§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Robert Sanders)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
In moving the Second Reading of this Bill; I do not think it is necessary that I should go at any length into the past history of the question. It is sufficient to say that by the Act of 1894 Canadian cattle were excluded from this country except for immediate slaughter at the ports, and that during the War a statement was made by the Minister of Agriculture of that day that the Government intended to remove that embargo. Last Session the question was brought to a head both in this House and in another place. Perhaps I might read to the House the Resolution that was then passed by this House. It was passed on the Motion of a private Member, and the Debate was free from what I may venture to call the malign influence of the Whips. The result was that by a considerable majority the House passed the following Resolution:That this House is of opinion that the time has arrived when the embargo on the importation on Canadian cattle should be removed.Following on that Resolution, arrangements were made by which my predecessor entered into negotiations with representatives of the Canadian Government to arrive at an agreement as to the best way of dealing with the question. I may say that, in that Conference between the Ministers of the two countries, it was assumed that the House of Commons, and, I may say, also another place, having given this decision, it would not be fair in any Measures that were passed for the admission of Canadian cattle, that we should impose such conditions as to make their admission really nugatory. The Conference was conducted in the most amicable spirit. Both sides wished to make arrangements for the admission of these cattle which should not put impossible terms upon the Canadian importer, and yet should impose such conditions as, in the opinion of our 2050 veterinary advisers, were thought the minimum conditions to ensure safety after the importation of such animals into this country. I should like to say, briefly, what are the terms of the agreement then arrived at. They were:That Canadian store, cattle should be admitted provided that they are shipped direct from a Canadian port to a port in Great Britain, are kept under veterinary observation for three days immediately before embarkation, and during the voyage are thoroughly examined by a veterinary officer of the Dominion of Canada, and are landed at specified landing places in this country and thoroughly examined by the Ministry's veterinary officers.That movement from the landing place is to be controlled by licence as is the movement of cattle imported from Ireland, thereby involving the detention of the animals on some farm or other premises for six days, although they may pass to such premises through one market.That all imported animals are to be tagged or otherwise marked, and a fee not exceeding 6d. an animal is to be imposed to cover administrative expenses on this side.That Canadian cattle capable of breeding can only be landed on the authority of a general Order made by the Minister and laid before both Houses of Parliament—an essential part of such an Order being that the animals must be accompanied by a certificate that the animals have within one month before shipment been tested effectively and have been found free from tuberculosis.That the Canadian authorities would modify their conditions of importation of British animals so soon as the necessary Order authorising the importation of Canadian breeding stock into Britain conies into force, in order to make the Canadian and British conditions reciprocal.That the Minister should retain the power to suspend importation if cattle plague, pleuro-pneumonia, or foot-and-mouth disease should appear in Canada, or to deal with any suspected outbreaks of disease found in any cargo, and that compensation should not be payable in case of slaughter at the place of landing in consequence of the discovery of disease.The new Government intend to carry cut the agreement reached by their predecessors, and this Bill is necessary to carry out the conclusions of that Conference. I want to say a word about what I know will be a vexed question in this Debate, namely, animals landing from Ireland. It is the fact that, in considering the possible causes of the widespread nature of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the early part of the year, the veterinary officers of the Ministry came to the conclusion that the 2051 spread of infection was largely due to the system by which large consignments of Irish cattle are imported into this country by dealers and hurried from market to market during the course of a few days, with the result that, if infection be picked up by any large consignment of cattle, it is quickly distributed over a wide area. In order to prevent such spread of infection in the future, an Order was issued last July which regulated the importation of Irish store cattle and required that the3' should be moved only under licence and should be detained for six days after arrival in this country. As the result of that outbreak, a Departmental Committee was set up, and that Committee has presented an interim report. They recommend that this restriction on the movement of Irish cattle, which was originally imposed as a temporary measure, should be made permanent, and the same principle has been adopted in the arrangements for the importation of cattle from Canada. The Order, I know, has been the subject of a good deal of criticism, principally from Ireland, but I am convinced that the Regulations imposed represent the minimum safeguard necessary to prevent the recurrence of foot-and-mouth disease, such as that which devastated the country in the early part of this year. I may say that that outbreak cost the country nearly £1,000,000. The fact that such a wide outbreak of this disease should be possible and that it should be possible to spread in the way that it did in the early part of this year destroys the confidence of the breeders of our pedigree cattle, and, at a time when agriculture its not too flourishing, it would be a very unwise thing to lessen in any way the confidence of those who are engaged in what is, perhaps, the most lucrative and most successful part of the whole of our agricultural industry.
I want to say a word as to the circumstances under which this Bill is introduced. I am quite aware that a Bill of such importance should take a rather longer time than that which can be allotted to it this Session. I am quite aware that there are many who would prefer that such a Bill should be more in accordance with the steady, I might almost say the leisurely, procedure to which we are accustomed in the case of a Bill of any magnitude. This is being 2052 done to meet the very strongly expressed wishes of the representatives of Canada. They attach enormous importance not only to this Bill being passed but to its being placed on the Statute Book as quickly as possible. There are few of us who, in our Election speeches and Election addresses, did not say something about the importance to be attached to the goodwill of our great Dominions and Colonies. This is being done because one of our great Dominions is asking for it. It is for that reason and that reason alone, that I am asking the House to consent to a degree of haste which I would join in deprecating on most occasions. This applies especially to the proceedings in Committee on the Bill. I have had experience enough in this House to be aware that any very small section of hon. Members who wish to prevent us carrying the Bill this Session can do so, and can do so without resorting to what could legitimately be called obstruction. I suggest to them that to do such a thing would not be in the wider interests of the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I have already stated why. The contentious issue in the Bill is a fairly simple one. It is that relating to Irish cattle. On that part of the Measure I would be quite ready to consult with hon. Members as to the easiest way in which we can raise that direct issue. I own that it is a direct issue and one that will have to be settled in this House. I think it can be raised fairly simply, and I would suggest to hon. Members who are particularly interested in that part of the subject that it would be possible to decide how to raise it as a direct issue, and that in view of the wider interests involved they should, as far as they can see their way, concentrate upon that direct issue and not put other obstacles in the way of getting the Bill through this Session.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take powers to supervise the stabling accommodation on the ships, so that these beasts may not suffer injury in heavy weather?
§ Mr. G. LAMBERT
It would have been much more agreeable if I could have congratulated my right hon. Friend that in this, his first considerable appearance in the House, he had been able to make a 2053 motion more in consonance with agricultural opinion. I am sorry that he has been placed in the invidious position of having to press a Bill which I am not sure that his own Department agreed with, and one which certainly the great bulk of the agriculturists of the country do not approve. I agree that the late House came to what I think was a lamentable decision. But they came to it. Still, that does not bind this House or those of us who opposed this legislation in the last Parliament. For 26 years we have had legislation in force which has maintained that no live cattle shall be brought into this country except for slaughter. That legislation has worked well, despite the fact that it was passed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have had a cheap and abundant supply of meat, save during the submarine season. On that side of the House and on this I have said that the farmer cannot expect protection, in the ordinary sense of the word, for his products. He cannot expect protection from competition, but he is entitled to ask of this House and of the Government and the country that he should have protection from disease. No one has spoken more strongly against protective duties on food than I have. This is quite a different matter. Even in the case of dogs coming into the country admission is not allowed from any part of the world without a long period of quarantine. There is no distinction of country in their case; whether they come from a colony or a foreign country the law is the same.
This Measure is brought in at a most inopportune moment. My right hon. Friend, in moving the Second Beading, has given a good reason. He said that in the early part of this year there was a devastating attack of foot-and-mouth disease in this country, despite all the regulations, and that it cost the country something like £1,000,000 for the slaughter of animals. I understand that from 13,000 to 14,000 animals were attacked and that 22,000 or 23,000 were slaughtered. At such a moment as that, when there has been more disease than we have had before, the Government come along and say that we must repeal the legislation which worked well up to the time of the War, and that we must give a free entry to store cattle. The live stock of this country is valued at something like £300,000,000. We have 2054 the finest cattle in the world, and it is our duty to preserve it from disease. My right hon. Friend talks about a pledge. There was an Imperial Conference in April, 1917, in the very worst month of submarine warfare. We had Lord Long and Lord Ernie going to that Conference. I should say that a couple of confused and scared country squires went to the Conference and made pledges which apparently they did not understand, and because of that we are asked to repeal the legislation passed in 1896. There was no consultation with the Department; there was no consultation with the House of Commons; there was no consultation with the agricultural authorities of the country and no consultation even with the War Cabinet. Because this couple of gentlemen went to the Conference and made the pledges the whole of the agricultural industry is to be affected.
Of course we are told that there will be risks to the Empire I have heard those things before; ever since I have been in this House I have heard that the Empire is going to pieces because some parish pump runs dry, and a man meekly says, "Oh, the Empire is going to pieces." Frankly, I do not believe it. I believe that the Canadians, if they had at placed before them that this is a Measure of protection against disease in this country, to be applied against all imported cattle, would see the justice of our contention. We were told, not by the right hon. Gentleman, that this was a Measure to prevent the Meat Trusts from getting control over the meat supply of this country. Quite the contrary. The Meat Trusts have the control of the overseas supply of meat. What they have not is the control of the supplies of homegrown meat. Therefore, it is essential that we should have as much home-grown meat as possible. I can quite understand that the Board of Agriculture cannot be very fond of this Measure, for I have never seen a more confused, windy and wordy mass of verbiage than this Bill of 12 Clauses and one long Schedule.
Let me examine some of the conditions which my right hon. Friend proposes to put into the Bill. First, cattle must be marked if they come in. There must be three days' separation before shipment. They must be examined by a veterinary surgeon to see that there is no mange. 2055 The ship is to be cleansed 28 days before carrying the cattle. The cattle must be examined during the voyage. The ship must make no call at any other port, and the cattle must be landed at a specified place, and if disease is found there is to be detention and slaughter. That is the first Clause of the Bill. The second Clause seems to render all those provisions void by the action of the Minister. It says that the Minister may by Order authorise any Canadian cattle, whether store cattle or not, to be landed in Great Britain otherwise than in accordance with the first Clause. I do not understand what is meant by that. It appears that Clause 2 contradicts Clause 1. The matter goes further. The Minister may admit cattle for distribution over this country, not only from Canada, but from any other British Dominion. He can do that by his own order. Hon. Members who have been in this House as long as I have will know that immediately there will be the greatest possible political pressure put on the Minister to admit cattle from all parts of the British Dominions.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
If the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington (Sir N. Moore) says that it is not necessary to admit cattle from other Dominions, I would ask why this second Clause is put into the Bill. Under it cattle can be admitted from parts of the Empire other than Canada. When cattle are to be brought from Canada the ship cannot call at any port on the way, but in other cases the ship may call at any port at the discretion of the Minister. There will be pressure put upon the Minister to admit cattle from other parts of the world, I am certain. Let me come next to a point of fairness. There is no quarantine in this Bill. We were all led to expect by the late Minister of Agriculture that there would be quarantine. There is no doubt about that. Surely it is only fair that cattle coming from Canada should have the same number of days' quarantine, as cattle going from Britain into Canada. I 2056 have the regulations here. The importation of cattle from England and Wales has been prohibited by the Canadian Government since the 5th August, 1919, and of cattle from the whole of Great Britain since the 31st January, 1922, because of foot-and-mouth disease. In normal circumstances, when the Canadians are buying cattle from this country, from our pedigree herds, which are the cleanest cattle in the world, they impose a 30 days' quarantine. Why should not that same number of days' quarantine be imposed upon Canadian cattle coming into this country? What answer can there possibly be to that question?
§ Sir R. SANDERS
I stated just now that Clause 2 applies not to store cattie but to breeding cattle, and the Canadian Government has undertaken that whatever regulations we make will be reciprocal. They will make the same regulations for our breeding cattle that we make for theirs.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
I quite admit that that seems to remove one of the grounds of criticism against the Bill. I cannot see for one moment why our cattle should have a 30 days' quarantine imposed upon them in Canadian ports, while no quarantine is imposed on Canadian cattle in Liverpool and elsewhere. That, however, does not apply to the cattle brought here for fattening purposes—the stores—and therefore we have this curious imbroglio, that store cattle, coming here for the purpose of being fattened, can be admitted freely and without quarantine, but the other kind of cattle may not be. I do not quite understand where my right hon. Friend draws the distinction between the two classes of cattle because Clause 2 says:The Minister may. … by Order authorise any Canadian animals, whether store cattle or not, to be landed in Great Britain otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the last preceding Section of this Act.That seems to include all cattle, and I candidly confess I do not clearly under stand it, but I suppose we shall have more light thrown upon the meaning of the Clause in Committee.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
It is to be done by a separate Order, and such Order has to lie for 21 days on the Tables of both Houses, and it can be thrown out by either House.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Then what is the use of all this long windy harangue in Clause 1? That is what I am really asking, but I will not press my right hon. Friend now and probably it will be made a little more clear in Committee. I object to this Bill, and I think many agricultural friends on both sides of the House will agree with me when I say that, agriculture has been too long the shuttlecock of the politicians. We have had many speeches by many Gentlemen wringing their hands over our grievances and our distresses, but they have not done anything to help us. The last four years have been singularly unfortunate in that respect. We have had imposed upon us the "stranglehold," as it is called in Smithfield, of the railway rates. The Government shattered the confidence of the arable farmers by first passing and then repealing an Act designed to give them security. Now we have legislation which will almost reduce to despair that sturdy race of men who breed and own to-day those splendid flocks and herds which are the pride of Britain and the reservoir of the bloodstock of the world. I oppose the Bill.
§ Captain C. CRAIG
Ulster Members have already this Session found themselves in the very unpleasant position of having to acquiesce in legislation which they felt to be distinctly inimical to the interests of their country. On two occasions we have had to do so in connection with the two Measures dealing with the setting up of the Free State and the carrying out of the Treaty. We acquiesced in those Measures for a variety of reasons. To-day we again find ourselves in an unpleasant position. We are asked to acquiesce in the passage of a Bill, one of the objects of which is the removal of the embargo at present existing on the importation of Canadian cattle. I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) has said. I think it a great pity that the House should have passed the Resolution dealing with this matter last Session, and I think it a great pity that Canadian cattle should be allowed to enter into this country. But I realise that the House did pass the Resolution favouring the introduction of these cattle into this country, and my friends and 2058 I are of the opinion that the pledge then given should be fulfilled.
