HC Deb 03 November 1920 vol 134 cc426-53

  1. (1) For the purposes of this Part of this Act there shall be five Commissioners, one of whom shall be appointed by the Minister, one by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, one by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, one by the Treasury, and one by the Board of Trade.
  2. (2) There shall be paid to the Commissioners such remuneration as the Treasury may determine, and any such remuneration 427 and the expenses of the Commissioners, up to an amount sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.
  3. (3) The Commissioners may by order require the production of any books, papers, or other documents relating to the subject-matter of their inquiry, and may require any person who appears to them to have any information with respect thereto to furnish, in writing or otherwise, such particulars with respect thereto as they may require, and to attend before them and give evidence on oath, and any of the Commissioners shall for that purpose have power to administer an oath
  4. (4) The Commissioners may, subject to any directions given by the Treasury, pay to any person required by them to furnish particulars with respect to the subject-matter of their inquiry or to attend before them such reasonable expenses as such person shall incur in respect thereof.
  5. (5) If any person fails to comply with any order of the Commissioners made under this Section, or knowingly furnishes any particulars which are false or misleading in any material particular, or knowingly gives any evidence which is false or misleading in any material particular, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding one month.
  6. (6) The Commissioners shall not, except with the consent of the person concerned, include in any report or publication made or authorised by them any information obtained by them in the course of an inquiry made by them under this Section as to the business carried on by any person which is not available otherwise than through evidence given to them during the inquiry, nor shall any Commissioner or any person concerned in the inquiry, except with such consent as aforesaid, disclose any such information.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "five," and to insert instead thereof the word "three."

With regard to this important Amendment, I am going to ask the House to reverse a decision of the Committee. As the Bill was originally introduced, there were three Commissioners—one appointed by the three Ministries of Agriculture conjointly, which is what I propose to introduce now; one appointed by the Treasury, to safeguard the taxpayers' interests; and one appointed by the Board of Trade, to represent the consumers. These three Commissioners, after obtaining the necessary information, were, in each year, according to the terms of Clause 2, to ascertain the variation in the cost of production upon which the guaranteed prices were to be based. In Committee an Amendment was moved and pressed very hard, especially by my Scottish and Irish Friends, to increase the number of Commissioners to five, putting in, instead of the one Commissioner appointed by the three bodies, one appointed by the Minister of Agriculture fo England and Wales, one by the Irish Department, and one by the Scottish Board, which would give five Commissioners, and three out of the five—a clear majority—would be representative of agricultural interests. I pointed out in Committee that I thought the proposal, which was carried against the Government by the very narrow majority of one vote, was based on a misunderstanding. These Commissioners are not to be advocates of particular interests. They are to be independent persons, ascertaining precisely what are the variations in the cost of production, and for that purpose it was really unnecessary that we should have an agricultural majority, and, in fact, it was undesirable.

We have got to consider, not merely the interest of agriculturists, which, I agree, are primarily the concern of the Ministry which I represent, and of the other agricultural Ministries, but also the interest of the taxpayer. I am sorry my right hon. Friend the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury) is not present, because I am sure he would agree with me in this. Under Clause I very heavy responsibilities are placed upon the State. Guaranteed prices, which may involve the taxpayer in large sums of money, are to be paid, and the amount payable will depend upon the findings of these Commissioners. Therefore, to put upon the Commission a majority of persons interested in agriculture might have the effect of adversely affecting the taxpayer, and for those reasons I am bound to ask the House, in the interests of economy, and for the protection of the taxpayer, not to insist upon having five Commissioners, three of whom represent agricultural interests, but to revert to the original plan, which was carefully thought out before the introduction of the Bill, and by which all interests are adequately represented. I think the Amendment, which was carried in Committee against the Government by one vote, was carried largely because of what I may call the national interests of Members from Scotland and Ireland. They did not like the idea of having one Commissioner appointed conjointly. Therefore, they pressed for a separate Commissioner for Scotland and a separate Commissioner for Ireland, and I know some of my Welsh Friends pressed also for another Commissioner to represent Welsh interests. By the Amendment, which was carried a few minutes ago, laying down that, before coming to a decision, the three Commissioners shall consider information provided by the three respective Ministries of Agriculture, I think we have gone some way to get over that difficulty. We have provided safeguards that Scottish and Irish interests shall not be left out of account.

Dealing with the Amendment on its merits, having regard to the large obligation placed upon the taxpayer, having regard to the fact that we may have to pay large sums in the way of guaranteed prices—the difference between guarantsed prices and market prices—I do not think it is right that there should be, out of five Commissioners, three definitely representing agricultural interests. Beyond that—though this is not such an important point, but, still, we all preach economy nowadays, and some of us try to carry it out, notwithstanding the fact that the House very often urges us to extravagant measures—really three people could quite well do this work. Five is an unnecessarily large number, and I really do not see why the taxpayer should be called upon to pay five Commissioners when three could quite properly do the work.


I cannot help regretting that my right hon. Friend has offered the advice to the House that he has. He said that this had been very carefully considered in his office. He will no doubt recollect that it was no less carefully considered upstairs in Committee for a long time, with the result that the Bill now stands in the form it does. Now the ground on which I regret his decision to endeavour to reverse the judgment of the Committee on the point is that I am sure he would be the first to admit that, if this part of the Bill is to do any good in the direction of increasing food production, one thing before all else is necessary, and that is that it should carry some conviction and confidence into the minds of the farming community who are supposed to be influenced by it. For that purpose, obviously, a great deal depends upon the judgment formed by the farming community of the Commissioners to whom this work is appointed. It is no good talking about an ideal world; we must take facts as they are. I do not think the farming community will be greatly impressed by a Board of Commissioners composed of members the majority of whom are not very likely to have a very wide acquaintance with agricultural conditions and agricultural problems. I refer to the Board of Trade and the Treasury. It was for that reason that a great many of us felt that it was of first importance to establish a body which would have that power of imparting confidence to the agricultural community.

