HC Deb 20 April 1909 vol 3 cc1433-90

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


moved as an Amendment, "That the Bill be read a second time this day six months." In rising to move the rejection of this Bill, I feel in a rather embarrassing position, because I have always felt that the action of previous Governments in closing some areas against trawling was amply justified; and, on the other hand, I feel it an ungrateful task which I have undertaken, because it is no personal pleasure to me to have to move the rejection of a Bill introduced by the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Government. But the objections which have been urged to this measure by an important section of my constituents have impressed me so strongly, and have been so convincing, that I have no alternative but to take the action which I am now taking. It is sometimes alleged that the closing of such areas as the Moray Firth is brought about by the Government of the day for the purpose of protecting one class of fishermen at the expense of another. I have never entertained that view myself. I think the action taken by previous Governments has been intended to protect the fisheries themselves in the interests of all classes of fishermen. Therefore, it is with reluctance that I find myself not in a position to agree with the policy of the Government so far as this Bill affects the question in the Moray Firth and other prohibited areas. Everybody knows that the Moray Firth has never been absolutely closed. It has been closed to Scottish fishermen, but from the very first there has been a considerable number, first of all, of what may be described as Grimsby foreigners fishing there, and discharging their fish at English ports; and, later on, it is quite well known there has been a considerable group of vessels fishing there, owned and manned by foreigners, and discharging their fish at Continental ports. I think perhaps it is quite possible, if this measure in its present form should become law, that the number of bonâ fide, foreign vessels fishing in the Moray Firth will be largely increased. I know that that is the view of many men whose judgment is worthy of consideration on that point. I am not going to weary the House by repeating the story which has been told here Session after Session for many years, but I should like to point out that, under the existing law, if any British fisherman is accused of contravening the Statutes of 1889 or 1890, or the bye-laws framed by the Secretary for Scotland under those Acts, he has the opportunity of being tried by a competent tribunal in Scotland. The indictment has to be served upon him, and he secures ample time for the preparation of his defence. While I know that the action of the courts in Scotland has been criticised, I am myself firmly convinced that the sheriffs in Scotland have applied their minds impartially and in a judicial spirit to the consideration of all the cases which have come before them, and I believe that those who have been prosecuted have received justice at their hands. But if, unfortunately, the measure now before the House should become law, British fishermen who may be charged with trawling within either the three miles limit or the other prohibited areas in Scotland will be charged, convicted, and fined without ever having an opportunity of saying a single word in their defence. The procedure will be this. The persons accusing a fisherman of having contravened these statutes and bye-laws will send information to the Fishery Board. The Fishery Board will satisfy itself, and communicate with the customs' authorities throughout the country, and the man himself will have no opportunity whatever of saying a single word in his own defence.

With every desire to assist those who have been urging the Government to take action in this matter, I find it absolutely impossible, in view of the important interests which are committed to my care, to give my support to such a proposal. And really, I do feel sorry that, as the result of the representations, very moderate representations, which have been made during the past few months in regard to this measure to the representatives of the Government, that I am not in a position, at present at all events, to say that there is any disposition on the part of the Government to amend the provisions of this Bill. If we were told that when the Bill goes upstairs if it secure a second reading the Government would consider the advisability of limiting the operation of the Bill to foreigners, and that they will proceed, as hitherto, against British fishermen under the provisions of the existing Acts, then that would be a considerable relief.

On another point I think concession is absolutely necessary. I am not desirous of making any prophetic utterance as to what will happen if this Bill will become law. I am not prepared to say that the bonâ fide foreign element which is already trawling in the Firth will, as a result of this Bill, become more numerous than at present. I would not urge any of those things. There is at least serious risk, and in view of that, I think it is extremely desirable that if this measure is to pass into law that it should be with a limitation during the period that it is to be in operation. I think it is reasonable that there should be a limit of two or three or five years. I am perfectly satisfied that the Government in promoting this Bill are themselves satisfied that it is an experiment which may not succeed, an experiment which may fail and which may operate very seriously and prejudicially against the fishing interest of the United Kingdom. While I regret exceedingly having to take this course, I have no alternative, and I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.

Mr. GUY WILSON (Hull, W.)

I rise to second this Motion of my hon. Friend, and I should like to ask the indulgence of the House on this the first occasion on which I have had the honour of addressing them. With him I see that this Bill will have such great effects on the trawling industry generally, and especially on the district which I have the honour to represent, that I conceive it to be my duty to oppose the Bill. I can only say I regret very much that on this the first occasion on which I address the House I find myself speaking in opposition to the Government. I do not wish to travel old ground. This Bill brings up once more a question which has been several times discussed the question of the Moray Firth. In 1892 the Moray Firth was closed against British trawlers, and the reason given at that time was that the area was required for scientific research. Sixteen years have passed since that has been closed, and we have not had the results of the scientific research put before us. Other gentlemen who support the closing of the Moray Firth stated that it was required because it was a valuable breeding ground. Now it has never been proved that the Moray Firth is a breeding ground for fish. The fish which are caught there are large fish or, at any rate, fish of a fairly large size.

It has also been said that the trawlers break up the spawning beds. The sort of fish found in the Moray Firth do not spawn in the same way as fish in fresh water, so that it is quite impossible for trawlers to destroy the spawning beds. Salt-water fish spawn in the open sea, and the spawn floats about in that sea, and in that way the fish are hatched. Take the example of herring: They come from the north, they are spawning the whole time. Haddocks follow and other fish, and spawn all the way round. The true reason why this area has been closed is to protect line fishing. It is purely a protective measure, and I think it comes ill from a Free Trade Government to attempt to bolster up what is practically a decaying industry—in the same way that any industry is decaying which attempts to compete with machinery. If the Government stepped in and said that the hand looms should be protected and that nothing made by machinery should be allowed to be sold in this country it would be very much on a par with what is proposed to be done under this Bill. That is one of the most important reasons why I personally oppose this Bill. What is happening in the Moray Firth? There are not so many line fishermen now there as before the Firth was closed. All the best, youngest and most energetic of those fishermen are following the herring fishery. They go all the way round the coast of England and Scotland, and it is only the old men and the feeble men who remain behind to eke out a precarious living by line fishing. Anybody who is acquainted with Scotland will have seen fishermen employed in many other ways than by line fishing. In the north they will see many of those fishermen caddying now for golf. That does not look as if line fishing is very productive. One of the chief reasons which pays trawlers to go into those waters is that it is a superior class of fish they catch there. They catch the crab fish, which fetches a very superior price.

I do not wish to go into the question of British and foreign vessels or of the transfers. I hold no brief for Grimsby, but there have been instances in which Grimsby trawlers have transferred to a foreign flag. They went into the Moray Firth and trawled there. The Scotch Fishery Board dug out a bye-law by which it was possible to imprison Englishmen fishing on those foreign vessels. The consequence was that those vessels were compelled to be manned by foreigners. The rsult is there is a good deal of unemployment in Grimsby. As I said before, I hold no brief for Grimsby, but I only wish to enter my protest for the sake of the trawlers in general and my constituents in particular against what is not a settlement of the Moray Firth question. We should be at least favourable to this Bill if we thought it was going to keep the foreigners out of Moray Firth, but because we do not think it will do so we oppose the Bill. We have, always been perfectly clear on this subject, and we say let all fish in the Moray Firth or none. At the present moment there are undoubtedly a much larger number of foreigners in the Moray Firth than so-called British vessels. Those foreigners, German, Dutch, Belgian, come there and land their catch in England.

Under this Bill you force them to take their fish and land them in foreign ports. You may get those back in England, perhaps shipped back to London, but if you do it will only be at higher prices. You propose to keep back from the English market a very large supply of very excellent quality of fish. There is no doubt of the fact that the British people, and especially the poorer classes, are becoming more and more convinced that fish is a very valuable and a very cheap food, and that they are using it more and more. At the present moment Germany is building fast vessels to perfectly easily enable them to take those fish to their own ports. That is nothing new. It is done every day. Our own vessels go from Aberdeen, Grimsby, Hull, and other places to the coasts of Spain, and return with their catch in perfectly good condition to the English market. If it is the case with them it will be equally easy for the Germans to take their catch home and sell it there. That is one of the reasons I oppose this Bill.

There is another reason, and that is the extraordinary clause which has been mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, the, clause which confers the power of forfeiting the nets and fish, and preventing the fishermen exercising their calling for a month without any trial. It has never before been heard in this House that any British person should be convicted without trial and punished. What has happened in the past? I go further than my hon. Friend. I am perfectly sure that Scottish Courts have done their best, but there have been gross miscarriages of justice. I know at least of one case where people were tried for fishing in the affected areas, and where the man lost £500. I believe rewards are offered to those who would give information which would lead to the detection of trawlers. By that system you will have a man sitting on land with a spy-glass. He will report to the Scotch Fishery Board that a certain trawler, TI 256, or some such number, has been seen in prohibited areas. The Scotch Fishery Board will notify the Customs' officers, and when the trawler comes into port they will take his catch, and he will not be allowed to fish for a month, and that without trial. I can only say that in regard to this Bill I shall do my utmost in every possible way to fight against it. There is no doubt that there are more men at present employed in trawling than in line fishing. I do not include the herring men, who are of quite a different character from trawl fishermen, but I repeat that there are more men employed in trawl fishing than there are employed in line fishing. They produce a very large amount of cheap food for the poorer classes of the people, and they provide one of the very finest class for recruiting for the British Navy. For these reasons I have very much pleasure in seconding the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

Question proposed: "That the word 'now' stand part of the question."


I rise to support the second reading of the Bill, and in order to justify that support I desire briefly to refer to the prosecution of which the Bill was the outcome. The first action taken in the Moray Firth against trawlers fishing more than three miles from the shore was in 1905. It was the prosecution of the "Catalonia," a vessel fishing four miles from shore in the Dornoch Firth, in which judgment of the High Court was entered on appeal in favour of a conviction, and the skipper of the trawler was fined. The second action was taken by the present Government on 4th August, 1906, when they prosecuted the "Niobe," "Verbena," and "Pinewold." The "Niobe" was fishing five miles off Lossiemouth, the "Verbena" was fishing five miles off Carty Point in Sutherlandshire, and the "Pinewold" seven miles off Tarbertness. The cases were carried to the High Court with the same result, and the skippers were afterwards convicted and fined, and the fines were paid. The third and last prosecution by the Government, known as the Elgin case, was on 31st January, 1907, against the trawlers "King Erik," "Stromo," "Plover," and "Zenobia," all fishing far out in the Firth. After a fresh appeal to the High Court each skipper was fined £100, and in default the skippers of the three first-named trawlers went to Inverness Prison, and the skipper of the "Zenobia," Jalveer Hansen, paid the fine. The Grimsby owners of the last four ships moved the Foreign Office in the matter of the convictions, and the Foreign Office overruled the Scotch Office, ordered the convictions to be quashed, released the prisoners, and remitted the fines. That is the story, up to date, of the prosecution of trawlers fishing more than three miles from shore. The only remark thereon which I have to make is that they were all British-owned boats. In regard to its application to the Bill, we have before us a statement of the first importance was made in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Scotland on 18th March, 1907. Mr. Sinclair said:— For many years there has been no trawlers in the Moray Firth except those pseudo Norwegian-Grimsby trawlers. That is most undeniably correct, for since the North Sea Convention was signed in 1882 by Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, down to January, 1907, these Powers have refrained from trawling in the Firth, and none come there except an odd Belgian, which now and again runs in after cod. With the permission of the House, I will follow the matter down to the present moment. I have shown that up to the release of the Elgin trawlers in January, 1907, no foreigners visited the Firth except the Norwegian-Grimsby boats. In 1907, after the release of the prisoners, one Swedish, six Belgian, and one German trawler proceeded to fish in the Firth. In 1908 three Swedish, ten Belgian, nine Danish, and two Dutch boats went there to fish. This year, 1909, up to the end of February, no fewer than 14 Danish boats, one Swedish, five Belgian, and two Dutch have appeared in the Firth. Besides those six of the Norwegian-Grimsby boats came as heretofore, but now others of them, in order to secure immunity under the action of the Foreign Office, hoist the flag of one or other of the signatories to the North Sea Convention. To-day the Firth is no longer harried by the Grimsby fleet, but is literally a preserve for foreign trawlers. From 1882 to 1907 foreigners believed themselves to be excluded by International law, but now they consider themselves invited to trawl in the Firth three miles from shore. Whether the High Court of Justice and Lords Pentland and Shaw were right, and the Foreign Office was wrong, or vice veisâ, I am afraid you will not allow me to argue under this Bill. I say no more than that the international argument which I prepared for submission to the High Court of Justice was unanimously considered by the 12 judges to be conclusive. The reason I support the Bill is that it would place the Government in a position to say to the foreigner: "We are so satisfied of the value of the Moray Firth as a nursery for the fisheries of the North Sea, that not only have we excluded therefrom our British trawling vessels in proof of our bona fides, but we have prevented the sale in Scotland of fish taken therein with the trawls; and, lastly, we have extended that prohibition to English ports, and therefore we now ask you, the Signatories to the North Sea Convention, to supplement our action by prohibiting the entry of your own boats, and we have taken this last step of prohibiting the sale of the fish in England at the cost of losing an immense sum, £155,000, the value of the Moray Firth fish annually sold here in England." The facilities at the command of the foreigner to-day to dispose of Moray Firth fish is just the same as that of the Grimsby owners. The foreigner can ice up and run to Geestemünde, Bremen, Hamburg, Ymuiden, or Ostend, delivering the fish in fine condition, just as the Grimsby fleets run south in ice with their catches to British ports. If the Government will not accept the judgment of the High Court, which was that this arm of the sea, inter fauces terrae, known as the Moray Firth, is under national law as also under Scots law not outwith the territorial jurisdiction of the country, then, I say, pass the Bill and go as a suppliant to the Signatories, instead of going as you might go, de jure, and let the Government remember that the three miles limit is no more than an Anglo-American doctrine, and never has been, and I trust never will be, incorporated into an international European law. Until the Government take action the Firth will be a covert preserved for the foreigner alone. Therefore, I support the second reading of this Bill.


