(1.) For section twenty-four of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, shall be substituted the following section, namely:—
The provisions set forth in Part I. (slaughter at port of landing) of the Third Schedule to
this Act shall apply to all foreign animals other than—
LORD HERSCHELL moved to add at the end of Sub-section (1), after the word "Act,"—
Provided always that if it shall be represented to Her Majesty by an Address of either House of Parliament that any particular colony or country is free from cattle disease, and that animals may be admitted from such colony or country without any danger of introducing or spreading disease, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council by Order to allow animals or any specified kind of animals brought from that colony or country to be landed without being subject to the provisions aforesaid; provided that the admission of such animals shall be subject to such regulations as to the route by which the animals are conveyed to this country, quarantine, or otherwise, as the Board of Agriculture may by Order direct; any such Order of the Queen in Council as aforesaid may be from time to time revoked or varied.
He did not desire that cattle should be introduced into the country if there were any danger of their propagating or causing disease; but although he thought that the policy of preventing animals from being landed alive for the purpose of avoiding the introduction of disease was one thoroughly justifiable, although it might inflict upon a class of the community considerable hardship and loss, he did not think that it would be justifiable to exclude live animals from this country and inflict that loss for the purpose of protecting the business of the breeder when there was no fear of its being interfered with by disease. He conceded that the Measure ought to be sufficient to prevent the introduction of cattle when there was a danger of their introducing disease; but the Bill went much beyond that, it would forbid the introduction of cattle when there was no danger of their producing disease. It seemed to him, therefore, it was only right to provide some machinery by which in the latter event the prohibition to the introduction
of live animals should cease to exist. He was quite aware it was possible that disease might be introduced by importation from a country in which at the time no disease existed, which was a point to which the Duke of Devonshire called attention the other day, and he had framed his Amendment with that point fully in view. Under the proposal he made it would be impossible for animals to be admitted unless one or other House of Parliament had investigated the matter and represented to Her Majesty that cattle might be introduced with perfect safety. Did their Lordships think that their own House could not be trusted to make such a representation only when disease had ceased to exist in the colony or country, and that the admission of animals was safe? He did not suppose their Lordships would cast a doubt upon the capacity or honesty of the House in any such matter. Then, were they not prepared to trust the other House of Parliament? The Commons were the representatives of the people of the whole country, and this was a matter in which the country at large was seriously and gravely interested. Surely, therefore, it was right that when disease no longer existed they should be able to say that the restrictions to the introduction of live animals should cease. Allusion had been made to the feeling excited in the colonies by the introduction of this Bill. It would surely be in the highest interests of the good relations between ourselves and our colonies that we should show ourselves ready to afford a simple and efficacious method of putting an end to the restrictions as soon as those restrictions ceased to be necessary. He had no doubt one class of agriculturists would like to see the restrictions permanently maintained, but there was a large class of agriculturists who held the contrary view. Their Lordships ought not in a matter of this kind to be guided by considerations of the interests of either one class or the other, and he advised them to agree to his proposal, the acceptance of which he was persuaded would remove the objections which many persons entertained to the Bill.
§ VISCOUNT CROSS
was sorry he could not advise the House to accept the Amendment. Disease was stamped out some time ago at a cost to the Exchequer alone of £272,000, and the agriculturists 907 who suffered very considerably by the existence of disease, had a right to say that now the country was free from disease Parliament ought to protect them from it in the future. The two great reasons which he adduced on a previous occasion why this Bill should be passed had been entirely ignored by the noble and learned Lord. At present the duties thrown on the Board of Agriculture were to find out whether there was any danger of disease, or whether there was any instance of disease in the countries from which it was proposed to export cattle. He was sure that the noble Lord could not have consulted the Board of Agriculture.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I did not refer to that because my Amendment deals with it; it leaves repealed that portion of the Act.
