HC Deb 07 September 1909 vol 10 cc1081-2

asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the fact that Mr. Forsyth, the chairman of the small Committee appointed to inquire into the work and as to the usefulness of the Congested Districts Board, is a member of the Board and himself buys the stallions and bulls; whether he is aware that of the other members of the Committee one, Mr. Cameron, is a valuator for the Board, and the other, Mr. Angus M'Intosh, is a factor of the Congested Districts Board farm in Skye; and whether, in view of these facts, he could see his way to add three independent experts to the Committee?


The facts are not quite as stated by the hon. Gentleman. The Committee to which he refers has not been appointed to inquire generally into the work and usefulness of the Congested Districts Board, but into the methods adopted by the Board for the improvement of live stock, and the gentlemen who have consented to serve upon the Committee have been chosen with What end in view. It is the case that Mr. Forsyth is a member of the Congested Districts Board and has superintended the work of the Board in this respect. He is also a Crofter Commissioner, has a wide and intimate knowledge of the farming and live stock of crofters in the Highlands and of the conditions under which it is reared. Mr. Cameron is a well-known breeder of live stock, and though he has on occasions acted as valuer for the Board, is not otherwise connected with it. Mr. Angus M'Intosh is not a member of the committee, but an official of the Board, who has been appointed, as is frequently done, to act as secretary to the Committee. The Committee seems large enough for the purpose and reliable in respect of experience, judgment, and independence. It is not proposed to add to it.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will urge on the Government to appoint a small Committee of their own number to inquire into these matters?


That is not a supplementary question arising out of the answer.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the Congested Districts Board have been using hackney stallions and Clydesdale stallions for the purpose of destroying the native breed of horses?


May I ask whether it is not the case that if Mr. Cameron is occasionally employed by the Congested Districts Board to make valuations he will in that way be bound to the Board and lose his independence?


No, Sir; he is a man of integrity.