[Sir WATSON RUTHERFORD in the Chair.]
(1) Land acquired by the Board under the Small Holding Colonies Acts, 1916 and 1918, shall be [sold or] let by the Board at such price or rent as in the opinion of the Board is reasonable.
(2) The Board may give to the tenant of a small holding an option to purchase the holding on such terms as may be agreed and may be consistent with the provisions of this section, and on any such sale any increase in the value of the land due to improvements executed by and at the expense of the tenant shall not be taken into account as affecting the price to be paid for the land.
Major W. MURRAY: I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the following new Sub-sections:— (3) The tenant of a small holding who has been in occupation thereof for a period of not less than six years shall, on notice of his desire to purchase the holding being given to the Board at any time before the tenant has received notice to quit the holding, be entitled to require the sale to him of the holding at the expiration of one month from the date of the notice, and on any such sale any increase in the value of the land due to improvements executed by and at the expense of the tenant shall not be taken into account as affecting the price to be paid for the land. (4) The value of such small holding shall in default of agreement be determined by an arbiter appointed by the Reference Committee for Scotland. As I understand Sub-section 2 of this Clause, it gives the Hoard, and the Board only, power to allow the smallholder to purchase his holding. There is no initiative on the part of the tenant; the tenant has no right to purchase. I may say that the whole question was debated on the Report Stage of the English Bill in the House of Commons, 776 and a large number of petitions were re ceived from ex-service men and from agri cultural societies in favour of giving to the tenant the right to purchase upon certain conditions. In the result the Clause which I now put forward in the form of an Amendment was added to the English Bill. I believe that when the Bill went to the Lords that Clause was thrown out, but when it came back to the Commons it was put back again. It gives the tenant the right to require a sale to him after he has had some experience of his holding—I think after he has been there six years. If the Committee are still of the opinion which they held yesterday in favour of the small holder having the right to purchase, and of the-ex-soldier having the right to purchase likewise, I think this Amendment is necessary in order to turn that opinion into an actual fact. Sub-section (2) as it stands leaves the power entirely in the hands of the Department. Parliament will not have really expressed an opinion as to whether the ex-soldier should have a right to purchase or not unless some such Amendment is passed.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir JOHN HOPE: I beg to second the Amendment, and I hope the Secretary for Scotland will consider it favourably. The Bill already gives expression to the principle of allowing the tenant to purchase his holding, and it seems to me that this Amendment is of no great consequence. I can hardly believe that the Board of Agriculture would ever refuse to allow a tenant to purchase his holding at a reasonable price if he wished to do so. It would be so obviously to the advantage of Land Settlement, because the Board of Agriculture would get back the money paid by the tenant, and there would be so much more money to expend on settling another man on the land. I think, however, that it is of some consequence, from the point of view of giving confidence to the small holder, to give him an actual right of purchase if he wishes. There is a considerable feeling among agricultural holders of all descriptions in favour of the increase of security of tenure, and this Amendment is on those lines. There can be no danger of the Board of Agriculture losing money by it, because the price is to be fixed by an arbiter appointed by the Reference Committee for Scotland, and, I submit that, if the Secretary for Scotland will accept this, it is really of no great consequence to the Board of Agriculture, but it will give great satisfaction and confidence both to present small holders and to would-be settlers on the land in future.777
Mr. JOHNSTONE: I have pleasure in supporting the Amendment. One of the advantages of this proposal would be that the small holder in possession of his holding, with a prospect of becoming the purchaser, would do much more for the improvement of his holding than he otherwise would. It would be a great inducement to a tenant if, at the end of four, five or six years, he had a prospect of becoming the possessor of his holding. He would have a far stronger inducement to improve it, and there would be the advantage that he would not be penalised for any improvement he put into the holding when he came to purchase it. I think it will tend to make the settlement of these men on the land much more satisfactory than would otherwise be the case.
Mr. R. McLAREN: I have pleasure in supporting the Amendment. I think it would encourage the tenant to do the best he could for his land if he knew that to improve the land considerably might be to his own advantage at the end of six years, when he might desire to purchase the farm. I think it would tend to cause these men, when they take over a farm, to say: "Well, after all, the best I can do is to do the best I can for my farm, because at the end of the time, when I purchase it, nothing will be charged against me for the improvement" I think that on that score it ought to be heartily taken up by the Secretary for Scotland and passed. I think it is only fair that when a man does his best he should not be charged when he comes to purchase his holding.
