§ It shall be the duty of the Minister in the exercise and performance of any powers and duties transferred to him by or in pursuance of this Act, to take all such steps as may be desirable to secure the effective carrying out and co-ordination of measures conducive to the health of the people, including measures for the prevention and cure of diseases, the treatment of physical and mental defects, the collection, preparation and publication of information and statistics relating thereto, and the training of persons for health services.
§ Mr. STEWART
I beg to move, after the word "diseases" ["cure of diseases"] to insert the wordsincluding venereal diseases and the confidential notification thereof.I think it would be a great mistake if we confined this Bill to mere matters of machinery. It seems to me to be a fine opportunity for a review of the national health, and, if possible, to devise some method of meeting one of the greatest enemies of the human race. The Local Government Board claim that they have the power now to make these particular diseases 2075 notifiable, but there is a widely-expressed wish and desire, not only on the part of Members of this House but of the general public as well, that legislation of this sort should be by Act of Parliament rather than by Orders in Council or by Departmental action. I have here a resolution, passed on the very subject we are now discussing, from the Women's Local Government Society, in which they favour legislation on this subject, if there is any, being by Act of Parliament.
In days gone by we were debarred from dealing with this subject by a general feeling of modesty, but the War has been a great educator in this as in other matters, and the question of notification is now well known to five or six million of men who served in the forces, and through them to a very large number of the population. We are all desirous of protecting society against an evil, the effect of which cannot be exaggerated, and the only difference between us is in regard to the method we should adopt. Those who are opposed to notification say that it would tend to more secrecy. That is largely a matter of opinion. Against the natural desire for secrecy you must put the common sense and the instinct of self-preservation which the sufferer naturally feels. Many of those who are opposed to notification have admitted to me that it ought to be done. I submit that when you get to that frame of mind when you say a thing ought to be done you have taken a very long step in the direction of doing it. The opponents of notification are in many instance members of the medical profession. They are so obsessed with sympathy for the sufferer who consults them that I think that they are apt to minimise the danger to the public. Those of us who are in favour of notification are out to protect, not only the sufferers, but the community as a whole. We are not advocating a thing that has not been tried. Notification is working in a great many of the States of America, especially in Illinois, and there, from information which is obtainable by anybody who takes an interest in the matter, it will be found that it works very quickly and satisfactorily, and that the sufferer is in no way incommoded—in fact, the only person who knows his name is his own medical adviser. The name is notified by a number to the principal officer of health, and so long as the sufferer accepts 2076 the treatment of his own medical adviser his name is never revealed. If we in this country administered this Act under somewhat similar conditions it would be in no way derogatory to the doctors, but it would tend to increase their influence in the country, because they would more and more become the father confessors and advisers of their patients.
Another objection to notification is that there is restraint. We should ask ourselves the question whether we have any moral right to interfere with the liberty of the individual in a matter of this kind. I am prepared to state emphatically that we have a moral right to do so, and the plain question I should like to put is, Whether a man or a woman should be allowed, with impunity, to inflict perhaps an irreparable injury upon their fellow citizens? That cannot be allowed for a moment. You restrain people in regard to other matters. If a man is intoxicated he is restrained and, if necessary, put in gaol, but he is not so dangerous to his fellow men as the man who is suffering from this particular malady. We have in this country already notification of a certain form of ophthalmia arising from venereal disease and the results are particularly good. A case of that sort affects the family. It affects a married man and his wife, that the disease should be notifiable in the case of their child. That is a greater step than notifying the case of any one particular individual. If the result is good as regards the offspring of a person suffering from venereal disease, I ask myself the question, Why should it not be equally efficacious if applied to the parent? This question was discussed in the House of Lords recently and a grave statement was made as to the national position. We heard last Friday from a gallant Member of this House a moving statement that the real tragedy of this War was that the young women of this country were deprived of their mates. The tragedy would be very much aggravated if we failed to make the best efforts we possibly can to see that those mates that are available for them are healthy and fit to carry on this country. What are the results of our present methods? I do not