§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Major MOLSON
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
It is in no factious spirit that we Lincolnshire Members take exception to the West Riding of Yorkshire not confining itself to its own area and its own county, but it is absolutely against the traditions of all local government that the county council of one county should ask for powers to interfere in the area of another county council. I have been asked by the Lindsey County Council very strongly to oppose this Bill on these grounds. Probably all hon. Members who are present in the House to-day have received, within the last couple of days, a paper setting forth the reasons why the promoters wish to bring forward this Bill, and I should like to refer to paragraph 3, which is as follows:—The provisions of the Bill, other than Part III, are framed substantially on the lines of the Lancashire County Council (Drainage) Act, 1921, and do not raise any new question of principle. Evidence will be given before the Committee on the Bill showing that the need for legislation of the kind is at least as great in the West Riding of Yorkshire as in Lancashire.I wish to take complete exception to the statement that the other part of this Bill than Part III is on the lines of the Lancashire County Council Drainage Act, 1921. That is absolutely incorrect, because, in the first place, the Lancashire County Council drains direct into the sea, and the West Riding of Yorkshire wishes to drain into parts of Lincolnshire. The second point is that, when the Lancashire County Council promoted their Bill, they had already obtained powers as the one drainage authority throughout the area, whereas at the present time the West Riding is only one of many drainage authorities, and there are 30 petitioners against this Bill. Of those 30 petitioners, six are large towns in their own area, namely, Sheffield, Bradford, Harrogate, 793 Rotherham, Doncaster and Halifax, and I do think that the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council might settle the affairs of their own house a little more satisfactorily before they begin to interfere in Lincolnshire. If my memory serves me, in the last Parliament the same County Council asked for powers against Bradford, and there was considerable feeling in the matter. If I remember rightly, also, I supported Bradford against the encroachment of the West Riding County Council. It is not a personal matter between ourselves and the promoters of this Bill, but I am speaking entirely on behalf of my constituents against the powers proposed in the Bill.
There is no analogy between the powers of these two Bills. In the case of Lancashire, the drainage is direct into the sea, and no one else is affected, but under this West Riding of Yorkshire Bill they would go into part of my constituency in Lincolnshire, and would affect the drainage of that area very seriously indeed. Before I proceed further I should like to mention the Ouse Drainage Bill, which was brought before this House on Second Reading three years ago. Many Members of the House will realise what a lot of trouble and litigation is arising over the Ouse Drainage Act. It is only necessary to refer to the "Times" of to-day, yesterday, and the day before. The litigation under that Act has become very serious indeed. I will quote one or two points from the "Times" of to-day. In the first place, we were assured that there was no danger from the Measure, but here is what the letter says:We in the uplands spent over £2,000 in 1920 to get a Clause added to the Act under which we could go to the Courts, prove our contention, and so get relief.They spent that £2,000, and they certainly have been able to go to the Courts, and there has been a great deal of litigation under the Act since. The letter goes on to say:We have tested the value of the statement made by the late Minister"—that is the late Minister of Agriculture—and reiterated repeatedly, that if there was no benefit there was no payment.That is very different from what has happened, because, when these people have gone to the Courts, the Ouse Drainage Board had the Act behind them, and they have made no attempt to 794 prove that the petitioners do not benefit, but have simply answered, "You are within the map, and so you have to pay." My friends who are bringing forward this Bill have spoken to me and have assured me that there is no danger, but I am afraid I am taking none of their soothing syrup. My petitioners in Lincolnshire will not accept the assurance in any kind of way, and should it become an Act they do not see any safety at all in the position they are in. We may pass the Bills, but it is for the lawyers to carry them out, and we have lately had some very bad examples of what has resulted from hasty legislation. The late Minister of Agriculture, when this Bill was before the House, said very distinctly, "No benefit, no pay." But the Ouse drainage authority have been able to bring forward their Act, and the Law Courts have given a decision in their favour.
I come to the most obnoxious point about this Bill from my point of view and that of my constituents. I have been asked by the Lindsey County Council, the Isle of Axholme Rural District Council and the body of the owners and occupiers of the Isle of Axholme—the Isle of Axholme is that portion of Lincolnshire which lies to the west of the River Trent, and it is through that part that the West Riding of Yorkshire send a great deal of the water they propose to bring by means of this Bill. It is reclaimed marsh land and it lies below the level of the Trent at high tides. I should like to read a small part of this petition the owners and occupiers of land in the Isle of Axholme have sent to the hon. the Commoners of the United Kingdom of Great Britain:The drainage of a large part of the area of the West Riding has its outfall in the River Trent at Althorpe in the Isle of Axholme by means of rivers and large drains which run for several miles through Lincolnshire and through or alongside the lands of your petitioners. The land in the Isle of Axholme is at a very low level and was reclaimed from waste and swamp in the reign of King Charles I, by a great drainage undertaking carried out by Sir Cornelius Vermuyden whose successors, the Hatfield Chase Corporation, are still the principal drainage authority for the district. The land has been converted into rich and fertile agricultural soil which produces abundant crops, but it is entirely dependent on the maintenance of an effective drainage. The problem of keeping the land drained and free from flooding is one which from time immemorial has taxed 795 the powers and resources of the landowners and drainage authorities to the utmost and they would be unable to cope with any added burden. The drains can only empty into the Trent at low tide and there are frequent times when for several days together the river is too high to permit of any outfall whatever. If large quantities of additional water are pumped into the drains from the mining areas the drains are not capable of containing the water. Even if the drains do not overflow their banks the sub-soil is of such a porous nature that the additional pressure of water in the drains will cause the adjoining land to become so flooded or water-logged as to destroy or damage the valuable crops grown thereon and render the land unfit for cultivation and it would eventually revert to its former state of swamp. The Bill contains no provision for the protection of your petitioners against the flooding of their land or for compensating them in case of damage. Clause 34 provides for the cost of drainage works for the protection of lands in the West Riding of Yorkshire which subside by reason of mining operations, but there is no provision for the cost of work for protecting the land of your petitioners. Such cost ought not to fall upon the landowners and agriculturalists who are already overburdened.The inhabitants of the Isle of Axholme and their ancestors have converted this swamp country into a rich area. Many of them are very small holders. They employ no hired labour and are a very independent, industrious and hard-working community. I think the House should consider very seriously whether they should put any extra burden on that community. They are carrying on their agricultural work in a very satisfactory way, they are asking for no assistance from anyone, their drainage system is perfectly good at present, but they are in mortal terror for fear that any new arrangements should throw out of gear the drainage system of that island. I say island because it is called the Isle of Axholme, but, of course, it is surrounded by rivers. They see themselves faced with disaster if they are going to be heavily rated. This letter in the "Times" says:I know of one estate close here which has 2,800 acres rateable under this Act to such an extent that the capital rates will more than double the freehold value of the land.If that is what has happened about the Ouse I think these smallholders have grave reason and just cause to fear what might happen to them if their powerful neighbour, the West Riding of Yorkshire, pours water into the upper part of their watershed, and their land, which lies below the level of the Trent at high tide, 796 will be very much in danger by the breaking down of the banks. I have sometimes thought since this Bill came forward that it is very much like a wolf in Red Riding Hood's clothing. These smallholders cannot bear any additional expense. I should like to remind hon. Members of George Eliot's book, "The Mill on the Floss." Probably they all know of the book, but they do not all know that the Floss is this very same river Trent. The book was written at Gainsborough, and a great deal of it turns on water rights and floods. Mr. Tulliver was ruined by a lawsuit regarding his water rights, and I think scores of the house owners on the Trent and in the Isle of Axholme will have great reason to dread whether they may not also be ruined by lawsuits with regard to their rights. Also the book finished up with the tragedy of the flood of the Trent, so that you realise that the Trent can at times be a very dangerous river. We have, of course, the eagre coming up from the Humber. It is said to have a wave 4 feet high. I have motored in many parts of the Isle of Axholme, and the road near the river has to be protected by very strong embankments.
This is a very long Bill of some 52 Clauses. I hear a rumour that the third part may probably be withdrawn. The third part concerns mineowners and mines, but that will not relieve my constituents in the Isle of Axholme. We wish Part I and Part II to be thrown out. It is a very serious matter for a drainage authority of another county to come and seek powers in the area of another county council. The main scheme of this drainage is by gravitation. The land in the West Riding of Yorkshire is very much higher than in the Isle of Axholme. I have a map that shows how they bring water down from the West Riding at a higher level than the land in the Isle of Axholme. There are two pumping stations, and when we want to drain the land in our own area we may have to pump water to get it into the drains. These drains are carried at a certain height and then emptied into the Trent. Sometimes for three weeks the tides in the Trent are so high that there cannot be any outfall of water from the Ouse drains. The House will realise what a great deal of attention the inhabitants of that part of the country pay to their drainage.
