§ 51. Mr. PATRICK WHITE
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the complaints of Irish stock-owners as to the treatment of their animals at English ports since the recent Order enforcing twelve hours' detention came into operation; whether complaints have been made as to the whole system now in force; and whether, having regard to the conflict of testimony between the Board's officials on this side and the Irish owners as to what actually takes place, he will, in order to elucidate the truth, appoint a Committee to take evidence and report generally upon a matter so vital to Ireland as the preservation of the cattle trade between the two countries?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
My right hon. Friend, in answer to recent questions on this subject, has repeatedly expressed his readiness to investigate any specific complaints which may be made to him, but he informs me that up to the present time no substantial evidence in support of the general allegations referred to has been submitted to him. In the circumstances I can see no necessity for the appointment of a Committee, as suggested by the hon. Member.
§ 52. Mr. P. WHITE
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to the promises made by Ministers when introducing and during its passage through both Houses of Parliament of the Contagious Diseases Animals Act, 1878, that Ireland would be treated as part of the United Kingdom or, as was then stated by a Minister, the same as one county in England would be treated as compared with another; and whether, having regard to what took place last year when Ireland was treated in a way intended for a foreign country, he will appoint a Committee to take evidence and report whether the Act has been administered in accordance with the pledges given by Ministers of the Crown or in direct opposition to them?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I understand that the action of the Board of Agriculture last year, to which the hon. Member refers, was taken under Section 22 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894. The restrictions imposed upon the admission of Irish animals into Great Britain were such as might be imposed at any time, if necessity should arise, in respect of any other part of the United Kingdom to prevent the spread of infection. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by adopting the suggestion made by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he has had his attention directed to the promises made by Ministers when the Act was passing through the House?