HL Deb 13 June 1918 vol 30 cc207-9

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

LORD STRACHIE had given notice, on the Motion that the Bill be now read a second time, to move to leave out all the words after ("That") for the purpose of inserting the words "this House regrets that the Bill contains no provision for the creation under the Bill of Small Holdings Colonies by or through the agency of County Councils."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I understand that the noble Earl the Lord Privy Seal proposes to postpone the Second Reading of this Bill owing to the fact that the noble Viscount (Lord Goschen) who is in charge of it is not able to be here to-day. Might I ask the noble Earl to put it down for a day when it is perfectly certain that the noble Viscount will be able to be in his place, because it is inconvenient to noble Lords who have other things to do to come here for the Second Reading of a Bill in which they are interested and then to find it further postponed. I would suggest that the Second Reading of this Bill should be put down for Tuesday week, June 25. There cannot be great urgency for a Bill of this kind.


My Lords, before the noble Earl replies I should like to call his attention to the fact that in a debate about ten days ago the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, promised to give full accounts of the small holdings colony which has been working for over a year, and I support my noble friend in his request that the postponement of the Second Reading of this Bill should be to a date when Lord Goschen will be able to be present. I hope that the noble Earl will press on the Board of Agriculture to hurry up the production of the accounts, so that we may be able to judge how the colonies work.


My Lords, I much regret that my noble friend Lord Goschen is indisposed, rather suddenly, and it has been impossible for me to give private notice to those members of your Lordships' House who are interested in this Bill. I would suggest that the Second Reading should be put down for Wednesday of next week. It is quite true that the Bill is not urgent in the sense that certain financial measures which reach this House are urgent. None the less it is desirable that a measure of this kind should be passed as soon as possible in order to free the authorities to begin negotiations about the purchase and hire of land. If it proves impossible to take the Bill next Wednesday I shall hope to be able to let the noble Lord, who has a Motion on the Paper, know in good time so that he will be able to pursue his other duties. I rather deprecate putting off the Bill for ten days, as I hope the noble Viscount's indisposition may be removed much earlier.


The noble Earl is, of course, aware that there is an important Motion in the name of Viscount Midleton down for Wednesday next regarding Cabinet Government, in which no doubt many noble Lords will be interested. I would also point out that on Wednesdays Motions and Questions come first, and some other noble Lord may put down a Motion for that day which would mean that this Bill would come on rather late. It is a subject of great interest, and I think the Bill should be the first Order on the Paper.


My Lords, I am anxious to meet the noble Lord, and if what he says proves to be the fact he would no doubt make out a case for a further postponement, or an adjournment of the debate after a few speeches. I suggest that we should put it down provisionally for Wednesday, if that would suit the noble Lord's convenience. I will represent to the Board of Agriculture what noble friend Lord Galway has said about expediting the printing of the document to which he referred.

Second Reading put off to Wednesday next.