797 I have looked through the Bill, and there is no obligation on the West Riding County Council to give notice to any Drainage Authority or any other county council through whose area the water may pass from the West Riding. The right of objection is limited to certain people. I would also like to draw attention to Clause 12, Sub-section (11). The Minister is bound to confirm an Order if there has been no objection lodged against that Order. The Minister should consider very carefully this Bill. The promises of the former Minister of Agriculture with regard to the Ouse drainage have been falsified. He said on more than occasion that if people received no benefit they would not have to pay. He said, speaking on the Ouse drainage Bill, on 21st January, 1921:Land which cannot be benefited by the operation of the Drainage Board is free from any liability to pay drainage rates to the Board, even if it is included in the drainage district.I hope the present Minister will consider the matter very carefully. I understand that he is in favour of giving power to drain a certain part of the country. I think he should also maintain and uphold the tradition of Local Government, I do not think the county council of one county should have power to come into another county in this way. The Bill says that notice may be sent to the occupier-owner affected. It only says that notice may be sent. It does not say that there is any obligation to send the notice. It further states that notice can be given by publishing it in a newspaper circulating in the locality. It is very little protection to the owners and occupiers that the notice may be published in some local paper. If I held or occupied land near some drainage authority, and it was provided that they could bring an Order forward and give me notice simply by publishing it in the newspaper, I should feel very uneasy and very dissatisfied with that sort of protection.
Many of the inhabitants of the Isle of Axholme are market gardeners, and they produce very fertile crops. In driving through the island I noticed in some parts large stones beside the road, and I was informed that these were originally the only tracks through that part of the swampy land. Before there were any roads and before the land was drained 798 they had these stones as tracks, and the pack horses carried their loads over the stones. That shows the very swampy condition of the country in those days. The inhabitants of the island are alarmed at the prospect of this Bill being passed; they have heard rumours that their powerful neighbour, the West Riding, was going to apply for powers to drain through their district. I ask the House to consider this matter very carefully before they allow powers of such a vague and indefinite character to be given to any private drainage authority. If these powers were more definite, and if they were limited entirely to their own county, we should not object, but we foresee a great deal of litigation on this matter. For these reasons I ask the House to reject the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. ROYCE
I beg to second the Amendment.
Living as I do in South Lincolnshire, it would be strange if I were not in favour of the best possible system of drainage, but when an upland authority seeks power to send its surplus water, a water in excess of any for which the existing works have been constructed, through a lowland area without making any return to the people who have constructed the works in the lowland area then I am opposed to the proposal on principle. It is not right. The provision originally made for drainage in this area by a great Dutch engineer, Vermuyden, was adequate, and is still adequate, for the conditions of the locality, and when extra water is to be sent through those channels, then provision should be made to compensate the local authorities or to take over from them the responsibility for the maintenance of the embankment that had been made, and if such compensation were to be made it could only be made by starting at the outfall of the river and constituting an authority which would have power to deal with the drainage from the source to the sea. That is the only means which I can conceive by which a proper system of drainage could ever be constructed where the water from the higher land goes down through the lower levels in which works adequate for the period when they were constructed, and still adequate for the people in that locality, have been constructed.
799 The fact that no such authority is constituted is one reason why I would reject this Bill at once. If the Bill does not make provision for the West Riding authorities to encroach on the borders of another county—I am very doubtful from the wording of the Bill whether it does—if they have no right to encroach, say, by erecting a pumping station in immediate proximity to the borders and sending the water over in a manner for which no provision is made, then they should, in the first instance, have made arrangements with those interests in the low land before coming to this House to attempt to override those interests. This is an action to which the House should not give its consent. It may be said, "You can bring forward your objections in Committee." My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Major Molson) has given one excellent reason why this Bill should not be permitted to go to a Committee. These authorities who are objecting, like the Isle of Axholme, are comparatively poor people. They are not in a position to fight Bills in Committee in the House of Commons. It is all very well for a rich authority, which has sufficient funds to promote Bills, to say to those who object to a Second Reading that their objections can be investigated in Committee. But the various small authorities concerned, not only those outside the county, but those who are doing excellent work inside the county, should not have thrown upon them the onus of fighting against a powerful corporation like the West Riding in a Committee of this House. It is not fair, and this House should not consent to such a course.
The Bill does not take in any of the county boroughs but it takes in all the small authorities. When it becomes a question of drainage these large densely populated areas, with their highly finished roads, send a large amount of water through the drains very often in a very rapid manner. In the ordinary course the water that fell, when these works were constructed on agricultural lands or forest land that has since been cleared, reached the sea by a system of infiltration or slow drainage through the then existing water channels, but now the water comes down much more rapidly, and therefore the larger authorities who are responsible for this increased flow 800 should be the first to make a contribution, but they are not asked. The promoters are afraid to tackle them but they come on the small authorities. But within their own area there are at present drainage authorities who are doing their work efficiently, and powers are asked under this Bill to take over those authorities and impose taxation upon them. One Clause makes provision whereby expenditure up to £3 an acre can be imposed without any guarantee that the work proposed shall be carried out. It is monstrous to ask powers of that description.
The Reedness and Swinefleet Drainage Commission are a small authority. In their own area they drain some 5,000 acres of land. The work is efficiently carried out and it is a model in itself. I believe that the whole expenditure of this authority for the efficient drainage of 5,000 acres amounts to about £70 a year which includes the collection of rates. They have paid the total cost of the original works and in every sense they are a model authority. This Bill takes power by which that authority can be taken over. It can be incorporated in the general system of drainage and these people may suddenly find themselves saddled with enormous rates for works for which they have no necessity in a matter for which they have made adequate provision themselves. If the promoters of this Bill say that they have no intention of injuring this particular authority, and if they desire to proceed with the Bill, let them cut out this authority altogether.
There is another reason. The river flows along the frontage of this particular area. At spring tides or during periods of flood it becomes very high and the banks are more or less endangered by the passage of large steamers and by the floods. Under this Bill if a breakage occurs on the frontage of the people concerned they can have imposed upon them the cost of repairing the breach in the banks. In the early days in my part of the country, where the sea has been kept out since the time of the Romans, they had a very drastic method of dealing with them. But I am not sure that the policy of the West Riding is not equally cruel. At that time, if a breach occurred on a man's frontage, they stuck a stake in the breach, tied the man up, and allowed the 801 tide to come up and do the rest. But under this Bill they propose to ruin the people who have already made ample provision for their own drainage. This Bill should not be proceeded with further. It should be rejected on the grounds I have stated. The principal reason is the lack of financial power to fight adequately in Committee such a Bill promoted by so powerful a corporation. The interests against the Bill are small and divided, but I think I have said enough to cause the House to reject the Measure.
§ Sir NORMAN RAE
It will be within the recollection of Members of the House that during the later years of the War inquiries were held and investigations were made as to the possibility of bringing more land into cultivation, and so increasing the produce of the country. In the West Riding of Yorkshire those inquiries and investigations revealed a very grave state of affairs, and drew special attention to the fact that there was a vast area in the West Riding that was being very ineffectively drained. After considerable consideration the county authority decided to clear effectively one great dyke. They did this at very considerable cost: the result was remarkable. When the dyke was cleared, some 600 acres of land, which had hitherto produced very little, were brought into a high state of cultivation, and from that day to this they have continued to produce exceedingly good crops. This result naturally led the county council to make still further investigations, and to go further afield in their inquiries. The Drainage Act of 1918 was passed with the hope that it would have a good effect in this direction. The Ministry of Agriculture sent representatives down to the West Riding some time ago, in order to confer with the authorities with a view of forming a comprehensive authority which would have the necessary legal powers to deal with the whole situation. The Ministry's representatives spent a great deal of time on this question, and they did everything possible to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. They conferred with the drainage authorities which have been referred to by previous speakers, in so far as those drainage authorities were in the West Riding. They may have conferred also with those outside, but we are not immediately concerned with them. The 802 West Riding County Council did all it could to help the Ministry in these inquiries, but no matter what the proposals were, or what were the efforts made to reach a satisfactory end, the result was failure.
Under the existing law there is no power, not even in the Ministry itself, to insist on farmers cleaning out their own ditches. The result has been that the West Riding County Council was compelled to give up the desire to bring about a better state of affairs, which anyone who investigates the question would know is vitally necessary, not only for the immediate interests concerned, but in the interests of the whole community. Hence this Bill. No matter what may have been said to-night, the Bill is founded mainly on the Lancashire Drainage Act, with the exception of Part III. There are certain drainage authorities in the West Riding that are doing their work fairly well. The West Riding County Council is willing, in so far as these other authorities are concerned, to insert a Clause in the Bill in Committee allowing their powers to continue. But there must be an overruling authority where the drainage authorities do not fulfil their duties. The House should know that there is a great portion of land in this part of the West Riding which was originally marsh land. It was brought hundreds of years ago into a very high state of production. The drainage was exceedingly costly and it was very successful. It was costly because so much of the land was, and still is, below the high water level of the Trent and the Ouse.