My right hon. Friend says that that proposal is impossible for two reasons, the first being, as I understand it, that it would be almost quasi-unconstitutional to impart to a body which had an agricultural majority the right of overriding the impartial Treasury. On that I have a few observations to make. The first is this: I do not think anybody suggests—I am sure my right hon. Friend would not suggest—that if we have agricultural commissioners in the majority they will be acting there as partial deputies. They will be no less impartial than anybody else. The only difference between them and the representatives of the Board of Trade and Treasury will be that the agricultural representatives will have knowledge and the others will not. I venture to suggest it is rather confusing the issue to advance it as if it were impossible to have an agricultural majority without having a partial majority. The second observation I would make is this, that, however the Commission is composed, the Treasury and this House always retain their full and complete control over the whole question of guarantees. I would suggest, therefore, on that point that there is really no great cause for fear. The last argument of economy is one that appeals to me very strongly. I think it appeals to me because I have the good fortune to sit near my right hon. Friend (Sir F. Banbury), and no doubt he has infected me with some little enthusiasm. Indeed, I think it appeals to ordinary private independent members even more than it does to right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench. But I would suggest to my right hon. Friend that it is perfectly possible to have five commissioners of whom only three should be paid. That would be in accordance with a good deal of precedent, and I am quite sure agricultural representatives on the Board of Agriculture or any other board would be only too anxious to do unpaid work in this respect for the benefit of the interest which it is their great honour and pride to serve. Therefore, I am quite sure it would not cost a penny more, and it would give confidence in the direction in which you wish to give confidence, and I am sure the Treasury would always retain, as they ought to retain, complete control over guarantees.

5.0 P.M.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. HOPE

I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will further consider the matter before he insists on using the Government majority in this House to reverse the decision of the Committee. I do say that it is of considerable importance, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. E. Wood) has already said, it is important on the ground of giving confidence to the agricultural community. I say further it is of importance on the ground, taken up in Committee, of giving confidence to Scottish interests. There is a certain feeling of regret amongst agricultural interests in Scotland, and we all know the reason that Scotland is not dealt with by a separate Bill. I think, therefore, that any small concession of this sort to Scottish agricultural feeling, and, I believe, Irish opinion, which would encourage them to have confidence in the working of the Act, would be well worth making. These commissioners are to fix prices which affect the whole root principle of the Bill and what is supposed to be giving great advantage to the agricultural industry, although we believe that the prices that are fixed will not really be of great benefit. Still, according to the great advocates of the Bill, it is giving advantage to the agricultural interest. Anything which gives confidence in the machinery, or gives any advantage of the sort to the agricultural interests, ought to be set up in the best possible manner to give that confidence. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture talked about the expense. I suggest that, even if the proposal of the hon. Member for Ripon that there should be two commissioners unpaid is not accepted, the expense will be infinitesimal. These commissioners need not be full-time employés. They need only take up a very short time to decide this question, and the addition to these expenses would only equal, I should think, barely the cost of two extra messengers in the Ministry of Agriculture or at the Treasury. Perhaps they could reduce some of their staffs there to make up for this. Anyhow, it is a very small matter.

The Parliamentary Secretary says that these Commissioners are not to be advocates, but they are to be judges. We submit that judges must have some knowledge of their subject, and if they are to decide on agricultural matters, surely it is better that most of them should have some knowledge of agriculture upon which they have to decide. Surely, also, because they are interested in agriculture it does not debar them from being impartial. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will not insist upon this Amendment. If he will not agree to the Bill standing as it left the Committee—and Scottish opinion is very strong upon this—perhaps he would consider some compromise, say, to have four Commissioners, one to be appointed jointly by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, and one by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction of Ireland. This would have the effect of giving equal representation to the agricultural and other interests on the Board, and would give Scotland and Ireland together some small representation. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will consider this proposal.


As representing an agricultural constituency I should like to approach the matter from the point of view of the last speaker. In Ireland we wish to make the greatest possible contribution to food production. We feel that if this is to be done—or continued—there must be confidence in the country in the machinery brought in by the Ministry of Agriculture. If now, after the Bill has passed through the Committee stages, the representative from Ireland is eliminated from the Bill, I am afraid it will have a very serious effect upon the confidence that ought to be engendered in Ireland for the working of this Bill.

There is another important item to be reckoned with in my country, and it is this: We have not now full representation from Ireland, and I plead that this House should consider this matter in a generous spirit, and leave the work of the Committee alone. I am speaking, if I may say so, in the name of those not here, and not represented here—the great bulk of farmers in Ireland. I think it will be the wisest policy and in the interests of all concerned, if a commissioner is selected by the Department of Agriculture, Ireland, and one for Scotland—to leave the matter as it is. It may be said that there will be more expense. That is a mere bagatelle as compared with the good that will accrue, and the confidence that will be engendered in the minds of the agricultural people in Ireland who are suspicious about all these methods, and who will certainly be very greatly disappointed if we, here, do not give them representation on this Board, especially in view of the Committee's recommendation. This is the matter as it appears to me; and to those of us who come from Ireland. If you desire to retain the confidence of the agricultural people a commissioner should be left to represent the Department of Agriculture of Ireland.


