§ (1) It shall be lawful for His Majesty on the recommendation of the Secretary for Scotland, at any time after the commencement of this Act, and from time to time as vacancies occur, to appoint not more than three persons to be designated the Board of Agriculture for Scotland (in this Act referred to as the Board) and to appoint one of such persons to be Chairman of the Board. Any act or thing required or authorised to be done by the Board may be done by any one or more of the members thereof as the Secretary for Scotland may from time to time direct.
§ (2) The Board shall be charged with the general duty of promoting the interests of agriculture, forestry, and other rural industries in Scotland, and shall also exercise and perform any powers and duties which are or may be conferred on or transferred to them under the provisions of this Act. In the discharge of their duties they shall comply with such instructions or regulations as may from time to time be issued by the Secretary for Scotland, and they shall submit an annual report of 1382 their proceedings to him, which report shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament.
§ (3) The Board may undertake the collection and preparation of statistics relating to agriculture, forestry, and other rural industries, and may make or aid in making such inquiries, experiments, and research, and collect or aid in collecting such information relating thereto as they think advisable.
§ (4) It shall be the duty of the Board to promote, aid, and develop instruction in agriculture, forestry, and other rural industries.
§ (5) The Board shall take such steps as they think proper for the promotion and development of agricultural organisation and co-operation.
§ (6) Without prejudice to the provisions of the immediately preceding Sub-sections such one of the members of the Board as the Secretary for Scotland shall from time to time appoint shall be designated the Commissioner for Small Holdings and shall be specially charged with the duties hereinafter committed to him.
§ (7) The Secretary for Scotland shall from time to time appoint a fit person to act as secretary to the Board.
§ (8) The members of the Board shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure. The Board may subject to the approval of the Secretary for Scotland appoint or employ such officers, clerks, and other persons as the Treasury may sanction.
§ (9) The members of the Board and other persons appointed or employed under this Section shall respectively receive such salary or remuneration as the Treasury may sanction, and all such salaries or remuneration and the expenses of the Board incurred in the execution of their duties, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.
§ (10) The Board shall submit such estimates and keep such accounts of their receipts and expenditure, and their accounts shall be audited in accordance with such regulations as the Treasury may direct.
§ (11) It shall be lawful for the Secretary for Scotland from time to time by order under his hand—
- (a) To direct that from and after the date fixed by the order such powers and duties of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries exerciseable in or
1383 in relation to Scotland as may with the consent of the Treasury be specified in the order, shall be transferred to the Board, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as may with the like consent be prescribed in the order; and
- (b) To direct that from and after the date fixed by the order such powers and duties under the Congested Districts (Scotland) Act, 1897, as may, with the consent of the Treasury, be specified in the order, shall (not being powers for the purchase of land) be exercised and performed throughout Scotland as well as in congested parishes or districts thereof, or made applicable, with any necessary adaptations, to the purposes of the Landholders Acts.
§ (12) Before any such order is made, the draft thereof shall be laid before each House of Parliament for not less than two months, and if either House, before the expiration of such period of two months, presents an address to His Majesty against the draft or any part thereof, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, without prejudice to the making of any new draft order.
§ (13) An order under this Section may provide for all matters which appear to the Secretary for Scotland necessary or proper for giving full effect to the order, or to a previous order, including, with the consent of the Treasury, matters relating to the adjustment and disposal of any property, debts, and liabilities which may be affected thereby, or to the employment of any officers who may be transferred and the regulation of their duties.
§ (14) An order duly made under this Section shall take effect as if it were enacted in this Act.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "Secretary for Scotland" ["on the recommendation of the Secretary for Scotland"], and to insert instead thereof the words "President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries."
The Lord Advocate told us this afternoon that he had never yet had an answer to the question how England would suffer if Scotland was severed from the English Board of Agriculture. I will answer that question in a few words. There is very large movement of stock across the border both ways. A large number of store cattle come up from England, Cumberland, 1384 and Westmoreland over the border into Scotland, both in the spring and the autumn. A very large number of store sheep go down from Scotland into England, both in the spring and the autumn, but principally in the autumn, and there are a very large number of fat cattle and sheep go down south throughout the whole year. The danger to the Scotch owners is that if Scotland is severed from the British Board, and if the administration of the Contagious Diseases Animals Act takes place in Scotland by the Secretary for Scotland, and in England by the Minister for Agriculture, the great fear of the Scotch stockowners is that by those Acts being administered by different authorities there will not be the confidence that the Scotch stock will get into England as formerly. The stockowners fear that if the local authorities in England administer these Acts under the British Minister for Agriculture they will be cut off from all jurisdiction and connection with Scotland, and the administration in no way will be in harmony with Scottish requirements and Scottish opinion, and in that way there will not be confidence amongst our stockowners at the very important time of the year when the Scotch stock is taken south into England, and we may have a very serious depreciation in the price of Scotch stock, because of this dread of interference. The stockowners in Scotland consider that the Contagious Diseases Act should be administered in both countries by authorities connected with both countries. Our objection to the severance of Scotland from the British Board of Agriculture is not connected merely with this stock question. There are other questions which have not been mentioned this afternoon. For instance, there is the Fertilizers and Feeding Stuffs Act, and it is going to be a very awkward matter if that Act is going to be construed in one country differently from the other, and if it is going to be administered in a different way. We might have regulations, for instance, as regards analysis—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think the hon. Gentleman is going wide of the Amendment on the Paper. This is merely a matter of who is to recommend to His Majesty the persons who are going to be appointed, and it is not a question of setting up the Board. It is merely a question of nomination or appointment, and I do not see how the 1385 whole question of the constitution of the Board can be raised on this Amendment.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
On a point of Order. Might I suggest to my hon. Friend that he would find this clear issue could be better raised on an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Wiltshire. Of course, the issue now raised is that of the entire jurisdiction. That is an issue which is quite arguable, but the issue we are most anxious to raise covers rather less ground. It is the question solely of jurisdiction under the Disease of Animals Act. I rise to ask that we should not prejudice our right to divide on and to debate that particular definite issue by discussing the larger issue in the first instance.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Clearly on this Amendment, the hon. Member is only entitled to argue the question who should be the person to recommend the names to His Majesty. He cannot argue the whole question of separate Departments.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
We think this business can be better administered by the British Minister for Agriculture on general grounds. We are launching out on a new policy, and going to spend large sums of money on technical instruction. We quite approve of the Department of Agriculture in Scotland carrying on that good work, and, when we think of all the good work a Department of Agriculture can do, we remember there was a recommendation by the Commission presided over by Lord Reay that all similar work of technical instruction should be carried on in England by the Board of Agriculture, and not by the Board of Education. If the Board of Agriculture is going to administer such work in England, will it not be better to have a Board of Agriculture in Scotland carrying on that work, both connected under the British Minister for Agriculture? From whatever point of view you look at it, this work can be better carried on—and it would be acting in a more progressive manner—if the whole of it be kept under the Presidency of the British Minister for Agriculture, who would be responsible to the Cabinet and to the country.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I beg to second the Amendment. I cannot think of any worse selection to look after the agricultural interests of Scotland than the Secretary for Scotland. I am not talking of the Secretary for Scotland personally. 1386 I cannot see how a man in his position can devote sufficient time to the agricultural interests of the country. There is not a single Scotch Member on the opposite side who has not said the Scotch Office is overworked and is not doing its duty, but here they are trying to put a greater burden on the gentleman responsible for its administration. It is very difficult to know quite what is in order on this Amendment. I do not know whether I should be in order in discussing the whole question of the separation of the Board of Agriculture.
§ Mr. W. HUNTER
I cannot, of course, accept the Amendment that has been proposed. The House has already determined that Scotland is to have a separate Board of Agriculture. If you are to have Scotch officials apart from the English Department of Agriculture, it seems to me it will be rather absurd to entrust the duty of nominating Scotch officials to an English Minister. Surely the Minister who has to attend to Scotch affairs ought to nominate them.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I think the hon. and learned Member has made a mistake. The House has not yet decided what he says it has decided. We are at it now, and the matter is one for discussion. The point decided this afternoon was another altogether and did not affect this particular question. Are the Government going to move in this matter or not? The Amendment suggests the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries ought to take the place of the Minister for Scotland in this Clause. I quite understand the Government may not agree to that, but there will be another Amendment that there should be a Chairman of this Board responsible to this House. Everybody knows perfectly well that there would be no more inefficient way of having this Board represented in this House than through the headship of the Secretary for Scotland. We have sat there for hours together listening to the plaintive wails of hon. Members opposite about the congested state of the Scotch Office, the hopeless position in which Scotland is placed, and the consequent desire for Home Rule of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Munro-Ferguson)—and I think it would be disadvantageous to Scotland—but here we are asked to place this important Department with its enormous powers under the 1387 Minister already, according to hon. Members opposite, unable to cope with the work put upon him. It is most inconsistent. If we are not going to get an Agricultural Department for Scotland under the President of the Board of Agriculture, surely we can at least get someone who can be tackled in this House, who will be responsible to this House, and who can, if there is any failure or laxity of administration or any mistakes, be brought to book. The hon. and learned Gentleman should really give us some little more enlightenment on the subject than he has done. I should like to know whether any change whatever is to be made, and whether it is any use discussing this particular Clause.
§ Captain GILMOUR
I desire to support this Amendment. It is again quite clear the interests of the agriculturists of Scotland are being pushed aside by the action of the Government. It has been made abundantly clear on every occasion on which the agriculturists of Scotland, as a body, have been able to voice their opinion, that in their view the alteration which is suggested in this Amendment should be made, and that the power of supervision should, above all, not be placed in the hands of the Secretary for Scotland and the Scotch Office, and with that I am in hearty agreement.