One hundred years ago, or thereabouts, we had a large number of Enclosure Acts in this part of the West Riding, and under those Acts no fewer than 22 awards were made which granted land, but in the awards there were covenants calling upon the owners to keep the dykes clean and to carry out drainage. Seventy-five per cent. of those awards have fallen into disuse, and to-day there is no existing authority to enforce fulfilment of the covenants entered into when the Enclosure Acts were passed. It is true that the land has been retained by the successors of those who received it, but the covenants have been utterly disregarded. I do not know that we need wonder very much at that, when we consider who those authorities were. I find that in one case the 803 village constable was the authority appointed to see that the drainage was carried out in a particular district. In another district it was left to the churchwardens of the established church, and in a third it was left to two or three of the largest farmers. It was their duty to see that the drains were kept clear, and the necessary funds collected. Those authorities have long been forgotten, probably in some cases willingly forgotten, and no effort has been made to awaken the churchwardens from their sleep, or from the rest which I hope they have duly earned.
We are told—and my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Major Molson) was very emphatic on the point—that we want to control the outlet to the Trent and to go into another county and interfere with its business. There is no such proposal in the Bill and we want to do no such thing. The whole drainage system of the Trent is based on long usage confirmed by Acts of Parliament, and this Bill alters nothing in that respect. It gives no new rights and asks for no new rights. Where my hon. Friend got his information from I cannot make out, but he has been grievously misinformed as to the intentions of the West Riding County Council in this matter. Did anybody ever hear of a Yorkshire man giving up anything that he believed to be necessary for the wellbeing of his county? Above all, no man ever heard of a Yorkshire man giving up anything of that kind to a man from Lincolnshire. I can assure my hon. Friend we intend to retain our rights and, when the proper time comes for us to prove our case upstairs, we shall be on the spot, prove our rights up to the hilt and maintain them. I would remind him that these outfalls of the Trent are artificial outfalls. One was made by Vermuyden, the great Dutch engineer, and another by one of the canal authorities, and these are the only outlets that have existed for many years for water from that part of Yorkshire. They were expressly made for the purpose. Let me repeat that the Bill does not seek to extend our rights. The rights which we maintain we possess through long usage and by Acts of Parliament.
Let us consider for a moment who is in favour of the Bill. One would think to 804 listen to the hon. Members who have moved and seconded its rejection that no one was in favour. My hon. Friend the Member for the Holland Division (Mr. Royce) is one whom we all respect and to whom we always listen with great attention on matters concerning land and farming. What do his fellow farmers say of this Bill in this particular part of the West Riding? We have the West Riding Farmers' Union with 3,000 members, and we have a Farmers' Union round Doncaster with 500 members, and the vast majority of both these unions are in favour of this Bill in its entirety, and have passed resolutions to that effect after appointing a Committee and baying the Bill investigated. It is the absolute duty of a great council like the West Riding County Council to preserve in every possible way the trust given to it under Act of Parliament. That Council, representing all sections of the community, has endorsed this Bill by a majority of, I believe, 10 to one. Others say—we find a residuum in all classes of society who will say—something to this effect: "We want to do our duty, but we object to compulsion. We agree that the land should be preserved, but we object to being compelled to preserve it." All I have to say is that no government in any country in the world could be carried on under such conditions. It is the policeman behind the law, who, in all countries, maintains law and order. Withdraw that and we know what would happen. I do not charge any of our opponents with wishing to see this land returning to swamp, but, so far, they have offered no alternative to our proposal. Do not let us forget that we are dealing with a district which contains a great and growing community, where drainage schemes are becoming more and more difficult and where they will become still more difficult unless the whole question is dealt with.
There is a stream flowing through this district which is, I will not say tainted with sewage, but absolutely polluted with sewage, which in some way or other has got into it. I should think part of it has escaped from some of the sewage schemes which have become defective owing to the subsidence which is continually taking place. A smaller stream of perfectly pure clean water flows into this polluted stream. Looking at it, my 805 mind went away to the Mediterranean, where, over and over again, I have watched the waters of the Nile flowing into the sea. There, one sees the water for many miles round discoloured by the outflow from the Nile, but as one journeys north gradually but surely all the impurity seems to disappear. In the case of these two streams, I saw exactly the reverse taking place. This beautiful clean, pure water was flowing into a putrid mass—for it was neither more nor less—and seemed to have no effect upon it at all. What struck me still more was that the polluted stream flowed on for many a mile until it reached the Ouse, passing through rich agricultural land where cattle and milking cows were grazing. In the course of time these animals must have drunk this water. I said to a friend of mine there, "It is a terrible state of affairs that cattle and milking cows should drink from a stream of this description," and he replied, "That does not make any difference, there is something inside the cow which, if it drinks this dirty water, purifies and filters the water and leaves the milk perfectly pure." I do not understand the anatomy of the cow. I am not a veterinary surgeon, but I prefer to have milk from a cow which drinks fairly pure water, and such a state of affairs as I have described should not be allowed to continue.
Let me tell the House something more about this district, which, I am sure, will interest hon. Members. Three hundred years ago, when Charles I was on the throne, a great engineer, a Dutchman named Vermuyden, a man who understood his profession, a man of enterprise and courage, came over to this country and saw this vast area of swamp, nearly 100,000 acres in extent, producing little or nothing. With the knowledge he possessed, and the indomitable courage which was part of his nature, he believed he could drain this vast area and turn it from a swamp into rich productive land. He approached the ruling authorities of that day, and he was successful in getting from the Crown and the ruling authorities power to drain this land, and he had such confidence in this task that his offer was this: No cure, no pay. The bargain was struck on those terms. One-third of the recovered land was to go to the Crown, one-third to the freeholders, who had Some claims, I was going to say, direct 806 or indirect, and one-third to Vermuyden, and those who were assisting him in this great enterprise.
But there were vested interests in those days, just as there are to-day, and just as there have been from time immemorial, and will be, I suppose, to time immemorial. Who held those vested interests? There were men who went over those waters in flat-bottomed boats and shot wild fowl, and they sold their wild fowl, and they said, "If these lands are drained, what is going to become of our living; to whom are we going to turn for occupation?" There was another set of men, who spent their time in catching eels, and who sold eels, and they had a grievance, and a vested interest in these eels. If there was no marsh there would be no eels, and so they were opponents of this scheme. There was a third set of men, who spent their time walking over this district on stilts, the stilt-walkers, who took messages and who did other jobs of a similar character, and they had a vested interest, and wanted to know, if they were deprived of their livelihood, who was going to find them an occupation. It is amusing and interesting to look back upon. But what was the effect of these vested interests? These vested interests fought so determinedly that two regiments of soldiers had to be sent down from London in order to protect Vermuyden in his work and those who were helping him in draining these vast marshes.
I sometimes think that vested interests fight harder than any other class of interests, and they seem to have the lives of Kilkenny cats, for when you think they are dead, they come back to life once more. The legislature of that day had to pass an enactment under which interference with the sluices that Vermuyden put into the great dykes that he constructed to carry this water away was a capital offence. These vested interests, or base men employed by the owners of the vested interests, actually tore up the sluices and destroyed the banks after much of the land was drained, and let the water back again, and once more this land became marsh, but, despite all, Vermuyden succeeded, and this vast area was drained, and from that day to this the greater portion of it has remained good agricultural land, land which, I am told, taken at a low average 807 rent, fetches even £2 per acre per annum, bad as agriculture is. Like many another great benefactor of the human race, Vermuyden died poor. He was so harassed by law suits after he had accomplished the work that, like Sir Hugh Myddelton, who constructed the New River, which hon. Members from London know, he died actually in poverty. Whatever may be said about this House of Commons or any other House of Commons, I will not believe, I cannot believe, that they would be parties to allowing this land gradually to go back to swamp. Hundreds of acres have already gone back, and unless this House does something of an effective character—and we believe this Bill would produce something of an effective character—the land must gradually go back to the state in which it was 300 years ago, so I beg of the House to give this Bill a Second Reading.
§ Major MOLSON
Might I ask whether the successors of Vermuyden, the Hatfield Chase drainage authority, are not also opposing this Bill?
§ Sir N. RAE
As far as I know, the Hatfield Chase drainage authority was formed much after Vermuyden's time, but a great portion of their land was land that was rescued from marsh by him, and I understand that the West Riding County Council are perfectly willing to come to an arrangement with a drainage authority like the Hatfield Chase authority.
