HC Deb 29 July 1937 vol 326 cc3487-8
Lords Amendment

In page 22 line 30, at the end, insert: (d) subsection (2) of section eleven of this Act shall not apply, and in lieu thereof the following provision shall have effect:— (2) Where in any year there has occurred or occurs, at any time before the fourth day of June, a change in the occupation of a farm which, at the time of the change, comprised or comprises land under oats or land under barley, and the outgoing occupier is, by virtue of any custom or agreement, entitled to harvest the oats or barley, or to receive payment therefor, the provisions of Part II of this Act shall, in relation to the said farm, have effect as if for any reference to the person who at the beginning of the fourth day of June in the said year was the occupier of the farm, there were substituted a reference to the outgoing occupier.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

This Amendment raises a question of privilege.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment arises from the fact—it was discovered by us at a rather late stage—that in Scotland, under the common law of that country, the outgoing occupier at Whitsuntide is entitled to harvest the crops or may be required to hand them over to the incoming occupier. In such cases there might be difficulty as to who was actually entitled to benefit under the language of the provisions contained in the Bill, and this Clause provides machinery by which the matter can be resolved. It seems to me to be quite equitable that the outgoing occupier who has to bear the risk of prices which the crops may realise should receive a subsidy payment for his barley and oats. It will be quite easy to prevent any misuse of this provision because by May 28 all the crops are in the ground.

11.54 p.m.

Mr. Alexander

I have no objection to the principle which the Minister desires to secure this Amendment, but I wish to say that the Amendment again raises the question of Privilege. The number of occasions in the last few weeks on which we have been asked to deal at a very late hour of the night with Amendments from another place, the majority of which raise the question of Privilege, is becoming a serious matter. While I felt that I could not very well, with the attenuated attendance, divide the House, I wish to say that the practice which has grown up of bringing so many Amendments affecting the Privilege of the House for another place at a late hour—

Mr. Leslie Boyce

Mostly drafting Amendments.

Mr. Alexander

No, I have watched this matter very carefully and they are not drafting Amendments. They have raised constitutional issues at times. I shall have to report to my colleagues on this side of the House what has happened to-night and have the matter considered and if necessary, have the matter raised on a subsequent occasion.

11.55 p.m.

Mr. Kelly

What appears to us in regard to this Amendment and many other matters which have been taken late at night, is that their consideration at these hours has been deliberately arranged for by the Government with the hope that they would be passed over in an attenuated House. I hope that some system, better for the legislation of this country will operate in future so that all the Members of the House and the country may know what is happening.

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]