Mr. GARDINER: I think that what was said by the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Sir J. Hope) is absolutely right, namely, that this is of very little importance. I look at it from this point of view. If these men have security of tenure, as I understand that they have, what inducement is there for any of them to purchase his holding? He will not be penalised for the improvements that he makes, and, although there is no harm in this Amendment from an economic and practical point of view, I do not think there is any need for such a Clause.
Sir LEICESTER HARMSWORTH: I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill whether it is quite clear that these men have security of tenure. It does not seem to me to be so. I am opposed to the general principle of purchase, but that has been accepted by the Committee, and I do not propose to oppose it further, but I have to make this criticism on this Amend- 778 ment. If the board got an application to-purchase before the six years had expired, and the tenant himself was not able to purchase, what would be the position of the tenant then? He may have improved the land, and he may be subject to being turned out by a man who is prepared to come forward and make a larger offer.
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Munro): I confess that I feel considerable difficulty about this Amendment. My hon. and learned Friend who moved it said that its effect was to transfer the initiative from the board to the small holder. But it does a great deal more than that. It is not a question of initiative only. If this Amendment were accepted, the result would be that, if the board had leached the conclusion that for certain reasons it was not desirable that one small holder who was in the centre of a colony should purchase his holding, while all the other holders did not propose to do so, then, although they might have reached that conclusion, the small holder could hold a pistol at the head of the board and say that although, on what might seem to them to be good and reasonable grounds, they might think that this purchase should not go. through, he had a right to compel the board to sell. That would be an extraordinary position in which to place a small holder negotiating with the board, namely, that he shall be the final judge in his own cause, and that, although the board may not desire to sell, he shall be in a position to compel them to sell. Let me pursue that for a moment. Reference has been made to the English analogy, but I am afraid that is a somewhat misleading analogy. The Committee will remember that in England the land belongs to the county council, and the county council is controlled by the Board of Agriculture in England. That is quite-different from our situation in Scotland, where the county council does not come into the matter at all, and where the matter is controlled from beginning to end by the board itself.
Sir GEORGE YOUNGER: Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the difference between requiring the county council to sell and requiring the board to sell so far as regards the first part of his argument?
Mr. MUNRO: Perhaps it does not affect the first part of my argument very seriously, and I do not suggest that it does, but I am pointing out an essential difference between 779 the two systems. In the one case you have the control in the hands of the board direct and in the other you have not. To purchase, as this Amendment suggests, at a price fixed by arbitration seems to me to be rather inconsistent with what the Committee has already passed, namely, that the price is to be a reasonable price as settled by the board. We have passed that in Sub section (1), and I am afraid that there is a certain inconsistency between first saying that the price shall be settled by the board at a reasonable figure and then going on in the same Clause to say that in this particular case the price may be fixed by arbitration. In these considerations I am not pronouncing a concluded opinion, but I am simply pointing out the difficulties, legal and practical, in the way of accepting this Amendment. Supposing one small holder in the central part of a large colony of small holders becomes an owner, with full control of the water, roads, drains and fences passing through his holding, there might be grave injury to the other small holders who surround him, and who are not proposing to purchase at all. I am assured, from the practical point of view by my advisers, that it might create great difficulty in the administration of those colonies if this Amendment were accepted, and if we had one owner at the centre whose position was different from those round about him, and who were not proposing to purchase. I have grave doubt also whether this Amendment would apply to any persons except those under Part 1. I do not think it would apply to small holders under the 1911 Act at all. It may be said that they have security of tenure, but they would be disabled from exercising the right to purchase which it is proposed to confer upon those who come within Part I of the Act. I have put these difficulties frankly because, if they can be cleared up, I am willing to reconsider the matter; but, having regard to the legal and practical difficulties, I cannot accept the Amendment as framed, and I cannot regard the fact that a similar Amendment is in the English Bill under different conditions as being conclusive. I am, however, willing to look into the matter again on Report.
Sir G. YOUNGER: We know the difficulty of postponing these questions until the Report Stage. We know that if the Secretary for Scotland decides against this Amendment it will be difficult to deal with in the 780 House in a satisfactory manner. I cannot see where the argument comes in in regard to ownership. It appears to me that the argument about having an, owner in the middle of a set of other tenants applies equally whether the County Council or the Board of Agriculture own the land. The owner is there all the same, the only difference being that he buys from one authority instead of from the other. It may be that there is some inconvenience in the matter, but to me it appears rather hard if a man wants to buy his holding that he should not be able to do so. With regard to the question as to whether it applies to the second part of the Bill, I should not think it does, unless there is a specific Amendment to enable it to do so. The cases, however, are wholly different. The board enters into possession under totally different conditions in the one case, and in the other case they are taking it against the will of the man from whom they take it, and on wholly different conditions, and, therefore, it should be dealt with in a different way. I do not know whether my hon. Friend wishes to press this Amendment. While I admit that there may be something in the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, I think there is more in this proposal. I feel that not only should every possible chance be given for some holders to purchase, but we ought to encourage them to put permanent improvements on their holdings. I am sure this would tend to better farming.