§ Mr. LEACH
I believe it is the almost uninterrupted practice of this House to permit a Bill of this character to go to Second Beading. I represent a constituency which forms part of the area of one of the authorities opposing this Bill, and, notwithstanding that fact, I am desirous that the Bill should proceed to the Committee stage, and if I can get from the sponsors of the Bill certain assurances which I believe they can give. I shall be quite ready to vote for the Bill. In that connection, I would like to remind the hon. Member for Shipley (Sir N. Rae) that I shall be returning good for 808 evil, because it is hardly a year ago since the West Riding authority were completely successful in killing a local Bill, in which the Cities of Bradford and Leeds were vitally interested, on its Second Reading, so I trust that the attitude I am taking will appeal to him. The West Riding wishes to consolidate its drainage powers, and that is something, surely, to the good, but within this Bill the definition of those powers seems to us a little vague. There are four county authorities, at all events—Bradford, Sheffield, Halifax, and Rotherham—which are decidedly uneasy in regard to them. It is not clear from this Bill whether the jurisdiction of those four authorities over their own properties within the area of the West Riding is not going to be weakened.
Some of these authorities have reservoirs in the area of the West Riding, and the collecting areas for such reservoirs may be affected by Part 2 of the Bill. Again, we have sewage works within the area of the West Riding, and these, too, may be affected. One of the Clauses of the Bill gives complete protection to railway companies and to canal companies in regard to any action that the West Riding may see fit to take on matters of drainage. I do not understand why similar protection cannot be given to the local authorities which are seeking it, and when I remind the House that Bradford itself possesses a railway, and runs that railway, which is situated in the area of the West Riding, surely there must be a case for similar protection being given to my city as is being given to railway companies and canal companies. The county boroughs I have named have been in negotiation with the West Riding for some time, and I am credibly informed that an agreement is on the point of being reached in regard to these protective Clauses we are seeking. If the sponsors for the Bill can give us some assurance on these matters we shall be prepared to support them on the Second Reading so that the necessary Amendments may be made later on in Committee.
§ Mr. PALING
As a Member living in a constituency that is very badly affected now by the question of drainage, or better still the lack of drainage, and will be more badly affected as the years go by owing to subsidence, naturally I have taken a very keen interest in this matter. That 809 being so, I have listened perhaps with greater interest to the reasons adduced as to why this Bill should not pass. I was rather amazed at the first speaker when he said or intended to convey the impression that the West Riding was seeking powers over the Lincolnshire County Council area. I venture to say that he must be wrong in that. If I understand aright, all that will occur is that the rivers into which these waters will run run through the Lincolnshire area, always have done, and are the natural waterways and drainage ways for that part of Yorkshire. He states that this Bill is not like the Lancashire Bill by virtue of the fact that all Lancashire drainage ways empty into the sea and ours do not. He cannot expect Yorkshire to bring the sea up to the edge of their boundary.
§ Major MOLSON
I should like to explain that there is in this Bill the statement thatThe council may remove or otherwise interfere with any mill-dam weir or other obstruction whether within or outside the drainage area which affects the flow of water in any river watercourse or drain in any drainage area.To say that these are natural watercourses is incorrect. They are not natural. They are artificial. Those are my two points.
§ Mr. PALING
I say that they have been the natural watercourses for two or three hundred years, or, at any rate, for long enough to establish a claim to them, and that is all we are seeking to do at present. The hon. and gallant Member would be the first to admit that if somebody between the sea and the land to which he refers that have been so well-drained put an obstacle that was preventing the water getting away from the land he is talking about, he would be the first to desire to get rid of that obstacle, and the West Riding is simply seeking to do the same thing. I agree with the hon. Gentleman (Sir N. Rea) that Vermuyden did do a lot in regard to the drainage of these particular areas, and the hon. Member opposite objects to what he calls interference. It would not be interference at all, but, in any event, we can take that parallel still further back. I was reading a book the other week connected with Doncaster and district history, which said 810 that the people objected to Vermuyden doing anything of the kind. Probably the ancestors who lived on the land referred to now were the people who threatened him with his life and ran him out of the place.
I would like to say a word about the memorials which have been presented and the objections to this particular Bill. Here is a statement, which says:The Bill is opposed by owners of upwards of 150,000 acres of lands and underlying minerals situate in the West Riding (on whose behalf this statement is issued), by the South Yorkshire Coal Trade Association and the West Yorkshire Coal Owners' Association (representing practically the whole of the mineowners in the West Riding), by the Mining Association of Great Britain, by the whole of the existing statutory drainage authorities in the county, by the county councils of Nottingham and Lindsey, and by a number of local authorities.I can understand some of the mineowners opposing this. The probability is that if this Bill is put into operation they would have to do something more to drain the area that subsidence has allowed to be flooded than they have done in the past. I think this House would agree that that would not be a bad thing. Again:By the whole of the statutory drainage authorities in the county.There are authorities in the area mentioned by the first speaker who do excellent work, but in my area there are authorities who do exactly the opposite, and I can imagine some of these people opposing this Bill because if the West Riding did become the drainage authority they would do their work well and would shame these other authorities. Again:By a number of local authorities.I suggest that from the huge number of local authorities who have had this Bill explained to them in the West Riding it will be found that some of them who have expressed their dissent have after an explanation being given changed round and supported the Bill. In addition, I would say that thousands of miners who live in districts affected by this drainage Bill in nearly every case have passed unanimous resolutions asking for it to become law.
In regard to my own particular district, I represent Doncaster and the immediate neighbourhood. As everybody knows, the 811 increase of population in that neighbourhood is tremendous. When I tell you that in the urban district of Bentley, where I live, between the last census and the one before the population increased by 107 per cent., that in the next urban area it increased by 105 per cent., and in Doncaster borough also by an enormous amount, you will have some idea of the increase of population that is coming into these districts. I would like to leave that and to state what is likely to occur. It will probably be in a few years' time the biggest coal mining district in the whole of Great Britain. Already about 14 shafts in the immediate neighbourhood of Doncaster are sunk or in process of being sunk, and I understand that six others are contemplated within the next year or two. That ring will gradually grow bigger, because I am led to understand that coal exists for miles round. This land is for the moment nearly all low-lying, and one place in my own district I believe it is only 16 ft. above sea level. You can imagine what is going to happen there if subsidence takes place, as it is doing, and will and must continually do while these mining operations go on. I will try to give an idea of what this means now, and will mean in the future. There has been published in Doncaster a book called the "Regional Town Planning Scheme," edited or got up by Professor Abercrombie and a Doncaster architect and surveyor, both recognised as experts. These people have set out a town planning scheme, which, if put into operation, or if 50 per cent. of it were put into operation, would make Doncaster a town to be proud of, and it is calculated that in the next 10 or 20 years the population that exists now must double, and that Doncaster must become an industrial town. Fortunately, some of these people are looking to the future and hoping that Doncaster will be an industrial town of which we shall be proud and not ashamed, and they issued a town planning report and one of the experts whom they asked to contribute information to that report is Mr. Humble, a mining expert and engineer and who curiously enough has a brother who is a director of one of the huge colliery companies in the district, and has headed one of the memorials presented against this drainage scheme. But I am going to use the other brother's 812 evidence to prove that this is necessary. He says:The total thickness of coal workable in and round about Doncaster is about 35 feet.He suggests—and this is based on his long and very varied experience—that the probable subsidence when the whole of the minerals are exhausted will be 21 feet. I do not want to alarm hon. Members because the time when the minerals will be exhausted is far distant. I agree; but in any event if a 21 feet subsidence takes place in a locality which is only 16 feet above the sea level now a very serious state of things may come into operation. To go on. He says:The probable subsidence within 100 years"—and nearly 12 or 14 have gone since operations were first started—will be nearly six feet.In my district the subsidence, after taking up the first seam of coal, was 3 ft. 6 ins., and every bank and every riverside in my district have had to be lifted to that extent. Colliery companies are sending in these objections, but, as a matter of fact, some of the colliery companies have realised their responsibility in this matter, and have taken steps where subsidences have taken place to build banks and strengthen and keep the waterways intact. I understand, indeed, I know, that this Bill in the case of any colliery company which does that does not intend to interfere at all. They have started work in a mining town in my district, but no interference will take place, and I may say this: it is admitted in this scheme again that the Bentley Colliery Company have up to the present by the work they have already done saved at least 1,000 acres of the best farm land from being entirely flooded. Mr. Humble goes on to say that the probable output in this district will be 10 or 12 million tons per annum. I venture to state however, Mr. Speaker, that this is an under-estimate. These pits are very lucrative, and some of them are increasing their output every week. When I tell you that only last week I read in the papers of the case of one of them which had turned out 30,000 tons for that week, and you multiply that by all the weeks in the year with probably some 