HC Deb 27 July 1910 vol 19 cc2295-300

Where a tenancy has been terminated before the commencement of this Act, and the tenant proves to the satisfaction of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries that he has incurred any loss or expense for which he would have been entitled to compensation under the foregoing section of this Act, if the tenancy had terminated after the commencement of this Act, the Board may, out of the small holdings account, pay to the tenant such compensation for such loss of expense as they think just: Provided that no compensation under this section shall be payable if the claim for compensation is not made before the first day of September, 1910.

Lords Amendment: In last line of clause leave out the word "September" and insert instead thereof the word "November."

Motion made, and Question again proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


I do not propose to apologise for discussing this matter to-night, because it is an important question. In the House of Lords an Amendment was made in Clause 2 of the Bill which extended the time in which farmers could claim compensation from 1st September to 1st November. That seems to be a very small concession, and one which might very well be agreed to. When the Bill was in Committee in this House the Secretary to the Board of Agriculture was asked whether, supposing the Royal Assent was not given to the Bill until a fairly late date, he would not give a further extension beyond 1st September. The answer was that if the Bill only received the Royal Assent on 15th August, an alteration of the time at which the Bill was to come into operation might be made in another place. There you have a distinct invitation to another place to make the alteration. When another place made the alteration and extended the time, the Government come down and request us to disagree with the Amendment. Surely you want a no more flagrant case of a deliberate attempt to stir up trouble between this House and the other. What does this Amendment mean? That claimants for compensation for disturbance which took place before the Act came into force should be allowed until 1st November in which to send in their claims, If the Bill stands as the Government proposed, no claims sent in after 1st September will be considered. The Secretary to the Board of Agriculture must know that August is the busiest month in the whole year for farmers in this country. They are entirely taken up with getting in their harvests, working many hours a day, and they will have no time in which to prepare the necessary statement of claim under this Bill.

I know what will be the answer from the Treasury Bench. The Secretary to the Board of Agriculture will say, "Oh, we are prepared to accept a mere notice of claim as being equivalent to the claim." But that is not what the Bill says. We asked to have words inserted providing that no compensation should be paid under this section of the notice if claim for compen- sation was not made before 1st September. The Government refused to add those words. The hon. Baronet (Sir E. Strachey) said it was the intention that the Act should read like that, and the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Lewis Harcourt), who was responsible for the Third Reading of the Bill in this House, also said that he would further consider whether those words should not be put in. The words have not been put in, and when an extension of time is made in another place we are not allowed to agree with it. The Government in this case might well give way, and accept this very simple Amendment. The Lord Chancellor in another place is reported to have said that the Amendment would be a breach of privilege, and there is a note in "The Times" of the following day saying they were requested to state that it would probably be raised as one. But no question of privilege has been raised, and Mr. Speaker has not ruled that it is a breach of privilege, so that the Amendment can still be accepted by the Government. I shall certainly divide against the Motion to disagree with the Amendment.


I hope that in this case the Government will give way. I am quite aware that there was an agreement that the Bill should not be opposed, and that it is some sort of a breach of the agreement that the Amendment was made in the Lords, because it was not part of the actual contract with the Treasury. It is a matter of a very small sum of money, and practically only a technical objection has been raised. The Amendment will only give a slight amount of extra work, and I think the Treasury should give way. It will not cost the country any more or do it any injury. It will greatly popularise the Bill to grant the extension of time. I therefore hope that the objection to the Amendment will not be persisted in.

The SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir E. Strachey)

It is very much a matter of regret that this Amendment was made after this Bill passed through this House by agreement on both sides, and after it was well understood that time was given for it by the Prime Minister on the ground that it was an unopposed measure. The Treasury very liberally agreed to allow an Amendment to be put in making it retrospective, merely allowing farmers to come in who would not otherwise have come under it. The hon. Baronet (Sir Randolf Baker) has quoted what I said as to the proposed extension of time if the Bill did not receive the Royal Assent before 15th August. The Bill will receive the Royal Assent before 15th August. It will receive it almost immediately if the House will only consent to the bargain made in this House as to its being a non-controversial Bill. As regards the statement that the farmers will not have time to make out their claims I myself and the First Commissioner of Works assured the House that all that was necessary was for a farmer simply to make a statement that he was going to claim compensation under this Act. I assure the House that that is all the Board will require. I would remind the House that it is for no other persons except the Board to decide whether a claim has been made in proper time or not. They alone are the people who have the right to decide whether a full and sufficient claim has been made during the whole of the month of August. I again appeal to the House not to allow the agreement and compromise on this Bill to be broken by what took place in another place.


