HL Deb 03 July 1918 vol 30 cc547-8

My Lords, I wish to ask my noble friend the representative of the Board of Agriculture in this House about the business for to-morrow. A Bill to amend subsection (3) of Section 11 of the Corn Production Act, 1917, which was read a first time yesterday, has been put down for Second Reading to-morrow. Without saying anything about the merits or otherwise of that Bill, I would call attention to the fact that it has not yet been circulated. In my judgment it is a measure of considerable importance, though consisting of only a few lines, and I am sure that your Lordships ought to have an opportunity of considering it. In these circumstances I would ask that the Bill be postponed, and that the Second Reading be not taken to-morrow.


My Lords, I recognise the reasonable nature of the request of my noble friend. The notice is undoubtedly very short, but there is need for some haste in the matter, because the power which the Act provides will expire next month. But if I can get some assurance, or, at all events, some understanding, that no objection will be taken to proceeding with the Committee stage very shortly after the Second Reading, I shall be willing, with the leave of the House, to take the Motion for the Second Reading of the Paper for to-morrow and to put it down for next Tuesday. But I hope the noble Viscount will raise no objection to the Committee stage being taken the same week.


I am not in a position to give an undertaking for any one except myself, but as far as I am personally concerned I think it would be desirable that the Bill should be postponed rather longer than that. Communication is not very easy in these days, and when your Lordships' House separates at the end of the week I do not think that noble Lords always get the information with regard to business very rapidly. Would the noble Lord object to making it next Thursday, instead of next Tuesday? There would still be ample time, and as far as I am concerned I would offer no objection to the Bill going into Committee after being read a second time in the ordinary way.


I am afraid I must ask the noble Viscount to be satisfied with a postponement until Tuesday, because this is the commencement of the Bill; it has to go through both Houses, and, as I have stated, there is need for haste in the matter. Therefore I do not think the Second Reading ought to be put off beyond Tuesday, and I shall put it down for that day.


I did not realise that the Bill had not been through the other House; and I agree.