§ VISCOUNT CROSS
said that no Department in the country had more efficient, deserving, intelligent, and earnest officers than the Board of Agriculture in connection with this question of cattle disease. But they said that it was almost impossible for them to find out in any country whether disease existed to such an extent as to induce them to stop the importation of cattle from that country. Another reason was that if cattle were allowed to leave the port of debarkation alive, although inspected by eminent men, it was impossible for anyone to say whether the cattle so imported had or had not disease. ["Hear, hear!"] Inspectors had not really the means of determining whether or not disease existed in imported cattle unless they were slaughtered on landing. Therefore it was the intention of the Government to abide by the Bill as introduced, because they believed that the proposition of the noble Lord would not protect either the producer or the consumer, as they ought to be protected, from the importation of disease. The duty of administering the Acts rested with the Board of Agriculture. They had done the work well so far as they had gone; but they wished to make their action permanent. He thought that to transfer the responsibility in this matter to either House of Parliament was to select the very worst tribunal. Was either House more likely to understand the business better than the Board of Agriculture, with its staff 908 of officers? The Government believed that they ought, in the interests of disease prevention, to make the prohibition permanent, and he appealed to their Lordships not to yield to the somewhat insidious proposal of the noble Lord.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said that Parliament at present appeared to consider itself qualified to deal with this question, for it was about to enact a stringent law superseding the action of the Board of Agriculture, and making perpetual the prohibition of foreign cattle. After this duty had been taken away from the Board of Agriculture, he should be curious to know what would remain for that Department to do. He viewed this Measure as a deliberate step for the protection of breeders in this country against their competitors. The Bill inflicted a cruel loss upon one section of agriculturists—namely, those who fed or grazed animals for the market. Unless there was a very strong and urgent reason for passing a Bill which inflicted a cruel injustice on a certain class of agriculturists, then such a Bill had no real defence. Could anyone say that such a strong case had been made out for this Bill? Could anyone allege that there was any danger of disease being imported by means of the sheep from Iceland? He regretted the severe injury that would be caused to the Icelanders by this Bill. He contested the necessity for the Measure, and asserted that some means should be granted, like the proposition of his noble Friend, for putting it aside.
§ *THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
said he was not going to be seduced by the mention of Protection. They did not want Protection in the ordinary acceptation of the word; what they wanted was protection from disease—["hear, hear!"]—and if they were protected from disease there would be a great many more cattle bred in this country than there was now, because the breeders of cattle would have greater confidence that their flocks and herds would not be ravaged by disease. He confessed he preferred the existing state of the law to the Amendment of the noble Lord. In the present state of the law they did have a Minister who was responsible to Parliament, but according to the proposal of the noble Lord a Party vote might be taken on either side of the 909 House to suit the emergencies of the moment, advising Her Majesty to pass an Order in Council to admit animals from a colony or country in which no disease existed. They could not possibly say that no disease existed. There might be no disease in Canada at present but to-morrow it might be imported there from the United States, for the frontier between Canada and the United States was so great that it would almost be impossible to prevent such importation. In that way animals might be brought into this country which had the germs of disease in them, although they might when landed appear to be free from disease. As to the proposal that the President of the Board of Agriculture should make regulations as to the route by which animals were conveyed to this country, how was it possible that the President of the Board of Agriculture could direct by what routes animals should be brought to this country? He would have no authority at all in the matter. If for three years animals had been slaughtered at the port of landing without affecting the interests of the consumer in the least, as he believed could be proved, it would be much better to make the restriction perpetual and not subject to the caprice of any Minister who might be at the head of the Board of Agriculture. ["Hear, hear!"]
