Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Order, dated the 27th day of May, 1932, made by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries under the Horticultural Products (Emergency Customs Duties) Act, 1931, a copy of which was presented to this House on the 30th day of May, 1932, he approved."—[Sir J. Gilmour.]
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Before we pass this Motion I think the, Minister of Agriculture ought to explain what it means. 1295 We do not intend to detain the House in explaining it fully; so long as it is known that the world and the Empire are to be saved by imposing a duty of 6d. per 1b. on strawberries from the 15th to the 25th June inclusive we can allow this colossal Order to go through. We do not intend to force a Division, and, in fact, I almost feel like supporting the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
As we have had one speech, may I be permitted, in the interests of the growers, to congratulate the Government most sincerely on an Order which was very badly needed? Any action by the Government which is helpful to our growers deserves a vote of thanks, and some Member ought to show appreciation and express the great joy that the Government have not had their hands held by some of their colleagues who are reactionaries in this respect.
§ Captain ARCHIBALD RAMSAY
May I draw attention to the fact that Scotland has not yet benefited by these Regulations, because the dates are too early for us? We have no general ripening of strawberries by those dates. Will the right hon. Gentleman see whether he can include Scotland in these privileges?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I feel that one word is necessary. We are bringing in an Order dealing with a commodity, and I think the Minister of Agriculture ought to explain it to the House. I dissent from a practice, which we do not want to grow up, of Ministers bringing in Orders 1296 without any explanation at all. Courtesy to the House demands some explanation. It may be, as an hon. Member has said, that this will benefit growers, I am not going to discuss that point, but what I am saying is that if an Order is presented the Minister should at any rate prove to the House that it will benefit somebody. He has made out no case; simply put the Order on the Paper. That is a procedure which would never have been tolerated from any other Government, and I hope we have seen the last of it.
§ Captain McEWEN
May I support what the hon. Member for Midlothian (Captain Ramsay) has just said about the dates. This question has been considered for a long time, and we have never had a satisfactory answer. I urge upon the Minister to consider the question of the date.
That the Order, dated the 27th day of May, 1932, made by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries under the Horticultural Products (Emergency Customs Duties) Act, 1931, a copy of which was presented to this House on the 30th day of May, 1932, be approved.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Resolved, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Captain Margesson.]
§ Adjourned accordingly at a Quarter after Eleven o'Clock.