These Commissioners will have a very important function to perform. They will have to settle the prices of wheat and of oats, and it is upon the prices which they settle that the guarantee will be based. It is possibly the first time in our history that we have put such a proposal into an Act of Parliament, that Commissioners—whether three or five—I will argue this latter point in a moment—shall have the power of putting money into the pockets of an individual interest. For my part, I am not so sanguine that this system of guarantees is going to be of any permanent benefit to agriculture. I have tried to think the matter out with every desire to meet the views of the Government. Assuming, however, the Commissioners fixed such prices for wheat and oats that the Chancellor was called upon to pay the agricultural interests £5,000,000 or £6,000,000, there would be an outcry in the House at once. I do regard this system of guarantees as being, from my point of view, illusory to agriculture; and I am now speaking as an agriculturalist. But if the Government do attach importance to this system of guarantees for increasing the arable production of the country or the production of wheat and oats, if they attribute importance to this Clause, it is essential that these Commissioners should be men who will command the confidence of the agricultural community. At the present moment the agricultural community is extremely suspicious of Government Departments and of Government activities.

We have had this past year an example how the Minister of Food, acting on his own responsibility, has fixed a lower price for wheat than is the common market price. Even to-day the price fixed by the Government official, that is the Food Controller, is 90s. per quarter for English wheat while American wheat of a similar quality is something like 120s. per quarter. The price here is fixed by the Government. No wonder, therefore, the agricultural community is suspicious of Government action in fixing these prices. More than that, it is due largely to this suspicion—I shall come to that later—that the acreage of wheat in this country has decreased so enormously in the last two years. The acreage of wheat has gone down to something like—if I say 600,000 acres I shall be fully within the mark. That is due to the fact that agriculturalists have not confidence that even wheat prices will be maintained, or that the Government guarantee will be effective to protect them against loss.

From the point of view of the Government, therefore, if their scheme is to be successful, it is essential that these Commissioners wielding such enormous power as they will wield should have the confidence of those who cultivate the land. Without that the whole Bill is useless—absolutely illusory! In his Amendment my right hon. Friend said that there will be one Commissioner appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, one by the President of the Board of Trade, and one by the Treasury. That is to say, two representatives of the consumer and the taxpayer as against one for the producer. If we want to give confidence to the producer you must give him a fair and equitable share of the representation on this Commission. You put producers in the position of one against two.

I say very respectfully to the Government I am not in love with this Bill—I want to make my position quite right as to that—but I say that if you are going to make this Bill a success it is essential that you should make the farmers of the country in love with it. You will not make the farmers of the country in love with it if you have Commissioners appointed, two by the Treasury and the Board of Trade, and only one by the Minister of Agriculture. Again, there is another thing which occurs to me at the moment. These Commissioners will have an extremely difficult task to perform. It is not an easy matter to find out what is the cost of growing an acre of wheat or an acre of oats. It is a very difficult matter indeed. If you are going to get any mere Civil servant, however able, however brilliantly he may have passed his examinations at the university, he will not have the technical and practical knowledge to be able to estimate what is the cost of growing an acre of wheat or an acre of oats. I suggest, therefore, if the Government do insist upon their three Commissioners, that at any rate they should give the Ministry of Agriculture the appointment of two of these officials, and leave the other for the Treasury or the Board of Trade.

Personally, I should prefer the Bill as it is. The Committee upstairs made very reasonable Amendments in the Bill. Really, it is rather a strong order for the Government to act as they do after appointing a Committee upstairs and in view of the work the Committee have done. It was a very well-informed Committee. Members of the House were selected who understood agriculture. They listened to the arguments and they came deliberately to the conclusion that there should be five Commissioners. The Government come down now and say: "No, the Committee was wrong, and the Committee's decision must be upset: we propose to use our majority here in the House of Commons to upset the considered opinion of the Committee the members of which heard all the arguments." Is that fair? Is it fair to the agricultural community? After hearing all the arguments for and against, and the defence of the Minister of Agriculture, the Committee deliberately voted for these five Commissioners. Now the Government come down and say, "We will take no notice of that: we will go out into the precincts of the House and bring in, what I may call the 'Black and Tan' brigade and vote down the considered decision of the Committee." Is that fair? Do the Government expect the farming community to have confidence in the decision of the Government which serves that community in such a fashion? After having had the considered opinion of the Agricultural Committee upstairs they come down and say, "We will not accept that decision and we insist upon our original proposal." I say to the Government that if they want to win the confidence of the agricultural community, and without that they will not get any increased cultivation of wheat or oats, they must show more consideration for those who cultivate the land.


I think the House ought to clearly understand whore we are. This is either a matter of great importance or of much less importance than it seems. There are three points which seem to me to contain the whole heart of the matter. One of them is that these Commissioners are to be representative. Another is that they are to fix prices. The third point is that they are to ascertain the cost of production. If either of those three readings of the terms of this Clause are correct then the matter is very serious. As I read the Bill these Commissioners are not to be representative at all, and they have not got to ascertain the cost of growing wheat or fix the price of wheat when it is grown. If that is so, then the matter comes into quite a different category.

These Commissioners have really only actuarial duties. They are to be appointed by certain Government Departments, and I really do not think it matters which Departments appoint them because they will be appointed by the Government as a whole under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet as three men independent and competent to carry out this actuarial work, and therefore I do not think they ought to be of a representative character at all. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give me an assurance that they will not be representative. If they are to represent this or that interest it will be most injurious to agriculture. If they have to fix prices every word said by my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Lambert) would be justified, but as I read the Bill they have not got to fix prices. All they have to do is to ascertain what is the variation in the cost of production in future years, and having ascertained that they have merely to ascertain a question of fact. When they have ascertained whether the cost of production has altered then automatically the wheat and oat prices will follow those variations, and they have no jurisdicion to fix prices but simply to follow certain variations in cost of production, tabulate them, and the prices will follow.


When the Commissioners have followed out those variations and come to their conclusions that will be the fixed price.


