§ Order for Consideration of Lords Amendments read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."—(Sir J. Gilmour.)
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir John Gilmour)
The House may be a little appalled by the number of Amendments from the other House, but in the main they are purely drafting. They are drafting in the sense that they either meet certain representations which were made in the discussions on the Bill in this House and are necessary in order to carry out the undertakings which I gave; or they are in the nature of transposing from one part of the Bill to another and co-ordinating parts of the Bill which were scattered about when the Measure left this House. These relate to such things as the definition of bread, and to problems which deal with the export of bread after consultation with the interests concerned. It can be said with certainty that nothing new has been introduced into the Bill beyond the tightening up of certain regulations after consultation with all the interests concerned, and nothing has been inserted except with the consent of all those who are concerned in carrying out this work.
There is one Amendment on the Schedule, to which I desire to direct attention, to increase the numbers of the Wheat Commission. After consideration of this problem it was found very desirable to increase if possible, by at any rate one member, those who represent the corn merchants, and to add one to those 2040 who represent the growers of wheat. I will not say definitely exactly how these will be chosen, but I have it in mind to give that representation to Scotland which I undertook to do when the Bill was under Debate here. We can then give proper and fair representation both to the tenant farmer and to the larger landed interests, and, if I can so arrange, I should like to add one representative of the workers. In that way, we shall have complete representation of all those-who are concerned in agriculture. I shall be ready to answer any questions on any of the Amendments, and I hope that the House will find that they are in the main drafting Amendments.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
We have congratulated the right hon. Gentleman previously upon having produced the most highly complex piece of legislative machinery so far known. Now we have to congratulate him on what is an absolute record of Amendments made by their Lordships in another place to the right hon. Gentleman's Bill. Has the right hon. Gentleman thought what would happen were the Opposition really inclined to oppose as did the Conservative party in opposition? There are no fewer than 84 Amendments to this Bill, which clearly proves what a lucid piece of legislation it was. If we were to divide upon each of those 84 Amendments, taking 15 minutes for each Division, three Parliamentary days would be gone. Fortunately, there is a different spirit on the Opposition benches now from that which prevailed in the last Parliament, and we have no desire to take up the time of the House. Of course, we have no power to insist upon the Government giving more time for such complicated Amendments as those before us, and we are obliged to take them at this very late hour.
2041 We have satisfied ourselves, after a careful examination of the whole of them, that no new principle has found its way into the Amendments. We object to the terms of the Bill. We feel that the machinery is well-nigh unworkable, but the Amendments are chiefly Amendments either to improve the wording or to make it more nearly possible to operate the machine than was the case before the Bill left for another place. We observe that a new interpretation of bread has been produced by Noble Lords. I am not sure that my hon. Friends will not have something to say on that, but, apart from that, as we are satisfied that we can make no material difference, and that the principles now are pretty much the same as they were intended to be by the right hon. Gentleman, who, unfortunately, was unable to express himself in the Bill as it was originally introduced, we see no reason to waste time by forcing Division after Division, knowing full well that at the end we shall be where we were when we started.
Lieut.-Colonel J. SANDEMAN ALLEN
I would like to ask for an explanation regarding one of the Amendments to Subsection (6) of Clause I of the Bill. That Amendment has deleted the words "registered grower" and inserted the word "person," and the Clause now reads:If any person from whom the Flour Millers' Corporation have been required.Suppose the farm is owned by a co-operative society?
§ Lords Amendments considered accordingly.
§ Lords Amendment: In page 8, after Clause 3, insert: