HC Deb 02 June 1919 vol 116 cc1792-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn."—[Colonel Sanders.]


In drawing attention to a point which I raised at Question Time, I should like first to refer to the question which I had on the Paper. That question dealt with the treaty which exists between this country—made in 1911—and Japan, which allows silk manufactured goods to come into this country free of duty. In his reply, the President of the Board of Trade stated that there are a number of tariff concessions made in that treaty. I have carefully examined those concessions, and I think it should be brought to the notice not only of this House, but of the country in general, that the rates of tariff on British cotton manufactured goods going into Japan are reduced from 95 per cent. to 80 per cent. and it is an insult not only to the House but to the country generally that an exchange of free imports should be given by any Government which does not give free admission to our goods. Some time since I asked the President of the Board of Trade as to the wages paid in Japan. I asked him whether the wages were l0d. per day of thirteen hours, and he replied that he did not know. On the 26th May I again asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would state what are the wages paid to the operatives in silk factories and the number of hours they worked a day? The reply, as I understand, of the Minister of Labour was that no authoritative data are available as to wages paid or hours worked in Japanese silk mills. But I have it on the most reliable authority that a document was issued by the Japanese Minister of Finance in 1918 which gives precisely the information which I stated in my first question, and the facts are even worse than I then gave them. In that book it distinctly states—

Notice taken that forty Members were not present; House counted, and forty Members not being present

The House was adjourned at Seven minutes after Bight of the clock till To-morrow.