§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
The next Amendment marked for selection is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Tomlinson) to leave out paragraph (a).
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
I notice, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you have overlooked an Amendment standing in my name to leave out Clause 5. I am not altogether surprised at that because Mr. Speaker did represent to me that my Amendment went to the root of this part of the Bill, but it did not occur to me to point out to Mr. Speaker that unless a Debate takes place on this Amendment, the whole of the second part of the Bill will not come before the House at all. Seeing that Part I of the Bill occupied five hours and that Part II is going to do irreparable damage to the agricultural industry, I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to consider my Amendment from that point of view.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I cannot go back on what I have said. I believe the hon. and learned Member's point was fully discussed on the Second Reading.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Is not the object of the Report stage to deal with points which may have been overlooked in Committee and on the Second Reading.
§ Mr. TOMLINSON
I am sorry that the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) is not in order because it is a great pity that the damaging criticism which the hon. and learned Member put forward during the Committee stage cannot be heard on the Floor of the House.
§ Mr. TOMLINSON
I beg to move, in page 5, line 36, to leave out paragraph (a).
Of course, if the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Grinstead 2158 is out of order, the criticisms I intended to make on that Clause will also be out of order, and I shall content myself by simply asking the Minister of Agriculture if he will be good enough to look at the point raised in my Amendment, because paragraph (a) of Sub-section (3) is quite unnecessary in view of the definition given in Subjection (7). Sub-section (3) provides thatThe property affected by a fixed charge shall be such property forming part of the farming stock and other agricultural assets belonging to the farmer at the date of the charge as may be specified in the charge, but may include—On turning to Sub-section (7), I find that farming stock is defined as including
- (a) in the case of live stock, the progeny thereof."live stock, including poultry and bees and the produce and progeny thereof.In view of these facts, I think the words under paragraph (a) are unnecessary.
I understand that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Tomlinson) does not disagree with the principle of this provision in the Bill, providing that the progeny of live stock is covered by the agricultural charge, but he merely wishes to raise the point from a drafting aspect. I think from that aspect the answer is that there is no provision for the progeny of live stock in the subsequent Sub-sections. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] The definition Clause says:live stock, including poultry and bees and tile produce and progeny thereof.It means the progeny of poultry and bees and not of live stock. We wish to give an option to the farmer to charge the progeny of his live stock. This is merely raised from the point of view of drafting, and I think it is necessary to retain paragraph (a) in the Bill. I am prepared to argue the merits of this proposal, but I understand that the hon. Member does not dispute the facts.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
The information which the Minister has just given does not seem to me to be very clear. If the proposal in Sub-section (7) applies only to poultry and bees, it seems to me 2159 that the better method to adopt would be to wipe out paragraph (a) and extend the definition Clause.
§ Mr. MORRIS
The point that really seems to be raised by this Amendment is that in the first part of Sub-section (3) it is stated that:The property affected by a fixed charge shall be such property forming part of the farming stock and other agricultural assets.…and so on, and items in paragraph (a) may or may not be included in that farming stock. They are not necessarily so included, although they may be subject to a charge. In the definition of farming stock in Sub-section (7), however, poultry, bees and the produce and progeny thereof are included. Paragraph (a), therefore, appears to be inconsistent with this definition of farming stock and with the provisions that are going to apply to it under Sub-section (3).
The definition in Sub-section (7) does not merely cover the assets which may be the subject of a fixed charge. I think there are provisions regarding livestock in other portions of the Bill.
§ Mr. MORRIS
The property affected by these charges forms part of the farming stock. The farming stock which is subject to charge may or may not include livestock, but farming stock is defined in Sub-section (7), and livestock is included in that definition, so that, although it may be excluded from the subject of charge under paragraph (a), it would still be included in the definition.
I can see that some rather tangled questions may arise on this matter of drafting, and I think the wisest thing for me to do would be to undertake to consider it between now and the consideration of the Bill in another place. If it be found that there is any confusion in the form of the Bill as it stands, I will undertake to have it put right in another place, so that the House will have an opportunity of considering it again in an Amendment from another place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.