§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ 4.1 p.m.
THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Feversham.)
§ LORD ADDISON
My Lords, I do not wish to delay the House, but on behalf of those with whom I am associated, I desire to say that, while we appreciate a great deal that is contained in the first nineteen clauses of this Bill, we are strongly opposed to the general scheme of the measure, particularly that embodied in Clause 20 and the clauses connected therewith. We believe it is highly dangerous to the small producer. He will, if the scheme goes through, find himself the victim of large distributive corporations, and we believe that the Bill on that account is wrongly designed. I can only add so far as this Bill is concerned that I cannot help wishing that I was a member of the other House, because if I were I should certainly give this Bill sustained and strong opposition. I hope before the end of the Session that the Government, in view of criticisms which they have received and which will arise, will be willing to reconsider several of its present proposals.
THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
My Lords, I know with regret that the noble Lord who, in reference to this Bill, speaks on behalf of His Majesty's Opposition in your Lordships' House, is opposed to the main principles underlying this Bill which is promoted to assist the poultry industry of this country. The noble Lord has intimated at this stage of the Bill that he is in favour of the first nineteen clauses, and he continues to inform your Lordships that he strongly objects to the remaining clauses of the Bill which, in his opinion, are the main substantive clauses. I would submit to the noble Lord that if he is in favour of the first nineteen clauses, then he agrees to the substance of the Bill, and that Clauses 20 to 23, which relate to the service schemes, are ancillary to the main provisions of the Bill. I cannot think that the fears which the noble Lord has expressed in debates at each stage of the Bill in your Lordships' House will be substantiated. No doubt the questions that have been propounded by the noble Lord and which have been considered by the House will be pursued further in another place. I can only think that for the present each one of the main objections raised by the noble Lord, Lord 313 Addison, has received the reply of the Government having regard to the main outline of the Bill, which is primarily to assist the poultry producer in this country.
§ LORD REA
My Lords, might I ask whether the assurance which the noble Earl has just given with regard to the noble Lord's suggestions and Amendments, would also apply to the suggestions which I made with regard to the machinery of the Bill? I think he promised that he would consider favourably an alteration in some of the arrangements during the passage of the Bill. Would he be good enough to consider them before the Committee stage in another place?
THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
With respect to the Amendment moved by Lord Bertie of Thame on the Report stage, I. undertook that a statement would be made by my right honourable friend in another place with regard to the negotions at present being undertaken with the multiple retailers organisations. On that occasion I did also include that section of the co-operative movement which is concerned. As I have since learnt, in respect of the co-operative associations negotiations have not yet been opened. But in all probability it will be necessary for conferences to take place, not only, as they have at present been begun, with the multiple retailers, but also with that branch of the co-operative organisation, and in respect of that matter I can assure him there will be opportunity of further ventilation.
THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
The specific undertaking which I gave on that occasion did not relate to the importers, but the noble Lord will appreciate that his suggestion will receive the consideration which it deserves.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a.
§ Moved, That the Privilege Amendments be agreed to.—(The Earl of Feversham.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to: Amendments (Privilege) made accordingly.
§ Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.