respect. France has issued regulations forbidding the carrying of certain weights by children and also married women. Even the Argentine Republic have brought into operation regulations. I do think it is rather disgraceful that Great Britain should be behind the Argentine Republic. I should like also to draw the Committee's attention to the effect on the health of the workers of a dust-laden and vitiated atmosphere. What I would like to see is a thorough-going, active, and zealous campaign against disease caused by a dust-laden and vitiated atmosphere.
The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board said last week that we were spending a great deal too much money and a great deal too much time in palliatives. I do not know whether that was a sly dig at any of his colleagues. He went on to say that he thought it was time we turned our attention to the causes of disease and poverty. I heartily agree with him. In the Committee's Report are given tables which Dr. Tatham got out and which are included in the Report of the Registrar-General. They are an abstract of the Census of last year. In the matter of phthisis and diseases of the respiratory system, taking the agricultural labourer at 100, the death rate of the glass workers works out at 322, brush and broom makers 356, file 445 makers 416, potters 443, cutlers 496, tin miners 911. That is to say, that the ratio of these last is 911 as against 100 for agricultural labourers. Again, there is the question of foul atmosphere. Taking agricultural labourers at 100, the death rate among tool makers is 271, printers 300, and general shopkeepers 254. Take, for instance, the printing. I do think that it is really a scandal that the death rate from phthisis amongst printers should be so high, as the factory report says, 300 compared with 186 amongst other occupied males. What are the causes of this high death rate amongst printers? First of all it is the dust in the printer's work room, and an analysis of this dust works out at 14 per cent. of lead. One of the causes is the abrasion of the metal in the compositor's box. This need not be a cause of phthisis, because Mr. Taylor, the North London inspector, reports that an ample exhaust ventilator has been invented. Why not apply this ventilator all round?
One of the great causes of this high death rate from phthisis is a vitiated atmosphere. That can be cured by the application of exhaust appliances. The general atmosphere of a printer's workshop can be improved by a simple process of exhaust ventilation, so that improvement in the case of the printers is a practical proposition. So far as I know there is no active campaign in favour of improvement in the health of the printers. I think there ought to be. The Home Secretary ought to take this matter in hand. Again, take the case of anthrax, that hitherto has baffled altogether the Home Office and the investigators. As the Home Office reminds us, I think that twenty out of fifty cases of anthrax arose from imperfection in the dust extracting machinery. There is such a thing as a perfect dust extraction machine. It is a perfect automatic feed and delivery machine. The medical officer recommends it. If there is, as is said, such a machine in existence for the extraction of dust it ought to be installed all round. The medical officer goes on to say that he hopes that instead of sweeping out the workroom an effective vacuum cleaner "may" be installed. I should like the Home Secretary to say that an effective vacuum cleaner "shall" be installed without delay.
Let me pass to another great grievance which the women workers of this country suffer from owing to this ridiculous and 446 wholly inadequate number of inspectors. For instance, Miss Paterson, a lady who is no longer an inspector, I am sorry to say, has or had in the South-Eastern district only two lady inspectors with one occasional helper with her. She has had to inspect 57,000 factories in which work 376,000 women and girls. In the Midland district Miss Sadler had only one inspector and one occasional helper. She had to inspect 33,000 factories and 277,000 women and girl workers. The inspection must be a farce under such conditions. I will not weary the Committee with extracts, but I should like to give one case, one result of this inadequate inspection:—In the japanning room of a large hairpin factory I found about a dozen young persons, mostly fourteen years of age, employed in fixing hairpins on to a travelling band preparatory to their being japanned. The temperature of the room, apart from the stoves, was 87 deg. Fahr., and the girls were working immediately beside the small stoves. All appeared to be bathed in perspiration.How on earth can the health of these working girls be properly looked after in these circumstances? The Report also shows what can be done with adequate inspection. There is a small district in the West of London where, even with one inspector, much experiment is going on in the way of fencing in of machinery, and there are much fewer accidents, and better conditions all round prevail there. I submit that if the Government will only take this matter in hand, and appoint more lady inspectors, they would have the same improvement in the larger areas as there is in this special West-End district, and they would confer an enormous boon upon the working girls and the working women of this country.
There is another matter in which I cannot help thinking that the Government lose opportunity for conferring great benefits upon the poorer labourers of this country, by their neglect in remedying great grievances on the part of the large number of women and char-workers in regard to infringements of the Truck Act. Some time ago a Committee reported and made special recommendations. The Report of this Truck Act Committee is the third which is now reposing in the pigeon holes at the Home Office, and over which the Home Office has hitherto gone comfortably to sleep. If the right hon. Gentleman refuses to do anything by legislation to remedy the grievances under the Truck Act, the least he can do is to appoint more inspectors. Inspectors can do a great deal. There is a very good instance of that in the Report on pieceworkers, where 447 certain pieceworkers were charged exorbitant prices for the materials, and the inspector got a reduction of ½d. in the lb. and saved the workers 30s. in the year each, so that forty workers were saved about £60 a year. Last year I had the honour of bringing this question before the Home Office. The lady inspector last year spoke very strongly of the great scandal of these fines, and pointed out that ridiculously large fines were made from ludicrously small wages; but so far as one can judge nothing has been done to meet the grievance. I would like to give some instances. It is reported that one worker earning 6s. a week was fined 5d. for being five minutes' late. The summons was dismissed. A firm was found to be fining at the rate of 1d. for wages under 11s. a week, 2d. for wages between 11s. and 20s., and 3d. for over 20s. a week each time any worker was late, even if it was only a minute. The fact was brought in the lady inspector's report that though infringements of the Truck Act are common up and down the country, there were only two prosecutions, and that proves that the Truck Act has broken down, and is useless to protect the workers.
As I am very keen on the abolition of fines, I cannot help giving the Committee a very strong argument in favour of that Report. In a firm employing 500 girls the sum of £156 a year was collected in fines. I think that proved that the system of fining was totally ineffective in producing punctuality, and therefore it is useless to deduct fines from the wages of girls in this way. The lady inspector says:—After these somewhat depressing cases of heavy deductions, it was cheering to visit a laundry and paper-box factory, both in charge of capable manageresses, and I learned from them that they had discontinued these fines and were not making deductions from the workers' wages, and they found the work went on far more smoothly and satisfactorily in consequence.I think the Home Office cannot possibly congratulate itself upon this year's working. There is a large increase of accidents; there is an increase of lead-poisoning, and an increase in anthrax, not entirely due to the increase in trade. Increase in trade leads to neglect of precaution, and neglect of precaution is possible because the factory inspectors are not sufficient in numbers. I have drawn the Home Secretary's attention to these matters; to poisoning arising from dust, and to accidents, and I hope he will do something. We hear a great deal of the shackles of mediævalism. I think it is time the Home Office released the workers 448 of this country from the shackles of neglect and oppression and suffering.
§ Mr. ALBERT SMITH
I rise for the purpose, of supporting the observations made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, and I heartily agree also with many of the remarks made by the Noble Lord who has just sat down, both in regard to fines and the under-staffing of the inspectorate. I should like to draw the attention of the Home Office to a matter which is far more serious than outside people imagine, namely, the Truck Act. The working of the Truck Act at present is a lever in the hands of employers for fining people heavily for small faults and for fining people where faults do not exist at all, and requires immediate and very serious attention. In the opening remarks of the inspector in his report with regard to the North-Western section, he pays tribute to the help given by operatives themselves and trade unions in furnishing cases of wrong-doing on the part of employers. That suggests to me a very strong argument for increasing the number of inspectors. The present staff of the Home Office cannot possibly do their work in an efficient manner, owing to the small numbers they have at their command. The hon. Member for Bolton mentioned the question of lime-washing, and in his report the inspector says there is a falling off in the observance of the practice of lime-washing, and those who work in the cotton mills deplore this very greatly. This is due to the fact that the inspectors are not able to go round on systematic periodic visits to protect people against its abuse before it has gone too far. The question of whitewashing roofs of weaving sheds and also the windows has been, and is, I think, at this time of the year—and especially in this weather—one of the greatest benefits that workers in the sheds have. The difficulty that they met with in years gone by was that a downpour of heavy rain washed the lime-wash away. Now under the new Order issued experiments have been made with regard to whitewashing the windows inside, and I think these experiments have met with general approval not only of employers themselves, but of all those people who have perforce in this hot weather to work inside the weaving sheds.
There is just this one thing that I would like the Home Office to take into consideration, although lime-washing is an excellent thing it is not so necessary where buildings are already shaded and where 449 the sun is kept off by buildings in close proximity. Those acquainted with such circumstances will readily understand what I mean. I think the inspectors ought to be given a certain amount of discretion in regard to buildings like those. I think they have that power, but they are a little afraid to exercise it, and I think they could be safely left to deal with that matter in a satisfactory manner. The hon. Member for Bolton mentioned the question of headlights, and that is one of the things that I think the inspector ought to pay attention to. I speak without any great knowledge of the carding-rooms, but I have frequently heard representatives of the card-room workers say that it is disgraceful how some of these card-rooms are lighted in the winter time; and I have heard them complain of the insufficiency of the light. They have pressed for years for some satisfactory remedy, but nothing could be done without the assistance and presence of the inspector. When I come to the weaving-sheds I am on difficult ground. I quite agree with what the Report says that weaving-shed lights are placed, according to a hard and fast rule, so many feet apart, irrespective of the position of the machinery. All the best employers, I ought to say, never have any trouble with regard to light; but in the case of employers who want to economise, and in the long run it is generally admitted to be false economy; the lights are badly placed, and where lights are badly placed there must be less work and more accidents. I am sure the inspectors are paying attention to this point, but I mention it more particularly because passages and staircases and cellars in some of the older mills are insufficiently lighted to an extraordinary degree.
In many cases the weavers have to carry heavy beams down those stairs and along dark passages and dark cellars, and from my own personal knowledge I have known persons carrying these beams on their shoulders stumbling over things and falling down with these heavy beams on their shoulders weighing from 150 lbs. to 200 lbs., and in some cases from 240 lbs. to 250 lbs. That is a very serious matter, and it is generally due to the imperfect light. I am perfectly sure that if the Home Office could issue Orders with regard to this matter there would be more light in these places, and they would be conferring a boon upon a great number of workers. Another matter in the Report with which I entirely agree is with regard to sanitary conveniences. 450 That is a matter to which attention has been called for a long time, but I am very pleased to say that satisfactory and substantial progress has been made in the whole of the cotton trade with regard to these conveniences. The inside urinals are the source of a very great nuisance, and the inspectors have recognised this for a long time. If some system could be recommended and mutually adopted by which strong currents of air could circulate through them, or if they could be removed outside altogether it would be doing a great service to those employés. I am not denying the abuse of these places by some of the workpeople, but I may say that the officials of all the organisations of Lancashire give no countenance to any operative who abuses the facilities provided in this respect, and we do all we can to help the employers to keep such places in a satisfactory condition. I know these abuses have taken place, and those places have been neglected, but I think in all fairness I may say that the supervision has not been altogether satisfactory where it could have been made satisfactory by a little special effort. I hope the inspectors will encourage the employers to supervise these places a little better than at the present time, more particularly in regard to the frequency of flushing them.
Another important matter in regard to the weaving sheds is the ventilation. Hon. Members of this House may perhaps not be aware that during this very hot weather people are working in weaving sheds for a period of ten hours per day, and in many cases there is very little top ventilation. In some cases the windows cannot be opened, and often the ventilation at the top is stuffed up, and very little air of any kind can enter. I am speaking now of dry sheds. I am sure if hon. Members saw the conditions under which these people worked they would marvel how they bear them. I believe I am voicing the sentiments of 120,000 operatives who have been working during this hot weather when I say that some immediate attention ought to be paid to the advisability of compelling the adoption of a better system of ventilation. I know that in regard to wet sheds an Act has been passed dealing with humidity, and things are a little better in these wet sheds than in the dry sheds during this kind of weather. Perhaps it is a little too soon, but I wish to ask if the Home Secretary could tell us what has been the effect of the Act which came into operation last year. I know it will take the Act two or 451 three years to get into operation, because the employers in some of the sheds want time to adapt themselves to the new order of things. It is bad enough in those places at the best of times, and the conditions are not improved during the hot weather. Consequently I should like the Home Office to keep a strict eye upon these sheds in regard to humidity, with the object of satisfying themselves in regard to the working of the Act in order to see what the defects are, and in this matter the inspectors can detect them just as well as the employers. I should like to know what has been done in regard to the working of that Act. With regard to accidents, the most serious thing in connection with the weaving sheds is the large increase in the number of accidents. In the year 1910 there were 862 accidents, and in 1911 that number had increased to 1,136, and the most unfavourable increases are those connected with the flying shuttle and miscellaneous.
I know the difficulty of preventing a shuttle from flying out, and I am not sure that the remedy recommended is workable. I am sure it is not workable in the case of narrow and fast running machinery, although it may be workable on slow working machinery in the case of the heavy shuttles in Yorkshire and in some parts of Lancashire. I cannot, however, see how they can adapt them to the narrow running machinery. The miscellaneous portion is what concerns me most, because there has been a great increase of accidents in regard to that. I wish to know if there are any means of ascertaining to what these accidents are attributable. I should like to know whether any of them, and what is the number of them, which can be attributed to the insufficiency of room in the weaving sheds through the overcrowding of machinery, or through the building of sheds with insufficient space behind the loom, as well as between the looms. Last June I drew attention to this question and I got no reply from the First Lord of the Admiralty, who was then Home Secretary. I should like to know whether anything had been done with regard to this matter. It is referred to in the Report of Accidents, and last year the hon. Member for Bolton and the chairman of the Cotton Spinning Manufacturers Association of Lancashire agreed that in the weaving sheds in new mills there should be one foot between the flanges and not less than two feet between the looms. 452 The Noble Lord referred to the employment of girls and women in this work. I want the Committee to understand that the tension of the warp is held by big weights behind the loom, and the weaver has to pull this warp back on to the beam, and, if they want to regulate the weight in order to release the tension on the twist, they have these big weights to move behind the loom, and when two looms are close together and the weaver has to bend down to lift these weights at an unnatural angle, you can understand the difficulty in moving the weights when you cannot adapt your body to a proper angle to do it. Strong men in my own trade, who have had to carry these heavy weights at these unnatural angles, have met with accidents in the weaving shed, and many of these accidents occurred before the Compensation Act came into operation. Many of these workpeople are almost frightened out of their wits in regard to reporting these accidents, because if they did they think the employers might refuse to employ them, and I am sorry to say that they are working to-day under that fear. This question of more room in the weaving sheds requires immediate attention, and it is well worthy of all the consideration which the Home Office can give to it.
Another matter I wish to refer to is the Committee of Inquiry which was held in regard to these accidents and the working of the Workmen's Compensation Act. This matter was referred to last year. Many hon. Members of this House are of the opinion that the judges' decisions are not in accordance with the intentions of the framers of the Compensation Act. There is, for instance, the question as to whether compensation should be paid on the wages' account or whether the deductions should be made before the injured person could claim compensation. With a view of coming to a settlement of this question it was suggested that a Departmental Committee of Inquiry into the whole working of the Compensation Act should be set up. The First Lord of the Admiralty, on the 26th of June last, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton and other speakers, came out with this expression:—I am inclined to agree with my hon. Friend that the time is approaching when a Committee of Inquiry should investigate occasionally the conditions of the industries of the country in reference to compensation. I have therefore given instructions to the Home Office, and they are now beginning to collect materials, and when those materials have been obtained. I should think the question would arise in a very practical form next year.453 Of course, that now means this year. In answer to a question the other day the Home Secretary said that the Act had only been in operation about six years, and that the time had not arrived. If, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor the time had arrived, and that material would be forthcoming to help them this year in a practical form, I should like to know whether that material has been collected and if it has had any effect upon the Home Secretary in giving the answer he has done? I should be extremely glad to have an answer to that question. I must apologise to the Committee for keeping hon. Members a little longer while I deal with a question which is commonly known as shuttle-kissing. In December, 1910, those engaged in the cotton trade were rather startled by a statement made by the medical officer of health, Dr. Brown, with regard to a disease caused by shuttle-kissing. Perhaps hon. Members will understand this matter better if I explain it. There is a wet thread drawn through the eye of the weaver's shuttle and this is effected by the shuttle being brought into contact with the weaver's lips and the thread is drawn through by suction. Whatever may be the result of the Committee of Inquiry which was set up, the Report I allude to is not satisfactory to the large industrial population engaged in this trade, and there is a lack of data in regard to the tracing of certain forms of disease which weavers are subject to. If some systematic action of tracing the disease that the weavers have suffered from had been in practice for a few years, I am sure this Report would present a totally different complexion to what it does at the present time. At any rate, whatever may be our opinion on that matter, our thanks are due to Dr. Brown for introducing this very important question. The present practice of threading shuttles—it is done hundreds of times in a day by the weaver—is, I think, insanitary in the highest degree. You have a succession of persons threading the same shuttle in a great number of cases, and, if any particular weaver suffering from any disease is followed by a healthy person, one can easily understand it is very feasible and even probable disease will be spread in that way. I wish to mention one or two cases as an example and to show the gravity of the practice. Dr. Tounley mentionsa case of a man with a foul, cancerous growth of the mouth, who was weaving up to the day I saw him, and 454 whose loom was immediately taken over by another person without any cleansing of the shuttle.Dr. Murphy, of Preston, mentionsthe case of a girl who had acute tonsilitis after sucking the shuttles of another girl who had been removed to hospital suffering from scarlet fever; and he had heard of a case where a man who had died of cancer of the jaw, was followed on the same looms by another man who, some time afterwards, also got cancer of the jaw. He had had many cases of phthisis under his care in which it had been absolutely impossible to trace any family history of this disease, and he thought that most of the cases were due to the irritation of fluff sucked into the lungs.I know it is extremely difficult to trace the disease to the actual person threading the shuttle, and you want the whole of the experts of the Home Office in order to ascertain how the disease is spread, but I think under the Insurance Act some of the local committees will themselves be taking pains to do that. Here are two Preston cases, one the case of a woman weaver suffering from a syphilitic sore of the mouth and the other a case of alleged transmission of scarlet fever. In the first instance there was no allegation that the disease was transmitted, though we must recognise the possibility of its transmission, and must all agree it was a horrid instance. The Committee report:—Firstly, we would say, the general consensus of opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to the practice on the ground of its being uncleanly, dirty, insanitary, etc., and liable to transmit infectious or contagious diseases. We are in hearty concurrence with the view that the practice is objectionable, and that it is desirable that some other method of shuttle-threading should be adopted, and we hold this opinion, apart from the medical or public health aspect of the question, on the ground simply of decency and cleanliness of habit.Those words will be endorsed by the great majority of people who are engaged in the great cotton industry. The North-Western Branch of the Society of Medical Officers of Health say this:—This Branch is of opinion that the habit of shuttle-kissing, common in many districts in Lancashire, is objectionable and potentially dangerous to health, and thinks it desirable that means be taken by which the continuance of this practice may be rendered unnecessary.In America an attempt has been made for some time, and also I think in Switzerland, to make it compulsory that self-threading shuttles should be used; and in May or June this year an Act came into operation in the State of Massachusetts absolutely prohibiting the use of the suction shuttle. I am not quite sure whether I should be justified in asking the Home Secretary to embark on such a drastic course as that at the present time, though I differ from the Report, which hardly does us justice in suggesting we should wait for a few years with a view of allowing employers to gradually adapt themselves to the new circumstances. I agree that perhaps is the 455 most amicable way of doing it, and perhaps from the employer's point of view it would be more satisfactory than an Act of Parliament. There is also, I must admit, the difficulty of finding a self-threading shuttle that is not too expensive, that is safe to weave with, and whose lifetime will be as long as that of the suction shuttle. There is a lot to be said from the employer's point of view with regard to that; but I know some employers have taken a very deep interest in the question and have experimented with various forms of self-threading shuttles and devices of that kind in order to get out of the difficulty. I wish them all the luck in the world, and I hope other employers will not be slow in following their example. That is the danger I see in this suggestion of waiting a few years. I should like the Home Office to pay particular regard to this matter and to encourage all employers to do their share of experiments, and not leave it to a few employers, with a view of rapidly doing away with one of the most pestilential operations that a weaver has ever been called upon to perform.
