HC Deb 21 October 1918 vol 110 cc551-2

The following Sub-section shall be added after Sub-section (3) of Section three of the principal Act: (4) Three persons, who shall be certified mid-wives, to be elected for a term of three years by certified midwives practising in England.—[Mr. Watt.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

It provides that three certified midwives should be elected on the Central Midwives Board. When the 1902 Act was passed this Board had power to deprive midwives of their livelihood, and I believe this Board still has the same power. It is the opinion of my hon. and gallant Friend (Major Chapple), who placed this new Clause on the Paper, that the midwives themselves should be represented on the Central Midwives Board, and that there should be three representatives chosen by themselves.

9.0 P.M.


I am informed by the Privy Council that this proposal would necessitate setting up very cumbrous and expensive machinery, and I think it would be better to deal with this question of representation of midwives through the first Clause, which provides machinery by which that can be effected. I am told that this proposal would result in a very haphazard and unsatisfactory representation of the midwives, and I see no reason for setting up machinery of this kind which is not in the Scottish or the Irish Acts. I think we should be satisfied with the provision in Clause 1 which enables us to provide for the representation of midwives on the Board.


Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why on the Irish Board nine-tenths of them are Protestants? What has religion got to do with midwives? That is the result of the operation of the Act in Ireland, in a country where three-fourths of the population are Catholics, and there you have a Board consisting almost all of the non-Catholic religion.


The answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given is most unsatisfactory. There would be no difficulity about the midwives organisation choosing representatives, and if the right hon. Gentleman accepted the idea of my proposal he might easily so arrange the Amendment that the Lord President of the Council could have been instructed to choose midwives practising in the United Kingdom. I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.