If this Bill only dealt with the entry of Canadian cattle we should support it, I will not say joyfully, but we should support it. This Bill, however, contains far more than the powers authorising the importation of Canadian cattle. In fact, it may be said on the one hand to remove the embargo on Canadian cattle and on the other to impose a very serious embargo on the importation of Irish cattle. It contains restrictions on the importation of Irish cattle which have never hitherto been imposed except as a temporary measure at times when foot-and-mouth disease was prevalent in this country, or when there was fear of foot-and-mouth disease being introduced. So long as the Bill contains these other provisions, placing oppressive restrictions on the importation of Irish cattle, I am afraid we shall be unable to vote in favour of it. We strongly object to these restrictions. They are contained, not in any particular Clause, but are the effect of provisions in different Clauses throughout the Bill. May I explain shortly for the benefit of hon. Members who do not know the exact, position of affairs that for the last 30 years—from the time an embargo was placed on Canadian cattle—Irish cattle have been admitted to this country perfectly freely and without any restriction, save certain veterinary inspection on landing. While that is the case, it is also true that the Board of Agriculture always had the fullest possible powers to impose such restrictions on the importation of Irish cattle as they thought fit if the exigencies of the moment demanded it. If there was foot-and mouth disease in this country or if there was foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland, they instantly prohibited the importation of Irish cattle. On the other hand, as soon as this country or Ireland, as the case might be, became free from the disease, importation without restriction was resumed.
When I tell the House that for 28 years prior to June, 1912, there was no foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland of any sort or description, the House will understand how correct was the attitude which the Government of the day took up in regard to Irish cattle. Ireland has been infinitely more free from foot-and-mouth 2059 disease during the last 30 years than this country. Out of the last 32 years, for 28 years Ireland was free from it altogether. There have been three outbreaks in late years, but, in comparison with the great outbreak which took place in this country at the beginning of the present year, they were small and were soon localised and stamped out. It has been said by the Minister of Agriculture that Ireland is at present subject to restrictions, similar to those which it is proposed to make statutory by the Bill we are now discussing. That is quite true, but I suggest it is most unfair, unnecessary and expensive that the six days' detention should be made permanent and statutory. Perhaps the House is not aware of how largely Ireland figures in the cattle trade and in the meat supply to the population of this country. Of every five animals killed for food in this country, at least three have their origin in Ireland. The House will understand what an enormous business this is, and will realise that any restrictions, more than are absolutely necessary for the protection of this country from foot-and-mouth disease, must add to the cost of Irish cattle, and therefore raise the price of meat. The object of every hon. Member, I presume, is as far as possible to reduce the price of meat as of other foods.
It was with the object largely of reducing the price of meat that the House passed the Resolution removing the embargo on Canadian cattle. We opposed the removal of that embargo last Session because owing to it a very large trade in store cattle has grown up in Ireland. Permission to land Canadian cattle is bound to affect adversely people in Ireland engaged in that particular trade. We never suggested that the introduction of Canadian cattle was going to ruin our trade or even seriously affect it, but that it will be a competitor with us there can be no doubt. At the same time, I desire to point out—to emphasise my argument that it is grossly unfair that the removal of the Canadian embargo should be taken advantage of for the purpose of putting further restrictions on Irish cattle—the enormous extent of this trade of ours, as compared with any trade that may be done in store cattle with Canada for a 2060 good many years to come. I am informed by those who have studied the statistics that the value of our trade in store cattle with this country is between £35,000,000 and £45,000,000 a year. On the other hand, the number of cattle likely to be imported from Canada during the next five or ten years is not likely to exceed 200,000 head, and if you allow £20 per head, which is an outside figure, the total amount of the Canadian trade would only come to about £4,000,000–that is to say, one-tenth of the value of the trade that is done with Ireland. I repeat that, if you take into consideration the disparity between those two figures, it is outrageous, when there is no necessity for it further than there is at the present moment, that there should be any further restrictions put upon the importation of Irish cattle.
I will not go into the question as to whether the six days' detention which it is proposed to impose upon Irish cattle is of any practical use in preventing foot-and-mouth disease either being brought into the country from Ireland or from being spread. I am told, by people who know more about this question than I do myself, that it will have no effect whatever in that direction, but friends of mine who will speak later, and who are more familiar with the question than I am, will develop that point. I submit, if I may say so without offence to anybody, that this proposal is very largely the result of panic. There is no doubt that this country was greatly shocked, and the agriculturists were greatly concerned, by the serious outbreak which occurred last year. It is a well-known fact, of course, that great pressure is brought to bear upon the Ministry of Agriculture in this country when restrictions have been imposed on the importation of our cattle, and when the necessity for those restrictions seems to us to have disappeared, and I believe—and I challenge my right hon. Friend to deny it—that this opportunity has been seized by the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture to have this detention of Irish cattle made statutory, so that it will be impossible to bring pressure to bear on the Department to have the time made shorter or to have the restrictions withdrawn altogether. I have pointed out what a huge trade the Irish store cattle trade is, and how seriously it will be affected, because, even 2061 although it only costs a few shillings a head for each of these beasts to be detained for six days, in the aggregate it amounts to a very large sum of money, and our contention is that, except in times like the present, when there is still possibly a danger of the disease being taken about the country, it is quite unnecessary. Especially is this so when the whole of Ireland is admittedly free from any of these contagious diseases.
The Minister of Agriculture said that for the purpose of concentrating on this one question, which is the only part of the Bill to which Irish Members object, it might be possible to arrive at an agreement by which, in Committee, we could concentrate on one single Amendment on this point. I am quite willing to fall in with his views, if we can arrive at such an agreement, though I see difficulties in the way, because if the worst came to the worst, if we found that it was impossible to obtain the complete removal of these restrictions, we might feel that as a last resource we should perhaps accept a shorter term of detention than the six days mentioned in the Bill. At any rate, if the right hon. Gentleman will consult with me, I shall be very happy to try to arrive at some formula by which we can discuss this whole matter when the Bill is in Committee. We have undertaken to close this Debate by 8 o'clock, and so I will not detain the House unduly, but I would like to say a word or two about the pledge which the late Government is supposed to have given to the Canadian Government. This question of pledges is a very difficult one. In the first place, how far is a Government entitled to pledge the House of Commons and the country to do certain things? If this question of the imposition of further restrictions on Irish cattle had been brought afresh to the House of Commons and put before it on its merits, I have not the slightest doubt that I would be able to carry the day. The House, I believe, sees that it is not fair to ask Irish cattle to submit to a number of restrictions which are quite unnecessary because, for some reason or other, the Government have come to an arrangement to that effect with the Canadian Government.
§ Captain CRAIG
My part of Ireland is not a dominion. My part of Ireland is as much a part of this country as the constituency which the right hon. Baronet represents, and while I may be pleading for other parts of Ireland, and as the greater always includes the less, if I am doing the South a good turn by getting these restrictions removed, I shall be very glad. I say that if this question were treated on its merits in the House of Commons, I have not the slightest doubt we should win, because it would be, seen to be grossly unfair that we should have these unnecessary restrictions imposed upon us. I object strongly that the House of Commons should be told that, whether these restrictions are fair or unfair, they have got to vote in favour of them simply because some Government gave some pledge to some other Government, a pledge that we have had no information about and of which we know very little. That is not, to my mind, the way in which business ought to be done. I would like also to give another reason why I think the House should refuse to put these extra restrictions on our cattle. They are put on ostensibly because the Ministry of Agriculture think they are a further safeguard and that they are necessary to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in this country. The House will perhaps remember that in our discussions on the Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Bill a day or two ago, a provision was introduced into that Bill by which the Imperial Government takes the place in Ireland of what was known as the Council of Ireland, a body which was to be set up, and one of whose duties was to look after, all matters connected with diseases of animals. By that Bill the Government of this country keeps in its own hands for five years full control and full charge of all matters dealing with diseases of animals, so that for the next five years at least the Government of this country has the fullest powers of inspecting animals in Northern Ireland, keeping its own inspectors there, making Regulations as to the embarkation of animals, and supervising them in every way, so that in fact it has as complete control over the health of animals ii Northern Ireland as it has over animals in this country. That is a point, I think, which again makes it more unnecessary that any 2063 additional restrictions should be put upon the importation of our cattle.
I hope I have made it quite clear that this is really a very serious and oppressive proposal from the point of view of a very large section of Irish people. This store cattle trade is, as I have shown by the figures which I have quoted, a very important trade, and I might say further that the rents of farms in Ireland, which, as the House knows, are fixed by Land Courts, have been very largely fixed on the price of cattle, and the annuities which are paid under the the various purchase Acts in that country—the Wyndham Act and others—also depend to a very large extent on the price of cattle. If this Bill passes, the House of Commons is deliberately doing something which will tend to make it difficult, if not impossible, for many persons to continue to pay the annuities which they are paying to the Government for the purchase of their farms. In fact, there are so many arguments against the proposal of the Government that I hope the House will agree with me that these provisions ought to be taken out of the Bill, and I submit to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that, just as the House was untrammelled when it came to the decision which it did last Session, by the absence of the Whips at the doors, on this occasion, which, after all, is a corollary of that decision and which flows out of it, the House should be left an absolutely free hand.
§ Mr. HARBISON
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months."
I take upon myself the responsibility of moving this Amendment, and I do so perhaps upon different grounds from those already put forward. I should like to say at the outset that I represent the largest agricultural constituency in the three Kingdoms. I represent the unanimous vote of at least 90,000 farmers, who are existing on the trade they are doing between Tyrone and Fermanagh and Northern Ireland and England in store cattle. I have taken this responsibility on my shoulders because I believe 2064 that the existence of these poor, small farmers—and 80 per cent, of all our farmers are small farmers—depends upon the trade with this country, and if this embargo be put upon the trade from our country to England, these men may have to seek other occupations by which to earn a livelihood. But I deal with this question from a higher standpoint than that. Within the last 48 hours a document has been signed by His Majesty confirming a Treaty that was entered into between this nation and ours, and I think one of the fundamental principles underlying that Treaty was that there should be free trade between England and Ireland. I propose this Amendment in the belief and the conviction that this embargo, this unnecessary embargo, is being put upon our country in violation of the principle that underlies the Treaty between England and Ireland.
When this question of the embargo on Canadian cattle was being discussed in this House last Session, my colleagues and I from the North of Ireland joined together in opposing the removal of the embargo. We thought then, and we think still, that it was a bad thing, both for England and for Ireland, to allow these Canadian cattle in, but: this House by Resolution determined to raise that embargo. To that determination we bow and agree, but the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture has stated in this House to-day that this embargo that is now being put upon Ireland was by virtue of an agreement with the Canadian Government. Not only are they lifting the Canadian embargo, but they are placing upon us an embargo at the dictation of Canada. One would think that where the interests of a country, or of a person in the case of a personal transaction, were being jeopardised, the country or the person would be called into consultation before the burden was imposed. A Government has been set up in Southern Ireland for the last 12 months. That Government had full power, so far as this question was concerned, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman, why was not the Irish Government consulted? Why was not the Irish Department of Agriculture or the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland consulted? This thing has been done over 2065 our heads. It is the most tyrannical piece of legislation that has been introduced in this House in my memory, because it strikes at the very root of a key industry—the only industry, I may say, worth talking about in Ireland. As has been stated, our exports this year were something like £.35,000,000 worth of cattle. I have been informed by experts well able and competent to give an opinion that the loss to us in Ireland through placing this embargo upon our cattle will mean, at the very least, £3 per head of the cattle exported.
The right hon. Gentleman admitted, as we all admit, the loss entailed through the horrible outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in this country. I sympathise with the English farmers, but it is not our fault. They try to lay it at our door that our herds are transmitting and spreading disease. I will put a question to the Minister of Agriculture. How is it that we in Ireland have no disease, or, if an occasional outbreak occurs, we can stamp it out almost instantaneously? There must be something wrong about the Ministry of Agriculture in this country, and they are not carrying out their work as the Irish Board and the Northern Board are carrying out theirs. In Ireland, when an outbreak occurs, as it occurred about a year or a year and a half ago in County Wicklow and other places adjacent, immediately the outbreak was discovered the Board sent down an official, and what did he find? That every farmer within a radius of 50 miles constituted himself a volunteer detective to prevent the spread of the disease, and the disease never spread, but was killed on the spot. Action like that is better than all the embargoes, and more effective. I would therefore advise the Minister of Agriculture to reconsider his decision on this matter, or at least postpone this Bill until an opportunity has been given to the Irish Government to have a consultation with him, and, if necessary, have the Canadians in consultation as well, and he will find that there is a modus operandi for getting over this difficulty.
There is no hurry in this matter. What is the reason for all this rush in this short Session, when we can get no time to discuss things? Would it be any disadvantage to Canada if this were adjourned for three months? Not a single 2066 Canadian beast can be imported into this country before next September. Then what is the rush about? Let us examine the subject like honest men, sincere men, who wish to do justice both to Canada and to Ireland. Let us discuss it freely and fairly, and in due season. I think that a vital mistake is being made from England's point of view as well as from Ireland's. What will be the inevitable result—as true as geometry? If this embargo be put on, it is as inevitable as to-morrow's sun will rise that the price of meat will rise. This £3 per head, which, I understand, will mean something like £5,000,000 a year, is a loss greater than the £1,000,000, which I hope will never occur again. Who has got to pay that £5,000,000 a year, the cost of deterioration and charges on the animals? The consumer will pay it, and, consequently, a rise in the price of meat will follow.
I have given my reasons for assuming the responsibility of moving the Amendment that is on the Paper in my name. I am firmly convinced, in doing so, that I am acting in the interests of this country as well as my own country. I think the Board of Agriculture here are making a vital mistake, and, before it is too late, I ask them to reconsider their decision, and either give us more time for this thing, or let the Bill drop, or, in the further alternative, strike Ireland out of the Bill. But, so long as the Bill stands as it is, I take the responsibility of moving the Amendment in my name.