Mr. MUNRO:I do not want to abuse my rights, but I am afraid I have not made the point as clear as I ought to have done. The point is, that under Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Land Settlement Facilities Act in England the board have an ultimate right to refuse the purchase which is proposed, and if you accept this amendment you place the Scottish Board in a much weaker position. The words of the Sub-section are these: "And thereupon the Council shall sell the holding to the tenant accordingly, unless the Council obtain the consent of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to the requirement of the tenant being refused by the Council" The sole judge as to whether the purchase shall go through is the Board of Agriculture, but this proposal is that the Scottish Board shall be overruled by the tenant, and that is the difference between the two proposals.
Sir WATSON CHEYNE: The Secretary for Scotland, in referring to the question of 781 one tenant in the middle of a colony buying his land, used the expression that a grave injustice might be done to the other tenants. I do not quite understand that. There might be inconvenience in administering the colony, but the expression "grave injustice" I should like the right hon. Gentleman to elaborate.
Mr. MUNRO: I think the words I used were "grave injury"; I do not think I used the word "injustice" What I meant was this, and I am speaking from information supplied to me with regard to the practical working of the scheme. I said, if one small holder in the central part of the property has entire control of the water, drainage, roads and fences, and other public services passing through his holding, grave injury to the other holders might occur, and that has actually happened in. practice. Suppose a drain is choked; that may interfere with the amenity and health of all those other small holdings further down the route of the drain. That has happened in practice repeatedly I am told, and one does not want to increase the chances of that happening. That is what I had in mind when I spoke of grave injury, and I did not mean injustice.
Dr. MURRAY: I am inclined to support the Secretary for Scotland on this question. I am not opposed to the purchase of a holding by a tenant, but under this part of the Act the consent of the colony should be obtained before any tenant should be allowed to purchase his holding, because he might use it to the disadvantage and detriment of the other tenants in the colony. I do not look upon it as a serious proposal, because I have never met anyone who is such a fool as to purchase a holding under those conditions, and that is why I did not oppose any individual purchase at the last meeting of this Committee, more especially in these days when the education rate and other rates have gone up to such an extent, and when the little landlord and the small holder would have to pay all the rates which are at present divided between him and the landlord. I have never known a small holder yet who is such a fool as to do that. I remember that the Duke of Sutherland tried to sell some crofts to his crofters, and a few of them bought, but they did not take into account the rating side of the question, and therefore the rent they were paying was much higher than they anticipated. I think there is a great deal in the practical difficulty suggested by the Secretary for Scotland. With reference to the second 782 part of this Amendment, I think the introduction of the arbiter vitiates this proposal, and the re-introduction of that gentleman by a back door is not honest politics, and I object to it.
Sir J. HOPE: The Secretary for Scotland made a point of considerable substance to the effect that under the English Bill the Board of Agriculture had power to overrule the right of the tenant to purchase from the public proprietors of the land. Equally is it quite fair that in Scotland the tenant should have no appeal if he wants to purchase the land from the owner or the Board of Agriculture? I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should agree to add to the Amendment words giving power to the Secretary for Scotland to refuse the right of the tenant to purchase the land. I would suggest the addition of the words "unless the Board of Agriculture obtain the consent of the Secretary for Scotland to the requirement of the tenant being refused by the Board of Agriculture" That would give the Secretary for Scotland power to refuse a claim of the tenant to buy, but it would not leave the Board of Agriculture power to refuse the right of the tenant to buy. If the Secretary for Scotland would agree to that slight amendment of the Amendment it would remove the whole difficulty, and it would put Scotland in the same position as England.
Colonel Sir A. SPROT: I think the Secretary for Scotland and the last speaker have both exaggerated the difficulty which might arise if this Amendment were passed with regard to the purchase of one small holding in the middle of a colony. The only instances given were those of water, roads and fences, but I should imagine that those would be secured in the deed of purchase, and if that is not the case, other words might very easily be added to this Amendment to allow the board to reserve those services when the purchase was made. It appears to me that the difficulty that has been advanced is a very small one indeed, and to counterbalance that we have the great advantage to be derived from encouraging people to become owners of the land they cultivate, and also of giving more money back into the hands of the board in order to create further small holdings.