§ Mr. J. A. CLYDE
I do not feel sure the important question this Amendment raises is realised. If anyone looks through Clause 4, with its twelve or thirteen Sub-sections, he will find that the question on the present Amendment affects indirectly every one of the succeeding Sub-sections, and the question which this Amendment is directed to raise is whether the real head of the Board of Agriculture ought to be the Secretary for Scotland or not. There are a great many of us who are distinctly of opinion that the head of the Scotch Office ought not to be also the head, and indeed possessed of complete control of the Board of Agriculture. I do not think that the learned Solicitor-General had in his mind any reference at all when he spoke to the remaining twelve Sub-sections of Clause (4) under which the Secretary for Scotland may appoint three members of the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, and may give to any one or two of them absolute power to act alone. He has absolute power to transfer to these three people any or all of the powers which are at present exercised by the Board of Agriculture, 1388 and he has also general overriding powers which practically make him master of the Board. The real point raised by the present Amendment is, not merely as to recommendations for appointment, which will come from the Secretary for Scotland, but whether the Secretary for Scotland is to be not merely the nominator of the Board, but vested with complete control over the extent of his powers, and to direct it in the exercise of those powers.
I should be surprised if it is only on one side of the House that that proposal is not approved. We do not think that the man who is appointed Secretary for Scotland, whoever he may be, is necessarily a person who either by training or qualification is fit to be trusted with the functions ordinarily exercised by the Board of Agriculture, and which are to be transferred to this Board. We do not know that he will have either the expert knowledge or the experience that will entitle him to say what inquiry and what duties shall be entrusted to the members of the Board on matters affecting agriculture. That is not the way we ought to try and overcome any of the difficulties we must feel in setting up this new Board for Scotland. A great deal has been said to-day about the importance of keeping this Board and its machinery in direct touch with agricultural opinion and practice in Scotland. Although these views may fall on deaf ears, they are earnestly entertained by those who want this Board of Agriculture to be of some use. If you are going to place its powers under the authority of the Scotch Office you are going to put it into the hands of a Department which notoriously in Scotland fails to keep itself in touch with public opinion in Scotland. I am not saying it is its fault, but everybody knows it is the fact, and, therefore, by putting the Board of Agriculture and its operations under the Secretary for Scotland you are certainly not going to facilitate its work. For that reason we think the power of nomination, the right of selection, and the power of defining the duties and generally supervising the Board ought to be in the hands of an expert agricultural authority.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I think if the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to take a Division on the issue raised in the speech he has just delivered he had better do so on my Amendment rather than on the one on which he has spoken, because that Amendment is complicated by the fact that it wishes to substitute the 1389 President of the Board of Agriculture for the Secretary for Scotland. Undoubtedly any such Department in Scotland must be subject to the Secretary for Scotland, and if the hon. Member desires to raise the question of the devolution of the duty to another Minister he had much better do so on my Amendment.
§ Mr. MORTON
Why introduce the President of the Board of Agriculture into the matter at all? What has he to do with it? That point has already been settled. The hon. Gentleman who moved
§ the Amendment seems to have forgotten that we have passed Clause 3, where we have given the Secretary for Scotland power to recommend a Land Court, which is much more important than the Board of Agriculture. I really cannot understand the position taken up by hon. Members opposite.
§ Question put, "That the words 'Secretary for Scotland' stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 150; Noes, 90.1391
|Division No. 369.]||AYES.||[10.3 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Hackett, John||Munro, R.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Dowd, John|
|Barnes, George N.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hayden, John Patrick||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hayward, Evan||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bryce, John Annan||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Radford, G. H.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Higham, John Sharp||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clough, William||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rowlands, James|
|Cowan, William Henry||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Joyce, Michael||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Levy, Sir Maurice||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Donelan, Capt. Anthony Charles||Logan, John William||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Doris, W.||Lundon, T.||Waring, Walter|
|Duffy, William J.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||McGhee, Richard||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macpherson, James Ian||Webb, H.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Callum, John M.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Falconer, J.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Field, William||Meagher, Michael||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Millar, James Duncan||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Mooney, John J.||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Barnston, Harry||Bridgeman, W. Clive|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Barrie, H. T.||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cassel, Felix|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cator, John|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Bird, A.||Cave, George|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Boyton, James||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hills, John Waller||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hunt, Rowland||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kerry, Earl of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stanler, Beville|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm, Edgbaston)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Mackinder, H. J.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Macmaster, Donald||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Malcolm, Ian||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Fleming, Valentine||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Touche, George Alexander|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mount, William Arthur||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newdegate, F. A.||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Newman John R. P.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Grant, James Augustus||Nield, Herbert||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Gretton, John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Perkins, Walter F.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Peto, Basil Edward||Younger, Sir George|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks)||Pretyman, E. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Mr. H. Hope and Marquess of Tullibardine.|
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "Board" ["Board of Agriculture for Scotland"], and to insert instead thereof the word "Department."
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I desire to second this Amendment and to take this second opportunity of asking Scottish Members to meet us half way in this matter. As the Clause stands now this Department, as we propose to call it, can only be appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary for Scotland, but we do ask that the Department shall not be an independent Department, dealing only with the agricultural affairs of Scotland, but shall be a Department of the British Board of Agriculture, assisted, as we go on to say, by an advisory council of practical Scottish agriculturists. That forms the substance of another Amendment. Taking the Amendments together, they afford a reasonable basis of compromise, and they will avoid an immense amount of injury being done, as we believe, to English agricultural interests. Reference has been made to the Contagious Diseases of Animals Act. I do not propose to say anything further in regard to that, but it is not only in connection with the diseases of animals that uniform administration is eminently desirable, but also with regard to plant diseases. Take a disease like gooseberry mildew, which has been very serious in the south and west of England. It is conveyed by the prevailing wind, whatever that may be, and is carried in the form of spores from one part of the country to another. In the case of a land frontier surely it is desirable that uniform regulations should be possible, in order to deal effectually with such a disease as that. The same applies to a somewhat similar 1392 disease, well known among fruit growers, the American blight. I mention these two diseases as being cases where uniform administration is desirable. We have now the assistance of a valuable Intelligence Department, which would be entirely broken up if this Clause were carried in its present form. I do not suppose there is a single official connected with the Board of Agriculture to-day who would not make it plain to everybody who consulted him that, if we did that, a very serious injury would be done to agriculturists in Scotland as well as in England. By no means the least argument in favour of retaining uniform control over the two countries is the question of dealing with the administration of fertilisers and feeding stuffs. At present a prosecution on the part of a county council is only possible with the consent of the Board of Agriculture. Under Sub-section (2) of this Clause the consent of the Scottish Board would become necessary, and if that is so there are manufacturers of feeding stuffs and fertilisers in Scotland who have a large custom in England, and there are manufacturers of these articles in England who have a large custom in Scotland. It must be apparent on the face of it that there will be very great difficulty in carrying out this function, at any rate of the English Board, if it is transferred to a distinct and separate Scottish Board.
Let me emphasise once again that it is utterly impossible in these respects to compare Scotland with Ireland. Ireland is insulated by the sea and Scotland is not, and it is the very fact that there is not this sea insulation which makes these diseases so very serious, and at present so extremely alarming on the Continent. This particular difficulty is so much easier 1393 to deal with in this country, because it is an island, if we only treat it as one entity, and not seek, for this purpose, to divide it into two. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) in his modesty, did not emphasise the extraordinary success which attended his very firm attitude with regard to rabies. He was by no means popular when he first promulgated his regulation with regard to rabies. There was scarcely an individual throughout the country—at any rate those who owned dogs—who did not for several months sternly denounce the then President of the Board of Agriculture. Rabies existed then in Scotland as well as in England, and was becoming a very serious source of danger both to animals and to men. If it had not been for the firm attitude adopted by the right hon. Gentleman no one knows what might have been the extent of the disease. At any rate, whereas that particular order was regarded as extremely unpopular to start with there is not a single man in the country who is not prepared to admit that the finest bit of work that the Board of Agriculture ever did was to boldly issue that regulation, which, in spite of its unpopularity, stamped out this very serious disease.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
Yes. There are two diseases which do not come from abroad, to which reference has not been made. One is sheep-scab, one of the four scheduled diseases which is still serious in Great Britain, owing to the fact that it has been found impossible to control it entirely in Wales and in Scotland. Those are the two sources from which sheep-scab is likely to spread at present, and that surely is a very strong indication, where you have two serious centres of the disease, that uniform administration is necessary in order to prevent it from spreading to other parts of Great Britain. Lastly, there is the question of dealing with swine fever. I do not pretend to approve the present attitude of the Board with regard to swine fever, but I have to admit at any rate that it is intelligible, courageous and uniform, and the whole principle of administration of the regulations promulgated by the Board of Agriculture with regard to swine fever is to gradually include within one scheduled area parts of the country which, so far, have not suffered from infection from this disease, until finally they have got the whole of the country within the scheduled area which is entirely free 1394 from infection. That is an indication, at any rate, of one method which the Board of Agriculture deems advisable for stamping out a serious disease in the whole of Great Britain, which is calculated to cause enormous loss both to stockkeepers and taxpayers throughout the country. I do most earnestly appeal to Scottish Members not to treat this any longer as a party question, but to remember that the matters to which we have ventured to draw attention this afternoon and evening are every bit of as much importance to the small Scottish landholder as to the larger farmer in the Lothians and the south of Scotland generally. If loss does occur to the agricultural community owing to lack of uniformity in the matter of administration, it would be felt far more by those whom this Bill is intended to benefit than by those with a large amount of capital at their back, who will not feel the loss so seriously.