Owing to the welcome if tardy change of opinion on the part of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, whose absence from this debate is perhaps one of the most remarkable of its features, the task of the Government and those Members who support this Bill is greatly facilitated. But the hon. Member who seconded the rejection of the Bill seems to think that the destructive method of fishing, such as trawling is known to be, is the best means of keeping up a good supply of fish for consumers in this country. His argument appears to be this: that the Bill is in some way or other an infringement of the doctrine of Free Trade. So far as I am concerned, I can see no relationship whatsoever between this Bill and any branch of the Tariff Reform question. Everybody knows, and the hon. Member for Aberdeen will be the first to recognise the fact, that if the Moray Firth were thrown open to all trawlers, fishing there would not last one month in the year; whereas if you restricted fishing to the drift net and the line, the supply of fish would be more constant, and, as a matter of fact, of far better quality. It should not be forgotten in this connection that it is not the individual who is objected to in the Moray Firth; it is the method of fishing only to which objection is taken, and I hope the hon. Member will realise that fishermen from anywhere else would be welcome in the Moray Firth if only they used the method of line fishing and drift-net fishing. And apparently, the hon. Member seems to think that it is an astonishing thing that the Government should wish to regulate an industry which depends, of necessity, and essentially, on the destruction of some form of animal life. As well may the hon. Member say that the Game Laws should be abrogated. What would become of the bird and animal life? How long would it last in this country, if there were no restrictions or close time? And I could cite particular instances where, in countries imposing no restrictions of that kind, animal life has become practically extinct, except where a particular species has been preserved for a particular purpose, either for human food or some other purpose. I think there will be very few who would suggest that fresh-water fishing in our lochs and rivers should be carried on without any restriction, or without restrictions of a most rigorous and drastic character. What is strange in this attempt of the Government to regulate fishing in the enclosed waters of the seas, where the destructive method of fishing, such as trawling is known to be, is known to have such an exceedingly detrimental effect on the stock of fish in those areas?

I ventured personally in the debate on this subject last Session to lay particular emphasis on one particular phase of this question, and I would attempt to do so again. Where a few years ago along the coast of the Moray Firth 20 boats engaged in drift-net and line fishing, now, owing to the prevalence of trawling, one only can do so. Who can be surprised if the result of that is an exodus from the rural districts to the larger centres, towns and cities where, for the moment, some prospect of more lucrative employment is held out to the fishermen. According to the hon. Member for West Hull, if this trawling is allowed to go on unchecked, the result would be the disappearance of the rural fishing villages of Scotland, and the child now bred in the healthy atmosphere of our sea-shores would be replaced by one town bred. This is a state of things which I thought it was a policy of every Government and every party to avoid; and this is at a time when we have been forced to turn our eyes with the gravest anxiety to our first line of defence. I was personally grateful that the Secretary to the Admiralty, in the re-recent naval debates in this House, ceased for a moment to speak in "Dreadnoughts," and mentioned the personnel of the British Navy. Money, no doubt, is the governing factor in the construction and maintenance of a large navy, but its efficiency depends on the extent of the population of the coastline. In every case where the navy of a country has outgrown its coast population, and the men have had to be recruited from the towns and land districts, it has been invariably at the expense of the efficiency of the personnel. I am not a sailor, and, therefore, I speak with considerable diffidence on this point, but I venture to say this is as true to-day as it was in the clays of Nelson and Blake. At a time like this, when the country and the majority of this House are determined that our naval supremacy shall be unquestioned, our naval strength crushing and invincible, the hon. Member for West Hull and his friends are willing to stand aside while an industry concerning by far the most important portion of our coast population is being destroyed, and for what? That there may be a small increase in the dividends of a few trumpery companies. I do not desire to say anything on the international aspect of this question. This Bill is an attempt to put all on an equal footing as far as lies in our power. There has been, and at the present time there is a much larger and wider question. It lies for the moment in the future. It is enough that the Bill has been approved unanimously by the convention of royal boroughs in Scotland at their meeting in Glasgow recently, and that it is eagerly desired and anxiously sought for by the fishermen of the Scottish coast. Therefore in the name of those whom I have the honour to represent I thank the Government for this fulfilment of their promise.


I feel that this Bill has been introduced to remedy a difficulty that the Government have got themselves into by closing the Moray Firth. As representing my constituents at Milford, we feel that this is an attempt to bolster up what is practically a dying industry that is quite able to carry on its business if it is confined to the three-mile limit in which those concerned have an absolute monopoly. The trawl owners feel that they also are entitled to some protection, and this Bill simply enables the Government to get out of the difficulty they are in over the Moray Firth. It may or not be successful. Personally I do not think it will be successful. For instance, at the present time the steam trawlers at Milford catch a large number of their fish off the coast of Morocco. They bring them back to England with the very greatest ease. In the same way, when this Bill is passed, it will be possible for foreign trawlers to continue to fish in Scotland in these closed areas. They will take their fish, and sell them at a profit in foreign countries, and it will be impossible for the British trawl owners to do the same. I understand for some years past that the British trawl owners who have registered their steamers under foreign flags have had this great advantage over their competitors of being able to fish in these closed waters, and sell their fish, with the result that they have been able to make about £1,000 per annum more than their competitors. They will not be able if this Bill becomes law to sell their catches in England, but they will still be £1,000 better than the foreign owners. It is action of this sort—pettifogging Bills of this description—if we are to have Protection let us have the real article. A Bill of this sort—there is nothing to be said in its favour. Either have Free Trade or Protection. But do not give us neither one thing nor the other. Many trawl owners in this country themselves consider that they have grievances at the Moray Firth, and also all round the coast of Ireland, where they are prohibited from fishing in many cases within 20 miles of the coast. If the Government will go back to the action of their predecessors, and stick to the three-mile limit in the future, and allow all British trawl owners to fish where foreign trawl owners can continue to fish, viz., within three miles off the British coast, then they will be fairly protecting the interest of the line fishermen—who are a splendid body of men, I frankly admit—with British trawl owners restricted to three miles off the coast, and to trawl anywhere outside of that limit off the British or Irish coasts.


I rise to support this Bill on two grounds, one of which has not yet been touched upon at length in this debate. The first of those grounds is, that trawling in prohibited areas such as the Moray Firth is a serious menace to the food supply of the people in this country. The second reason is, that it is a serious interference with other legitimate modes of fishing in our own waters. With regard to the food supply, I have listened as a member of the Committee that investigated the subject last year. One of the witnesses at that Committee said that it was estimated—although it was exceedingly difficult to get at the actual figures—that the food supply, the supply of white fish caught in the North Sea proper, during the last year or two, as compared with preceding years, had diminished by no less than £50,000. Now, that, of course, is pure estimate—but an estimate, I understand, accepted by the Scottish Fishery Board, but there is other evidence besides evidence of that sort. There is the evidence of the trawlers themselves, who have been fishing the North Sea to such an extent that they have depleted all the nearer banks, and the nearer portions of the North Sea, and made it not worth while for the larger trawlers to continue any longer there. They have even passed resolutions desiring the Government to take action to restrict the fishing over an area off the Dogger Bank, which extends to something like 5,000 square miles. In addition they have petitioned this House to enter into negotiations with the North Sea Powers to extend the territorial waters ten miles. There is, therefore, the evidence of the trawl owners themselves that the fishing in the North Sea proper—because I am going to distinguish it from the area which is now considered the North Sea—that they found the area of the North Sea proper so depleted of the supply of fish, especially flat fish, such as plaice, that the larger trawlers have now to go far a field for the supplies of fish which are now landed and sold at the ports of this country. The larger trawlers have to go, as has been said, to Morocco, Iceland, the White Sea, and recently it has come out in the Committee of which I have been speaking that they have extended their trawling to the West Coast of Ireland, to the deep waters of the Atlantic, and are raking up fish from the bottom of the sea 1,200 feet down. These are the reasons, then, because the fish has got into the deep waters, into distant places, that the supply of fish in this country is not failing as a whole. The fact remains, however, that the supply in the North Sea proper, which we used to consider our fishing ground, has very seriously fallen off, and there is no longer a livelihood for the smaller trawl owners. What has been the result? The result has been that these trawlers have been transferred in large numbers to the Norwegian flag in order with impunity to be able to break the laws of this country. In the Committee, Dr. T. W. Fulton, the adviser to the Scottish Fishery Board (Answer 2,866), said:— Every trawler that is registered in Norway fishes in the Moray Firth, and breaks British law for the purposes of profit. and, further, at Question 2,895, trawl owners, said he, have capital invested in these boats instead of a few pounds, as in England. Now we have recently had some retribution fallen upon those connected with Grimsby for their action in this matter. The foreigners have through the action of the Courts been obliged to employ in these boats under a foreign flag foreign sailors, and they have been found to be so good that they have come into British boats under the British flag and ousted British labour. There are some 400 or 500 foreigners along the coast of Grimsby, wrere all of such men would have been British except for the result of the breaking of the law. Now I have spoken of the importance of the fishing, but there is another very important point, namely, the destruction by the trawlers in the inshore waters as compared with trawlers in the offshore waters. In regard to that point, I would like to refer to one answer given to the Committee in regard to the relative destruction of fish in the offshore and the inshore waters. Dr. Fulton said:— I have here figures giving the percentage of markets able and unmarketable fish taken by commercial trawlers in the offshore waters. So far as plaice is concerned on the offshore ground in deep water you find that 100 per cent. in the trawl nets are unmarketable. There is no destruction of plaice whatever by commercial trawlers in deep water. While the destruction resulting from trawling in inshore water or shallow water is something like 30 per cent. of plaice, and the Chairman asked him, 'Did he mean that practically 80 per cent. were destroyed,' and his answer was 'Yes. The Chairman of the Committee said: "I understand the marketable plaice was 27,000 and the unmarketable 12,000. That is about 30 per cent.?" and the answer was "Yes." Now it was borne out by a great many other witnesses that the destruction of fish in the inshore waters is a very important consideration to the people of this country. I support this Bill not only on the narrow ground of the interests of the Moray Firth for fishing, but on the wide ground that the present destruction of fish in the inshore and narrow waters is ruining the prospects of the food supplies of this country. It is a very serious question, and a much more serious question than those which occupy a considerable amount of our time. I said an area like the Moray Firth is a nursery for fish, the small fish, and, indeed, large fish too, are carried by the current to the inshore waters, where they develop, as is well known, because of the warmth of the inshore waters they grow, and if you destroy them in the narrow waters you will destroy the fish that spread through the whole sea and populate it. For that reason, and not on the narrow ground of the protection of one class of fishermen as against another, I support this Bill, and I would support measures going far beyond it. Now, with regard to the question of the interference with other modes of fishing in the Moray Firth, I heard a remark from the Member for Hull that the Moray Firth fisherman, when he went fishing for herrings round the coast of Great Britain, is an enterprising man, but when in the winter months he takes to white fishing he is no longer enterprising. Well, I think there is no class of fisherman more enterprising than the 12,000 who surround the shores of the Moray Firth. In one part of my Constituency some time ago there was not a single steam fishing boat when I sought election. Now there are 35 steam fishers, all belonging to the fishermen. That shows some enterprise. They have to fish for white fish in the Moray Firth during the months in which they cannot get the herring. Not only that, but within the last six months a new industry has been developed in the Moray Firth, and a very important development has taken place. These unenterprising fishermen have discovered a new way of catching cod by means of nets, and the consequence is that to this very day the Moray Firth is covered with floating nets for this cod fishing, and the entrance of trawlers there is obviously disastrous to the interests of these fishermen, and I think we have a legitimate grievance when trawlers are permitted to come in there and interfere with the legitimate mode of fishing pursued by these fishermen. We welcome all kinds of fishermen who will use the same methods, and it is only right and proper that people should be protected in their legal claims, so that on this ground of interference with the modes of fishing by others I also support the Bill. The evidence which came before this Committee very strongly pointed in the direction that it is an imperative necessity that the Government of this country should take a much wider view of this fishing than they have hitherto done. The destruction going on now, and which we hope to stop by this Bill, in the Moray Firth is going on elsewhere. It is going on in the Dogger Bank, which is not three miles from any country, and as the country most interested in this question of fishing, having more money in it, and more fishing boats, we ought to take the lead, and this Bill I hope will only be the beginning of a policy of protecting the future food supplies of our country.