May I ask the Home Secretary what his intentions are with regard to appointing a successor to Mr. Shackleton as Chief Labour Adviser to the Home Office. The very valuable work Mr. Shackleton did in the very short time he was at this office proves conclusively that neither the Home Office nor any other Department in a similar capacity can afford to dispense with services that are calculated to do so much good as Mr. Shackleton showed could be done at this office. It is now seven or eight months since Mr. Shackleton gave up this office, and the operatives of Lancashire are anxious this work shall not be left undone, but that someone with the best qualifications, and in whom the Home Office have confidence, shall be appointed. I am one of those who regret very seriously that the work should have ever been allowed to slip out of the hands of so capable a man. Of course, I do not grudge him his promotion in the least. He was for eight or nine years chairman in my Division, and I could work for him ten times better than I could work for myself. I have no reason to grudge him any success he may have in this country, but I do appeal to the Home Office to take seriously to heart the different questions that have been advanced to-daiy with regard to factory life. I feel if the right hon. Gentleman would only apply himself to the 456 exigencies of the cases we should have better results next year than we have this year.
§ Mr. G. H. ROBERTS
On a point of Order. Will that have the effect of restricting the discussion to the question raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman?
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
The two points to which I wish to call the attention of the Home Secretary are points of great constitutional importance. The first is as regards the duties of the Home Secretary in cases of rioting and disturbance. The second is one of almost equal importance, though not quite of so great importance, and that is his constitutional duty in what is sometimes called the remission of sentences, though, according to my view, that expression is wholly inapplicable to the prerogative rights which the Home Secretary is really called upon to exercise. I do not want in regard to what I say about constitutional duty or principle to involve myself in any way in the circumstances of any particular case, because directly you do that you may get a conflict as regards facts, and the question of principle cannot really be discussed. I quite agree with what the Prime Minister said the other night, that in the first instance the responsibility for law and order rests not with the Home Secretary, but with the local authority. I do not think anyone would dispute that proposition, but, when we come to the question of what is the duty of the Home Secretary, if either the local authority does not, or is unable to carry out, its duty, then I am bound to admit I entirely dissent from the principle enunciated by the Prime Minister, and it is on that point I want to get the attention of the Home Secretary himself. There was no special duty, the Prime Minister said, upon the Home Secretary, although, as a matter of convention, he was often consulted and referred to in matters of what I may call heavy rioting and disturbance. I deny that second proposition altogether as any true statement of the constitutional position. I am bound to say I have had the opportunity of looking into every constitutional authority I can find, and they all state the responsibility of the Home Secretary in entirely different terms. First of all, we find the statement, which I should think could not be controverted, that in the last 457 resort on matters of law and order the Government for the time being must be responsible. It is quite impossible to suggest for a moment we can allow rioting and disturbance to go on in any part of this country because the local authority are not carrying out their duties. It is quite obvious whenever you get conditions of that kind the Government of this country, or, indeed, of any civilised country, must at once and immediately become responsible in order that ordinary citizens may carry on their ordinary duties in a legal and proper manner. The next proposition I have to make is this: If that is so, the Home Secretary, under our system of government, is the particular Minister through whom this duty of seeing law and order are enforced is carried out. I want to try to get a test of duty apart from any particular fact or any particular conditions in any particular case. I say it is the essence of free action, of free liberty, or of free life that every man should be able to carry on within his legal rights his work, business, or duties without outside interference, and the question I want to put to the Home Secretary is this: Assuming that a condition arises when there is interference with ordinary liberty within the limits I have laid down, does he, or does he not, consider it part of his duty, as Home Secretary, to do what he can, in order that a free man may carry out his free rights without interference, so long as he carries them out within the limitations of legal right and duty?
Take the case of a particular locality. Unfortunately riot and disturbance arises for a time, and it becomes obvious that the forces of the locality are not sufficient to ensure the right of free action to the individual. Application is consequently made to the Home Secretary. We know that in these cases applications are made to the Home Secretary, not as a matter of convention, but as a matter of constitutional principle. There is a good deal of difference between these two points of view. But, assuming that the application is made, I want the Home Secretary to tell us by and by, if he will, in positive terms, what he considers his constitutional duty to be. I want to put this to him. Must not his constitutional duty go to this extent; acting altogether, of course with perfect impartiality and without any political bias, either as regards strikers or their employers—Is it not his duty to intervene, with judicial impartiality, and to see that no man is interfered with in the 458 carrying out of his ordinary legal duties in an ordinary legal way? Surely, if we are not putting his constitutional duty as high as that, we have no guarantee of legal protection in the case of any serious riot or disorder. The duty of the Government is not to give any privilege, but it is to ensure to the individual that measure of liberty which, in a free country like ours, he is entitled to exercise, under conditions of this kind, and unless this is done, unless the Home Secretary makes that the test of his duty, then we cannot tell in any particular case how far the riots or disturbances may be allowed to go and what difficulties we may be called upon to face.
I want to show that I do not press my principle too far. I do not want to refer to the discussion which took place recently with regard to the Newport case. I entirely recognise that in carrying out these duties there must be very special circumstances which may even go so far as to oblige the Home Secretary to interfere. He may interfere in the sense put by the present Lord Chancellor, then Minister for War, that if you saw a man throwing a torch into a magazine you would be entitled to prevent him doing so if you possibly could. But you must only apply principles of that kind if the necessity really arises. primâ facie every man is entitled to do what he desires within his legal rights, and if you are going to interfere with those rights you must show justification, and the justification must be, not the ordinary casuistical idea, but absolute essential necessity in a particular case. Subject to that one limitation, I ask the Home Secretary to say that he, as a Member of the Government, representing law and order, has a constitutional duty laid upon him, which he is prepared to enforce, to give legal protection to the free action and liberty of every citizen in every part of the country. There is one other aspect of this point which I think also is very germane to it. It is always said that under our Constitution it is difficult to trace the origin of a duty such as I am attempting to lay down at the present moment. The Prime Minister the other night said it was rather a matter of convention than a matter of duty.
But, as a matter of fact, the Home Secretary has very important duties cast upon him with regard to the police forces in every part of the country. He has, of course, very special duties in relation to the London police—duties quite outside the ordinary duties of the Home Secretary. He is in the ordinary sense the head 459 of the London Police Force. I am not dealing with that at this moment, however. But as regards all the other police forces he is responsible for their efficiency, in this sense, that unless an inspector appointed by the Home Office testifies to their efficiency they lose the Government Grant on which, as we know, all local authorities are dependent for the payment of a large proportion of their police expenditure. I happen myself to be a member of the Standing Joint Committee in a certain county. The Standing Joint Committee in a county, occupies the same position as the Watch Committee in a borough. The other day the Standing Joint Committee of which I am a member wrote to the Home Secretary suggesting to him that if he was going to give special commands or directions to our head constable he should send them to the Committee in the first place so that the orders might be conveyed to the chief constable by the Standing Joint Committee. That request was refused, and, I think, rightly so, in this sense. It was refused on the ground that the Home Office had a right to give directions, without the intervention of the Standing Joint Committee, to the chief constable; that they had exercised that right and intended to exercise it. Why? Because, in the last resource, as a matter of constitutional duty, the Home Secretary was responsible to this House and to the country for the preservation of law.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
The hon. and learned Gentleman is assuming that this was the ground upon which the Home Office based its reply. But no such ground was stated. The ultimate responsibility of the Home Office is to answer to Parliament for the money expended by and through the Home Office. That is its responsibility.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I quite recognise what the Home Secretary has said. It was an inference of responsibility that I drew. I was not saying that I found, in the Home Office statement, the constitutional principles I am asking for at the present moment. I was saying that if the Home Office claimed the right of giving direct command as to methods of working to a particular head constable, without the intervention of the Standing Joint Committee, it showed, according to my view, a recognition of the responsibility which, I think, undoubtedly rests upon the Home 460 460
Office in the last resource. I agree with what the Home Secretary said; I do not find any fault with it. I think he is responsible to this House, because the money comes through this Office, and he is responsible for the efficiency of all the police forces in this country. I do not mean directly, but he said that the Home Office communicated directly with the head constable because it was directly responsible to this House for the expenditure of that money. In what way is it responsible for that expenditure? It is only responsible to this House in this sense that, before the money is expended, it has to see that the police are efficient. Can it be then said that the Home Office is not itself responsible, as well as the local authority, for the efficiency of the police? Of course it is. That is the very basis of the Grants-in-Aid given by this House. They are made in order that we at headquarters may see that the services for which the money is granted are efficiently carried out. I consider this matter to be vitally important. Let me again ask the Home Secretary what answer he has to make to the two statements—first that, as the representative of the Government, he is ultimately responsible for law and order in all parts of the country, and, secondly, as regards the police forces under the command of our various local authorities, it rests with the Home Office to see that they are preserved in an efficient and effective condition. If that is so, does he not also agree with this, that he must exercise his duty with absolute impartiality in such a way as to preserve to every free citizen the right of free action within the law, without any outside interference or coercion of any sort or kind.
The other matter of constitutional duty in connection with the Home Secretary to which I want to call attention is also, to my mind, one of extreme importance. It is with regard to the remission of sentences. It has been pointed out that, if there was a prerogative—I am going to deny it in a moment—if there was a prerogative exercised through the Home Secretary, which allowed the remission of sentences in the way that term is sometimes used, you would really be giving the Home Secretary, purporting to act under the prerogative of the Crown, a dispensing power as regards judicial sentences and judicial action in this country. As has been pointed out more than once, that was what caused the destruction of James II. as regards his views of the dispensing 461 power, and there would be the same sort of power if the Home Secretary claimed to exercise it in respect of the prerogative if he really had the right of granting the remission of sentences. This is an extremely important point, because the intervention of the Home Secretary undoubtedly has become more constant, it may be from Parliamentary pressure or for other reasons. I do not want, however, to attack any particular Home Secretary on that point. When you come to consider the extent to which remissions of sentences are allowed, and when we know the only power of the Home Secretary to interfere is not as a Member of the Executive Government, but merely in respect of the Royal Prerogative, it appears to me to be enormously important that we should see what is the real basis on which he exercises his duty, and whether he applies to it the proper principles.
I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is aware—at any rate, his legal advisers must be aware—that this question of the right of the Home Secretary to exercise the prerogative was very much discussed as regards Colonial Governors some fifty or sixty years ago, and the opinions were taken of the then Attorney-General and the then Solicitor-General—Sir Alexander Cockburn (afterwards Chief Justice) and Bethell (afterwards Lord Westbury). I do not think there could be two higher authorities than these, so far as the constitutional principle is concerned, but still they could do nothing more than state the constitutional principle in its right form. They said the Home Secretary had no right whatever to grant a remission of sentence. That, in my opinion, is absolutely sound constitutional law. They say it is the prerogative of pardon and the prerogative of conditional pardon. I need hardly point out to the Committee that the exercise of the prerogative of pardon, or of the prerogative of conditional pardon, depends on other considerations than the mere question whether a sentence ought to be remitted or rendered less hard. They pointed out what the Home Secretary really can do. He can give a pardon—so, too, can the King—and he can grant a conditional pardon, but he cannot grant a conditional pardon unless the prisoner, whoever he may be, assents to a more lenient sentence than that which was imposed in the first instance. There is an extraordinary difference in dealing with a sentence when you approach it from the 462 point of view that you are merely exercising the prerogative of pardon or whether you are approaching it from the point of view of the general power to deal with sentences. There is no such power. It is most important that the true principles should be observed, because this power which is now being exercised, according to my view, by the Home Secretary, is wholly unconstitutional, and impinges upon what is one of the great rights of freedom in this country, that you come under the judge, and that you are not open to the intervention of the Executive, merely qua Executive, as regards the sentence passed upon you, whatever it may be. It is most essential to preserve, as regards our right of liberty and free action, the essential distinction between these two principles.
If we are to allow the Executive to intervene in matters of this kind, why should they not intervene in the sense of making the sentence less harsh or more harsh? They might do it one way or the other. They have no more right to do it in one way than in the other. But if we deal with the prerogative of pardon or the prerogative of conditional pardon, it is entirely different. I want the Home Secretary to answer this question: Does he think that in dealing with sentences he has any other right than what the prerogative of pardon or the prerogative of conditional pardon gives to him? I do not want to deal now with any rights which the Home Secretary has been given under special Acts of Parliament, because he exercises them under ordinary Parliamentary sanction. What I want to ask is this: Take the case where there is no special Parliamentary power conferring any right upon the Home Secretary, what is his right then? I want to know whether he claims on behalf of the Executive, under conditions of that kind, to interfere with the sentences on people in this country, or am I not right in saying that he can only claim to exercise the prerogative of pardon, and in exercising that he ought to have the greatest care, because you assume from the start that the conditions are exceptional, and you are only intervening because the King in the old days and the Government who advise him at the present moment intervene in a particular case where you can show that hardship of some special kind has taken place. I think these two constitutional principles are of enormous importance at the present time, and I am most anxious to hear how they are defined by the Home Secretary. Unless he defines 463 them—I do not put it in a threatening sense, because I merely want his opinion —in a sense which appears to me satisfactory in accordance with the principles I have laid down, I shall proceed to a Division.
§ Mr. JOWETT
I do not wish to carry on the discussion the hon. and learned Member has just initiated. I desire to revert to the question of factory inspection, and the duties of the Home Office in regard to factory work. I agree with what has been said upon this point by many of my hon. Friends, but I desire to emphasise one point with regard to the overcrowding of mills with machines. I am quite sure the Home Office does not fully realise the number of accidents and ruptures that are due to this cause. If I could picture to the Members of the Committee the state of affairs in a large weaving shed they would understand how risky it must be for those who have to work under those conditions. Suppose that there is a beam in a loom, and a few inches away the beam of another loom. The weaver has to use weights which she has to reach into that very small space to raise. It is impossible for anybody to help her. She has to reach over and pull up a 56-lbs. weight. Anyone who understands the process will not wonder at the number of ruptures caused by that particular operation. Supposing something goes wrong with the mechanism of the loom, and for a few inches a fabric may be spoilt; that has to be pulled back and the weft threads taken out. She can only wind the warp threads back on the beam by pulling up these weights to release the beam from which they have been unwound and working the beam back. The Committee will realise the very great importance of insisting upon more room being given in mills for machines and giving the operatives a chance of doing their work in comfort and without any excessive risk.
There is further the question which concerns men—weaving overlookers. This is a class of employé who have to carry heavy beams and place them in position in a loom. Sometimes they have to carry these heavy beams, clumsy as they are, down steps, steep and often narrow, and through tortuous paths between machinery. These men ought not to be called upon to suffer because of the overcrowding of the mill. I remember when my weight was seven stone eleven pounds I frequently carried 120 lbs. on one shoulder, a tidy weight for 464 anybody of that size. In this connection the Committee will excuse me if I mention a circumstance which came to my knowledge recently. In a weaving shed in a factory which was about to be visited by His Majesty, there was a very small doorway, which was a very great trouble to the men who had to carry beams through it. It was proposed that His Majesty should go through that doorway, but although it was good enough for the men to negotiate heavy beams through, it was not thought good enough for His Majesty, and a large amount of money was spent in giving better access to the room beyond. Now the men operatives who formerly found it an awkward business can carry their heavy weights in comfort, simply because the King has been there. I wish to refer to the, question of anthrax. Since I came here in 1906 I do not believe there has been a death from anthrax in the West Riding of Yorkshire which appeared to be due to any laxity of the regulations about which I have failed to put a question to the Home Secretary. I have had frequent interviews with his predecessor, and also with members of the staff, although as Members of Parliament I do not know whether we ought to know members of the staff, because it is the Home Secretary who should be responsible if anything goes wrong. At any rate, I have had these interviews. Yet the regulations, which ought, in my opinion, to have been altered many years ago concerning wool-combing establishments, where most of the deaths now occur do not get altered at all.