§ Mr. URE
I do not propose to add anything to what I said at an earlier stage of our discussion on this Bill, for this is practically the same matter which has been considered and decided. Let me offer the assurance to the hon. Member (Mr. C. Bathurst) that we Scottish Members do not underrate the services rendered to the country by the English Board of Agriculture, and more especially by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), who was at the head of the Board of Agriculture for a great many years. We recognise fully the services which he rendered, and which were rendered by the Department over which he so ably presided in connection with sheep-scab and rabies. We hope that the Scottish Board which is to be set up by this Bill will at least rival the great English Board. We see no reason to doubt it. Our fellow countrymen are equally able to cope with those diseases when they unfortunately break out. We, indeed, entertain the belief that our Board will add to the counsels of its neighbour in regard to swine fever. We think we have in Scotland material for setting up a Board of Agriculture which will be second to none. Really, the whole argument on the other side seems to me to depend upon the assumption that the Scottish Board of Agriculture will be something which will violate the notions of intelligent agriculture on this side of the border. It will be nothing of the kind. It will be as anxious to administer these Acts efficiently as any English Board could possibly be, and I cannot for a single moment 1395 entertain the idea that any mischief will come either to this country or to the other country if we set up an efficient Board of Agriculture to manage Scottish Agricultural affairs. Let me offer my personal assurance that we do not approach this question from the party point of view, and that it has no relation whatever to party differences. It has relation simply to efficiency of administration of Acts which none of us desire to repeal or modify to any extent whatever. On these grounds I submit to the House that the proposal in the Bill is sound and ought to be adhered to.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I do not doubt for a moment the statement of the Lord Advocate that the Government do not desire to treat this as a party question. But, if that is the position, they have taken the very worst possible means of giving effect to their desire. This Bill was originally a private Member's Bill. Those familiar with the practice of this House know that upon Private Members' Bills decisions are arrived at unaffected by party Divisions in this House. Frequently advocates of the Bill are to be found on both sides of the House, and the Debates, though, unfortunately, owing to modern conditions in this House, they are frequently curtailed owing to pressure of time, are of a more practical character than are often the Debates on Government measures. The Lord Advocate says he does not treat this as a party question, but he is refusing this Amendment and he is calling upon his party in consequence of his refusal to vote not according to what they hear in this Debate, or their own political views, but according to rules well known in this House, the indications given to them by the Whips when they come into the Lobby. This is a Government Bill. The Government have presented it to us in its amended form, and though the Lord Advocate means what he says, that he does not approach it as a party question, yet the Government have turned it into a party question by adopting a Private Member's Bill and putting it to us as a Government Bill, upon which Members are expected to vote as the Whips tell them, upon party lines, and not according to their own views. He says that this question has been decided already. I disagree with that view altogether. My main grievance against the Government on this particular question is that we are confronted by a difficulty.
I do not think that Scottish Members have done justice to their great intellectual 1396 gifts with the Debate to-night by the way in which they have presented their case. They talked a great deal about Scotland's rights, but they failed to show us how Scotland suffers under the administration of the Central Board of Agriculture. My right hon. Friend the Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), with whom I have had many debates on this, subject, both in the House and out of it, many private discussions, referred earlier in the evening to my experience of Scottish agriculturists over this question of a Scottish Board of Agriculture, and he taunted me with not having met the wishes of Scotsmen in this matter. I told him then, and repeat it now, that in my opinion my memory with regard to the past is better than his. I did not reject the views of Scotsmen. What my right hon. Friend has forgotten is this, that the case presented by the majority of those Scotsmen was the case which is now presented by the Government for a separate Board of Agriculture for Scotland, and that a very influential minority, of which the right hon. Gentleman was a distinguished member, advocated a very different programme, namely, the one which would result from the adoption of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. At that time, if we had conceded the grant of a Department of the British Board of Agriculture to Scotland, it would not have met the demand of the majority, and I do not believe that it would have been accepted. I think he forgot that I indicated at the time I took steps to give effect to my promise that we would in Scotland have a Department or office of the British Board of Agriculture which there had not been up to that time. A great deal of water has flowed under the bridge since that time, and there is a demand for more power for the Scottish branch. If we had not to deal with this under the flat negative of the Lord Advocate and vote upon it presently under the direction of the Whips, we could arrive at a reasonable compromise. This House is asked now to give a final decision that there shall be an independent Board of Agriculture for Scotland. The Lord Advocate answers us by saying, "I have no doubt about my countrymen." Nobody who knows anything about Scotland has any doubt about the intelligence or capacity of Scotchmen. The grievance of poor people here, so far as I can ascertain, is that Scotchmen generally get the best of things either here or 1397 in Scotland. Therefore, it is not a case of doubt about capacity, whether a Scotchman or an Englishman were at the head of the Department that we object to it. The Lord Advocate referred to the instance given by my hon. Friend who quoted the instance of the Board's administration in regard to rabies, and the right hon. Gentleman asked what reason was there to believe that the Scottish Board of Agriculture would not do as well as the English Board. If the right hon. Gentleman puts the proposition in that form there is no reason to doubt that a Scotsman at the head of a united Board would not fail to do the work as well as an Englishman. I am quite certain he would not. That is not the proposal. The proposal is that there shall be a real Board of Agriculture for Scotland. Your proposal is that there shall be a so-called Board of Agriculture in Scotland, and that that Board, subject to certain limitations, shall be under the direction and control of the Secretary for Scotland. My hon. Friend has been good enough to refer to the work I did in connection with rabies, and the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Molteno) spoke of the administrative powers by local authorities. The hon. Member forgot, when he referred to those powers which were then possessed and are now possessed by local authorities, that the local authorities made a very determined attempt to exterminate disease, and failed utterly. When I went to the Board of Agriculture I found that the attempt to exterminate, not only rabies but other diseases, had failed, because it had employed the local authorities acting under what form?—Not as one central body able to serve the whole country, and to use their powers as they thought fit,—but spasmodically.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
was understood to Say: Two local authorities would be sufficient to close Scotland to England.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I know what the hon. Gentleman's argument was, and I am dealing with the question of the extermination of disease. I am taking the hon. Gentleman's argument that the local authorities have power to deal with disease, and therefore would justify further separation between England and Scotland.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
If the hon. Member did not mean that I abandon it. I go 1398 back to the experience over rabies, and the same experience applies to other diseases of all kinds. The local authorities exercised their powers within their own jurisdiction. They could not go outside their own jurisdiction. I saw the immediate difference effected by us at the Board of Agriculture when we took the powers into our own hands and dealt with the country as a whole. We were able to apply our ideas according to scientific knowledge possessed by the Department of disease and the habits of diseased animals, and to apply our powers effectively in a particular area. It did not matter whether it was a county, a parish, or a country, we could apply our powers according to where the outbreak occurred. You cannot do that if you do this. If you do this and if an outbreak of cattle disease, or of any of the highly infectious diseases occurs on the borders of England and Scotland, you cannot do what you can do now. The present Minister can take his map, locate the outbreak, and with the best scientific opinion at his disposal, and which tells him that a certain area round that centre must be enclosed and a wall built round it if the disease is not to spread, he is able, one man with the experts, to build his wall absolutely irrespective of divisions either of localities or countries. The moment this law passes you cannot do that. If there is an outbreak on the borders of England and Scotland you will be obliged to go to the Scottish Minister before the English Minister can build his walls; and supposing it is in Scotland, the Scottish Minister will have to go to the English Minister before he can build his wall. The Lord Advocate may pay little attention to these arguments and even treat them with contempt, but all I can say is he is dealing with a subject which we have often debated in this House.
Agriculturists look at this as the gravest question affecting their interests. What ought to be called the agricultural industry has to a large extent disappeared from this country. The cultivation of the land for the purpose of growing corn has to a large extent disappeared. When I first came to this House four-and-thirty years ago corn growing was the staple industry. That is no longer the case, and the land has gone by thousands of acres into grass, and the country to-day is dependent entirely on stock, either your milk stock or your stock grown for feeding. The one security the British farmer has had hitherto has been the vigilance of the Central 1399 Department, and the opportunity given to them to exercise powers conferred by Parliament for the whole of England, Scotland, and Wales. You are, for purposes I believe quite insufficient, because I believe solely for sentimental reasons, going to set up this separate Department. Questions of the disease of the potato, the encouragement of education, the spread of agriculture, knowledge, and training, all that could be met if the Amendment of my hon. Friend were adopted. You have only got to leave the Department with its central powers and centrally controlled, and have a Scottish Department for certain limited purposes defined here in the Act of Parliament, and not left to a Minister to define, and you would meet every grievance which has been urged opposite, every grievance which was urged in the Debate to which I have referred, every grievance of which I have heard yet. The Amendment would in no way impair those powers which have been used with so much benefit to British agriculture throughout the United Kingdom. The Government will not listen to any suggestion; they dismiss the Amendment which is now before us as a mere repetition of what occurred earlier. It is nothing of the kind. The original proposal was to recommit a particular Clause in order, I acknowledge, that we might try to go back altogether from that part of the Bill which proposes to establish a separate Board of Agriculture. This is not a similar proposal. This is a branch of that. We accept the proposal that there shall be a Department for Scotland, but what we ask is that you should make that Department a branch of the Central Department, and that you should do nothing to impair the authority which the Central Department now exercises. I speak, and I am sure nobody who has been at the Board of Agriculture will gainsay what I state, from experience gained there.