Mr. HOPE SIMPSON
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is the first occasion on which I have really regretted my election as a Member of Parliament, not because my nerves overcome me, but because that fact entails the absence of a very distinguished member of the Government who is an expert in the particular matter now before the House. The history of the last four years is the history of the rise and fall of agriculture, and among the blows to which agriculture has been subjected, there has, I think, been none more severe to one section of the agricultural community than the Resolution that was passed in the last Parliament on the question of the embargo on Canadian cattle. I may say that this question has been a political question; 2067 it is no question of economics. This fact was recognised by hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen who are on the other side of the House at the time of the agitation last year. When the Commission was sitting, the Attorney-General took the case for the English farmer, and, in the course of his address before the Commission, he said:The question has been used as what, in my submission, was a very illegitimate weapon in recent political electioneering.I do not know how far this question has affected electioneering in the recent General Election. I know that certain hon. Gentlemen have been returned with a mandate to support this Bill, and to allow the introduction of Canadian stores. I have not. Personally, as far as my own agricultural interest is concerned, it would suit me very well if the embargo were removed, and Canadian cattle allowed to come to England, because I am sure the importation of Canadian stores into England would increase the market in Canada for the pure-bred stock which we produce in Somerset. However, that is not the question at present. The question at present is the Bill before the House, and I am seconding the Amendment that the Bill be postponed for three months, not on the ground that I wish Canadian stores to be excluded from England, but on the ground that this Measure has not been sufficiently considered, and it is not right that it should now be rushed through the House at the tail end of a very short Session. We are asked to conclude this Debate by dinner time, and I am not going to keep the House long, for that very reason. But it does not seem to me to be right that a Measure of this importance, which is really a reversal of the whole agricultural policy of the Government of this country, should be rushed through in the course of the next few hours.
The objects to be obtained by this Measure were three. First, there was the Imperial object. Canada was feeling-disgruntled, because of a certain slur thrown on her cattle, and, in order to remove that feeling, a certain promise was made by a Member of the Cabinet. I have every sympathy with Canada in this matter. It is notorious that her cattle are very free from disease. There are certain diseases prevalent in Canada—diseases, I may mention, which 2068 are not included in the Bill—epizootic abortion and tuberculosis. Both of these diseases have been carefully excluded from the provisions of this Bill. However that may be, Canada can compare with us very well indeed in the way of healthy cattle, and it is not for that reason that we can venture to exclude her stores. The second reason was to increase the supply, and to reduce the price of meat. It was pointed out before the Royal Commission that stores are not meat. It is only when you get stores on to your land and fatten them that they become meat, but the common impression is that their introduction will reduce prices, and increase the supply of fresh meat. The third reason was to increase the area of arable land. I suppose the idea is that when you put a store on to grass, you proceed to collect the manure on the grass and carry it to the arable land, and so manure your arable land. One hon. Gentleman will explain that in his part of the country there is very fine grazing, and that the Canadian stores put on weight very quickly. He is quite right, but how that will increase the area of arable land I fail to see. You cannot do it. It is quite certain that no farmer will plough up his grass in order to plant turnips to feed cattle. That is certain, especially with the present cost of labour.
Turn to the Bill itself. I have seen criticisms, first of all, that the safeguards are entirely insufficient. If you read, as doubtless all hon. Members will have read, the Report of the Commission, you will find that there is a boundary line of 3,900 miles between the United States and Canada. Of that boundary line 1,700 miles are water, and the remaining 2,200 are dry land. To prevent American cattle crossing the border line there are 85 quarantine stations of which some are on the Great Lakes; so that it will be simple for any American who desires to do so to introduce his cattle over that border line without being stopped by the Canadian Customs. That actually happens. Read the evidence before the Royal Commission and you will see that Dr. Tolmie describes how the cow-punchers go about chasing these cattle back over the border. If that goes on now, it will go on much more if the American desires to send his cattle through Canada as stores to England.
2069 In the United States of America they have diseases of every description. They have diseases of which we have not yet had experience. There is one termed Texas fever. Are we going to run the risk, as we should under the Bill as at present drafted, of allowing these cattle to come in as Canadian stores? Mention has been made of two diseases, tuberculosis and epizootic abortion. The latter of these is probably the disease which is at the moment causing the most loss to the British farmer; more loss than by tuberculosis, than by foot-and-mouth disease, or than by any other disease whatever. It in a disease which can be identified and diagnosed without difficulty, and I consider that the Bill when it goes on the Statute Book as an Act should contain a provision for examination for epizootic abortion in these stores. You will also notice in the Bill that tuberculosis is not one of the diseases for which the veterinary surgeon has to look. We have tuberculosis in this country, but that seems no reason whatever why we should import it from other countries as well. Also, if we are going to take steps to render our herds immune from tuberculosis, we want additional danger avoided as far as possible.
There are other matters in the Bill open to serious objection. There is the matter of shipment. If hon. Members look at Section 1, Sub-section (2b iii), they will notice the provision in regard to disinfecting certain ships. If hon. Members will read that portion of the Bill carefully they will find that it is not the ship that has brought the stores over from Canada to England, nor is it the ship which has had mange cattle on board. Every farmer knows that mange and ringworm persist in buildings and in wood, unless those buildings and that wood are very carefully disinfected. Here there is no necessity for disinfection if it is more than 28 days since the vessel was used for cattle. There are matters like that which require very careful examination and amendment before the Bill is finally passed. There is also the question of cruelty, which has doubtless been brought to the notice of hon. Members in the coin so of the last few days. I think it was the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Agriculture who said that arrangements had been made on board ship to avoid that. Hon. Members will know it is quite impossible to avoid it. 2070 I myself have spoken to cattlemen who have come across on these cattle ships, and their description of the sufferings of the animals on board during a storm are literally horrible. Certainly some provision ought to be made in this Bill before it passes to make certain that so far as in us lies we prevent cruelty on the voyage from Canada to Liverpool or Glasgow. We have, then, this cruelty. We have the danger of disease. But there are other things to provide against. One of these is the Meat Trust.
This matter was raised before the Royal Commission. Any hon. Member who has been in Canada will know that that is a real and serious danger to this country. In the ranching district in the West of Canada there is a very well-known—I was going to say notorious, but he is not a notorious character, but a well-known man—Mr. Pat Burns. He is an Irishman. He went out there an uneducated boy. Owing to his extraordinary brain he has arrived at the top. He is a multi millionaire. He controls the whole of the retail meat trade of Western Canada. Not only does he do that, but he is in intimate connection with the Chicago Meat Trust. Now hon. Members perhaps begin to see what is going to happen. What is going to happen is this: Pat Burns is going to control the store traffic to England, and, in connection with the Chicago Meat Trust, can regulate the price of stores. Dr. Tolmie himself said that were the American market out of the way the stores they could provide would range from 200,000 to 400,000–
It is not a question of controlling the price over here immediately. They will raise and lower the price, and raise and lower it until the British breeder ceases to do business. Then they will have you. That is going to be the difficulty. The difficulty that by regulating the price of these stores they are going to destroy your English breeding trade and get it into their own hands.
That I consider to be a great difficulty in connection with 2071 this case, and that is a matter which I think should be dealt with in the Bill. We should be satisfied that it shall be certified to us if we take stores from Canada that we are going to get a regular supply. The trouble, let me say in conclusion, is that this thing, is being rushed. Let us have time to consider it. I am not opposing the entrance of Canadian store cattle on any ground of Protection. I think that if we can get healthy stores at a reasonable price free from control of price we should take them and be thankful. But in view of all these difficulties it is not fair to the House that the matter should be pressed forward in the manner it has been.
§ Mr. JAMES GARDINER
I should like first of all to congratulate the hon. Gentlemen opposite who have taken part in this Debate on the admirable manner in which they have put their case, and I think, if I might individualise, I would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman opposite stated the case for Ireland in a most effective manner. I am one of the few Members of this House who has had practical experience of feeding Canadian and Irish cattle for quite a number of years, and I therefore claim the privilege of saying a few words on the subject. The first point that I should like to make is this: We were told in the last House, when the question of Canadian cattle was proceeding, that if we were dependent upon Canadian cattle wholly and one day they failed us we should have no store cattle for the farmers of this country.
However that may be, I would like to point out to hon. Members that the number of store cattle coming from Ireland to Great Britain is diminishing every year. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I refer to the number of store cattle. The number of cattle coming from Ireland has not decreased. It is increasing; but the store cattle are decreasing. I do not blame our friends for that one single bit. It surely is in the interests of Ireland that they should feed every beast they can feed, and so secure the greatest amount of profit for the agricultural portion of the community. But the fact is, that the number of stores coming from Ireland is decreasing each year. When it comes to be a question of whether there is more disease in Ireland than in Canada, my experience leads me to say that the 2072 Canadian cattle in every case were absolutely free from disease, while I am sorry to say that my experience in feeding Irish cattle has been there were a great many wasters in every lot we purchased. The right hon. Gentleman sitting on the Front Opposition Bench spoke of security and about the fact that the balance was constantly wavering so far as agriculture is concerned. It has been the case of one thing to-day and another thing to-morrow. I quite realise that this House is not bound by the decision of the former House; but I do say that for the agriculturists of this country, and in view of the position of the farmer, a continuous policy is exceedingly desirable. Farmers have arranged in the belief that Canadian stores are to be admitted. We surely need continuity in this direction. To suggest the exclusion of Canadian cattle on account of disease is not stating the case fairly.
There were one or two points made, particularly by the hon. Member who sits just behind me, about certain diseases that were prevalent in Canada. He mentioned, among others, abortion. I wonder if that hon. Member read that part of the Bill which says:The expression 'More cattle' means castrated male or splayed female bovine animals.I wonder if he would tell me how it can be possible for any of these animals to abort? So far as tuberculosis is concerned, there is no doubt at all it is one of the things we suffer from in this country, and we want to do everything possible to eradicate it. The argument that the Canadians impose a 30 days' quarantine on breeding animals that go from our country to Canada is perfectly correct, and if hon. Members would just realise for a moment the kind of stock Canadians rely upon from this country, they would possibly see the reason for so doing. One of my neighbours sold a shorthorn calf to a Canadian breeder for 6.600 guineas. It is perfectly well known that in every industry there are one or two men who do wrong things; that, unfortunately, amongst the pure breeds there are men interested who occasionally fake their animals, and thus defeat the tuberculin test, which pronounces whether or not there is tuberculosis in the animal. Would it be unreasonable for any hon. Member who has to buy an animal at 2073 6,600 guineas to have an independent test when he knows that faking is going on on this side? I do not suggest that it is extensive or common; it is not. But such things have been known, and we know perfectly well that animals have been exported with the tuberculosis test absolutely perfect and on the other side have been found to be diseased. When the animal was slaughtered it was absolutely a mass of tuberculosis.
If Canada is going to give us the same treatment that we mete out to Canada, I do not think there is much reason to complain. Then, about the question of the six days' detention. That is very important. I suggested in an agricultural county the other day that this six days' detention was not so effective as we should like it to be. In any case, what about the present conditions? Wan there not a meeting held in Dublin of Irish merchants, only a few weeks ago, at which they resolved that they would sell no cattle in Scotland or England; that they would not offer them for sale until they had been detained for six days? A Scotsman who purchased cattle direct and sold them without the six days' detention was told that he would never get another animal unless he conformed to the custom. He was fined £100, and he bad to join the body of men who were sending cattle over with those conditions attached. Therefore, as a matter of fact, that six days' detention is in existence, voluntarily for their own purposes. If any hon. Member is afraid of disease in this connection, then I think I ought to be. I am sorry that I was foolish enough in the days of agricultural prosperity to buy a number of shorthorns at fancy prices, consequently, if there is any real danger by the importation of Canadian cattle, I should be the first to suffer. I am, however, satisfied that no such danger exists, and I am satisfied that with the good relationship existing between Canada and this country in regard to the sale of live stock we shall export some of the best of our breeds to improve the breed in Canada, and we shall have a result creditable to Canada as well as to the United Kingdom.
The question was raised of the borderland between Canada and the United States. I may say that one of the most perfect systems exists there, and no 2074 animal can pass through without being detected. I am not saying a word against Ireland. Irish cattle are good as a rule, but they are subject to certain diseases the same as other cattle, and I am afraid that there is a good bit of tuberculosis amongst Irish breeds as well as amongst the breeds in Great Britain. The common experience of my own country is that in buying a wagon of Irish cattle as a rule you have at least one animal which is not what it ought to be, and it has to be sold or slaughtered because of something radically wrong with its constitution.
Another argument used was that about the cruelty in the ships. I wonder if any hon. Member present has seen a shipment of Irish cattle coming over to this country in a storm. I maintain that there is far more cruelty under those conditions in the traffic from Ireland to this country with the kind of steamers used than could over occur on the magnificent steamers which carry the animals over here from Canada. We have had the cattle very much mutilated, some of them dead, and damaged whilst being conveyed from Ireland. With regard to what has been said about gathering the manure, I may say that we do not have our grass land in that condition. We believe in ploughing up grass land. We believe that the man who causes two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before is a benefactor to his country. I think more attention should be paid to the grass land, because many of the agriculturists, both in England and Scotland, leave their grass land lying too long and going to waste, getting befogged with weeds and other growths, and that is very detrimental, and in a few years' time you have only one blade of grass where formerly six existed. That state of things should not be, and if we are going to maintain our prosperity in this direction we want as many cattle as possible.
Last year we had not sufficient cattle, the reason being that there was not a sufficient supply of stores available. We ought to be able in this country to feed all the cattle Canada can send us in addition to what we get from, Ireland, and nothing in the nature of importation of Canadian or Irish cattle should interfere with us increasing the number of animals we breed on our glens. The special cattle we breed in this country will always 2075 be paid for on a different scale from the larger and coarser animals from abroad. Therefore, there is ample security in that direction for those who are at the present time breeding cattle.
One point I have always wondered at is that our friends from Ireland are sellers of cattle, and they are not going to import cattle. We are buyers of cattle and desire to secure them at a fair and reasonable price, and so be enabled to sell the meat at a reasonable price to the consumer. Why should the sellers object to the buyers being able to have a wider and a broader choice? Why should the purchaser not be able to purchase what he believes to be is in his own interest, and for the benefit of the country? Although there are some things in the Bill that require to be altered in Committee, I for one support wholeheartedly the Measure that is now before the House.