I think I can convince the Home Secretary and the Committee of the necessity for an alteration in these regulations. If the Home Secretary is not aware of it, I would mention to him that what is now called anthrax used to be called wool-sorters' disase. When I first knew anything about it it was called that. It was so called because the sorters of wool, who classify wool into different grades, were the only people who were known to suffer from it. It was found that they breathed a poisonous organism which affected them internally, and it was certain death. So far as I know, even to this day any person who gets anthrax in its pulmonary form, who gets it under such conditions that the surgeon's knife cannot follow it and take it out, is bound to die, and, no matter what serum is put into him or her, it is fatal. I would point out a very important fact, that wool-sorters do not seem, nowadays, to run any risk from internal anthrax. I will give the reason. It has a bearing, and I trust 465 the Home Secretary will see it, on the case of the wool-combers. Internal anthrax practically disappeared among wool-sorters because of regulations which were put into force to protect the wool sorters. They were practically these, that every bale of dangerous wools, those which were expected and known to be dangerous, had to be opened over powerful fans with a downward draught. After that had been done the sorter, in sorting the material by the actual manipulation of his fingers, passed the wool in small quantities over another fan with a powerful downward draught, and as he opened his wool the dust and loose materials were all drawn down and away. Moreover as he examined the wool in detail the little blood clots, some of them no bigger than a pin's head, could be seen and he could pick them out. I do not say there are not some exceptions. There was one twelve months ago, but the exception really proves my case because it was due to the apparatus being out of order. It emphasises my point. The wool-sorter is now apparently protected from the internal form of the disease. Occasionally he gets it externally, and when he gets it it is very bad. I should like the Home Secretary to look at this photograph of an actual case of external anthrax. What has happened is that those who deal in wool and who manipulate it for the making of garments, whether in order specially to escape these regulations or not I do not know—it may be partly that and it may be partly also because they wish to escape the expense of sorting—skip the sorting operation altogether and have begun to send it direct to the wool-combers, who are unskilled workers and do not know the danger of the work, under different and less exacting regulations.
My point is that if the regulations have done so much for wool sorting, why should the wool-comber's life be valued any less than the wool sorter's, and why does not the Home Secretary approximate the regulations and do for the wool-comber what has been done for the wool-sorter? I know there are some regulations in force for wool-combers but they are less stringent than those for wool-sorters, and moreover the very fact that wool-combers have not been trained to sort wool makes them treat the business far more lightly, and instead of carefully examining the wool so that any bit of blood-clot can be seen, and giving every opportunity for the dust and the loose 466 material to be drawn away, they are pressed by their employers to such an extent that that operation is practically skipped, and according to evidence given to me—evidence on which I have satisfied myself—the bales are formally opened over a fan, but the contents are taken away in bulk, and never pulled from properly because the men have not time. They are told to get their stuff through and keep the machines running. I hope I have made the matter clear, and I trust that in view of the constantly recurring deaths the Home Secretary will see to it that other deaths are not unnecessarily brought about by lack of regulations and lack of attention on the part of his Department. I have told his predecessors over and over again, that as sure as sure could be, some other victims would be added, and they are victims of Home Office dilatory tactics, of which the list should not be added to. From this day forward I hope the Home Secretary will see to it that the risks run are minimised, and that what has been done for the wool-sorters will be done for the wool-combers, and their lives will be appreciated at the same value. Unfortunately, under our system of procedure, I suppose one could not dock the right hon. Gentleman's salary without associating oneself with the other Motion before the Committee to which my complaint has no relation. This I have no wish to do, and indeed if a separate Motion were made a large number of Members who would come and vote would never have heard anything of it. They just vote according to ticket, and the whole thing is from that point of view, a farce. If it were anything else but a farce, if the House was full, and if everybody had listened to the questions which have been raised this afternoon, there would be as many hundred pounds deducted from the Home Secretary's salary as the total amounts to. As it is, all that I and my friends can do is simply to state the facts and be ready to state them again, twelve months hence, if the changes which are long over-due are not made in the meantime.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
I am sorry the Debate has taken place so late in the Session, because it is manifestly one of great importance. The last speaker, to whom the House always listens with pleasure because of his earnestness and his great lucidity and moderation, has brought forward one, among somewhat numerous instances brought against the 467 Home Secretary for dilatory conduct with respect to interests with which the health and the lives of the community are vitally connected. The House contained very few Members when my hon. Friend (Mr. Hills) brought forward the case of lead poisoning. I will recall to the attention of the House the case that he made, because it seemed to me to be an extremely strong one, and also, if I may make a personal reference, because in 1903 the arbitration which raised this question was undertaken by my lamented and late friend Lord James of Hereford, and I had therefore at that time a great interest in the subject. The facts that my hon. Friend brought forward before the Committee were extraordinarily strong. I quite agree that it is most irritating for employers to be over-inspected, and that in competition with foreign countries it is a most serious matter to have higher obligations imposed upon them than are imposed upon foreign employers. But the system of this country is not a system of State employment. It is a system of individualism subject to State regulations. This is a dangerous trade subject to State regulations. The area which is affected embraces only 7,000 operatives. It is therefore eminently a proper area to be dealt with by regulations and to be carefully and closely supervised. Every opportunity exists for doing so, and if we find that in this case the system of regulation breaks down we surely have the gravest possible ground for criticism and complaint against the Home Secretary and against the powers which he exercises. What are the absolutely admitted facts? In the arbitration held before Lord James in 1903 he was prepared to make an order which would have excluded all dangerous lead from the manufacture in the Potteries. He was prepared to prohibit glaze which contained more than 5 per cent. of soluble lead. He stayed his hand because of the undertaking of the employers, I have no doubt given in perfectly good faith, that if he did stay his hand in that respect they would, with certain conditions and regulations, and extra care taken, guarantee that lead poisoning should be practically extirpated. In 1908, five years afterwards, another Committee was prepared, finding that the state of things had not improved, to prohibit absolutely the dangerous classes of lead, if again a second pledge had not been given by the employers to practically extirpate the disease. They 468 were confident that they could, and I am not suggesting that they did not give that pledge in perfectly good faith. But it is now impossible to believe that they are able to carry out that which they believed on two separate occasions they could carry out, because, as the figures of the hon. Member's (Mr. Hills) show, the cases of lead poisoning have gone up from fifty-eight in 1909 to seventy-seven in 1910, and to ninety-two in 1911. Deaths have gone up considerably also—I think from five to nine in this year. It has not been kept, and it is perfectly clear that it cannot be kept, because this is an area in which inspection is very easy and in which the closest supervision can be given. I do not think I exaggerate when I say that these cases of illness and death are not the whole matter by any means, for there are very grave suspicions that the whole health of those engaged in this class of manufacture is deteriorated by the procss which is now going on. I venture to say that the credit of the Home Office is really at stake as regards the system. It is worse than nothing to have a system which throws a great responsibility upon other people, unless that system is genuinely and strictly enforced, and unless it has the result which the general body hoped for and expected. My hon. Friend the Member for Durham (Mr. Hills) proposed a remedy which I wish most earnestly to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman. He mentioned that a conference is going to take place at Zurich this year, and he invited the Home Secretary to send a representative to it. He invited the right hon. Gentleman to take a lead among European Powers in the direction of excluding altogether the dangerous quality of lead, and he invited him once more to take a leading part, so that it would be perfectly evident from the conclusions of the conference that our manufacturers in the Potteries would have an opportunity of executing this great reform without the slightest chance of their seeing severe competition in other quarters affecting the market. I beg the Home Secretary at the very least to comply with the request of my hon. Friend, who has given so much labour in this cause.
My Noble Friend (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck) pressed upon the Home Secretary the necessity for more women inspectors. That seems to me a reasonable request. I think the figures he gave were that one woman inspector in one case had 469 to inspect 51,000 factories and 376,000 operatives; and in another case 33,000 factories and 277,000 operatives. That is obviously a most unfair amount of work to place upon a lady inspector. The women inspectors work, as we all know, admirably. They work almost heroically, but it is absolutely impossible to work efficiently with such an enormous burden put upon them as that. Actual harm results from a system of inspection which obviously must be open to such criticism as that. It is a waste of money to have work done unless it can be done fairly well, at any rate. It is better to spend more money and do the thing decently and well than to spend so little and delude people into the belief that you are doing that which is right. I will not go into other matters which have been brought before the Committee by Members on the Labour benches with so much expert knowledge of detail. The particular industry which I have ventured to select is one where the case for Home Office interference is now clear, and where it can be done without injury to the employer by the assembling of this international conference.
There is another matter which was brought to the attention of the Home Secretary by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Wycombe Division (Sir Alfred Cripps). I was present at the Debate on the Home Office question some weeks ago when the Prime Minister laid down a doctrine which, I confess, surprised me at the time, namely, that the Home Office has no responsibility whatever for the preservation of law and order outside the Metropolitan area. All of us who have looked into the matter agree that in the first instance the duty lies upon the local authority to preserve law and order. I may, I think, conjecture what the origin of that was. In old days, when transport was difficult, the idea that the central authority was in the first place liable, or liable at all, would very likely have been an obstruction of local justice rather than a facility. But as transport has got into the condition in which it is now, there is in the first place an opportunity for the forces of riot and disorder to concentrate in one locality an enormous number of people whom it is perfectly hopeless for that locality to deal with itself. I want to repeat a question asked by my hon. and learned Friend. I want to ask whether the Home Secretary himself says, that when a local authority—it is a case which 470 will often occur—make a report that their own force is inadequate to deal with the forces of disorder, he has no responsibility in the matter. That may have been the law a long time ago. It may be that no case exists of a Home Secretary or a Government being called to account in the Law Courts for a breach of what I should now call an elementary duty, but I say that if there is any sense of justice left in this country at all, one, two, or three Prime Ministers will not make the country believe that when a local authority is unable to cope with disorder this Government is not liable, and the Home Secretary is not liable for carrying out an elementary duty of civilisation. One of the great merits of the Common Law, as we all know, is its power of adaptation to the changing circumstances of the time. We have had immense changes in matters to which I have just alluded. We have had changes in regard, to transport and the like, and I refuse to believe personally that there is not, at any rate, certainly a constitutional convention—there is probably a matter of obligation—which in many cases is just as strong, which would compel the Home Secretary to act in such a case, and which would prevent the country from even supposing that the central Government were unable to act in cases of danger.
I do not wish to deal with more than one other matter. It arises out of this question. I cannot help thinking that thousands of people heard the announcement that the Government were not liable for the enforcement of law and order with profound uneasiness. I cannot help, thinking that it has had an effect upon the dock strike which has taken place, and upon the disorder which has taken place there. I myself, and I am sure many others, are profoundly uneasy at the accounts we have heard of disorder in that district. We heard the Home Secretary on a previous occasion claim that men are working safely in large numbers there. But he must have seen statements publicly made by clergy in the district—men who ould be the last to make such statements if not true—that thousands of men were in fear of the forces of disorder there, and were not exercising the rights which, if protection were offered and conceded, they otherwise would have exercised. Those letters have been appearing in the public Press, signed by men actually on the spot. I have myself talked to men on the spot, and they tell me without hesitation that 471 thousands are in terror of the forces of disorder there. I call upon the Home Secretary, in the first place, to answer the question put by my hon. and learned friend (Sir Alfred Cripps), and, next, to say something which will satisfy the people, however poor they may be, in that district that they will be entitled to use their own labour according to the law and custom of this country.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Hills) has referred to the subject of lead poisoning, and naturally the attention he has given to it would lead us to attach very great weight to any observations he may make upon it. Before I explain the circumstances with regard to the recommendations of the Committee which was appointed to inquire into the subject, I wish, first of all, to make one or two very brief observations upon the general discussion. It would be very ungrateful of me if I did not recognise in the most cordial way and the frankest manner the good feeling which has been shown and the kind observations which have been made in all quarters of the House with regard to the industrial work of the Home Office during the past year. I can say that sincerely, because, as my tenure of my present office has been comparatively recent, I recognise that a very small part of the credit, if any of it, can be due to me. The credit is due rather to those officials who devote their lives to the work with the most exemplary sense of public duty, and who week in and week out are doing their utmost to alleviate the industrial conditions of the country. It must be a great satisfaction to them to know that their efforts have been so frankly recognised by the House of Commons. It is the greatest encouragement in the endeavour to do one's duty to know that efforts in the past have been appreciated, and I beg, on behalf of the officials, to tender my sincere thanks to the hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. Gill) and the other hon. Members who followed him for recognising the work that has so far been done. I do not wish in the least to minimise the force of subsequent criticism. I shall endeavour, so far as I can, to answer point by point the various matters which have been raised.
Perhaps I may be allowed to take the load question first. It has been referred to by several hon. Members on both sides of the House, and it is undoubtedly a matter upon which a full explanation is needed. I have nothing to say at all by 472 way of disagreement with the description of the details and the facts brought forward by the hon. Member for Durham, and enforced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square. The case as to the need for dealing with lead poisoning is complete, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to agree that the Home Office never disputed that. The Home Office may have been misled, as Lord James was misled in 1903, and in 1908 the Committee which was inquiring into lead poisoning was misled by perfectly honest, well-meaning representations put forward by the employers, representations which he thinks they are unable to carry out. The facts, so far as I can arrive at them, are: the Departmental Committee reported in the autumn of 1910, after a very long inquiry as to what steps could be taken to prevent lead poisoning in potteries. Sir Ernest Hatch was chairman of the Committee, and there were also on the Committee representatives both of employers and the workmen. One of the principal questions considered by the Committee was whether a list of wares could be drawn up in which the use of soluble red lead could be prohibited. Whatever the reason may be for the conclusion to which they came, the Committee in fact came to the conclusion, with a single exception, that for technical and commercial reasons it would be impracticable to draw up such a scheme. My hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Noel Buxton) states that if he had known that the employers were hereafter going to raise objections to the rules which the Committee recommended he, as I understand, would have joined the minority in voting for this prohibition, and other Members may be of the same mind. But so far as the Report goes, with one single exception, the Committee unanimously decided not to recommend prohibition of lead. They did recommend, however, an extensive and elaborate code of rules dealing with every detail of the manufacture.
This code of rules was only drawn up in draft. Before publication the code would have to be settled by the Home Office, and before the Home Office could settle the draft strong representations were made that the manufacturers ought first of all to be heard, and they raised many objections in detail to the code. The Home Office heard the representations of the manufacturers and sent their observations to Sir Ernest Hatch, who after consulting the members of the former 473 Committee, recommended certain modifications. These are modifications in the draft code recommended by the Committee. The rules were then issued in draft. According to the provisions of the Act, after rules have been issued in draft objection may be raised to them. It was apprehended that no objections would have been made by the employers, but objections were raised, grave objections, and under the Act the Home Office are bound to consider them. The Report was issued in the autumn of 1910. We are now in July of 1912, and although I have accounted for the lapse of part of the time, by the original objections before the issue of the draft and by the raising of the other objections after the issue of the draft, the settling of the rules ought not to have taken so long as it has taken, but, unfortunately, Sir Ernest Hatch, who had the whole matter in hand, was greatly occupied in other Government works, and also had the misfortune to fall ill. We lost many months in consequence of those two facts. But now I come to the end of my tale. I anticipate, on Sir Ernest Hatch's assurance, that we are now in sight of agreement upon the rules, and he hopes to report in a few weeks.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
Will the decision then be final on the subject, or when they are in draft can the employers still object and carry on this inquiry until the end of time?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The issue of the Report was in the autumn of 1910. On 15th March, 1911, the manufacturers asked to be heard, and they were heard. Their representations were sent to Sir Ernest Hatch, and the rules were then issued in draft on 6th September, 1911. Further objections were then raised under the Act by the manufacturers; those objections have been dealt with. Then there were some months of delay, I think not less than four months, owing to Sir Ernest Hatch's illness, and his being engaged upon other business. Sir Ernest Hatch hopes now to have his final Report ready in a few weeks, and upon that Report we shall be able to issue the rules.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
May I ask why a gentleman of great experience like Sir 474 Ernest Hatch, when he is engaged in a work of great importance for the Government, should be diverted from that object by other work of importance?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I think that it would be hardly proper for me to make any observations upon that point to the Committee, remembering that the whole of this work by Sir Ernest Hatch is voluntary, and he must be left a little latitude himself in the choice of his work. He is doing most valuable service, and it would be an irreparable loss if he wishes to do other work as well, if we had to say, "We will insist on your doing this work in reference to the Lead Committee's Report and not the other." That is the explanation of the lead-poisoning case. As we have proceeded by the method of Committee, we could not, at this late stage, depart from that method. The Committee have proceeded upon the principle of controlling lead poisoning by regulation and not by prohibition. Until we have seen the result of the recommendations of the Committee, and until the recommendations have been enforced and we know from experience whether they are effective or not, we could not at this moment abandon the whole of that work and proceed by prohibition.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I think we shall probably get evidence very quickly. If the regulations are not effective in stopping lead poisoning, there clearly would be a case for considering other means, but the Committee did not recommend the other means which suggest themselves to the hon. Member opposite.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I do not think that this Committee would press the Home Office to abandon the recommendations of the Committee, on which both employers and men were fully represented, before these recommendations are tried. The only point that can be made is the lapse of time since autumn 1910, a lapse which I have done my best to explain. Various points were raised by the hon. Member for Bolton and others. In the first place, the hon. Member called attention to statistics which showed a very large number of factories and workshops being inspected and a comparatively small staff. The staff of the inspectorate has been, as the hon. 475 Member knows, slowly but steadily growing, and extensions take place periodically when a revision is taken of the work of the staff as a whole. It is quite obvious that it would be impossible haphazard to appoint a number of new inspectors each year without taking a survey of the whole of the work and the requirements of the Department in accordance with the ordinary practice. The time for a survey of the work of the Department, and possibly for a revision of the total number of inspectors, occurs during the year, but I hope before I meet the Committee again upon Home Office Estimates that I shall be in a position to say something as to the result of that survey of our work, and if an increase of staff is required that I shall be able to announce such an increase. The hon. Member for Nottingham (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck) asks for an increase of the staff of lady inspectors, on the ground of their having to inspect some 50,000 factories, each with a correspondingly large number of workers, but I think the Noble Lord should remember that those 50,000 factories and workshops are inspected by a great number of men inspectors as well as by the ladies, and it is not suggested that the lady inspectors are expected to go over the whole 50,000. In fact, the work is incorporated in the work of the rest of the factory staff.
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
The chief lady inspector says that the ladies do look after those factories.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Not single-handed. They assist in that particular way. The next question raised by the hon. Member for Bolton was as to the frequent accidents which arise from insufficient lighting. He rightly says that darkness is a constant cause of accident. The need of investigation into this matter has been recognised, and it has been decided to appoint a Departmental Committee. But, as a matter of fact, preliminary investigations have already been made upon this point, and my hon. Friend is aware, perhaps, that there are observations in the annual report of the Chief Inspector of Factories upon this very point. I can assure him the matter is not being overlooked. The Noble Lord opposite, speaking on this subject, reminded the Committee that there have been three Committees appointed by the Home Office—the Committee on Lead Poisoning, the Committee on Accidents, and the Committee on 476 Truck, all of which he says, perfectly fairly, have issued their Reports, but in no case, he went on to add, has anything happened. I think I am stating the allegation very fairly.