I repeat—and I do not apologise for doing so—I am amazed that in a Debate on a Bill which, although it concerns Scotland, largely affects the general agricultural interests of the country and proposes to impair the powers of the central department, from beginning to end, no Minister has been present. I think it is a scandal that the President of the Board of Agriculture has not been present to tell the House how he defends, from the point of view of the English Board of Agriculture, this gross inroad on his power. The House is coming to-night to a final discussion on 1400 this question. Hon. Members opposite treat it as though it affected solely their interests. But they are not agreed upon it. Some of them have said that they would like to see the central board retained, with a branch for Scottish interests. That could be settled by agreement now if we were in Committee and the Government were prepared to adopt our suggestions. Hon. Members who hold that view and yet are supporting the Government in this drastic proposal will have to settle hereafter with their own consciences as to the line they are taking on this great and grave question. Hon. Members may dismiss the matter for the moment with a smile, but nobody except those who have had cause to go into the question knows how great has been the work done in the extermination of disease and the protection given to our flocks and herds, and what it means to the British agriculturists. I, at least, honestly believe that to-night, by the extraordinary line they are taking, the Government are striking a blow at agricultural prosperity, which they themselves will live to regret, and of which they will be ashamed.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The Lord Advocate announced just now that he was not going to give any more reasons for the passing of this Bill as it stands, because he had given so many before and so many others had been given. But not one single reason has been given why we should separate the Board for Scotland. We have heard a great deal about one Scotsman being as good as two Englishmen, or words to that effect; but that is no argument at all for separating the Boards. The Lord Advocate also said that he was representing Scottish opinion, and so on. If that is the fact it is rather curious that the Prime Minister should have refused the other day to see a deputation of Scottish farmers, or to receive experts on a matter vitally affecting their own industry, giving as his reason that he knew all about it from the representatives of the country. The representatives of the country have shown to-night how much they know about it. I agree that it is really a national scandal that, although the British Board of Agriculture is being broken in two and the whole of the administration altered, the only people to, answer for it so far have been two Scottish lawyers, and now one English lawyer. There has not been present one single Minister interested in agriculture. 1401 There is not one single person here representing the English Board, not one to give the views of that Board as against the views of the Secretary for Scotland. Surely the whole agricultural industry of Scotland and of this country is one industry? I cannot see how possibly you are going to divide the two countries in this matter. The only logical reason Members can give for a separate Board for Scotland is that it is giving the rights of Home Rule to that country. But it seems to me perfectly impossible to have one system in one part of Great Britain and another system in another part of the island. For if a separate Board of Agriculture, why not a separate Board of Trade or a separate War Office? There is absolutely no argument, if the one is accepted, why the other should not be. Everyone has been looking forward to seeing the Agricultural Board still further strengthened. Instead of that you are going to weaken the Board in England, because you cannot possibly have the same big Board. In Scotland we shall not be nearly so well off as in the past, because you are not the least likely to be able to find, or to finance, a double staff of experts on the same scale as you finance one staff. And you will have at the head of the Scottish Board, instead of a man whose whole time is devoted to the study of agricultural questions—one of the best Ministers of the Crown that can be obtained—you are going to have the overworked Secretary for Scotland, who is supposed to look after the agricultural as well as all other of the interests of Scotland. This he is perfectly unable to look after at the present time.
We have no one in this House actually representative of the agricultural interests of Scotland. On the eve of the triumph of his Bill I do not suppose for a moment that you are going to move the present Secretary for Scotland. He will have been such a success when this Bill has been passed that you will retain him in his position. In that case you will have a Minister of the Crown responsible for agriculture and the administration of all the other interests of Scotland still in the House of Lords. The result in any case will be that this Minister will be perfectly incapable of giving his undivided attention to the subject which will come more and more under the bureaucratic departments in Scotland, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs observed. Then the Secretary for Scotland will have to be the medium between the Cabinet and the Treasury for all 1402 affairs, and the result will be, seeing that at present the Cabinet treats Scottish affairs in a scanty fashion, that the Secretary will be a bigger bore than ever when he goes on other than agricultural subjects. In future the Minister will have to bargain with the Treasury as between the conflicting interests of agriculture and other subjects. If he gets money for one he will not get it for the other. You certainly will not get it for both, as you would do if you had a separate Minister. There are, I would remind hon. Members, many diseases that it will be perfectly impossible to deal with by two Boards. For example, take bee disease. How are two separate Boards of Agriculture to deal with diseases among bees? The Board of Agriculture took very little notice of that disease, which started in the Isle of Wight in 1907, and which might have been stamped out if taken due notice of at the time. It is all over the whole of Great Britain now, and must be dealt with by concerted action. You cannot prevent a bee travelling across the country between England and Scotland; it is different as between Ireland and Scotland. Hon. Members opposite have been going about the country saying they have got this additional sum of £200,000. How much is to be spent upon the Board of Agriculture, and how much upon the small holdings? We cannot forget, also, the cost of the additional judge, who is to receive a pension. We want to know how much is to be spent upon the administration of the Board, and how much upon the small holdings administration? Many people in Scotland asked me to do what I could to prevent the Liberal party doing injury to agricultural interests in Scotland.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
As I was the first President of the Board of Agriculture, and my right hon. Friend (Mr. Long) was my successor, I am sure the House will allow me to say how absolutely I agree with every word which fell from him in the speech he has just made. I ask the indulgence of the House all the more because both of us, speaking with many years' practical experience of this subject, find ourselves without one single member of the Cabinet on the Government Bench who even claims or professes to be able to speak with any practical knowledge of the subject. On the contrary, we are confronted by a Minister who began almost the first statement he made to the House on this subject by saying he had no practical knowledge or experience upon the subject 1403 whatever. Under these circumstances I think I am entitled to ask for some further explanation of the statement he made to the House. The right hon. Gentleman said:—We are now speaking of the administration of Acts which none of us desire to repeal or to modify.Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman has the authority of the Cabinet for making that statement? I conclude from his silence that he has not. Under these circumstances what is the value of his statement in the absence of the Minister for Agriculture himself? I am bound to say it is a most extraordinary attitude on the part of the Government when they are dealing with a question affecting the interests of English, Irish and Scotch agriculturists upon which the vast majority of them entertain strong feelings that the Minister for Agriculture should be conspicuous by his absence. It is no reflection upon the right hon. Gentleman, who has been such a short time in office that he has been unable to acquire any more knowledge of the subject than the Lord Advocate himself. These are difficult and complex questions which I will defy anyone to understand who has not had any previous experience of the subject. This is no idle question I am putting to the right hon. Gentleman. I remember not many years ago, on the eve of a General Election, the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman distinctly pledged himself to his constituency to the repeal of that part of the Act of 1898 which required slaughter at the port for all animals landed in this country. Why was it required? I ought to know all about it because I was the Minister responsible for the Act which extirpated pleuro-pneumonia from this country. It was a work of many years, entailing a vast amount of money and a vast sacrifice of time and labour on the part of those who had to do it. Why was that Act enforced? Because it is the only possible safeguard against the introduction of pleuro-pneumonia into this country. That is one of this diseases differing entirely—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the right hon. Gentleman is anticipating a discussion which will come on later.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
I am glad you reminded me of it, Mr. Speaker. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has the authority of the Cabinet for the statement I quoted or not. I will explain later why it is of such extreme importance 1404 in our eyes. In the absence of any further explanation and with the assurance that the Lord Advocate speaks with no authority from the Cabinet, when he cannot give us any undertaking that the first act of the new Board of Agriculture may not be to put pressure on the Government to carry out the late Prime Minister's promise to abolish the restrictions on slaughter at the port, he will not be surprised when I tell him that I shall most certainly vote for the Amendment.
§ 11.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I am sure we Scotchmen, on whatever side of the House we sit, must congratulate ourselves upon the appearance of the Front Bench opposite with all its legal luminaries and a Government Whip—oh, a Cabinet Minister has appeared at last (referring to the entrance of the Home Secretary, Mr. McKenna). I am afraid his agricultural knowledge with regard to Scotland is not greater than that possessed by any of those beside him. I do feel, with my right hon. and hon. Friends who have already spoken, that, whether we agree or not with this Amendment, we have every reason to complain that the Minister for Agriculture is not with us. I hope it will be made plain all through South Somerset, which feels very acutely—
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I beg your pardon. Having very little opinion of the Scotch Office at the present time, I do not want to see the Department of Agriculture moved to Edinburgh and administered from there. I cannot understand why the Lord Advocate has declined this Amendment. It might, from several indications from the other side of the House, have been accepted. All that the Lord Advocate is anxious about—the practical administration of agricultural affairs in Scotland—could perfectly well be managed by the substitution of a Department for a self-governing Board, I suppose in Edinburgh. I am quite sure the Lord Advocate did not refuse to accept the Amendment because he wants all the pomp and circumstances of a Board attached to the administration of this Bill. I think it was sheer pedantry which made him refuse. A Department could do all he is anxious for the Board to do, and I do hope every agriculturist in England, as well as in Scotland, will support those who have proposed the 1405 present Amendment. It is essential to all who live by agriculture that there should be central control in this most essential matter. In South Africa the administration of stamping out cattle disease is not in the hands of the Provincial Government, but in the hands of the Union Government. The division between England and Scotland is almost an imaginary one. Contagion is very easy, and every English agriculturist—I do not care on which side of the House he sits—should indeed be tremendously concerned to see that the administration is under the central control. We do not want it to be only a Scottish Board. We want an English and Scottish Board to act in unison. We want them to act at absolutely the same time. When a discovery is made that disease of a contagious kind exists, either on one side of the border or the other, we want it to be dealt with forthwith for the sake of the cattle and herds. Whether we sit as Scotchmen or Englishmen on either side of the House we are equally concerned to keep the herds and flocks in good condition. We believe it to be an essential condition that only by a central control can proper administration and proper power be exercised by a central authority. Speaking as a Scotchman representing an English constituency, I strongly support this Amendment for a Department rather than a Board—for a Department and a central organisation which in the past has worked well both in England and Scotland.
§ Mr. HICKS BEACH
The Lord Advocate is supposed to be fertile of imagination, but he has failed to produce any argument which has convinced anybody on this side in favour of the Bill. He has only misinterpreted the various arguments put forward from this side. Nobody can deny that Scottish agriculturists are just as good and as expert as their fellow-agriculturists in England, and we do earnestly beg the Government to reconsider the question of uniformity of administration between the two countries.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We have had that argument before. Perhaps the hon. Member will bring forward fresh arguments.
§ Mr. HICKS BEACH
I wish to point out that the duties of the Board of Agriculture in Scotland are not confined solely to the administration of the land. They are given other specific duties. They are charged with the general duty of promoting the interests of agriculture, forestry, and other rural duties in Scotland, and 1406 they have also to collect statistics and conduct inquiries and experimental research. They are to take such steps as they think proper for the development of agricultural organisation and co-operation. These are most desirable things for the Board of Agriculture to undertake, and these, too, are things which we devoutly hope that the Board of Agriculture here are going to undertake with new zest and new spirit under the development scheme. What real difference is there in the agriculture in Scotland and the agriculture of England? You cannot find one branch of agriculture in Scotland which is not carried on under the same conditions in some part of England, and it would be difficult to find a branch of agriculture in England which does not find its counterpart in Scotland. It is a waste of money to set up two organisations controlling the same undertaking in what is one whole agricultural country. I thought, at one time, that Scotchmen were in favour of economy. That old tradition appears to have rapidly disappeared under the influence of a Welsh Chancellor of the Exchequer. It must be more economical and efficient to have the control of this research and collection of information, not only in forestry, but in all these other matters, in England, Scotland, and Wales, under one Department. By all means have your Scottish Department and your Welsh Department, but in the interests of the taxpayer and of better and deeper experiment and research, it is better to have the control under one authority. I would ask one hon. Member on the other side of the House to give us one valid argument why we should vote for the Bill as it stands at present.