§ Mr. BARNES
In the consideration of this Bill up to the present we have listened to the Debate from the point of view of the expert knowledge of the farmers. I want to consider this question from the point of view of the consuming population in our great towns, and give their view in regard to this great question of the importation of Canadian cattle. Yesterday we were discussing the depression in the agricultural industry. I have considerable sympathy with the difficulties of the agriculturists, but I can conceive no greater disaster to the agricultural interests of this country than to bring those engaged in it into direct antagonism and opposition to the great industrial centres of England. In all my connections with these matters the attitude of mind of the farmers and the agricultural interests on many large questions appears to me to be the greatest danger to agricultural prosperity.
In this matter of the importation of Canadian cattle, I want hon. Members to appreciate that, at the present moment, owing to the non-importation of Canadian cattle, the agricultural interests of this country are in a depressed condition I want to state, further, that in the past two or three years hundreds of thousands of British working men who previously purchased English meat and English-grown commodities have been driven into 2076 the consumption of imported meat and imported commodities. On this point I speak from experience as the chairman of a large co-operative society. I am speaking now from the point of view of endeavouring to give some of the actual and practical experiences of those who wish to help British agricultural development in connection with the consuming population of our towns.
Before 1914 my own society, who were originally large importers of Colonial and foreign beef and mutton, commenced upon a policy of trying to turn the purchasing public on to English meat. Eventually we were successful in making our shops all English meat shops, and we eliminated entirely what is termed foreign and colonial imported meat. What is the position to-day? There is no individual in the town who purchases imported meat because he prefers it to English meat. Therefore the agricultural community should bear in mind that, as far as the desires of the purchasing public of the towns are concerned, they wish and desire to have home produced commodities. During the last two or three years—I leave out the War period—when the War control of meat passed away, we attempted to revert once more to having only English meat in our butchers' shops, but we found that as the amount of wages of our industrial population was steadily-decreased, and as unemployment was allowed to develop, we were compelled, because of the economic conditions of the mass of people in our great industrial centres, to revert, once more to imported meat in our shops.
Therefore this question of the importation of Canadian cattle and the prosperity of the agricultural industry in this country are wrapped up indissolubly with the prosperity of our town populations. If your town population cannot afford to buy English meat and English-grown produce this House can adopt any measures they deem fit from the point of view of endeavouring to safeguard the farmer, but I say that ultimately the pressure of public opinion in your towns will bring more adversity to the agricultural community than the adoption of a wise Measure of this description. I have already demonstrated the interdependence of agricultural prosperity on town prosperity. At the present moment the 2077 greater part of the needs of this country are met by imported colonial and foreign meat, and it is slaughtered abroad.
That means that the town industries of this country lose the following advantages. We lose the industries that are semi-dependent on the slaughtering of cattle. We lose the first source of control of hides, skins and the by-products of the slaughtering of the animals. We also lose some of the valuable manures which are the immediate result it the slaughtering of cattle. Besides this, the town population lose a source of food supplies, and a cheap form of food, in the shape of cooked meats, dripping, fats and things of that description. The actual sale of the joint is not necessarily the most valuable transaction to build up prosperity. After the animal is slaughtered the wealth that results from the slaughtering in this country is quite a considerable factor.
Therefore, I submit that the importation of Canadian cattle—I leave out the Irish question, because I hope the difficulty of Ireland may be overcome in Committee—should not be permitted to interfere with the broad principle of the importation of Canadian cattle, which is the primary object of the British consumers connected with the Co-operative movement. This is a form of wealth that can he retained as a direct result of the slaughtering of cattle here, which, I submit, will indirectly increase the prosperity and the purchasing power of our town populations, and, in addition, it will re-act favourably on the agricultural community. The only difference between the production of the beast from its inception in this country and the importation of the store cattle is that even at the present moment the British meat rearing industry and home-grown produce only satisfy a limited demand. Therefore, I submit it is in the interests both of the agricultural community and the millions of people in our great industrial towns that store cattle should be imported from Canada, fattened on English grass land, and ultimately sent to our markets. You employ labour here in the fattening of the cattle, and you will employ additional labour in the slaughtering of the cattle and the utilisation of the by-products from the slaughter, and ultimately the British consumers, if at the present moment they 2078 cannot afford to purchase the prime joints of English-reared cattle, surely the second proposition of purchasing joints from cattle grazed in this country, which produces a better quality of meat, is the thing which should have the serious consideration of the House.
As one who represents the co-operative movement, and who by experience has been much in direct contact with the farming community—for, as far as we are concerned, we purchase a considerable number of cattle direct from the farmers and we also purchase large quantities of milk and of corn and other cereals direct from them—I say that no section of the town community understands the problem of the farming community like the cooperative movement, and it would be absolutely fatal if the farming interests in this country attempted to develop a sectional prosperity with the result that the interests of millions of people on whom ultimately their prosperity must depend are prejudicially affected. When the agricultural interest is in direct opposition to town interests, you cannot find any instance where ultimately the interest of the masses of the people in the towns do not dominate the situation. If we are to rebuild British agricultural prosperity on a now foundation, I submit the- surer way is to harmonise and not antagonise the interests of the countryside and town communities. From that point of view, I appeal to those who represent agricultural constituencies to agree to the importation of Canadian cattle, because ultimately, in our opinion, it will increase the prosperity of the towns, and so far as it increases the purchasing power of the town populations, that is the safest and most definite and most permanent form of increasing agricultural prosperity.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
May I congratulate the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken on his most interesting and informative speech. I think the agricultural community can agree in principle with all he said. As to the facts there is one consideration he left out of account, but which has to be taken into account in considering this matter. His arguments were founded on the supposition that the introduction of Canadian- cattle will be necessarily additional to the stores now produced in this country. If that should be the case his case is well founded—if it 2079 should not, then the argument is gone. I do not say the supposition is correct: that remains to be proved. It has been thought by many representatives of the agricultural community that the introduction of Canadian stores may result in an even greater diminution of stores produced in this country, and if that were to happen—and many agricultural people hold the view that it will happen—my hon. Friend will see that the results which ho hopes to obtain will not be obtained because there will not be more animals slaughtered in this country. Subject to that, I think agriculturists will agree with the speech, and will appreciate the sympathetic spirit the hon. Member has shown towards agriculture.
I should like to say one or two words on the general aspect of this Bill later on. But I will first deal with the matter on which this House feels most keenly. I desire to place the real position before the House in regard to the point raised by the right hon. Member for Antrim (Captain Craig). If what he suggested were the case, I would support him in the Lobby. He put his case most temperately, and if it had fallen to my lot to put a similar case I am afraid I should not have been nearly so temperate. But can it be supposed by agriculturists here that because an agreement has been made between the British and Canadian Governments Irish stores which are introduced into this country are to be penalised? That is the case my right hon. Friend put forward. It is an absolute and complete misapprehension of the facts. This six days' detention, which is the point raised by my right hon. Friend, has nothing whatever to do with the agreement between the Government of this country and the Government of Canada. My right hon. Friend suggested that the question was one which should be discussed on its merits. I invite the House to consider it on its merits only; not as part of any agreement but simply on the facts, and I will do my best to place those facts before the House. This six days' detention has nothing to do with quarantine. It has nothing whatever to do with the introduction of disease. I agree with what my right hon. Friend said as to Ireland being free from foot-and-mouth disease. But he also said that these were restrictions proposed to be put on Irish cattle. I cannot agree 2080 with that, because they are not. They are restrictions on all imported cattle. They are not aimed at Ireland in any way. For my part I deeply regret that they should in any way interfere with the Irish trade. All that it is necessary for me to say is that these restrictions are made in the interests of the protection of the flocks and herds of this country, not against the introduction of disease, but against the spreading of it.
I have been sitting for many weeks on a Committee which was charged, with the approval of this House, with the duty of examining into the causes and history of the very serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that occurred at the beginning of the present year. This morning we completed our labours, and our Report has been handed to the Minister of Agriculture. So far from this particular provision having arisen out of the Agreement with Canada it simply arises from a definite recommendation made by the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Committee, after examining into the whole of the facts of this outbreak which cost the country a million sterling. The position is this, that, most unfortunately, it is quite impossible to prevent sporadic outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in this or in any other country from uncontrollable causes. That is stated in the Report. Whether by birds or air borne in some other way we are always liable to foot-and-mouth disease from uncontrollable causes. That being so, it is perfectly clear that our first line of defence against an outbreak from uncontrollable causes is to restrict it as far as possible to the area where it has occurred. That is not the second line of defence; it is the first. We followed most closely the history and facts of this outbreak. It was first traced at Hull market; where it originally came from it has been impossible to discover. Before the outbreak had been traced—we had to trace it back—and before it was known at the Ministry of Agriculture that the outbreak had occurred at Hull, infected animals had gone from Hull to Newcastle and Gateshead markets. They infected the railway loading docks at Newcastle. Newcastle and Gateshead are great centres of the Irish cattle trade, and the consequence of the infection being in those markets was that some 500 Irish cattle, which came into those markets which 2081 were partly unsold and partly, to a very limited extent, sold for resale in other markets—practically the whole of them which were unsold went to other markets, so that before the disease had been properly located at all, this infection was spread from Hull to Newcastle, and from Newcastle to York, Northallerton, Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, Chester, Preston and other markets in England, and to Berwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Paisley and Greenock in Scotland.
That is a very comprehensive statement. Within a few days the Ministry of Agriculture was called upon to deal with outbreaks which occurred at the rate of 200 or 300 a day. The outbreak was spread entirely, as stated in our Report, by the herds of Irish cattle which were distributed from Newcastle and Gateshead markets. Not one of these cattle introduced the disease into this country. They came into this country free from it. They went to the markets and picked up the disease there, and spread it from one end of the country to the other. The precautions which we have recommended are contained in an interim Report presented to the Ministry of Agriculture. I want to again say that it is not the Irish trade only which is aimed at; it is all imported cattle. The difference between the trade in imported cattle and that in I home-bred cattle is simply this, that the trade in home-bred stores is a local trade. The animals are taken from the breeder to the market and there they are bought by the grazier and taken to his land to graze. The imported cattle, Irish or other, are the property of dealers who have no premises, nowhere to put the cattle. They bring them in large numbers into the market, and, if they cannot get the price which they think they ought to get in that market, they simply disperse them to other markets all over the country, when they may have, by some unfortunate chance, picked up the germs of disease at or in the neighbourhood of the first market to which they were taken. In order to deal with that, which has cost us £1,000,000, the Committee have recommended to the Minister what is proposed to be carried out in this Bill, if the House is good enough to approve of it.
There is no question of any additional quarantine. The cattle are treated on landing in exactly the same way in which 2082 they have always been treated. They may be taken to any market to which the dealer who owns them may like to take them; but, when he has sold them at that market, then, to whatever premises they are taken afterwards, they will have to stay there for six days. The object is that, if they should have picked up the disease in the market, they may not be rushed from market to market and spread it from one part of the country to another. That is the sole object of this Regulation. As to the question of cost, my hon. Friend, to whose speech I listened with great interest and with approval of it from his point of view, said that the cost of this would be a few shillings per head. Of the two hon. Gentlemen who followed him, one said that it would be 3s., and the other said it would cost £5,000,000. May I point out that, where an animal is taken to any market to which it is allowed to go, and is sold to a person who is going to graze it, it does not cost an additional farthing owing to the six days' detention. That does not affect it in the least. The only animals that are affected are that proportion of the herd of Irish animals in the hands of the dealer which are not sold to any farmer who is going to graze them, but which he holds back from sale at that market. We have heard a good deal from hon. Members opposite about the holding back of various commodities from sale. Unless the dealer holds them back from sale, I venture to state what is obviously the fact, that not a single farthing of extra cost will be imposed upon him or upon the animal by this Regulation. The animal will simply go to the premises of the purchaser, it will naturally stay there until he has completed it for the market, and obviously he cannot complete it for the market in six days. There is, therefore, no alteration whatever. If, however, the dealer, instead of selling that animal to a grazier who is there ready and anxious to buy it, refuses to sell it, holds it back, and sends it away to some other market for sale, then he must keep it there for six days before he sends it away, in order to avoid the possibility of disease being spread from one place to another.
That is the position as plainly as it can be stated. May I say that the Committee included a very respected Member of the Labour party, Mr. W. Smith, as their representative. He, with all of us, supported this proposal which we have laid 2083 before the Minister, and if he had been of opinion that it was going in any way to increase the cost of the food of the people of this country, or to hold up an important and valuable trade such as the Irish trade, I am quite sure he would have been the last to support it. I have his authority for saying that it has his Strong support, and the Report was the unanimous Report of the Committee. I venture to recommend it to the House merely on its merits, as an absolutely necessary precaution against the spread of disease in this country, while at the same time deeply, regretting if it should in any way interfere with the Irish trade. I am sure my hon. Friend would agree with me that, where it is absolutely necessary to impose a Regulation of this kind in order to prevent the spread of disease—not introduced from Ireland, but which may happen from some uncontrollable cause to break out in this country—then, with every sympathy with him, it is the duty of this House, first of all, to safeguard our own flocks and herds in this country from the danger. I was rather struck, in view of what my hon. Friend says, to read what happened at a meeting of Irish cattle dealers in Dublin on the 19th October last. At that meeting the following resolution was passed:We recognise the good results accruing from the united stand taken in defence of our common interest, and hereby pledge ourselves to expose stock for sale only after six days' detention; and we call on our fellow-traders to loyally co-operate in giving effect to this decision.It is somewhat remarkable that the Irish traders in Dublin should have passed that resolution. I do not profess quite to understand it, but it does not seem to be quite on all fours with the case that has been put to the House.
I hope I have made that part of the case clear. I should now like to say one or two words on the general issue of the Bill. I was one of those who, on behalf of the agricultural interest, opposed the change which this Bill implements. Not only, however, were two Resolutions passed, one by this House and one in another place, affirming the principle which this Bill carries out, but, more than that, the question was a national question. I am not quite sure that the methods by which it was made a national 2084 question had my entire concurrence. I think I have heard them called a newspaper stunt—I am not quite sure. At any rate, whatever the methods were, there was.a national decision on the question, although, as I have suggested to the House on several occasions, when national decisions are taken in this industrial country, the position of agriculture is not always sufficiently considered. The fact being, however, that there was a national decision, which has been acted upon, moreover, by an agreement entered into with the Canadian Government, I would say, speaking as far as I am able on behalf of the agricultural industry, that we have to accept that decision. We do not agree with it, and if the matter were open we should oppose it, but we have to bow to the decision of the nation and are prepared to accept it. Accordingly, I for one do not propose to vote against the Second Reading of this Bill, although I voted against the principle upon which it was introduced when the matter was before the House.
