HC Deb 24 October 1952 vol 505 cc1528-30

Lords Amendment: In page 2, line 7, leave out subsection (3).

3.35 p.m.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Sir S. Marshall.]

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

Before the House agrees with this Amendment, I think the House is entitled to one or two words of explanation by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Sir S. Marshall). It so happens, Mr. Speaker, that, apart from a few very brief comments by the hon. Member on the occasion of Third Reading, this Bill has not been the subject of any discussion whatever in the House. I suggest that as time does permit, the hon. Member to give the House the courtesy of a few words in explanation of this Amendment and why he is asking the House to agree.

Sir Sidney Marshall (Sutton and Cheam)

The hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton), like other hon. Members, has had ample opportunity to discuss the Clauses of the Bill as they were originally presented and before they went to the other House. It was before this House and in due course went to the other place. I, as father of the Bill, can offer no objection to the Lords Amendments.

The Bill has certainly lost some of its feathers in its progress through the House of Lords and almost lost its spurs, which are practically the only thing left. I very much regret that to a large extent we were not able to secure sufficient support in the House of Lords for the Bill as 71 originally went to them. But, it having come back to us, it is obvious that unless we agree to the Amendments which the other House has made, I shall probably get nowhere at all. I am quite content, therefore, to accept the Bill as it has come from another place.

Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas (Lincoln)

I ask the House to agree with the Lords in this Amendment. It does improve the Bill, which seeks to fill a gap in our present law against cockfighting. We have had 2,000 years of cockfighting. The Romans introduced it and, about 100 years ago, we abolished it, but not quite so well as if we were doing so today—perhaps our predecessors were not so careful—and there is this gap.

This Amendment does improve the law. I speak with a little constituency knowledge of this, as the most famous cockfight in history took place there in 1830. It was known as the seven-a-side—different from the seven-a-side we know. There were seven cocks on one side and seven on the other, Joseph Gilliver against the Earl of Derby. There was 5,000 guineas for the match, 1,000 guineas for each cock and, I am glad to say, the home side won. The Earl of Derby was defeated. I hope that the present Earl will not take that comment personally.

It was a cruel sport. A hundred years ago we tried to stamp it out. We left a little gap, which is now being filled by this Bill, especially by this Lords Amendment. I should like to support the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Sir S. Marshall).

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

I should like to have an assurance that we shall have no cockfighting taking place in Committee Room 14.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 2, line 12, at end, insert: (4) In the application of this section to Scotland, for the proviso to subsection (2) there shall be substituted the following proviso:— Provided that such an order shall not take effect until the expiration of the period of five days within which an application for a stated case may be made by virtue of section sixty of the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act, 1908, and, if such an application is made within that period, the order shall not take effect unless and until the appeal is dismissed or abandoned.

Motion made, and Question proposed. "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Sir S. Marshall.]

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I rise to ask for an explanation from the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Sir S. Marshall). He said in connection with the previous Amendment that the House had had ample opportunity of discussing the Bill. May I remind him that we allowed this Bill to go through on what is known as "the nod," and that it is a little unfair that he should, in a way, abuse the concession that was granted to him by hon. Members in the earlier stages by using it as an excuse for not saying anything about the Amendments to which he is now asking the House to agree.

Sir S. Marshall

The hon. and gallant Member is now asking for an explanation of a purely statutory alteration made in order that the Bill should apply to Scotland. I think that the Amendment itself is almost self-explanatory, because there is no reason whatever to require any explanation other than is given in the Amendment. I should have thought that the hon. and gallant Member himself should have been sufficiently intelligent to appreciate exactly why this Amendment is being made and why I agree with it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Remaining Lords Amendment agreed to.