That will be automatic, and their duties will be purely actuarial. They have to follow certain definite facts. The third point is that it is impossible for anybody to attempt to ascertain the actual cost for growing any crop because they cannot do it. As I read the Bill they have not got to do that. The Government have got round that difficulty by fixing a basic line. I agree that line is wrong, but I cannot discuss it here, or I could give strong reasons why the basis is inadequate. Taking the point we are discussing, there is a basic figure, and it is given to the Commissioners as a base from which they have to start. They have not to ascertain the cost of growing wheat and oats now or in future years. They have to ascertain what has been the increase or decrease in any of the items of the general cost of production on agricultural land from the basic year, and when they have ascertained that the information will be tabulated, and those variations will be the base upon which prices will automatically alter.

As I read this measure, that is the procedure of the Bill, and if I am assured that that is so, it seems to me that the actual powers given to the Commissioners are extremely limited. The Commissioners have not to be so much interested in agriculture or have a high knowledge of the details of agricultural operations as possessing high actuarial qualifications and able to understand and follow the evidence put before them by experts. A man of good general knowledge and judgment who is not an expert in my opinion is a better judge of the value of expert opinion put before him than the expert himself. Therefore if these three men are selected from that point of view I think it would be very unfortunate that it should go forth as the opinion of this House that we are suspicious of the bona fides of these people who are going to be appointed. I ask the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill if I have given a correct interpretation of the actual in- tentions of the Bill and the intentions of the Government, and if that is so I think it narrows the issue very much. I do not think it is important whether you have five or three Commissioners to carry out these actuarial duties, and we need not be very much afraid as to which Department appoints them. I would like an assurance on the points which I have raised.

The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Ernest Pollock)

I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend for what he has said, and I think he has rightly appreciated the terms upon which the Commissioners are appointed. If hon. Members will turn to Clause 2 of the Bill they will see exactly what the Commissioners have to ascertain is the percentage of variation or ratio which at a particular time certain matters—cost of production, and so on—bear to the previous standard which is ascertained. When that ratio or standard has been ascertained, by an automatic operation, the actual minimum price rises or falls, and my right hon. Friend (Mr. Pretyman) is quite right in his understanding of the terms of the Bill and in his definition of the powers of the Commissioners.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

They have nothing to do with the cost of production.


My hon. and gallant Friend will see that they have to ascertain the percentage by which the cost of production is greater or less. Let me reply to the discussion by giving some information. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lambert) asked the House to hesitate before any alteration should be made upon what he called the deliberate decision of experts on the Committee who had carefully considered this matter upstairs. May I point out that the actual numbers voting upstairs on this question were 15 on one side and 14 on the other, making a total of 29. I believe the total number of the Members of the Committee was 70, and this was a Division in which there was a very even balance of opinion amongst the Members of the Committee, a number which did not form half of the total number of the Members of the Committee.

It has been pointed out that it is of great importance that these Commissioners and their ratio or standard should carry with it the confidence of the agricultural community, and that is quite right. No doubt their deliberations will have effect upon the guaranteed prices by the system of a ratio and standard. It must, however, be remembered that this is not merely a question of obtaining the confidence of the farming community in regard to guaranteed prices. Who will have to pay the guaranteed prices? The right hon. Gentleman said that owing to the guarantee that has been given the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have to come down to the House and ask for a considerable sum to meet the guarantee. I cannot help feeling that the position of those who have the best interests of agriculture at heart would be strengthened if they were able to say then that this ratio had been determined by a body representing agriculture which was not in a great majority, and that the community at large had not been unrepresented in the determination of such an important factor. It might possibly be said by hon. Members here when a demand such as that adumbrated by the right hon. Gentleman for money to fulfil the guarantee was made, that the circumstances under which the guarantee was given, and the money had to be found were such as did not carry the confidence of the community as a whole, and criticism might be made that too much power had been given to the agricultural community and too little to the community as a whole.

When we are thinking of the best interests of agriculture we must not think of the agricultural side alone. If these guaranteed prices are to remain, if they are valuable, and are to find a permanent place in our system, then they must be based on a system against which no suspicion can be attached. From the point of view of the community as a whole, if you have three Commissioners representing agriculture out of five, it might be said that you are giving too large a representation to those who are to receive the prices and too small a representation to those who have to pay them. I cannot help feeling that for these reasons, in the best interests of agriculture itself, it is not wise to press what has been called a want of confidence in the farming community when it might cause a certain amount of doubt on the part of other portions of the community. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) has pointed out exactly how this system will operate, and I hope the House will see that, in ascertaining this ratio, it is of great importance, not merely that agriculture should be represented, but that all those who are interested should also be adequately represented. For that purpose it is not wise, in the interests of agriculture, that the Commissioners should consist of persons who are authorised to speak on behalf of one section of the community, and one section alone.


This Debate has dealt, with what is really a rather difficult point. One can understand the feeling of sentiment or something stronger than sentiment which moves hon. Members representing Scotland and Ireland to claim to be definitely represented by these Commissioners. But I would ask those who are in favour of the guarantees not to overdo it. They will get their Bill, they have very much strengthened the position of the guarantees by Amendments made in Committee and on this stage. My agreement with the guarantees depends upon what I get back on Clause 4, and it remains to be seen what view the House will take on the Amendment which the Government are going to move then. But speaking from the point of view of those who want to have the guarantees firmly established, I cannot help thinking it is very possible to overdo the letter of the law while failing in the spirit. It is perfectly right to talk about the confidence of the agricultural community, but there is a much larger entity that should have confidence in this Bill, and that is the general public. I believe one of these guarantees is not at all unlikely to materialise, in the course of the next few years. It may not do so in the case of wheat, but later on the nation may be called upon to pay several millions in respect of oats, and undoubtedly the general public will not like that. The public will not like to learn, as they then will for the first time, that a certain price was arrived at by five gentlemen, three of whom they will consider were interested parties. Personally, I do not think it matters at all about the number if the selection is made wisely. The gentlemen appointed will, I presume, be people accustomed to weigh evidence, and will have some experience in the amount of truth in the statements made by farmers with regard to the cost of production—which is not always 100 per cent. They will be persons of general judgment who will not act as advocates either for or against the farmers. I therefore say it matters not whether there are five, or three or only one of them. I would trust the work to one person appointed by the Government just as readily as I would to three or five.