Mr. MACQUISTEN: This is a pretty drastic Clause, and I support the Secretary for Scotland in thinking that it is not a safe Clause. The whole question of the right to 783 purchase by the small holder requires consideration. It is a very desirable thing in the interest of the community that there should be as many small holders as possible owning the land they cultivate, but the right to purchase should be a right to purchase as a cultivatable subject and should continue as a cultivatable subject. I do not agree at all that small holders should come in and buy land and start a building society and put a lot of buildings up. That may not be for the benefit of the general run of small holders about the place. There is also this to consider, that when land is at present held in large areas, of course, the proprietor considers the interest of the large area as a whole and sees that the amenity of the whole district is provided for, but where the land is held in small quantities by a great number of individual proprietors the interest of the individual proprietor is to cram as many large buildings and get as many people on as he possibly can. Therefore if the general power to purchase is to go in here without some restriction as to the user it may affect the amenity of whole districts, because one recalcitrant or disagreeable purchaser of a small lot, if he is going to convert his land to something different from small holdings, may have a very grave effect on the whole community, and therefore I should like very much if on Report the Secretary for Scotland would introduce a Clause that when a small holder purchases land he should purchase as a small holder and he should continue to be a small holder and he should not have the unrestricted right to the property which the large proprietor has who acts for the whole district.
Mr. HOPE: I have also been a supporter of the principle of purchase because I think that by purchase you give a man the greatest possible inducement to make the most of his holding, and history teaches us that lesson, though I quite respect the opinion of the hon. Member (Dr. Murray).But I put a great deal of belief in what has been said by the Secretary of State for Scotland. If you give one individual member of a colony the right to claim that he can purchase, you will introduce perhaps not injury or injustice, but certainly complications. which might have very awkward results. I think we friends of purchase might be quite satisfied with the situation which I think we have now attained, namely, that the board shall have a right to sell. When we get that established and leave it in the position 784 that the board may sell where small holders want to buy, then we establish purchase on the best practical foundation. I think we supporters of purchase should not press the right hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment, but should rather consider that having attained purchase, as we have already done, we can get it carried out better without this Amendment.
Major MURRAY: I am very satisfied with the discussion upon the point that this Amendment has raised. I am quite conscious that it may not be drawn so as to do exactly what I intended. I intended that it should secure to the ex-service man the right to purchase, at any rate in most cases, where he wanted to do so. I see there is a certain difficulty in the way of carrying that through because of colonies, which are new things to us in connection with small holdings in Scotland. I propose, with the consent of my seconder, to withdraw the Amendment and take advantage of the great amount of legal advice I have had during this discussion and see if the Amendment cannot be remodelled on Report, in order to secure the rights of the particular class of ex-service men I have mentioned.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Major MURRAY: I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add "(3) Provided also that, before selling or disposing of any land so acquired which, in the opinion of the Board, is suitable for afforestation, the Board shall consult the Forestry Commission and shall give the Forestry Commissioners an opportunity of acquiring such land" Under the Forestry Act passed at the end of last Session there is a provision laying down that when the Forestry Commission make a purchase of a large plot of land containing some suitable for small holdings or agriculture, it should consult the appropriate authority, which, in the case of Scotland, would be the Board of Agriculture. I have put down merely the converse to that. The suggestion is that where the board purchases large blocks of land, as I hope it may do, a good deal of the land probably is not good for agriculture, but much of it may be suitable for forestry, and in cases of that kind the board should be directed by Parliament to give the Forestry Commissioners a chance of acquiring the re-afforestable part of the land contained in their purchase. It is desirable to put this in, because, though I refer to no Department in particular, I feel that there is very often a great deal of delay 785 and extra expense as between the Departments because they are not working together. I do not put the matter any higher than that. But we want to carry these things through, and I have known very good schemes, containing both an agricultural side and a forestry side, very much delayed because of the difficulty of getting two or three Departments to work together. Therefore I think it really advisable that Parliament should, in any Bill such as this, ensure that such schemes as these should go through more quickly in future.