THE EARL OF CAMPER DOWN
said he could not go so far with the noble Lord as to say that this Measure was introduced for the purpose of protecting the breeders of cattle. He agreed with Lord Herschell that they ought to look at this question from a much larger point of view than that of merely one section or other of the agricultural community. He spoke not without some experience on this matter, because he lived in one of the parts of the country which was directly affected by this question of the introduction of Canadian cattle. He had frequently bought them himself, and had seen great quantities of them landed, and he remembered all the circumstances connected with the occasion upon which the further continuance of this traffic was stopped by Lord Burghclere, who at that time was President of the Board of Agriculture. It was quite true that this question had been argued for the most part on that 910 side of the House from the interest of one section or another of agriculturists, but he would submit that there was another aspect. It was quite true that the present law had, up to the present time, suppressed and prevented the introduction of disease, but he maintained that they could not stop where they were in regard to this matter. The persons who wished to introduce Canadian cattle wished to do so now. [EARL SPENCER: "No!"] He would refer the noble Lord to the correspondence which had taken place between the Government of Canada and this country. The argument of those who wished to introduce these animals, however, was that if they were not able to do so they would rather have some permanent regulation. How could either House of Parliament comply with such a condition as that proposed in the Amendment? ["Hear, hear!"] How could either House of Parliament conduct an Inquiry which the Board of Agriculture said it found it almost impossible to conduct? So far as he was aware there was no precedent for either House of Parliament to act as an executive body. The reason why they could not go on any longer as at present was that the Board of Agriculture had never attempted to lay down any conditions under which cattle could be safely admitted from Canada. There was no knowing in what set of circumstances a Government might feel itself justified in admitting these cattle. Therefore, farmers would not feel themselves safe in giving up their present mode of farming and turning their attention to breeding cattle, because if they adopted that course they might be ruined by the sudden readmission of Canadian store cattle. He had considerable local experience of this question, and he could assure their Lordships that farmers would infinitely sooner know with certainty in what position they stood, even though it involved the acceptance of this Bill. He hoped the Government would not accept the Amendment. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ *EARL STANHOPE
trusted that the House would refuse to accept the Amendment. It appeared to him that farmers did not require Protection, but merely some safeguard which would protect from disease their flocks and herds. Moreover, it was only just to 911 the consumer that cattle disease should be excluded from the country, because its presence would be sure to raise the price of meat. It was not the farmer or the Government which desired Protection; it was the Board of Agriculture which required protection from the pressure put upon them to relax the rules which they laid down. It would be remembered how his noble Friend, Lord Burghclere, last year resisted successfully the great pressure put upon him to admit Canadian stock into the country, even though there was no cattle disease in Canada at the time. The late President of the Board of Agriculture had acted with much wisdom and firmness. The noble Lord the Lord Privy Seal, now desired that those rules should be made absolute, and therefore he hoped their Lordships would refuse to accept the Amendment. ["Hear, hear!"]
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
I shall certainly support what the noble Lord the Lord Privy Seal termed this invidious Amendment.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
Well, then, this insidious Amendment to an invidious Bill. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] But there are other insidious things connected with this Bill besides this Amendment. It is a little fortunate that the word "protection" should have occurred so often in the course of this Debate. I did not count how many times it was used by my noble relative the noble Earl opposite in the course of his short speech. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] The word has an ill sound, and it is a pity that we cannot hit upon something less insidious and less invidious. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] There is one evil that I apprehend will follow from the certain rejection of this Amendment, because we are under no illusion as to its fate, because in this House there is little or no chance of the voice of reason carrying its due weight. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] The evil that I apprehend is that unfortunately it will be the duty of the noble Marquess opposite to dispense with the services of one of his most valued colleagues—I mean the President of the Board of Agriculture—because this Bill, as it stands, will strip him of his last remaining official duty, and I am sure 912 that he would not like to survive that duty and to become a mere ornamental member of a Cabinet already not too limited in number. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] I was sorry to hear the speeches of the noble Duke and the noble Lord behind me. I wonder whether they speak on behalf of the Scotch districts in which they live, or whether they are merely pronouncing their own individual opinions on this subject. As far as I am informed, those districts in Scotland conceive that they have been flagrantly sacrificed in their most material interests in order to satisfy the demands of a larger body which has not more claim to be consulted with regard to it than they have. But I do not look at this question as one which concerns a certain section or a class only. What I look at is the grave result of the course which you are going to adopt, as indicated by the language you have addressed to us. We certainly possess one great advantage in this House over those who sit in the other House of Parliament—namely, that in our discussions we are occasionally treated with a frankness and sincerity and candour which is not always perceptible in the discussions which take place in the House of Commons. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] We have to-night had the confession made to us that this Bill is to be the law of the Medes and Persians, and that we are to be cut off from every chance of grace and mercy for ever. [Cheers and counter cheers and laughter.] Yes, and as far as noble Lords opposite can compass it, they will exclude for ever the entry of live cattle into the ports of the United Kingdom. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] That is the fact. ["Hear, hear!" and counter cheers.] You may say: "So much the better. We are sustaining certain interests in agriculture and we are protecting "—ill-omened word—[cheers and laughter]—"agriculture in its best and highest sense." But I think that you are tying your own hands in a most disadvantageous manner. ["Hear, hear!"] The noble Marquess who is at the head of the Foreign Office is no doubt occasionally approached by those who represent Foreign Governments on the subject of commercial treaties. Is this Bill intended to protect the noble Marquess from such approaches? If so, that is another candid 913 admission made in this House. I will not pursue the subject of commercial treaties with Foregin Powers further, but I will come to the subject of our colonial relations. The Secretary of the Colonies is a very important Member of the present Government, although he is not quite so much to the front as he was a short time ago—[cheers and laughter]—and he has promulgated a scheme for the establishing a Zollverein for the Empire. I do not know whether this Bill has been introduced with the object of illustrating what would be the effect of our colonies entering into such a compact with us. Even in this Temple of Truth it would be difficult to ascertain whether this is the fact or not. [Cheers and laughter.] The Secretary for the Colonies must know that Canada, one of the most important of our colonies, has set her heart upon having her cattle when proved to be free from disease, admitted into this country. She has offered to pay the expenses of any experts we may send to her territories to ascertain the state of the health of her cattle, and, further, she has offered to pay the sum of £10,000 for every case of cattle disease that can be proved to exist within her territories. In these circumstances the first step that Parliament is asked to take towards bringing about a commercial union between the different parts of the Empire is to declare by Statute that under no condition can live Canadian cattle be introduced into this country. ["Hear, hear!"] We have had the declaration from the Lord Privy Seal that in no stages can the presence of disease be detected in the living animal. That is a very grave assertion, and it ought not to have been made until its accuracy had been established. Our great seaport towns had built at great expense stores where cattle could remain until the state of their health was ascertained beyond dispute, and now these expensive structures are to be thrown upon their hands in deference to an idea, the truth of which has not yet been conclusively proved. So much for the Bill itself. Let me now say a word as to the effect of the Amendment and as to the attitude of the Government in regard to it. My noble Friend behind me told us that we despised the Minister of Agriculture, but I beg to assure him and the Minis- 914 ter of Agriculture, whom I see near the steps of the Throne, that no such language has ever been used by us. It is you who have shown that you despise the Minister of Agriculture by depriving him of every important duty he has to discharge. All that the Amendment would do is to empower the Minister of Agriculture to accede to the prayer of one of the Houses of Parliament, which in this case would undoubtedly be the House of Commons, that he would take steps to make inquiries into the health of foreign cattle. It seems a little late in the day to discuss the competence of the House of Commons to pass such an address. It is perfectly competent for the House of Commons to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the subject. Whence this sudden distrust of a Select Committee of the House of Commons? I confess I think it is a singularly ungracious thing at the present moment to disclose your distrust in the wisdom of the House of Commons, when they have been pleased to have returned so overwhelming a majority in your favour; but, at any rate, whether wise or unwise, you are attempting, as it seems to me, by this Bill to fix a permanent stigma on the wisdom of the House of Commons, which, in my humble opinion, it has not, even during this Session, deserved. What it comes to is this. You have no confidence in the Minister. You have no confidence in the House of Commons, you reserve your full confidence for the House of Lords. [Cheers.] That is your meaning by the rejection of this Amendment. Let your candour extend to that declaration, and let the country know what this Bill means. [Cheers.]
§ THE PRIME MINISTER (THE MARQUESS of SALISBURY)
The noble Earl has made the discovery that if this Bill is passed through both Houses of Parliament, it therefore becomes the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered. That is a totally new commentary on the institutions of this country. This Bill will be capable of being altered exactly as any other Bill can be by the consent of both Houses of Parliament. [The EARL of ROSEBERY: "Hear, hear!"] Then the noble Earl tells us that because we do not mean to suspend that constitutional rule and vest this power of altering the law in the 915 House of Commons exclusively, we show a want of confidence in the House of Commons and a want of confidence in the Executive Government. What this Amendment proposes is a self-denying ordinance on the part of the House of Lords, that it should strip itself of the rights and prerogatives with which it is invested by the Constitution. What ground or reason is there for that?
