§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the day for the Second Readng read.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(The Marquess of LANSDOWNE): My Lords, the circumstances under which I present this Bill to your Lordships are as follow. In 1897, an International Sanitary Convention was signed by several Powers, among them by this country, at Venice. That convention contemplated that measures would be prescribed by any of the adhering countries, should those countries be infected with plague, to regulate the departure of ships, and the export of articles susceptible of infection. Some time afterwards a slight outbreak of plague took place in this country, and we were asked whether we were prepared, in accordance with the terms of the convention, to issue regulations dealing with the matter. The question was examined by our legal advisers, and it proved to be the case that there was no statutory authority for issuing regulations of the kind. Lately another conference has been held at Paris and another con- 6 vention made which also contemplates that measures of the kind which I have described should be prescribed to regulate the departure of ships and the export of articles capable of carrying infection. It follows, from the opinion of the law officers to which I have already referred, that we are still without the statutory authority necessary to enable us to issue regulations of this kind. This Bill accordingly proposes to give the powers required. It enables the Local Government Board to make regulations authorising measures to be taken for the prevention of the conveyance of infection by means of vessels arriving at or sailing from any port, so far as may be necessary for carrying out any treaty or convention with a foreign country. This Bill is necessary both as a measure of precaution for the public health and also in order to enable us to fulfil obligations which we have contracted as regards other countries who joined us in adhering to the conventions to which I have referred. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House to-morrow.