HC Deb 11 December 1922 vol 159 cc2517-38

The Minister may, notwithstanding anything in the principal Act, by Order authorise animals from any British Dominion other than, the Dominion of Canada to be landed in Great Britain without being subject to the provisions of Part I of the Third Schedule to, the principal Act, if the animals are landed in accordance with such conditions, to be prescribed in the Order and not being less stringent than those applicable in the case of Canadian animals, as may, in the opinion of the Milliliter, lie necessary or expedient for preventing the introduction of disease into Great Britain:

Provided that the Minister shall not be required to include among the conditions aforesaid a provision requiring that he shall be satisfied that the vessel in which the animals are brought to Great Britain did not during the voyage enter any port or place outside Great Britain.


I beg to move at the end of the Clause to insert the words Provided also that the animals are not landed from the vessel at any port or place outside Great Britain during the voyage. I hope that this Amendment will be accepted by the Government. It is clear it is no good preventing a vessel calling at foreign ports if you are not going to prevent animals going ashore. The object of the Clause is to do away with any possibility of contamination on the voyage between the original port of departure and the port of arrival. The reason for the Clause is so obvious that I need say nothing more.


I am afraid I cannot accept this Amendment, because, in the view of the Government, it is wholly unnecessary. The object of the Amendment is to insert an express prohibition against the landing of any animals from any Dominion at any port on their way from the Dominions to this country. It is quite inconceivable, in the first place, that any Minister would put into any Order a provision that animals should land at an infectious place on the way, and, secondly, if any such provision were inserted then inasmuch as under Clause 8 an Order has to be submitted to both Houses and to lie on the Table for 21 days before it takes effect, it is quite inconceivable that either House will approve it. One could put in provisos of what Ministers shall not do almost ad infinitum, but I say it is unnecessary to put in the Clause any prohibition of the Minister doing a thing which he is not likely to have any intention of doing.


My Amendment is not to prevent the Minister allowing the animals to land, but to prevent the people in charge of the animals doing so.


I am afraid I have not made my point clear. Clause 4 provides that the Minister may by Order authorise animals from any British Dominion, other than Canada to be landed in Great Britain without being immediately slaughtered, provided that conditions are imposed which are to be prescribed in an Order which he shall make. The point I was making to the Committee was that it is quite impossible to suppose either that a Minister would issue or that either House would accept an Order which would allow animals landed en route from, say, either South Africa or Australia. It is not what the people in charge of the animals may do, but the point is that the Minister would not permit such a landing of animals coming to this country.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Captain ELLIOT

I desire to oppose this Clause. It is pushing the injury that is being done to British agriculture to an unparalleled extent to drag in a subject like this on a Bill such as we have now before us. In addition to everything else we have the declaration of the Minister here a few moments ago, and every word of his speech is in favour of the view which I am now expressing. He begged and prayed the Committee to protect him from the pressure of people who would wish alterations to be made in these restrictions, and he went on to say that the experience of the last ten days had shown that these restrictions as to the movement of cattle into Great Britain should be satutory and not administrative. Those were his own words; and now, only five minutes after, the Committee are asked to sweep away a great portion of the statutory defence of this country and to replace it by an administrative Order. The Minister said that he himself might have been able to stand against this pressure, but his successors might be more soft-hearted.

If we sweep away these restrictions of the Act of 1894, what happens? The learned Attorney-General has just used an argument with which we are familiar. He said, "We have no intention of doing it. The Minister does not want to do it, the other place does not want to do it, and we in the House of Commons do not want to do it." Then why is permission asked to do it? We have become in the House of Commons very suspicious when the Government come down and ask for permission to do something, on the ground that they have no intention whatever of carrying out the powers given to them. We know by experience that there is generally, as our friends across the water say, a nigger in the wood-pile in that case, and that, when the Government ask for permission to do something, it is with the object of carrying into effect the powers they have got. When, therefore, we find the Minister saying, as he said just now, that he does not want to do certain things, and that the Houses of Parliament do not wish to do certain things, I think we may say to ourselves that that is a very good reason why they should not have permission to do those things.