I would, however, venture to point out that there may not be quite the results from this Bill that are expected, and I am rather inclined to doubt whether the anticipations will be realised of a large import of cattle at a cheap rate, and, above all, of cheaper meat. The figures for cattle imports into this country recently from Canada are rather peculiar. I see that in 1921 the numbers of cattle which came in from Canada during the months of September and October were 5,025 in September and 7,733 in October, while in September and October of this year the numbers were 2,982 in September and 733 in October. There were, therefore, during October of this year, less than one-tenth of the cattle imported from Canada that came in during October of last year. The number that came in during October of this year from the United States was 235, and there were, as I have said, 733 from Canada. That is as compared with over 10,000 which came in in October of last year. That rather looks as if the British store was holding its own. I am very doubtful, therefore, whether this Bill will produce the expected results, but that is on the lap of the gods, and I can only assure the House that, so far as the agricultural community is concerned, it will do nothing whatever to obstruct the fair and reasonable working of the Bill.
2085 There is one consideration which I desire to press. I listened, as I have already said, with much interest to the hon. Member who last spoke. I am sure that he and the House will agree with me that the passing of this Bill makes it all the more necessary to ensure that the purchaser of meat in every shop in the country should have what, no doubt, ha has in the business controlled by him, namely, the right to know what he is buying. If we are to have these different classes of meat in this country, and if, as I entirely agree, people prefer British meat, then, when they are prepared to pay for it, they ought to get it. There is no doubt whatever that a great deal of substitution is going on. I for one should be satisfied, and I should say that the agricultural interest in this country would be largely satisfied, if, before we part from this Bill, we get from the Government Bench an undertaking that next Session that Merchandise Marks Bill will be introduced which was dropped last Session, and which contained most valuable Clauses making it obligatory on those who sell meat to label their counter or label the meat, so that people may know what they are buying. Since the agricultural community is prepared, in the national interest, to sink its own interest, we do think we may ask—in, as we believe, the national interest as well as our own—for that bit of consideration in return. I hope my hon. Friends from Ulster—
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
From all parts of Ireland—will understand that this restriction of six days' detention is not six days' quarantine. It is six days after sale, while quarantine is before sale.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think it is, but I do not know what the exact interpretation may be. I hope that my hon. Friends will not imagine that if it in any way interferes with their trade we do not regret it, but it is necessary to protect our flocks and herds in this country, not against the introduction, but against the spread of disease, should it unfortunately break out.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I am not going to detain the House by discussing all the different points which have been raised, or, indeed, any of them. In the short space of time that is left to the House, it would be wrong of me to do so. I intervene solely for the purpose of saying a few words upon the weight of opinion which is in favour of this Bill in the part of the country which I know, namely, the East Coast of Scotland, where, from one end to the other, the farmers buy store cattle and turn them into beef. Our interest in the Bill, undoubtedly, is to get the best supply of store cattle that we can get from anywhere. We are also more interested than anyone—more even than the people who are selling—in securing that no disease shall be introduced with those cattle. I have not a word to say against the long history of the trade in cattle between Ireland and Scotland. It has been of great advantage to both countries, it has been very ably conducted, and over and over again, when I was in this House before, I have advocated the removal of all unnecessary restrictions which would interfere with the flow of that trade. I am of the same opinion still, that there should be no unnecessary restrictions. I say that although I support the Bill. With regard to the question of Canadian cattle, the only thing left is what are to be the conditions under which they are to come in. Notwithstanding the desire that there should be no competition from Canada, Member after Member has recognised that the time has passed for arguing against it. No man can look a Canadian farmer in the face after all that has taken place and say he is not to be allowed to sell cattle to Scottish or English farmers. Even if you were tempted to do it you find yourself up against the report of a Commission, which was undoubtedly fairly conducted and which arrived at a conclusion which must be binding upon this House. More than that, I think we reach higher ground altogether if it is going to be suggested that this country, on one pretext or another, is going to break faith with Canada. A pledge made by the Colonial Secretary and the Minister of Agriculture cannot be thrown over as if it were, in the language of my right hon. Friend below, mere ordinary gossip. If you were to break faith with Canada you might arouse feelings there which it would be very 2087 difficult to lay to rest. With regard to the restrictions, I am bound to say, having considered them and discussed them with people of authority and vast experience in connection with the cattle trade, I am satisfied that they are not unnecessarily restrictive as regards the Canadian supply. There is, perhaps, only one point on which I shall have to consider more carefully my view if we are to do what I think is absolutely right. I do not myself see the necessity for restricting the importation of Canadian heifers for breeding. It may be the Board of Agriculture have advice that there is a special danger attaching to the introduction of breeding cattle. I am old enough to remember the time when we had Canadian cattle in and I also remember that some very excellent cows were got from Canadian heifers that were brought over. That, however, is a very small matter in the present case.
May I say a word with regard to the Irish restrictions. That, I admit, is a matter for the Board of Agriculture to adjust. At present, I am sure no one would suggest that we should abolish the six days' detention. After the experience, which has been so clearly and graphically described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), no one who knows about cattle would suggest that we should abandon the six days' detention at present. I am almost persuaded that it is a desirable thing even in ordinary times. If it is not desirable just now it will be desirable in the fullness of time when the whole control of cattle management in Ireland passes out of the hands of the Board of Agriculture in this country. It is essential that the Ministry of Agriculture should be held absolutely responsible for protecting the herds of the country against disease, and when he ceases to have any power or authority over contagious disease in Ireland, as I understand in time will be the case, the six days' detention will be absolutely necessary. My attitude hitherto has always been against restrictions and in favour of freedom as far as possible, and I do not at all agree that you must have your trade so controlled as to ensure that you will never have foot-and-mouth disease. That is impossible. All experience is against it. There must and will be a risk if you are 2088 going to have a cattle-feeding industry in this country at all. While you must do everything you can to catch it and assist in getting rid of it at the earliest possible moment, you cannot destroy the whole industry of feeding by diminishing the supply of stores merely because you think it possible that foot-and-mouth disease may be introduced. Taking the point of view of the hon. Member who spoke for the co-operative societies and the consumers, the man who is manufacturing the beef entirely agrees with the man who has to sell it, and I endorse every word he says. Our people are only too anxious to get the best raw material in order to supply the cheapest and best home-fed beef to the consumers of the country.
§ Mr. BRUFORD
For some years, as a farmer, I have fought against the admission of Canadian cattle, but in view of the pledges which, I understand, were given on behalf of this country, although they may have been given by a couple of scared country squires, as they were alluded to just now, they were given, I understand, by members of the English Government. A further pledge has been given by the present Government to the Canadian representatives sent to this country. I firmly believe in carrying out a word once given. I believe in honouring your bond, even if it against your interest. That is the reason why I am to-day supporting this Bill, although I honestly feel it to be against the interests of English agriculture. But I feel that the people of the country are against the embargo, and it is useless for agriculture to kick against the pricks. If we show the people of this country that we are reasonable, that we only ask for reasonable conditions, and that we look at the matter from a broad point of view, we shall do more to get them with us than we shall by resisting their desire. I am very pleased to hear the expressions of sympathy with agriculture from the Labour Benches night after night. After all, it is to their benefit to support agriculture. We are the people who produce their food, and unless they give us good conditions we cannot pay our people good wages. May I point out to the country, before the Bill is passed, the risk they are running? We may get disease brought in, and if we do it may cost us not one but several millions. If they like to run that risk I have nothing to say.
2089 The people of the country have been told that the price of meat will drop 6d. a 1b. directly this Bill becomes law. They must not place any reliance on that promise. It will not, in my opinion, make one single farthing difference to the price. Beef slaughtered in this country is subject to the law of supply and demand, and that is governed by the price of chilled meat, which, whatever hon. Members opposite may say, cannot, in many instances, be told from English meat. Some of the salesmen on the meat market in London assure me that they themselves cannot tell good chilled meat from English. I am not talking of frozen meat. That is another matter. But a good deal of chilled meat is of as good and edible a quality as English meat. I should not be surprised if the price falls when the Bill is passed. It could fall to-day if the Butchers' Association would only agree to drop it. To-day I believe a good joint of beef costs is. 6d. a 1b. Last Saturday I stood in Taunton Market and saw bullock after bullock, the finest English beef grown, that is Devon steers, sold at 18s. a score—that is 10¾d. a lb.—and plenty of it at less. If the price comes down it will simply be a move on the part of the butchers, who have been clamouring for this Bill. They will say, "See what the Bill has done," but it will not be the Bill, it will be law of supply and demand.
I am supporting the Second Reading, but I make the demand from this House that they assist us agricultural Members in seeing that we have proper safeguards against disease. Our breeding herds are the most valuable in the world. England is the stud country of the world to-day, and if we once allow disease to spread amongst our herds we shall lose the valuable market that we have. If the House will not give us proper safeguards, I shall vote against the Third Reading. The breeding industry is the sheet anchor of agriculture. It is the only thing we have to look to, and I implore hon. Members to see that it is safeguarded. Subject to that, I think agricultural Members will support the Bill. I have heard what has come from the Irish Benches. Ever since I was a boy I remember that Ireland has always been the oppressed country. I know many Irishmen, and they are very good fellows indeed, but they are the most difficult fellows in the world to understand. They are grumbling about 2090 our asking them to allow their cattle to be detained for six days. That restriction is on to-day, and much more stringent restrictions were on in May, or something like that. An hon. Member said they had had a wonderful trade with England this summer. That has been done under the restrictions which the Government is now proposing in this Bill. What have they to grumble about? I implore the Irishmen to withdraw their opposition and to join us in supporting the Bill. I have had the same resolution sent to me that was sent to the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), which was passed by the Irish cattle breeders, upholding the six days' detention. I urge the House to pass the Second Reading of the Bill, and then to see that proper safeguards are put into it. If we are to allow breeding cattle to come into this country, I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will see that they are tested against epizootic abortion as well as tuberculosis. The former disease is far more dangerous than the latter.
§ Mr. BROAD
This is the first occasion that I have attempted to gain the ear of the House, and I ask for the kindly consideration for which the House is noted. Particularly do I require that consideration, because, although this is the first occasion that I have addressed the House, I shall not be representing those hon. Members with whom I am associated as a Member of the Labour party. I hope, at the least, that the decision on this Bill will be postponed for three months. In the Debate very little mention has been made of the circumstances under which the embargo was placed on the importation of store cattle in 1894. It seems to me rather remarkable that each generation finds it necessary to buy its own experience, and to buy it dearly, and I believe we shall, from the national point of view, be re-buying the experience dearly which our fathers had in years gone by. We must recollect that it was not alone the agricultural interests which brought about the embargo on the importation of store cattle, but it was the indignation of everybody who had the heart to feel for suffering, at the horrible experiences which the animals underwent in coming across the seas in those days. Most of us have taken some brief journey by sea, perhaps when the weather has not been too favourable, but we have had some sort of comfort on 2091 the ship. These cattle were brought over packed together, and because a cargo of cattle is light, superstructures were placed on the boats, the boats were top-heavy, and they rocked all over the place. Of course, we cannot command the weather.
The experience which these poor creatures will have to go through in coming from Canada will be worse than in the past, because since that time the Plim-soll line has been submerged by the Lloyd George line. Those of us who live in London, and who know the lower reaches of the Thames, have seen these boats with their great wooden structures and the cattle packed together so tightly that they cannot fall. Some of us have met men who came over on the boats, and they have told us that sometimes these poor creatures were so weak that if they fell down they could not get up, and they were trampled upon and had to be thrown overboard. At times the deck structures were carried away, and other ships coming over the same track two days afterwards have seen these poor creatures either swimming about or floating dead in the water. Do we want to resume these horrors, even if it does reduce the price of our meat? Is it not a price too dear to pay that our nature shall be brutalised by having this kind of traffic? It may be said that cattle already come over to be slaughtered at the docks. They do, to a small extent, but they have to be brought over under very different circumstances. Why cannot cattle be brought over fat and slaughtered profitably? If they were brought over here fat, they would be in such a state that if they were killed at the docks they would not be fit for human consumption, and could not be put in the shops.
It is said that this proposal will be in the interests of agriculture, while it is also said that it will be against agriculture. It means that by the importing of these Canadian cattle you will have a great deal more grazing going on in the country than at present, or else it will be against the interest of the cattle breeder if the stock which he raises has to be replaced by imported stock. What does that mean from the economic point of view. If as a result of importing stock cattle you are going to diminish the amount of cattle bred in this country, it will have a very great influence on the supply of dairy products. I would rather 2092 see milk down one penny per quart than beef down one penny a pound. I am speaking as a Londoner who knows nothing about farming, except what I have read in books, and what I have seen when cycling about the country. In the year when the embargo was put on I was working in Dorsetshire at an engineering works, and I spent most of my leisure time cycling about Dorsetshire. I hardly saw a tilled field anywhere. Cottages were empty, and some villages and hamlets were practically in ruins. The old men said: "There is no farming here now, it is all grazing." As one went through the villages one could only see old men, children and women. The boys had either joined the Navy or drifted to the towns.
Half the trouble in Ireland in our generation and the generation before has been due to the fact that the people were turned out of the countryside to make room for cattle. In the interests of the nation it is necessary that we should have a virile agricultural community. Are you going to get it if you turn the country into mere grazing land? You have practically no labour employed in that direction. It may be all right for the farmer to get better returns from grazing than dairying or cultivating the land, and it may be right for the landlord to get bigger rentals, but is it right for the community? We cannot under present farming conditions maintain our present population in foodstuffs. Therefore, we ought to use the land we have so that we get the most labour possible and not the least labour possible on to it. It is said that this withdrawal of the embargo is not going to be a big thing, and that a great many cattle are not coming over from Canada. If that is so, it is not going to be much in the interest of the landlord or of the farmer, and it is not going to have much influence on prices. If you extend this principle to Canada you cannot say, without very grave considerations against it, that it should not be extended to South Africa. There are some people who are Free Traders, and who make a fetish of Free Trade, and they will claim, in the name of the glorious principles of Free Trade, that this importation of cattle should be extended to the South American Republics.
