HC Deb 10 February 1913 vol 48 cc675-6

Order for Second Reading read.

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

I hope the House will give a Second Reading to this Bill, which will enable us to be in the same position with regard to air craft which we are in already with regard to ships or boats on the sea. Under the Customs Laws Consolidation Act, 1875, approximately the same powers are conferred on the proper authorities as would be conferred on the proper authorities under the Bill, but owing to the fact that in our country air craft are not considered, under our law, to come under the same category as ships or boats or vessels on the sea, it is necessary to have this power to enable us to meet possible difficulties. I would point out to the House that this is not aimed at the air craft of any foreign power, but rather at preventing mischievous persons—possibly from over-sea—from hovering over places where there are combustible stores, to the great inconvenience of the people of this country. As a matter of detail, it will be necessary, in order to put the law on the same footing, that we should have the same power in regard to air craft as to ships.


I simply want to remind the House that we passed a Bill not very long ago, giving the Home Secretary power to prevent our own airmen, I presume, from passing over places such as London and other populous centres, where there might be danger or difficulty, and I confess that I cannot see any reference in this Bill to the provisions of that other Act. Is this Bill intended merely to refer to air craft from overseas, or does it affect any of our own airmen as well?

Colonel SEELY

If I may explain to the hon. Gentleman. This Bill is to amend that Act, in order to deal with the defences of the realm, as in the first Clause, as well as with the safety of the public. The first Act—the Aerial Navigation Act—as he says, prevents aircraft from flying over places like London. This would enable us to prevent aircraft from flying over places where there are combustible stores. This is an Amendment of the other Act, and must be read with it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for To-morrow.