20 or 30 pits of that description, you will see what the estimated output is likely to come to! So that the rate of subsidence 813 that this man predicts of this scheme is likely to be increased rather than decreased. I can show hon. Members—so could other Yorkshire Members—areas in the West Riding of Yorkshire on the other side of Doncaster where coal mining operations have been taking place for the last 30, 40 or 50 years and where thousands of acres are lying derelict and flooded. The land that was amongst the best land in the county, beautiful farming land, has been out of cultivation for years and years, would now, after being allowed to go derelict, cost infinitely more to bring it back into its former position than it would had it been tackled at the time of the subsidence. We hope that in my district this Bill will come into operation so that our district in any event will be able to learn and benefit by the example that is set us a few miles distant and so avoid what has taken place there. Mr. Humble goes on to suggest this—and this is taken from a paragraph of what he has written:The methods to adopt in regard to drainage and sewage works must always be conceived with the full knowledge that settlement must take place, and that provision for the same, as far as possible, must be made in engineering these important devices. If an extended scheme of electrical distribution of power such as the Markham group of collieries are putting down can be mutually or compulsorily arranged I see no reason why a single acre should go out of cultivation. It is simply a question of levels, of raising the river banks and the sides of the dyes to meet the continual subsidence taking place, plus a ease of electrical pumping from the areas affected from time to time which need not be a serious matter financially.I submit that that case from a mining expert and engineer, and I believe one who is also interested in these companies, ought to be, and can be, calculated to be as impartial evidence as it is possible to get. I believe everybody in the district will also agree that this was very reliable evidence. Again, you have Professor Abercrombie, who suggests in the same book:It is probable that owing to the low level of this region there must also remain large tracts impossible of drainage in any way than by artificial means. For this reason the suggestion of preparing a sinking fund appears to be the only safe solution of the difficulty.That sinking fund and that solution is suggested in the Drainage Bill before us now. In addition, I had the pleasure rather less than two years ago of going 814 round with the West Riding Drainage Authorities, as then constituted, to examine some of this land. I went along the River Torne to where it leaves Yorkshire, and there are thousands upon thousands of acres on either side of these waterways which, with an expenditure of a very small sum of money upon drainage and the cleaning out of the waterways, can be reclaimed and made excellent farming land. It is assumed that this land should be allowed to remain derelict. Again, these people say thatthe larger proportion of this land is excellent for farming if kept free from water, which there appears no difficulty to do except on grounds of cost. This valuable agricultural land to the East and Northeast of Doncaster can be made to produce the whole or a greater proportion of the vegetable and dairy produce necessary for a large industrial population which will be located in this area. The provision of means of keeping the land clear of water is a national necessity, and the opinion expressed by some mining engineers that it might be advisable to discontinue pumping, and thus allow the land to become sterile cannot be acquiesced in on the narrow ground of industrial cheesparing.So I could go on, quoting from expert after expert in my district, who are taking a long view of this matter, and who are backing this Bill for all they are worth because they know that in this Bill lies the salvation of the future land that is going to be subject to subsidence, and also the salvation of thousands of acres of land already flooded. Again, in my particular urban district we have built houses of very good character under the 1919 Housing Act, and even now under present circumstances after a heavy rainfall for days, and in some cases weeks, the gardens outside the houses are flooded. I ask hon. Members to imagine, if they can, what is going to be, if subsidence continually takes place, the state of these houses and these grounds? What is to be the inevitable outcome? We are asking you to take a long view of this, and to have some regard to the health of thousands of the industrial workers who are pouring into this district, and who must continue to pour in as these coalfields continue to be opened out. We are asking you to have some regard to the evidence of our own medical officer of health who month after month has dealt with the matter, and who only a few weeks ago said that he was alarmed as 815 to the future unless something was done. Our district was getting like a saucer and would be filled with water if something was not done to rectify the situation in the near future. I could go on quoting evidence from other people of this description who are alarmed at this, and who are hoping that this Bill will be carried because they see in it the only hope of mitigating these evils, and keeping this district healthy and free from stagnant pools on acre upon acre of land, and of giving a chance to the children of that district of a free and healthy life, which cannot be the case when these stagnant pools are present. I ask the House to try and do these things from the point of view of the population that has to live in this district and from the point of view of reclaiming the land for food-producing purposes, and if they will do that then I think this Bill will pass by a large majority.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Robert Sanders)
I think we shall all agree that this has been a most interesting discussion. The speeches have been eloquent, sympathetic, and imaginative, that perhaps I owe an apology to the House for coming back to such a prosaic subject as the Bill itself. I am not, personally, conversant with the local technical details of this Bill, but I want to say that my Ministry is in favour of its general principles. We are all agreed that drainage is a good thing. We are all agreed also that there are many parts of the country where drainage systems do not now exist, and where they might very well be set up. In some places there are in existence admirable and efficient drainage boards. To set up a drainage board under existing circumstances depends a good deal upon the energy and enterprise of a particular district. In some places that enterprise has been abundantly forthcoming, whilst in others it has lagged behind.
The object of this and similar Bills under the Act of 1918 is to empower county councils to set up drainage boards in parts of their own county where they do not exist, or where there is an inefficient existing drainage board to allow them to apply to the Ministry of Agriculture for an order giving them power to take over the work of that inefficient drainage board. That is all that the 816 first two parts of this Bill ask us to do, and that is the extent of the powers taken under it. The strange thing about this Debate is that this Bill has not been opposed by Yorkshire, but it seems to have frightened the inhabitants of a neighbouring county. I am told that these fears are almost premature, and, at all events, they are quite groundless.
The chief district concerned is that which is served by a drainage board known as the Hatfield Chase Drainage Board. It is with regard to this board that the question which affects Lincolnshire arises. It is not proposed to alter the status quo in that respect in any way. Yorkshire has certain rights of drainage through a part of the County of Lincolnshire, but they are prescriptive rights of long standing. They may be bad for Yorkshire, or Lincolnshire, but, at any rate, they are not altered one jot or tittle by this Bill. Whatever Lincolnshire has to-day it will have when this Bill is passed, and whatever privileges Yorkshire has to-day it will have still after this Bill becomes law, and it will not be affected or diminished in any way whatever. As regards the other drainage board which has been mentioned, I am informed that the same state of things will happen, and it is not intended to interfere with that in any way.
The Lincolnshire people seem to be unduly timorous as to their piratical neighbours from Yorkshire, but I would remind them that none of these powers can be taken over except with the consent of the Minister of Agriculture. That is provided for by the Bill, and I have been the Minister of Agriculture long enough now to know that, in common with other Departments, if we can avoid a row we will. Therefore I do not think that the Lincolnshire people need be in the least apprehensive that we shall allow a new burden to be put upon them which will cause ill-feeling. So much for the general principles of the Bill.
I wish to say a word about Axholme. This raises an engineering point upon which I cannot give an expert opinion, and it is a matter which will have to be threshed out in Committee. The people of Axholme, I think, may sleep in their beds with perfect safety for the rest of their days. So much for the Bill in general, and the principle it contains. Now I come to Part III. This introduces 817 a very big question indeed, namely, the question of subsidence. We have had a most interesting and eloquent speech from the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Paling), full of information on that particular subject. I think we all felt that we knew more about subsidence than we had known before when the hon. Member sat down, and I think we ought to be grateful to him for such an interesting and exhaustive study of the question.
I think it must be obvious that here was a very big question indeed. Indeed, we think it is too big a question to be dealt with in a private Bill that does not affect the whole county, but merely affects one area of a particular county and which is not essential to the successful working of this Bill. The Government has been considering this question as a whole, and we shall watch and consider the question very carefully. I think, however, the House will agree that we cannot deal with this question in such a piecemeal fashion by a private Bill. When a decision is come to, the Government will announce its intention on the subject, and will deal with the matter as one applying to the whole country. If I may offer a word of advice to the promoters of the Bill, it is that they should not press Part III, but should proceed with the rest of the Bill. If they do that, the Government are prepared to say that they view the Bill, with Part III excluded, with favour.
§ Mr. JOHN GUEST
Might I ask what are the intentions of the Government with reference to a Bill on the question of subsidence?
§ Major FAWKES
I feel that the Minister of Agriculture has already answered the greater number of the criticisms which have been levelled against this Bill.
With regard to the Isle of Axholme, and waters from the West Riding being poured in increasing volume into that area, I wish to say there are only 27,000 acres of the West Riding that drain into the River Trent. There is a drain called the Folly drain which surrounds on one side the Isle of Axholme. It comes down between the River Torne and the Isle of Axholme, which is under the control of the Lindsey County Council.
