HC Deb 12 June 1899 vol 72 cc989-90


Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Questions proposed That the Bill be now read a second time.


This Bill has given rise to a very great deal of consideration. If the right hon. Gentleman intends now to proceed with the Second Reading, I think it is much too important a measure to be brought forward at a time when the House cannot possibly devote the attention to it which its importance demands. The Bill is bitterly opposed in certain parts of Scotland, although it may possess some good qualities, and there is a case of some kind for the Bill. The result of the inquiry into this matter Was of a very inconclusive character, and there Was a general understanding that there should be further inquiry before any further legislation should be passed. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to meet the generally expressed wish of those who are interested in the matter that there should be some further tribunal for the purpose of taking evidence? The right hon. Gentleman is a fair man, and I am sure he does not wish to carry a measure which has given rise to so much opposition in different ports of Scotland. We know the advantage of taking care of the small trout, and in some parts of Scotland the present state of things is almost a crying scandal; but, at the same time, the provisions of the Bill are such as to give rise to the reasonable suspicion that it is somewhat of a class measure. In this Bill there is to be no close time so far as private proprietors are concerned. My point is that if there is to be a close time at all it ought not to apply simply to places where our workmen get the pleasure of trout fishing, but it ought also to apply to lochs which are privately owned by Highland landlords and others throughout Scotland. I have spoken in order to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of framing his answers to the questions which I thought it my duty to put to him in the interests of those who are concerned in the Bill—

It being midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Thursday.