§ Mr. BAIRD
I cannot share the regret expressed by many hon. Members on this side of the House at the absence of the Minister for Agriculture. I trust he is learning the difference between a mangelwurzel and a turnip. The Government have carried their principle of government by decree instead of government by discussion beyond all reasonable bounds by their procedure to-night. Here are two of the most important Clauses of the Bill, proposing to set up an entirely separate Board in Scotland. The Minister in charge does not take the trouble to advance one single argument, he does not use one expression which can be called an argument, in support of this proposal, and then he retires to slumber and allows other people 1407 to advance arguments. The speech of the Lord Advocate was the kind of speech one might expect if ever we have the misfortune to have a Parliament in Edinburgh. It was redolent of the predatory parochialism with which the party opposite are identified. The right hon. Gentleman disclaimed any idea of party in advocating the change embodied in this Bill. That disclaimer was by no means warmly received on the benches behind him. I believe that the whole of this Bill is designed for finding land for the humbler supporters of the Government in the country and finding jobs for their more important supporters. That is precisely what this Board is going to be. To say that England and Scotland, so infinitesimal in size compared with other parts of the Empire, are not capable of being controlled by one man running the Department of Agriculture is ridiculous. I suppose we shall presently have a Minister of Agriculture for Wales, another for the Highlands, and another for the Lowlands. If we are going to run the Department on business lines there must be one Department for the whole country. To set up a new Department of this kind is merely for the purpose of giving jobs to the supporters of the Government.
It is doing that at the expense of the general taxpayer, and it is not doing it in the interests of the efficiency of agriculture or the prosperity of the farmers, and it certainly is not going to help small holdings—indeed, small holdings have disappeared altogether from the argument. This question of setting up a Board goes to the very root of the whole Bill. Supposing any hon. Gentleman desires to inquire in regard to an agricultural matter in Scotland after the Board has been set up. Whom has he to ask? The Secretary of State for Scotland. The adventures of the Secretary for Scotland in matters of agriculture in connection with the estate of Kirriemuir and the Island of Vatersay are not such as to inspire any confidence in him. Why on earth should not poor Scotland have a Minister for Agriculture to talk about agricultural affairs the same as England or Ireland? Why should we be put off with a gentleman whose knowledge may be varied, but who at any rate has no expert knowledge on any single subject of those with which he would have to deal? What earthly reason is there for instituting that new system in regard to Scotland? If this Amendment is carried, and if the 1408 word "Board" is left out and "Department" is left in we shall have what everyone admits to be desirable, an extension of the administration for the purposes of agriculture in Scotland—better organisation, more complete, a larger organisation, but you will have it co-ordinated, you will have the head of the organisation here in London and not in Scotland where no one can get at him and where he cannot be questioned in this House. The whole proposal is perfectly monstrous. It is the thin end of the wedge of Home Rule and it is tinged with the very ugly colour, which is becoming more and more conspicuous in the measures of the Government of finding jobs for those who support them in the country.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think the Lord Advocate must see that this raises a very important question which cannot be discussed on any other Amendment, namely, whether it is wise or unwise in respect of certain issues to set up a new frontier between England and Scotland. His replies have simply amounted to a claim which no one has denied, that the Scottish people are just as able to manage their own affairs as England is able to manage hers, to which I entirely assent. The proof is that they not only manage their own affairs but ours too, and extremely well, no doubt. At any rate they themselves are satisfied, which is, I suppose, all we can expect. But surely, quite apart from whether this or that nation has the greatest capacity for management of affairs, that is not the issue at all. The question is whether it is right or wrong that certain particular matters, particularly those which affect the diseases of animals and plants and the regulations governing the transfer of stock on these questions should be under one head or two. I really think the Government is bound to answer that point. The Lord Advocate cannot pretend that he has attempted to answer it. Does he tell the House and the country that it is desirable to create a frontier between England and Scotland in regard to matters affecting the diseases of animals and plants and the regulations which have to be framed to meet those diseases? Does he say it is for the benefit of the country to create that new frontier? If he says so he must use some argument to enforce his opinion. Arguments have been used from this side of the House, and if there has been repetition it is because no answer has been given. The argument 1409 we use, which is entirely ad rem, is that we should have, in order to protect our flocks and herds and our growing crops in this country, one jurisdiction, and not create a frontier between the two countries.
If the whole history of legislation of that character throughout the world is followed, it is quite obvious that that particular class of legislation cannot be decentralised. I am always for decentralisation in matters which can be separately dealt with, and I have nothing to say against the setting up of separate jurisdiction in Scotland for the encouragement of agriculture, or the distribution of money in Scotland for the general purposes of this Bill, but I do protest most earnestly against this Bill, which has a main purpose that, I think, both sides of the House are generally agreed upon, being used to the injury of British agriculture as a whole lay the insertion of provisions which will decentralise a particular class of legislation which can only be decentralised to the injury of agriculture in both countries. The Scottish Chambers of Agriculture, by a large majority, have passed a resolution asking that this Amendment shall be given effect to in the Bill. That is entirely ignored. Not a single Member representing Scotland has dealt with that point. Surely the opinion of the Scottish Chambers of Agriculture is worthy of some respect and some answer. No answer has been given, and when we divide it will go forth that the warnings which have been put forward in most weighty words by my right hon. Friends, who have themselves occupied positions of responsibility in this matter, are unattended to, and that the expressed opinion of agriculturists as a whole are equally disregarded. In the absence of proof to the contrary, we can only suppose that this is done from a purely party and political motive, and that the great interests of agriculture in both countries are being sacrificed to the interests of party. We can do no more than protest, and say that the responsibility rests on those who are going into the Lobby in support of their party and against the interests of agriculture. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, so far as argument has gone in this Debate—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Will hon. Members who say "No" get up and give some reason? It is not very difficult to sit and say "No," but apparently it is beyond their power to say how this is not going to be injurious to agriculture. I say they are striking a most serious blow at the 1410 stock and flocks and agriculture of both countries. They are doing it with their eyes open, and the consequences will be upon their own heads.
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
In his speech just now the Lord Advocate destroyed the only plausible argument which I have heard in defence of the setting up of an independent Board for Scotland. That argument was advanced by a supporter of the Government, and was to the effect that, although there was to be an independent Board, there would be complete consultation and collaboration between the English Board and the Scottish Board, and also complete uniformity of administration. The right hon. Gentleman just now admitted that that was not contemplated at all. The Scottish Office do not propose to seek after uniformity of administration. He stated to my hon. Friend the Member for the Walton Division that the administration of swine fever regulations would be made to suit their ideas much better than the administration by the English Board with which they disagreed. I only draw attention to that because I wish to bring it under the notice of the few sincere friends of agriculture among the Scottish Liberal members. No one doubts the capacity and efficiency of Scotchmen for administrative work, but be individuals ever so capable and efficient it is quite impossible without the lapse of years to have an efficient administration to take the place of one which is based on years of experience and investigation. We have at present got an administration with long years of experience behind it and consequently with every advantage for proper working, and you cannot replace that, starting ab initio, without great loss of efficiency for some years to come. The only possible explanation of the Government's resistance to my hon. Friend's Amendment, though they have not yet been willing to admit it, is the hope that by the independence of the Scottish Board they would be able to secure the admission of Canadian stores into Scotland, which they have not been able to secure from the British Board. I repeat the hope expressed so often on this side that some attempt would be made to answer the arguments advanced from this side before the House goes to a Division.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON
I wish to utter a few words of protest against the attitude of the Government, and I speak 1411 as one who has the honour of farming a considerable acreage of land in this country. It is to me absolutely incomprehensible that the Government can refuse to accept the Amendment moved from these benches and refuse it without giving the slightest reason. They tell us that it is their desire, just as much as ours, to prevent the spread of disease both in Scotland and England. I listened to these speeches from the Front Opposition Bench, two delivered by right hon. Gentlemen who have been Presidents of the Board of Agriculture. Those are right hon. Gentlemen who are able to speak with authority in this House. They have proved conclusively to my mind that the only way to ensure the safety of this country is by retaining the control in the hands of one single authority. Not a word has been said by any Member on the Government Bench in answer to the speeches from the Opposition Bench. I have been here for an hour or so, and of the ten Members who have sat on that Government Bench not one of them was
§ in any way qualified to speak in behalf of British agriculture. It is time that British agriculturists should protest, and if hon. Members opposite had the interests of agriculture at heart they would protest as we do on these benches. Hon. Members opposite who vote in support of the Government and against this Amendment will be voting against the true interests of agriculture both in England and Scotland.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I will ask the Lord Advocate only one question. It is agreed that the effect of this Bill unamended will be administratively to create a division between Scotland and England. Does the Lord Advocate consider, and does the Government consider, that the making of that artificial division is for the benefit of agriculture in general? Will the Lord Advocate tell us why?