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
By enabling the House of Commons to pass over its head the repeal of this Act whenever it pleased, without consulting the House of Lords.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
An equal right to repeal it, but not to keep it. We wish to have the voice the Constitution gives us in determining the law of the country. We have steadily adhered to that determination. We avowed it at a time when it was less popular than it is now, and our claim on the confidence of the people of this country has been distinctly and conspicuously confirmed. [Cheers.] I do not really think this Amendment makes any serious difference in the present law, and if you accept it you might as well not pass the Bill at all, because what the Amendment does is to place in the hands of a Minister after he has moved a Resolution in the House of Commons the power the Minister now possesses without the Resolution. But as our Constitution is now worked, if a Ministry is in office and has any majority at all that can support it, it could always pass at its pleasure a Resolution of this kind—in fact, a Resolution would be a matter of course. ["Hear, hear!"] It is not so in this House, because the decisions in this House do not affect the stability of the Ministry, and therefore Members of the House of Lords are not restrained in their votes by any consideration of what the effect of them will be on the Ministry. So long as the Ministry has the confidence of the House of Commons, so long it can command such a Resolution as that contemplated by this Amendment. The only difference between the existing state of the law and the proposed Amendment is that under the existing law the Minister stands out responsible and visible to 916 all, while under the Amendment the Minister would be working behind a screen. I do not see any advantage in that change. ["Hear, hear!"] A great deal has been said about the impossibility of finding any adequate motive for this Bill. It is on the contrary, in my judgment, and in the judgment of most agriculturists whose opinion I have had the opportunity of learning, it is the most effective method which can be devised of conveying succour to agriculture in its present depressed condition; because the only thing that can lift up a depressed industry and restore it to its old prosperity is the inflow of capital into the channels of its activity. The only thing wanted is that capital should be invested in the great industry of this country, in that pastoral agriculture which in the future will form so large a part of the agriculture of England. One thing is above all necessary, and that is, confidence; and therefore, when you consider the fitness of the law or the action of statesmen, you must not look upon it from the point of view of those who are familiar with the persons by whom the law will be carried out; you must look upon it from the point of view of the small capitalist in the country, who is thinking whether it is safe or not for him to invest his capital in the breeding of cattle or sheep. He will say to himself, the one danger I have to fear is disease. That is the one thing which will make all my calculations vain and frustrate all my endeavours; that is the one thing which can reduce me to penury and destroy my chances of reviving my industry. How am I to be defended against disease? You tell me that the existing state of the law defends me. Well, the existing state of the law, properly administered, does do so no doubt—properly administered; but what security is there that the law will be properly administered? At present it is in the hands of a Minister of the Crown, by his simple decree, to make a change which, if made unwisely, exposes to the danger of disease all the flocks and herds of this country. He can do that by his simple decision if this Amendment is passed. He can do it if he goes through the form of taking a Resolution after 12 o'clock in the other House of Parliament; but in every case it lies entirely in his discretion. Will that discretion 917 be always wisely exercised? You have heard speaker after speaker tell you that, according to the decision of the experts, it is not possible for the wisest Minister, though he avails himself of all the light of science, to know whether disease lurks hid in the cattle coming into this country or not, whether the danger exists which would reduce to the lowest point of disease the industry of his countrymen. ["Hear, hear!"] But it is not merely a question of inability. Nothing would be further from my mind than to express any retrospective distrust of the noble Lord who last administered with so much general approval the Agricultural Department of this country; and I need not say that I feel no such distrust in the right hon. Gentleman who, with equally general approval, now administers the office. But how are we to know that the Minister of Agriculture of the future will be of the same disposition? Are there no temptations to try them, or seductions they must avoid? I listened to Lord Burghclere and Lord Spencer. They thought they were proving their case by detailing the extent of the pressure brought to bear on them to induce them to relax the law. They dwelt with almost pathetic earnestness on the heroism with which all these enticements had been resisted. [Laughter.] All honour to Lord Spencer and Lord Burghclere. I will put a candle in their niche and worship them as saints in the future—[laughter]—but how am I to know that men of this temper and moral fibre will hereafter fill the office? How am I to know that this heroism will be continued in the ranks of the Ministers of this country? There may be a falling off. We do not know what the Minister of the future may be, and if one Prime Minister makes a mistake and once offers the office to a Minister who falls away from the heroic model of these two great examples, all precaution will be in vain. Cattle with disease will be admitted. The bacillus, if bacillus it is, which we are so anxious to keep out will establish its lodgment on our shores, and the prospects of the industry will be visited with temporary ruin and with permanent instability and uncertainty. That is the great and serious evil. We know it is an evil with which we have had to contend in the past; we know 918 that the efforts of Parliaments and Governments have not been adequate to preserve us from the incursions of this disease; we know the severe loss and want of confidence that is spread abroad by this uncertainty, and we cannot be told that we are simply to trust to the heroic resolution and steadfastness of future Ministers of Agriculture. We require something more secure. Capital, which knows little of individuals, requires something more secure, and unless you give it that security confidence will not rise again, and you will have lost the most hopeful opportunity of restoring the agricultural prosperity of the country. [Cheers.]