With regard to the necessity of this Bill, I should like to tell the House that 818 it originated really from the Agriculture Committee of the West Riding County Council. The interest that is now so apparent in that county with regard to drainage began during the time of the Great War. As is well known by hon. Members of this House, a large area of grass land, and very good land, was ploughed out. When the Executive of the West Riding County Council went down into this particular area, and also other areas in the West Riding, they found there was a large amount of land which was suitable for plouging out, of a arable nature, and black land, but they could not order it to be ploughed out, because the drainage was so bad, not that cur predecessors had not drained it, but the present generation had been neglectful in cleaning out and scouring out the big drains, and so prevented the under drains in many areas from being effective. During that time there were certain areas taken in hand under D.O.R.A. German prisoners were used to clean out and scour out these drains, and the water was lowered in some cases as much as 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet. They had probably never been down to that level for 30 or 40 years. The drains were then able to function. The War Executive Committee, with the aid of contractors, were able to get on to that land, and grow good crops of corn. It was felt it would have been very much better if they had been able to grow the corn straight away when it, was wanted, rather than have to farrow the land and wait a long time for it to dry out before they began to cultivate.
The West Riding Agricultural Committee, of which I have the honour to be chairman, has been going about the West Riding, and has found that in many parts of the West Riding, not only in the Doncaster area, a very great number of the Enclosure Awards under Acts of Parliament are dormant, and that the authorities are not functioning. A great many of them, we have been told, are out of date, and cannot, without new Orders, be put in a proper state so that they can function at the present day. In one area there are 22 Enclosure Awards. There are seven drains set out which are supposed to be cleaned out regularly by these owners or their predecessors, who were allowed to enclose certain common and waste lands and add them to their freeholds. It is a fact that they still own, and draw a certain 819 amount of rent from, these lands, but a great many of them have forgotten that their obligations also ought to be carried out. This Bill gives the West Riding Authority power to say to these small authorities—if one may call them so—" If you do not clean out the drains, which it is your duty to do under Act of Parliament, the West Riding County Council, after giving you ample time, will come along and do it for you, and charge you." Naturally that is objected to by a great many people, but it is for the good of the whole community and for the good of agriculture. I believe there are some hon. Members who have come to this Debate, if what I have heard is right, to vote against this West Riding Drainage Bill. I hope there are no Members of this House who take the line that if they own land in this country they are entitled to allow that land to go to waste and become a wild fowl shoot. If there are any such Members in this House, I do not think their constituents can be aware of their views, because we in the West Riding contend that, in the present state of agriculture, it is essential that all the drainage works which are in existence shall function. I happen to be a farmer, and I think all farmers will agree that drainage is the master-key of production. Any farmer who tries to farm his land when his under-draining is not functioning is heading for the Bankruptcy Court. I may be told that it is not as bad as that. I can inform those hon. Members who are not conversant with agriculture in a practical way, that if a man's land be wet at the bottom he will be late with his seed time and with his harvest. He will have his horses standing in the stable more days than they ought his crops will ripen late, and unevenly. He will send his wheat or his oats to market to sell: he will be told that they are a poor sample, and he will not get a fair price. With regard to the texture of soil, it is well known that if your drains are not functioning it lowers the temperature of your soil and sub-soil. Therefore, instead of your grass growing, like it does on well-drained land, all the year round, it will only grow for about three months in the year, and what does grow is blue grass, and a lot of grass is what we call "fill belly," which is of no use at all.
820 From the agricultural point of view, I maintain it is absolutely essential that this Bill should go through. It will not affect any drainage authority that is doing its job. I hope and feel sure the House will pass the Bill, which will fall with a heavy hand upon the delinquents. A great many of these delinquents are doing an injury to their neighbours. Those who are farmers know that there are a few farmers who do not clean out their drains. If you happen to farm above a man who does not clean out his drains, you cannot clean out yours till he does so; he defies you. I may be told by some hon. Members who are against this Bill that we have a remedy under the Act of 1864. It costs three or four times more to go to law and to make your neighbour do his job than for you to do it for him. This Bill, and the Lancashire Act of Parliament, enables the farmer to write to the County Council and tell them that he has a certain neighbour who has not cleaned out his ditch. The letter goes, and that delinquent very soon does it. I am told on very good authority that in some parts of Lancashire already it has had a wonderful effect by stirring up the farmer to do his work, so as not to injure his neighbour.
I may be told that the farmers in the West Riding are against this Bill. The Doncaster branch of the Farmers' Union have passed a resolution unanimously in favour of it, and the West Riding Executive of the Farmers' Union have passed a resolution in favour of it. The West Riding County Council have twice given a solid majority in favour of the Bill; all sections of the county council, by 10 to one. We are told by the objectors that there is no public demand for this Bill. Surely the County Council of the West Riding of Yorkshire, as it is in these democratic days, is supposed to voice anyhow the opinions of a very large number of the inhabitants in that Riding, and the Farmers' Union surely does not represent the worst farmers in that particular area. Therefore, on the grounds of agriculture, there is an outstanding case in favour of the Bill.
With regard to the upkeep of the roads, the Highways Committee of the County Council say that if this Bill does not go through it will make an enormous addition to the cost of the roads in the West Riding. We all know that the cost of the maintenance of the highways is big 821 enough already. If the water be allowed to lie just under the crust of the road the effect of heavy motor traffic will be disastrous. We have heard of the new population there is going to be in that area. Every new pit means a new village and ten thousand inhabitants. They have to live. They have to have food and everything else taken to them, and therefore there is going to be an enormous amount of traffic. Unless this level of water is going to be cut down, the roads will be spoilt, and the ratepayers of the West Riding will have to bear a much heavier burden than at the present time.
Last, but not least, there is the question of the public health; the health of the community. There are certain places in the Dearne Valley where, in the winter, you cannot see where the stream is. In th dry time you can go there and trace its course by means of the willow trees. In the summer time microbes and bacteria multiply there, and the health of the inhabitants of these mining villages—Cadeby or any other village—is bad. If any stranger, going into that particular area, went up a hill, he would leave a beautiful, lovely valley. When he got to the top, he could look down and he would see—I am sorry to use the expression—nothing more than a hell on earth. We contend, in the West Riding, that this ought not to occur in future. One hon. Member said it would cost more than the land is worth. We ask the House to help us in the West Riding, so that these conditions shall not occur in future and so that we shall be able to hand the land down to those Alio come after us in as good a condition and, we hope, in a better condition, than we found it.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
May I ask one question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who, I understand, is one of the promoters of the Bill? Do the promoters wish to go on with Part III, or not?
§ Major FAWKES
After what has fallen from the Minister, I would say, on behalf of the promoters, that they are prepared to withdraw Part III of the Bill.
§ Mr. TURNER
On a point of Order. I gather that the Minister of Agriculture has asked the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken if the promoters are prepared to withdraw Part III. As one of those who helped to promote the Bill, I object to its withdrawal.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
Although a great number of hon. Members are interested in this Bill, I have a special interest in it, because I was a resident for very many years in Lincolnshire, and my early political efforts were in Lincolnshire. I know the district from Sutton Bridge to Gainsborough. I have listened, therefore, with deep interest to the grounds upon which this Bill is promoted, in order to see what justification there is either for Part I, Part II, or Part III. I understand it is common ground between almost all hon. Members in the House that they should follow the lead of the Minister of Agriculture, and say that Part III ought not to go through because it ought to be the subject of a different Bill. What does that mean? Does it not mean that this House is determined, on this as on other occasions, not to deal in a piecemeal fashion with a matter which ought to be dealt with on broad, public grounds, but reserves to itself the right to deal with large public questions in the manner in which it thinks they ought to be determined? Here we have a Private Bill, raising large public issues, with which the promoters propose to deal in their own fashion. If I follow the Minister of Agriculture, he advises the House not to give a Second Reading to the Bill unless Part III is withdrawn, and I understand that one promoter is ready to withdraw it, while the other is not.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
We want to know-exactly where we are, and I should like to ask the hon. and gallant Member who, I understand, is in charge of the Bill, does he say that Part III is withdrawn or not? May I have a definite answer to that question?
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
Then may I venture, Mr. Speaker, very respectfully to ask you a question, namely, what is the effect of the hon. and gallant Member in charge of the Bill saying that part of the Bill is withdrawn? Does it moan that the Bill will come before the Committee as it is, 823 involving representation before that Committee of those who are opposed to Part III in order to see whether or not that undertaking is completely carried out or does it moan that, when the House gives a Second Reading to the Bill, it deletes Part III of the Bill before it goes to that Committee? I think the House is very anxious to be quite clear as to what is the effect of the withdrawal in the House of Part III by the hon. and gallant Member in charge of the Bill.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Before you, Sir, reply, may I say that there is also a possible third question, as to whether the Instruction which stands in the names of several of us might be put from the Chair. In that case, an Instruction given by the whole House would be definite and final.
