HC Deb 07 July 1920 vol 131 cc1456-7W
Captain R. TERRELL

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the recent House of Lords' decision in the De Keyser's Royal Hotel case, where it was unanimously held that entry and possession of land could be legally taken by the Ordnance departments only under the Defence of the Realm Act of 1842 and not by any other department of the Crown, that the Act of 1914 and the regulations made thereunder did not and could not of themselves give power to any Government department, whether military or civil, to enter upon or take possession of land for the defence of the realm and that the Acquisition of Land Act, 1916, only relates to the acquisition of land taken under Sections 5 and 6 of the said Act of 1842, he will state what powers the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, incorporated with the Board of Agriculture, possess that warrant the Ministry in declining to relinquish and withdraw from possession of all the farms, or any one of them, now in the occupation of the Ministry, which were seized under the said 1914 Act and the regulations thereunder prior to the passing of the Corn Production Amendment Act, c. 36, dated 8th August, 1918?


I have been asked to reply to this question. The decision referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend does not affect the right of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries to retain, until the termination of the War under the powers conferred on him by the Defence of the Realm Regulations, possession of any land on which he has entered under those powers, and thereafter to remain in possession thereof under the Defence of the Relam (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1916, and Section 30 (i) of the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act, 1919. Perhaps I ought to add that I do not agree with any portion of my hon. and gallant friend's statement of the effect of the decision referred to.