§ Mr. McKENNA
With regard to the fact that no action has been taken, I have endeavoured to explain the reason, but it is not really the fault of the Home Office, and we hope very shortly to deal with the matter. With regard to the Committee on truck, the Noble Lord knows that we have introduced a Bill, and he must be aware of the difficulty of getting measures through the House at the present time, but I can assure him that in the next Session of Parliament, it is more than my hope, it will be my very strong endeavour to see that our Truck Bill is carried into law. I am informed by my hon. Friend that the Bill has not been introduced.
§ Mr. McKENNA
But it is in draft, and if I had thought that there was any possibility of carrying it this year I would certainly have introduced it this Session, but it shall be introduced next year. With regard to the third Committee, it will take years before the recommendations of that Committee can be carried. We are at work on those recommendations, and we have been at work on them ever since they were made. As the hon. Member for Bolton pointed out, good work has been done in the cotton industry, which was selected as the best one upon which to make the first experiments. The principle adopted in the cotton trade has been accepted not only for that industry but for other purposes, and it will be extended to the wool trade, in regard to which a similar procedure is to be followed. We have already done our best, and, although nothing can be done in a day, we shall certainly carry out the principle adopted with regard to the cotton trade, and extend it to the wool trade, as recommended by my hon. Friend. In reference to weight carriers, a point to which more than one hon. Member has referred, instructions have been given to certifying surgeons on the lines of the recommendations of the Committee. The number of rejections of young persons who have to serve in cases where the work involves heavy weight carrying has greatly 477 increased: that is to say, we have carried out the recommendations of the Committee with regard to weight carriers. The inspectors also have been instructed to give special attention to the point. Another matter to which my attention has been called has reference to the safeguarding of machinery. The method which has been adopted so successfully in the case of cotton machinery has already been extended to other industries—for example, laundries; and we have now in hand the question of attending to the safeguarding of belts and pulleys, woodworking machinery, wool machinery, and many other kinds of machinery, and, from that point of view, we are endeavouring to carry out the recommendations of the Committee.
In regard to the question of "time cribbing," to which my hon. Friend also referred, undoubtedly it opens up a matter to which the Committee is justified in calling attention. Time cribbing has almost disappeared, or at any rate has practically disappeared in every town except Oldham, and even in Oldham last year there was a great reduction in the complaints. We hope, therefore, with the attention of the inspectors called to this matter, that we shall find complete disappearance of this system which has ansed a great deal of natural dissatisfaction. Another important point was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford on the subject of overcrowding of mills with machinery. This is a matter with which we have no direct power to deal under this Act, but the attention of the inspectors is being specially directed to the point, and I would suggest that it is a very suitable subject to be dealt with by a conference. My hon. Friend adverted particularly to the lifting of heavy weights, and I think that the restrictions on the lifting of heavy weights which can be indirectly imposed by the certifying surgeon are ample.
§ Mr. ALBERT SMITH
I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the question of the lifting of heavy weights is not confined to young persons, but it has reference to adults and to old men, who, owing to the fact of the mills being crowded with machinery, have not enough room in which to handle weights, with the result that they have to carry them at awkward angles, and have not space in which to stoop in order to get under the weights and deal with them more easily.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for putting me right. I 478 did not appreciate that the question applied to adults as well as to children, but now I understand that he calls attention, to weight carriers generally. Certainly so far as the arrangements of machinery are concerned, and the evil of lifting too heavy weights in awkward circumstances consequent upon the overcrowding of the mills with machinery, these are matters which I would suggest might properly be the subject of conferences. Perhaps I may now be allowed to turn to the question raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who, for the moment, I do not see in his place.
§ Mr. LEACH
Before the right hon. Gentleman deals with that subject there is one other question in regard to industrial matters which I would ask him to deal with, whether immediate steps will be taken to stop the terrible sufferings and deaths from anthrax amongst the wool-combers and also among the wool-sorters.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I would rather take the questions in the order in which they were raised, and I will come to that point later. I do not think I can have any very serious ground of complaint at the reduction of the Vote being moved: first, upon, the ground of a speech made, not by me, but by the Prime Minister, and, secondly, upon the ground of the interpretation which I am supposed to have put upon the prerogative of Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman addressed a series of questions to me. He desired to know what is my view as to the constitutional duty of the Home Secretary when application is made to him to enable a man to work without molestation. I think I am quoting the substance of the question; and he asked whether I accepted ultimate responsibility for law and order throughout the country. I think that was his point. He wants me to say what is my constitutional duty. He insisted on using the word "constitutional." The Prime Minister stated:—The Home Secretary has a conventional authority —I do not think I can describe it as anything else—which has no legal sanction, of giving advice to the local authorities of the country, with whom, be it remembered, by the law of England, responsibility for the preservation of order rests.The Prime Minister said that the Home Secretary has a conventional authority to give advice. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite observed that the Home Secretary has a constitutional responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. I should have been very glad if the hon. and learned Gentleman had condescended 479 a little more to particulars, and would have defined precisely what he means by the language he used. Let me take a case. It is one of the duties of authority, properly constituted authority, to protect, through the police, citizens from burglary—a proposition which everybody will accept; but it is not the duty of the Government to station a policeman outside the door of any citizen, when he insists upon leaving his door open, in order to protect him from burglary. The right of the citizen is this: If he is interfered with or if his goods are stolen, he can proceed before the magistrate against the person who has molested him, or against the thief who has stolen his goods, and he has a right to call upon the police to assist him in catching the person who molested him, or the thief who has stolen his goods. Where does the hon. and learned Gentleman, in history, find the origin of his theory of constitutional responsibility? A very little while ago we had no standing Army in this country. My hon. Friend wishes we had not one now. We now only maintain a standing Army by an annual Act of Parliament. A very little time ago we had no organised police force. Could it have been contended that without military and without police the Government had a constitutional responsibility for the maintenance of order in every part of the country? [An HON. MEMBER: "Certainly."] The responsibility for the maintenance of order in every part of the country rests upon the magistrates.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I did not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman in the least. I am sorry if any ejaculation of mine should have reached him, but surely he will not deny that from very early limes, from the times of the Plantagenets I think, the phrase was "maintenance of the King's peace," meaning that the King through his representative, his chief executive officer, was bound to maintain peace all over the country.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am afraid that to establish a theory the mere quotation of a phrase would hardly carry us very far. The phrase "maintaining the King's peace" is not a sufficient foundation upon which to establish any constitutional responsibility in the Home Secretary for the maintenance of law and order. I am only dealing now with the insistence of the hon. and learned Gentleman that this should be regarded as a constitutional 480 responsibility. He will not accept convention, but insists on constitutional responsibility.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
The Prime Minister said it appears by convention the Home Secretary advises, but if the local authority make default in their duty, and they might do so, does the Home Secretary assume any duty in the event of that default?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes, I should, unhesitatingly. If the local authority failed in their duty of preserving law and order, I should unhesitatingly take steps to see that law and order were maintained. In the first place, it is the duty of the magistrates to enforce law and order. If the magistrates do not execute their duty they can be proceeded against by indictment—I think by indictment—but certainly proceedings at law can be taken against the magistrates for failing to do their duty. Where I, as Home Secretary, became apprised that the magistrates were failing to do their duty—[An HON. MEMBER: "Or had not the means to do it?"] That is an entirely different matter. If I became apprised that the magistrates were failing to do their duty, I should feel called upon to intervene in order to see that the duty is done. It is difficult to argue this case in the abstract without reference to circumstances which every hon. Member has in mind. An hon. Member interjected the observation, "Or has not the means of carrying out this duty." Certainly if the magistrates had not the means of carrying out their duty I should then advise them as to the best method by which they could procure the means, but there is no case of that. There has been no case in which the magistrates have not had the means of carrying out their duly and enforcing law and order.
§ Sir J. D. REES
May I ask whether, when the magistrates applied for troops at Tonypandy his predecessor did not intercept them on the way?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I told the hon. and learned Member who introduced this subject that he was entitled to raise the constitutional question, but that he should carefully abstain from anything which was properly relevant to the next Vote—the Police Vote. So far that has been followed, and I hope it will be continued.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The observations of the hon. Member has really no relevancy to the point we are now discussing. We are 481 discussing my salary, and we are not discussing the salary of the Home Secretary two years ago. I could not reply to that interruption now, and it is entirely irrelevant to the present Vote. As I have said, I think the distinction which the hon. and learned Gentleman attempts to draw is a distinction more of words than of facts. It is a long story whence the Home Office derives such authority as it may have for the preservation of law and order or for Intervening when the magistrates fail to do their duty. But it certainly is not on the ground put forward by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that inasmuch as a Government Grant is given to the extra Metropolitan Police and is administered by the Home Office, that therefore the Home Office is responsible for the work of the police and their efficiency. We have no such responsibility. Our responsibility for the extra Metropolitan Police is to see that the condition upon which the Grant is made is carried out. That condition is that the police are efficient, and if they are not efficient they do not get the Grant. It is equally clear if they are not efficient I have no power to compel them to be efficient, and Parliament has given me no means of enforcing efficiency upon the extra Metropolitan Police. I think I have said enough on that point, and I hope enough to satisfy the hon. and learned Gentleman. He next raised the subject of the remission of sentences. In speaking of the remission of sentences I have never used any but one phrase. I have invariably said that I have advised, or not advised, His Majesty in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. That is the only phrase I have ever used. I have never claimed that the Executive of the day has any right to remit sentences, and certainly not any right to increase sentences. If the hon. and learned Gentleman were here I should say to him that the whole of his argument was quite beside the mark, and that no such claim has ever been made by any Government.
He put forward his case upon the alleged ground that there had been some novel practice in regard to the remission of sentences. So far as I am able to get the figures in the time, I am informed that, speaking roughly, there are one or two or three free pardons every year and from ten to twenty conditional pardons and two or three hundred remissions. Those figures have been fairly constant for many years and there has been no change in the practice. There has been no material increase recently except that a considerable 482 number of suffragist prisoners have been let out of prison on medical grounds, and medical grounds have been more usually accepted as a reason for the remission of sentences in late years than used to be the practice in former times. In fact, the general tendency is to look with a more gentle eye on the life of the prisoner. I think I have answered in those few words the whole of the case put forward. There is no new phrase and no change in the practice. I turn to the last point that was made, namely, as to the subject of anthrax. Special inquiries by two inspectors are now being made into the question of improved methods of dust extraction in wool combing as well as in wool sorting. A report has already been received on the general subject, and on wool combing a report ought to be received in a few months. I fully sympathise and, in fact, I agree with the observation of the hon.Member for Bradford (Mr. Jowett) that the mere omission of the stage of wool sorting ought not to be allowed to give freedom for the introduction of that foreign disease of anthrax, which would be avoided if the old invariable practice of wool sorting or combing had been continued. Certainly the attention of the Home Office will be directed to the subject, and I can assure the hon. Member that he will find in no quarter of the House more sympathetic minds upon this matter than those of my hon. Friend and myself. We shall certainly do our utmost to secure as great freedom from anthrax for wool combers as we have been able to secure for wool sorters. I hope that is a satisfactory answer. If there are any other points which I have not touched on—
§ Mr. A. SMITH
I raised a very important matter. I quoted from what the First Lord of the Admiralty said last year as to particulars of the working of the Compensation Act. The question I asked was: Whether the Department had done anything with regard to appointing that Committee to inquire into the whole working of the Act, and especially as to a lot of inequalities in the administration of the compensation? I also raised another point, and would like to know what is being done with regard to the experiments?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I very much regret that I was out of the House some little time while the hon. Member was speaking, as I had business to attend to upstairs, but my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will reply later.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. NEVILLE
I desire to draw the attention of the Committee to another matter, and, although it is a very small matter, it is one about which there is a considerable amount of feeling in the part of the country that I have the honour to represent. The point I desire to mention refers to the recognition which is bestowed upon miners who have shown conspicuous bravery at great risk to themselves in the magnificent rescues, or attempted rescues, which, I think, everyone who reads them cannot help feeling are the most magnificent feats done by any class of men in this country. The matter which I wish to particularly mention did not arise in my own Constituency, but my own Constituency is the centre of a large mining district in Lancashire, which contains a large number of collieries which from time to time are visited by some of the most terrible disasters in the coalmining area. Inquiries are held as to the causes of those mining disasters, and from time to time recognition is made of the heroic services of the various men who go down to help to rescue their fellows who are in danger. My attention was called recently to the fact that, in connection with the disaster in a mine at Bam furlong, where several men were entombed for a very long time, the Home Secretary, or those who are responsible, recommended for the Edward VII. Medal two men, one named Mitchell, the other named James Reid. The last-named, who, for his conspicuous heroism was awarded the Medal, unfortunately died at the beginning of June, whereas the medals were bestowed by His Majesty at the beginning of this month. The question I wish to ask is whether the Home Secretary can see his way to grant the medal which has been earned to those whom the deceased has left behind him. Anyone who knows miners, who, of any class of the community, are about the most modest and the most to be relied upon in time of danger, knows full well that the Edward Medal of the first-class is looked upon as the brightest jewel that any home can contain, and it is the object most ardently desired among men of that class. It seems a hardship, when a medal of this kind has been earned, that the mere fact of the man's dying before he could receive it should deprive his representatives of the pleasure of being able to show to those who are left what manner of man he was. I do not know that the man's life was 484 shortened by his exertions upon the occasion in question, but miners generally will be glad to know whether there is any possibility or probability, right, or title, or it may be a matter of grace, by which the recognition in a case such as that to which I have referred could be received by those who are left.
Another point in regard to which much interest is taken is in connection with the inquiries held on these occasions, and the methods by which His Majesty's Government from time to time feel justified in recommending these awards for heroism. There is a feeling that the inquiries are not very thorough; that they may be haphazard; that if a man happens to have a friend at Court he may be recommended for recognition, whereas a modest man, who has done equally good work may, through not knowing anyone connected with the inquiry, be passed over. It would be a matter of great satisfaction to the men in these circumstances if they felt that the inquiries were exceptionally thorough, and that every man who had done work of this heroic character would have an equal chance of receiving such an award. In the particular case to which I referred, it appears that there were chiefly concerned three men who for some eleven hours worked in water breast-high in their endeavours to rescue the thirteen or fourteen men who were entombed. Two of the three men were selected for the award, but the third has had no recognition at all. There may be reasons why the third man was not recommended, but if the facts as I have received them are correct it is difficult to understand—unless the giving of the award is entirely haphazard—why two of the men should be selected for this great and highly appreciated honour, and the third entirely passed over. I cannot absolutely vouch for all the facts, but I have taken the greatest pains to ascertain them from colliery managers and others, and I understand that they are as I have stated.
Turning to another point, I do not wish to discuss the merits or demerits of the employment of police in strike proceedings, but I desire to discuss the proposition put forward by the Home Secretary with regard to his constitutional position when it becomes necessary to maintain law and order. He suggests that when a person is injured or threatened or prevented from carrying on his own work in the way he chooses to carry it on his remedy is to prosecute. That seems to 485 me to be wholly inadequate. In practically all these cases in which law and order have to be maintained you have large masses of people on one side and comparatively few on the other. Consequently, it is wholly beside the mark that a person who feels the pressure of a large number on the other side should be relegated to his remedy of prosecuting the offenders. In the first place, many men are much too poor to prosecute; secondly, it would be dangerous for them to prosecute; and thirdly to prosecute in such cases is a course which nobody who desires to see peace between the parties would suggest is the proper course to adopt. Although there are these troubles and outbreaks of passion between the parties, everyone hopes that the passion will die down as soon as the cause of it has departed. Therefore, to prolong the trouble by instituting prosecutions, which might not come on until several months after the commission of the offence, seems to me to be a very poor and cold remedy to offer a man in the pressure which arises when law and order have to be maintained. I was astonished to hear that there is at the present time no constitutional authority in the country responsible for the maintenance of law and order. An hon. Member drew attention to the fact that the King's Peace is the old name under which law and order have from time immemorial in this country been dealt with in legal history and also in fact. Therefore, I am astonished to hear it stated that there is no Minister willing to accept the responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. The Government must be responsible for law and order. I do not think it is constitutional to move to reduce the salary of the Government as a whole. The only practice of this House has been to move a reduction in the salary of a particular Minister.
It seems to me that the matter is really much more important than appears on the surface. We ought to know who is the Minister responsible for the maintenance of law and order, especially in the case put by the right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square (Mr. A. Lyttelton). Suppose the magistrates have no power at all except to call out the hue and cry, which has not been done for a great many years, or the posse comitatus, which I believe is the name for the rag-tag and bobtail upon whom the magistrate might call to maintain the King's peace. It does seem 486 that that is a question which certainly does deserve from the constitutional point of view a distinct answer. Suppose that these magistrates do not preserve law and order; suppose either that they have not got the power or, if they have got the power, that perhaps they are in sympathy with those concerned, or suppose that for some other reason they are unwilling to exercise the power they have and to do their duty, who is the Minister responsible? Who is the Minister with the short arm who can come down at once upon any dereliction of duty in this respect?
§ Mr. NEVILLE
No, what I understand he said was that he had no power, or if he had any position it was merely a conventional position. I want to know what is the constitutional position. Certainly there ought to be some constitutional person who can use the short arm of the law and deal with these matters at once! You cannot leave it to the suggestion that seems to me to be made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary. You cannot leave it to somebody to bring a mandamus against a magistrate because he has not done his duty. If that is the remedy, the only constitutional remedy left the people of this country, it is odd; for a mandamus being a most dilatory proceeding and one which perhaps in many respects is hardly suitable for the purpose for which it is suggested, three or four months after the magistrate has failed to do his duty, some person will or may apply for a mandamus. Meanwhile the mischief has been done. It cannot be suggested that this is a proper remedy to hold out to the country when these troubles take place. Every civilised country must have somewhere in it the power to stop disorder, and to preserve the elementary rights of every citizen to do what he has a legal right to do, and to abstain from doing what he has a legal right to abstain from doing. That is all that any citizen can demand. That is all that any citizen wants. I think that every citizen would be satisfied provided that that elementary proposition can be carried out.