§ The House divided:—
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Kensington, L. [TELLER.]|
|Crewe, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Kimberley, E||Lingen, L|
|Orford, E.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Monkswell, L.|
|Strafford, E.||Playfair, L.|
|Oxenbridge, V.||Ribblesdale, L. [TELLER.]|
|Aberdare, L.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Coleridge, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Hawkesbury, L.||Wandsworth, L.|
|Herschell, L.||Welby, L.|
|Halsbury, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Amherst, E.|
|Cross, V. (L. Privy Seal.)||Bandon, E.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Camperdown, E.|
|Bedford, D.||Coventry, E.|
|Fife, D.||Dartmouth, E.|
|Grafton, D.||de Montalt, E.|
|Portland, D.||Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queens berry)|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Hardwicke, E.|
|Salisbury, M.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Zetland, M.||Lichfield, E.|
|Mar and Kellie, L.|
|Pembroke and Montgomery, E. (L. Steward.)||Mayo, E.|
|Lathom, E. (L. Chamberlain.)||Nelson, E.|
|Abingdon, E.||Powis, E.|
|Ravensworth, E.||Heneage, L.|
|Scarbrough, E.||Herries, L.|
|Stamford, E.||Hillingdon, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.)|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount Earl.)|
|Waldegrave, E. [TELLER.]|
|Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)|
|Yarborough, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Mendip, L. (V. Clifden).|
|Falmouth, V.||Middleton, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Monck, L. (V. Monck)|
|Knutsford, V.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Portman, V.||Morris, L.|
|Addington, L.||North, L.|
|Balfour, L.||Northington, L. (L. Henley.)|
|Brodrick, L. (J. Midleton.)||Norton, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Chelmsford, L.||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly).|
|Clinton, L.||Rookwood, L.|
|Clonbrock, L.||Rowton, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Sherborne, L.|
|de Ros, L.||Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)|
|Douglas, L. (E. Home)|
|Dunalley, L.||Sinclair, L.|
|Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)||Stanley of Aldorley, L|
|Egerton, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Forester, L.||Tollemache, L.|
|Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.) [TELLER.]||Trevor, L.|
|Gage, L. (V. Gage.)||Wantage, L.|
|Glenesk, L.||Wenlock, L.|
|Hampton, L.||Wimborne, L.|
|Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)|
VISCOUNT CROSS moved the following new clause:—
This Act shall come into operation on the 1st day of January next after the passing thereof.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
asked what was the meaning of this proposal. If the Act was not to come into operation until the 1st of next January, the power of the Minister for Agriculture to admit cattle would continue during the interval. If, as the Government apparently thought, it was such a terrible thing that the Minister for Agriculture should have this power, why was the present state of things to be continued for the next six months? ["Hear, hear!"]
§ VISCOUNT CROSS
explained that if the Act came into operation at once it would be rather hard on Iceland and Norway, which were not affected with disease at the present moment. The postponement was desirable in order that those countries might have time to make certain arrangements.
§ VISCOUNT CROSS
pointed out that the concession could not take any other form. When they proceeded by Act of Parliament, preferential treatment could not be provided for in the Act without infringing upon the principle of the most favoured nation clause. The Amendment was moved in accordance with a promise made in the other House.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.