We are being asked here to do a thing which has never been broached in any of the discussions on this subject. We are being asked to authorise the importation of live cattle from countries other than Canada or Ireland. We have had a long discussion on the Canadian cattle embargo, and some of us opposed it, while others voted in favour of it; but there was never any question raised of the admission of live cattle from other parts of the world, and especially not from tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. The Government stands condemned out of their own mouths. I have here the White Paper which was presented to Parliament as Cmd. 1722, containing extracts from the proceedings of the Conference last year and a memorandum on the Report of the Royal Commission. The White Paper quotes paragraphs from page 7 of the Royal Commission's Report, as follows: Further, the inquiry for nil practical purposes must relate to cattle coming from Canada. It is with regard to Canadian cattle that the question has arisen, and it is to Canadian cattle that the evidence has been directed…no case for exemption from it"— that is to say, from the prohibition against importation— has been put forward except on behalf of Canada. It does not say that no case has been proved, but that no case has been brought forward. And then Ministers come down with this Bill, assuming a case which has not been put forward, let alone proved. The Report goes on to say: No such claim has, so far, been made except on behalf of Canada, and no such claim seems probable. I put it to the Committee that we are hound to consider very seriously such a claim on its merits. In the previous Debates the House Government had a very strong case. They sheltered themselves behind the thick walls of the interminable pages of the Blue Book, which I hold in my hand: and they there had proof, if proof could be brought forward by argument, that there was no danger to the flocks and herds of this country in bringing in live cattle from the great Dominion of Canada; but they have not one shred or tittle of evidence in favour of the importation of cattle from any other part of the world The great case that the Minister has made in this Debate is the case of urgency. On the Second Reading he said: 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. This is being done to meet the very strongly expressed wishes of the representatives of Canada. This is being done because one of our great Dominions is asking for it. It is for that reason, and that reason atone, that I am asking the House to consent to a degree of haste which I would join in deprecating on most occasions."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, "7th December, 1922; col. 2057, Vol. 159.] It seems pushing the Minister's case rather far to bring forward the argument of urgency. The Debate on the Second Heading was stopped at the dinner hour by a more or less Parliamentary bargain, not in any way to obstruct the passage of the Bill, and yet the argument of urgency, because Canada was asking for it, is now maintained to enable the Minister to sweep away the Act of 1894, so far as it concerns, not Canada, but the tropical and sub-tropical countries of South Africa and Australia.

Let us examine the record in regard to disease of those countries. It has been universally admitted that the importation of cattle into this country from tropical countries was highly inadvisable. A very strong case was made by the hon. Member for Market Harborough (Sir K. Fraser), who pointed out that the Bill would permit the importation of cattle, not merely from Canada, on which there had been a Commission, but from South Africa and Australia, on which there had been no Commission. The question was raised before the Royal Commission, but these technical details, which were thrashed out by a technical Commission in the case of Canadian cattle, have not been thrashed out at all in the case of South African and Australian cattle, and therefore these details, which were removed from the purview of the Debate in the House on these other matters, have now to be brought up on the Floor of the House of Commons, and it is very important that the Committee should realise the character of the risk to which it is exposing British flocks and herds by the passage of such a Clause as this. In the evidence on the general question of disease in South Africa, Professor Wallace, in his evidence before the Royal Commission on Imported Store Cattle, said: There are diseases in South Africa which cannot be determined in that number of weeks. There is coast fever and there is redwater fever, which remains in the blood for years, and there are other diseases which are not yet named that we know of, and to bring those in and quarantine them and then let them out in the ordinary way would be a great danger to the breeding herds of the country. Mr. Parker, a veterinary surgeon, who appeared on behalf of the City of New-castle-on-Tyne, asked if it was impossible to bring cattle from South Africa, said: I should never allow it from what I have seen in South Africa with regard to rinderpest. I think it is important that we should remember the grave dangers of disease that are paramount in this question. I seconded the Motion against the lifting of the embargo on Canadian cattle on the ground of disease. Whatever may be said with regard to the risk the flocks and herds of this country run in the case of disease from Canada, there can be no question as to the risks they run in the case of cattle from South Africa and Australia. There are other parts of the world. There is India. We know that pressure will immediately be brought upon this House and the Government, and we shall be asked: "Why exclude Indian cattle alone? You have brought in South African cattle and Australian cattle. Why should you not have Indian cattle also?" The same reply will be made by the Attorney-General or the Minister of Agriculture that they have raised on behalf of this Clause. They will say: "We cannot differentiate between one part of the Empire and another. If you bring in cattle from one Dominion you must bring in cattle from another Dominion." This is not a political question. This is a pathological question. There is great danger to agriculture in this country through the mixing up of politics and pathology. If the politicians will devote themselves to politics and the pathologists to investigating problems of disease we may get on faster. When one finds that the Government are making-this change solely because one Dominion might object because another Dominion has received some advantage, it is time for the representatives of British agriculture to make a stand.