wish to appear as an alarmist or a croaker, but I cannot say that they are encouraging. If we take stock of our present position, what do we find? The last Royal Commission stated that there were three million syphilitic people in the community. There are probably more now. What the figures 2077 are as regards gonorrhœa I do not know, but they must be very heavy, and we, who have an enormous responsibility in every quarter of the globe, must realise that such a position is profoundly unsatisfactory, and I suggest that a strengthening of our machinery for dealing with these evils is now overdue. I by no means say that notification is a specific cure for the evils with which we are faced, but it is a step in the right direction and we ought to give the system a trial. An article in the "Times" on the 4th April dealt with the gravity of venereal disease and the effect of the American system. There is an illuminating article in the same journal this morning giving some account of the International Congress on this particular point now being held at Cannes. There one of our own officers said that if they could get these sufferers into their hands on the first day of their ailment they could probably cure everybody in ten days. Let us do everything to bring that about. Backing up the article in the "Times" of the 4th April there appeared a letter signed by six leading medical men in this country, and it was upon that letter that I ventured to bring this question up for a second time. The letter says:We observed with great satisfaction that Lord Willoughby de Broke, speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, 2nd April, on the subject of venereal infection expressed his opinion that the time was approaching when notification will have to be considered as a means of securing better control of these communicable diseases. We cordially agree with his statement.That letter was signed by Sir William Osler, Dr. G. Eric Pritchard, Dr. W. Hale-White, Sir G. Lenthal Cheatle, Dr. W. H. Clayton Greene, and Sir James Purves Stewart. I am aware that in this matter I am not entirely in accord with some of the medical Members of this House, and I hope they will not take it badly of me if I take my stand with the six doctors whose names I have given, in bringing forward this matter again. I think notification would be a very valuable step. The effect of it would be a deterrent in many ways, and it would be an additional safeguard. These are my reasons for bringing forward this matter which was turned down in the Grand Committee upstairs.
§ Mr. CAIRNS
I beg to second the Amendment.
2078 I hold in my hand the Report of a certain hospital in the North of England for the year 1917. There were 2,638 cases of venereal disease, and in the following year there were 2,971 cases, with twenty-four beds set apart to deal with this disease. We have had to build a special wing for the hospital which has cost a large amount of money, and this class of case is being dealt with there. The men I have seen brought there were strong men, and some of the finest specimens of the human family. I should like to call a spade a spade, but it might not be allowed. It is not only the adult population that has to suffer from this disease, but it is the generations that follow. We are told by medical men that many cases of blindness are brought on by this disease. We are told by some of our medical men that in certain institutions where soldiers were that nobody ought to be allowed to put their bare hands on the door handles in case they might get infection. I am only a layman, but I have been connected with hospital work for many years, and what I have seen has impressed me very much. I think this mad dog of disease ought to be got hold of. If people have measles in a house the disease has to be notified, and in case of other fevers and small-pox people have to be taken away to hospital; but this particular disease is allowed to go on without notification. The institutions in the North have to be maintained largely by the subscriptions of working men, and these people who are suffering from venereal disease keep respectable, clean people out of the hospitals who meet with accidents or ordinary disease. Lots of cases have occurred where workmen are kept away from their employment because cases of syphilis and gonorrhœa have to be admitted into the hospitals. Doctors, disagree about it, and if the doctors disagree we will come in and settle the question. Medicine is not an exact science yet. They do not know everything in Heaven and earth, but I believe they would know more if there were more money spent, and if the purse-strings of the Treasury would allow them to spend more money on research. I hope that this House will agree to include this in the Bill, for the-sake of the coming generations that are yet unborn. Let us kill it at once.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Major Astor)