§ Major MOLSON
May I ask a further question? I should like to understand from you what is the position in regard to the portion of Lincolnshire that is involved in this Bill. We wish to oppose the Bill in tote, even if Part III is withdrawn.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
With regard to the points put to me by the right hon. and learned Member for Leamington (Sir E. Pollock) and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), the position is that the Member in charge of the Bill for the promoters has announced that Part III, after the statement of the Minister, will be withdrawn. The effect of that is that, when the Bill is presented to a Committee upstairs, if it obtain a Second Reading, Part III will have been struck out of the Bill by the promoters, and, therefore, it will not be necessary for the parties concerned in Part III to appear, to see that that is done. It follows that the Instruction which appears on the Paper will be unnecessary. With regard to the point put by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Major Molson), he and his friends, if they choose, will be able to divide against the Bill if, as I understand, they are opposed to what remains of it.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
I thank you very much indeed for the exposition you have given. You have made it perfectly clear what will happen as to Part III; but I am a little uneasy as to Parts I and II. I have read the Bill very carefully, and, 824 if I may say so, as a Lincolnshire man, I still feel uneasy in regard to two points. One is that although a large amount of water comes down to the drains and pumps of Lincolnshire, that easement is limited, and it may be, as I read the Bill, that a great deal more water will come down, so that there will be an extra cost, an extra burden and an extra danger put upon Lincolnshire. I am not prepared, as the Bill stands, to sleep in my bed in perfect comfort because I feel that Lincolnshire may possibly suffer an increased burden. The next point I am not quite easy about is that 30 authorities have already petitioned against the Bill. When we find a Bill which is going to involve so much cost and opposition and in which, apparently, so little effort has been made to secure co-operation among all the authorities interested, it is a matter of grave doubt for this House whether they will regard a Bill in that condition as a suitable one to go before a Committee at all. But the point on which I want a little further enlightenment is this. The Minister of Agriculture has told us what, as he conceives it, are the general principles of the Bill. He attached a good deal of importance to some of the Clauses, and he indicated that with regard to some of the fears they were unfounded, and he stated the general principle of the Bill as he read them. As he read them they were innocuous. Can the House take it that when the matter goes before the Committee, accepting the general principles as stated by the Minister, it will be the duty of the Committee to see that the Bill, when it emerges from the Committee, only does embody those general principles as stated by the Minister from the Front Bench, or will it be possible for the Bill to be framed exactly as the Committee like, when perhaps the Minister of Agriculture himself will not sleep so soundly in his bed as he promises most of us will be able to do. I want to know, therefore, if it may be taken that the principles stated by the Minister of Agriculture are to guide the Committee, or is the matter entirely at large?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
A Committee of this House cannot be dictated to by anyone. On the other hand, a Department concerned in a Bill makes a Report to the Committee, and it is the duty of the Committee to take the Departmental Report into its consideration. The experience of Members who have served on these Committees will, I think, bear me out when I say that much weight is attached to the Report of the Minister when the Bill is under consideration.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
I am obliged for the exposition you have again given on what is a difficult point. Unless one could rely upon the fact that the Bill was to be rendered as inocuous as stated, I would not vote for it. It is stated that it is necessary that this area should receive proper drainage, and we have been told there are a number of authorities who do not do their duty and that it would be cumbrous to proceed under the Act of 1864. No one seems to have taken the trouble to read the Act of 1918 under which it is quite possible for the Ministry of Agriculture to step in and insist upon all the authorities doing their duty and seeing that the drainage is properly carried out. To go to the great expense of a new Bill, opposed, as it is, by 30 authorities, in order to have a new means of carrying out what can be carried out at present under Section 15 of an Act passed four years ago, seems to be a matter which ought not to trouble this House, or the energies of one of its Committees.
It is said that this Bill is founded upon the Act passed for Lancashire. That is no foundation to stand upon at all. I have here an extract from the Chairman's speech when the Preamble of that. Act was found proved in another place. He said:The Committee desire me to say that they consider there are special circumstances which have been brought before us in connection with this Bill which make it desirable that it should proceed.There were special circumstances, and there were very important circumstances. Lancashire was able to provide an outlet of its own into the sea. There is no such outlet which can be provided under this Bill. To make a long story short, and as Part 3 has now gone, I say that I regard this Bill with grave misgiving. I have listened to the grounds put forward in its support, and I cannot imagine why 826 so cumbrous and large a Bill should have been put forward to accompliish what apparently can be done by the mere application of the powers of the Minister of Agriculture, or of powers which could have been amplified if a small Bill had been asked for. It was quite unnecessary to bring forward a Bill of 52 Sections. If the matter goes to a Division I shall, on the whole, feel it my duty to vote against the Bill. I am glad to think that, in any event, we have got rid of Part 3, and I hope that the Committee of the House which deals with the Bill will deal with it drastically and not forget a single word of the speech of the Minister of Agriculture, because it is alone on the assurance which he gave, and the description which he gave of this Bill, that no further opposition is now offered to the Bill, if it is decided that we should not go to a Division.
§ Mrs. WINTRINGHAM
I rise to support the rejection of the Bill. In the Debate, the honours, or, rather, the majority of the speeches, seem to have been on the Yorkshire side. Much has been said about the merits of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. I have lived half my life in Yorkshire and half in Lincolnshire, so I think I can look at the question in an unbiassed way. One hon Member said that Yorkshire was not going to give anything away to Lincolnshire. That is not the way that we in Lincolnshire look upon the matter. This Bill is based upon the Lancashire Drainage Act. When that Act came into force, agreement had been made with all the existing drainage authorities over which the drainage passed. In the case of this Bill, no agreement has been made between the West Riding County Council and the authorities over whose land the drainage would pass. It has also been said that the outfall of the Lancashire drainage scheme was in Lancashire itself. The outfall of the West Riding scheme is in Lincolnshire. The outfall is in the River Trent.
My great objection to this Bill is that it is contrary to all the rules of local government. Why should one authority have the power to drain land over another authority's land? The Minister said that there might be no extra water, but if this scheme is brought into force large quantities of water are bound to be brought down. The water of the Trent 827 is very often much higher than the existing drains and sometimes it takes three weeks for the surplus water to be taken away by the Trent. If further drainage is to be carried off it is going to be much more difficult for the water to get away from the Trent. The remedy that I would suggest is that a comprehensive drainage scheme should be set up, one which would include all the authorities. I do not see why the Lincoln Authority could not work in co-operation with the West Riding Authority. We are quite friendly on the question, but we do want to have a sense of fairness, and we think that there ought to be equal representation when the proposed system passes over our land, and we want the West Riding to frame a comprehensive scheme by which the interests of both Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will be safeguarded.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I think that some of the statements of an hon. Gentleman opposite need to be corrected. He stated that the Act of 1919 applied to the problem of drainage, and would solve the whole of the Yorkshire trouble without the new cumbrous Act that has been referred to. The Ministry agree that this power should be dealt with by the County Council, who should always seek the approval of the Ministry before they actually commence any large work. So from that point of view the whole thing has been examined, and the Ministry of Agriculture have satisfied themselves that the West Riding scheme is the better scheme of the two, and because of that fact they have accorded their support to the Bill. It has been suggested that this should be limited to the water courses leading from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire, but it should be understood that the outlets are not an exclusive luxury enjoyed entirely by the Lincolnshire people, and that they were obviously made to drain the land in question dealt with in this Bill, and if an extension or development is needed to carry off the volume of water, which may be drained through these outlets, the two county councils would tackle the problem, and to that extent both counties would benefit. When it is stated that 30 authorities are in opposition to this Bill, it should be remembered that the Yorkshire County Council have all the outlets for at least 77,000 acres of the 100,000 acres in Yorkshire. Consequently, this Bill seems to 828 me to be merely a Bill to compel those people who decline to carry out their drainage obligations to do so in the future.
I think that all those Members who were present when the Mover of the Second Reading made his statement will agree that the action of the county council is based not upon the desire to overwhelm small authorities, particularly those small Boards who are attempting to carry on the work and doing so with success, but that the county council have a genuine desire to get the maximum quantity of agricultural land under cultivation, and in doing so they have sought and secured the approval of the agriculturists of Yorkshire. I believe that hon. Members opposite sometimes sympathise with agriculture. If they are in sympathy with agriculture this evening they cannot fail to give their whole-hearted support to this Bill.