We ought to have from the Minister of Agriculture some statement as to what steps he proposes to take to obviate the risk of disease from cattle from tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. We have, had statements in evidence, and we know Very well from our own knowledge, that there are many of these diseases which may lie in the blood of stock for months and years. What steps are we going to take to obviate the risks that are run? I will give one example of the financial cost of fighting a disease. The South African Estimates for the year ending 31st March, 1921, provided for a staff of 200 for east coast fever, and for an annual expenditure of £40,000 as a protection against that one disease. What steps does the Minister propose to take in the case of a disease such as that? I sat for nearly a year on a Committee considering the diseases of animals, and we had evidence that there was a loss from these diseases in South Africa alone of several million pounds a year. They are spending enormous sums in that country. They are spending on veterinary education and research, £123,000 a year and other enormous sums in grappling with these diseases, and it seems very ridiculous that we should be asked to run the risk, without any demand from South Africa, of these diseases being introduced in this country.

We know that India is full of disease of one kind or another. Although there is no proposal at the moment to bring cattle here from India, yet we have to remember that the South of Ireland was not a Dominion a year ago and is a, Dominion to-day, and nobody can say, even in these days of tranquillity, what changes may come about in regard to India in 12 months time. The official report says that no claim has been brought forward for the admission of cattle from other parts of the world except Canada, and those who wish to change the law have the onus of showing the reason why this change in the law should be made. There has not been any claim from South Africa, and there is certainly not a claim from this country. I do say that there is no urgency before the House. A matter of this importance should not be rushed through a few days before the end of an Autumn Session, but should be discussed on the Floor of the House in a full-dress Debate, after we have had a technical inquiry into the subject.


I feel very great diffidence in addressing the House for the first time in support of an Amendment against the Government, but I do feel on this question very strongly. I had no intention of speaking this Session, but, as an agriculturist who has been brought up with cattle all my life, I say-that this does affect the whole agricultural population very strongly. I feel very much that the Government are putting in this very wide Clause to give power to any Minister, whether he knows anything about agriculture or not, to do anything he likes according to his own opinions. This ideal is going back on the bargain that was made with the agriculturists of this country.

We know that Canada is extremely free from disease. That is so because of the very vigorous winters, through which animals affected with disease cannot live. But in South Africa we have the rinderpest, the red water fever, the red tick fever and other cattle diseases. These diseases attack, not only domestic cattle, but even wild animals which are indigenous to the soil. It is a well-known medical fact that when a new disease is introduced into a country where it has been unknown before it is far more deadly than any disease which has become stable in the country. We have only to take the case of such a harmless disease as measles, which, when it was introduced into the South Sea Islands, destroyed from 10 to 15 per cent, of the population in 18 months. If we are going to run the risk, which we are doing by giving these wide powers, which were never even contemplated when this Bill was introduced, of introducing into this country these tropical and sub-tropical diseases, the House will run the risk of destroying a unique industry, because these diseases are equally dangerous to the horse-breeding and cattle-breeding industry, the export trade in which, in proportion to its size, brings more money into this country than any other industry. Therefore I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the position which he has sprung upon the House and to allow this Amendment to go through, or else to give us a strong assurance that he will introduce safeguarding Regulations. It is not that I instruct him personally, but he has himself said on a previous Clause that we have no right to expose a Minister to the appalling pressure that might be brought to bear on him as an individual. Many of us know that pressure is sometimes brought to bear on us by constituents in regard to matters as to which we do not entirely agree. I have, as a certain ex- Minister has already done, experienced "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" on this very subject. We ought to protect not only the House, but the right hon. Gentleman who happens to represent agriculture in this country.


I make no complaint whatever at cither of my hon. and gallant Friends for bringing up this matter. It is eminently right that it should be brought up; but I am a little sorry that the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) should already have acquired so deep-rooted a suspicion of this Government. I feel that we have not quite deserved it at his hands yet. I think I can somewhat alleviate the quite proper anxiety which has been shown. I can quite positively assure both the hon. and gallant Members that the Minister has no intention of acting on these powers, and that it is a mistake to suppose, as both my hon. Friends seem to suppose, that the effect of this Clause is to give the Minister power, if he chooses, to let cattle or animals in from any Dominions at his own will, and subject to such Regulations as he may see fit to impose. The reason why the Clause is in the Bill is this: We are advised, and we believe it to be the fact, that if we were to pass an Act of Parliament which, in terms, referred only to cattle and animals from the Dominion of Canada, we would at once rouse a very great outburst of indignation and protest from the other Dominions, who would say that they were being unfairly treated in that they were not given any power, however free they might hereafter prove themselves to be from disease, to come in on the same terms as Canada.