The point is: Where in the Constitution is the hand or the brain which puts into motion the power to act in this matter? It is an important matter to every side of the House. There is no side of the House, no interest in the country, no section of 487 the community, which at some time or other may not find itself in a minority against a strong and possibly an hostile majority; and I think it is of the utmost importance that every person who may find himself in such a minority may know to what quarter of the Government, to what officer of the Government, he is entitled to refer for protection in doing what he has a legal right to do. I want also to draw attention to another point which seems to me to be, though not a constitutional point, one which seems to me to be different from what one has always understood to be the law, the custom, the practice of this country. I refer to the statement made by the Home Secretary that the action of certain men, certain shipowners, I think, in presuming to carry on their business in a way in which they had always done, was provocative. I was unable to be in the House at the beginning of this Debate, and perhaps I have not quite got the point, but I do maintain most strenuously that the suggestion that any person who is carrying on his busi-iess in a lawful manner, and in the way in which he has been accustomed to carry it on, and doing what he has a perfect legal right to do, can be treated, or ought to be treated, or should be designated, certainly by the head of the police department of London, as a provocative person. That seems to me to be lamentable.
We are dealing with a very important question. Once you admit that a man who is doing what he has a perfectly legal right to do, deserves to be, or can be, pointed out as doing something which is provocative, then I say there is no single man, no single section of this country, but may find himself or themselves pointed out or hunted out of their business perhaps by the fact that it is said that the carrying on of that business in a perfectly legitimate way is provocative action —action which I suppose justifies other people in attacking, or at all events in showing hostility, to the person carrying on the business! That, it seems to me, is a lamentable doctrine, and one which affects everyone, and not particularly labour. I am thinking of a large number of other questions which may arise in this country in this connection in almost every sphere of life. It seems to me to be a lamentable proposition to suggest that a man who is carrying on his business in a perfectly legal way may be stigmatised as being guilty of provocative action. 488 Not only that, but that he may also be so stigmatised by a Minister of the Crown whose business it is to see that every law-abiding citizen is enabled to carry out his business in the way and by the lawful means he has been accustomed to carry it out. This is a question which certainly ought to be dealt with by the Home Secretary. It is a much more important question than many of the questions which obtain discussion. It goes to the very root and foundation of liberty in this country. The difficulty that democracy always produces is that liberty which is largely praised on the lip is largely curtailed in practice. The difficulty which democracy always produces is that if a large number of people think that a particular thing is right—whether it is right or not does not matter, and whether they are well or ill-informed does not matter—it is right! The many-headed is the sole arbiter of our fortunes. I feel certain that that doctrine is wholly wrong, and can only produce tyrannny—tyranny that we have had the greatest difficulty in our history in getting rid of. If this doctrine is the right doctrine I feel certain that we are laying up for ourselves—no matter what section we come from, whether we be masters or men—a very heavy penalty, which we should find much harder to bear than any of us think.
§ Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS
The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite has given us a dissertation on liberty. Personally I am not at all concerned to defend the Home Secretary or the Government in the particular course to which the hon. Member has referred. From every quarter of the House come different conceptions of liberty. It used to be said that when Parliament interfered between employer or employé, and when hours of labour were regulated by factory or other legislation, that we were interfering with individual liberty. Nevertheless we have now come to recognise that when the liberties of some people are infringed we are extending the common liberty, and it may be proved that in this particular application the Home Secretary has been primarily concerned with general and not merely individual liberty. But I am not going to pursue that subject any further. Those of us who have listened to the speeches this afternoon will have felt that Parliamentary time is well spent in the discussion on the Home Office Vote. Certainly those who have listened to the moving speeches delivered from different quarters of the 489 House will feel that, after all, this discussion does allow us to get close to the actual lives of our people. My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Jowett), dealing with the case of the wool comber and the wool carder, has, I feel, contributed in a large measure to the improvements which will inevitably follow from the promises of the Home Secretary, and that seems to me the great virtue of these Debates; they are not merely those of party consideration, and I venture to think each party in the House is brought into close consultation with a view to devising the best methods possible for protecting the lives and limbs of the industrial army of the nation. I like to take part in such Debates, and I feel it is rather regrettable that what I regard as extraneous issues should be raised. I want to follow the Home Secretary's speech in certain points. He seems to acknowledge with many of us that the staff of inspectors is far too small to effectually carry out the work of inspecting the factories and workshops of the nation, and I believe him, if I understand him aright, to express the hope that when next he has to reply this time next year, or earlier, in discussions in this House, he will then admit he was impressed with the case put by my hon. Friend, and by other hon. Members, by making a considerable addition to the staff of the factory inspectors.
It is, of course, common knowledge that with less than 200 inspectors it is utterly impossible to effectually supervise all the factories and workshops of the nation; nevertheless, I am pleased to acknowledge this, that in wading through the large succession of factory inspectors' reports I feel we are certainly making progress in the direction of improving the methods of protecting the lives and limbs of the workers, and therefore we feel ourselves in these circumstances moved, not by a mere desire to criticise, but to do something to stimulate the Department in the direction of giving effective supervision. I want to dwell for a moment upon this question of factory inspectors. We on these benches have often urged that the method of appointment ought to be modified. The examinations to which the inspectors have been subjected in the past are not, in our opinion, the most valuable sort of examinations. We feel the factory inspectors ought to have a knowledge of the factory law, as well as an intimate acquaintance with the internal affairs of our various factories. I believe it to be a common complaint against the higher class of 490 inspectors that they are appointed more for academic qualifications than for those I have instanced. My hon. Friends pointed out that you have amongst the assistant inspectors a large measure of the qualities I have mentioned. It seems that the assistant inspectors are more often appointed because of having had actual experience in the factories and workshops of the nation, and I respectfully suggest that when the Home Secretary does ultimately find it desirable to increase the staff he might very well afford facilities whereby the assistant inspectors shall be elevated to a higher post. After all, it is most disheartening that a man should be fixed as an assistant inspector throughout the whole of his official career and has no guarantee that by close and zealous application to his duties he has any prospect of rising to the higher position. I submit this point to the favourable consideration of the Home Office, so that assistant inspectors may have a reasonable prospect other things being equal, that they may be elevated to the higher position.
Although we are pleased to acknowledge that an improvement has been effected there is this constant increase of accidents reported year by year. I know the official reply is that this increase is attributable to competent inspection and more efficient reporting. I do not deny that that may be a reasonable explanation of the increased figures displayed to us year after year, but nevertheless it is an appalling fact that last year well nigh 150,000 accidents were reported and that of these 11,082 were fatal in character. It is the general duty of this House to assist in the elimination of these accidents because we have had evidence submitted this afternoon proving that at any rate a considerable number of them are preventible in character, and while it is the general duty of the House to assist in this work, of course, we have to charge it as the special duty of the Government. My hon. Friend, in dealing with the case of anthrax in Bradford, showed that the regulations of the Home Department has had the effect of greatly diminishing the disease in one particular, but that a mere change of operation has allowed some employers to obviate conformity to these regulations, with the result that you had a disease proved to be preventible in one direction breaking out in another. In scrutinising the reports of the inspectors, I am struck by the remarkable disproportion of accidents in the south-eastern district, also the great increase of complaints 491 made in that district as compared with the other five districts into which the country is divided. I find in Table 4, page 290, that of all the complaints received during 1911, 1,512 out of a total of 6,122 were made in the south-eastern district. Again, this is borne out in the figures relative to contravention notices issued to occupiers during last year. In the southeastern district 43,398 special notices were issued out of a total of 167,603 for the whole country. Confessedly, it is rather difficult to account for this great disproportion, but I am going to suggest the reason for it. It is well known that in this part of the country trade unionism is less efficient than in the Northern and Midland parts of the country, and that under organised conditions you have always elected bodies of trade unionists, concerned to ferret out violations of the factory law, making representations in the proper quarters with the full assurance that in so doing they are not risking their own livelihood; but where you get into districts where trade unionism is weak you have not this safeguard to bring forward and therefore it is, I fear, that contraventions are very often overlooked and accidents are largely on the increase.
I feel that when we come to recognise that these figures prove that where we have the workers strongly banded together you have more efficient administration of the law, these trade unions ought to be welcomed by this House as being beneficial organisations for the community, and not be subjected to attacks, as we know is very often the case. I am not prepared to submit that that is the real explanation of this disparity, but nevertheless it seems to me to be a most remarkable characteristic of this Report, and one that is worthy of further consideration in due course. I wish to refer to a subject first introduced in this Debate by the Noble Lord the Member for Nottingham (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck). The Noble Lord made reference to the extent to which tuberculosis or phthisis existed in the printing offices of this country, and he quoted what I will also repeat as set forth in the Report that the comparative mortality of printers as compared with the whole of the male portion of the population is as 300 to 186. It is well known to everybody that the rate is very high among the printers of the country, and I am going to submit to the Home Office that the time has arrived when the conditions existing in the printing offices of 492 the country should receive the particular attention of that Department. I remember on a previous occasion the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson) directed particular attention to the conditions prevalent in the foundries of the country, and since that time great improvements have been effected. It was also pointed out by the hon. Member for Bolton that it had been disclosed that a great number of accidents occurring in our foundries were attributable to bad lighting and other causes, and in consequence of the attention directed to those conditions, I am glad to acknowledge that improvements have already been effected. What has been accomplished in one direction I want to see attempted in the printing offices of the country.
There are two great causes of disease in printing offices. The Noble Lord the Member for Nottingham referred to the lead dust which accumulates in the type boxes used by the compositor. The type is contained in small compartments, and the constant attrition breaks off small particles from the type which accumulate in the form of lead dust at the bottom of the boxes. I have served seven years apprenticeship and several years after in printing offices in the country, and as an apprentice boy I was peculiarly ignorant of the great danger lurking in this lead dust. I can recall an unhappy experience I had of the light way in which I disturbed this dust because it subsequently caused me to have a bad attack of lead poisoning. This dust is very often blown about the room of the printing office to the great danger of all those engaged in it. I am glad to observe that each of the inspectors making reports seems to have had his attention particularly directed to the evil effects of the prevalence of this dust. A very common practice, in which I have very often engaged, is to take the type case down on to the floor and blow out the dust. The danger of that operation must be apparent to everybody. I understand now that an improved method has been invented, and is now in operation in some of the up-to-date printing offices of the country. I presume now that the Home Office will regard it to be their duty to direct the attention of the printing trade employers and the country generally to the danger lurking in this lead dust, and also to this new invention which has been brought on to the market, having for its object the extracting of this dust in a way that is not inimical to the workers in that industry. 493 We are not charging the Home Office with any dereliction of duty so far in this matter, but now that we have had it stated in the Report that this danger is acknowledged by inspectors, and that there is an invention on the market calculated to obviate this risk to the workers in the printing offices, I think it is the duty of the Home Office to impart this knowledge to all concerned.
The extensive use of the linotype and the monotype machines have also brought into existence another danger to the compositor in the printing trade of the country. Those machines have, of course, a metal-pot attached to them, and the heating of this pot is a problem that is bound to receive some attention at the hands of the Home Office. It is now known that owing very often to faulty machinery, or the faulty fixing perhaps of otherwise good machinery, leakages of gas take place which, mixing with the ordinary atmosphere, set up what I can only call in my unsophisticated mind, carbon monoxide poison. I have directed the attention of the Home Office during the several years I have been in this House to several cases of poisoning which have occurred to members of my craft owing to this carbon monoxide poison. I gather from the Reports that this question is also receiving consideration at the hands of the inspectors, and I am also glad to observe that in the best fitted offices in the country these dangers are now very largely obviated. This is largely a problem of proper ventilation, and I believe it is now possible by the fitting up of a ventilating fan to draw off the noxious fumes and thereby improve the atmosphere of the printing office, to the great advantage of the health of the workers. Having regard to the fact that I mentioned in my opening observations the high prevalence of phthisis among printers and the fact that a vitiated atmosphere is a large contributory cause to that disease, I hope I may reasonably ask the Home Office in the light of these facts to pay particular attention to printing office conditions on the lines I have suggested.
In New York last year I was privileged to visit the New York "Times" office, and I was there assured by the manager that they had long been convinced of the dangers involved in the ordinary gas heating of the metal pots attached to the linotype machines, and they have adopted a very simple method whereby this process is now carried on under better conditions, and certainly the atmosphere of the room 494 of which I am speaking, which contained the largest installation of linotype machines I saw on the American side of the water—although not so large an installation as some on this side—appeared to be perfectly pure and innoxious, and I was assured that this was due to the improved method of heating the metal pot. I presume, now it is brought to the notice of the Home Office these superior methods are available, they will also direct the attention of the parties concerned to them. We have constantly had brought to our notice the conditions under which clerks have to work. I am not certain myself, and it is a subject of some doubt with those I have consulted, whether offices come under the administrative control of the Home Office. It has been made public recently that some of these offices are peculiarly bad in atmosphere and in the appointments for the clerks who have to labour in them. If I am wrong in assuming they come within the competence of the Home Department, I would respectfully submit the Home Office might consider the desirability of acquiring suitable powers in the very near future. I feel sure there would be no opposition in any quarter of the House to bringing clerks within the humane provisions of factory and workshop inspection. I believe the experience of all parties of the beneficent operation of the factory laws warrant us in a reasonable expectation that an extension of them would not be opposed in any form. I will simply conclude by asking the right hon. Gentleman when he replies to deal with the points submitted by my hon. Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Mr. A. Smith) dealing with shuttle-kissing. My hon. Friend also mentioned the vacancy in the post formerly filled by Mr. Shackleton, and I know it is regarded as a great loss to the textile industry that they have been deprived of the services of that gentleman. If the hon. Gentleman is able to give us a reply on those points I think, as far as we are concerned, we shall be satisfied with the course that they have taken.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I rise for the purpose of challenging in the most direct manner the views laid down by the Home Secretary as to his duties in regard to the maintenance of law and order. We had a statement on that subject from the Prime Minister some little time ago. His view is that the Home Secretary has no constitutional responsibility for the maintenance of peace in the country, and that view was 495 adopted and enforced to-night by the Home Secretary. I venture to say that doctrine is not only entirely erroneous, but is most dangerous to the good government of the country. In this matter I propose to give the Committee, not my own views, which are more or less unimportant, but the views which have been laid down by authorities of undoubted importance. I find in Lord Halsbury's "The Laws of England," seventh volume, under the head of "Constitutional Law," these words:—The maintenance of public order falls within the Department of the Home Secretary,and for that statement he refers, among other authorities, to the statement of Lord Campbell, in a case which I doubt not the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department knows well (Harrison v. Bush), decided in 1855. I take "Todd's Parliamentary Government in England," second edition, second volume, page 616, and I commend this especially to the notice of the Under-Secretary—The Home Secretary is especially responsible for the preservation of public peace.Then it goes on:—For this purpose, acting in the name of the Sovereign, he exercises by long usage, extensive powers over the civil and military authorities of the country. He himself is a magistrate, and has a power of commitment to prison by warrant for just cause.…In the suppression of riots and tumults, the Home Secretary would still be the proper channel for conveying Her Majesty's commands to Lords-Lieutenant of counties, or to the officers in charge of districts, placing them in communication with the magistracy upon any emergency, and directing them how to act.I suppose you could not have a more direct statement than that I have just read for the purpose of establishing the Home Secretary's direct responsibility for the maintenance of peace in the country. Let me give only one more authority. Lord John Russell, when he was Prime Minister, speaking in 1847 with reference to certain new duties which it was proposed to throw upon the Home Secretary of the day, referred to the existing duties of the Home Secretary and said:—The Home Secretary of State is a person who is responsible for the peace of the country, and for the due administration of the criminal law of the country, so far as the prerogative of the Crown is concerned, as advised by the Administration of the day.I omit two or three lines which are irrelevant:He ought to be ready whenever any great danger threatens the peace of the country to give his mind promptly to the consideration of the subject, and to be always ready to act as his responsibility for the internal security and peace of the country would require him to do.I cannot imagine any more direct and authoritative statement as to the duties 496 of the Home Secretary. They have not yet, as far as I remember, been quoted in connection with this subject, but I trust the Home Secretary will bring his mind to bear upon them, and, if necessary, to bring them to the notice of the Prime Minister who laid down some extraordinary doctrine the other day on this subject. The Prime Minister told us there was no constitutional responsibility whatever on the Home Secretary except as I understand in the metropolitan area. He told us the only responsibility that lay upon the Home Secretary was what he called a conventional responsibility. I say by the usage of the Constitution the Home Secretary, as the principal Secretary of State, is responsible for maintaining what has been rightly called the "King's peace." In that capacity he is responsible for the maintenance of good order throughout the country. In reply to an interruption by my Noble Friend (Lord Robert Cecil) the Home Secretary to-night said this phrase "King's peace" meant little or nothing. I venture to think the exact contrary is true. The King, as the head of the Executive, is responsible for maintaining order and good government throughout the country, and his principal Secretary of State, and indeed all the Members of the central Government, as his servants and delegates, are responsible for maintaining that good government and order which is absolutely essential in a civilised country. I will ask the Under-Secretary to consider this matter when he comes to reply, and, if necessary, to bring it to the notice of the Home Secretary. I can conceive no more important constitutional doctrine for this House to lay down.
Mr. GORDON HARVEY
A short time ago I heard the speech delivered by the hon. Member for the Clitheroe Division (Mr. A. Smith) on a question of great importance to the cotton weavers of Lancashire whose interests he so specially and adequately represents. He dealt with the insanitary practice prevailing in weaving sheds of what is known as shuttle-kissing. I believe I am right in saying I am the only manufacturer as far as this labour is concerned, in this House, and I would like to associate myself with the hon. Gentleman who spoke on this matter. I should like to assure the Committee and the Home Office that the employers have no objection to do anything that can be done to end this insanitary practice. I am also convinced, of course, that anything the Home Office decides to recommend will be 497 of a reasonable character, and that it will be reasonably cautious in any instructions it may issue—that it will not issue instructions which it will be impossible to carry out. This matter ought to be further inquired into, and recommendations made to the Home Office. At the present time there is no shuttle on the market which can be conveniently and readily used in lieu of the old practice of using the lip to draw the thread through the eye of the shuttle. There have been many inventions put forward, but, so far, none of them have been adequate for the purpose. There are two considerations in this matter. One, and the most important, is the question of the health of the operatives. The second is the practicability of adapting mechanical means to obviate the necessity of suction by the breath—practical means by which the cloth the weaver is engaged in manufacturing can be produced.