The Mover and Seconder of this Amendment have discussed a matter which is of vital importance to the 2079 community at large. I take it that they bring forward this Amendment because they are not perfectly satisfied that the Department are doing as much as they might be doing in the matter, and because they think it ought to be made a notifiable disease. I do not quite know what the Mover of the Amendment had in mind when he suggested notification. He does not say, for instance, on the Paper, that it is to be compulsory. I am not certain whether he wants compulsory notification to be followed by compulsory treatment, and, if he means compulsory treatment, whether he means that that treatment should be continued compulsorily until a complete cure has been effected. I only mention these points because, if the Committee were to go into this in detail, it would have to decide quite clearly how far it ought to go in these directions, and my hon. Friend knows as well as I do, because he attended the conference the other day, that people who have gone into this subject for years very closely, and who have consulted experts, and taken evidence, are by no means agreed that you would achieve the results you desire if you were to go in for compulsory notification and treatment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I see there are many hon. Members here who are of that opinion also, but I would like to make an appeal to the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. If the Amendment were carried it would not really confer any new powers or obligations upon the Department. If it did, it ought to take the shape of a new Clause in the Bill. Clause 2 merely sets out the sort of reasons for which a Ministry of Health is to be set up. There shall be a Minister who shall co-ordinate existing methods, powers, and duties, and the whole of the Clause deals with existing powers and functions, so that if the object of the Amendment is to give new powers, this is not the proper place to do it. In view of the fact that there is obviously a great difference of opinion among Members of the House as to the merits and the results which would follow such a proposal as this, if it were included in the Bill, in view of the fact that there was so little support for this proposal in Standing Committee upstairs, in view of the fact that at a largely attended discussion which went on for nearly three hours upstairs the other day the general opinion of those present was that the measure would in effect defeat their object and their purpose, in view of the fact that 2080 if these words were included they would only be illustrative of the sort of thing the Minister ought to do, and in view of the general desire of the House to get ahead and pass this Bill, I suggest to my hon. Friend that he should not persist in the Amendment, and that we should not have a general discussion on the best way of dealing with venereal disease. Before sitting down, I want to assure the hon. Member and all who are interested in this most vital matter that the Department are doing all they can. At the present moment I am engaged in sifting out evidence that has been taken recently. We have had the evidence of experts, who have different methods of treating the disease, and I am sifting and correlating this evidence, and I am going to submit it then to the President, and if in his opinion further action and further powers are necessary I have no hesitation in saying that he will come to the House and ask for extra powers; but in the meanwhile, as my right hon. Friend explained to the Committee upstairs, he is going ahead, encouraging the establishment of centres where treatment and diagnosis may be obtained, and we have got a certain number—130 or 140—already provided by the local authorities. It is not nearly enough, but we are going ahead as fast as we can to try and get that number doubled, trebled, quadrupled. We are going ahead with propaganda and education, but, in our opinion, the particular proposal contained in this Amendment would not assist in eradicating or in diminishing this particular disease. I also venture to suggest to the Committee that this is not the moment or the place to discuss the treatment of this disease, and I hope the Mover and Seconder will allow the House to go on discussing the other Amendments on the Paper.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I hope my hon. Friends who have moved this Amendment will not, at any rate, press it to a Division. It is a subject of vital importance. That we all recognise. Great strides have taken place, and much benefit has already accrued. It is perfectly clear that unless you carry with you in these matters the solid body of reasonable public opinion you will set back a good deal of the progress which has already been made, and nobody wishes to do that. It chanced that yesterday evening I sat at dinner between two of the leading physicians in London, one of them certainly a man whose name is not only well known in this country but 2081 of world-wide reputation, and deeply interested, of course, in this question. I asked them their opinion, and they were both of the same opinion, that at the present moment to make the notification compulsory would do harm rather than good; and one of them, the younger man, who has had a good deal to do with the working of the scheme at present in operation, told me that the existing arrangements were being very largely used and increasingly used. He pointed out to me, as an instance of how perhaps compulsory notification would damage it, that there are already several stations working in London. I do not know whether "stations" is the right word, but he told me that men from the North of London were brought to the South, and men from the South were taken to the East, and so on—anywhere rather than where they might chance to be known. And the mere fact that that was available for them—and people had got to know it was available—had led, in his opinion, without any doubt to a large increase in the use of these stations, if I may so call them. I therefore think, if I may be permitted to say so, that the view of the Government in regard to this Amendment is at present the correct one.