But a tendency has arisen lately to regard members of Committees as advocates of the particular side which may have suggested their appointment. That is a very bad tendency. When we appointed the Coal Commission people were put on it whose opinions were absolutely known from the beginning, and it was perfectly certain that they would present all sorts of different Reports. There is a tendency on the part of everybody interested with a question to ask who is to be our advocate on the Committee, instead of maintaining the old idea that a Committee should consist of half a dozen unbiassed people able to form a fair judgment, not prejudiced one way or the other, and prepared to do their best with such brains as they were gifted with to arrive at a fair judgment. When the general public discover that, on this Committee of five, three represent Departments of Agriculture, they will be much more angry at having to pay the bill than they would be if the Committee consisted of three representatives, one of the Board of Agriculture, another of the Board of Trade, and a third of the Treasury. I believe the Government would be well advised in making it quite certain when the guarantees materialise, that there shall be no suspicion at all that the representatives of the Board of Trade and of the Treasury have been outvoted by representatives of Agriculture. I therefore urge the House to follow the advice of the Government in this matter.


I thought the Solicitor-General made rather light of the criticism of the right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) to the effect that the Government were coming down on this Report stage of the Bill with the deliberate intention and set purpose of reversing very carefully considered Amendments introduced in the Standing Committee upstairs. He pointed out that in the Division to which attention has been called only 29 Members took part, although there were 70 Members of the Committee. But hon. Members who are in the habit of sitting on Standing Committees know very well that 29 is an unusually large proportion to be in attendance. As a rule on these Standing Committees it is a matter of extreme difficulty to get a quorum at all, and when you have 29 Members, the great majority of whom are intimate with agriculture, and with the questions which this Bill deals with, I do not think it is open to the Solicitor-General to throw scorn upon the paucity of the majority by which the Amendment was carried. If one multiplies the majority of one by a requisite number proportionate to the whole of this House it will be found to be a majority sufficient in the old days to cause a Government to resign. The last two or three speeches have thrown a rather different complexion, and an unexpected one, on this matter. We have been told that this is not a question really of great importance; that these gentlemen are only going to be chartered accountants, and that all they will have to do will be to find a ratio, which anybody with experience of figures can do. Whether that be true or not, I cannot say, but it is not the opinion of the bulk of agriculturists throughout the country. This is a matter which is exercising their minds to a very great extent. Look at what the Commissioners have to do. They are to ascertain the percentage by which the cost of production of wheat and oats raised in a particular year is greater or less than the cost of production in the standard year. We are told that they are not to determine the cost of production, although that is a prime factor. I would like to ask who is to determine the cost of production, if these Commissioners are not to. I do not know whether the Government are prepared to give a definite answer to that question. This is a matter which requires agricultural knowledge and agricultural experience. If these Commissioners have merely to act as chartered accountants, why is it that the Government in their Amendment yesterday laid it down that they should take the advice of the Boards of Agriculture for England and Scotland?


Not the advice.


Well, at any rate they are to get certain information from those Boards. If they are purely chartered accountants, having nothing to do with agriculture, I cannot see why it should be necessary for them to obtain that information. I cannot accept that view at all. Whatever may be the intention, it will be found that, when these gentlemen come to perform their duties, they will straight away find themselves up against many problems which have a purely agricultural complexion and interest. It is, therefore, important that they should be appointed as proposed under the Bill as it stands, not only by Government Departments, but by the Agricultural Ministries of the three countries forming the United Kingdom, because conditions are different in each country. The conditions in Ireland are very different in many respects, particularly with regard to agriculture, to what they are in this country, and proof of that is to be found in the fact that, when the Royal Commission on Agriculture was appointed this year, no representative from Ireland was placed upon it, for the reason that the Government stated, that the conditions of tenure in Ireland were so different that it could not be possible that the views of an Irish representative would be of any use to the Agriculural Commission.

There is another matter which very closely affects Ireland and Scotland, and with regard to which Commissioners appointed by the Irish and the Scottish Offices might be able very greatly to help the deliberations of the Commission, and that is with regard to the question of average prices—a very vital one. The conditions in Scotland and in Ireland are different—very different. In most of the markets in Ireland and in Scotland, the average prices of wheat and oats are considerably lower than those in this country, and a position might arise in which if the Commissioners had no local knowledge, the farmer who produced and sold wheat and oats in Ireland would be receiving a less price than the average price under this Bill, simply because the lower prices obtained in the Irish markets were not taken into account by those who had to settle the average price. I know that farmers in Ireland entertain a very strong feeling on this matter. They consider that if this Amendment of the Government is carried, the Bill will be of less use to them. I want once again to protest that in a matter of this importance the Government should have again, as they have done on previous occasions, decided to reverse the considered opinion of the Standing Committee, and I shall certainly, on behalf of those for whom I speak, oppose the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