I only desire to intervene for a few moments in this debate, because up to the present it has proceeded entirely on the question of the Moray Firth. I this morning received a letter from a very old friend of mine, in which he complained that the foreign trawlers had come round to the Firth of Clyde, and are doing as much harm, if nut more harm, there than they are doing in the Moray Firth. Therefore, I have no doubt that this Bill applies to the West Coast as well as to the East Coast and the North Coast, and that the fishermen there will receive protection under this Bill. Now a great deal has been said about the trawling industry. Well, there is a place for trawling, and there is a place for other fishermen, and I think they ought not to interfere one with another. We all know that fish caught by the line always get a better price in the market than fish caught by the trawl. They are brought into the market in a better condition than trawled fish. There is one phase that has not been mentioned at all in this debate with reference to this question, and that is the damage that has been done to line fishermen by having their line swept entirely away by the trawlers. I say in this respect also line fishermen are deserving of every possible protection. My whole sympathies are with the line fishermen. I am certain unless we protect these enclosed waters, and also the Firth of Clyde against the degradations of foreign trawlers, I am satisfied that one of the best supplies and one of the most wholesome food supplies we have in this country will be lost to the nation, and for that reason I cordially and most heartily support this Bill.


I associate myself with hon. Members opposite in supporting this Bill. I welcome the Bill with all my heart, not because I think it is a Bill of wide and great effect—it is really a small matter—but I look upon it as pointing to something greater and more far-reaching. I hope to see the Moray Firth closed to foreign trawlers as well as to our own. The present anomaly cannot go on. The Moray Firth should be open to all or it should be closed to all. Judging from the reports of all those who are best able to form an opinion, there can now be no doubt of the destruction of fish effected by trawlers in the Moray Firth. If we destroy this nursery for our fish, of course the number of fish must diminish. It is, I think, of vital moment that we should foster and maintain in every way we can the fishing grounds round our shores. What is the effect of this Bill if it is passed? It is merely to prevent poached fish being sold in England. It is already illegal to land or sell poached fish in Scotland, and this Bill merely extends that prohibition to England. How any hon. Members can wish to see fish that have been thieved in Scotland sold in England I cannot well understand. And the very fact that this iniquitous proceeding is indulged in, there being something like 600 foreigners now employed in English boats instead of Englishmen, ought, I think, to go some way to make those hon. Members who oppose this Bill take thought. If this Bill is passed the foreigner must go elsewhere, and take the fish to his own ports. Everyone who knows anything about fish must know the trawlers have their use and are most necessary things. This Bill is no attack on them whatever. We merely want to prevent fish poached in Scotland from being sold at English ports. The Signatories to the North Sea Convention, of course, agreed to a three-mile limit, but there is no three-mile limit in International law. We know that Lord Salisbury on the 6th May, 1905, said that great care had been taken not to name three miles as the territorial limit. As a matter of fact it is a moot point what the territorial limit is Spain and Portugal claim a five-mile limit round their coast, and other nations have different limits. It is only for the signatories of the North Sea Convention that the three-mile limit stands. I wish the Government would take their courage in both hands and proceed at once to close the Moray Firth. It was only last July that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in answer to a question which I put to him, said that he hoped that before another year elapsed foreign nations would agree to the closing of the Moray Firth. That year is running very close now, and we have only got two months more, and I very much fear we shall not see the hope expressed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs verified. There are many instances in foreign countries of closed waters, and there are notable instances in France, the United States and in Newfoundland, as well as in the Bristol Channel. There is nothing unusual in having prescribed pieces of water, and I cannot see what there is to prevent the Government from urging even more strongly the closing of the Moray Firth.

It is high time that not only the Government but the nation itself did something more for the fishing population of this country. Consider how important fishermen are in case of war or the threat of war when a shortage of food might arise. Even to-day the price of bread is higher than it has been for many years, although we are in "the piping times of peace." Think what would occur if there was a threat of war, or if war actually broke out. I think it is the bounden duty of the Government to do all they can to foster everything that will help to mitigate the evil of a shortage of our food supply, and there is no doubt the fish supply would do a great deal to achieve this end.

Then, again, think what a grand source of strength the personnel of our fishing industry would prove for the naval reserve, because they are men accustomed to fighting the battle of life on stormy seas. For these reasons fishermen are well adapted to help the Navy in case of war, and I appeal to the Government to help them. If fishing communities are neglected and are allowed to decay the villages now populated by happy men, women, and healthy children will become desolate, and the inhabitants will migrate to the big towns, where slum life will take the place of the healthy life they are now living. I remember last Session a most eloquent speech on this question was made by the Member for Banffshire which struck me very much. If you allow these communities to disappear you will never be able to replace them. The boats are becoming larger, and the small harbours cannot afford them proper accommodation. It would be a great advantage to this country if the Government doubled the funds placed in the hands of the Fishery Board to enable them to do more in the direction of improving harbours on our coasts. If some of the money spent, no doubt with the best intentions, by the Congested Districts Board had been allowed to be spent by the Fishery Board a great deal more good might have been done for the country. In conclusion I appeal to the Government to help these men who have made their mark in the history of the nation. The true Viking blood runs in their veins, and no sacrifice is too great for us to make to foster and maintain the life and spirit of these descendants of our old sea kings.


Previous speakers have alluded to the necessity of maintaining the personnel of our fishing population. I think that is worth remembering when you consider that the people engaged in this class of fishing use sailing boats, so that the qualities developed in the management of those boats are really of much more value as a training for the Navy than the management of a steamer. Even the closing of the Firth, as far as it has gone, has already done something to preserve this industry, and in the last year or two some of the white fishermen have been successful to a degree not known before for many years. After the successful fishing of last year a much larger number of boats embarked upon the enterprise this year than in previous years, although the results this year have not been so good. It is difficult to understand what else the Government could have done than make this proposal, which is a purely logical one, of extending the prohibition of sale which now applies to Scotland to England. The position before was really an absurd one, and I think it is a pity that the Government cannot do even more by trying to produce some general agreement, even at the risk of some international or diplomatic trouble, by insisting upon the observance of the law as it exists now, and as it has been interpreted by Quarter Sessions. I quite understand the difficulty the Government are in. They are afraid, if they continue to prosecute under the existing law, that the Norwegian Government might make reprisals and close areas which are at the present time open to our fishermen, and thus prevent a large number of our trawlers from taking advantage of those areas. Even at the risk of that I believe the Government would have been wise to have extended the application of the existing law. The last Government did nothing to put this law into execution, and it has been suggested that the reason for this was that a large number of the trawlers registered under foreign flags were run in the financial interests of some of their own supporters. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh."] At any rate, it is a remarkable thing that during the time the late Government were in office they did nothing to carry into effect this law. The population of the fishing districts in Scotland is universally in favour of the passing of this Bill. There has been a universal voice of approval in regard to this measure, small though its scope is, and I trust that even those hon. Members who represent constituencies interested in the trawlers will recognise that the Government is really doing what it can for the benefit of the country, and I hope they will be induced on that account to withdraw their opposition.


Both parties in this House have pursued the same policy in regard to the question which is supposed to be dealt with in this Bill. So far as I know I do not think any Member on this side has said a word against it, although some hon. Members opposite have opposed this measure. So far as Scotland is concerned this subject was dealt with by the intervention of the last Government, who were able to carry out that reform without having recourse to legislation. This Bill is carrying the policy we gave effect to a stage further, but the Government, if they are going to be logical and fair to British industries, must go a step further than they are doing in this Bill. I confess that if the Moray Firth is closed to British trawlers and open to foreign trawlers, and that not only British trawlers are excluded but British fish are carried away to foreign markets, that will bring about a condition of things which will be simply intolerable. I am not in any sense opposed to this Bill, because it is merely carrying out a policy which both parties have supported.


I hope we shall have as strong a support for this Bill from the party opposite as from the supporters of the Government. The county I have the honour of representing is deeply concerned in this question of trawling. I hope after this Bill has become law the Government will have the courage to go on and put an end to illegal trawling everywhere else, as well as in the Moray Firth. I understand that it is the Norwegian trawlers we have to complain of most. The Norwegian Government have allowed this to be done, not to benefit their own people, but to benefit English companies who use their flag in order to break the laws of this country. I regret that Norway should allow that, because it is very unfriendly, and I am sorry the Government have not been able to settle this question by inducing the Norwegian Government to do exactly as the other parties concerned in the North Sea Convention have done. It is absurd to allow foreign trawlers in the Moray Firth and at the same time keep out British trawlers.

That, on the face of it, is very absurd, but it is a good reason why we should attempt to keep the foreigner out. I should have preferred to do without this Bill, and that the opinion of the judges in the law courts of Scotland should prevail as pronounced in 1906. After the judges had given their decision, and trawling in the Moray Firth was prohibited, the line fishing very much improved, and much more profit was obtained in that year than has ever been obtained since. Parliament has thought proper to prohibit Scottish or English trawlers from taking their fish into Scottish ports. Surely the English ports would come under the same law. I understand that this Bill is to make the law the same for this part of the country as for the other parts. These line fishermen are a very fine body of men. They number many thousand. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of people are concerned in the profits of these line fishermen. Some people tell us that we get much more fish by trawling, but the fish by trawling does not get any cheaper, and therefore there is no benefit to the country from trawling. I am aware that there is the large question of companies and trust against the industrial classes of this country, and if it continues the country will lose the benefit of this fine body of line fishermen. You will drive the young men away and leave the old behind, and you must remember that most of these line fishermen belong to the naval reserve. You must also remember that this question of the naval reserve refers not only to the Moray Firth, but is associated with the coasts of Scotland ail round. I hope that the Government will persevere with this Bill, and that they will enforce the decision of the Scottish law courts. We are apparently expected to save this Bill, because it seems to be the best we can get. I trust that the House will look upon the course that has been adopted as simply protecting our own country and our own workers, and that it is one for the benefit of the country generally. My constituents are deeply interested in this matter, because their means of livelihood are involved, as they are employed in the line-fishing industry. I am not going to blame the late Government whatever in the matter. I have no doubt they were as much interested in looking after the people of this country as we are. I do not want to make it a question of party politics at all.

The late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman told us that his policy was to colonise our own country. You may do that by protecting industries such as fisheries, and I should be very glad to see this Bill passed in the interests of the hardest working people in the northern parts of Scotland. That may be noticed in regard to old age pensions by the percentage of persons over 70 years of age in those parts. This trawling will kill the line-fishing industry, and prevent these young men getting work near to their own homes. I welcome the Bill as an effort on the part of the Government to settle this question of trawling. I believe it to be in the best interests of the whole people, no matter to what political party they belong, and I hope that we shall proceed to stop the illegal trawling all round our coasts.