§ Question put, "That the word 'Board' stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 74.1413
|Division No. 370.]||AYES.||[11.35p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Mooney, John J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Munro, R.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goldstone, Frank||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Nelan, Joseph|
|Armitage, Robert||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Balfour, Rir Robert (Lanark)||Hackett, J.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Dowd, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hayward, Evan||Radford, G. H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Helme, Norval Watson||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Higham, John Sharp||Roche, John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Clough, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Col. J. E. S.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cowan, William Henry||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||King, Joseph (Somerset, N.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lansbury, George||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lewis, John Herbert||Waring, Walter|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lundon, Thomas||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Doris, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Wason, John (Cathcart, Orkney)|
|Duffy, William J.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||McGhee, Richard||Webb, H.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Macpherson, James Ian||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||MacVeagh, Jeremlah||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Callum, John M.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Falconer, J.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Field, William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Millar, James Duncan||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|France, C. A.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Gardner, Ernest||Pollock, E. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gilmour, Captain J.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Ashley, W. W.||Grant, J. A.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baird, J. L.||Gretton, John||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hamersley, A. St. George||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Barnston, Harry||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Stanler, Beville|
|Barrie, H. T.||Hill, Sir Clement||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hohler, G. F.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hunt, Rowland||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Boyton, J.||Kerry, Earl of||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Mackinder, Halford J.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Cator, John||Malcolm, Ian||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Cave, George||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||White, Sir Luke (Yorks. E. R.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Newdegate, F. A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Clyde, James Avon||Newman, John R. P.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Younger, Sir George|
|Craig, Norman (Kent)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Perkins, Walter F.||Mr. Harry Hope and Mr. C. Bathurst.|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Peto, Basil Edward|
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I rise for the purpose of asking the Government what they propose to do with regard to the remainder of the Bill, and in order to put myself in order I will formally move the adjournment of the Debate. When the Prime Minister was moving the Motion under which all the business of the House is now conducted, suggestions were made as to the use the Government intended to make of the powers for which they were asking, and the hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury) foretold what was likely to happen with a degree of accuracy which rarely falls to the lot of a prophet. He suggested that the Government might use these powers to deal with "starred" Bills. The Prime Minister repudiated the suggestion. I presume he did not regard this as a "starred" Bill because it had already been starred. My hon. Friend also expressed the fear that these new powers would be used to prolong Debate after eleven o'clock, and the following passage occurred:The PRIME MINISTER: Then what is the suggestion?Sir FREDERICK BANBURY: My suggestion is that we should go to bed at eleven o'clock.The PRIME MINIKTER: I am quite with the hon. Baronet on that, but what is the danger against which he wishes us to guard?Then, after referring to "starred" Bills, the Prime Minister said:I am speaking now on behalf of the Government and as Leader of the House, and I say that that is not the purpose to which this Motion is intended to be applied. We intend to guard a discussion which is approaching its conclusion, which may very often reach its conclusion in a quarter of an hour or half an hour—I am not binding myself, otherwise there may be charges of breaches of faith.1414 Subsequently, in reply to my right hon. Friend (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) the Prime Minister again made his statement in perfectly clear terms:My statement was this, that the intention of this provision is to enable discussion in progress on a Bill to continue after eleven o'clock with what I call reasonable elasticity, or a reasonable probability of its being brought to an end."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October 1911, cols. 27–30].We are now on Clause 4. There are several more Clauses some of them of material import, and there are several pages of Amendments. I do not know what the purpose of the Government is, but I think we ought to know now whether the Government intend to make some reasonable proposal in conformity with the Prime Minister's undoubted declaration, or whether there is to be a departure from that clear understanding. We have so far been discussing the creation of a Board of Agriculture and the powers of the new Scottish Department; we are now coming to the further parts which follow from Clause 3. Nobody will deny that the Bill makes very large changes in administration, and it must be remembered that the measure has only been previously discussed for one day in the House itself. My hon. Friend, the Member for the City, asked the Prime Minister in respect of Bills that have not been referred to Committee. Well, the Government have set up Grand Committee. One part of the plea of my hon. Friend was that in this Autumn Session the Government were asking the House to do a very heavy amount of work without Grand Committee. With the Grand Committee it is doubly true that you are asking the House 1415 to do, under exceptional circumstances, a very heavy amount of work. What are the proposals of the Government? Are we to go on with this Bill dealing with questions of great and grave import to the agriculture of the United Kingdom at this hour of the morning, within a comparatively few hours of the meeting of the Committee dealing with Part II. of the Insurance Bill, or are the Government prepared to make some reasonable proposition that we on our part will be prepared to listen to.
§ Mr. URE
We certainly did anticipate that we would have been able at one sitting to go to the Third Reading of the Bill. Let me remind the House that this Bill was not challenged on its Second Reading, and that as a result of the conference that took place between myself, my right hon. and learned Friend opposite, my hon. Friend opposite, and the hon. Baronet, we came to an agreement upon the main points of the Bill, upon the principle of the measure. There are, I admit, details of the Bill of great importance, but these were very fully discussed in Committee. There are several pages of Amendments before us. There are only one or two that need detain us at any length; some, I have intimated, I am prepared to accept. So far, then, as I can see there need be no copious discussion upon any of these Amendments except the one in Clause 7 relating to appeals standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow (Mr. Scott Dickson). The right hon. Gentleman has asked what are the Government's intentions. We have got on very well with the Bill. We might continue our work for a little while longer and see how we get on. The right hon. Gentleman can hardly ask us to fix a definite hour; it depends within reasonable limits upon the progress made.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
As I took some part in the discussion on the first day of this portion of the Session I should like to say a few words upon the adjournment Motion now before us. I hope what I have to say will smooth matters and enable us to come to a reasonable conclusion. I do not think there is any doubt in the minds of hon. Members who remember what took place upon that occasion, that it was the distinct understanding that the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule should only be applied in case there was 1416 a Clause under discussion which might be brought to a termination in half or three-quarters of an hour, or if there was a discussion upon a Third Reading which might be brought to a conclusion within a reasonable time after eleven o'clock. The actual Debate took place upon the statement of the Prime Minister that he did not intend to apply the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule to the Insurance Bill, as the Closure Resolutions in regard to it would specify 10.30. At that time these Closure resolutions were not before us. I pointed out it would do no harm to the Government, as they did not intend to take the Insurance Bill after eleven o'clock, and as they did not intend to proceed at length after eleven o'clock upon other Bills, to accept my Amendment, which would prevent the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule.
The Prime Minister replied that he wanted to leave a certain amount of elasticity, and I replied there would be this danger—that if the Prime Minister was in his place on these occasions, I would feel sure effect would be given to the undertaking he had given, but that occasions might arise when the Prime Minister would not be in his place, and that subordinate Members of the Government, impelled perhaps by importunate Members below the Gangway, would not have the courage to abide by the undertaking given by the Prime Minister, and that in these circumstances it would be better to have a clear and distinct understanding. Then my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcestershire put some categorial questions to the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister said he did not like being cross-examined in that fashion. But the undertaking was perfectly clear, and that was that the suspension was merely to be used in order to conclude certain business tinder discussion at that time. Now the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate says he cannot say exactly how far he is going to go to-night. If he indicates a part of the Bill down to which he thinks he ought to get to-night, as this is an agreed Bill, the Opposition, I think, would give an undertaking not to use the concession in any unfair manner, that would be much better than to keep us here to five or six o'clock in the morning when we have to meet again at eleven o'clock on the unemployed part of the Insurance Bill. It would be much more in the interest of the right hon. Gentleman himself that we should discuss this Bill in an amicable spirit than that we should be sent to bed 1417 late in the morning in a disturbed and unfriendly spirit. I have been twenty years in the House, and I know what is the result of all-night sittings. No business is really forwarded by this course. The discussions are futile, and it will be far better, as this is an important Bill, if the right hon. Gentleman will accept the olive branch held out, and he will lose nothing by so doing.
Sir HENRY DALZIEL
I agree with what the hon. Baronet has said. No good purpose will be served if a strong feeling is aroused which may interfere with the smooth passage of this measure. This is a great Bill, and the main principles of it have been accepted by all parties in the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, I think all the main principles of it have been accepted. Many negotiations have taken place to bring about the desired result, and I do not want to raise any controversy now. I regard the proposals we are now discussing as the machinery to carry out the Bill, and I should regret it if, after the great progress which has been made towards a settlement amongst all parties, the last stage should be one of acute controversy and probably misunderstanding. There is another reason why I take that view. I think the general understanding when the Motion was passed was that we should not have very late and controversial sittings, and that was the spirit which prevailed when the Prime Minister made the concession in regard to a discussion on the Motion for adjournment. It was generally agreed that that was to be the procedure throughout the sitting. After all, this Bill affects a very large portion of the population of Scotland, and I do not know that it is in the best interests of this House or of Scotland itself that our discussions on an important measure should take place at a late hour when obviously our proceedings cannot be reported and brought to the knowledge of the people of Scotland.
I am a warm supporter of this Bill, and I am anxious that it should be passed through this House and the other Chamber, and I think its prospects will be greatly improved if it can pass with the general approval of the House. Under these circumstances I ask the Government whether the best interests of all would not be best served if some general understanding was come to as to the amount of time we should give to the measure on some future occasion. If not, 1418 we shall probably go on until three or four o'clock in the morning, and then we shall probably come to some understanding. I have been through many all-night sittings, and I find that generally an agreement is arrived at about three or four o'clock in the morning which might have been arrived at earlier in the evening. I ask the Government to consider the suggestion that if the Opposition were to give an undertaking that three or four hours, at a date to be fixed, would be considered sufficient to conclude the proceedings on this Bill we might adjourn at the present stage. Under those circumstances we might be able to conclude our discussions at a time when our proceedings would be reported, and the public in Scotland would have a knowledge of what was going on.
I do not think the Third Reading need take very long. There is scarcely an Amendment moved on which you cannot make a Third Reading speech in the ordinary Parliamentary sense. I would suggest, therefore the Government should give us about four hours on a date to be agreed with the Opposition, and that we should now adjourn.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I altogether deny that this can be called an agreed Bill. It is quite true several Members of the Opposition were as anxious to get the Bill passed as possible, and we had meetings with the Lord Advocate and others with a view to settling some important questions, but as the House knows already, there are still very important questions which are in no sense agreed upon and never were agreed upon. I say that to prevent misunderstanding and not in the least to create any feeling other than that which the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel) desires to see preserved. If I am not going too far, might I suggest we could do all the other stages of the Bill easily enough if we could get a Friday. I do not know that is much more than has been suggested. I thing it is practically the same. Probably it might take the whole Friday, but I do not know. I feel satisfied, however, if we could get a Friday we could put the Bill through its remaining stages without trouble.
§ Mr. URE
I wish, in the first place, to disclaim altogether the idea of having advocated sitting till three or four o'clock in the morning. After what the Prime Minister said, such an idea never entered my mind. I am very willing to grasp the 1419 olive branch the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) has held out. It has occurred to me we might get to the end of Clause 6 to-night. So far as I can see, there are no controversial topics raised till we come to Clause 7, but there may be some controversy on that Clause. If the House will agree to that proposal—
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
That will do. I accept what the Lord Advocate has said as fairly meeting our suggestions, and I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the words, "one of the said Agricultural Commissioners shall be a person who can speak the Gaelic language."
