§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, after that powerful debate on the proprieties of Parliament, this very brief and non-controversial measure will come as a slight relief. It will certainly come as a brief interlude. This is a one clause Bill whose sole purpose is to resolve a single point of conflict between the enactments relating to the protection of birds. These are, in effect, the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, part of which applies to Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Protection of Birds Act, 1931, and the Protection of Animals Act, 1911, which also makes some reference to birds. I believe that there is a Committee in the Home Office whose sole task it is to see that the Northern Ireland legislation and our own legislation tie in together. They obviously do a good job, because it is rarely that one gets a conflict such as the one with which we are dealing with to-day.
In order to strengthen the Northern Ireland measure, Section 10 of the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, was added. It has had a very curious result. A warehouseman in Belfast recently sought from the Minister of Agriculture a licence to poison pigeons. He was refused one because there was no intention in the 1954 Act to give power to poison birds in Northern Ireland. But if he had been granted a licence he could have been "run in" under the equally 1004 valid Statute prohibiting the use of poison for such a purpose. This Bill is to straighten out that single point. Section 10 is not now made to apply in its entirety to Northern Ireland, but only in that part relating to the importation of birds and their eggs. It will then be for the Northern Ireland Parliament to decide for themselves what enactments they wish to make in regard to the use of poisons for birds.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a—(Lord Tweesamuir.)
§ LORD DERWENT
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government welcome this Bill and thank my noble friend for looking after it in this House. It removes any doubt which may still exist as to how far the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, in fact applies to Northern Ireland. The Government of Northern Ireland is also grateful for this clarification, and I hope that your Lordships will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord for what he has said and I am grateful to Members of the House for staying to listen to me on this matter. I trust your Lordships will give the measure a Second Reading.
On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.