The fundamental reason for the promotion of the Bill is, first of all, the purpose of retaining the maximum quantity of land under cultivation, and, secondly, avoidance of the unnecessary destruction of vegetation. Hon. Members must know the evil effects upon the health of people when hundreds of acres of land are constantly under water. Trees are destroyed and a good deal of the beauty of the countryside is destroyed. From every point of view the county council have based their Bill upon a sound foundation. They desire to bring pressure to bear only when pressure appears to be necessary. So long as they do not exceed the powers conferred upon them under the terms of this Bill, they will be doing the best they can for the landowners and the people who reside on the land, for agriculture and for the beauty of the countryside generally. I feel sure that those who are opposing the Bill to-night will live to regret that they wasted two and-a-half hours of the time of the House in a futile effort to prevent an absolutely essential and inevitable move on the part of a progressive county council. I hope that the House will give an overwhelming majority in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
I have been amazed at the light way in which the Minister has given assent to the Second Reading of the Bill. I wish to oppose the Bill 829 upon general grounds and as a point of principle. In this country up to now we have had for land drainage a code of laws under which ad hoc authorities have been appointed. In no case have the powers asked for in this private Bill been given to a county council except in Lancashire, which I will show later to be a special case. I think it is a matter of very grave importance, and that the House should realise what it is doing before it assents to the Second Reading. The Act of 1861 was reviewed and brought up to date by the House in 1918. Under the Act of 1918, when an area is under-drained or not properly drained, or an authority for drainage purposes is not carrying out its duty, there are means provided for setting up cheaply and expeditiously a proper drainage authority for that purpose, or compelling a defaulting authority to do its work. The West Riding County Council controls an enormous area. It is elected on a franchise different to that of the authorities appointed under the Land Drainage Act and the House is asked by the Bill to confer on the West Riding County Council, which has this enormous territory under its control, power to enforce a heavy expenditure on small local areas. It is true that the people who will be affected are represented, but their vote will be overborne by the votes of others who will not have to share in the expense forced upon these areas. That is a new departure and should not be accepted, and least of all should it be accepted in a private Bill.
There are in this whole area no fewer than 10 drainage authorities including the Hatfield Chase Corporation which has been in existence for a great number of years and they have always worked well. I can see no reason why some ratepayers should be enabled, through their representatives, to control and direct expenditure falling on places 40, 50 or 60 miles distant from their district when they themselves will not have to bear one penny of that expenditure. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] As the House evidently considers this Bill has been sufficiently debated, I will only point out one further ground of objection. The West Riding County Council, as I have said, controls a vast territory. It will have to set up, for the purpose of drainage administration in this area, a very expensive system. It will 830 have to engage engineers and a large staff, and bear heavy expenditure, and it is going to put this expense on to the occupiers of the land, for doing work which is now being performed at half the cost. I am not speaking without experience. During the War we had the agricultural committees of the county councils taking up this work. Drains were made and cleaned by the workmen of the county councils, and these bodies sought to recover the cost, and in nearly every case there was litigation. Any member who was a magistrate at the time, or any person who sat in Court when these cases were being heard, will bear me out when I say the work was extravagantly and expensively done, and the occupiers of land were mulcted in expenses which were three times the amount they should have been. Even then the county councils did not recover in more than half or three-quarters of the number of cases involved. I shall certainly vote against the Bill, and I would urge all those who are interested in rural matters to do the same.
§ Mr. H. H. SPENCER
I want to put the position of a few of us Members who represent authorities which are unfavourable to this Bill. I have listened to the Debate this evening, and I have come to the conclusion that so much can be said on both sides that I think we should lot this Bill go to Committee. That is the only point I want to make, except to assure the Lincolnshire people that, although the Bill is in charge of the Gentleman who was once accused of being a lineal descendant of Guy Fawkes, and who is my friend and neighbour, I wish to say that piracy in Yorkshire is not what it used to be. I therefore ask this House to give this Bill a chance to go to Committee.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think a strong case has been made out for the objects of this Bill, that is to say, that there is a great deal of land which is waterlogged, and local agricultural opinion is naturally anxious to get it made cultivable. There is also a large population on this land to whom its condition must be deleterious. So far, everybody would be in favour of the objects of the Bill, but the promoters of the Measure seem to me to have made out a very poor case for their methods. There has not been much time, I admit, and I do not want to press it too far. Had it not been for the speech of the 831 Minister, I should have felt it my duty to vote against the Bill, but it appears possible, from what the right hon. Gentleman said, that the method which this Bill adopts may be so modified in Committee as to make it workable. I doubt it, because the main object of the Bill seems to me to be, from the agricultural standpoint, that one large, costly authority, with officials, as the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Mr. Cautley) has mentioned, is to deal with an agricultural area which can much better deal piecemeal with its own requirements, as is done satisfactorily, to my own knowledge. I have lived all my life in districts where the levels are below tidal level, and where the local drainage committees have had to keep their land properly drained in order to make it cultivable. That can be done at far less expense and far more effectively than by one great authority.
The inclination of these large authorities is always to be omnivorous and swallow up the little authorities, and I have the strongest objection to it. If I thought that was going to be perpetuated indefinitely in Committee, I would vote against the Second Reading of the Bill unhesitatingly, and say that the promoters
§ should prepare another Bill, in which their action would be, not to become themselves the authority, but to use their powers to make other people, who will do it better and cheaper, do their duty, to cure this waterlogged land. If that cannot be done in Committee, I shall certainly vote against the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
I understand that under Clause 12 of the Bill it may be possible for the West Riding County Council to take powers which would interfere with the drainage rights of boroughs like Sheffield and other county boroughs in the West Riding. I also understand there have been negotiations proceeding with regard to a Clause that would protect the county boroughs. May we have a pledge from the promoters that that Clause will be effective in protecting the boroughs in the future as in the present?
§ Major FAWKES
The county boroughs are not included, and I can give a pledge that they will not be included.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 82.833
|Division No. 113.]||AYES.||[10.50 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Cape, Thomas||Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guv R.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Goff, Sir R. Park|
|Ammon, Charles George||Chapple, W. A.||Gosling, Harry|
|Apsley, Lord||Charleton, H. C.||Greenall, T.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Clayton, G. C.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Groves, T.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Grundy, T. W.|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)|
|Barnes, A.||Collins, Pat (Walsall)||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cope, Major William||Guthrie, Thomas Maule|
|Becker, Harry||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Halstead, Major D.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hancock, John George|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Harney, E. A.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Duncan, C.||Hartshorn, Vernon|
|Briant, Frank||Ede, James Chuter||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Broad, F. A.||Edmonds, G.||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)|
|Brotherton, J.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Buchanan, G.||Ednam, Viscount||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)|
|Buckle, J.||Ellis, R. G.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)|
|Buckley, Lieu.-Colonel A.||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Falconer, J.||Herriotts, J.|
|Button, H. S.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Hewett, Sir J. P.|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Hiley, Sir Ernest|
|Cairns, John||Furness, G. J.||Hill, A.|
|Hirst, G. H.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)|
|Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Moreing, Captain Aigernon H.||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Newbold, J. T. W.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth|
|Hudson, Capt. A.||Nichol, Robert||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Hume, G. H.||Oliver, George Harold||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Paget, T. G.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Paling, W.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Perring, William George||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Phillipps, Vivian||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Ponsonby, Arthur||Turner, Ben|
|Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Potts, John S.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Pringle, W. M. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Wallace, Captain E.|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rentoul, G. S.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.||Warne, G. H.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut-Colonel G. R.||Ritson, J.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Lansbury, George||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Webb, Sidney|
|Leach, W.||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Lee, F.||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Westwood, J.|
|Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Wheatley, J.|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Lort-Williams, J.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Whiteley, W.|
|Lowth, T.||Russell, William (Bolton)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Lumley, L. R.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lunn, William||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|M'Entee, V. L.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Leslie O. (P'tsm'th, S.)|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Sandon, Lord||Winterton, Earl|
|Manville, Edward||Sexton, James||Wise, Frederick|
|March, S.||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Margesson, H. D. R.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Shinwell, Emanuel||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Maxton, James||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wright, W.|
|Mercer, Colonel H.||Sinclair, Sir A.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Middleton, G.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Millar, J. D.||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Snowden, Philip||Major Fawkes and Sir Norman|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-ln-Furness)||Rae.|
|Molloy, Major L. G. S.|
|Adams, D.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Rawilnson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Ganzoni, Sir John||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Gates, Percy||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Remer, J. R.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Greaves-Lord, Walter||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)|
|Bonwick, A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harris, Percy A.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bruford, R.||Hinds, John||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Linfield, F. C.||Thornton, M.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lougher, L.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||McLaren, Andrew||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Wells, S. R.|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Nesbitt, Robert C.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Nield, Sir Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Foot, Isaac||Penny, Frederick George||Major Molson and Mrs. Wintringham.|
|Bill read a Second Time, and Committed.|