It is a somewhat curious fact that neither last year nor this year has any Member of the Government until now uttered a single word on this question. The efforts to solve this question have been going on for a long time, and they have resulted so far in a dismal failure. The reason for the failure is a fallacious one. I can give my authority, the very best authority, namely, the scientific adviser to the Scottish Fishery Board, written in September, 1908. It is an extract from a letter of D'Arcy Went-worth Thompson to the chairman of the Fishery Board of Scotland. It relates to the outcome and result after 20 years. Here is the extract:— But our statistical investigations fail to give a definite answer to the apparently simple but really difficult and complex question of whether the supply of fish upon our fishing grounds is or is not diminishing on the whole; if there be a diminution it is at most in amount compared with the large and frequent natural fluctuations by which any slow progressive change is bound to be in large measure obscured and concealed. Not only must our statistical enquiries be continued for a longer period, and our statistics as far as possible improved, but we must realise that each fish and each area must be carefully and separately studied, and what is true of one fish may be by no means true of another, and in short that the general question of whether the fish supply be diminishing may not be susceptible of a. simple or general answer. Impossible, therefore, except by an international understanding. I advocated in 1896 and 1897 the closing of the English ports. In 1906 the Scottish Courts pronounced judgment with reference to foreign trawlers; but that proved a failure. The Foreign Office, intervened. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs is not here to take part in this debate, and that is an instance of the way in which Scottish matters are neglected from beginning to end. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ought to be here to defend this Bill and be here out of regard for the feelings of Scotch Members. British subjects have been prosecuted for doing that which foreign trawlers are allowed to do. With what result? So-called Grimsby trawlers have to be manned by foreigners, and the last failure of all in the hands of the Government last year was in the debate in the House of Lords, when Lord Heneage moved a Motion in the other House. It was said at the time that that debate proved conclusively the case for the Government. I beg to say it was the other way. It was an admission by the Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the other place, and it was apparent when he said it was no use making any allusion to the matter: the Government had to recognise that they could not prevent the foreigner from fishing in the Moray Firth. I desire to indicate accurately the position of the Moray Firth in the present day. Fifteen years ago the position was very different to what it is now. There were then perhaps 70 old sailing vessels which never went far out to sea. Now there is a large capitalised fleet of 500 steam vessels for line fishing worth £400,000 in steam and herring drifters. These are built to go far out and they follow the herrings from the West Coast of Ireland to Shetland, Peterhead, Yarmouth, and Lowestoft. I go now to the Chief Clerk to the Scottish Fishery Board, who, in cross-examination before the Committee on Fishery Investigations in December last, said, in answer to a question by Lord Nunburnholme, that:— Line fishing is not now prosecuted to the same extent in the Moray Firth that it was at that time (before the Moray Firth was closed) because the fishermen find that the herring fishing pays them very much better; it does not entail so much labour as the line fishing; the result is that the best fishermen we have in the Moray Firth now devote almost all their time to the Herring fishing, leaving only the older men and the younger men to prosecute line fishing, etc. The great majority of those who go to the English fishing are the Moray Firth boats. I think these two authorities ought to carry some weight as to the true position of the question with which we are deal- ing. Now for a few facts The hon. Member for Sutherlandshire said trawling has not succeeded in making the fish food of the people any cheaper. In 1906 the total quantity of fish landed in England was 12,250,000 cwts., of the value of over £7,500,000; 66 per cent. of that, or two-thirds, came from the trawlers, and the average value of that catch at ports was Id. per lb. That represents the industry which as yet has not received in Scotland the fair and impartial treatment it deserves. I ask for no favouritism. All I ask for is mere fair justice. The Solicitor-General for Scotland in the late Government said the Government could not let the Bill rest there because it would evidently lead to a state of affairs in which, the foreigner would obtain entire possession of the Firth to the exclusion of the British trawler. It is stated that the foreign companies are at the present moment fitting out fast steaming vessels simply to land the catches from the Moray Firth in the various foreign ports. If this becomes law there is nothing whatever to-prevent the foreigners catching fish in the Moray Firth, and taking it to some German port, and whence it might be transferred back again to the English markets. The whole of the question of the landing of catches at the present moment is a question of the market. In very many cases now they can get better and higher prices in the foreign ports than they do in the English ports. I would also call the attention of the House to an extract from the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Injuries to Submarine Cables, presented to Parliament in 1908. It may be as well to mention here that the Committee saw three steam trawlers at Fleetwood flying the Dutch flag, and discharging catches of prime fish which were stated to have come from the Firth of Clyde where British vessels are not permitted to trawl. The danger if the Bill becomes law is enormous. One of the most serious objections to it is the elementary injustice of its details. It actually condemns a man without trial. Trawl owners in the past have had very little justice. What will they receive in the future? As regards the convictions, I would like to call the attention of the House to the justice meted out in the past. In March, 1907, I asked the Secretary for Scotland whether it was within his knowledge that rewards had been offered for information which would lead to the conviction of trawlers fishing in the Moray Firth. The Secretary for Scotland answered: "I have no official knowledge of such rewards having been offered as those referred to by my hon.

Friend." I am glad to bring this matter up again. Rewards have been offered in the Constituency represented by the hon. Member below me (Mr. Cathcart Wason). I have a copy of the "Shetland News," in which there is an advertisement. This advertisement reads:— Orkney and Shetland Vigilance Association. Without local effort it is impossible for the fishery cruisers adequately to protect our fishing rights. Local associations securing the conviction of persons engaged in illegal trawling will receive £ 5 reward.


"Solicitor, Lerwich, Secretary."

What does this state of affairs lead to? Now in the same paper I have an account of how these trawling prosecutions are arranged. There is an account of three trawling prosecutions, showing that two special families are interested in obtaining these rewards. These families rejoice in the names of Stout and Eunson, and they seem to have made a lucrative business out of it. The first case was a charge on 15th August, a trawl master named Walter Ryder, who was condemned by the evidence of four Stouts (Wm. Stout, George Stout, Wm. Stout, jun., and Alex. Stout). That was one case. The next case was on 1st September, in regard to the trawler "Pretoria," and the four Stouts again gave evidence, and it was backed up by four Eunsons. The third case was on 29th August. This was backed up again by Wm. Stout and Eunson. These two families came over to give evidence, but how were they brought over? They were not capable of coming over in the ordinary way. The Scotch Fishery Cruiser was sent for them in order that they might give evidence against these trawlers. The only expert evidence against them was that of the chief officer of the Fishery Cruiser, and there was no other corroborative evidence except that given by these two families. I say that that is a very scandalous and grossly unfair way of administering justice, and it is really too bad that such a state of affairs, as far as justice is concerned, should exist in any part of His Majesty's Dominions. If that has taken place in the past, what of the future when this Bill comes into operation? I do not know whether hon. Members have read this Bill, but it is entirely novel and unprecedented in its provisions. It absolutely condemns without trial these trawlers to be placed in the hands of a biassed Fishery Board. I have described the mode of trial in the past, and I think that there is every apprehension of greater injustice being done in the future, for this Bill makes the Scotch Fishery Board prosecutor, judge, and jury. It dispenses with the necessity for bringing offences into court, and a mere notification is sufficient. We have all heard of Jedburgh justice, under which, you hang a man first and try him afterwards; but this is worse, because the man is hanged, and then you do not try him. I am surprised that for two successive Sessions this Bill should be introduced, and I can quite understand the reluctance of the representative of the Government to get up and defend it. In the first instance, I think we in Aberdeen have just cause to complain. We have suffered for the last ten years more than anybody else from the beginning of these Acts coming into operation. We have the best class of fish in Scotland, and we have the best fishing taken away from us. Aberdeen has suffered by the loss of its harbour dues, and the fish salesmen from the loss of commission on the sale of fish. Meanwhile, there has never been a shadow of suspicion against any of our constituents of having broken the law, and we have taken no part, as various well-known English ports have done, in breaking the law. And yet, having taken all the pains we can to observe the law and to carry on our business under very unfair conditions, we must, it seems, be further handicapped. I do think that we have made a very strong case, and but that I am not in order I should move an Instruction to the Committee to limit the operation of this Bill, which is admitted on all hands to be purely an experimental one, to two or three years. I hope the Lord Advocate will give us some indication of the wishes of the Government to admit the justice of our claim and of our demand, and that some change may be made in the Committee stage to deal with our grievances. If that is not done I shall feel bound to support my hon. Colleague if he goes to a Division.


In response to the challenge of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, I rise to state the position of the Government in this matter. My hon. Friend is wrong in supposing that there is any reluctance on our part to defend the Bill, which explains the policy which the Government desire to carry out. There is at the present moment no Motion for the repeal of the statute of 1889 and the bye-laws made thereunder, and for that reason I am puzzled to understand the opposition of my two hon. Friends who represent the City of Aberdeen, who represent constituents who have faithfully observed the law, and I willingly bear testimony to the loyalty with which they have observed the law. But what they actually desire is not that they may be permitted to trawl in the Moray Firth, but that the foreigner may also be permitted to trawl in an area from which they are excluded. It is a little difficult to understand that position. Of course if we were here discussing the question of whether or not trawling was destructive or injurious to fish, or whether it was desirable to substitute one method of fishing for another in the Moray Firth, then an interminable area for discussion would open up before us. But really the only question we have to debate is whether this is an effective means of giving a full and complete effect to a statute which none of us desire to repeal, and which there is no motive for repealing. The situation is this: The courts have declared, and my right hon. Friend opposite will agree have rightly declared, that this statute is applicable not only to British subjects but to foreigners, but for diplomatic reasons it became undesirable to enforce the law made by the Act of Parliament against foreigners. My right hon. Friend will recollect that during the time of the late Government no attempt was made to enforce the law against the foreigner. No doubt they had not made such powerful incursions into the Moray Firth in his time as now, or in more recent times; still, it was the policy of the last Government, as of this Government, not to enforce this strict and rigid law against foreigners.


We did enforce the law against the captain of one vessel in the time of the late Government.


My hon. Friend refers to an entirely different case. He refers to a case in which the law was enforced inside the area on which the North Sea Convention was imposed.


It was within the 4½-mile limit.


It was inside the area to which the North Sea Convention applied, and by which all the Signatories of the North Sea Convention are bound. The real question which was discussed and decided by the full bench was this, whether or not we were entitled to exclude foreigners from the whole area outside the limit drawn by the North Sea Convention. The court came to the conclusion that that was the law, but it was a very different question as to whether it was expedient to enforce that law, and this Government followed the policy of its predecessors in office and made no attempt to enforce the law which we knew we were able to put into operation if we chose.


Does he intend to pursue that policy in the future?


The hon. Member will see that the object of this Bill is to effect what we could not otherwise have effected, namely, to exclude the foreigner from the Moray Firth, holding as we do that the foreigner who trawls in the Moray Firth is a man who always came from Grimsby and landed his fish at Grimsby.


I am sorry to interrupt the Lord Advocate again, but I should have been saved that necessity if he had made his speech in moving the Bill. The point is this: Will these diplomatic reasons which have influenced the Government in not enforcing the law in Scotland against foreigners, continue in the future as in the past?


Of course they will; but, on the other hand, if the Bill passes we believe—we have good reason to believe, that it, will have the effect, that instead of enforcing against the foreigner the very drastic provisions of the Act—we have reason to believe, that if we prevent the fish being landed in all the ports in the United Kingdom, that will put an end to the trawling of the foreigner in the Moray Firth. My hon. Friend knows as well as I do that there have been, with very few exceptions, no genuine foreigners in the Moray Firth, they came from Grimsby, and the hon. Member knows very well that by a curious Nemesis the supporters of the Grimsby trawlers are now absent from this House, because they have found that owing to the exigencies of foreign law they were compelled, if they made their appearance in the Moray Firth, to discharge their own crews and employ foreigners. That proves, and makes it quite plain, that it is not an honest foreign invasion in the Moray Firth which we have to contend with, but a pseudo invasion, and this Bill will have the effect of preventing that, it is thought, in future. Of course, nobody can say what will be the result. The hon. Member says we must go further. We cannot go further by legislation, we may go further by diplomatic representation, but in the meantime is it not plain to every Member of this House, that we shall have a much stronger position in diplomatic representations, if we have honestly and sincerely done our best to enforce the law as it has been declared by the courts of law. I think in that case we shall be in a very strong position, but I can offer the House this assurance, that we have no reason to believe that any serious difficulties would be raised by either Norway, Denmark, or other countries in regard to this question. And if we show a sincere desire to keep out these pseudo trawlers we shall have very little difficulty with the genuine foreigners, whose policy is very much the same as our own. Indeed, we have very good reason to suppose that at the time of the prosecution which has been referred to and the proceedings before the twelve judges, Norway entertained a very much stronger view than we did as to her control over territorial waters there, and thought she was entitled to exclude all foreigners and prohibit all trawling. What I say to my hon. Friend is that if we require to go further we are prepared to go further, but we have every reason to believe that if we prevent this fish being landed in the United Kingdom that would put an end to the foreign trawling so-called, which has been so troublesome to the line fishermen. It may just be that the prohibition to land fish in the United Kingdom may create a foreign trade which does not at present exist. That is obvious to all of us, but we must take our chance of that.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say there are no foreign trawlers in the Moray Firth? I say that there are plenty of foreign trawlers there not Grimsby trawlers.