The House has already agreed that there shall be someone in the Land Court who can speak the Gaelic language, but I think there is even more reason why one of the Agricultural Commissioners should be able to speak Gaelic. Most of the business will be settled by the Board of Agriculture without the Land Court being troubled at all. I am quite aware that in most parts of the crofting counties the people can speak English, but there are a good many of them who can express themselves far more effectively in Gaelic than in English. I hope, therefore, the Government will agree to this little Amendment, as I am sure it will be in the interests of the proper carrying out of this Small Landowners' Bill. I want this Bill to go through, and, what is more, the people of Scotland want to see it passed into law. I am not going to do anything to prevent that, but I move this Amendment in fulfilment of a promise I gave to my constituents and the people generally in the crofting counties.
§ Mr. URE
I am afraid I cannot accede to this proposal. There are only three Agricultural Commissioners. It has already been decided that one of the Commissioners for the Land Commission shall possess this qualification, and in that case it is most desirable in the interests of witnesses for the Highlands who only speak Gaelic. The necessity is not so marked so far as the Agricultural Commission is concerned.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I am sincerely of opinion that a Gaelic speaking man would 1420 be most useful as an Agricultural Commissioner. This little addition to the Bill would be a marked improvement, and I shall be glad if the Lord Advocate can see his way to accept this little Amendment.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
As a Gaelic speaking Member of this House, I think it would be a little absurd that we should force so circumscribed a choice for the Board of Agriculture. We have already a Gaelic speaking member provided for the Land Committee.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to move, to add at the end of Section (1), the words "The Chairman of the Department shall not, by reason of his office, be incapable of being elected to or voting in the Commons House of Parliament."
We consider it would be an advantage for the working of the Bill if this addition were made. We recognise that the Board is going to have an immense amount of work to do, not merely with the small holdings, but in connection with technical instruction, and there will also be a good deal of responsible work in other ways. Therefore, we feel that, unless the Chairman is eligible to be a member of this House we in Scotland are not going to have the first-rate Department we are entitled to. The Chairman of the Irish Agricultural Department is a Member of this House, and considering the congested state of business at the Scottish Office, we think that this matter will not be properly looked after and safeguarded unless we have a Chairman who can sit in this House.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
While I prefer my own Amendment I am prepared, in order that the discussion on this point may not be prolonged, to second my hon. Friend's proposal. After all, it puts the point in a most conciliatory form, and I hope, therefore, it will receive the support of the Government. No doubt a very large, if not the largest, section of Scottish agriculturists are in favour of the policy which has been advocated from the other side to-night. It is purely a matter of expediency that we should have a separate Scottish Board under the Scotch Office to deal with agricultural matters, but the Debate has shown that there are strong reasons from an English point of view which raise the question to a higher level. What is essential, however, from whichever 1421 point of view it is looked at, is that the Board should be an efficient Board, and if you are going to cut the painter with the British Board you must have your Scottish Board properly equipped. We know what a fuss was made when the representative of the Irish Board of Agriculture was without a seat in this House, and we hold that Scotland, equally with Ireland, should have at the head of its Board a gentleman with a seat in this House, who can be responsible to it for the working of his Department. That I believe to be absolutely necessary. We do not want another of those inaccessible heads of Departments; we want to have at the head of the Department a man who is familiar with the industry and who can deal with Scottish agricultural matters in this House. It does not matter whether the Board sits in Edinburgh or London, so long as its head is in this House.
While we may admit all honour is due to the Scottish Education Department for being ready to take over everything from Scottish Universities to poultry farms, yet nothing in that or any Department of the Scottish Office warrants giving such enormous powers as this Bill provides outside the statutory legislation to enable Dover House to rig up whatever kind of Board of Agriculture for Scotland it may think sufficient. Judged by the standard of Scottish Boards in the past, we have no reason to look forward with hope to the establishment of such another Board. The Secretary for Scotland is master of many Boards. He cannot supervise and control them all, and he will be quite unable to supervise and control this new Board. The Lord Advocate cannot speak with responsibility for any one of these Departments. The Minister who is nominally responsible for these Departments is not in the House, and we cannot criticise or impose the policy of the Scottish representatives upon the policy of the Department. The Government is assuming vast and novel responsibilities, and is making no adequate provision to meet them. This is the only way in which adequate provision can be made, and I trust that now we have money, and a properly constituted Department under a responsible head being within our reach, the Government will allocate money and give us the head. It is the view of some people that the Scottish Office has a kind of divine mission to cope with the organisation dealt with under this Bill, but those who think so have yet to justify their faith, and unless this organisation 1422 is set up with competent agricultural authority, and unless it is represented in this House, we remain at the mercy of the most skilled and brilliant debater in this House, who is totally unencumbered by responsibility for anything that is being done by this or any other Department. I warn the House that this Clause as it stands is unsafe, whether from the point of view of Scottish interests or British interests as a whole. I do not think that the long debates we have had on the maintenance of the British Board as at present constituted to safeguard Scottish interests were altogether necessary. I think this question of having an effective Scotch Board which will be secured by the Amendment is one which the House ought not to pass unnoticed, and I look forward with some apprehension to the working of the Bill unless the Amendment is accepted.
§ Mr. URE
My answer shall be short, but, I hope, perfectly clear and definite. My right hon. Friend opposite says this Board will be full of work. I agree. Therefore I desire that its working head should be in Edinburgh, and that he should not have a seat in this House, in order that he may be able to devote his undivided and exclusive attention to the work of the Board. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) says he desires that the Board should be efficient. So do I, and I cannot see how the Board can be efficient if its Chairman is sitting in this House while the other members are sitting and doing the work in Edinburgh. It appears to me that in the case of a small Board like this, entrusted with the duty of guiding and managing the agricultural affairs of Scotland, it is absolutely essential, if you are to secure efficiency, all the members of the Board should work together in their office in Edinburgh, and that none of them should be required to sit here, especially when we look to the experience of recent years and see what is meant by a member sitting here for the greater part of the year attending to his duties in the House of Commons. Let the House remember that this is a totally different question from the question whether or not Scottish agriculture should have in this House a Minister representing it. That is a very debatable proposition. It is not now before the House.
The question before the House is whether the working head of a busy Department should have a seat in this House, or whether he should not be rather sitting 1423 with his colleagues in Edinburgh. My right hon. Friend says he looks forward with apprehension to the work of this Board if one of its members, the Chairman to wit, is not a Member of this House. I think his apprehensions are premature. Let us wait and see. This Board is to report every year to the House of Commons. The salaries of its members will be on the Votes. The Minister, whoever he may be, representing the Scottish Office must, of course, make himself thoroughly conversant with the Report, and he must be ready when the Debate comes on—and I hope the opportunities will be oftener than they have been in the past—to defend the action of the Board. But it does not appear to me—and in this respect I differ from my right hon. Friend—that a minute technical knowledge of agriculture is essential to enable the Minister to defend the Department here. He will have ample material before him, and if he is an intelligent man capable of comprehending what he reads, and also of taking information and instruction from his fellow Members in this House, he may be able to defend the Department without, that technical knowledge which my right hon. Friend possesses in so full a measure. If the Chairman of the Board were a Member of this House, he would be absolutely severed from the active work of the Board, and he would only be able to answer questions on information received from his colleagues in Edinburgh, and he would be to that extent, however skilful he might be, placed at some disadvantage. Therefore it appears to me that a Member to be an efficient head of the new Board of Agriculture ought not to be encumbered with the duty of acting as a Member of Parliament.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I think it a very unfortunate conclusion at which the Government have arrived. The result is that the interests of the agriculturists of Scotland will be left to be managed by a branch of the Scottish Office. The responsible head of it will be the Secretary for Scotland, who does not sit in this House at all. You will just have a permanent official and nothing more. I say nothing against permanent officials, but I say that that is not a proper Board for the management of such an important branch of government as agriculture. I have had the experience not so long ago of representing Scotch Boards in this House, and it is not satisfactory to those 1424 who are expounding policy because they are only getting it second hand. Of course we only have to do the best we can but it is not a satisfactory method of carrying on business. When one remembers how strenuously the Irish Members insisted on the Vice-President of the Irish Board being in this House it is odd to find the same Government, which abolished the Irish lawyers in order to give him a seat, taking up the attitude which they now assume. The defence which they have attempted is not anything like adequate to meet the criticism that has been advanced.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
The argument of the right hon. Gentleman that if the Chairman of the Board is to do his work effectively in Edinburgh he cannot be a Member of this House is one that applies equally to the legal profession of which he is so distinguished an ornament. The right hon. Gentleman has not only work to do here, but he is Lord Advocate in Scotland, and has work to do there. I trust, therefore, that in regard to the great profession of agriculture he will not subordinate the position of the Chairman of the Board. We do think that the Bill would be infinitely better if the Chairman could be a Member of the House, who would be responsible to this House not only for his actions, but also for the application of funds which would be at his disposal. I am not sure that it is not a large constitutional point that a man who is in charge of funds devoted by the State to certain purposes should not be a Member of this House. I quite agree with my right hon. and learned Friend that the Irish Members were not caught by this kind of chaff at all because they insisted on the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture, who would correspond to the Chairman of this Board, being in the House of Commons. They turned out a Unionist and put in a Nationalist in order to enable him to be here. That is the position of the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture in Ireland. I think it would be a very much better plan if it could be managed at the present moment that my hon. Friend should withdraw this Amendment in favour of the much more definite Amendment of the hon. Member for Leith Burghs. I do not at all like the idea that it should be a kind of negative proposal that "the Chairman of the Department shall not, by reason of his office, be incapable of being elected to, or voting in, 1425 the Commons House of Parliament." I much prefer the more positive proposal that the Chairman of the Board shall be a Minister with a seat in this House. In that way only shall we get proper representation of agriculture in Scotland. In that way only shall we be able to saddle the proper Minister with the appropriation—or the misappropriation as we may consider it—of the funds at his disposal. I
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, at the beginning of Sub-section (2), to insert the words, "save in respect of diseases of animals and plants, and adulteration of food stuffs and fertilisers."