If we allow our land to be turned mainly into grazing land, with very little breeding 2093 of cattle, and very few cattle capable of breeding, what will be the result if we ever again are in the position in which we found ourselves in 1914? Shall we be safe from the point of view of food supplies? A Friend from Ulster seemed to put a semi-protectionist point of view. What we have to consider is not the protection of this interest or that interest, but the protection of the welfare of the whole community, and to see that the land in future is not so occupied as to make it the easiest means of livelihood for the farmer or the landowner, but that it should be used for the welfare of the whole community. We have heard so much lately about redundancy of populaiton and emigration. Why not colonise England? Farming to many has been sport, a pastime, or something to give them a standing. A great portion of our country has been merely a playground for the wealthy. The very inflated prices which the farmers have had to pay have been because the War profiteers have been out for buying land and not for the benefit of the countryside. It is about time we put a stop to that, and colonise this country with our own men.
We heard the other day something about the development of farming in Denmark. That development took place on the basis of dairying and co-operation, and it means that if co-operation, the proper collecting, grading, packeting, and marketing of produce is to be effectively done here, it must be done on a co-operative basis over the whole countryside. We are suffering to-day on the countryside. We have not been able to repair the damage done by the free importation of cattle previous to 1894. I hope we shall not go through the same experience again, and that we should not look at agriculture simply from the point of view of meat salesmen or of the shipping people who want to utilise their hulls, or from the point of view of the farmer. If we look at agriculture from the point of view of developing our countryside and renewing our stock so that we can become an A1 nation we shall see to it that this Bill is turned down from every point of view, in the interests of the nation and in the interests of our common humanity, because of the suffering and horrors and misery involved.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I opposed the introduction; of Canadian cattle last Session, but I do not propose 2094 now to oppose the Second Reading of this Bill, although I have not changed my opinion, nor do I oppose the agreement which has been arrived at between my right hon. Friend and the Canadian Government, always supposing that that particular agreement was fair and reasonable, but I object very strongly to this Bill, which will require very great amending in Committee. I could have introduced a one-clause Bill which would have had the same effect as this Bill. I am perfectly well aware of Clause 9, but I will deal with that later. My Bill would have the same effect, and would have been in this form: "The provisions of Part I of the Third Schedule to the Disease of Animals Act, 1894, shall be repealed, and the Minister of Agriculture may permit the importation of any cattle from any overseas dominion or country subject to any Regulations that he may think fit to make." Because that is the Bill. This is, I am afraid, the result of the association of my right hon. Friend with the late Prime Minister. The late Prime Minister introduced into this House the fatal habit of bringing in Bills which contained all sorts of Clauses doing certain things, but which also contained certain provisions which gave power to a Minister to do whatever he pleased. I have always objected to that. I object to these methods of bureaucracy, and I am extremely sorry that my right hon. Friend has fallen into the bad ways of the late Prime Minister. But I do not think it is the fault of my right hon. Friend. I think that it is really the fault of the officials, who do not want to part with any power which they have got, and therefore put into a Bill these Clauses, which give power to a Minister to do anything he likes. Take Clause 1, Sub-section (2) of this Bill. It provides that(b) The Minister must be satisfied(i) that the cattle were for a period of three days immediately before shipment kept separate from other animals, and were examined from time to time during that period by a duty authorised veterinary.and so on. What has that got to do with the Minister? When we pass an Act of Parliament which lays down what is to be done, it is not for the Minister to say whether it is being done or not. The result of this provision would be that if I thought that certain persons were not complying with the conditions laid down, 2095 and brought an action against these persons in reference to the matter, they could say that the Minister was satisfied that the provisions were carried out, whether they had or had not been carried out, and if such an action came before me as a judge I should be obliged to refer to the Act and say that the matter must be determined by the question as to whether the Minister was satisfied, and that that must be an end of it. Coming to Clause 2, we find it provided:2. The Minister may, notwithstanding anything in the principal Act, by Order authorise any Canadian animals, whether store cattle or not, to be landed in Great Britain otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the last preceding Section of this Act.So the preceding Section of this Act is no good, because the Minister may authorise the importation of animals otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Section. The officials very carefully protect themselves and my right hon. Friend and his successors. If we look at Clause 3, we see it provided:but except to such extent as the Minister may by Order direct, the provisions of the Third Schedule to the principal Act shall not apply to animals brought to Great Britain from Ireland or any part thereof:Then it continues:Provided that if the Minister is satisfied that cattle plague, pleuro-pneumonia or foot-and-mouth disease exists or has recently existed in, or that adequate provision is not made for the prevention of the introduction of any such disease into, any part of Ireland, he may by Order prohibit the landing in Great Britain of animals or any class of animals brought from Ireland or any part thereof, or may apply the said provisions to animals or any class of animals so brought with such modifications, if any, as he may think necessary or expedient.There again all the other provisions are no use, because the Minister may let in animals if he wishes, or he may keep them out if he wishes. It is made certain that there is nothing to prevent the Minister from doing anything if he likes. Clause 8 is very nice Clause. It enacts that whenever an Order is made it must be laid on the Table of the House for a certain number of days. For the information of new Members, I may explain that the protection of laying an Order on the Table is perfectly useless. The new Member has first to find out whether the Order 2096 is on the Table. Then he has to get a sufficient number of people to stay in the House after 11 o'clock at night to back him up, which is a difficult thing to do, and then the representative of the Government, or somebody of that sort, rises in his place and points out that there are not 40 Members present, and the hon. Member has to go away, having done nothing. Clause 8 saysBefore any Order is made under the preceding provisions of this Act, a draft of the Order shall, unless it is either an Order suspending the operation of any of the provisions of this Act—.So that my right hon. Friend and his successor can, if he desires, suspend the whole Act. He can make an Order suspending it for a very long time, suspending it for five years if he wishes, and he can do it without laying the Order on the Table, or paying any attention to anyone, with the result that that sole safeguard is wiped out by this Clause. But in order that there may be no mistake it is provided in Clause 9 that the Minister may alter the Schedule. Sub-section 2 says(2) The Minister may by Order alter or modify any of the said provisions if he considers it necessary or expedient so to do, and the alterations or modifications are such as in his opinion will not diminish or prejudice the protecton against the risk of the spread of disease which is afforded by the said provisions as enacted in the said Schedule, provided that no such alteration or modification shall reduce the period of detention prescribed by such provisions.This last safeguard is useless, as Clause 8 says that the Minister may suspend the operation of any ct the Clauses of the Act. I should not have risen, as there is an arrangement to have the Debate concluded at 8 o'clock, if I did not think it necessary that the House should know what I am going to do if it passes the Second Beading of this Bill. I should put down very simple Amendments to leave out all these Clauses which give him all these powers, and to leave the Bill in the state which declared that certain things are provided by Parliament and that Parliament has determined them to be the law.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
I desire to take this opportunity of congratulating the Government upon having lost no time in introducing this Bill during the present Session. It is very much overdue. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced it laid stress upon the pledge which had 2097 been given at the Colonial Conference in 1917, and went on to insist upon the extreme urgency of carrying this Measure, even although it involved our rushing the Committee and other stages through the House. The pledge which was given in 1917 ought to have been fulfilled there and then. Already we have had five years' delay, and I can only say to my right hon. Friend that now, when we have reached the stage of fulfilment of the pledge, we recognise that this Government, has shown more wisdom and greater courage than the late Government in introducing this Bill at the earliest possible moment. I am glad also to acknowledge the fact that the pledge given in 1917 was endorsed by the House last year, and that we have had, as shown by the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), a national decision upon this question. It ought to lead generally to its acceptance by the House, while I believe such will be the case all over the country. This Measure is giving effect to what is the real desire of the people of this country upon this important question. Speaking as a representative of a constituency in Scotland, I submit that there is a very strong body of opinion amongst all sections of the community in favour of this Bill. Some of my hon. Friends on the Labour benches have put the point of view of the consumer, and have done so very well, although the remarks of the hon. Member who spoke last from those benches rather suggested to me that his opposition to the Measure was based on somewhat of a misapprehension as to what its effects would be on the supply of food and on the question of employment. I will refer to those points later on.
There are three main grounds on which this Measure will commend itself, not only to the House, but to the whole country. The first is that we shall have at last fulfilled the very definite and categorical pledge to the Dominion of Canada, and have removed the undeserved stigma which has for many years rested upon Canadian cattle. In the second place, we shall have given effect to what is the undoubted desire of the great body of consumers all over the country, in securing by this Measure a larger supply of food and a better supply of milk, both of which facts were conclusively proved in the evidence 2098 taken by the Finlay Commission. At the same time—I think this is not the least important—we shall be able to take a step forward in the direction of scientific agriculture. That was set forth very clearly in the Report of the Finlay Commission, one of the conclusions being that the admission of Canadian stores was—advisable, as providing another source for supply of stores for the purpose of scientific agriculture, with a consequent increase of the food supply.In Scotland we have had, not an altogether unanimous, but a very, very strong expression of opinion in support of the removal of the embargo. We have had almost all our large Scottish boroughs coming into the field and expressing their views in favour of this policy. The Scottish Chamber of Commerce, the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture and the Scottish Board of Agriculture have also given their imprimatur to this policy, and have supported it by evidence given before the Royal Commission. In East Fife, which I have the honour to represent, there is a very strong consensus of opinion amongst all classes that this Measure is long overdue. I am glad to find that that view has also been clearly stated in the Report of the Finlay Commission, as affecting the large majority of those who are carrying on the farming industry in Scotland. The paragraph of the Report in question is as follows:In Scotland the large towns also advocate the admission of Canadian stores, and the great majority of the farmers in Scotland, as a rule, take the same side. There is a great deal of high farming of an intensive character in Scotland and most of the Scottish farmers regard the feeding of cattle as a necessary element in good farming, as they consume the root-crops, etc., and supply most valuable manure.The hon. Member who last spoke from the Labour benches seemed to have in his mind the idea that there would be less employment and less opportunity of developing the food supplies if this Measure were passed. I should like to give an illustration of the real effect of the introduction of an additional supply of Canadian stores on to the large farms. I refer to the evidence of the Chairman of the Scottish Board of Agriculture, given before the Finlay Commission. He said:Prior to 1892"—that was the date of the embargo, and it may be of interest to the House to know 2099 that the embargo was put on in consequence of the introduction of a Canadian cow, landed at Dundee off the "Huronia" and taken to Newburgh, in Fife, which was said to have been diseased. That case has never been proved to be a genuine one at all. The whole of this question of disease was built up on a huge fiction, which was proved to be absolutely false so far as Canadian cattle were concerned—in the county of Fife Canadian cattle were very largely fed and the rotation on those farms was a comparatively short one, that is to say, the area of grass was a comparatively small one and the area of arable crops was large. When it became difficult to get sufficient numbers of store cattle, those farmers were compelled to rear, or to breed and rear their own calves for fattening purposes. In order to do so it is necessary to reduce"—this is a point which my hon. Friend will, perhaps, follow—the area of cropped land and increase the area of grass land … The net result after a few years was that the arable farm which previously had been producing almost the maximum amount of potatoes and grain was now producing very much less. There was still the same area statistically under cultivation, but that area included much more grass and considerably less potato, grain and turnip land than before, because the farmer had to supply himself with his own feeding cattle.If my hon. Friend will also examine the case of two arable farms of 300 acres, which are mentioned in one of the tables of the Royal Commission, he will find interesting matter. Let him take the case of one farm, which was worked for breeding stock on a six-course shift, half of it being in grass, and compare it with the other farm, having the same acreage of 300 acres, and a four-course shift, for fattening stock. My hon. Friend will find that in the case of the fattening stock farm, instead of the output being only 30 fat cattle per year, as it would have been in the six-shift course, it would be 110 fat cattle. The output of acres under grain, instead of 100 acres and 600 quarters, would be 150 acres producing 900 quarters. The output in potatoes, instead of being 25 acres producing 200 tons of potatoes, would be 37½ acres producing 300 tons. What is more important from his point of view is that, instead of three pairs of horses for the one farm, he would have had four pairs of horses, with a much larger amount of employment on the farm where the stock were being 2100 fattened. I hope I have made it clear that we are attempting not only to secure larger agricultural development throughout our land, but we shall be affording larger opportunities for employment on the soil itself. That has been proved, again and again, through the depopulation in those areas which have gone into grass where arable farming has been departed from under the conditions that there prevailed.
Under this Bill provision is made for the selection of certain ports for the landing of Canadian store cattle. These are to be approved by the Minister of Agriculture himself, under Sub-section (2, c) of Clause 1 of the Bill. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what is in his mind regarding the working out of the code, so far as the ports are concerned; whether provision will be made for the landing of these cattle along the coasts of Scotland, east as well as west; whether the ports of Aberdeen and Dundee will be made available for that purpose; and whether opportunity will be afforded for cattle to be landed at other different points so as to be as near as possible to the markets?
§ Sir R. SANDERS
There is no disposition to put any difficulty in the way of landing cattle at any port where proper facilities are provided.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reply. I assume, accordingly, that any port which is able to provide the necessary facilities will be approved by the Board.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
There are ports which are already provided with those facilities which are desirable, and which on previous occasions were used for that purpose. With regard to the authorised markets, I understand from the Bill that these are to be authorised in writing by the local authority of the district. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to indicate whether it is his intention that the local authorities shall be the sole authority for providing markets in their immediate districts for the cattle which are landed at each port? In connection with the sale of Irish stores, there was considerable difficulty in getting an arrangement to secure the sale of those stores at various markets throughout the 2101 country. In Scotland, there was some difficulty in getting approved markets for that purpose. I do not know whether the Department will have an opportunity of consulting with the local authorities so as to secure that the markets shall be sufficiently well spread to meet the requirements of each district.