I am not aware of that. I do not know whether the hon. Member means genuine foreign trawlers who take their fish to foreign ports. If he refers to foreign trawlers who take their fish to foreign ports, then, as far as my information goes, they are few and far between. The foreign trawler seen there takes his fish to ports in the United Kingdom for the reason, as we believe, that the additional length of the voyage makes it an unprofitable business to carry trawled fish from the Moray Firth to the various ports on the Continent. Accordingly, if we prevent them from being landed in our own country, it will require it to be uncommonly good fishing which will render it profitable for the foreigner to take the fish over to his own ports. But that remains to be seen. This is the best we can do, and our hands will be greatly strengthened if this Bill be passed. If we do require to undertake diplomatic negotiations with foreign Powers to induce them to prevent their own subjects from prosecuting the trade of bringing trawled fish to their ports we shall do so. So far as my present information goes Norway is rendering every aid to exclude their own fishermen from poaching, as the hon. Member calls it, in the Moray Firth.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen says we are applying a very drastic remedy, and are proposing to convict men without trial. But we are not proposing to try men at all or to interfere with the men, with their boats, or with their gear. All we propose to do is to confiscate their trawled fish if they land it in the ports of the United Kingdom. That is not a great hardship. We are only placing trawled fish in the same category as diseased meat and prison-made brushes and mats, and asking the Custom House officers either to destroy them or to dispose of them in some other way. The Custom House officers have power under the 42nd Section of the CUB-toms Act of 1876 to deal with an immense variety of different products in this drastic way. Trawled fish are not being placed in a different category from those other prohibited commodities. The only difference is that we do not in the case of trawled fish leave it to the Custom House officers to distinguish trawled fish from fish caught with the line; but we place them in possession of the requisite information by the best means in our power—by communication made to the various quarters in which fish may be expected to be landed, giving the date when the vessel was observed to be trawling in prohibited waters, her name, and her description, so that we are merely supplying the Custom House officers in the case of the trawled fish with the information which his own eyes and other means of information convey to him in the case of the other commodities found in section 42 of the Act. I observe that my right hon. Friend opposite made no challenge of the method by which we proposed to effect our object, and I am quite certain he would have challenged it if he had not been perfectly satisfied that it was really the only means by which you can accomplish the object. We cannot cite a foreigner outside our jurisdiction to appear in our courts. We cannot lay hold of him, and the only means by which we can enforce against him the prohibitions in the Statute of 1889, and the bye-laws connected with it is by the machinery which we have provided in this Bill. It is not really, therefore, so unusual and so drastic as the hon. Member seems to have supposed, and it is the only possible means by which we can give effect to the prohibition which not a single hon. Member desires to repeal.


The remarks of the hon. Member for Aberdeen with regard to the action which I was compelled to take in the interests of my constituents I am sure call for some little reply on my part. I make no complaint against my hon. Friend of having brought this matter forward, as it is not a matter of which I have the very least idea of being ashamed in any sense whatever. What we found out in the Orkney and Shetlands with regard to this trawling question was that a number of trawlers came from my hon. Friend's Constituency and elsewhere, and they were in the habit of coming into our inshore waters and destroying the living of the line fishermen. Associations were then formed all over the different ports, and we have done our very best to catch trawlers wherever we can. We supply them with telescopes and charts and so forth, and we have enabled them to become quite experts in this matter of catching trawlers. The only error which I fell into was when I said I paid for it. I certainly paid a cheque for advertisements in connection with the matter, but I am not at all the only paymaster. A number of other friends have afforded assistance.

I claim with regard to this Bill that the Government have done their very best, and the utmost they possibly could do, and the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, to the effect that this matter cannot stop here, are entirely out of place. We complain that the late Government—we do not make any attack upon them—did not introduce the Bill years and years ago, when they had the chance. The hon. Member for Aberdeen has distinguished himself as an advocate of Scottish Home Rule, and he carried a very large majority of the House in favour of that measure only a Session or two ago. This question really is demanding of the House of Commons that the Scottish laws should be enforced by this country, and this is the only method under which it is possible for the Government to have done that. Those of us who represent the line fishermen made this claim to the late Government year after year, and we received no sympathy or support from them. The real reason for this Bill is this: It is a difficult position for the Government to face. Here they are openly charged with closing the Moray Firth to British trawlers while at the same time foreign trawlers can trawl there as much as they like. That seems an indefensible proposition. They are also accused of allowing foreign trawlers to catch fish there and take them over to foreign ports and preventing them from landing the fish in English ports, thereby depriving our population of a large supply of most nutritious and valuable food. That is a very difficult point for the Government to answer. But the point the Government have to look to is that they have the whole of the representatives of the Scottish fishing Constituencies at their back in this matter, and the Scottish representatives have their Constituencies at their back absolutely, because they know exactly what is meant and what the effect of this Bill will be. If we pass this Bill, as I sincerely trust we shall pass it, and prevent these foreign trawlers landing their fish in our English markets, the effect will be naturally that they will have to take their trawled fish to their own market or to foreign markets. Well, when they have got them there, in every foreign country absolutely, I think, with the exception of Norway, these trawl fishers find themselves face to face with serious disabilities. Every country, except Norway, has very stringent regulations in regard to the sale of fish. This country stands almost alone in allowing fish of any size to be landed. In Iceland there are very stringent regulations, in France the fishermen are prevented from landing fish under a certain size. In Germany just the same restrictions are imposed. In Holland fishermen are not allowed to sell any fish under a certain size. In Sweden there is a similar regulation. In Norway the principal regulation is in regard to the sale of young fish for manure or guano manufactures. The laws in Denmark are even more severe, so that our line fishermen know exactly what they are doing. They know that the only object which foreign trawlers have in the Moray Firth in taking undersized fish is to land them in English ports, which are the only ports where they can land them. If they go to their own countries they are met with these severe restrictions in regard to the question of the smallness of the fish. That is why we are anxious that this Bill should be passed, and that the Moray Firth should be closed to foreign trawlers in the way suggested, namely, that they should not be able to land fish in English ports. We have not absolute evidence where the fish are caught, but presumably large numbers are caught in the Moray Firth, and sold for a mere song, in many cases, for manure. Mr. J. Wrench Towse gave evidence, and stated that the fish were sold for manure.


Does he make that suggestion in regard to fish caught in the Moray Firth?


No; it is in regard to undersized fish in general. He does not say where they came from. He states that the fish are sold for a mere trifle. They are sold at 1s. or 1s. 6d. a box, whereas good sound fish are sold at almost as many pounds. We have reason to believe that these fish are caught in such waters as the Moray Firth. At any rate, we know that they are not caught in the deep sea. If the Bill passes we will find that trawling in the Moray Firth will soon be a thing of the past, and that the Government will be able to negotiate with foreign Powers in regard to other ports. We will find, therefore, that protection will be afforded not only to our fish, but to our fishermen. We will then be able to enter into diplomatic arrangements with foreign Powers. We are told that Germany is fully alive to the importance of this question of the depletion of the waters of the sea. I have here the evidence which was given by Mr. Walter Garstang. He said:— They, the Germans, see from their own figures that the catches of their own steam trawlers are going down from year to year, and of course the price of fish cannot indefinitely go up to compensate. Foreign countries, having all these facts in mind, would, it is perfectly certain, cooperate cordially with our Government in regard to this matter. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman, in bringing forward this Bill, has done a great work for Scotland, and if the measure is carried into law it will have an admirable effect in promoting the proper protection of our large food supplies, which are drawn from the sea.


As representing a large number of fishermen interested in this question, I desire to say that I am going to support the Bill. I believe very much in all that the Lord Advocate said in his able and interesting speech. I think he puts the case a little too high for the Bill, but I hope myself that the results he anticipates from it will be perfectly certain to arise. The Moray Firth appears to be very excellent fishing ground. I remember when I went up there at the election which took place in Banffshire I was told by a member of the Fishery Board that the short time the trawlers had disappeared had been sufficient to bring fish back to these waters. I think both the turbot and sole reappeared there almost immediately after the bottom had ceased to be raked by the trawlers. If that be the case, and if we can get the right to object to what goes on there now, we will very largely improve the fisheries and the livelihood of the fishermen who are engaged in the industry. I know that in my own district in the West of Scotland there have not been any very grave complaints as to the presence of foreign-trawlers, although I have found that they have appeared there, and that there is considerable apprehension that they may appear more in the future if no check is provided. The difficulty I see in the matter is that, while no doubt it will be less easy for the trawlers to dispose of their fish than in the past, with the present system of packing in ice I do not know that these trawlers are seriously afraid of the longer distance they will have to steam to foreign ports before being able to land their fish. In regard to the legal question with respect to the landing of fish, I think my hon. Friend below me entirely agreed that it was impossible to do anything more than had been done to provide for that contingency. It is impossible to carry out a cumbrous process of law dealing with matters of this kind. If you give power to Custom House officers there seems to be no other way of dealing with the matter in the circumstances. I know that my Constituents are anxious that the Bill should pass, for, while it may not be a complete remedy for the evil from which we suffer, we hope that it will go a long way towards remedying it.


I think my hon. Friend who has just spoken has well summed up what the effect of the Bill will be. It will be a partial remedy; but, so far as present circumstances restrict our action, I do not think the Government can do more. The Lord Advocate, I think, has every reason to be satisfied with the reception given to the Bill. In fact, it might almost be said, as Charles II. said to himself when he landed at the Restoration—I wonder it has not come before.

When the original statute was made I could not help wondering why the English ports were left open while the Scottish ports were closed. That has been the defect of the measure ever since it has been on the Statute Book. The whole of Scotland is in favour of the Bill with the exception of Aberdeen. The opinion of Aberdeen is represented in the old saying: Tak' awa' Aberdeen, an' twa mile roun', an' whaur are ye? It is Aberdeen against the world. The representatives from Aberdeen seem to think it would be impossible for the fishing trade to subsist unless the Aberdeen trawlers had a free run of the Moray Firth. The Moray Firth was originally closed in order to protect the breeding ground and increase the fish supply, and I think it has been perfectly clearly indicated that where the trawlers have the perfectly free run of narrow waters they fish those waters out. These valuable breeding grounds have been no doubt partially protected even by legislation as it stood. I do not know that foreign trawlers are now to be excluded altogether, but at any rate trawl fishing in the Moray Firth must be greatly reduced by this Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen, who was so strong an opponent of this measure, told the House in the debate in July last year that he was astonished that so-called British trawlers steamed under foreign flags in order to evade the law. He joined in the condemnation of British subjects guilty of such proceedings. British subjects will no longer be able to be guilty of such proceedings, and that must occasion some satisfaction to my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen, and also to his colleague, who has spoken in the same sense.

In the debate on that occasion we were generally denouncing the system of trawling. In that debate I did make a definite suggestion that this was the only way in which we could mend the former Act, namely, by closing the right of entry of these fishermen in all British ports. Therefore, I am an enthusiastic supporter of this Bill, which entirely carries out the views which I then expressed. We had the great advantage on that occasion of having the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Foreign Affairs taking part in that debate, and I think we all owe him in Scotland a considerable debt of gratitude for the interest which he has taken in this matter, and in this particular measure, which is now before the House. But I should not quite agree with the Lord Advocate that this measure of itself is final, and that it will exclude foreign trawlers. I think nothing short of a North Sea convention will ever do that. I should be sorry to think, from what the Lord Advocate said, that the Foreign Office should think that its exertion was no longer necessary because of this Bill which we are passing this evening. The exertions of the Foreign Office are just as much required as ever, and I think that it is eminently desirable that the Scottish Office should remain in closest touch with the Foreign Office, and that the Scottish Office should not lead the Foreign Office to suppose that by this Bill everything has been done that can be done, but that it should be in close touch with the Foreign Office in trying to promote this North Sea convention, without which I do not think there will ever be complete protection for these invaluable breeding grounds.

I hope that this may be the end of the attempts, which have been made, no doubt, by both sides through a long series of years to make party capital out of these fishing matters. The interest of the fishermen seem to me to be used to a considerable extent as a pawn in the party game. I trust with the passing of this Act that, on both sides, we shall unite in securing the interests of the fishermen as a whole; not running the interests of the trawlers against the interests of the line fishermen or the interests of one set of boats against those of another; but that, agreeing upon this Bill, we shall continue to agree to develop the whole of the fishing industry of Scotland, and protect it.

