HC Deb 06 April 1893 vol 10 cc1595-6
MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the period of the Session, he will either take the Motion for a Select Committee on Agricultural Depression at a time when a decision can be arrived at, or will substitute for the general inquiry proposed a Motion for a Select Committee to consider whether, in the interests of agriculture, it is desirable to amend "The Agricultural Holdings Act, 1883," and, if so, in what way?


I am sure my hon. Friend will believe that the Government are fully sensible of the public detriment which has resulted from the inability of the Government, through causes well-known, to obtain an early appointment of the Committee of Agriculture. But with regard to the first part of the question, I had no reason to suppose that that appointment could be obtained without the expenditure of a very considerable amount of Parliamentary time; and, indeed, with regard to the second part of the question, I had no security that if we were to adopt the more limited proposition—though I do not undervalue that proposition upon its merits—I am afraid we should still be open to that difficulty, which we could not undertake to encounter, at the cost of other objects, which appear to be of still greater moment and importance.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the Agricultural Conference and many Agricultural Associations have passed urgent resolutions in favour of the amendment of the Agricultural Holdings Act; whether he is also aware that many of his supporters in the House attach most earnest importance to the amendment of that Act; and whether, under those circumstances, he will consider the matter further?


Yes, I am aware of that fact, and I am myself a concurring party in that anxiety; but,, at the same time, the obstacle before me is one which at present I do Not see my way to surmount.

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