HL Deb 05 August 1909 vol 2 cc963-4

I rise to ask whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to introduce during the present session a Bill to amend the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908. In putting this Question I merely desire to observe that this Act only came into operation on July 1 last, that the reduction in output on the average amounts, I understand, to something like nine per cent., and that at the beginning of July when a Cabinet Minister was seeking re-election he found the effect of this particular Act so unpopular that he was obliged to promise an amending Act on the earliest available opportunity. I should rather doubt whether in the history of Parliament there has ever been an occasion upon which no less than a week after an Act has been in operation a Minister of the Crown has had to go down to his constituents and promise that it shall be altered in order to get himself returned. Personally I am all in favour of amending the Act, but I am rather wondering how it is to be carried out, and I ask this Question to ascertain whether the amending Act will be introduced in this House or in another place.


I am sorry to spoil the picture which was drawn by the noble Lord, and which I think was more entertaining than accurate. But, as a matter of fact, it is the intention of the Government to introduce a very small measure at an early date. The measure is designed to meet a point of difficulty that has arisen under the operation of the Act with regard to the time of beginning work. It is understood to have the general assent of both employer and employed, as far as opinion on the subject has been expressed. It is hoped that after all it will prove to be a non-contentious measure, and have a happy passage through both Houses of Parliament.

House adjourned at Seven o'clock, to Monday, the 16th instant, a quarter-past Three o'clock.