HC Deb 26 February 1918 vol 103 cc1234-6

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he has received a communication from a group of statutory small tenants at Kintail, Ross-shire, complaining that, when they proposed to take up further grazings for food production in Kintail deer forest, they were authorised by the Board of Agriculture (Scotland), under Defence of the Realm Regulation q2, to kill deer trespassing upon and eating the crops of their grazings, but that, after the crofters had taken up and stocked their grazings, the Board of Agriculture warned them in a written communication that, as certain deer had been killed, such killing was illegal and the killing of deer must be left to the shooting tenant; whether it is part of the duty of the Board of Agriculture (Scotland) to interpret the Defence of the Realm Act Regulation; and whether these conflicting interpretations were made with his knowledge and consent?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. He has received a communication of the nature referred to and hag replied to it. The tenants were apparently under a misapprehension as to the scope of the Order regarding the killing of deer made by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland under the Defence of the Realm Regulation 2q. The Board have accordingly pointed out to the tenants that the Order authorises them to kill deer only on the agricultural holdings of which they are statutory small tenants, and not on the additional grazings which they hold from the Board under the powers of the Defence of the Realm Regulation 2 m. As regards the last two parts of the question, the Board did not attempt to interpret the Defence of the Realm Regulations, but they explained the effect of their own Order when a misconception arose regarding its operation. In these circumstances no question of conflicting interpretations arises.


Did not the Board of Agriculture first state a certain right of action, and thereafter gave a refusal to the same right of action? Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Board of Agriculture constantly give conflicting interpretations?


I think in this case there was no conflicting interpretation. The statutory small tenants got additional ground under the Defence of the Realm Regulations after the Order as regards the killing of deer was issued. That Order does not apply to the new ground that these tenants received.