§ Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (EARL CARRINGTON) rose to move the Second Reading of this Bill. The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Bill was read the third time in the Commons House of Parliament last night. Its object is this. It is desired that the number of the Commissioners 816 should be increased from five to eight. The original proposal was that ten should be substituted for five, but it was moved in the other House, I think by Lord Castlereagh, that the number of five should be retained, and the figure of eight was arrived at as a compromise. There has not been time, however, for the Bill to be reprinted. The names of the Commissioners were announced in the other House last night, and I venture to think they will command the confidence of your Lordships and of the country as men of the highest honour and the highest integrity. Clause 2 enables a Civil Servant to accept one of the paid posts of the Commission, which was impossible under the Bill of last year, without prejudice to his pension. I have to apologise for asking the great favour that you should pass the Bill through all its stages to-day; but I do so simply and solely in the interests of the agricultural part of the population.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Carrington.)
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
My Lords, I do not rise to oppose this Bill but I hope that the noble Earl will, at all events, announce in this House the names of the Commissioners. They were given I believe, last night in the House of Commons, and I am told they are in the newspapers to-day. But surely your Lordships ought to be told the names of the Commissioners.
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I have the names of the Commissioners here. The Chairman of the Commission is to be Lord Richard Cavendish. The Vice-Chairman who will be a paid Commissioner, is Sir Francis J. Hopwood, G.C.M.G., Assistant Secretary and head of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade from 1893 to 1901, Permanent Secretary of the Board of Trade 1901–7, and Permanent Secretary for the Colonies since 1907. The other Commissioners will be Mr. Sainthill Eardley-Wilmot, C.I.E., Inspector-General of Forests to the Government of India for several years; Mr. William Stowell Haldane, of Edinburgh, Writer to the Signet, who is a man of great ability and well acquainted with agriculture; Mr. Alfred D. Hall, M.A., F.R.S., director of the Rothamstead Experimental Station, one of the most famous experimental stations in the agricultural world; Mr. Sidney Webb, LL.B., 817 who is well known as a writer on social subjects and an investigator at first hand into many subjects of social importance; Mr. M.A. Ennis, of Dublin, a farmer, I believe, of large experience; and, lastly; Mr. Henry Jones Davies, of Carmarthenshire, the chairman of his county council and an able yeoman farmer.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think the noble Earl did well to introduce his statement with an apology. The circumstances under which the Bill comes before the House are extraordinary. It is the first time that your Lordships have seen the measure. But I understand the Government are anxious that the Bill should be passed into law at once, with a view to its being put into immediate operation, and that being so I do not feel disposed to raise any objection. I hope the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack will regard our action as a proof of the consideration shown by this side of the House towards Government measures.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.
§ Committee negatived: Bill read 3a, and passed.