In my own business I have tried a multitude of shuttles. Some of them have been very near fulfilling the object which we desire to attain. I must say there is much more prejudice in this matter on the part of the operatives than on the part of the employers. I have gone to a good deal of expense several times to put within the reach of the operatives shuttles that might be used without the lips with little extra trouble to the person employed. But the practice has been one of such long standing that it is very difficult indeed to get people to adopt new methods. There is one thing that might be done with the old-fashioned shuttle. The operatives using it might easily, once a week, clean it with a piece of rag or cotton waste, especially that part which the lips touch. If they could be induced to adopt this cleanly habit until a proper and efficient shuttle has been invented a great deal of the infection which is supposed to arise now might be prevented. There is one other point I would like to emphasise, and that is the advisability of filling up, as soon as possible, the position in the Home Office vacated by Mr. Shackleton on promotion to a post with the Insurance Commission. I think everybody felt that Mr. Shackleton's appointment was an admirable one; he came to the Home Office with specific knowledge which, I am sure, was very useful to that Department, and he was the channel of communication with both operatives and employers whenever anything was desired to be done: he acted, in fact, 498 with most excellent results. I conclude by expressing a wish that, as soon as possible, the Home Office may see its way to fill the vacancy made by Mr. Shackleton's promotion, and to appoint to the post someone with similar qualifications to those so notably possessed by the last holder of the office.
§ Mr. HEWINS
I fear I shall have to devote most of my remarks to matters which an hon. Member who spoke from the Labour Benches described as "extraneous issues." I may perhaps, in passing, comment on some of the remarks which he made. I think the hon. Member was a little mistaken—or, at any rate, what he said was only partially true—about the origin of factory legislation. The real father of factory legislation was Richard Osler, the so-called factory king, and a Tory. It was he who really began the great agitation in favour of factory laws. He was not starting so much a fresh movement as a revolt against accepted Liberal and individualist doctrines. He was simply trying to apply to the economic conditions which had sprung up since the industrial revolution, the ancient Tory practice of regulation in these matters. I have seen a little in the course of my life of the appointments to factory inspector ships. I should have thought that in recent years there had been a very remarkable improvement in the way in which appointments are made and in the character of the people who are placed in these posts. Certainly their training, their knowledge of the industry, their efforts to keep in touch with the real needs of both workman and employer, are greater than ever before, and, in that respect, we have a marked increase of efficiency in factory inspection. I remember some years ago, when I was trying to acquaint myself with the conditions of the people in the woollen and worsted factories in the North of England, I came to a conclusion which induces me to think that what the hon. Member remarked about the relations between trade unionism and successful factory inspection was again only partially true. I agree it is a great advantage to have an organised trade and an intelligent class of workers who can say what they really want and can advise and help in maintaining the established law of the realm. But so far as I can see, when you turn to the best factory and the best mill, you find the best masters and the most 499 prosperous employers, and these results are found to be due, not so much to observation of factory laws as to the generosity of the employers themselves in providing what is far in excess of the requirements of the factory laws. It is not simply a question of getting factory laws and factory inspectors appointed to administer them, but it is also a question of the greater prosperity of the industry, of the general standard that prevails, of the prestige of the Government, and of the estimation in which the central authority is held; all these things go to the proper observance of the law, and, if you do away with these primary conditions, no number of inspectors, and no amount of work on the part of the trade unions, will secure obedience to the law.
That leads me to what I intend to make the substance of my remarks. I am supporting the Amendment to reduce the salary of the Home Secretary by £500 because I believe that the administration of the Home Office under this Government and under the present Home Secretary has tended to destroy the prestige of the central Government, to spread abroad an entirely wrong idea of what is the constitutional relations of the Home Secretary, and incidentally to do the greatest damage to the interests of the people. It is a mistake to suppose that the interests of trade unions and of the workers are bound up with a weak Home Office, which may be expected, to use a popular expression, to play into the hands of the workers. Trade unionism and all institutions of the kind have become possible and grown up, not because you have had a weak central power, but because you have had a strong central power. There could not be a greater mistake than to suppose that any weakening of that central power would be to the advantage of the workers of the country. All institutions depend upon the central power. The success of their efforts depends upon it, and it is, if I may say so, one of the crimes of the present Government that they have tended to weaken and destroy that central power. We heard from the Prime Minister some days ago an exposition—Icily regular, splendidly null,of the constitutional position of the Home Secretary, which seemed to indicate that the Prime Minister and the Government as a whole—because they all endorse it—are not really acquainted with the administrative documents bearing upon the discharge 500 of his functions by the Home Secretary. I am astonished that we should live to hear such a misrepresentation of the relations between the central Government and the local governments that we have heard from the opposite benches. If there is one characteristic more than any other of the development of those forces which come under the domain of the Home Office, it is a kind of double development, the development on the one hand of local functions and local activities, and upon the other hand the development of the power of the central authority. The greatest difficulty we had to face in ancient times was not the weakness of that central authority. Although the principles which were supposed to govern its actions were extremely large and generous, it was because it was weak, because it could not enforce its decisions against local objections, that so many ancient Statutes were not properly carried into effect.
I do not want to go into what in this House might be regarded as antiquarian doctrines, although in the Law Courts I believe precedents going back to the Plantagenets are conceived as relevant to the issue, but I should like to point out that the function of the central power as conceived by our forefathers was that, in the first place, it should guarantee and safeguard certain fundamental rights of the citizens. Among those fundamental rights was the right to a living wage and the right to work. Both those things were were accepted as flowing from the natural constitution of society, and were incorporated in the laws of the country. Those laws continued to be in operation until recent times, and it occurred to me, when the Prime Minister was delivering his exposition of the Constitution the other day, that what he was describing was not the English Constitution according to precedent and practice, but the English Constitution according to a weak authority which grew up in recent times. Although many of those laws were repealed, it remains true that modern developments have thrown upon the Home Secretary functions not less important, but more important, than those which were discharged in former times by the holders of that office. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Butcher) has pointed out that, according to the highest constitutional authorities, the first, the great, and the inclusive function of the Home Secretary is to maintain the internal peace of the realm. I am surprised to hear that that proposition is questioned. I think it flows from the very 501 nature of his office. He is brought into closer relations with the central power than almost any other Minister. His office is about the most important office of all those held by Ministers of the Crown. He is responsible for peace, law, and order within the realm. If he once gives the impression that that solid block of administrative justice can be moved aside, then the institutions that we value, and the benefits we have gained by a long course of historic development, will be lost. He is also responsible in a way no other Minister is responsible for the conditions of labour. I alluded just now to the ancient Statutes of the realm which embodied not principles intended to suit the conditions of politics, but incorporated principles which were supposed to be part of the very fundamental existence of society. Those old Statutes have gone, but under the Factory Acts, and a great many other Acts with which I will not deal, the Home Secretary is still responsible, I will not say for enforcing them, but for advising and doing whatever he can to advance those principles. He is the intermediary between the Crown and the Church, and it is a strange thing that he should introduce a Disestablishment Bill.
I cannot review all these functions— they are detailed in any of the constitutional authorities, and I would refer the Under-Secretary to the excellent and clear statement of them in the book of my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University (Sir William Anson). They are so easily accessible that I cannot understand how anyone can doubt that the functions of the Home Secretary are as they are there described. I should say that hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite are trying to take a limited view of the functions of the Home Secretary. What we are dealing with in this Committee is the great constitutional office of the Home Secretary, and his relations to the functions of society as a whole. He cannot escape from the conditions upon which the office was created, and upon which it has been developed; conditions which we find echoed in all the laws and Statutes relating to the matter. I am not prepared to lay down a hard and fast rule as to how the Home Secretary is to carry out his functions. I take the situation as it has developed in recent months. When I came into this House the coal strike had just begun. All the time I have been here we have been troubled with labour questions. Labour questions are the one subject 502 which excites unanimous interest in this House. Everybody knows—hon. Gentlemen on the Labour Benches know perfectly well—that it only required the exercise of the smallest bit of foresight to know that great labour questions were coming on, and it was the business of the Home Secretary, it is what he is paid for, to exercise that foresight and to know what are the conditions he has got to deal with, and to see if he cannot provide—I do not want meticulous accuracy in carrying out his functions, but in a broad general sense to carry out his functions—some means of guaranteeing and of securing to all the citizens of this country what is their natural birthright, the right of labour and the power of labour. Instead of that what did we have? We had a Debate the other day upon the Home Secretary and the way in which he has discharged his functions, and hon. Gentlemen opposite actually voted that it was not the business of the Government to protect men in the practice of their lawful avocations, and that they might discriminate in the execution of the laws. In one of our former Debates I had to remark on the death of Liberalism. This is not only the death of Liberalism but the death of the constitutional principles on which our fabric of society is based. I could quote Statute after Statute to show that that vote was in conflict with what are called the fundamental laws of the realm, the violation of which has always been held by all writers on civil law that to constitute a ground for resistance to the authority of Government.
That is the position the Government are getting themselves into. They are sailing perilously near political action of a kind which is against the State, and if they go on giving the impression as they have given in recent months that they are taking a side and that they are not prepared—I will not say to enforce by a large display of arms or anything of that sort—but by the ordinary exercise of such power and will as a Liberal ministry might be supposed to possess to enforce the observation of the laws of the realm—if they are going upon that tack the crime they are committing is, it is true, against the party they represent, but it is against the working classes, and it is against the institutions of the working classes which have grown up under the power and protection of a strong central authority. It is against the unity of the realm and against everything we have understood so far by England and the civilisation which it represents. 503 Hon. Gentlemen may say these are strong charges, but are they not justified? Have we ever had such license as we have under this Government? Has it not become a commonplace of England, under the administration of the present Home Secretary, that you have misery brought upon thousands of people unremedied? What are we to think of the callousness of this Government? If you break a window that is a serious offence to be punished by imprisonment and various other disagreeable penalties. But what about the thousands and thousands of people in the strike areas—the women and the children who have been deprived of their living and sustenance? All we have in reply to this is some pretty little legal theory about the functions of the Home Secretary and the relations of the Metropolitan Police.
These strike incidents, these unhappy conditions, are the direct outcome of the weakness of action of the present Government, because if those concerned had known that you have a Government ready and willing to act, things would never have got to the position they have in certain parts. When you have a Government acting in this weak, irresponsible, hesitating, fluctuating way—against the minimum wage one day, for it another day, apprehending strikers one day and putting them in prison, and leaving things alone the next day—never knowing from day to day what they are going to do, that is the kind of thing which brings chaos into the system of Government, and that is the kind of thing which is a crime against the Commonwealth, and no man ought to be willing to sit upon that Bench and act with his colleagues unless he and those colleagues are willing to maintain the great traditions of equity and justice upon which all the institutions of the working classes of this country have grown up. That is my charge against the Government. I have heard nothing at all from any Member of the Government to meet in any way the facts which have been established over and over again of the weakness and incompetence of the Government in the presence of a great crisis. We have not had, and we shall not have in our time, a greater crisis than we have to face in the labour troubles of the present time. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway think Ireland is a great question, and some other hon. Gentlemen think other things are a great question. I say the great question of the present time is the labour question. It is 504 the labour question towards which the Government is bound to adopt an attitude of impartiality, of strength, of civility, and of justice which will enable the great voluntary institutions which have grown up under that system of Government to carry out their proper functions. I do not take a party view in this matter. I would not put view merely because it was a Conservative view. I and many of my Friends are, as a matter of fact, greatly concerned, not by the details of the policy, or want of policy of the Government. What we are concerned about is the steady day to day uplifting of the fundamental principles and great traditions of the country. One question after another comes up, and in all these questions you can depend upon the Government to take a view hostile to what have been considered so far the established laws and customs of the realm, and to offend against the established laws and customs and institutions of the realm is the greatest crime of which a Government can be guilty.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I do not know whether the hon. Member is serious in the observations he has addressed to the question of law and order, but I presume he was really addressing himself to a serious question. But when he said that resistance to the authority of the law was in his opinion a crime—
§ Mr. HEWINS
I said the established laws and customs of the realm, which form the subject of the most solemn interchange of contracts.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
The hon. Member did not refer to contracts in his speech. There is nothing that strikes me at present as more deplorable in the days in which we are living than the utter disregard of law and order which the party opposite show, and it is for the Home Secretary in the future to see that the law is carried out when hon. Members opposite are preaching disobedience to the law, not only in respect to the Insurance Bill—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who?"] Take the whole of your Press—the leading organs of your Press one and all advocate passive resistance.
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
I must ask the hon. Baronet to confine himself to the Vote before the Committee.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I know I was out of order, but I could not help replying to the 505 observations of the hon. Member. I want to ask the Home Secretary what are the general rules governing the appointment of mining inspectors. Only last week three of these gentlemen unhappily lost their lives in the Cadeby explosion. These men have shown us that when these terrible calamities come across the mining industry, as they from time to time do, not only the inspectors, but all people associated with the industry, become heroes. In connection with the sad and terrible catastrophe which happened at Cadeby Colliery there could have been over 1,000 men anxious to go down and assist in the rescue work. The House knows that without my referring particularly to it. Here were three public servants who lost their lives in connection with the disaster. I want to know what the Government are going to do in cases of this kind. It is quite clear that the remuneration of the men and the very small pensions to which they would have been entitled are wholly inadequate. I am sure it is the general sense and wish of the House that where Government servants lose their lives in rescue work their widows and children should not be put in a worse position than they were when the breadwinners were alive. I think the Home Secretary should ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for sufficient money to provide for the widows and children. This is a purely administrative matter. I cannot find that any scale is laid down in any Act of Parliament. I believe it lies very largely with the Home Secretary himself. If the right hon. Gentleman will apply to the Treasury for this Grant, I am sure there will be no opposition to it from either side of the House. If a Vote were necessary, I am confident that he could look upon it as unopposed, except perhaps that an increase in the amount granted by the Treasury might be proposed.
During the discussion on the Budget we were told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he wished to place at the disposal of various Government Departments sums of money for carrying out research work in connection with mining and other industries in the country. I wish to know what sum of money has been given to the largest industry in the country, namely, mining. It is larger than agriculture. This important part of the Home Office work is carried on in back rooms of the Home Office. Having regard to the enormous amount of work that falls on the Home Office at the present time, I 506 defy the Home Secretary to give adequate attention to the needs of the mining community. I say that where research is necessary we should have a Department of the Home Office devoting itself to that work. I think there are only two or three rooms in which the whole staff who deal with matters affecting this great industry are accommodated. If we go to the Board of Agriculture, we find that the staff have more suitable accommodation. Hon. Members no doubt will say that the mining industry can itself afford to pay for research work, whereas agriculture cannot. I am quite certain that the mining industry is quite willing and anxious at all times to subscribe the necessary money. There is a case where I think it is particularly necessary that the Government should do something at the present time. In the district where the recent disaster took place there are conditions which do not apply to any other district. The managing director of Cadeby Colliery last week approached the owners of the other collieries in the district and asked whether we would undertake with him research into the whole circumstances of mines of this nature with the view of ascertaining the best means of avoiding accidents. Being associated with the majority of the mines in the district, we had chemists appointed at the different collieries in order to arrive at a solution. We have not up to the present time had any support from the Government.
I suppose after this terrible calamity we shall have a Committee appointed, probably of people who have no experience of the difficult conditions that exist there. Mr. Chamberlain, the managing director of Cadeby Colliery, who was the instigator of this research, and all of us who are associated with those mines will be, when the inquest is over, only too anxious to do whatever we can to place every information at the disposal of the Government, and to try to obtain a remedy for the accidents which occur in the district from time to time. I do appeal to the Home Secretary to consider the claims of those who were dependent upon the inspectors who lost their lives. These were men who had laboured not only by day but by night in the Yorkshire district for the safety of their fellow-workmen. I do think it would be a great hardship if the widows and children of the inspectors who have so gallantly given all they had to give to the State were to have their position prejudiced on account of the brave 507 conduct of the men. This matter should be considered in a broad spirit, and I would suggest to the Home Secretary that pensions ought to be paid to the widows, instead of merely paying one year's salary, which in the circumstances would be a small dole.
§ Sir J. D. REES
When a vote of censure on the Home Secretary was proposed he made an appeal to the House which I think had very great force in it. He said he was called upon to preserve law and order under circumstances of unparalleled difficulty. If there is any Member of the House who would not be impressed by such an appeal he would be one who in some part of the world had had to face a similar responsibility. What I think the Home Secretary has done is that in spite of the results of the Debate which I initiated on a previous occasion regarding what is called the political offender, he has succeeded in creating the impression that there is such a thing as a political offender recognised, if not by the law of England, yet by the executive authority, and that a political offender is an offender who has a political backing. It is that which has induced me to rise on this occasion, though as I say I have got sympathy with an officer called upon to support law and order in the circumstances in which he has been placed, except to this extent, that while he as a Minister is bound to carry on with a Parliamentary majority if he carries on at all, he is not bound to carry on under conditions which he himself might not think proper for a Minister in carrying out those functions with which he is entrusted. It is true that we have had a speech to-night upon the constitutional position of the Home Secretary, and he said that he and every other Minister in this country must proceed on the assumption that Government in this country must be carried on with the consent in general of those who are governed. But I have never heard that criminal administration must be carried on with the assent of the criminal, and that no person should be convicted and no sentence carried out without the consent of the person convicted. That I think is carrying the principle of democracy, to which like everybody else in this country I subscribe, to a very unnatural and improper degree. For instance, when I raised this question before and endeavoured to bring it home to the Home Secretary, I did succeed in getting from 508 his predecessor in office an admission that there was no such thing in the law of England as a political offence. I then tried to obtain the same admission from the right hon. Gentleman, and I was placed in this position that I had to bring it forward when I had the Attorney-General to deal with. The Attorney-General said in answer to me:—Dealing with the question raised by the hon. Member for Nottingham as to what are political offences, you must uuderstand quite clearly that generally speaking there is no such thing known to British law as a political crime. I do not mean for a moment to say, because that is so, that, the political nature of an offence should not be and is not taken into account.Then he goes on to say:—I do not excuse crime because a man commits it from a pure motive.I submit that it is not becoming or right that any officer of the Crown, particularly a law officer of the Crown, should say that any crime can be committed from a pure motive. When a crime is committed the motive from the point of view of the law is impure. I dispute his position altogether. I wish directly to challenge that. This is also leading up to what was elicited from the Home Secretary himself on the same date. The Attorney-General went on to say:—You do draw a distinction between the punishment to be meted out to a person who commits crime from a personal or selfish motive, and a person who does so from a pure, perhaps high or even a lofty motive.Here we have a decree which covers assassination, from the days of Har-modious and Aristogiton or anybody else who set up as an excuse the benefit of the country. I interposed,What about assassination?The Attorney - General immediately answered,I am not dealing with assassination.But I was, and I am now. I mean directly to challenge the Home Secretary upon this point, and to say that this theory if it covers an ordinary crime covers assassination. If the motive may be pure and holy then the crime must be in exactly the same position. If it is praiseworthy to commit a crime from a political motive then the greater the crime the greater the glory, and this is the appalling doctrine which proceeds from an officer of the Crown and a law officer of the Crown. Then I asked the Attorney-General to what extent was this doctrine regarding the effect of motive upon punishment applicable to the case of the Home Secretary. He was a party for political reasons to allowing leniency in what was urged to be 509 a political crime. The Attorney-General said he was about to deal with that, but he did not deal with it. He looked at it once, twice, and three times, and passed it by. I now come to what the Home Secretary himself said. He also appeared to me to decline to face that issue. I am not surprised because it would be an exceedingly difficult one for him to face, but once you allow that motive is to govern this question what reason is there to distinguish between the case of breaking windows and the case of assassination? Take the case of the man who was sentenced the other day for assault upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which I regard as a gross and unpardonable offence, though I am not a supporter of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This man was sentenced to two months' hard labour for that assault. That man certainly would claim that he acted from political motives. He would say, "Because the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not taken a sufficiently strong line upon female suffrage, or because he is now out for further predatory raids upon forms of property which he dislikes, therefore I will strike the Chancellor of the Exchequer." I say that is a grievous offence, but he will certainly claim that he had a political motive. Where does the right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, stand in a matter like that? Will he give that offender the benefit and privileges of 243A? When I brought this matter up before the Attorney-General after he had admitted that there was no such thing as a political offence acknowledged by the law of England, he said:—The Home Secretary, when he conies to speak, will deal with the question from his point of view. I deal with it from the point of view of the Law Officer.I submit that when the Home Secretary came to deal with it he dealt with it by passing it by.