I must preface my remarks by joining with other hon. Members in entering a vigorous protest against the speech of the Solicitor-General. I have been a Member of this House for a considerable number of years, and I never yet heard from any Minister of the Crown arguments such as were adduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman to-day, when he asked the House to reverse the decision to which the Committee had come. I venture to say that that is an aspersion on the House. The Committee was set up by the House, and, after the most careful deliberation, it came to a decision. Now the Solicitor-General comes down and asks the House to reverse that decision, because only a small portion of the Committee were present when it was taken. The fact that the Government were defeated in Committee shows that they were unable to substantiate the arguments which they adduced in favour of the Amendment which they have placed before the House to-day. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) has merely resulted in lifting the Minister in charge of the Bill out of the frying-pan in the fire. Either these Commissioners are gentlemen who ought to have technical knowledge and to be able to ascertain the cost of production, as stated in Sub-section (1, a), or they should be chartered accountants, as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford. If they are to have no technical knowledge, why have a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture at all? I venture to suggest—and no reason has been given to the contrary—that, as was submitted by my hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Major O'Neill), it is essential that they should have some technical knowledge, and that they should not merely be judges, as was suggested by the Secretary for Scotland when he spoke on this matter during the Committee stage he said: Something has been said to the effect that these members of the Committee, if they were agriculturists, might be advocates, and something has been said to the effect that they might, or would, be experts. My view rather is that they will be neither, but judges."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee), 23 June, 1920, col. 86.] I hope the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, when he replies, will inform the House by whom and by what methods the cost of production will be ascertained. That is a question which has not been answered. If in any sense the cost of production is to be ascertained by the Commissioners, then, quite clearly, gentlemen with some technical knowledge should be appointed. If that is so, the Commissioners appointed ought to be gentlemen not necessarily representing Scotland, England, and Ireland, but gentlemen who, by reason of their appointment as Commissioners, will give to the farming community in those various countries the confidence which is essential to the success of this Bill. The Secretary for Scotland in Committee, referring to the difficulties of appointing these Commissioners, said: It would be very difficult to appoint two Commissioners who would be satisfactory to the three countries. You would have to leave out one of the countries, and appoint an Englishman and a Scotsman and leave out the Irishman, or—which would be worse still—appoint an Englishman and an Irishman and leave out the Scot."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee), 23rd June, 1920, col. 87.)

Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD

They always leave out England.

Lieut-Colonel MURRAY

As the Secretary for Scotland well knows, there is an insistent demand in Scotland from the bulk of the farming community that one of these Commissioners should be a Scotsman and appointed as such. It would not be in order for me to move at this stage to reduce the three Commissioners to two, but should the right hon. Gentleman say that it is not necessary to have someone with technical knowledge as one of the Commissioners, I venture to suggest that only two are necessary. I believe that the Government would argue, against the appointment of five, that it would cost more, but, if it is not necessary to have a gentleman with expert knowledge, let them reduce the expense by removing the gentleman representing the Ministry of Agriculture, and let there be only two Commissioners instead of five. At any rate, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to answer the specific question put by my hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Major O'Neill), as to who will ascertain the cost of production and by what methods it will be done.


My hon. and gallant Friend who has just sat down has put so pointedly the Scottish aspect of the case, as he sees it, that I feel bound to reply to his speech in a very few words. I have had the duty of considering, and considering carefully and repeatedly, the arguments which he has propounded, and of considering whether or no it is desirable to have a separate Commissioner representing Scotland. I considered that view all the more carefully because I knew that it was held very strongly by a number of my Scottish colleagues, and also by some of the Scottish farming societies, for which I have the highest regard. In the result, I have come to the conclusion that the proposal which was originally in the Bill, and which we are now asking the House to reinstate in the Bill, is the best proposal to meet the situation with which we are confronted. It is a question, I venture to think, which ought to be considered not merely from the national point of view, and still less from the sentimental point of view, but from a severely practical point of view.

That leads one to inquire, what in point of fact are the duties which these Commissioners, when appointed, will have to perform. In my view the duties are difficult, and they are important. It is needless to minimise them or to exaggerate them. As to their nature, the House has only to look at the Bill, and in particular at Clause 2, to find that the Commissioners have to direct their attention to the ascertainment of a question of fact. They are provided with the cost of production in a standard year. They are then directed to inquire into the cost of production in the year under survey, and, on the comparison of those, to reach a certain percentage of which they are in search, whereupon the price automatically follows their ascertainment of that percentage. The inquiry is then an inquiry into a pure question of fact, and when it is said that for that inquiry technical knowledge is absolutely necessary, I venture very respectfully to demur. It is an inquiry which should be conducted, needless to say, in a purely judicial spirit—not, as has been said, from the point of view of an advocate, but from the point of view of a judge. I adhere to everything that I said in Committee, and in particular to the passage which my hon. and gallant Friend quoted.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

Do they actually themselves ascertain the cost of production in that year?


I have endeavoured to make that clear. They have to ascertain the variation in the cost of production between the year under survey and the standard year, and, in order to arrive at that variation, they of course have to inquire into the cost of production in the year under survey.

Major M. WOOD

Do they hear evidence?


It is an investigation into a pure question of fact. Some of my hon. Friends have said that technical knowledge is required, but do they not forget, in saying that, that judges of the High Court in England, and judges of the Court of Session in Scotland, are repeatedly called upon, in many instances without any technical knowledge whatever, to decide the most important agricultural questions upon the evidence adduced before them? That is just the sort of inquiry which these gentlemen will have to make. They will have evidence adduced before them from each of the three countries, they will have to weigh that evidence, and they will have to reach a conclusion upon it. Why they should be disabled from reaching a sound conclusion on evidence which may be given by experts, merely because they themselves may not be, equipped with full technical knowledge, I, for one, am quite unable to understand. If you get the right persons—and I could name, although I am not going to do so, several persons who, if they were appointed, would to my knowledge command the complete confidence of the agricultural community in England, Scotland and Ireland—if you get the right men, I do not in the least see the necessity for having separate representatives for England, Scotland and Ireland. If you have the consumer, the taxpayer and the producer each represented on that Commission, each contributing the knowledge and experience which he possesses, I think the House may rest assured that the result reached would be satisfactory, not merely to one class of the community, but to all classes, who would feel that they were fairly represented upon the tribunal. It has been suggested that the number of Commissioners might be four or might be two, but I suggest that those are not suitable proposals, if for no other reason than that the voting might be equal, which might lead to complications, delay and even deadlock. I venture to think that the number originally suggested is the proper one, and, if the House will permit me one final word, I would respectfully suggest that, as we have had a very long discussion upon what, I quite agree, is a most important question, it may be possible now to reach a conclusion.

