§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
My Lords, in moving the Third Reading of this Bill I hope I am not too optimistic in expressing the hope that it will pass into law, but as the Bill has been amended by your Lordships it will have to go back to the other House for their consent to those Amendments before it can become law. I do not know whether your Lordships' Amendments obtain a hearing in another place without any special provision being made for that purpose by the Government, but if it is not so, I do trust that the Government will give the trifling facilities necessary for the passing of this Bill. It would be a matter of deep disappointment and regret to many of the tenant farmers and the small sheep farmers of Scotland if, through the action of the present Government, who are the political descendants of those who passed with great difficulty and great courage the original Ground Game Act, they were deprived of the benefits they hope to secure from this small measure.
Moved "That the Bill be now read 3a "— (Lord Burghclere.)
§ On Question, Bill read 3a with the Amendments.32
LORD HAMILTON OF DALZELL
moved to amend Clause 2, which extends the right of occupiers of moorlands, etc., to kill ground game between September 1 and December 10, by the addition of words providing that this should be without prejudice to the occupiers' existing rights under the Ground Game Act, 1880. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Amendment standing in my name on the Paper is a purely drafting one. Its object is to make clear that the additional period of three months during which farmers on moorlands are allowed to kill ground game is really in addition to, and not in substitution for, the period during which they already exercise that right. The necessity for these words was pointed out by the noble and learned Lord James of Hereford, and I understand the Amendment has the full approval of the noble Lord in charge of the Bill and also of Lord Saltoun.
In page 1, line II, after the word 'shall ' to insert the words ' without prejudice to his existing rights under that Act.'"—(Lord Hamilton of Dalzell.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Moved, "That the Bill do pass."— (Lord Burghclere.)
§ THE EARL OF GALLOWAY
Before the Bill passes I should like to be assured that this Amendment does not increase the penalty on the landlord, as would appear from the drafting, or interfere with the right of free contract. If that is thoroughly understood I think the House might pass the Bill, although at the same time I have no doubt that it will do great injury to grouse moors in Scotland.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
I can assure the noble Lord who has just sat down that the Amendment which has been inserted on the motion of the noble lord who represents the Scottish Office is purely of a drafting character and has been inserted on the initiative of my noble and learned friend Lord James of Hereford. Personally I do not think it is necessary, but at the same time it can do no harm. It merely ensures that the provisions of the Bill, which have been 33 accepted by the whole House, shall be carried out.
§ On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.