§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS (Norwich)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he can state the name of the late employer of David Nicholls, the Edenbridge labourer, to whose case his attention has been called, and what were the reasons assigned for the instant 509 dismissal of Nicholls on Saturday last, immediately ensuing upon his eviction from his cottage by Mr. Churches, also the name of the owner of the land upon which Nicholls was recently employed, and the name of the landlord part of whose land Nicholls applied for as a small holding; and what steps he proposes to take.
§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he is aware that David Nicholls, the Edenbridge labourer to whose case his attention has been previouly directed, is desirous of being reinstated in Prettyman's Farm, Four Elms, from whence he was recently evicted and which is now vacant, and to acquire some adjoining land under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1907; and whether he proposes to take any steps to secure that the cottage and land shall be negotiated for with a view to providing Nicholls with a home and means of livelihood.
(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) Perhaps my hon. friend will allow me to reply to these two Questions at the same time. One of our inspectors has made a full inquiry into this case. Mr. Churches let part of the farmhouse on Prettyman's Farm, Edenbridge, which he rents from Colonel Streatfield, to Mr. Nicholls in November, 1906, at 5s. a week, the other part remaining empty. Early this year Mr. Churches received an offer of £30 a year for the whole house, and he thereupon told Mr. Nicholls he would have to leave. This occurred before he knew that Mr. Nicholls was applying for the house and part of the farm under the Small Holdings Act. Mr. Nicholls raised no objection at the time. Mr. Nicholls is not one of Mr. Churches' farm labourers, and, except for odd jobbs, he has not been employed on the land for the last three years. For the last five or six weeks he has been working as a bricklayer's labourer for Mr Joseph Winter, builder, of Four Elms, who told him last week that the work for which he was engaged would be completed in a few days, and that he should therefore look out for another job. The Board understand that Mr. Nicholls personally 510 has no grievance against either Mr. Churches or Mr. Winter and that they have no animosity whatever against him.