6.0 P.M.


It is most important that we should thoroughly understand the duties which these gentlemen have to perform, and I should not have risen except that I think I can make them clear to the House. I have no doubt, from the text of the Bill, that these gentlemen have themselves to fix the minimum pricos, and that they have themselves to investigate the cost of production. I would refer the House to Sub-section (1, c) of Clause 2, which says: The corresponding minimum prices for the wheat and oats respectively of any year shall be such sums as are certified by the Commissioners, and so on. The Commissioners themselves have to certify the minimum prices, and in order to do that they have to fix them. I think that point is perfectly clear. What is the other question with which they have to deal? It is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) pointed out, that in order to arrive at those prices they have to find the percentages of increase. I venture to tell the House and I shall be glad to be contradicted, that you cannot ascertain the percentage of increase, where the amount which you are investigating is one fixed sum consisting of a number of items, unless you know what those items are. I was a member of the Commission and we spent days and days trying to ascertain the cost of production of a quarter of wheat. I found, in applying such brain power as I have, that the problem was insoluble. Half the Commission could not arrive at a conclusion. The other half fixed the sum at 68s.; but they carefully refrained, though invited to do so, from fixing what items were represented in it or what proportion was represented by those particular items. To make that plain let us take a particular illustration. How much in this 68s. is represented by rates? Nowhere does it appear in the Bill. We are told in the Bill that the Commissioners are to take into account any variation in the amount of rates. How are they to proceed to do that until they have ascertained what proportion of the 68s. represents rates? Let us take another illustration. It is easy enough to ascertain, between the years 1918 and 1921, the increase in the average cost of the minimum wage of the agricultural worker, and you may roughly take that as proportionate to the increase in the cost of wages, but in applying that percentage what is to be applied to in the 68s.? How much of the 68s. is to represent wages to which that increase is to be applied? The Commissioners cannot perform this duty until they have apportioned the 68s. between the various items it includes. How much is represented by artificial manure and how much by the expense of machinery?

It is mainly on these grounds of the impossibility of performance of the task that is set to these gentlemen that I object to the principle the Government have adopted. However, this is the problem these Commissioners have to work out. I have not the slightest hesitation in asserting that is means that they have not only to investigate the cost of production in the year 1921, but in order to arrive at that, to ascertain the cost of production making up the 68s. and settling the relative parts into which it is divided. That being the problem, it was of tho most vital importance—and I am glad the Minister conceded that—that the Commissioners should remain absolutely independent of the Government Department, and the only question now before the House, as I understand it, is whether there shall be three representing the English, the Scotch and the Irish Boards of Agriculture, one representing the Treasury and one the Board of Trade, or whether we shall only have one from the three Ministries combined. I reduce it in my own view to a pure question of national feeling, because the functions they have to perform are judicial. Technical knowledge is undoubtedly required, but that, it seems to me, will be supplied by one representative. If a Scotsman is appointed, of course the Scotch case will be represented. If he is an Englishman, the Scotch and the Irish case, it seems to me, will no doubt be put before them forcibly by witnesses called from Scotland and Ireland. But I was impressed by the observations made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Acland) that in the interests of the agricultural community if this guarantee was ever to be paid to the farmer, of which I have some doubt, it is much to the interest of the farmer and the agricultural community that the fixing of the prices shall be more or less independent of the agricultural people; that is to say that the State representatives shall be in a majority rather than that the agricultural representatives should be in the majority. Taking the long view, I feel perfectly sure that that is the permanent interest of the agricultural industry, and for the reasons I have given, though for very different reasons from those given by the Solicitor-General, I think the proposal of the Ministry is good.


I am going to support the three instead of the five. I belive three will be a better business Committee than five can be, and I think they will do their work better. There is another reason why I support three. During August and September I sat on a Committee that inquired into the growth of the work of the Ministry of Agriculture, and during those six weeks, while other people were enjoying themselves, we found out that the Ministry of Agriculture had increased in the period from 1914 to 1920 by no fewer than 2,000 new individuals. This increase of 2,000 had been worked up by Acts which had been passed by this House creating new work and creating new offices, such as we are about to do at this very moment. The consequence was that a very large sum of money, indeed, is now being paid to these people which we had no idea we were countenancing, and that explains the growth. We are all asking for economy. Here is a chance of not only giving economy but also of giving better work and a better way of utilising the information that we require.

I think that we are putting the cart before the horse a great deal. These Commissioners, we are told, have to work on a ratio or percentage. If they have to work on a ratio or percentage there must be some basis. We have never been told, that I know of, what that basis is on which these Commissioners are to work. We are told it is a date in the year 1919. The Secretary for Scotland told us just now that these Commissioners would be provided with the cost in that standard year, 1919. Why is it that we have not been given it in this House so that we could have the information as to whether that is a proper standard year or what are the sort of gentlemen who will be required to work out the percentage in order to arrive at the price for that particular year. I think it is the most unbusinesslike thing that the Government could possibly have done in stating that the Commissioners would be provided with the cost in the standard year and we know nothing at all about what it is to be. Another thing we have not been told is the period that was taken

in order to arrive at the figure of this standard profit. It must have been extended over a period. What was that period? We have not any idea, and we are creating an organisation, we are creating Commissioners who will require large sums of money and we are giving them a blank cheque as to what they are going to do, and I think before we go any further we ought to have this information, and if the Secretary for Scotland knows it—and I suppose he does know it, or he would not have made the statement he made just now—he ought forthwith to inform the House so that we know exactly what we are doing. Although I approve of the three rather than the five, I hope we shall be given an answer as to what the cost is of the standard year on which these Commissioners will work.