§ Sir J. D. REES
That is my contention. He did not contend that there was such a thing as political crime under the laws of England, but what I say is that subsequently he has acted in accordance with the doctrine with holding which I charge him—that a man is a political offender provided he has a power of political support, and any offender who has that support—I mean from a particular quarter of the House—is either released or given the benefit of Rule 243A, or his punishment may be cut short, a course of conduct which, I submit, has 510 all those disastrous and deplorable effects which were described in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford. Take the case of the suffragists. Their leaders were sentenced and given the benefit of being first-class misdemeanants. I do not wish to say anything unfair of the right hon. Gentleman, and I admit that the judge who sentenced them did subsequently explain that he did not give them the benefit of that rule because he was under the impression that if he had done so they would have been able to carry on their political propaganda while they were prisoners, and that subsequently he made a communication to the right hon. Gentleman which, I freely admit, gave him the opportunity of placing the leaders of those suffragists in the class of first-class misdemeanants. But that does not alter the fact that the Home Secretary did, after these people were convicted, place them in the category of first-class misdemeanants. I submit that is wrong. I say no offenders are possibly more deserving of punishment than those who, for the purpose of favouring a propaganda, commit offences wantonly and in cold blood—people of education, people of means, not driven to crime by despair, poverty, misery, or other causes, but who wantonly and in cold blood break the law of the country. Those are the people whom the right hon. Gentleman made first-class misdemeanants. He was not bound to accept the judge's recommendation, and he did not accept it in the case of Malatesta; then why did he accept it in the case of the leaders of the suffragists? What was the immediate result? The result was the other offenders, followers of these leaders, complained that they were not given the benefit of this rule.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I suppose I may mention it in passing for the purpose of illustration. The leaders were placed in the category of first-class misdemeanants, and were given lenient terms because they were political offenders. Then comes the case of the man named Crowsley, who was convicted of publishing an article advising the troops not to shoot. I ask the right hon. Gentleman why did he reduce the punishment imposed upon that man? If there be any crime which is a great crime, a crime against society, against the Constitution, against the country, against every 511 British subject, it is the crime of urging the troops not to shoot. If there be any greater offence, I, at any rate, do not know it. This man's sentence was reduced. Would the right hon. Gentleman have treated this man as a political offender and reduced his sentence had it not been for the fact that he received support from hon. Members below the Gangway? I say that what makes political crime is to have powerful political support. Take the case of Tom Mann; his sentence was also reduced. Why? Does anybody believe the punishment was severe? Had he not been an agitator; had he not had powerful political friends; does anybody in this House believe that his sentence would have been reduced? I do not. We come to the case of Malatesta. The judge in that case made a recommendation to the right hon. Gentleman that an order of deportation should be issued. Though the judge recommended deportation, there were the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway who objected to it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes; I am not calling in question their action. I do not presume to do so; it would be an impertinence on my part to criticise their action or make any remarks upon it, and I have not done so. My point is this, that these hon. Gentlemen acted perfectly within their right in objecting to the Home Secretary's accepting the recommendation of the judge. What was the result? That recommendation was not accepted, and no deportation was enforced against the offender Malatesta. These are a certain number of cases that I have given, and I daresay I could instance others.
But I beg the House to consider the result. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite desire that people who take a certain political line shall not be punished for taking that line. In so doing they are contesting the justice and propriety of the law of the country, and they bring pressure to bear to make the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary accept their view. I do not for one moment presume to say one critical or disrespectful word of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway in regard to this matter. What I do say is that the Home Secretary, in spite of what the Attorney-General told us, and in spite of what his predecessor said to me when I raised this question in the House, has succeeded in proving to the whole country that there is in fact a political offender, and it is the person who has political support. That is the charge 512 I bring against the right hon. Gentleman, though I do sympathise with him in many respects in having to carry on his work at a time of unparalleled difficulty; but I do say he has no right to carry it on by succumbing to pressure and by surrendering to agitation, which is the one whole and consistent principle that animates himself and his colleagues. I said just now that if this particular principle be conceded in regard to this particular offence, I want to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, or from the Under-Secretary, if he replies, where the line is to be drawn. You may say that in this country people do not carry political matters to the length of assassination. But they may very soon. I would say, as one acquainted with Russia and with the people of that country, that you meet there persons you would not think might be concerned in political assassinations. They appear to be in all respects normal and just like anybody else; but as soon as they embark upon the slippery slope of opposition from political motives to the law of the country, in no long time they become mixed up with societies which have for their object political assassination.
There was the case in which Sir Curzon Wylie was assassinated in London. If ever a man in this world was assassinated from a political reason it was Sir Curzon Wylie. He was a man so little obnoxious to those who assassinated him that they assassinated him thinking he was another man. There was never a more political assassin than the assassin who slew Sir Curzon Wylie. Was there not a case for letting him off on the ground that he was a political offender? Why not? Is the heinousness of the offence the criterion? What is the difference in principle between breaking windows for a political purpose, urging soldiers not to shoot for a political purpose, and actually assassinating for a political purpose? If there be any difference in principle, if any difference be established on this point, I shall be exceedingly glad to hear it from the hon. Gentleman who is to reply tonight for the Home Office, because I have utterly failed hitherto to get any answer to that question. Here was this gentleman assassinated in London, and many of my brother officers in India, men performing their duty in circumstances of great difficulty, have been assassinated there. I merely mention that by way of illustration. There is no safety for any person who is carrying out 513 any duty which may be unpopular at any particular moment if once this fatal dry rot of surrender to agitation and acceptance of the principle that motives may be pure though the offence may be rank, is allowed. There is no safety for any public officer, and there is no respect for any Government which allows such motives to become current. Yet I find in spite of these principles which I venture to submit to the judgment of the House, on every occasion, whenever anybody steps in on behalf of one of these men, if a deputation comes on behalf of the so called political offender, that is held to be a reason for the most sympathetic treatment. I am sick of the phrase "sympathetic treatment." No sooner does anybody come in with any such cry to the Home Office than it meets with a sympathetic response.
The National Political Reform League came to interview the right hon. Gentleman upon the prison treatment of political offenders. I submit to the House that it was the duty of the Home Secretary, judging him even by what he said in answer to me and by the opinions expressed by his own Attorney-General, not to give a sympathetic reception to any people who approach him in regard to leniency for political offenders. But I observe that he met them sympathetically and guaranteed them the fullest use of his predecessor's Rule 243A, a kind of golden bridge which was built by his predecessor in order to enable him, while admitting that there was no such thing as a political offence, to satisfy the feelings of those who pressed for leniency solely on the ground that offences with which they sympathised were political in character. It is urged I believe that there is no moral turpitude in committing offences in order to bring about female suffrage or in labour strikes. Is there no moral turpitude in breaking the law? I should say that that is the most dangerous doctrine for an Attorney-General and a Home Secretary which it is possible to hold. It justified every word which was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Hewins). Then the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsey Macdonald), who is at any rate nominally the head of the Labour party, and poses as their leader, and in my eyes he is, said that the law in those cases is sufficiently vindicated by the mere passing of the sentence. That went unrebuked by the Home Secretary, who actually expressed some sympathy with the hon. 514 Member. The hon. Member for Leicester went on to say that the punishment in such cases only increases the agitation and advertises the cause which that agitation adopts and embraces. Again, the right hon. Gentleman had not a word of rebuke or dissent as to that dangerous statement.
Take the position in which soldiers are. The right hon. Gentleman, and any Home Secretary, is responsible, if a magistrate requisitions the military, for sending the military. As I rather gathered I was out of order in an observation I made on that subject, I will not refer to it further than to say this: If the right hon. Gentleman's theory, which he repeated to-night that the magistrates are responsible for order, which I believe to be perfectly correct, is correct, then all I can say is that they are in a very parlous state, because when they requisition troops on the ground that such are necessary they are liable to be met by the Home Secretary with the refusal to send troops, and to get instead a posse of police at the expense of the ratepayers of London. That is the present position, and I confess I think it is one of the most serious subjects that could possibly be brought before the House of Commons. Our soldiers, if they are requisitioned, are in a most painful and difficult position. If they do not shoot, as Mr. Mann and his friends recommend, they are liable, and properly liable, for the most serious offence of disobedience as a soldier. If they do shoot, they are liable to be treated as private individuals who are not subject to any special protection in that behalf. I should like to know how those men placed in that painful position are helped, or whether they are not infinitely injured and prejudiced by the attitude of the Home Office, which invariably, and on every occasion, and I have instanced two or three, takes the side of the agitator, instead of supporting those who are responsible for law and order, of whom the Home Secretary himself should be the head and front, and is not, I do submit that it is a most serious charge, and I am pressing it with the little authority which I may have. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I should indeed be in a bad way if I had the support on this question of hon. Members below the Gangway—a very bad way, or such authority as their leaders have over them. On this occasion, when their Leader spoke, the Attorney General complimented him on having shown a true spirit of Liberalism, and 515 actually said in the case of Mr. Mann that he sympathised entirely with the view laid before him by the hon. Member for Leicester. How is that compatible with the position of a Minister whose first duty, in spite of what the Prime Minister said, is to see that law and order are properly preserved—when a judicial sentence passed by the proper authority is criticised by the Leader of a party in this House, and instead of dissent or rebuke from the Front Bench that criticism is met with the statement that the speech showed the true spirit of Liberalism. Liberalism must be in a very bad way. The hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Keir Hardie), who also has great weight as an ex-Leader of the Labour party, and I suppose in their councils, and in my opinion far more weight than their nominal Leader, immediately attacked the sentences passed upon the leaders of the late suffragist riots. Much as he hates preferential tariffs, he wanted to have a preferential tariff in prisoners. He protested that the Home Secretary should have placed these offenders upon special and favourable terms because their offences, as he urged, did not involve any moral turpitude. Is there no moral turpitude in the deliberate infraction of the law, and if there is not I should like to know what offence does involve moral turpitude. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) on the same occasion instanced Cromwell, and said that the breaking of the law is the way to obtain good laws. Cromwell never occupied his time in scenes of hysterical violence in this House.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I leave it, Sir. It was a short digression. When these arguments are used to the Home Secretary, if he ruled them out of order as you have done, I should have nothing to say to him. I complain because they receive his sympathetic consideration, and the impression created on every side, and I confess I share it, is that the one principle that has always weighed with the right hon. Gentleman is that those who have powerful friends as political offenders should receive lenient treatment.
§ Sir HILDRED CARLILE
On a point of Order. Are hon. Members sitting outside the House in order in interrupting the hon. Member who is speaking? I refer particularly to the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond).
§ Mr. BARNES
Is it in order for an hon. Member to attribute to other hon. Members sympathy with crime and offences against the law? While you were out of the House the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) attributed to Members on these benches sympathy with offences against the law.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have not heard any such references; if I do I will deal with them. With regard to the other point, the hon. Member for East Clare was not disorderly.
Mr. W. REDMOND
When I want to be disorderly I will come within the House. But I am never disorderly.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I have one other complaint to make against the Home Secretary I asked him the other day whether during the tailors' strike he had received from the master tailors any application for protection for free labour, and, if so, what was the result. He said that if any such application had been made such protection had been given. He did not say whether such an application had been made or not. I then asked, "Has such an application been made?" Again he said that if it had been made the protection had been given. I submit that that was not proper treatment of the question. The right hon. Gentleman should have said that an application either had or had not been made, or, if he did not know, that he would inquire. I have said nothing disrespectful of the right hon. Gentleman, but I think that that was not proper and respectful treatment to accord to a perfectly courteous question put by a Member of the House. He should not be surprised at these questions being put. I know that the case of Messrs. Houlder at Newport happened before his time, but in the case of the "Lady Jocelyn" in the dock dispute I distinctly charge him with not having given proper protection to free labour, and I was justified in saying that 517 he had not given proper protection in answer to requests which I have reason to believe were made to him on behalf of the master tailors. At any rate, I did not get a proper answer; therefore I bring the question up now, and ask that he will either answer it, or make the necessary inquiries, and then inform the House whether any such application was made, and, if so, what action was taken. I do not wish to detain the Committee further, because what I say does not seem to be received with acclamation in one quarter of the House. Those Gentlemen should learn to accord to others that patient hearing which they receive. When they put forward views which very often are exceedingly unpopular with a great many other Members, they know that, no matter what those views may be, they are sure of receiving sympathetic attention from the Home Secretary, and that so far as is possible, they will gain their end. They have therefore a great advantage over any Member like myself, or any of my colleagues, and it would become them to show with views which they do not like, that patience which is so freely accorded to them by Members in every other quarter of the House.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
I hope the Committee will not forget that already upon two previous occasions we have discussed most of the matters raised by the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees). As far as I can make out from the hon. Member's speech, one of the faults he has to find with the Home Secretary is, that on a certain occasion my right hon. Friend did not rebuke the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald). I hope the hon. Member does not lay down the doctrine that the absence of rebuke on any occasion indicates assent to the views expressed, because my right hon. Friend did not rebuke the hon. Member himself in the course of his speech. I think there is a slight confusion in the hon. Member's mind between intent and motive. Suppose a man commits a crime, he is guilty of certain conduct, and that conduct must be accompanied by a criminal intent. Does not the hon. Member agree that after a man has been found guilty of a crime the motive which led him to have the criminal intent to commit the crime is invariably taken into account by the judge when passing sentence upon him? I propose to limit myself to the new points raised 518 since my right hon. Friend spoke, and to a question with which my right hon. Friend did not deal, put by the hon. Member for Clitheroe (Mr. A. Smith). The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts) referred to certain clerks. They do not come under Home Office administration, and I think his suggestion that we should amend the law would be a very large undertaking. Our view is that under the Public Health Acts local authorities now have certain powers to enforce better sanitation in these offices, and the Local Government Board have taken the view that a great deal can be done under the present law to ensure better conditions of labour in these particular offices. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Wigan asked me two questions, one with regard to the award of a medal to Reid, who died after the award of the medal but before it was presented; and secondly, as to the nature of the inquiry that precedes the award of medals for gallantry of the kind. I gathered that the information before the hon. Gentleman was that medals had not been quite fairly awarded.
§ Mr. NEVILLE
May I suggest that the Home Secretary should ask the Chief Inspector to inquire and tell us.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
The Department will be very glad to make inquiries with regard to the points raised by the hon. Member for Clitheroe. The first was that of shuttle-kissing. A Committee was appointed to consider the matter. It consisted of some of the most experienced inspectors of the Home Office, a doctor of the Local Government Board, with a very long experience, and Mr. Shackleton. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is aware what this Committee found. They found:—When the practice is considered from the medical and public health aspect, it is noteworthy that, although there are, and have been for generations, hundreds and thousands of looms running in Lancashire, only five instances of alleged infection have been brought to our notice by medical officers of health, and that under personal investigation, in not one instance was it possible to bring home to 'shutttle-kissing' the transmission of disease.
§ Mr. ALBERT SMITH
There was no actual or systematic action on behalf of the medical officers to trace the cause of a disease back to shuttle-kissing. It may have been a cause. The report confirms our idea in the matter.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
The real point to which the hon. Member directed my attention was as to whether anything could be done at present in this direction. On 519 the question of the administration the Committee reported:—We think that the case is fairly summed up in a resolution passed at a meeting of the N.W. branch of the Society of Officers of Health to the following effect: 'That this branch is of opinion that the habit of shuttle-kissing common in many districts in Lancashire is objectionable and potentially dangerous to health, and thinks it desirable that means be taken by which the continuance of this practice may be rendered unnecessary.'The hon. Member will readily believe that we, through our inspectors, are taking every possible precaution in this matter. We are willing to allow any other form of shuttle which will make this objectionable practice no longer necessary, and we shall be very glad to help in any way we can to substitute a new shuttle for the present. In regard to the workmen's compensation inquiry during the last few months, we have inquired into this matter, and the conclusion we have arrived at is that at present there is not enough accumulated experience of the 1906 Act at our disposal to make general inquiry into the matter. We shall keep the matter before us, and when we have had our experience of the existing Act we shall be glad to have an inquiry. There is, I think, only one other matter to which I want to refer; it was mentioned by two or three hon. Members, and that is as to the proposals of Mr. Shackleton. I am not in a position to make any definite answer upon the matter now, but it is having our attention and we shall not lose sight of it. I do not intend to enter into the general question which was dealt with on 12th of June and on 28th June in discussions in this House, and on both those occasions the action of the Home Office was amply vindicated.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
Oh, yes; the hon. Baronet made a very sympathetic reference, which was endorsed in all parts of the House, to the recent disaster. As the hon. Baronet knows, the widows of inspectors get one-sixth of their late husband's salary during their lives. At the same time we feel that the circumstances in this case were of an exceptional character. As the Committee knows, not only is the Home Office, but another Department also is concerned in any steps that will be taken. Perhaps the hon. Baronet will allow it to remain at that, and he may be quite sure we will not lose sight of the very exceptional circumstances in which these 520 men lost their lives, and I am sure it is the general wish of the Committee that something should be done on the lines proposed by the hon. Baronet.
§ Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
I desire to say a few words on a matter which comes within the scope of the Home Office, and that is with regard to the medical referees dealing with disease under the Workmen's Compensation Act. I am particularly interested in the question of lead poisoning in the South Wales district. I have had very many cases brought under my notice in connection with the organisation with which I am connected, and we have had experience of the very great difficulty there is in getting a decision. The point that has been impressed upon us as a result of our experience is this. There are in connection with lead poisoning in South Wales a number of officers appointed as medical referees. There is one very important point in connection with this matter and it is this: That when a medical referee gives a decision in any case it is impossible to appeal against that decision. We have had so many complicated decisions from these various referees that we have been driven to this conclusion that it is essential that specialists should be appointed in these various diseases that come within the Compensation Act, and that these specialists should be entirely under the control of the Home Office and should not be employed by any of those who are parties to the dispute in cases that occur. Our experience has taught us that although we desire to make no accusation or charge against the medical referees, after all, they are only human, and when we find that a medical referee is appointed by the Home Office is constantly being employed by the employers and the insurance companies we naturally infer that the people who pay the piper will call the tune, and to a very great extent the medical referee is, in a sense, bound in the interests of the employer and the insurance companies, or those who provide him with his living, to give his judgment in that direction, and therefore against the workman. There is no doubt that in lead poisoning it is often a very difficult matter to decide whether it is really a case of that disease or not. We have found in several cases in South Wales very conflicting evidence indeed. We had one case in 1907, where no less than three medical men were consulted. Two of them had had thirty years' experience in lead poisoning 521 cases, and the other a slightly less period of experience, and they all decided that this particular case was one of lead poisoning. A medical referee was chosen to consider the matter, and he gave his decision against the other three medical men in this case. It is a rather peculiar coincidence that in this case the particular individual whom three doctors had certified was suffering from lead poisoning after a time recovered somewhat from the disease and he became fit for light employment. He went to the particular firm in whose employment he had been and he was told it was too risky to employ him. Anybody familiar with lead poisoning knows that the employer does run a big risk when men have been certified to have this disease about them, and it seemed to us from strong evidence, even from the employer's own point of view, that this man was undoubtedly suffering from lead poisoning when that employer would not employ him at all. We have had a somewhat similar case. In the first case one of the doctors—I will not mention his name—certified this as a case of lead poisoning, and the same doctor in another case certifies against lead poisoning. There you have medical men certifying almost against themselves in these cases.
We think that inasmuch as there is no appeal against the decision of these medical referees, it would be infinitely better if men who were specialists in lead poisoning were chosen. They might be selected to serve for a whole year, and might in a sense be used to give their judgment and decisions only in cases of lead poisoning throughout the country. Under these circumstances these men would be perfectly free to give an unbiassed judgment. As matters stand now it is with the greatest doubt and difficulty that the organisation with which I am concerned can justify a case in any Court at all. So far as we are concerned, it is a matter of very grave doubt in our minds as to whether it is worth while taking these cases to the Court at all. We bring the best medical advice we can get to bear on these cases, and we get two or three doctors to certify that it is a case of lead poisoning. The case may then be sent to a referee who has had no experience in lead poisoning, and he may certify that it is not lead poisoning, and there is no appeal against his judgment, and then the outlook of the suffering man is an exceedingly poor one indeed. We suggest in all seriousness to the Home Office that at present there is a very unsatisfactory con- 522 dition of things existing with regard to industrial diseases in the case of the Compensation Act, as illustrated by the case I have mentioned. So far as we are concerned, we believe that it is with the greatest possible difficulty we can obtain justice in these matters. We admit at once that it is an exceedingly difficult question for doctors to decide what is and what is not lead poisoning. We think all this difficulty inclines in the direction of appointing men who are specialists, doctors who have had a lengthy and wide experience with regard to this particular disease; and, if they are in the employ of the Government, we think their judgment might very well be accepted. I do desire to press the Home Secretary to give attention to this matter, have it inquired into, and see if some alteration in the right direction cannot be made.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
I have been surprised by the speeches of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House with regard to law and order. One hon. Member gave us quite a lecture on the subject, and the Home Office has come in for some severe condemnation for a certain course it has taken during the last three or four months. I quite anticipate we shall have the same thing said when we have these strikes in Ulster, and when we have these doctrines preached even by Cabinet Ministers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Would-be Cabinet Ministers "]—to large crowds in Ulster. I recognise some of this will come home to roost. I am bound to say, as a man in public life, that I have never heard more incitement to disorder than I have heard from that side of the House. It has been carried right away to the crowd and multitude, and I have said to my Friends sitting here in my place that if I had been guilty of such language the men who have gone to Ulster have been guilty of I should have been locked up. I should have been called an inciter to disorder, and I should have been treated as a man who ought to be disregarded as an agitator. It would, no doubt, have been said from the other side of the House that I ought to be put upon a plank bench. There has been a change in the whole of the opinions held in this country with regard to the Conservative party. We have seen the party which used to be considered the upholders of law and order organising resistance in Ulster, and I am glad to know the country is taking note of it. Those who sit on the other side of the House will be responsible in any great upheavals—
§ Mr. PETO
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member entitled on this Vote to discuss the Home Rule Bill?
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
I understood the hon. Member to be replying to some observations from the other side. I should not like the remaining time to be filled up with that subject—although I think it is a fair reply—especially as hon. Members want to discuss particular items in the Vote.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
I was only replying to the hon. Member for Nottingham, who gave us an entire lecture on law and order. We shall have something to say on this side of the House and in the country with regard to the party who preach law and order here, but who outside incite people to disorder. I wish to ask the Home Secretary when the Committee to inquire into the causes of these explosions in mines is going to be appointed and how it is to be constituted. There are a number of dangerous collieries being worked. If the minerals of this country cannot be got out without thousands of lives being slaughtered, then I, for one, say that no matter what inconvenience the country may suffer, the coal must stop in the earth: men's lives must not be sacrificed in this way. Therefore I want this Committee of Inquiry set up immediately. It is important to the workers that the inquiry should be held at once. What I am afraid of at this moment is that you will have a panic among the men working in these collieries. If you once get that, no one will be able to induce the men to go down into the pits to produce this commodity. Let us have an inquiry at once, and let men who work in these dangerous collieries give evidence as to the conditions that obtain there.
The hon. Member for Monmouthshire asked the House to give special consideration to the cases of the inspectors who lost their lives in the recent pit explosions in Yorkshire. I am not complaining that he has made that request. These were brave men. We have lost a valuable inspector in Mr. Pickering, and we have lost also two valuable assistant inspectors, both of whom I knew personally. My hon Friend appealed to the Home Office to be considerate in regard to the wives and families of these men. But there were fifty-four others who lost their lives, and there are from eleven to fourteen men who were bricked in by the operation of cutting off the air from the fire, and nobody knows if 524 they will be got out. They were rescuers. They willingly went down to the rescue of their fellows, and the House should remember their wives and children as well as those of the inspectors.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
Yes, that may be so, but according to the Sheffield papers there is need for immediate relief for their families. I do not care whether or not they are entitled to compensation under the law. I say the country should recognise its duty to them. They were heroes; they went down to the rescue of their fellow-men; they did a national service; they played the part of men, and the country is bound to recognise their heroism. I care not where the disaster may happen. It may be in Yorkshire to-day; it may be in Lancashire to-morrow; it may be in my own county the day after; there will never be a shortage of men who will run the risk, of losing their own lives to save all they possibly can. I appeal to the Committee and to the Home Office to do all they possibly can to give encouragement and incentive to men who follow this dangerous occupation by making a Grant to the wives and families. You may give them nothing, you may refuse to recognise the heroism of these men, but there will be heroes tomorrow who will face danger in the interests of their fellow men.
§ Mr. HOHLER
With the observations of the hon. Member who has just sat down I am sure the whole Committee will entirely sympathise. The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division (Sir A. Markham) told us that workmen's compensation will be paid in the case of these men. I am not so clear upon that point. I am not prepared to deny it, but I gather that they were volunteers. However that may be, I am sure no words of mine can add to what the hon. Member (Mr. W. E. Harvey) has said in the interests of the wives and families of these men, and I am sure the Committee would not desire them to be neglected, but rather that they shall be treated with the same consideration as is given to the cases of the inspectors. I wish to direct attention to the question of the rules with regard to lead poisoning. I listened to the Home Secretary upon that matter with the greatest disappointment. I acknowledge the courtesy with which he received my interruptions. It is a lamentable thing, in a case where the loss of life 525 is constantly proceeding, that although a report was issued in regard to it in 1910, no effective action has yet been taken upon it Government Departments—I do not limit it to the Home Office—apparently act upon an incorrigible policy of slowness. Reports are put in a pigeonhole, and remain there until some one stirs the matter up. What are the facts in this case? In the autumn of 1910 a report was issued, as the result of a Departmental inquiry, dealing with this most important matter, which had again and again been urged upon the Government. One would assume that, subject to any minor criticism, that Report would have been acted upon and rules made. I believe that some intimation was given to the owners on 15th March, 1911. The owners asked to be heard on the question, I submit that the owners did not require nine months to put in their observations. If the Home Office had acted with reasonable celerity, not undue celerity, a period of three months would have been ample time to give the owners an opportunity of answering the Report or of putting in their request to be heard. They were heard, and on 6th September, 1911, draft rules were issued. I suppose they must at least have been the result of the consideration of the observations the owners had to make in regard to what had been proposed, and surely from that time to this no step has been taken in this matter, which is pressed year after year in Parliament. It is perfectly hopeless. We cannot make any progress at all. Nothing has been done. All that we are told is that Sir Ernest Hatch, a volunteer apparently in the matter, is prepared to issue his rules in some period of six weeks. We have heard no further guarantee that the rules will be issued. Meanwhile these industrial diseases continue, and loss of life occurs. No one cares. The employer has to pay, and the unfortunate workman leaves a widow and children to shift as best they can for themselves. That is the position, and a more unsatisfactory explanation in regard to a pressing and urgent matter of this kind has never been offered.
There is another point to which I wish to address myself. I really want to ascertain what is the position of the Home Secretary, and why it is that he ever receives a salary. I am not saying for a moment whether he has discharged the duties of his office properly or improperly, but I am asking for information as to what he considers are his duties. We are not to be put off by mere evasion of the point. 526 When speeches are directed to that point he tells us that the magistrates have their duties. We are aware that citizens have their duties, but what on earth has that to do with the Home Secretary? We want to know what are his duties, and he tells us the magistrates have to keep order. We can tell him all about that, and perhaps some of us know as much about it as the Home Secretary does. I do not think the Home Secretary will deny that in constitutional theory the maintenance of law and order strictly rests in the Crown and through the Crown. In the commission of certain offences, if you call upon a man to assist you in the name of the King and he fails to do so, he is liable to indictment and can be punished. Therefore, strictly in accordance with our Constitution, in my view the whole maintenance of law and order in this country rests with the Crown. The Home Secretary is the Minister to whom constitutionally we look to exercise that power through the Crown and to advise the Crown in that matter. I should have been glad to understand whether the Home Secretary agrees in that view or not. It is all beside the point to talk about conventional duties. There is no such thing. I have always understood that the Home Secretary is the officer of State answerable to this House for law and order in this country, and I should have been glad to hear, instead of the Home Secretary evading this point by referring to the magistrates what he understands is his own view of his own position, because really, if he does not understand his own office, it is about time he learned something about it. When during a strike, a rebellion, or anything else you like, the mob gets entirely out of hand, and the police are wholly unable to cope with it, when the magistrates of a county have done everything they can in the name of the King, to whom are they to appeal for assistance in the matter? I respectfully submit it is the Home Secretary, and nobody else. I can cite a precedent in this matter. It is not long since the Sydney Street siege. The Home Secretary appealed to the War Office, and the War Office gave sanction to use the troops. In other words, we must have in this country some constitutional officer of State to whom we can look to exercise on behalf of the Crown the prerogative that lies in the Crown. It is in regard to this matter that we on this side of the House complain. We say that the Home Secretary, in the difficulties which we have 527 unfortunately had, has failed to recognise what are the duties and obligations of his office. He tried the other day to get out of the difficulties that arose at Tilbury by stating that the place was not within his jurisdiction. He was wrong in that, for the Statutes do extend his jurisdiction to the Essex shores. He was further wrong in not giving advice and assistance to those who had to cope with the difficulties. It is quite clear that it was his duty to do so, and we say that in refusing to do so he violated the first duties of his office. I protest against the doctrine laid down by the junior Member for Norwich, who seemed to suggest that you might allow certain men to suffer injustice in order that certain others might be enabled to do something. That is not my view of the law. In regard to the unfortunate strikes which have disturbed this country, I say two things are apparent. The first is that they do not break the head of a Member of Parliament or the Home Secretary. If they did there would be something to be said for them. Unfortunately those acts of violence and intimidation are employed against men of their own class. These are the unfortunate men who suffer. The Home Secretary has been guilty, in my judgment, of a gross violation of his duty, inasmuch as he has not held out any protecting hand to protect every man, however humble his position may be. After the cases we have seen in the police courts, the letters we have seen in the Press, and the injuries which men have sustained —after the difficulties which those who were desirous of working have met with, and the sufferings which their wives and children have undergone, I say that the Home Secretary ought to have held out the steady hand of justice to everyone who was entitled to it. On the contrary, he has endeavoured to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. The fact is that because of the thirty Labour votes you are afraid to do what you know to be right, because you have always got somebody to spur you on, and so the un-
§ fortunate poor suffer and their wives and children; and there are broken heads. But what do you care? You get up and shirk all your responsibilities; you talk to us about magistrates and draw a comfortable salary.
§ Mr. H. T. CAWLEY
The hon. and learned Member who has just spoken has indulged in a large number of generalisations, but, as I gather, the actual thing to which he has directed his criticism is the action of the Home Secretary in the case of Tilbury. What actually happened? The Home Secretary, as I understand, suggested to the authorities at Tilbury that he had more urgent claims upon him for the Metropolitan Police, and that the part of the country from which the police should be transferred from Tilbury was some place where they were not more urgently required. Accordingly police were asked for and sent from Birmingham, where there was no dock strike, and not from the Metropolitan area. The only charge made against the Home Secretary was that there was a delay of one day in getting the necessary force of police—
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. CAWLEY
The necessary protection was provided in that way, and I think that in the circumstances the correct thing was done in retaining the police where they were most urgently required at the moment.
§ Mr. McKENNA
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but the Chairman withheld his assent, as he was of opinion that the Committee was prepared to come to a decision without that Motion.
§ Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £167,507 be granted for the said Service.'
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 235; Noes, 287.531
|Division No. 148.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baldwin, Stanley||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Benn, I. H. (Greenwich)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Bereslord, Lord Charles|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Barnston, H.||Bird, Alfred|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Barrie, H. T.||Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bathurst. Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)|
|Boyton, James||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Harris, Henry Percy||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bull, Sir William James||Helmsley, Viscount||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hickman, Col. Thomas E,||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Campion, W. R.||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Rawson, Col. R. H.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hoare, S. J. G.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hohler, G. F.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cassel, Felix||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Cator, John||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Homer, Andrew Long||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cave, George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Royds, Edmund|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Jackson, Sir John||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset. Welts)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Arthur||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Clyde, James Avon||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Kerry, Earl of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.I|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Keswick, Henry||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pl, Walton)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kyffin-Taylor, G||Stanier, Beville|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Larmor, Sir J.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootie)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lewisham, Viscount||Swift, Rigby|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutstord)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Colonel A. R.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Macmaster, Donald||Valentia, Viscount|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||M'Mordle, R. J.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Fell, Arthur||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. sir Robert||Magnus, Sir Philip||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Malcolm, Ian||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Fleming, Valentine||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Williams. Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Moore, William||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Winterton, Earl|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Mount, William Arthur||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Newdegate, F. A.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Newman, John R. P.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Grant, J. A.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Gretton, John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Nield, Herbert||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||0'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Younger, Sir George|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Hail, Marshall, (E. Toxteth)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Pike Pease and Mr. Eyres-Monsell.|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Black, Arthur W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Booth, Frederick Handel|
|Adamson, William||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bowerman, Charles W.|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Brocklehurst, William B.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Barnes, George N.||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Bryce, John Annan|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barton, A. W.||Buckmaster, Stanley O.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Burke, E. Haviland-|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Armitage, R.||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Bentham, George J.||Byles, Sir William Pollard|
|Cameron, Robert||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Carr Gomm, H. W.||Holt, Richard Durning||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hudson, Walter||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Clough, William||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||John, Edward Thomas||Pointer, Joseph|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvll)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A,||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts.,Stepney)||Radford, G. H.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Joyce, Michael||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Crooks, William||Keating, M.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kellaway, Frederick George||Rea, Waiter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Cullinan, J.||Kelly, Edward||Reddy, M.|
|Davies, E. William (Elfion)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roberts, Sir J, H. (Denbighs)|
|Delany, William||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford).|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Leach, Charles||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Rowlands, James|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lundon, T.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lynch, A. A.||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel>|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Col. J. E. B.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||McCallum, Sir John M.||Sheeny, David|
|Esslemont, George Blrnie||M'Curdy, C. A.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Falconer, J.||McKenna, Rt. Hon, Reginald||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Laren, Hon. F. W.S. (Lincs.,Spalding)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon Charles||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Summers, James Woolley|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Sutherland, John E.|
|Field, William||Martin, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Meagher, Michael||Tennant, Harold John|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Furness, Stephen||Menzies, Sir Walter||Toulmin, Sir George|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Middlebrook, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Gill, A. H.||Molloy, M.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wadsworth. J.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Mooney, John J.||Wardle, G. J.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Morgan, George Hay||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Morrell, Philip||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Morison, Hector||Wason, John (Cathcart, Orkney)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Griffith, Ellis J. (Anglessey)||Muldoon, John||Webb, H.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Munro, Robert||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Hackett, J.||Needham, Christopher T.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Neilson, Francis||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hancock, John George||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. sir Thomas P.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nolan, Joseph||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norman, Sir Henry||Wiles, Thomas|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Williams, Llewellyn (Carmarthen)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Nuttall, Harry||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Donnell, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hazleton. Richard (Galway, N.)||O'Dowd, John||Winfrey, Richard|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||0'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Malley, William||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hinds, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Shee, James John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Hodge, John||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Hogge, James Myles||Outhwaite, R. L.|
Original question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow. Committee to sit again to-morrow (Thursday).