HC Deb 16 June 1967 vol 748 cc987-9
Mrs. Joyce Butler

I beg to move Amendment No. 2, in line 31, to leave out 'fourteen' and to insert 'eighteen'.

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether it would be convenient to consider with this Amendment the next three on the Notice Paper, Nos. 3, 4 and 5?

Mr. Speaker

It seems very convenient to Mr. Speaker. If there is no objection to it from either side of the House, so be it.

Mrs. Butler

Perhaps I might deal first with Amendment No. 5. Subsection (1,c) reads: the prosecutor shall, where so requested … give the defendant such a sample not later than three days before the date of the hearing. The County Councils Association considers that sometimes it will be almost impossible for the defendant to have an analysis carried out before the hearing if he receives the sample only three days before it, and it has asked that the period be extended to seven days. This seems a reasonable request, and this is why I have put forward the Amendment.

Amendments Nos. 2, 3, and 4 are consequential on this extension of time, and I therefore hope that they will be accepted.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: No. 3, in line 36 leave out 'fourteen' and insert 'eighteen'.

No. 4, in line 41 leave out 'seven' and insert eleven'.

No. 5, in line 46 leave out 'three' and insert 'seven'.—[Mrs. Joyce Butler.]

Mrs. Joyce Butler

I beg to move Amendment No. 6, in page 5, to leave out lines 7 to 10 and to insert: (c) in subsection (3), for the reference to section 89 of the Food and Drugs Act 1955 there shall be substituted a reference to section 27 of the Food and Drugs (Scotland) Act 1956, after 'evidence', there shall be inserted the words 'and in Scotland sufficient evidence', and at the end there shall be inserted the words 'and in that event in Scotland the evidence of the analyst shall be sufficient evidence of the aforesaid matters'. The purpose of the Amendment is to meet a point made by the Government. It seeks to avoid the need for the analyst or the analyst and his assistant to go to court to corroborate the certificate of analysis. Scottish law requires corroboration of nearly all evidence of this kind and the Amendment seeks to avoid this.

Amendment agreed to.

2.41 p.m.

Mrs. Joyce Butler

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

This is a great day for the birds. Like the first Bill we considered, this gives protection to birds, not directly but indirectly, through making more information available concerning chemicals which, especially through their residues, threaten not only birds but beneficial insects and beleagured wild life generally—and even human beings.

When the Bill comes into operation, as I hope it will, all users of pesticides, of whatever skill or knowledge—from the newest amateur gardener to the most experienced farmer—will be able to know by looking at the label on the container exactly what substance he is using and can take the appropriate precautions. There is also power to enable a distinguishing mark or colour to be added to indicate the degree of toxicity.

This is the fourth time of asking, and I am delighted to have got the Bill to its Third Reading stage, in the course of which I have become labelled as a labeller. I have no objections to that, because with the increasing use of chemicals on the land there is increasing need of guidance to the user, and I hope that the Bill will provide this.

I thank the many organisations and individuals who have sponsored the Bill, and especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and my hon. Friend the Minister for the assistance they have given. I hope that the House will give the Bill a Third Reading.

2.43 p.m.

Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

Since the Bill has the support of both sides of the House, it is my privilege to congratulate the hon. Lady on behalf of my hon. Friends and myself for her success in getting the Bill to the Third Reading stage.

She mentioned the question of residues being dangerous to human beings and birds. Those who have had the privilege of seeing the testing of these substances before being put on the market cannot help but be very impressed at the way in which the dangers are considered by the manufacturers.

Any provision in respect of labelling which is designed to make the situation clearer and more precise so that everybody knows what is contained in the tin or bottle is very welcome to the people who produce and use these substances. My only worry is that some of the Clauses may create increased difficulties. I have already mentioned to the hon. Lady the difficulty arising from the provision in Clause 1 relating to colour. That may cause difficulty in connection with reclassification and require re-consideration of the position.

However, in the hope that it will clarify the existing situation, my hon. Friends and I welcome the Bill.

2.45 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Hoy)

On behalf of my hon. and right hon. Friends, I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mrs. Joyce Butler), who has at long last got the Bill through. Hers is a history of sheer persistence, and I am certain that my hon. Friends would not like this occasion to pass without tendering to her the warmest congratulations of hon. Members on this side of the House. At the same time, I thank her for the thanks that she has expressed to my Department for the assistance which it has been able to render.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.