Captain A. C. MURRAY

I have listened with some interest to the hon. Member for South Aberdeen, who moved the rejection of this Bill and the hon. Member for West Hull, who seconded the rejection of this Bill, and I waited for some valid reason why they should object to the Bill as a whole. This Bill would apply only to foreigners; British trawlers at the present moment cannot under the law, as it stands now, trawl in the Moray Firth. They are already excluded, and, therefore, the law as regards them being in the future as it is now, why should they object to the Bill as a whole? While I was in Aberdeen a few months ago I received a deputation from some of my trawling constituents. I may mention that there is a number of trawlers amongst my constituents as well as line fishermen, and the impression left upon my mind when that deputation withdrew was this, that they had no valid objection to the Bill as a whole, and that their objection to the Bill lay in clause 3. Clause 3, as the House is aware, lays down the method under which it is proposed to bring these trawlers to book, that have been found fishing in the Moray Firth. I think in this respect we have had an explanation from the Lord Advocate which ought to go a long distance towards allaying the fears of the Scotch and English trawlers—fears which have arisen owing to the fact that they are of opinion they will be unjustly accused of trawling, and that their catches would be confiscated at times when this ought not to be the case.

I think, as has been said by various Members during the course of this debate, that this Bill is certainly a step in the right direction, but only a step, and that it must be followed up by the Government, and must be followed up by international agreement. It must be proved to Foreign Governments, and I think it can be proved, that the Moray Firth and areas around the coast of this country such as the Moray Firth, are most important as fish breeding and spawning ground for the population of this country. I hope the Government will take the matter in hand, and will prove to foreign countries that they are suffering as much as this country from unrestricted trawling in these areas, and that we shall have a settlement eventually that will be satisfactory to all concerned.


Much has been said in this debate in support of the interests of Scottish fisheries, but there is another interest very much affected by the provisions of this Bill which should be considered. It seems to me that the interests of the English consumer of fish have been to a large extent lost sight of. The Government have been urged to pass this Bill on the ground that the Scottish Members are unanimously at their back in regard to it, and little or no consideration has been given in the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the interests of the English consumer. In many ways the Bill is an interesting one. I should be the last person to say that it may not be necessary at times for one part of the country to suffer in order that other parts may be benefited. In order that the products of foreign trawlers in the Moray Firth should cease to enter into competition with the products of other trawlers in other districts it may be necessary for those products to be rejected by this country as a whole. But if we are taking a step of that kind, which is purely protective in its whole bearing and nature, and in absolute opposition to the principle of freedom of exchange, we ought to know what we are doing, and I think the Lord Advocate might very well have brought that side of the question before us, and have shown us that while the Scottish trawlers are certainly debarred from trawling in the Moray Firth, although foreigners are permitted for diplomatic reasons still to break our law or bye-laws or regulations with reference to the Firth, yet nevertheless it is also the case that as a result the English community get a very large supply of cheap food. Even the strongest advocates of the Bill have pointed out that, let it do as much as ever it will, the Bill is only likely to be partially successful; they look for something more—the success of diplomatic arrangements. As a representative of an English Constituency I hope that the diplomatic exchanges now in the hands of the Foreign Secretary may show more success and go a little faster than they have recently. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs a moment ago thanked the Foreign Secretary for the success which had attended his efforts. As far as I can see, there has been no success at all so far as the Moray Firth is concerned. We have heard of this question ever since we met in 1906, but English constituencies have never been-brought into such close touch with the Moray Firth as they are by the introduction of this Bill, under which they will have to pay all the penalty while the Scottish trawlers get all the benefit. I am not trying to destroy the Bill; I merely consider it necessary to point out and that English constituencies should realise that they are making a sacrifice, and I think a little more might have been said on that point by Scottish Members. Under this Bill fish which now comes to England is to be forced to the Continent. The country ought clearly to understand that the principles which underlie the Bill are frankly Protectionist. I do not object to them on that ground—not a bit. I should be rather inclined to favour them on that account. They have the same characteristic as the Merchant Shipping Act and the Patent Law passed by the present Government—both of them excellent measures in every way, both highly protective, but neither of them so entirely and completely protective as the measure now before the House. It is not at all clear that arrangements could not be made with foreign countries to abstain from trawling in the Moray Firth, at any rate during certain months of the year. I am very ignorant on the subject of spawning grounds, and so on, but surely there are months in the year when the absence of trawlers would he specially valuable. Although foreign nations might object to fall in wholly with our arrangements in regard to the Moray Firth, they might be willing, if we could show them consideration in other ways, to abstain from this pursuit during certain months. Moreover, if English constituencies are to make the sacrifice called for under this Bill, we ought to have some assurance from the Government and from Members representing Scottish constituencies that they will endeavour in some way to replace the supply of fish which is going to be cut off from the English ports. An hon. Member suggested just now that more money might be spent on the harbours of Scotland out of the funds of the Congested Districts Board or some other fund. If that could be done it would be an earnest to the English constituencies that the Scottish people really meant to replace this supply of cheap food, at any rate by an additional supply of fish, either from the Moray Firth or from other districts of Scotland. The measure is probably quite a good one, and I do not in any way wish to destroy it; but I wish to emphasise the fact that we English representatives realise that we are asked to make a sacrifice in order that Scottish constituencies may be benefited. I do not want that to be lost sight of. They have forgotten to bring this prominently before us in their speeches, so that I think it is just as well for an English Member to make reference to it, and then to urge upon the Government that side by side with this highly protective measure which they now introduce to us that they should realise that there is responsibility resting upon them so to improve the harbour arrangements of Scotland, as has been pointed out by Scottish Members, in order that at any rate we English constituencies in the future may have replaced by additional fish supplies from Scotland those supplies which are forcibly to be shut out from English ports, driven into foreign countries, and thus lost to the English consumer.


The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has taken up rather a grand position for the English constituencies, representing that we are calling on them to make a noble sacrifice by the second reading of this Bill. He seemed to be unconscious all the time that the objection of this Bill was simply to prevent the ruin of a large source of fish supply for the United Kingdom. Then he goes on to say that in return for that Scotland ought to in some way guarantee that there will be as large a supply of fish in the future for the United Kingdom as heretofore. In saying that he gets wonderfully out of accord with his fellow Members on that side of the House who have spoken against the Bill, and in fact on both sides, because their argument was that if this Bill passes the foreigner would immediately take his supply, not to this country, but to his own country. The foreigner can do that now, so that it cannot make any difference to the food supply of this country in that respect. The real point which I press upon the House is that if the Bill passes at all it must pass as a sensible measure for improving in the long run the fishery both of the Moray Firth and the Firth of Clyde, and eventually the fish supply of the United Kingdom.

I only rise in this debate as it has turned almost exclusively on the interests of Moray Firth. I am personally a representative of a large fishing industry on the Firth of Clyde. They are both alike in this respect, that they are inland waters. They are waters which, under the Act of 1899, were brought within the operation of that Act, though part of the area of both was beyond the three-mile limit. That had the effect, of course, as far as dealing with foreign nations, we could not act beyond the three mile limit in the same way as we could towards subjects of the United Kingdom. The Prohibition Act only extends beyond the three mile limit so far as regards the subjects of the United Kingdom, who were for this purpose local fishermen. One hon. Gentleman on this side of the House said there had been a blunder committed in distinguishing between those waters and the three mile limit. I think not. I think the right hon. Member for Glasgow rather demolished that point by saying that the right thing to do was to arrange to treat the whole of those waters as territorial waters, as if the three-mile limit did not matter at all. The point which I wish to accentuate is this, that a large population has throughout a very long period of time been allowed to grow up and communities to establish themselves on the Firth of Clyde as upon the Moray Firth on the strength of this indus- try of fishing with the line and fishing with the drift net.

It is quite true that you cannot say in any strong terms that they had any right to prevent the class of fishing which would spoil or interfere with their industry or means of livelihood. I am afraid I could not contend that as a matter of law, but at the same time the Government having jurisdiction over the waters I think may be fairly called upon to exercise their control in such a way as not to destroy the livelihood of those communities who have grown up on that expectation. If I may give an analogy, I would say, apply the law in the same way as to the rights of common. The rights of common were acquired in this way. There was no right to prevent anybody else using waste lands in a manner which would limit the amount of use which a particular community was having. And the argument was actually used in old times, it struck me when the hon. Member for St. Albans was speaking, that it was for the benefit of the country and agriculture that all commons should be included and should be turned into grazing land. The specific interest and immemorial interest of the community was allowed by Parliament to prevail against that. If that be so I think we may strongly say that a similar course should be adopted in a measure like this to preserve the livelihood of a large population which, on the strength of line-fishing and drift-net fishing, has been established on the banks of Moray Firth and the Firth of Clyde. Of course, the word protection alarms the public a good deal. We talk of protecting those people and their industries, but it is only the means which we take to protect which I object to. I never objected in certain cases where protection is afforded; it was only to the means of protection, and what I am advocating in this Bill is the means of protecting the industry of line fishermen and the drift net fishermen. One final word about the argument that was again used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow. He said if this Bill—I understand he does not oppose it in any way, but I think he a little discouraged it—passes, then you will have the foreigner allowed to catch in Scottish waters fish which he can carry to foreign ports, while you will not allow English fishermen to do the same. I do not think that means anything, except that you are obliged to preserve the three mile limit, because you might as well say that we could go to the three mile limit of Norway and catch Norwegian fish and bring it over here. I agree entirely that it would be advisable if some arrangement could be made by which waters similar to the Firth of Clyde and the Moray Firth could be treated as purely territorial waters, and, of course, waters similarly situated abroad in any foreign country would have the same right to claim them as territorial waters. In the meantime I do not see in that anything which would render it at all absurd or unreasonable or do anything to discourage the Government from taking at least this step, saying, "We will diminish the facilities to this extent, that you cannot sell your fish in British ports. We will diminish it at all events to that extent internationally." I shall only be too happy if they can see their way to take the further step of freeing for fishing purposes the general proposition of what are territorial waters from these anomalies.


The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite is apparently a Protectionist, provided the means taken for enforcing that Protection are in his judgment sound and true. That is a very great admission coming from an hon. Gentleman on the other side of the House. I have always thought that in all probability before very long the most ardent advocates of Tariff Reform would be found on the opposite side of the House, but I was not prepared for hon. Gentlemen coming down to say that they are in favour of a measure of Protection—pure and simple Protection—provided that it is carried out in a proper manner. But I rather disagree with the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman in so far as I do not think that this Bill, though it is undoubtedly a measure of Protection, is a measure of Protection which is carried out in a good and proper manner, because as far as I can see one certain effect of it will be that it will deprive the people of this country of pure and wholesome food, which pure and wholesome food will go to the foreigner. This Bill seems to me to be one that should be called a Foreign Preference Bill. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, I believe, are opposed to colonial preference, but apparently they are in favour of foreign preference. That seems to me to be a most extraordinary attitude to take up, because, after all, the Colonies are of our own flesh and blood, and the foreigners are not, and, therefore, why we give preference to foreigners and at the same time refuse to give preference to our own flesh and blood, seems to me to be a position which I cannot fathom, especially as the hon. and learned Gentleman is in favour of Protection.


That is a somewhat sweeping deduction from my observation.


I should have said Protection with regard to the industry in which the hon. and learned Gentleman's constituents are interested, and perhaps that is a deduction which I omitted to make. As far as I can gather from reading this Bill, it will allow a trawler to trawl in the Moray Firth, and, having obtained fish out of the Moray Firth, it will allow that trawler to do one of two things. He can either fly a foreign flag and sell his fish in foreign ports, or he can sell his fish in foreign ports without flying a foreign flag. That is, so far as I know the provision of the Bill, and I am glad to see that the learned Solicitor-General for Scotland is present on the Front Bench, and if he will allow me to humbly congratulate him upon his return to this House, I shall have very great pleasure in doing so, especially in view of the result of the last election, which took place a few days ago in Scotland. If I am wrong in what I say, that the one result of this Bill will, be to allow the trawler to dispose of the catch which it has made in an illegal water, in a foreign port, without flying a foreign flag—[An HON. MEMBER: "It is not an illegal water."] It is an illegal water against the British trawler.


It is an international water, and, therefore, not an illegal water.


It is an international water, but it is illegal for the unfortunate Britisher. That is why I object to the form of Protection which the hon. and learned Member claims. My form of Protection is to protect my own countrymen against the foreigners. The form of Protection of the hon. and learned Gentleman is to protect the foreigner against my own countrymen. I do not agree with that, and that is one of the reasons why I oppose this Bill.


I said to protect a particular industry. That was my argument.


I come to the reason of the advocacy of the hon. and learned Gentleman of something which has always been anathema to all hon. Members on the other side of the House. When the hon. Gentleman's own Constituents are interested, then he is a Protectionist, but when other people's constituents are interested then he is a Free Trader. With all due deference to the hon. and learned gentleman, I do not think that is quite logical.