Mr. MUNRO: I am in entire accord with the argument presented by my hon. and gallant Friend, and I think a Sub-section of this kind is really a complement to the Clause which already exists in the Forestry Act and which deals with the converse case. I would suggest, however, that the Amendment might be rather differently expressed. My hon. and gallant Friend says, "Provided also". There is no other proviso in the Clause in the first place, and in the second place this is really not a matter which is suitable for a proviso but rather for a separate Clause. I propose that it should read in this way: "Before selling any land which in the opinion of the Board is not required for the purposes of this Act and is suitable for afforestation the Board shall consult the Forestry Commission and shall give the Forestry Commission an opportunity of acquiring such land" I think that gives effect to my hon. and gallant Friend's intention, and, so expressed, I shall be happy to accept the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment made: At the end of the Clause, add the words "Before selling any land which in the opinion of the Board is required for the purposes of this Act and is suitable for afforestation the Board shall consult the Forestry Commission and shall give the Forestry Commission an opportunity of acquiring such land."—[Major W. Murray.]
Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 7 (Powers of Board with respect to land acquired) ordered to stand part of the Bill.
The Board, with a view to ascertaining whether any land is suitable for any purpose for which the Board have power to acquire 786 land, may by writing in that behalf authorise any person (upon production if so required of his authority) to enter and inspect the land specified in the authority, and anyone who obstructs or impedes any person acting under and in accordance with any such authority shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
Major MURRAY: I beg to move after the word "authority" ["land specified in the authority"] to insert the words "and not less than four days' clear notice of any intention so to enter and inspect shall be given by the Board to the landlord or to his agent and to the occupiers of the land" There is no provision in the Clause for any warning whatsoever when a man is going to enter for the purpose of inspection upon land which it is proposed to purchase. The actual terms of the Clause are rather authoritative, and if they were left exactly as they are they might easily lead to difficulty. We are all anxious to carry out this scheme of resettlement of the people upon the land, and the more considerately the matter is done the better. It is only fair to suggest that before anyone comes on to any farm to inspect it who may be quite unknown to the farmer and to every single person on the estate or in the neighbourhood, notice should be given to those who are in authority or responsible for the farm.
Mr. MUNRO: The Clause as it stands is really a reproduction of Clause 19 of the English Act, with the exception that there you are dealing with county councils and not with the Board of Agriculture, and there is no provision for notice in the English Act. On the other hand, I do not think a provision for notice is at all unreasonable, nor do I think the particular provision upon the paper is unreasonable. I observe that in Section 7 of our own Small Landholders Act, where there is to be inspection of land suitable for the purposes of that Act, the provision is that due notice shall be given. I do not really very much mind how it is phrased. Four days does not seem to me to be too long notice. It is a very reasonable period. It seems to be the equivalent of due notice under the 1911 Act, and if that is the view of the Committee I am prepared to accept the Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Major MURRAY: I beg to move after the word "authority" ["in accordance with 787 any such authority"] to insert the words "after such notice has been given" This is a drafting Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 8, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Sir G. YOUNGER: I beg to move "That the Committee do now adjourn" Honourable Members will observe on the Paper—and we are ourselves responsible for a certain number—Amendments of importance which appear to-day for the first time. There are very important Amendments coming on next. The right hon. and the hon. Gentlemen in whose names they stand are not here, and I do not know whether they are going to be moved or not.
Dr. MURRAY: They are.
Sir G. YOUNGER: They are very serious Amendments and make a grave difference in the structure of the Bill as it at present stands. The whole of the negotiations with regard to the Small Holders Act in its final stages were of a very difficult and complex character. One of those who took part in those arrangements which this Bill seeks almost entirely to upset was the Lord Advocate. Those of us who were concerned in that arrangement find grave difficulties in the situation now, and think that the presence of the Lord Advocate in this Committee would help us in this matter. No one has any intention of obstructing or being otherwise than reasonable. The question is not so much concerning ourselves, though we have very great difficulty, but concerning public opinion outside, and the interests of those who are being very seriously affected, and considerably injured in some cases, by the proposals of the Bill. These proposals withdraw from the landowners very considerable privileges in the way of compensation which they have now, and while it may be fair and reasonable that that should be done, it is essential in this Committee that the matter should be thoroughly ventilated and the whole position should be thoroughly explored. There is the question whether any provisions can be inserted which would to some extent minimise the loss, where that loss is not only created by the Bill but suffered by the owner. Personally, I feel as a layman rather incompetent to deal with complicated questions of that kind without the assistance of the Lord Advocate with his legal knowledge 788 and experience and also with the knowledge which he derives from the part he took in previous negotiations. I know that my right hon. Friend (Mr. Munro) sympathises with my difficulty and that he desires to be as reasonable as possible in the circumstances. One regrets to have to ask the Committee even for an hour or two to suspend its proceedings, but we are up against a very long and serious Amendment, which is only on the Paper this morning for the first time, and which I have not personally had time to read. Though I can see the force of it in a general way I cannot yet say to what extent I am prepared to agree with it, or desire to amend it. In the circumstances it would be unfair to continue the proceedings to-day, and I move that the Committee do adjourn to whatever day next week on which we desire to sit.