Question put, "That the word "five" stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 51; Noes, 267.

Division No. 348.] AYES. [6. 15 p.m.
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James Ford. Patrick Johnston O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Fraser, Major Sir Keith Reid, D. D.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Gretton, Colonel John Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Bell, Lieut. Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Hambro, Captain Anqus Valdemar Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, Yeovil) Scott. Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay) Hoare, Lieut-Colonel Sir S. J. G. Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's) Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn.W.) Starkey, Captain John R.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford) Terrell, George, (Wilts, Chippenham)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Hotchkin. Captain Stafford Vere Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Kidd, James White, Lieut.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Whitla, Sir William
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lynn, R. J. Willoughby, Lieut-Col. Hon. Claud
Coote, William (Tyrone, South) Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray Wilson, Lieut.-Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) M'Micking. Major Gilbert Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)
Donald, Thompson Moles, Thomas TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Elveden, Viscount Murray, Major William (Dumfries) Lieut-Colonel A. Murray and Lieut.-
Colonel Sir J. Hope.
Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D. Breese, Major Charles E. Coats, Sir Stuart
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Bridgeman, William Clive Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Briggs, Harold Conway, Sir W. Martin
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Bromfield, William Cory, Sir C. J. (Cornwall, St. Ives)
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Brown, Captain D. C. Courthope, Major George L.
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H. Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City of Lon.) Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals) Burdon, Colonel Rowland Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)
Barnett, Major R. W. Butcher, Sir John George Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)
Barnston, Major Harry Cairns, John Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)
Barrie, Rt Hon. H. T. (Lon'derry,N.) Campion. Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)
Barton, Sir William (Oldham) Carew, Charles Robert S. Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Carr, W. Theodore Du Pre, Colonel William Baring
Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk) Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Edge, Captain William
Benn, Capt. Sir I. P., Bart. (Gr'nw'h) Casey, T. W. Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity)
Bennett, Thomas Jewell Cautley, Henry S. Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)
Bigland, Alfred Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)
Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West) Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston) Entwistle, Major C. F.
Blair, Reginald Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill Fell, Sir Arthur
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Churchman, Sir Arthur Finney, Samuel
Brassey, Major H. L. C. Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.
Foreman, Henry Lorden, John William Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Forrest, Walter Loseby, Captain C. E. Simm, M. T.
Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Lowe, Sir Francis William Sitch, Charles H.
Fremantle, Lieut. Colonel Francis E. Lunn, William Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Ganzoni, Captain Francis John C. M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P. Spencer, George A.
Gardiner, James McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester) Spoor, B. G.
George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Stanler, Captain Sir Beville
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Stanton, Charles B.
Gilbert, James Daniel Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Steel, Major S. Strang
Glimour, Lieut-Colonel John Mason, Robert Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Glanville, Harold James Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B. Stevens, Marshall
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mitchell, William Lane Stewart, Gershom
Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne) Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Strauss, Edward Anthony
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Morgan, Major D. Watts Sturrock, J. Leng
Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash Sugden, W. H.
Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar Morrison, Hugh Sutherland, Sir William
Greenwood, William (Stockport) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Gregory, Holman Murray, John (Leeds, West) Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Greig, Colonel James William Myers, Thomas Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Nall, Major Joseph Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Gwynne, Rupert S. Neal, Arthur Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Newbould, Alfred Ernest Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Hallwood, Augustine Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Tickler, Thomas George
Hallas, Eldred Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster) Tillett, Benjamin
Hamilton, Major C. G. C. Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John Tootill, Robert
Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W. Townley, Maximilian G.
Harris, Sir Henry Percy Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark Tryon, Major George Clement
Haslam, Lewis Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L. Turton, E. R.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Parker, James Waddington, R.
Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Waiton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)
Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Parry, Lieut-Colonel Thomas Henry Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Pearce, Sir William Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.
Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) Waterson, A. E.
Hinds, John Pennefather, De Fonblanque Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Hogge, James Myles Percy, Charles Weston, Colonel John W.
Holmes, J. Stanley Perkins, Walter Frank Wheler, Lieut.-Colonel C. H.
Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington) Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton) White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Hopkins, John W. W. Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City) Wigan, Brig.-General John Tyson
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Pinkham, Lieut-Colonel Charles Wignall, James
Howard, Major S. G. Pollock, Sir Ernest M. Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Pownall, Lieut. Colonel Assheton Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster) Pratt, John William Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Hurd, Percy A. Prescott, Major W. H. Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Hurst, Lieut-Colonel Gerald B. Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G. Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald
Iaskip, Thomas Walker H. Pulley, Charles Thoraton Wills, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Gilbert
Irving, Dan Purchase, H. G. Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)
Jackson, Lieut-Colonel Hon. F. S. Rae, H. Norman Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N. Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)
Jesson, C. Rendall, Athelstan Wilson, Lt-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Jodrell, Neville Paul Renwick, George Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)
Jones, Henry Haydn, (Merioneth) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wilson-Fox, Henry
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Winfrey, Sir Richard
Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly) Robertson, John Winterton, Major Earl
Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor) Wintringham, T.
Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham) Rodger, A. K. Wise, Frederick
Kenworthy, Lieut-Commander J. M. Roundell, Colonel R. F. Woolcock, William James U.
Kenyon, Barnet Royce, William Stapleton Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Lane-Fox, G. R. Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A. Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)
Lloyd, George Butler Seager, Sir William
Lloyd-Greame, Major Sir P. Shaw, Thomas (Preston) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Captain Guest and Lord E. Talbot.

Proposed word there inserted in the Bill.

Further Amendment made: In Subsection (1) leave out the words one by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, one by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland. and insert instead thereof the words the Board of Agriculture for Scotland and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland jointly."—[Sir A. Boscowen.]