Bet, in fact, this Clause does not give the Minister power to do anything at his will. What is to happen is that the Minister, first of all, has to prepare an Order, which by its terms must be at least as stringent as that applicable to Canada, and as may be sufficient necessary or expedient for preventing the introduction of disease into Great Britain—I need hardly say that any Minister would, of course, recognise the extreme importance of keeping out any form of tropical disease or anything of that kind—and when the Minister has drafted the Order, by the express language of Clause 8 that Order has to be submitted to each House of Parliament at a time when the Houses are sitting, and it has to remain on the Table of each House for 21 days before it can take effect, and if during that time either House objects no further proceedings can be taken on the Order. Every safeguard is provided, not only that the Minister shall not be subject to pressure, but, even if he should prove as frail as my hon. and gallant Friend seems to fear, this House and the other House remain to be satisfied. The only real reason for the introduction of this Clause, quite frankly, is that if we did not have it, we should cause considerable ill-feeling among the other Dominions. If we have it in, no harm is done to anybody, because it does not enable cattle or any animals to come from the other Dominions but gives power to the Minister, with the sanction of both Houses of Parliament, after due deliberation, to allow animals in, on terms which would prevent the possibility of any sort of disease. That is a power which is not in the least likely to be exercised at present. The only reason it is in the Bill is the one I have stated, that we must not legislate differently for Canada without having powers with regard to other places, and the only case in which it would be in the least likely to be applicable would be if it turned out hereafter there were one or two pedigree cattle of a very high quality which could safely be introduced, under proper supervision and with provisions as to quarantine, and the House may be asked to approve of their introduction. There is no intention of doing anything of the kind at present. I ask the Committee to leave the Clause in the Bill, accepting that assurance from us, despite the suspicions of my hon. and gallant friend.


I am afraid the distrust of the Government by the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) is likely to spread a little further, if this sort of thing goes on. I would press the Government to consider this question further. A large number of their supporters voted against the removal of the embargo in the last Parliament, but came back prepared to support the removal of the embargo with regard to Canada. No other Dominions had been mentioned. Now we are asked to agree to a Clause which practically extends the concession to every Dominion of the British Commonwealth. The defence put up by the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General seems to give away the case entirely. In the first place, although a new Member of this House, the right hon. Gentleman has experience which makes it perfectly hopeless for him to take up the innocent position, that the Minister has really no power, because he has to make an Order which will be on the Table of the House. We who have been in the House only a very short time know that is very little guarantee and that it practically gives the Minister powers which should be vested in Parliament. The case against applying to the other Dominions what we are asked to apply to Canada has never been answered by the Government, for the very simply reason that they must know perfectly well—their report has already been referred to—that the case cannot be answered. All they have definitely to depend upon are the two arguments used by the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General, one being the particular reason for which, he says, this Clause was put in, and the other being that the Clause is of no importance whatever, because it has to be carried out by an Order to be laid on the Table of the House. We are told if we pass this provision with regard to Canada and not with regard to the other Dominions that immediately pressure will be brought to bear and complaints made of the other Dominions not being treated fairly. Where, then, is the argument of the Attorney-General that this power is not likely to be exercised? If this Clause is to be inserted in order to allow the other Dominions to bring pressure upon the Government, the answer is that the pressure by the other Dominions should be brought upon Parliament and not upon a Minister of the Crown. As for as I am concerned, I think this is a treatment of their followers by the Government which, perhaps, one might not have been surprised at from the last Government, but which we hoped we should not receive from this Government.

I feel very strongly indeed that, in a case where supporters of the Government have loyally given way to their own opinions as a result of the discussion that took place and the Resolution that was carried in this House and in view of the determination to bring forward this Bill, which was put before the country at the time of the General Election, to ask us to vote for a Bill which includes practically the removal of the embargo, if the Minister of Agriculture be soft-hearted enough to act, with regard to every part of the British Dominions, is straining our loyalty too far. I hope my hon. and gallant Friend will press this matter to a division; if he does so I shall support him.