The hon. Baronet (Sir E. Strachey) has talked about this being a non controversial and agreed Bill, and has said that it was to be treated as such. I think the point under discussion is a very small one and would not constitute this a controversial Bill. I think the Government would be well advised to accept it. Whilst it is a small point it will make a very considerable difference in the attitude the farmers of this country will take in regard to it. It is such a small matter that it is hardly worth while either side of this House talking about it very seriously, but at the same time the whole aspect this Bill will wear in the eyes of the farmers of the country will be very considerably affected by the attitude taken up by the Government on this point. In the interests of the Bill itself I hope the Government may even now give way to the appeal addressed to them by one of their own followers and which will be endorsed by the vast majority of the agricultural community throughout the country. I do not think it ought to be thrown in our faces that there has been any sort of breach of agreement. There has been no question about this being a non-controversial Bill, and this is a non-controversial Amendment. It is an Amendment which constitutes a distinct improvement in the Bill, which makes practically no difference in its working, but which would remove what will otherwise be a substantial grievance in the eyes of the farmers of the country.

Committee appointed to draw up Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing with the Amendment made by the Lords to the Bill.

Committee nominated of,—Mr. Barnes, Major Guest, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. Rendall, and Sir Edward Strachey.

Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 115; Noes, 56.

Division No. 141.] AYES. [2.45 a.m.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Allen, Charles P. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Parker, James (Halifax)
Barclay, Sir Thomas Hardie, J. Keir Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
Barnes, George N. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Pointer, Joseph
Barton, William Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Haworth, Arthur A. Pringle, William M. R.
Bowerman, Charles W. Hayward, Evan Radford, George Heynes
Brady, Patrick Joseph Helme, Norval Watson Raffan, Peter Wilson
Brocklehurst, William B. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Raphael, Herbert Henry
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Henry, Charles S. Rea, Walter Russell
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Higham, John Sharp Reddy, Michael
Byles, William Pollard Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Rendall, Athelstan
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Holt, Richard Durning Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Illingworth, Percy H. Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Clough, William Johnson, William Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Robinson, S.
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Corbett, A. Cameron Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Kilbride, Denis Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot King, J. (Somerset, N.) Shackleton, David James
Crosfield, Arthur H. Leach, Charles Shortt, Edward
Crossley, Sir William J. Lehmann, Rudolf C. Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Dawes, J. A. Levy, Sir Maurice Soares, Ernest Joseph
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Lewis, John Herbert Strachey, Sir Edward
Doris, W. Lincoln, Ignatius T. T. Summers, James Woolley
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Elibank, Master of Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Waring, Walter
Elverston, Harold M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc., Spalding) White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Falconer, James Marks, G. Croydon White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
France, Gerald Ashburner Middlebrook, William Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Furness, Stephen Montagu, Hon. E. S. Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Gibbins, F. W. Munro, R. Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Gibson, Sir James Puckering Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C. Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)
Gill, Alfred Henry Muspratt, Max Wing, Thomas
Glanville, H. J. Neilson, Francis
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Nussey, Sir T. Willans TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Guest, Major O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Hancock, John George
Ashley, Wilfred W. Gilmour, Captain John Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Baird, J. L. Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hardy, Laurence Rothschild, Lionel de
Barnston, Harry Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire) Sanders, Robert A.
Bird, A. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Horner, A. L. Staveley-Hill, Henry
Bridgeman, W. Clive Kyffin-Taylor, G. Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Carlile, Edward Hildred Llewelyn, Venables Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)
Castlereagh, Viscount Lloyd, George Ambrose Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cator, John Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Thynne, Lord Alexander
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Morpeth, Viscount Tryon, Captain George Clement
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. Wheler, Granville C. H.
Cooper, R. A. (Walsall) Mount, William Arthur Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Newton, Harry Kottingham Winfrey, Robert
Dairymple, Viscount O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Duncannon, Viscount Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Fleming, Valentine Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Randolf Baker and Mr. Lane-Fox.
Forster, Henry William Peto, Basil Edward
Gibbs, George Abraham Pollock, Ernest Murray

Three to be the quorum.

To withdraw immediately.—[Mr. Hobhouse.]

Reason for disagreeing to the Lords Amendment reported, and agreed to.

To be communicated to the Lords.—[Mr. Hobhouse.]