HC Deb 22 December 1938 vol 342 cc3094-5
68. Mr. J. Hall

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether His Majesty's Government are now prepared to ratify the convention concerning the liability of the shipowner in case of sickness, injury, or death of seamen, in view of the fact that the reason given in Cmd. 5745 for non-ratification does not appear to constitute a substantial objection of principle?

Mr. Stanley

In order to ratify the convention to which the hon. Member refers, it would be necessary radically to alter the system at present in force in this country. This system is, as stated in Cmd. 5745, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, more advantageous to seamen than that provided for by the convention. This reason is, in my opinion, conclusive.

Mr. Hall

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that, in view of the fact that the United States and other countries have ratified the convention, this country ought to be prepared to introduce legislative proposals for the same purpose?

Mr. Stanley

If the effect of that would be to worsen the conditions of seamen under this head, I think it would be a very retrograde step.