I certainly did not expect that many of the apprehensions to which I gave voice when we were discussing this matter last Session would be confirmed in so short a time. I am quite sure that is the view taken by very many hon. Members who were of the same mind as I was last Session. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) and I who had an opportunity of taking part in that discussion, based our objection to the removal of the embargo on the ground of health. The reply given to us immediately was, "Oh, but there is no disease in Canada, and therefore there is no danger of what you fear." When we ventured, in reply to that, to point out that as soon as we allowed cattle to come in from Canada a demand would be made that cattle should come from other places, we were told "Oh no, there are no other places where cattle can come from, and, in any case, even if there are such places, we are not disposed to allow cattle to come in from any other Dominion." Yet, to-night, the right hon. and learned Attorney-General uses precisely that argument. He says. "You are allowing cattle to come in from Canada, how can you possibly discriminate against another Dominion?' He says, "You are treating one Dominion quite differently from all the other Dominions." Yes, but the whole of this question last Session was discussed as one which affected one Dominion only. I would not mind venturing the suggestion that when this matter was first raised last Session there were only a comparatively small number of people in this House, and certainly a very small number of people outside who knew that the embargo applied, not merely to Canada, but to all countries outside Great Britain.

I should like to ask one or two questions. Has any request been directed to the Government by any Dominion other than Canada for the removal of the em- bargo? I think no such request has come. The second question, which I was going to ask, has perhaps already been answered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was whether there was any likelihood of these powers being used? He has said, "No. The Minister of Agriculture has no intention at all of using these powers." If the Minister has no intention of using these powers, why is it that he is so very anxious to have them included in the Bill? The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say that, even if the Minister of Agriculture had the intention, Clause 4 says that the conditions must not be less stringent than those applicable to Canada. The very proviso to the Clause, however, removes one of the most stringent conditions straight off, by saying that the condition applying to vessels bringing Canadian cattle shall not apply to vessels carrying cattle from any of the other Dominions. Then, the right hon. and learned Attorney-General says, "You can rely upon it that the Minister of Agriculture is not likely to use these powers unless there are very grave reasons for so doing." I have no doubt the Minister of Agriculture is very anxious to benefit the industry of agriculture to the greatest possible extent. It is possible that this Government may remain in power for four or five years, but it is possible, and particularly when we find the Attorney-General complaining of the distrust of one of his most loyal supporters in the first few days of the new Parliament, that this Government will not last four or five years, and even if the Government does last five years, it is possible that the present Minister of Agriculture may, like a predecessor, be promoted to another sphere, and the new Minister may not take the same view of this question as the present Minister does, yet in this Bill we are giving power to the present Minister and to his successors for all eternity—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"]—I withdraw the expression "for all eternity" and substitute "for many years"—to do things which the present Minister say3 he has no intention of doing. The learned Attorney-General says, "Even if the Minister goes wrong, you have got the provision that Draft Orders shall be laid on the Table of the House." The hon. Member for Watford (Mr. D. Herbert) has pointed out that that is really very illusive protection indeed, and unless the Minister can satisfy me that there is some substantial reason for including this Clause, and can remove some of the very substantial doubts which I feel as to its wisdom, I shall have to vote against the Clause.


I want to support the hon. and gallant Member for Lanarkshire (Captain Elliot), for two reasons. The first is that the House that decided this question of the Canadian cattle embargo decided it on a free Vote of the House, and they largely decided it on the merits of the case as submitted by the Royal Commission that went into the question. After all, you have to recognise that there are only a few men in the House of Commons who have really an intimate knowledge of agriculture; the large mass of the Members are neutral, and to a large extent they are dependent on advice from outside sources or from men who sat on a particular Committee. Therefore, that House voted, not for the removal of the embargo against India, not for the removal of the embargo on Australian cattle; they voted only for the removal of the embargo on Canada. The Attornel-General says: "All that we are asking for is that the other Colonies should get the same treatment as Canada." That is all that the hon. and gallant Member for Lanarkshire is asking, namely, that before any legislation of this kind is introduced a Commission ought to be set up to go into the question the same way as in regard to Canada. We are not asking for any different treatment for the other Colonies than has already been given to Canada, and I hope this House will insist on the same treatment being meted out to the other Colonies as has been meted out to Canada. I confess frankly that I know nothing about the merits of the case in regard to Australia or India, but I want to be quite sure, before I cast my vote, that I shall not hinder the development of agriculture or in any way endanger the bringing in of disease into this country, and I look for my advice from a neutral and well-informed authority in a similar way as we got it in the recent Commission that investigated the question of the Canadian embargo.