This Amendment merely crystallised the point on which we English agriculturists feel most particularly that this Bill requires some amendment. As a great deal has already been said in support of the
§ do not know whether it will meet with the approval of my hon. Friend to withdraw his Amendment and to take a division on the positive proposal.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 49; Noes, 89.1425
|Division No. 371.]||AYES.||[12.35 a.m.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Balcarres, Lord||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Stanier, Beville|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gilmour, Captain J.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Barnston, H.||Grant, J. A.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hunt, Rowland||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Bennet-Goldney, Francis||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Waring, Walter|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Mackinder, Halford J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Malcolm, Ian||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Mount, William Arthur||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Younger, Sir George|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Pretyman, Ernest George||Mr. Harry Hope and Mr. Munro-Ferguson.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Dowd, John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Benn, W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Helme, Norval Watson||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Henry, Sir Charles||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Clough, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molten)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Doris, William||Lundon, Thomas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Duffy, William J.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||McGhee, Richard||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Webb, H.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Macpherson, James Ian||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Falconer, James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Callum, John M.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, Robert||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph|
§ arguments which can be adduced in favour of the exclusion of the matters to which the Amendment relates, I do not propose to add anything at this stage, except to remind the House that it was the differential treatment of these matters on the part of the authorities, and the unhappy consequences which occurred in respect of our farm stock, that resulted in the constitution of the present Board 1427 of Agriculture and Fisheries, whose beneficent action in regard to such matters for many years past has resulted in increased prosperity to our agricultural community.
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
I beg to second the Amendment, and, like my hon. Friend, I shall refrain from referring to any arguments which have already been dealt with to-night. I do not say adequately, but at all events to some extent. Much more might be said in support of those arguments, but the few words I propose to utter will be on a subject which you, Mr. Speaker, quite rightly during to-night's discussion ruled must wait for this Amendment. The only possible motive the Government can have for resisting this Amendment must arise from a hope that they may be able to pass a departmental measure in connection with the Scottish Board of Agriculture repealing the Act which prohibits the importation of Canadian cattle. I should like to say a few words to those Members who advocate so strongly the importation of Canadian stores into Scotland. Let me point out to them that the time is past when Canadian stores could be imported into Scotland cheaply, even supposing the prohibition were removed. Even importation for slaughter at Deptford and Birkenhead last year could not be carried on by any of the important firms for profit. I happen to have had personal experience of that, and I know what I am saying will not be contradicted. The demand in Canada to satisfy the home trade has, owing to the increasing population, grown tremendously, and added to this there are the requirements of the buyers from the United States, which are larger than ever. The result has been to cause so large an increase in the price that it is quite unthinkable that really cheap Canadian stores could be brought into Scotland now. There would be no advantage to the graziers of Scotland to secure that importation even, as I say, if the prohibition were removed. Therefore I do hope that those gentlemen who set great store by this matter will reconsider it in the light of what I have said. So long as it was possible for Canadian store cattle to be introduced into Scotland very cheaply, there was something to be said in favour of the argument, but now there is nothing whatever to support it. I hope, therefore, that for the sake of an idea which is no longer possible Members will not seek 1428 to impose great risks upon the valuable flocks and herds of this country.
§ Mr. URE
In resisting this proposal I shall not repeat anything I have previously said in speaking of the importation of Canadian cattle. The hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) has asked me this question: Do you propose to separate the jurisdiction of the Scottish Board of Agriculture from the jurisdiction of the English Board of Agriculture? I answer unhesitatingly in the affirmative, because that is the inevitable meaning of the proposal that the Scottish Board of Agriculture should exercise full powers in the administration of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but that is not the question I asked. I assumed naturally that a frontier would be created between England and Scotland, and I asked how, with that frontier existing, and a dual control being exercised in regard to questions affecting security against diseases of animals, that situation could obtain without injuring the agriculture of the United Kingdom. That was my point. I assumed that a new frontier would be created, and I did not ask whether it would be so or not. What I said was the right hon. Gentleman had not given any reasons to show that the setting up of that new frontier would not create greater difficulties and disabilities in protecting agriculture in both countries from the invasion of much-dreaded diseases.
§ Mr. URE
I am quite sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not put that question. What he asked me was the question I have stated, namely, whether the Bill inevitably means that the sphere of jurisduction of the two Boards will be fixed by the border line between the two countries. I have answered that in the affirmative. He now asks how we are to protect flocks and herds from invasion and injury in consequence of dual administration. I do not call it dual administration. I call it separate and distinct administration for the two countries. I will take the argument based upon the assumption, which hon. Members opposite have always used in this House, that the Scottish Board of Agriculture is as vigilant, as prompt, as skilful, and as cautious as the English Board of Agriculture. On that assumption I will ask, where is the harm? On that assumption I would like to know what 1429 possible injury could be suffered by any farmer in England. Now I take the opposite view. I shall assume that the Scottish Board of Agriculture is lax, is lacking in skill, and is deficient in vigilance. I assume that an outbreak of disease takes place, and that the Scottish Board of Agriculture is lacking in vigilance and promptitude. How can that possibly injure England, where you have a Board which is ex hypothesi firm, vigilant, and skilful, and which could protect itself instantly from any sort of injury in respect of the transport of cattle across the border? In case of disease they will, of course, exclude all cattle from Scotland.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
The Lord Advocate has a very interesting way of answering questions. I am almost afraid to say it in a House the majority of whose Members are supposed to be in favour of woman suffrage, but I am afraid it is generally attributed to the other sex that if they have a difficult question to answer they answer it by asking another question. The Lord Advocate answers questions by asking another. I do not blame him for not answering the simple questions put to him, for there is no answer to them, but what I do complain of is that he, who is on the defensive—we are not on the defensive; we are attacking—instead of answering our questions, proceeds to ask us a series of questions. I think he was a little unduly aggressive to my hon. Friend near me (Mr. Pretyman), and considering that he is extremely anxious to save time, he will forgive me saying he has not shown himself so great an adept at saving time as in other Parliamentary arts. If the Government will carry on their legislation until one or two o'clock in the morning, and make the House sit on, we need not be surprised if even the Lord Advocate's acute mind wanders a little. What my hon. Friend asked was a simple question. My hon. Friend did not ask whether the right hon. Gentleman was creating a border. Everybody knows you are going to set up a separate Department. The Lord Advocate began our Debates by boasting that that was what the Government were going to do, and that he would adhere to this separate jurisdiction as the most important part of the whole Bill. From that moment onward there was no doubt about the intention of the Government to set up a separate jurisdiction. What he was asked was how, with an artificial borderland, they could carry out 1430 those restrictions which he says they would enforce with such promptitude and skill. Everybody knows Canada has suffered from this one particular thing. She has not suffered from disease bred within her own borders. She has suffered from the fact that she has a great land border dividing her from the United States; the United States in turn are exposed to infection from other countries; and the consequence is that Canada has not been able to declare that clean bill of health which we, being an island, have been able to do. In more than one country in Europe, for the same reason, they are horrified by the magnitude of this danger, and every scientist on the subject has said to us: "You have an enormous advantage in being an island," The Lord Advocate is going to destroy that advantage for Scotland and England. He says there is going to be no dual control. There is going to be separate control. I would not at this hour of the morning, or at any hour, enter into competition with the Lord Advocate as to the meaning of the English language, but if he is going to set up separate Departments in England and Scotland to do the same work I say I do not know what the meaning of language is if that is not dual administration. He told us the two Departments would act together. When the English Department believes there should be general protection and the Scottish Department will not share that view the mischief he intended to do will be worse than I had previously believed it to be. The Lord Advocate went on to say there was no intention of repealing existing legislation. He has not answered the question put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon. When the late Prime Minister first came into office he declared in the most definite terms that he thought the Act should be repealed. If the Scottish Board of Agriculture, acting on the recommendation of the majority of the Scottish Members, recommend the repeal of the Act so far as it applies to Scotland, will the Government take that as a recommendation on which they should act, or will they consult the English Board before they do so?
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
Yes, but they do not consult the House of Commons. They come down with a Bill prepared and they pass that Bill by the aid of their majority. 1431 That is what the Lord Advocate calls consulting the House of Commons. We are open to this danger. For my part I do not want to discuss this question any further. The responsibility for what the Government are doing rests with them. They are taking a very grave step, and are doing, I believe, a grave injury to our greatest industry. The responsibility
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move to leave out the words "Commissioner for Small Holdings" ["such one of the members of the Board as the Secretary for Scotland shall from time to time appoint shall be designated the Commissioner for Small Holdings"], and insert, "Scottish Small Holdings Commissioner."
I think this is merely a drafting Amendment. My point of course is that there may be confusion as between the Small
§ must rest with them, and so far as we are concerned we will be content not to continue the Debate but to record our votes in the lobby against this proposal.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 39; Noes, 89.1431
|Division No. 372.]||AYES.||[1.0 a.m.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gilmour, Captain J.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grant, J. A.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Barnston, Harry||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Stanier, Beville|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hunt, Rowland||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Malcolm, Ian||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, Sir George|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Mr. C. Bathurst and Mr. Courthope.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Dowd, John|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Helme, Norval Watson||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Henry, Sir Charles||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rlnd, Cockerm'th)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Clough, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Lundon, Thomas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Waring, Walter|
|Doris, William||McGhee, Richard||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Duffy, William J.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Macpherson, James Ian||Webb, H.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Falconer, James||M'Callum, John M.||Whtehouse, John Howard|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Millar, James Duncan||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, R.|
|Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
§ Holdings Commissioners in England and those in Scotland. The expression I propose will indicate in this House who is intended when reference is made to this Commissioner.
§ Mr. URE
I prefer very much the expression in the Bill. There is no risk of the confusion to which the hon. Member 1433 refers, as the Bill applies exclusively to Scotland, and whenever the Commissioner is referred to it will be understood that it is the Commissioner for Small Holdings in Scotland.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.