§ Major COURTHOPE
I am sorry the representative of the Local Government Board has taken the line he has. According to him, and here I agree with him, the addition of these words to the Clause would only be illustrative of the general work and powers which the Ministry is to undertake. If that is so, what is the objection to the words going in? It is admitted that this great evil requires very special treatment, and it is admitted, I believe, on all hands that this time of demobilisation is one of special danger in connection with venereal disease. Then why should the Ministry hesitate to have these specific words in their general powers Clause, drawing attention to the fact that it is one of the matters with which they have to deal? I feel that the resistance of this Amendment, and the refusal to draw attention to these words in the Bill, will be very discouraging to those who are very anxious that some special and prompt steps should be taken to prevent its spread. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman realises that at the present time soldiers suffering from this disease, and in an infective state, are being discharged from Cherry Hinton and other hospitals, and released to civil life? I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his deci- 2082 sion and allow the insertion of these or some other words drawing special attention to this matter. I believe it is generally admitted that but for what you might call compulsory notification of this disease in the Army, there would be far greater trouble from it than there is at the present time. I think it is also admitted that in those parts of the United States where there has been compulsory confidential notification it has worked well, and although I am merely a layman in these matters, I do hope that this question will receive more consideration than the speech of the hon. Member who answered the Amendment led us to suppose. The special steps that were taken to protect soldiers by Regulation 40 D were withdrawn owing to popular clamour, and that popular clamour took the line that anything one did should be applied impartially to both sexes. Notification fulfils this condition. I do hope we shall hear from the Minister something more of what he is prepared to do.
§ Sir W. WHITLA
We have just got into the dangerous position of having this question tried on a side issue, and I should like to keep the main issue before the House, which should be whether this is likely to lead to a diminution of venereal disease, and not whether it is expedient or inexpedient to tackle it under this Bill. As a medical man of fifty years' standing, I consider it is my solemn duty to warn the House that no greater fallacy can be conceived in the practical treatment of venereal disease than to think you have got a panacea by notification. The direct effect of notification is to drive nearly every man into the hands of a quack. Our terrible difficulty is this: A man comes before us an absolute wreck with syphilis. We can do nothing for him; he has been in the hands of a chemist or a blacksmith or some village quack Medical men in practice seldom find that a patient of theirs comes to them with syphilis. He goes to another medical man. We find the same thing among the people we know intimately—people who can trust us thoroughly, but who are ashamed. Supposing you had notification. Could there be anything more absurd than to think that by the mere fact of notification you could prevent the spread of the disease? That underlies all the arguments of the hon. Member, and that was at the back of his mind in moving this Resolution. I can see no advantage that can come from this. It can only drive the 2083 victim to a quack. I have no sympathy with him, however. In fact, if I were not speaking in this House with Mr. Speaker in the Chair, I would state the measure I would deal out to him. I can see that no good whatever can come of this proposal. The fact that there are men in the Army under discipline, and who can be inspected, has no bearing on the question at all. Another argument put before the House involves a profound fallacy. The disease of conjunctivitis is a disease which appears soon after birth. It cannot be concealed, and not one layman in a dozen knows that it is gonorrhœal or venereal at all, so that the analogy has no bearing on this subject. I do beseech the House to give this Amendment a wide berth. You will only spread the disease and lose many lives by it, because the victim will not go to a physician.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
Speaking as a layman, I want to add my appeal to that of the hon. Member opposite. I believe that the policy laid down in the Amendment is the very reverse of the policy that the country ought to follow. All medical men to whom I have spoken on this subject agree that the great ravages of this disease are largely due to concealment, and if that be true in a state of things in which almost everybody knows that doctors keep their own counsel, what will the concealment be if everybody who goes to a doctor knows that he or she will be notified as suffering from the disease, which already makes one so ashamed that the ordinary doctor is shunned? I suggest that the very reverse of the policy suggested in the Amendment is what the country needs in order to stamp out this disease. Make the person who is suffering feel that he or she can consult a doctor without the slightest danger of disclosure, and that he or she can go to an institution where the utmost secrecy will be observed, and by that policy I believe there is a chance of stamping out the disease. I am not going to try to minimise the ravages of the disease, but I am going to say that from facts that have come under my own personal observation, there is the greatest doubt as to whether this danger is quite so serious as the public thinks it is. I was in charge, for a certain time, of five counties, and was responsible for getting men for the Army and Navy. I had, fortunately, two medical men who displayed the most meticulous care in the 2084 collection of statistics as to the diseases which the people examined by the medical boards suffered from. Out of 217,000 cases of men examined, less than 800 were suffering from these diseases either acquired or hereditary. That is a most remarkable fact that struck me, and struck these medical men who collected the statistics. I do not base my argument on the fact that only 800 out of 217,000 were suffering from these diseases. If there were only eight, it would still be dangerous to the community; but I do insist on the point, so very well put by the hon. Gentleman opposite, that publicity in these things is likely to drive the man and woman to the quack, and secrecy and confidence are likely to bring them to the medical man, who can treat them properly. With the same desire as the hon. Members who moved and seconded this Amendment, namely, that these diseases should be stamped out, I ask the Committee to adopt a policy quite contrary from the one they advocate, believing that by that method we shall get better results.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would point out to the House that the discussion is really getting rather beyond the Amendment. The words of the Clause are that it shall be the duty of the Minister to take all steps "for the prevention and cure of diseases." That must, of course, include all diseases, venereal and others; and with regard to notification, if that is a means of prevention of disease, the power to apply that has already been given by the words already passed. The only question it appears to me now for the House to consider is as to whether of all the known diseases this special class of disease is to be selected from all the others for insertion in the Bill. So far as the Amendment is concerned, that seems to me the only question which arises for discussion.