I do not know whether the Committee has looked at Clause 11 of the Bill, which goes much further than we have really hitherto thought. It says: His Majesty may, by Order-in-Council, declare that this Act shall apply to any territory which is under His Majesty's protection or in respect of which a mandate is being exercised by His Majesty. 11.0 P.M

That carries the thing very wide indeed, and I really think that the Government will be very well advised to reconsider this matter. I was going to ask the same question as was asked by the hon. Member for Cardigan (Captain E. Evans). Has there really been any demand on the part of any Dominions of the British Empire for the insertion of this Clause? I can hardly think that any Dominion would have asked for it, because it is so obvious that the conditions are entirely different from those in Canada. I agree with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). The thing really does not bear argument. It has not been supported by any argument, and I think it may be, perhaps, what one might charitably describe as a little bit of Imperial window-dressing. There is a form of window dressing which has recently been subjected to a very severe punishment. That is a very different form from this, but I do think that window-dressing is undesirable in any form, and I do not think any practical purpose will come out of this. I do hope, therefore, that the Government will reconsider it.


I am quite ready to listen to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman. Of course, this Clause is not vital to the main object of the Bill. I know that some representations have been made on behalf of Colonies that if this Bill were applied to Canada they might have the chance of coming in too. I do not know the details of these suggestions, and if the Committee will allow me to leave this Clause over to the Report, I will undertake to communicate with the Colonial Office, find out exactly what has passed between us and the Colonies, and, if I find that there is no really vital reason why the Clause should be, kept in, I will be quite ready to have it removed on Report.


Will not the right hon. Gentleman withdraw the Clause, go into the question between now and Report, and then, if necessary, reinstate the Clause on Report? It would be quite an easy thing to do. It would be far more satisfactory to the House. The public at large have dealt with this question as one between ourselves and Canada. I am quite certain that they have not realised the large application that would arise under this Clause if adopted. Therefore, I would appeal very strongly to the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw this Clause. He will have time between now and Report, even if it is to-morrow, to look up the Papers in his Ministry, and, if he finds that there is a strong demand from other parts of the Dominions of the Empire, I am quite sure the House will not stand in the way of that demand. On the other hand, if there is not that demand, we can treat the Bill, as we understood it, from the agricultural point of view, that this was a question between ourselves and Canada as regards the agreement come to after discussion in the House, when a majority carried the decision that we should admit store cattle, and, therefore, deal with it as a matter concerning ourselves and Canada only. I would appeal very strongly to the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw this Clause, and, if necessary, I am sure the House would give him the chance of re-introducing it on Report.


I am quite ready to do that.


It seems to me that this is giving way to clamour which is instigated by the Protectionist theorists. I cannot understand why, if the Board of Agriculture discovers that there is no risk in importing cattle from Australia or South Africa, they should be—[HON. MEMBEKS: "They have discovered it!"] It seems, to me that this Clause leaves the door open to exactly that restriction on the importation of cattle, store cattle, and breeding cattle that we urgently require here from the point of view, not particularly of the producer, but of the consumer. Those of us who stand for Free Trade, doctrines in this House must register our protest against the conception of this Bill as being one which is solely directed to the interests of the producers—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—whether they be in Canada or in this country. We want cheap cattle, cheap beef—the best we can get—and we should allow the greatest possible opportunity for opening our ports to imports from whatever country may be in a position to supply our wants.


I am surprised that the Minister of Agriculture should give way in this timid fashion to some of his disgruntled followers. It is positively amazing, I confess, and I cannot understand the reason of it. No case has been put up against the Government on this particular issue. It is perfectly true that one speech was delivered from these benches [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—and a very excellent speech it was.


On a point of Order. The Minister having consented to withdraw the Clause, is it in order to go on with this discussion?


The question has not yet been put.


I desire to express my own opinion as to the case presented. If we are going to object to the wide powers that can be exercised by the Minister arising from the provisions of the Bill, then equally we must take exception to many of the powers which are here. I submit, therefore, there is no case on that ground. With respect to the pathological aspect of the question, look at Clause 10 of the Bill. It gives the Minister power to provide for the application to imported animals of any test for disease or of any treatment for disease.

Captain ELLIOT

For many of the diseases there are no tests!