I quite admit it is not logical, but not that it is my position.


I think it is evident that one of the results of this Bill will be to enable the trawler, whether he is flying the foreign flag or English flag, to sell the results of his industry in a foreign port. I think I am right. The hon. and learned Gentleman does not correct me, and therefore I feel justified in saying that I am right in making that assumption. ["Go on."] An hon. Gentleman opposite says "Go on." I can quite conceive that the line of argument I am taking up is not palatable to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and they would be very pleased if the real object of this Bill were not brought home to the country. The result of trawling and of selling the fish in foreign ports will be to deprive the working classes of this country of a very large amount of wholesome food at a time when there has been a great rise in the price of bread, and in view of the fact that their cry at the last election was that food should not be dearer. Not content with allowing the price of bread to rise, they must prevent the working classes of this country from obtaining a proper and wholesome supply of food in the shape of fish. And why? Because the constituents of the hon. and learned Gentleman think they will make rather a larger sum per week if this Bill becomes law. Well, now, I am not at all sure—and I do not pose as an authority at all—that this Bill will enable Scottish line fishermen to obtain a larger share of this world's goods. We will presume that the Bill becomes law. It is rather a big presumption. What will be the result? Will these trawlers stop trawling? Unless they do there will be no advantage to line fishing. The grievance, as I understand it, of the line fisherman is that the fish which he would like to catch are caught by somebody else—namely, the trawler. Supposing you say the trawler shall not sell his fish in English ports. That does not prevent his trawling. He will trawl, and sell his fish at Amsterdam. If I am wrong in that assumption, I should be quite prepared to admit it, but I should really like to know where I am wrong in drawing that conclusion. He will sell his fish at Amsterdam, and who will benefit? It will not be the line fishermen in Scotland, because the fish will be taken out of the water all the same. Who will lose? The people of England and Wales and other places who have hitherto bought this fish which has been taken out of the water. May I point out to the hon. Member that to have attained his object he should either himself have brought in a Bill or persuaded one of his Friends on the Front Bench to bring in a Bill to prevent the fish being taken out of the water. That will have given real protection to his friends, the line fishermen. Unless he does that he does not protect their industry in the least. I do not know whether I am wrong.


You are right, for what it is worth.


I think then I am justified in saying—I do not know whether I ought to use a slang expression in this House—but I do think that I have perhaps "scored a point." I would suggest that the Government should, on further consideration, adopt the attitude that they adopted towards the Bill earlier in the afternoon. I do not wish to make any reference with regard to that Bill beyond this: that it was evident that the Bill had been brought in without due consideration, and the Government took the right step—and I should like to congratulate them in having taken that step—in moving the adjournment of the debate in order to consider the matter further. I think it is evident on the admission of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite that this Bill has been brought in without due consideration. Certainly pressure has been put on the Government by certain Scottish Members—quite legitimately and in the interests of their constituents. They thought that they were going to do something that would benefit those constituents. I believe that I have shown that this Bill will not benefit those constituents. Under those circumstances may I suggest to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he would inaugurate his career on that Bench with great éclat in following the example of the Prime Minister by withdrawing this Bill. It could be done in a way that would offend no one's susceptibilities, and I think it would be the proper course to take with regard to the Bill. It cannot do any good to the people which it is supposed to benefit, and it may do a good deal of harm to certain classes of the people who desire to have cheap food. I am glad to see at least three representatives of the Labour party below the Gangway—and possibly four. I also see the hon. Member who, before dinner, on the opposite side of the House made an extremely eloquent speech in defence of this Bill, apparently on the ground of the naval question, and that this Bill would do something to provide a strong Navy. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member, and while I freely admit its eloquence, I must admit that I did not see the relevancy of it. Though I am strongly in favour of a strong Navy, I do not quite see how a strong Navy arises on this Bill. I trust that the four representatives of the Labour party who are in favour of a cheap supply of food for the people will show me where I am wrong in my denunciation of this Bill, and, if I am not wrong, will support me in endeavouring to obtain for that particular part of the nation which they take under their particular care, and of which they claim to have special knowledge—will endeavour, I say, to assist that part of the nation to that which we all desire, a cheap and abundant supply of food, and this whether we are Protectionists or Free Traders. I shall be happy if the Bill goes to a Division to tell against it, because I think that of all the measures which it has been my misfortune to have seen introduced in the three years that I have sat for the City of London, this is, on the whole, the worst.


I will not detain the House for more than a few minutes, but I should like to associate myself with what has fallen from my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire as to the great importance of this question in all parts of Scotland. Representing as I do a constituency on the West Coast, where the fishing is possibly the most important industry obtaining there, I should like to congratulate the Government on having decided to take some definite steps for preserving and improving the position of the fishermen of Scotland. I hope that their efforts will not be necessarily confined only to the East Coast of Scotland, but that we shall have attention given to the interests of the fishing classes over the whole of Scotland. I should like to reassure the hon. Baronet who sits for the City of London as to any contemplated danger to the food supply of this country by this Bill. On the contrary, it even goes further to increase and make more certain the supply of fish. What has been aimed at, and what I doubt not will receive most close attention all over the whole of Scotland, is the preservation of the breeding areas and the preventment of undesirable methods of fishing, with the result that the best efforts will be made to improve the sources of our food supply.


If the Bill did that I should not oppose it. It may aim at doing it, but it does not do it. It is no good passing a Bill that aims at doing a thing which it really does not do.


I can assure the hon. Baronet that the universal opinion among the people of Scotland is that the best method of preserving the breeding grounds is to protect the areas for the breeding of fish, to prevent methods of fishing which may injure the fishing ground and interfere with the spawning, and at the same time to take care that there should be proper preservation of the breeding without as far as possible any interference with legitimate methods of fishing. I think if the hon. Baronet will assume that the people of Scotland have some knowledge of these subjects, and if he will also bear in mind that practically, with the exception of the few small points of detail, there has been absolutely no opposition from the Scotch Members to the Government Bill, he will see the need for withdrawing his opposition. This matter was under consideration by a former Government, and I certainly hope the hon. Baronet will see the necessity of preserving the food supplies, and carefully watching over them, and having them made more secure in the future than they have been in the past.


I should very much like if possible to support the Government in the Bill they have brought before the House, but I regret to say that knowing something about this question I feel that I must at least criticise to a very large extent the proposals embodied in this Bill. The Lord Advocate will know that so far as I am personally concerned I am rather in a difficult position—because I have in my Constituency a very divided opinion as to the means best to be taken under the circumstances that have been created by the manoeuvring of the Scotch Office. Ever since I have been in this House this has been a very vexed, a very irritating, and a very unpleasant question. It does not matter who the gentleman is who has occu- pied the position of Lord Advocate or Secretary for Scotland, I venture to suggest he has met nothing half as troublesome to him as the questions of the difficulties arising in connection with the Moray Firth, and I think if I had been in his positon I should almost imagine I wanted a salary equal to his simply to stand the irritating consequences of the questions of Members arising out of the necessities in their different constituencies in this matter. I think the proper solution of the question is for any Government that may be in power to go back again to the position before 1882. The real solution of the question is to withdraw the restrictions which at present obtain in the Moray Firth and to give all parties the opportunity with equal rights of fishing in these international waters. I know it is argued that if you do that in the Moray Firth you will have to do it in other enclosed areas. Now, those connected with fisheries and who understand that question know there is a vast difference between closing 2,500 square miles of international water against British subjects and the mere closing of certain places that may be only 12 or 13 miles across the mouth. At the present time and, indeed, for many years, there has been such an anomaly in connection with the Moray Firth question that I think very few Britishers really understand or realise it. In 1889 the Herring Fishery Act was passed. It was supposed to confer certain powers upon the Scotch Fishery Board. It was understood at the time that these powers only referred to territorial waters, but in 1892 I think it was the Scotch Fishery Board assumed that they had power to operate their powers in extra-territorial waters, and they closed a portion of the Moray Firth, and I believe in 1896 they close the whole of that enormous area against British trawls altogether. Now, what has been the position since that time? It has been the most irritating and unsatisfactory one to the British fishermen of this country. You have been keeping in these waters gunboats for policing them at the expense of the British taxpayer, and for what purpose. For the purpose of keeping British fishermen from earning a livelihood, and for the purpose of indirectly protecting these waters for foreign fishermen to make their fortune on. That has been the position up to now; that is the position to-night. British money taken out of the revenues of this country is being expended in maintaining police there in the form of British gunboats for the purpose of policing these waters for the advantage of foreign fishermen, and for enabling these fishermen to do much better than British fishermen can do. I frankly admit to the House that some of my friends were ingenious enough to endeavour to get round the Act of Parliament that was passed. I never sympathise with the action they have taken, but it was perfectly legal even for the gentleman who had his investments in the fisheries to invest them in foreign fisheries just as it is for an Englishman to invest his money in railway transactions or in other forms of investments abroad. Some of my Constituents conceived the idea that they would transfer certain of their ships to foreign countries, and that they would invest a part, probably the whole, of their money in these particular ships, and they then sent them to the Moray Firth, and for a number of years they reaped a very satisfactory harvest. The Secretary for Scotland, owing to pressure put upon him by the representatives of the Firth of Clyde or the Moray Firth, from time to time in this House found that the artificial restrictions he put upon the Firth was such that after all a way could be found out of them, and that a large amount of fish was taken from the Moray Firth and sold at Grimsby Fish Market. Another step was taken then, and it was in my opinion rather high-handed procedure. It was found in some of the musty old Acts of Parliament belonging to Scotland that you could prosecute a British subject who might be working upon a foreign trawler. Prosecutions were entered against British subjects fishing on those particular ships. They were taken to Elgin in Scotland, severely punished, and fined very heavily, and the general impression got abroad that no person could work on those ships, or be in any way connected with them, unless he happened to be a foreign subject. I am bound to say that I think the Scottish Office got their deserts in that matter, because it is well known that the Foreign Secretary was not prepared to defend the action they took up, and he sent a telegram to the Scotch Office saying that if the men were imprisoned they must be released, because they had a right to protection under their flag. I think those fines ought to have been remitted. So far as my Constituents are concerned they are more affected by this Bill than any other constituency, and the general impression obtains amongst the owners of these foreign ships that no British subject can serve on them, and therefore every man on board is a foreigner. I think there are now about 36 of these vessels sailing from Grimsby fishing in the Moray Firth, and before the Government gave notice through the Prime Minister that they intended to put this Bill through, ships under the British flag in Grimsby were being transferred to the foreign flags and foreign crews were placed on them, whilst the British fishermen were put upon the shore to do nothing at all. That is the position with regard to Grimsby. When the fishermen came to see Lord Pentland they said, in their quaint and practical way, "If we cannot have the restriction moved which would give us the right to fish there just as the foreigner does, why not close the Firth altogether against persons who sell fish in this country?" That is the situation so far as Grimsby is concerned. For my part, I feel that this Bill is an unfortunate one, that it is based upon a wrong principle, and that the real and only solution of this question is to be found in removing the restrictions which at the present time prevent British fishermen going to fish there. British fishermen ought to have the same right there as you give to the foreigners. This Bill will certainly prevent the fish being sold in British markets, but it will not prevent foreigners fishing in the Moray Firth. The object of this Bill is to preserve the Moray Firth for the line fishermen very largely and for scientific research and as a breeding place. I thought those propositions had long since been allowed to pass away. In 1889, when the area was closed, it was said it would be to the advantage of science, because it was a breeding ground, and the hon. Member for Orkney has told us the same thing to-day. If the hon. Member knew as much about this question as I do I do not think he would have made that remark, because there has been no real scientific research in those waters for the last twelve years. That idea has been given up altogether, because, as Professor Mackintosh said at Aberdeen:— Yon may prevent the trawler fishing there but you cannot pass an Act of Parliament that will keep the fish there. It is absurd for the hon. Member for Orkney to say that this is a place where immature fish are caught, and the authority which the hon. Member quoted on this point did not make those remarks in relation to the Moray Firth but in reference to the North Sea exclusively. There are no immature fish caught in the Moray Firth. I believe it is a spawning ground, but I wish to say that as soon as the fish has shot its spawn a good deal of it is carried by the eastern currents to the German coast, where thousands of tons of flat fish come to life. Therefore the question of scientific research has been exploded, and now the only argument advanced in support of this Bill is that it is an injustice to Scotch fishermen. If that is what we are fighting for then we understand where we are.