There is one other point I wish to put, with regard to the landing of breeding stock from Canada. I take it that it is the intention of the Minister of Agriculture to ensure that the test which is to be set up under this provision will permit of the landing of a large quantity of healthy breeding stock for the milking herds of this country. Those who have opposed this Bill on the ground of the danger of disease fail to recognise that there is at the present moment a vast amount of tubercular disease amongst our milking stock, and that before the embargo of 1892 large numbers of very healthy Canadian cows were coming in. In Scotland, in 1890, we had something like 9,326 cows brought in, which greatly improved the milk supply of the country. I sincerely hope that under this provision it will be possible to secure the entry of large numbers of healthy stock, which will have the result not of increasing the price of milk, as my hon. Friend below suggested, but of substantially reducing its cost, if wt can have a sufficiently good milking stock provided throughout the whole of the country.
I trust that this Bill will receive the assent of every quarter in the House, and that the answer which was made to our Irish friends by the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), which struck me as a very clear and very useful statement as to the views of the Committee of which he was acting as Chairman, will be sufficient to dissolve their doubts and meet their difficulties. There may be certain points to be raised in Committee which I trust will not be of a seriously controversial character, but I desire to give this Bill my warmest support, representing as I do a division in Scotland in which a great deal of interest has been taken in it. I wish, also, to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on being able to present this Bill at so early a stage.
§ Sir K. FRASER
I speak as a very strong Conservative, representing an agricultural district in Leicestershire. In 2102 this Bill there are one or two points to which I wish to draw attention, because I do not think they have yet been sufficiently emphasised. We have been led to believe that the Canadians are most anxious to send their cattle to this country, and it is suggested that the passage of the Bill will tend to closer union between the Dominion of Canada and this country. We have been told that cock and bull story. Surely we do not believe that the whole of the Canadian people are breeding cattle. There are vast numbers of people in Canada who do not breed cattle, and the question of Canadian cattle exports to this country is a party question in Canada. We know that there have been bargains made and pledges given, over which this House has no control whatever. My opinion is that this House is being over-ridden. In the last Parliament the Government was able to over-ride its supporters. That Parliament was too lop-sided. During the War Ministers had been allowed to carry on without interference and to make the best of things, and it was not the duty of ordinary Members of this House to interfere. In the last Parliament Ministers again took charge and over-rode the House. I would tell the Front Bench—there are many young men on it—that it is a different line of country they have to face. They cannot over-ride private Members in this Parliament. If the Government try to treat Members of the agricultural group with contumely I assure them that they will soon be on the pavement. I hope they will forgive me for saying so. I regret very much that the Government has not seriously taken to heart the interests of the agricultural industry. Our first duty is to look after those interests.
I wonder how many Members understand this Bill. In the last Parliament there was a Debate on this subject, but only two Members who represented agricultural constituencies were called upon to speak. One was Sir Arthur Boscawen and the other the right hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Pretyman). Do hon Members know that by passing this Bill they will be permitting the import of cattle from every part of our Dominions? What are the safeguards? Three days for the cattle at the port of embarkation, and when they land in this country six days at the port of arrival. It is unreasonable. The first 2103 Act that this Parliament, a Conservative Government, is to pass is to be an Act for destroying cattle breeding in this country. Is that realised by hon. Members? Is it realised by the Government? The blame cannot be put on the late Prime Minister. The present Government is responsible and it must face the music. Suppose we have rinderpest introduced into this country. Who will be to blame? This Conservative Government. I do not suppose many hon. Members realise what rinderpest is. I came across it in 1895. It started in South Africa, a long way north of the Zambesi. I never met anyone in South Africa who could tell me from where it came, except that it was somewhere far north of the Zambesi. The disease spread southward. I came across it in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and elsewhere. It killed 90 per cent, of cloven-hoofed animals in South Africa and continued for some years. By the time it got to Basutoland, Zululand and Natal, you could tell to a nicety when the disease was coming to your district. It marched at the rate of 10 or 12 miles a day. The Governments of Zululand, Basutoland and Natal took the matter in hand and invented a serum. I asked the House to think seriously about letting the Dominions' cattle into this country. I have heard it often said that there is no disease in Canada and that there has not been disease in Canada for many years. Yet 40 or 50 years ago buffaloes died in Canada by the thousand. We know the cock-and-bull story we were told about it.
§ Sir K. FRASER
I am talking about cattle disease in Canada, where buffaloes died by the thousand. They were not shot by hunters or speared by Red Indians. There may be cattle disease again in Canada, and our duty is to protect our agricultural industry as far as we can. It may be right to pass the Second Reading of this Bill, although I shall vote against it; but let us fight it for all we are worth on the Committee stage, and if we do not spoil their pitch I am a Dutchman.
§ Mr. ERNEST EVANS
I am sure the House listened with great interest to 2104 the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend who has just sat down, and realises the sincerity and strength of his convictions on the subject. I confess I feel rather like him with regard to the Second Reading of this Bill. This is a new Parliament, differing from the Parliament which passed the Resolution last Session. I suppose, strictly speaking, we are entitled to act irrespective of that Resolution, but on the other hand, I feel that, whereas all things may be lawful to us, all things are not expedient. We must agree that the Government was entitled, after that expression of opinion, to enter into an agreement with the representatives of the Dominion of Canada. That, however, does not commit us to the details of the agreement which was arrived at, and there are many details of that agreement as embodied in this Bill to which I, in common with many other hon. Members, must in the Committee stage take great exception. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), with greater ability than I can pretend to, raised a matter to which I had intended to draw the attention of the Minister of Agriculture. Clause 1 of the Bill, which, in effect, removes the embargo, sets out the Regulations under which store cattle may be admitted. They are very detailed Regulations dealing with a very large variety of circumstances. In Clause 2 of the Bill, the Minister takes power to repeal, by Order, practically the whole of the conditions which are contained in Clause 1, providing that it seems desirable to him at any time to do so. That applies to the store cattle which are dealt with particularly in Clause 1, and in regard to which all the Regulations suggested in Clause 1 are to apply. In Clause 1 you lay down Regulations and in Clause 2 you take power to repeal every one of the Regulations, on the strength of which you are asking us to approve the removal of the embargo.
There is another matter on which we are not committed by what was done last Session. The Resolution did not commit us to approve of this Bill in this Session. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any undertaking was given by the Government to the representatives of the Dominion of Canada that this matter would be dealt with in this Session. If such an undertaking were given, it would 2105 have been proper for the Government to have made reference to it in His Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne, in order that we might have had an opportunity of considering it. If no such undertaking were given, then why all this hurry? Why is it that the right hon. Gentleman himself who, if I remember aright, went into the same Lobby as many of us last Session and showed by his vote, that he considered the removal of the embargo to be injurious to the agricultural industry, has now come to the conclusion that its removal is a matter of immediate and imperative importance, which we are committed to carry out in this Session. This is a Session which the Prime Minister himself repeatedly said was to be a Session called specially for the purpose of dealing with Irish questions only. Another query is this: Apart from the conference which was held with the representatives of the Dominion of Canada, has any conference been held with, or has any opinion been invited from either Northern Ireland or Southern Ireland, or any one of the other Dominions? Ireland and the other Dominions are included in the Bill. We are entitled to inquire into these matters in view of the fact that the Prime Minister has repeatedly resisted invitations and appeals for opportunities for the discussion of different subjects during this Session on the ground that it was called entirely for the purpose of dealing with Ireland. Why is the Government treating as an immediate and urgent matter this Bill which, even if it does pass this Session, will not come into operation for some months, and could very easily be put off until next Session?
There is no doubt that the industry of agriculture has been looking forward to the reassembling of Parliament, in the hope that it might furnish the present Government with an opportunity for declaring a policy on agriculture. We have not had that policy declared. I am not making any grievance of that. I believe in the attitude taken up by several hon. Members on Tuesday last, that this is such a large question that the Government ought to have an opportunity of inquiring into it and considering it. There is no doubt, however, that agriculturists were looking forward to receiving a message of hope, and apparently the Government has said, "We cannot declare any great policy with 2106 regard to agriculture, but we must do something which will affect agriculture; and so we will introduce this Bill which will affect it, or rather which will disaffect it even more than it is disaffected at the present time." I do not enter into the merits of the Bill any further. The Act of 1894 was not a Protective Measure. It was designed to safeguard the health of our herds and flocks, and it is from that point of view that I continue to oppose the removal of the embargo. There is one other ground. The introduction of this Bill in this Session will, I am perfectly convinced, add to the feeling of insecurity, and emphasise that lack of confidence in the Government, which farmers and labourers as well as landowners are today experiencing in a very large degree. I beg of the Government that having taken the sense of the House upon the principle of this Bill, they will postpone the consideration of its detailed application until next Session. They will only get this Bill through, I am afraid, by forcing the closure, or at any rate by limiting discussion, and when you are dealing with such a large question which so directly affects our greatest industry, the House ought to have time to consider it properly.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
Dundee has taken a prominent places in the advocacy of this Measure. During the Election an announcement was made on the hoardings asking the people tovote for the man who smashed the cattle embargo.I am not that man. In Dundee, however, very active and energetic efforts have been put forward by the Butchers' Association, to which reference has been made in the course of the discussion to day. It has been suggested from the other side of the House that there will not be any real, substantial reduction in the price of meat unless the butchers themselves make an allowance, and that this is only brought forward in order to put a face on the Measure which they are advocating. Permit me to suggest, on behalf of the butchers of Scotland, that they do not make special claims to act as a philanthropic agency. They are convinced, however, that real and substantial benefits will arise from the carrying through of this Measure. An hon. Member on the other side told us that this Measure has been rushed. It 2107 has been altogether the other way, and there is no ground for any further dilly dallying. This matter has been agitated for years. The real truth is that the elements in opposition to the proposal had such a grip upon our Government in days gone by that we in Scotland have been practically ignored as though we were of no consequence at all and of no importance. But the demand has grown to such an effective point that an important member of the late Government, in recent days was brought to face the fact that it would be a factor in his election. The momentum of that demand has been increasing not only in the industrial constituency of Dundee itself, but also in the neighbouring counties of Forfarshire and Fifeshire, on behalf of which hon. Members have already spoken. The strength of Scotland is with us in this matter.
It has been suggested, even on this side of the House, that the question of cruelty arises. Surely we are now past the stage of being unable to grapple with difficulties of that kind. We have made some substantial improvement in the treatment of passengers on our great liners, and at the same time something has been done to meet the requirements of the trade we are now discussing. An hon. Member has asked that we should be relieved of the influence of the Whips in voting on this matter. That was done some time ago with a result that was significant, not only as regards this question, but many another urgent question. That result proved that if individual Members of the House were enabled to express their own individual minds and consciences, and vote accordingly, we should have a much more ready settlement of some of our great national questions. A suggestion has also been made as to the conflict that arises and the friction that is undoubtedly created by the factors operating under our present system. One can scarcely make a move on any great issue of this kind, without finding that on one side of the House or the other expression is given to the fact that we are cutting in upon some particular interest. At once there arises in the mind of every Member the idea that it is being done for a selfish motive.
The truth is, that this is caused by the very system upon which we are working 2108 to-day. There has been no discussion since this House met on great Imperial questions and great international issues; there has been scarcely a question put upon the Paper and answered by a Minister, but pointed to the anomalous position in which we are placed. Men in this business or in that, are endeavouring to cut in upon their fellow men, and the more effectually a man can cut out his neighbour, the more appreciation is given to him as an excellent and thoroughly qualified business man. To such an extent has this grown under our present sytem that it becomes an inducement to men to drive what they call "business," so far, that they become unscrupulous, and eventually even Members of this House have to enter another house which is termed the house of correction. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The time is very limited, and I do not quite see the connection of the hon. Member's remarks with the question of Canadian cattle.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
So much reference has been made to the fact that we are cutting in upon the agricultural industry, that I am anxious to point out that on any issue you like to take, under our present system, you have to face that objection if there is some particular interest that is affected. The English farming interests have shown that very clearly, and they have stuck rigidly to their position, and now we are hearing it said that we are rushing it through, although there has been this long delay. The Government are endeavouring to adhere to a bond which the general membership of this House in a former Parliament agreed upon, and for them to alter now would be one of the most forcible indictments that could be made against them. Therefore, we have great satisfaction in backing the Government in carrying through this Measure.
§ Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
May I claim the indulgence of the House in addressing it for the first time? As a farmer myself and a breeder of pedigree stock, I think this Bill does not really contain the safeguards to which we are entitled. There is no doubt that what we have got to do is to carry out the pledge, given by the House in the last Parliament, to Canada in the Debate on the Canadian cattle embargo, but there was another pledge given by the 2109 late Prime Minister three days before that Debate, which was to the effect that we should have adequate protection for our pedigree stocks and herds. The right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) on that occasion asked if the Government would take care that the most stringent precautions were taken to ensure that cattle disease should not be imported into this country, and the late Prime Minister answered "Yes." It is from that point of view that I want to look at this Bill. May I call the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to Clause 2, to which attention has already been called by the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), although to a different matter, to the provision that female cattle can be allowed into this country after one month's inspection before shipment. The previous Regulation was that at least four months before shipment there should be proper inspection. I want to know why if a few months ago this Regulation was not considered sufficient to keep out disease from this country it is altered to one month by this Bill?
The risk of disease, to my mind, is more in the nature of that which may affect our milk herds than anything else. Epizootic abortion has been referred to, and it is a very serious risk, I believe, in Canada. The president of the South African Shorthorn Society told me three months ago that he could not understand our allowing cattle in from any other country, because it would spoil their South African market. They always came here to buy their cattle, and he had been in Canada, and he knew this epizootic abortion, which, unless it is very carefully guarded against in the Regulations for breeding cattle, may do more to damage the breeding industry in this country than anything else. I hope hon. Members will remember that the breeding of this pedigree stock is not the rich man's monopoly. The best class of farmer in this country find it their sheet-anchor as well, and it is the best thing for the agriculture of this country that they should give so much time and money to their pedigree stock. Let me remind hon. Members of the Labour party that the agricultural worker has not got very much to look forward to at the present moment, and that your best agricultural labourers are the men who make your stockmen. Your stockmen are men whose brains and work are 2110 largely responsible for that wonderful pedigree cattle that we have, and if you do anything to affect the breeding industry of this country, one of the few good jobs that there is for the agricultural labourer will be taken away, which would be more serious even than the loss of the herds to the richer owners.