I admit in this matter the pathological knowledge of my hon. and gallant Friend, but there you are! I presume that if the Minister had any doubt or difficulty he would make a friend of my hon. and gallant Friend who, I understand, has very great and special knowledge of this particular question. I want to submit one additional point. The hon. Member for Lanark^ shire submitted—and if the approval of the three counted for anything, it was the strongest argument that could be presented—that this Bill applies, and was understood to apply originally, only to the importation of cattle from Canada. After all, you cannot apply the question to Canada without having regard to the importation of cattle from other parts of the world. You cannot disregard the claims of India, Australia or Africa. [An HON. MEMBER: "Or Mesopotamia."] I should never dream of suggesting Mesopotamia to hon. Gentlemen on these benches, having regard to the antecedents pf members of the Liberal party. I think these proposals should apply equally to Ireland and Australia. If the Bill was intended to apply to Canada only why was Ireland brought in? I ask the Minister of Agriculture to stand to his guns and not to be frightened or moved by a few disgruntled followers of the Government who do not know where they are. The right hon. Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Bonar Law) commenced his campaign by informing everybody that he did not know where he was and, naturally, we are not surprised that his followers should adopt the same attitude. The right hon. Gentleman should not have allowed that soft-heartedness of his to overcome his judgment. He is fortified by the Attorney-General whose legal mind will enable him to overcome the subtleties of the hon. Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot).


Captain Fitzroy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, divide!"] I have been listening to this Debate all the afternoon, whilst many hon. Members opposite who are shouting "Divide" have been in the smoke room.


I think the Committee is ready to proceed to a Division, and I do not suppose that the hon. Member has much to say.


Some of us here have sat right through this Debate when hon. Members opposite have not been sticking to their job. There is only one point I wish to bring forward. During the Debates in July last on the Motion for the removal of the embargo, it is very strange that the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) and the hon. and gallant Member for Cardigan (Captain E. Evans) were the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment for the rejection of the Motion for the removal of the embargo, and they stated again and again that if the embargo on Canadian cattle were removed you would get similar requests from other parts of the Empire. That was put up again and again as an argument against the removal of the embargo on Canadian cattle, and yet when the Government take their supporters at their word they are found fault with. They have fulfilled exactly in this Clause all that was said to be inevitable during the Debate in July. I hope the Minister of Agriculture will not be so unwise as to give way to the clamour of his supporters and that the Committee will oppose the withdrawal of the Clause.


There is something to be said in favour of this Clause. It will not apply to store cattle. They can only be taken overseas for a comparatively short distance. They cannot be brought from South Africa, or Australia or New Zealand. It would not pay to do it for the purpose of fattening them. But the provisions of this Clause would be useful if it is necessary in order to improve the breed of the stock in this country to import animals from distant Dominions, and we ought to have some such provision. The Minister of Agriculture says he knows of no demand from any other Dominions for facilities for importing animals into this country. I submit that there is a great demand. I have recently been on a tour through the

Dominions, and I know that in New Zealand there is a big agitation for facilities for exporting sheep and cattle from that Colony to this country. Frisian cattle in New Zealand are showing better results than in any other part of the world, and there is, therefore, a demand to export them to this country in order to improve our breeds. The Attorney-General told us that he was convinced that there is no risk of the dangers which hon. Members apparently apprehend from this Clause being passed, as the Rules or Regulations issued by the Minister would be no less stringent for the protection of animals in this country from disease than those applying to Canada, and an Order approved by the House of Commons and by the other House would be necessary before such a provision could come into force. I think the demand from the Dominions will be found to be very great. It ought to be conceded, and the danger will be negligible.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 98; Noes, 243.

