HC Deb 06 August 1924 vol 176 cc3084-6

I beg to move, in page 1, line 9, after the word "Act," to insert the words for making or causing to be made a false statement as to the class or variety of seed potatoes. This Amendment is moved at the request of the Minister of Agriculture. On the understanding that I accept the Amendment, he agrees to the Bill.

Captain BENN

I do not want to interfere with the progress of the Bill, but it is a private Member's Bill, and I know nothing about it. I have no side in the matter, but I do not think we ought to pass the Bill in the middle of the night without some official explanation. It is unusual to take a private Member's Bill after 11 o'clock, without any explanation from the Government.


In response to that appeal, I would state that the Bill as originally introduced was applicable to all the seeds covered by the original Act. The Ministry, when it was approached on this matter, felt that it could not give its sanction or support to a Bill which was so far-reaching as that, especially as we undersood that the real cause for the introduction of the Bill was confined to potatoes. I think the reason for urgency is because, in the Autumn Session, it will be too late to cover the purchase of potato seeds for the next season. I may mention here that a definite and specific case has arisen which has justified this development, where seeds were purchased and a guarantee given, and then, in the growing of them, it was discovered that they were in only a very small percentage according to the specification given at the time of their purchase. When the case was taken up by way of prosecution, it was found that a six months' limit precluded any action being taken, because, as I understand the question, it is six months after the time at which the seeds are purchased, and if they be purchased in the latter part of the year, then the result, as far as defining whether or not they are according to specification is concerned, cannot be determined until they have been grown in the field. Therefore, the purpose and intention of the Bill is to-carry out what really was intended in the original Act.

Captain BENN

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his explanation, and I have no desire to obstruct the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 2.—(Short title) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported; as amended, considered; read the Third time, and passed.