There is one other point I want to suggest to the Minister. There is no doubt that these quarantine Regulations are going to make it more expensive for Ireland—the Irish Free State and Ulster—to put stores on our market. That must mean an increase in the price. Of course, when the Canadians talked of this embargo last year, our fat cattle were selling at £40; at the present day at Smith-field they are selling for £10 less. It would suit them very well to knock out the Irish market. I do not want to impute these motives to them, but I think we have representatives from Ireland equally with representatives from Canada who should have been consulted, and I would point out to hon. Members of this House that if you ruin the Irish market, Canada or no Canada, the price of meat is bound to go up. One thing finally I wish to point out, and that is the great cruelty to these stores that come here from Canada. One hon. Member said there was cruelty in the journey from Ireland to here. Of course, there is. When it is going to be for human use, unavoidable cruelty must be allowed, but there is a very great difference between cattle coming from Ireland to Bristol and cattle coming on a voyage of six, eight, or fourteen days over the rough ocean, and the ships that carry that cattle are not properly equipped for these animals, as an hon. Member speaking from the Labour benches has stated. A good deal of expense will, therefore, have to be undertaken if Canada and ourselves are not going to be guilty of the most horrible cruelty. I hope very much that the Government will look very carefully into the details of this Bill, and allow a great many Amendments in Committee, because I am quite sure that, though it may be, as it is, fulfilling our pledge to Canada, it is not fulfilling the other promise of the late Prime Minister that we should properly safeguard our stocks and herds in this country.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I had hoped we might be able to avoid putting the House to the trouble of a Division, especially 2111 when the time has been so limited as it has been upon this Bill, but really I find that the feeling on this question in Ireland is so strong—and in all parts of Ireland, in the North as well as in the South—that we would have been regarded by our fellow countrymen as wanting in the expression of their feelings if we did not put the House to a Division on this question. I have listened to nearly all this Debate, and, if I may be allowed to say so, it has been a most interesting and illuminating Debate, as nearly every speaker has had an intimate knowledge of the subject. I have no knowledge at all of the subject. I know nothing whatever about agriculture, but I weighed up the arguments as I heard them, and the speech which I thought was the most powerful defence of the Bill was, if I may be permitted to say so, that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman). It was a most lucid exposition of the case—I am sure without any prejudice to the Irish cattle trade or people—and I take that as the defence of the Bill which any opponent of it has seriously to answer. In the first place, I think the House does not require any words from me to get them to realise the vast importance to Ireland and to England of the Irish cattle trade. In the year 1920, I believe, it went up to the great figure of £50,000,000. Anything which interferes with a trade so vast as that must be fraught with very far-reaching consequences both to England and to Ireland, and for that reason I think this House is called upon to give the most serious consideration to any objections to such legislation that are made by Ireland as a whole; for it is a remarkable fact—it is not because we are wanting to get any money out of the British Treasury; we only want to get the money of the British buyer for our good cattle, which is a perfectly legitimate desire, and quite as legitimate as the desire of the Canadians to get our British money—that you have the rather rare phenomenon of the Members of the Six Counties, and the few Members who are left, one of them from the Six Counties, and I from an English constituency, to represent the Irish feeling, all equally hostile to some portions of this Measure, and I would put it to the House, especially at this particular epoch in the relations of the two 2112 countries, that it is rather a serious thing to pass legislation dealing with the most important industry in Ireland in opposition to the united opinion of a united Ireland. I think that is a fair point of view. I will deal with the answer of my right hon. Friend with regard to the six days' detention. He described it as not costing a penny to the Irish cattlemen.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
May I correct that? I said that where the animal was sold in a market to a grazier who was intending to keep it, it would not cost a penny, but where it was not sold and was sent to another market there would be some expense.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I will not put it that my right hon. Friend is bogging the question, but that is the whole question. It is quite true that if the cattle be sold at once to a farmer who can take it away immediately to his farm, and who has to subject himself to the six days' detention, then, of course, it is the farmer who buys, and not the Irish cattle dealer who sells, who has to pay what expenses there are incurred by the detention, but, as I say, that is begging the question. In the first place, the Irish cattle dealer may not find a purchaser in the market, or he may find several offers in a particular market which are not as good as the offers which he expects to get in another market, and this detention, therefore, imposes upon the Irish cattle importer the necessity, practically, of taking the price which is offered him in the first market, without the competition and the chances of the other market. I think that certainly limits the market of the Irish cattle farmer and, by so doing, limits his chance of a better price. I consider that a very serious handicap upon the sale of the Irish cattle. Therefore, I must insist that when we come to the Committee stage we shall not only have a full opportunity of debating this feature of the Bill which most affects our interests, but I hope we shall find the Government in a reasonable frame of mind, and I am sure that even hon. Members who have spoken in favour of this Bill on its general principle will be quite ready to discuss the question of Ireland. So far as the general principle of the Bill is concerned, I myself on a previous occasion have found myself unable to vote against it, but I cannot 2113 reconcile it to my principles to support any Measure which may, directly or indirectly, have any possibility or probability at least of raising the price of the food of the people. That, however, is not the case that I am taking in voting against this Bill.
I am voting against the Bill because I think it lacks consideration for Ireland. I do not want to labour this point, but I do think it right to mention that there is a strong feeling in Southern Ireland—I do not know how far it is shared by Northern Ireland—that the legislation which follows the first day of the creation of the Irish Free State is out of sympathy with the letter and spirit of the Treaty between the two countries. The reason is this. The fundamental basis of the commercial relations between Ireland and England under this Treat is absolute Free Trade between the two countries, a thing which, I think, as necessary for Ireland as it is for England, and as necessary for England as it is for Ireland. I have never seen anything but disaster to Ireland in any tariff that would divide the markets of England and Ireland. Having made that Treaty in the hope of absolute Free Trade between this country and the markets of Ireland, they do feel a little bitterly that almost the first Measure after the Treaty has been carried into force should be one which, in their view, is a direct attack upon the Free Trade relations of England and Ireland. For these reasons, my hon. Friends and myself are compelled to register our vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]—I hope the House will give me a hearing for a few minutes. I have been asked to put the last two or three points on behalf of the Labour party, and I am sure the House, from that point of view, will give me an opportunity. The matter now before the House has, I suggest, been discussed almost ad nauseam for over 20 years. The hon. and gallant Member for Cardigan (Captain E. Evans) has pleaded again for delay. I would remind the House that in 1917 it was stated definitely, on behalf of the Government, that there was no reason at all why the embargo should not be removed, except for the lack of shipping. The hon. and gallant Member, however, is still pleading 2114 for delay, because he says the matter still requires further consideration. The House has considered this question again and again. He himself put the case as cleverly and with as much force as anyone could have put it, when the House discussed the question last July, and from that point of view I do hope the Government are not going to be influenced by the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman to revert once again to that policy of delay which has so aggravated the position between this country and the Dominion of Canada on this question during the last 20 years. While one has always the very greatest respect for the opinions of the hon. Member who is the Father of this House, I do think that he has not met the points which have been placed before the House by the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman). Those of us who have been interested in dealing with the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the last 12 months know—and I speak for 4,500,000 co-operators—that there is no comparison in the matter of increased cost to the consumer and to the taxpayer by the expense involved in stamping out that outbreak, and the possible increased cost to the consumer by reason of the expense of detaining these cattle for six or seven days.
Another point with which I want to deal is the point raised by my hon. Friend here, who was careful to say that he did not speak for his party, and who stated the case very nicely with regard to the humanitarian point, of view, namely, the suffering of animals in crossing the Atlantic. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who made a maiden speech also referred to it. Surely it is not suggested even by opponents of the removal of the embargo that we should exclude altogether the importation into this country of fat cattle, and yet there can be no question that those beasts which suffer most on sea voyages are not store cattle but fat cattle. We have never heard it suggested by those who raised the question that we should put a restriction on the slaughter of animals at ports because we were put off for years with the plea that there would be no shortage of meat because we could have as many beasts as we liked for slaughter at ports, although no beasts suffer like those which are sent over already fattened for slaughter. The hon. and gallant Member 2115 also referred to the breeders' position on this matter. I wonder whether the breeders have considered that Canada is really their best friend and their best customer. In one of the greatest periods of depression in the sales of pedigree stock this year that has been borne out perhaps more than ever before. Those Members of the House who know something about the markets in which pedigree stock are sold will know that the Duthie, Aberdeen, Durno and Balcairn sales were amongst the most important of all our pedigree stock sales, and they are aware that this year the only purchases worth talking about at those sales have been made by Canadian pedigree breeders. They have come over here and been the best customers to the breeders of this country. In one boat alone in the last month or so we sent over sea at least 100 pedigree cattle consigned to Canadian purchasers. The very fact of the removal of the embargo with regard to store cattle is going to give a great fillip to the breeding industry in regard to pedigree stock, because it will assist Canada in developing their grazing and pedigree stock.
With regard to the position taken up by the breeding industry, it is very sensitive indeed when, because of outbreaks of disease in this country, embargoes are placed upon their export of pedigree stock to other countries. Those hon. Members who are connected with the pedigree stock-breeding industry know they protested roundly when an embargo was placed upon their products by Uruguay, the Argentine and other places, and that as soon as there was a clean bill of health
§ from foot-and-mouth disease, pressure was immediately brought to bear on those countries to raise the embargo at once. We say that with regard to Canadian stock, there has not been one tittle of evidence, one bit of truth, in support of the case for the exclusion of Canadian cattle during the whole period of 30 years.
§ It has been somewhat amazing to us who have fought this question again and again, that in considering a Bill of this kind—and I want to congratulate the Government upon this really honourable attempt to fulfil a pledge given by the Government, not only during the War, but inferred by the decision of this House—all these questions are raised again. As I say, surely this matter has now been discussed ad nauseam in this House, and the only thing with which the Government ought to be concerned at this moment is as to whether they are introducing a Bill of such Clauses that its administrative provisions will be really workable, and provide sufficient safeguards, and all that can be properly considered in Committee.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Bonar Law)
I only wish to remind the hon. Gentleman that a pledge was given on behalf of the whole House, and all the time I have been in the House that pledge has never been broken. I am sure my hon. Friend will realise that.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 379; Noes, 27.2119
|Division No. 23.]||AYES.||[8.12 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Bean, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Buchanan. G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Buckle, J.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Berry, Sir George||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Betterton, Henry B.||Burgess, s.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Apsley, Lord||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)|
|Archer-shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Blundell, F. N.||Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)|
|Astbury, Lieut. Com. Frederick W.||Bonwick, A.||Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Astor, Viscountess||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Button, H. S.|
|Attlee, C. R.||Brass, Captain W.||Buxton, Charles (Accrington)|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cadogan, Major Edward|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briggs, Harold||Caine, Gordon Hall|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cairns, John|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Bromfield, William||Cape, Thomas|
|Barnes, A.||Brotherton, J.||Cassels, J. D.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Batey, Joseph||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Becker, Harry||Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Bruford, R.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Bruton, Sir James||Chamberlain, Rt. Hen. N. (Ladywood)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Harney, E. A.||Molson, Major John Eisdale|
|Chapple, W. A.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hastings, Patrick||Morden, Col. W. Grant|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Hawke, John Anthony||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Morel, E. D.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Morris, Harold|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Hayday, Arthur||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hemmerde, E. G.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Mosley, Oswald|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Muir, John W.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hennessy. Major J. R. G.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Collins, Pat (Walsall)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Murnin, H.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Herriotts, J.||Nesbitt, J. C.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hill, A.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Crooke, J. S. (Deritend)||Hillary, A. E.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hirst, G. H.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Nichol, Robert|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hogge, James Myles||Oliver, George Harold|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Paget, T. G.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Paling, W.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Houston, Sir Robert Patterson||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Duncan, C.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Dunnico, H.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Percy, Lord Eustace. (Hastings)|
|Du Pre. Colonel William Baring||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Hunter-Weston, Lt-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Edmonds, G.||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Peebles, N.)||Philipson, H. H.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Ednam, Viscount||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Potts, John S.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Elvedon, Viscount||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Jeohcott, A. R.||Price, E. G.|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Johnson, Sir L. (Waithamstow, E.)||Privett, F. J.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Raine, W.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Janes, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Falconer, J.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Richards, R.|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Riley, Ben|
|Foot, Isaac||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Ritson, J.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||Kenyon, Barnet||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Kirkwood, D.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Furness, G. J.||Lamb, J. Q.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lansbury, George||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Gardiner, James||Lawson, John James||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Gates, Percy||Leach, W.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lee, F.||Saklatvala, S.|
|Gould, James C||Linfield, F. C.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Lorden, John William||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Lowth, T.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Greaves-Lord, Walter||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Sandon, Lord|
|Greenall, T.||Lumley, L. R.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Lunn, William||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||M'Entee, V. L.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||McLaren, Andrew||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Singleton, J. E.|
|Groves, T.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||March, S.||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Margesson, H. D. R.||Snell, Harry|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Snowden, Philip|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mathew, C. J.||Stanley, Lord|
|Hall, Rr-Admi Sir W. (LIv'p'l,W.D'by)||Maxton, James||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Halstead, Major D.||Middleton, G.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Millar, J. D.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hancock, John George||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Stewart. J. (St. Rollox)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wignall, James|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.||Waring, Major Walter||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Sullivan, J.||Warne, G. H.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)||Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Thomson, Luke (Sunderland)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Windsor, Viscount|
|Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)||Wintertnn, Earl|
|Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.||Wise, Frederick|
|Thome, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Weir, L. M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Wells, S. R.||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Tillett, Benjamin||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill-(High Peak)|
|Tout, W. J.||Westwood, J.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Trevelyan, C. P.||Wheatley, J.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Tubbs, S. W.||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Turton, Edmund Russborough||White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Wallace, Captain E.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)||Whiteley, W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Colonel Gibbs and Major Barnston.|
|Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South)||M'Connell, Thomas E.||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sinclair, Sir A.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sparkes, H. W.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Hinds, John||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Peto, Basil E.||Thornton, M.|
|Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Sllvertown)||Remer, J. R.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Remnant, Sir James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lorimer, H. D.||Rothschild, Lionel de||Mr. Harbison and Lt.-Colonel Sir|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[Sir B. Sanders.]