§ Mr. STEWART
If the right hon. Gentleman has got the powers for notification I think he ought to use them, and if he has the powers I apologise for asking so very hard-worked and courteous a Minister to make another speech. I am quite prepared to leave the matter in your hands, Mr. Speaker, if you think the discussion has gone far enough, and I shall be quite prepared to withdraw the Amendment if you think it should be withdrawn.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
My view was that it was useless to discuss the important ques- 2085 tion whether notification of these diseases should take place or not. That was really all that was raised by this Amendment, and it did seem to me that the House, having passed the words "including measures for the prevention and cure of diseases," the power had already been given to the Minister to apply notification if he thought notification was desirable. Whether he applies it or not is a matter of administration, and it will be open to criticism in the future. I do not see myself that the addition of these words carries the powers already given by the Bill any further.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I beg to move, after the word "defects," to insert the words "the initiation and direction of research."
This Amendment makes good what appears to be an omission in the drafting of the Clause, and has to be inserted in order to make it quite clear.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Major BARNETT
I beg to move to leave out the word "and" ["preparation and publication"].
The object of this Amendment and that which follows is to strengthen the Bill in the matter of propaganda. Clause 2 already provides for the collection, preparation, and publication of information and statistics, but not for their dissemination. We have already heard from the Parliamentary Secretary as to the excellent work in propaganda which has been done in regard to venereal disease, and there are other subjects, such as diet and hygiene, which are equally important; therefore I trust the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept these Amendments.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: After the word "publication," insert the words "and dissemination."—[Major Barnett.]
§ Lieutenant - Colonel Sir SAMUEL HOARE
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert the wordsProvided that nothing in this Section shall compel any person to receive treatment who makes 2086 a statutory declaration that upon conscientious grounds he objects to medical treatment and who, after making the declaration, does not by infection endanger the health of any other person.The object of this Amendment is to meet the case of persons like Christian Scientists, who have conscientious objection to medical treatment. Let me say at once I do not in any way agree with the views of Christian Scientists; in fact, I imagine there are few Members in this House who would disagree with them more entirely than myself. But I move the Amendment because I feel that, both on grounds of justice and on grounds of expediency, it is much better not to compel persons, who conscientiously object to a particular form of treatment, to have that treatment imposed upon them. In the Committee the President of the Local Government Board used two arguments against this Amendment. In the first place, he said the Amendment, as it was first drafted, would cut across the various Infectious Diseases Acts, and would make it possible for the conscientious objector to avoid isolation in the event of his suffering from infectious disease, and, therefore, endanger the health of some other person. In the amended form in which I move this Amendment, I attempt to meet this case, and to exclude from its scope any provisions that may already be contained in Acts dealing with infectious diseases. If this Amendment be carried, it will not be possible for any conscientious objector to avoid isolation and by that means endanger the health of some third person. Secondly, the President of the Local Government Board, during the Committee Debate, urged that an Amendment of this kind was not required, for this Act gives the Ministry of Health no powers of this kind that it does not already possess. In that connection let me ask the President whether to-day he will make it quite clear to the House that he takes no powers whatever that will compel a conscientious objector to receive that medical treatment of which he disapproves. If the answer is in the affirmative, then let me urge upon him that there can be no objection to inserting this Amendment in the Bill. It will merely make what is the actual state of the law perfectly clear, and will prevent officials or other persons afterwards attempting, by means of administration, to carry out provisions which have not been, by legislation, included in the Act.
