§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGHrose to move that it be an instruction to the Board of Agriculture and the Scottish Office to set out and have printed for the use of this House the various sections of Acts of Parliament referred to in Clause 31 of the Agriculture Bill in the form in which they will appear if the said clause passes in the form in which it is printed in the Bill.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I think that we in Scotland who are interested in land have not been fairly treated with regard to this Bill. Personally, I think it is entirely an English Bill, which is being applied to Scotland, and so far as I can see it will altogether destroy our system of leases, under which we have prospered for a good many years. I wish I could find some way of understanding the Bill, but in the case of the interpretation clause, for example, it seems to me that it is legislation by reference gone absolutely wild. I think that any one guilty of such a mess as is in this clause should be put up with his back to a wall and shot, because the amount of trouble which is given is absolutely incalculable. There are one and a-half to two pages of application, and one of the subsections is in these words— it
The expressions "the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1908," and "the Act of 1908," mean the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1908, and references to sections twenty-one and forty-two of the first-mentioned Act shall be construed as references to sections twenty and twenty-nine respectively of the said Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act:
And in another subsection I find—
Section twenty-three of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1908, shall apply to Scotland with the substitution of small holdings under the Small Landholders (Scotland) Acts, 1886 to 1919, for small holdings as defined by the Small Holders and Allotments Act, 1907, and any reference in this Act to the said section twenty-three shall be construed as a. reference to the said section a so applied:
There is also a Schedule with what are called minor alterations. I believe some of them are of extreme importance. Look at the note at the bottom of the Schedule—
In the application of this Schedule to Scotland, the references to sections fifteen, twenty-three, and thirty-one of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1908, shall not apply; for the references to sections sixteen and forty-eight of that Act there shall be substituted references to sections fourteen and thirty-five respectively of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1908; and subsection (1) of section thirteen of the Agricultural Holdings
(Seotland) Act, 1908, shall be amended by the insertion after the word "hereto," of the words, "or in aspect of compensation for disturbance" and by I he insertion after the words "or any part thereof," wherever occurring, of the words "and of the expense of executing and registering the same.
§ How is any ordinary man to understand what is meant by that? Though this Bill is applied to the whole land of Scotland not one word of explanation was given to us when the Motion for the Second Reading was made. It seems to me absolutely un fair, and I make the Motion which I have put down on the Paper in the hope that some of us at least may be able to understand the position before we are expected to discuss the Bill
§ Moved, That it be an instruction to the Board of Agriculture and the Scottish Office to set out and have printed for the use of this House the various sections of Acts of Parliament referred to in Clause 31 of the Agriculture Bill in the form in which they will appear if the said clause passes in the form in which it is printed in the Bill.— (Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
My Lords, the Secretary for Scotland will be very glad to meet the wishes of my noble friend as far as he can. I would suggest that my noble friend should confer with me as to the scope and nature of the statement that he desires.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I cannot see what conference I can give. I want to know what will be the effect of all these large alterations. I am absolutely at a loss to understand them. The only people who can understand them are the Board of Agriculture and the Scottish Office.
§ LORD STANMORE
The noble and learned Lord suggests that I should procure a Memorandum from the Scottish Board of Agriculture.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEICH
A Memorandum is not the statute under which the lawyers, when Bills are passed into Acts of Parliament, will have to interpret them. I want to know the exact text of the clauses which we shall have to interpret, and I have no means of ascertaining it.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and. ordered accordingly.