HC Deb 19 December 1908 vol 198 cc2325-8

Order for Second Reading read.


in moving the Second Reading explained that the Bill was simply he for the purpose of consolidating the Scottish law affecting agricultural holdings. It only came down last night from another place where it had been carefully considered. If the House gave the Bill a Second Reading now it would be necessary for him, in view of the period of the session which they had reached, to ask that it should at once be passed through its subsequent stages. It was a matter of extreme urgency that the law affecting Scottish farmers should be put in the consolidated form of the Bill. The Scottish Chamber of Agriculture in 1907 and again in 1908 had passed resolutions in favour of this measure becoming law at the earliest possible moment. The Scottish Chamber of Agriculture represented seventy-six societies with a total membership of over 18,000, so that it might really be regarded as a body representing a very large number of agriculturists. He hoped the House would give the Bill a Second Reading and allow the subsequent stages to be taken without delay.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Edward Strachey.)

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill road a second time.

Resolved, "That this House do immediately resolve itself into Committee on the Bill."—(Sir Edward Strachey.)

The House then resolved itself into Committee to consider the Bill.

Bill accordingly considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment.

MR. W. THORNE (West Ham, S.)

Why cannot the Government run the Unemployed Bill of the Labour Party through the House in the same way?

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—(Mr. J. A. Pease.)

MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)

protested against the scandal of rushing a Bill of this magnitude through the House in this way. Surely the House did not always abandon its functions with regard to legislation to another place.

MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

said that it appeared to him that the scene they had just witnessed was one of significance and importance. The Bill was entirely an invention of another place; it had not been seen in this House before. It had just come down from another place, and what had happened? Without a moment's consideration, or attempt at consideration, the House had accepted the Bill as it stood. That showed their blind and implicit though well-founded trust in the wisdom of another place, and in that respect it appeared to him that their action was entirely creditable.

SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

said there was one point about the Bill to which he wished to call attention. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading adduced in its favour the sole authority of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture. It struck him that that was rather curious, because hitherto the Government had decried the authority of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture. The action of the Government would be remembered if on any future occasion the authority of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture was called in question from the Treasury bench.


said he ought to state that at any rate certain Members of the House on both sides had taken every precaution to satisfy themselves that this was purely a Consolidation Bill. It did not in any way alter the law. It was presented in the first place by the President of the Board of Agriculture in another place, and he had been in communication with officials representing the other side of the House. They had all agreed that it was a desirable Bill to pass into law; and that it should not be lost through failing to be put through all its stages in one day.

LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)

wished to assent to what his hon. friend had just said. He was interested and amused at the blind acceptance of the Bill from the House of Lords, because he knew that the Bill before it passed through its stages required to be amended in fifteen different particulars by that Assembly.

MR. MORTON (Sutherland)

was glad that they had had some explanation with regard to the Bill, because it had only been circulated that morning; and because, on many occasions, various Governments in passing Consolidation Bills had smuggled into them alterations of the law. He would not have been inclined to vote for this hasty and haphazard procedure, but for the fact that Scotland had been treated so badly by Parliament during this session, that the Scottish Members were glad to get anything at all at any price.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed, without Amendment.