If I thought the line fishermen were seriously suffering I should have no hesitation in saying that we have no right to rob them of their livelihood. I have made inquiries into this question, and I find that the fishermen in the Moray Firth have made more money, lived better, and flourished more since the closing of the Firth than they did before. They have increased their steamships to 502, and instead of fishing with lines in the Moray Firth they go with their herring boats not merely round the Firth, but they follow the herring round the Scotch coast and down the English coast, and they make a very good living. I am pleased that they do this, but since we allow them to come down the East Coast of England and interfere with legitimate fishermen in the home waters there, I do not see why British fishermen should be excluded from this very important source of fish supply.

I wish to refer to this question from the standpoint of the food of the people. If this Bill had been brought in by a Tariff Reform Government I could have understood it, because it is a piece of absolute Protection. If hon. Members conscientiously feel that this is a right thing to do, I do not say you should not do it, but the point is that this food which is now brought very largely to the Grimsby market is not the cheap food which some hon. Members have suggested for the working men, but it is largely fish required by those who can afford to pay a big price, and consequently to those who catch it is a lucrative means of getting a livelihood. Last year there were about £100,000 worth of this fish landed in Grimsby. If you do not stop them by this Bill I think there will be £200,000 worth landed this year. If you look at that matter in relation to the vast amount of fish consumed in this country, I know it is a small matter. No less than £11,000,000 worth of fish food are consumed by the people, and therefore £200,000 worth is not a very large sum. But when you take into consideration that sum in relation to £3,000,000 sold at the port of Grimsby you realise that the fish merchant who has to supply the requirements of his customers in the country does realise that a very serious difficulty is going to be placed in his way in supplying his customers and in keeping going the general machine.

What I have to say in regard to food supply is this: This Bill is, whatever may be said to the contrary, a measure of Protection, to the advantage of the Scotch fishermen. This Bill is brought into the House to benefit the Scotch fishermen. It is a piece of sectional legislation to enable the constituents of hon. Gentlemen who represent the various fishing constituencies on the coast of Scotland to reap some benefit. I am very glad to see the Prime Minister in his place, because the next point I want to make arises out of, I think, the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds, who said that this Bill is only a stepping-stone, and that we are to have an arrangement with the different foreign Governments interested in this question with a view to coming to an understanding. Has the Prime Minister, or the Cabinet, or the Foreign Secretary come to the conclusion that we are to open again the North Sea Convention? Are we to discuss again with foreign countries the important question of the three mile limit? We have hitherto been satisfied with the position of the Foreign Secretary on this question. This is a more serious question than hon. Gentlemen seem to suppose. It might mean the closing of one-third of the fishing area of the North Sea, and that would mean a great deal to the fish consumers of this country. Whatever may be the object and intention of the Government in pressing this particular Bill through Parliament—and I am not going to oppose it on the second reading—I do say that they ought not to deviate from the general principle of the North Sea Convention. We are satisfied with the three mile limit. If you say we are to have a Convention to reconsider that proposition, then I tell you the only losers must be the British people, and it would result in a much greater disaster than the average man could conceive. I wish that the Government had seen their way to end this question of the Moray Firth by removing the restriction, and by making this water part of the North Sea, and to give to every individual fisherman an opportunity of getting his livelihood. There is one part of the Bill which I do not see how it can cure the evil. The object is to keep the Moray Firth clear of trawlers for the benefit of the line fishermen, but if foreigners can go there with profit they will go, and where will they take their fish? There is a place called Hamburg to which this fish might possibly be taken, and from there it might find its way to this country. I have made a good deal of inquiry into this matter, and I wish the House to understand that practical fishermen think there is much in that particular proposition. I hope that if this Bill is to go to a further stage that the Lord Advocate will insert safeguards against the possibility of foreign trawlers fishing in the Moray Firth with a view of serving the British markets. I do not think many of them will go there to secure fish for foreign markets, as I am informed the German market might not benefit very greatly if the foreign trawlers went there. I think that the Bill may be satisfactory up to a certain point, but it is not a cure for the evil which exists. We have a right to expect that the British fisherman should be given the same advantages which you give the foreign fisherman. If we had fair play in that respect there would be much satisfaction to everybody before we were very much older. I do not like the power which is to be given to Custom House officers. I do not think that any person should run the risk of being convicted before he has had a fair trial. In this case the information is sent from your gunboat to the Scottish fishery boat, and then to the Custom House officers, and these men are to confiscate property of an individual without his having any appeal. That is un-English, and I hope that the Lord Advocate will introduce the necessary safeguards to give fair play to every subject who lands his fish in the British market.

I wish I could support the Bill. It would give me more pleasure to speak in its favour than to speak against it. I do not think that it is a settlement of the question. This ought not to be a political or a party question. It is one that involves the well-being of the people. I think you expect that it is a settlement, but I have my doubts about it, because I think it would establish in foreign countries fishing markets, very much to the detriment of the English tradesmen.


I do not follow the hon. Member. It seems to me that he has travelled wide of the scope of the Bill. Whether the Bill is good, bad, or indifferent, I know of no man more re- sponsible for it than the hon. Member for Grimsby.


On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I should like the hon. Member to say why I am responsible for it.


Because at a meeting not so many years ago of the Fisheries Association in Aberdeen the hon. Member adumbrated a policy which has since been followed in Grimsby.


I am sure the hon. Member does not wish to misrepresent me. I have never been either directly or indirectly interested in fishing in the Moray Firth, and I have always been against the policy which has been pursued.


I accept the hon. Member's explanation. At the same time, in the official record of the association to which I referred, words were used by the hon. Member suggesting a policy which I say has been followed in Grimsby.


I am very sorry to say that you are altogether mistaken.


I deny altogether that this Bill is one intended to promote Protection. If all the fishermen along the shores of the Moray Firth were to-morrow to go in for a system of trawling, I think this Bill would be even more necessary than it is now. Why is it you have a close time in the catching of salmon and in regard to game? The reason is that by that means you can protect the young. This Bill is intended merely to enable the Fishery Board for Scotland to detect illegal poaching. I say with deliberation that a more vile conspiracy than that which has taken place in Grimsby for the transfer of boats—first from the British flag to the Norwegian flag, and then to the Danish flag—it is almost impossible to conceive. There was a possibility of international complications, but that seemed to be nothing to the owners of the boats. They were willing to risk it.


Mr. Speaker, I pro test. These are very serious remarks. Nearly the whole of these—


Order, order. The hon. Gentleman has already addressed the-House.


The hon. Member who seconded the rejection of the Bill thanked Heaven that Hull had not followed the example of Grimsby. Aberdeen was said to have a keen regard for money, but yet Aberdeen had not transferred one of its boats to a foreign flag. The hon. Baronet has said that what has taken place is no worse than taking shares in a railway of a foreign country. Surely there is a great difference between taking shares in a foreign railway and having shares in trawl boats which, in order to evade the laws of their own country, have been transferred to foreign flags. The "Scotsman" newspaper the other day gave a report of ten trawlers that had been to Iceland. They sailed from Aberdeen and returned with their cargoes to Aberdeen. Seven of them were German, one French, none Grimsby, and two Aberdeen. How does it come about that if there is such a good market for that class of fish in Germany that these foreign trawlers sailed from and to Aberdeen? Another thing. You will scarcely find more than one really foreign trawler trawling in the Moray Firth. They

have been loyal to their own Governments, and most of the Governments have given the trawlers to understand that they do-not wish trawling to take place in the Moray Firth. What would be said if an English Act were evaded and violated as the Scottish one has been by Grimsby boat owners. I do not think the Bill will thoroughly cure the evil. I regard it as a palliative. Before you can cure the evil you must have something in the nature of an International agreement with regard to the destruction of immature fish. But if the Government pass, as they will pass, this Bill, and will do what is in their power to maintain and vindicate the law which they have passed—that can only be done by having a satisfactory and adequate police force in the Moray Firth.

Question put: "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 143; Noes, 16.

Division No. 67.] AYES. [10.5 p.m.
Acland, Francis Dyke Gulland, John W. Radford, G. H.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Hamilton, Marquess of Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Harcourt. Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Richardson, A.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Baldwin, Stanley Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Hazleton, Richard Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Higham, John Sharp Roe, Sir Thomas
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Holden, E. Hopkinson Rogers, F. E. Newman
Beale, W. P. Holt, Richard Durning Rowlands, J.
Bell, Richard Hooper, A. G. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Bennett, E. N. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Hudson, Walter Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Bowerman, C. W. Hunt, Rowland Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Bramsdon, T. A. Hutton, Alfred Eddison Seaverns, J. H.
Bryce, J. Annan Jenkins, J. Shackleton, David James
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Jones, Leif (Appleby) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Carlile, E. Hildred Jowett, F. W. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Joynson-Hicks, William Spicer, Sir Albert
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Kekewich, Sir George Stanger, H. Y.
Clough, William Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Steadman, W. C.
Clynes, J. R. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Sutherland, J. E.
Cooper, G. J. Lambert, George Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Lament, Norman Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Levy, Sir Maurice Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lewis, John Herbert Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Crooks, William Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Valentia, Viscount
Crossley, William J. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Vivian, Henry
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Waring, Walter
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) M'Callum, John M. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Maddison, Frederick Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mallet, Charles E. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Doughty, Sir George Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Weir, James Galloway
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Marnham, F. J. White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Menzies, Walter White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh) Micklem, Nathaniel Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Erskine, David C. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wiles, Thomas
Everett, R. Lacey Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard) Wilkie, Alexander
Falconer, J. Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Williamson, A.
Fenwick, Charles Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Norman, Sir Henry Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)
Findlay, Alexander Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Fuller, John Michael F. Nuttall, Harry Younger, George
Fullerton, Hugh O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and the Master of Elibank.
Gill, A. H. Parker, James (Halifax)
Clover, Thomas Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Balcarres, Lord Harrison-Broadley, H. B. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Helme, Norval Watson Winterton, Earl
Banner, John S. Harmood Houston, Robert Paterson Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Bridgeman, W. Clive Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Bull, Sir William James Pirie, Duncan V. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Esslemont and Mr. Guy Wilson.
Cleland, J. W. Stanier, Beville
Ferens, T. R. Waterlow, D. S.

Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a second time.


I beg to move "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."

Question put: "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."

The House divided: Ayes, 18; Noes, 141.

Division No. 68.] AYES. [10.15 p.m.
Balcarres, Lord Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers. Valentia, Viscount
Banner, John S. Harmood. Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Wilson, Hon. G G. (Hull, W.)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, H.) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Winterton, Earl
Bridgeman, W. Clive Houston, Robert Paterson Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.
Bull, Sir William James Joynson-Hicks, William
Cleland, J. W. Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Pirie and Sir F. Banbury.
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Stanier, Beville
Acland, Francis Dyke Hamilton, Marquess of Radford, G. H.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Richardson, A.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Harms worth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Baldwin, Stanley Hazleton, Richard Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Helme, Norval Watson Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Higham, John Sharp Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Beale, W. P. Holden, E. Hopkinson Roe, Sir Thomas
Bell, Richard Holt, Richard Durning Rogers, F. E. Newman
Bennett, E. N. Hooper, A. G. Rowlands, J.
Bignold, Sir Arthur Hudson, Walter Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Bowerman, C. W. Hunt, Rowland Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Bramsdon, T. A. Hutton, Alfred Eddison Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Bryce, J. Annan Jenkins, J. Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Seaverns, J. H.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Jones, Leif (Appleby) Shackleton, David James
Carlile, E. Hildred Jowett, F. W. Silcock, Thomas Ball
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Kekewich, Sir George Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Channing, Sir Francis Allston King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Spicer, Sir Albert
Clough, William Lambert, George Stanger, H. Y.
Clynes, J. R. Lamont, Norman Steadman, W. C.
Cooper, G. J. Levy, Sir Maurice Sutherland, J. E.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Lewis, John Herbert Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Lonsdale, John Brownlee Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Crooks, William Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Crossley, William J. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Vivian, Henry
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) M'Callum, John M. Waring, Walter
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott- M'Micking, Major G. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Maddison, Frederick Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Doughty, Sir George Mallett, Charles E. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Duncan, C (Barrow-in-Furness) Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Weir, James Galloway
Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh) Marnham, F. J. White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Menzies, Waiter White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Erskine, David C. Micklem, Nathaniel White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Everett, R. Lacey Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Falconer, J. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Fenwick, Charles Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard) Wiles, Thomas
Ferguson, R. C. Munre Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Wilkle, Alexander
Findlay, Alexander Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Williamson, A.
Fuller, John Michael F. Norman, Sir Henry Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Fullerton, Hugh Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Nuttall, Harry Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Gill, A. H. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Younger, George
Glover, Thomas O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and the Master of Elibank.
Gulland, John W. Parker, James (Halifax)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Pickersgill, Edward Hare

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.