HL Deb 28 July 1915 vol 19 cc772-3

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is a Bill designed to make legal and regular the action taken by the Cotton Exchanges at the time of crisis when the war broke out. Your Lordships are aware that cotton is dealt in very much like stocks and shares are on the London Stock Exchange; any particular cargo is subject to purchase and sale many times over from the time it leaves America to the time when it is landed at Liverpool. When war broke out there were a large number of these contracts open; the market fell, prices could not be made, and ruin stared the cotton merchant in the face unless the Exchanges took the matter in hand. They did take the matter in hand and postponed settlements in some cases, and dealt with the matter in other ways, leaving the ultimate seller and buyer together to carry out their bargains in the ordinary way. Their action was most prompt, most efficacious, and most wise, but unfortunately it may not have been legal, and this Bill is introduced for the purpose of regularising and legalising what they did. In certain cases the contracts were accelerated as well as postponed. Therefore it will be necessary to introduce an Amendment to substitute the words "altering" and "alteration" for the words "postponing" and "postponement" wherever they occur. As this amendment is required it is necessary that the Bill should be disposed of to-day in order that it may be sent down to another place at once. Therefore if your Lordships grant the Bill a Second Reading now, I shall also ask you to take the subsequent stages forthwith.

On Question, Bill read 2a.

Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House forthwith.

House in Committee.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Confirmation of postponement of contracts by cotton associations.

1. Any action taken by any cotton association before the passing of this Act for postponing the date of delivery under any contracts made expressly or impliedly subject to the rules of the association by any persons (whether members of the association or not) for the future delivery of cotton is hereby confirmed; and the date of delivery under any such contracts shall be, and shall be deemed to have been, postponed in accordance with any notice for the postponement thereof issued by the association and subject to the conditions contained in the notice.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 6, leave out ("postponing") and insert ("altering").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 11, leave out ("postponed") and insert ("altered").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 12, leave out ("postponement") and insert ("alteration").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

Amendments reported: Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.