Division No. 30.] AYES. [11.20 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hirst, G. H. Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hogge, James Myles Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Barnes, A. Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Royce, William Stapleton
Batey, Joseph Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Saklatvala, S.
Broad, F. A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Scrymgeour, E.
Brotherton, J. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Sexton, James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Shinwell, Emanuel
Buckle, J. Kirkwood, D. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Lansbury, George Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Cairns, John Lawson, John James Sitch, Charles H.
Chappie, W. A. Lee, F. Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Darbishire, C. W. Linfield, F. C. Snell, Harry
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lunn, William Spencer, George A. (Broxtewe)
Duncan, C. Mathew, C. J. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Dunnico, H. Maxton, James Stephen, Campbell
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Middleton, G. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Entwistle, Major C. F. Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Falconer, J. Morrison, H. C. (Tottenham, N.) Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Muir, John W. Warne, G. H.
Gray, Frank (Oxford) Murnin, H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Greenall, T. Murray, R. (Renfrew,, Western) Weir, L. M.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Nichol, Robert Welsh, J. C.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) O'Connor, Thomas p. Westwood, J.
Groves, T. O'Grady, Captain James Whiteley, W.
Grundy, T, W. Oliver, George Harold Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Hall. F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Paling, W. Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Ponsonby, Arthur Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Harbord, Arthur Potts, John S. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Harney, E. A. Pringle, W. M. R. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hastings, Patrick Richards, R.
Hayday, Arthur Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Riley, Ben Mr. Amnion and Mr. T. Griffiths.
Herriotts, J. Ritson, J.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Apsley, Lord Balfour, George (Hampstead)
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark) Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.
Banks, Mitchell Goff, Sir R. Park Parker, Owen (Kettering)
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Gray, Harold (Cambridge) Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry
Barnett, Major Richard w. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)
Becker, Harry Gretton, Colonel John Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C H. (Devizes) Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Penny, Frederick George
Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks) Guthrie, Thomas Maule Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Berry, Sir George Gwynne, Rupert S. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Betterton, Henry B. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Perring, William George
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Philipson, H. H.
Bird, Sir W. B. M. (Chichester) Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (LW'p'I,W.D'by) Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.
Blundell, F. N. Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Price, E. G.
Bonwick, A. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Privett, F J.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hancock, John George Raeburn, Sir William H.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Raine, W.
Brass, Captain W. Harrison, F. C. Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Brassey, Sir Leonard Harvey, Major S. E. Rawson, Lieut.-Com, A. C.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hawke, John Anthony Rentoul, G. S.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Reynolds, W. G. W.
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh) Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Henn, Sir Sydney H. Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Bruford, R. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Bruton, Sir James Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Rothschild, Lionel de
Buckley, Lieut-Colonel A. Hewett, Sir J. P. Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Hinds, John Ruggles-Brise, Major E.
Burnle, Major J. (Bootle) Hoars, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Butt, Sir Alfred Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Russell, William (Bolton)
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney
Cassels, J. D. Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Rutherford. Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Cautley, Henry strother Hood, Sir Joseph Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cecil, Rt. Hon, Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hopkins, John W. W. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Houfton, John Plowright Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Churchman, Sir Arthur Hudson, Capt. A. Sandon, Lord
Clay, Lieut-Colonel H. H. Spender Hume, G. H. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustava D.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hurd, Percy A. Shakespeare, G. H.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley Shepperson, E. W.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Simpson, J. Hope
Collison, Levi Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S. Sinclair, Sir A.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Skelton, A. N.
Cope, Major William Jarrett, G. W. S. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Jephcott, A. R. Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell Jodrell, sir Neville Paul Sparkes, H. W.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L. Johnson, sir L. (Walthamstow, E.) Steel, Major S. Strang
Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South) Joynson-Hicks, Sir William Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page King, Capt, Henry Douglas Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Crooke, J. S. (Deritend) Lamb, J. Q. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Curzon, Captain viscount Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Linfield, F. C. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Lorden, John William Thomson, Luke (Sunderland)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Lorimer, H. D. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Doyle, N. Grattan Lort-Williams, J.] Thornton, M.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Ednam, Viscount M'Connell, Thomas E. Tubbs, S. W.
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Elvedon, Viscount Macnaghten, Hon, Sir Maicolm Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) Wallace, Captain E.
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Maddocks, Henry Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Erskine-Bolst, Captain C. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Waring, Major Walter
Evans. Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Evans, Ernest (Cardigan) Margesson, H. D. R. Wells, S. R.
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, E.) Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Falcon, Captain Michael Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Fermor-Hesketh, Major T. Mercer, Colonel H. White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Flanagan, W. H. Mline, J. S. Wardlaw White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Foot, Isaac Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Whitla, Sir William
Ford, Patrick Johnston Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Forestler-Walker, L. Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Windsor, Viscount
Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury) Wintringham, Margaret
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Murchison, C. K. Wise, Frederick
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Natl, Major Joseph Wolmer, Viscount
Furness, G. J, Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Galbraith, J. F. W. Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Worsfold, T. Cato
Ganzoni, Sir John Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Garland, C. S. Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster) Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Gates, Percy Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) Paget, T. G. Colonel Gibbs and Major Barnston.

Question put, and agreed to.

CLAUSES 5 (Supervision by Commissioners of Customs and Excise of Landing of Animals) and 6 (Compensation not Payable in respect of Slaughter of Imported Animals) ordered to stand part of the Bill.