Mr. MUNRO: I am bound to say that I regard the suggestion which has been made as a reasonable suggestion. It is quite impossible, as it so happens, for my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate to be here to-day. I understand that he has an official engage ment in Edinburgh. I also understand that he will make it his business to be here on Tuesday morning for the next meeting of the Committee. My view is that it is in the interests of the successful prosecution of the programme, which we have before us, that the Lord Advocate should be present. Personally I should welcome his assistance in the difficult matters which lie immediately before us for discussion. I desire frankly to recognise the reasonableness of the attitude of the hon. Baronet (Sir G. Younger), and those for whom he speaks, in connexion with this Bill on second reading, and I am quite sure that that attitude will be maintained throughout the Committee Stage; and it will enable that attitude to be maintained with perhaps less hesitation if we have the advantage of the advice of the Lord Advocate, who was a party to these old negotiations, in which I took no part. Therefore, so far as I am personally concerned, I am prepared to assent to the proposal made, and I respectfully advise the Committee to take the same view. I regret if any personal inconvenience has been caused to Members who have come here this morning expecting to have two hours' discussion and are only having one, but that is not a very serious matter, and I hope that the Committee will accept the proposal with unanimity. I also note that my right hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Sir D. Maclean) and the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) are not present. I 789 quite recognise that the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Dr. Murray) would be a very capable advocate of their views, but I think it would be desirable when discussing Clause 9, which, perhaps, is the most important of all the Clauses, that all interests should be represented and all parties fully heard. Because of the situation upstairs, I suppose that these two gentlemen have felt it impossible to be here; I think that it would be advantageous that the Lord Advocate should be here and that they should be here, and I assent to the proposal that has been made.
Dr. MURRAY: I have been interested with one or two of my hon. Friends in this Amendment. We are very keen that this Bill should be passed into Law as soon as possible, because it is quite time that some work should be done in the way of providing small holdings. It is certainly interesting to notice that my hon. Friend is not willing to trust the two representatives of the Government.
Sir G. YOUNGER: I must protest against that; it has nothing to do with the matter.
Dr. MURRAY: It does require a surgical operation to make a joke penetrate in some cases. I hope that my hon. Friend will pardon my joke; it is a poor one, I know. I agree that all those interests should be represented and I am willing to agree to the suggestion of my hon. Friend.790
Mr. MACQUISTEN: When there are references in Amendments to sections of other Acts, would it not be possible to have in the Committee these other Acts? These references are very confusing.
Sir G. YOUNGER: I desire to thank my right hon. Friend very much for his kindness in accepting this motion in the spirit in which he has accepted it. It is not a question of trusting him at all. It is a question of getting advice which is sorely needed.
Mr. BROWN: Could we get an answer on the question of having these other Acts in our possession?
The CHAIRMAN: All those Acts of Parliament are to be found among the Statutes. Any hon. Member can get them, I believe, for a penny. I do not know whether that is too much to ask.
Mr. BROWN: I think that, even as a labour Member, I could afford a penny. There are eight different Acts referred to here. It is for the sake of convenience.
Mr. MACQUISTEN: If there could be someone here prepared to sell them we would buy them.
Question, "That the Committee do adjourn till Tuesday morning next at 11 o'clock," put, and agreed to.
Committee adjourned accordingly till Tuesday November 4th, at 11 a.m.
THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:—
Rutherford, Sir Watson (Chairman)
Brown, Mr. James
Cheyne, Sir William Watson
Cowan, Mr. D. M.
Fraser, Major Sir Keith
Graham, Mr. Duncan
Graham, Mr. William
Harmsworth, Sir Leicester
Hope, Mr. Harry
Hope, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
McLaren, Mr. Robert
Murray, Mr. C. D.
Murray, Major William
Raeburn, Sir William
Scott, Mr. MacCallum
Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Sutherland, Sir William
Wood, Major Mackenzie
Younger, Sir George