Let me further urge upon the right hon. Gentleman that the proposal we are 2087 making is no new one. In the case of the Vaccination Acts it is, of course, known to every Member that a Clause of this kind has been inserted. More recently than that, in the various Administrative Provisions Acts for conferring various powers upon the Board of Education a specific proviso is there included stating that no person could be compelled to accept medical treatment for his or her children. It seems to me that this House, having already granted a Clause of this kind in the case of children, no reason whatever remains why it should not also now grant it in the case of parents. I hope that in any case the President will satisfy the House that he intends to take no powers that he does not already possess of compelling persons to accept medical treatment of which they disapprove.
§ Dr. ADDISON
This Amendment reproduces in a somewhat modified form the Amendment which the hon. Baronet reminds us was discussed in Committee at great length. After the discussion in Committee there was a Division on the Amendment, which was rejected by 33 votes to 14. I am not going to weary the House by going over the ground which I then went over with respect to the Amendment. I recognise the hon. Baronet has modified his Amendment in an endeavour to meet the objections which I brought forward in Committee. In the first place, however, I can give him the assurance for which he asks. There is nothing in this Bill which enlarges the power of the Minister; it simply transfers the powers now exercised by the Department specified. There is no enlargement of any kind in respect of this matter. Since the Debate in Committee I have had this matter very carefully gone into with a view to seeing what are the existing powers which would enable us to compel a man to conform who objected to medical treatment. I did not find any. In infectious diseases, even in the case of a person who is suffering, say, from diphtheria, and is removed under a compulsory notification order to an infectious hospital, if, apparently, that person should be of opinion that the administration of an antitoxin was contrary to his religious or other belief then it is the practice—I cannot say it is the law, because it seems to have been adapted—but it is certainly the practice 2088 never to administer it. We have all learnt enough in these days, I think, to be wise enough not to try to force some particular method of treatment upon people who object to it, even if they are acting to their own detriment and suffer the consequences of their own convictions. We are taking no new powers. I can assure the hon. Baronet, and the House, that if I want powers to impose some form of treatment upon anybody I shall certainly come down to the House and say so. I shall ask specifically the permission of the House for the extra powers required.
Judging, I think, from my political experience up to the present I should hesitate a good deal, knowing the temper of the House in these matters, before I came down, and asked for such powers. To begin to cumber up the Bill with all kinds of provisions of this kind would only be to open up a vista of difficulty for the future. Take the Amendment:Provided that nothing in this Section shall compel any person to receive treatment who makes a statutory declaration that upon conscientious grounds he objects to medical treatment—You will require some machinery for that statutory declaration. So far as I know, and can make out, we have not this power at present. We should require some machinery for taking and recording statutory declarations. The Amendment goes onand who, after making a declaration, does not by infection endanger the health of any other person.Who is to say whether or not the person is doing that? The local magistrate who has received the statutory declaration? There is a certain doubt whether such conscientious objector does or does not endanger the health of other people by so doing. I should be very sorry to have to judge in the vast majority of cases. How are you going to prove that the person did or did not? It is almost impossible except in an institution or in the case of some infectious disease, which is now notifiable which the community has said for its own protection should be specially treated and isolated. It is not the intention of the hon. Baronet that we should seize and isolate individuals highly infectious?
§ Dr. ADDISON
Very well, if that is the case I do not see any benefit by the insertion of this Amendment. Let me, on the understanding which I have previously stated—I hope quite frankly—say that if 2089 we want any additional powers we will come and ask for them. We have, however, to bear in mind that in demobilisation there are some very difficult points. A number of experts and others from the different Departments are now working under the chairmanship of my hon. and gallant Friend to see what they can advise to safeguard the country from the introduction of a number of tropical diseases which hitherto, or for a long time, have been almost foreign to our country. Some of these are not now notifiable. If we want to notify them we must obtain powers in the proper way. I ask the House not to tie us up by provisions of this kind. Administratively they are quite unworkable, and achieve no useful purpose, because we have not the powers in the Bill. They will only create a difficulty, and will do no good. I assure the House that if I should become so misguided and in the frame of mind I have indicated so as to want the powers mentioned, I will come to the House and report. With that assurance I hope the hon. Baronet will be satisfied.
§ Sir S. HOARE
It may perhaps expedite the proceedings if I say that after the definite assurance of the President of the Local Government Board that he does not contemplate any new powers in this Bill of the sort I have described I am ready to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.