I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
In view of the obvious interest which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen take in the subject which is to be debated later, I think it would try the patience of the House if I attempted to impose upon them the brilliant speech which I have prepared in explanation of this Bill. All I need say—and I am sure it will receive the assent and approval of the House—is that this small Bill, for which I ask a Second Reading, is related to the principal Act of 1936. It is a purely negative Measure, transferring functions from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Sugar Commission to the Ministry of Food, who have now taken full control over payments for the production of sugar beet, and who will now enter into all contracts and do all those things which the Ministry of Agriculture was called upon to do under the terms of the principal Act. If the Bill receives a Second Reading it will be sub- mitted to a Select Committee, when the details can be fully explored and when I hope satisfactory explanations can and will be given to any inquiring Member of the House. The only other thing I need say is that this transfer of functions from one Department to another becomes necessary because of the peculiar conditions which have arisen since the war.
I only need to assure hon. Members that if a Second Reading is given to this Measure and it finally emerges from its Third Reading, the future of the Sugar Industry Act will in no way be affected. It will continue as heretofore, but as for the duration of the war the Ministry of Food are responsible for the purchase of raw sugar and for making all contracts for the purchase of sugar beet, it would seem almost a work of supererogation to attempt to go through the Bill Clause by Clause. I therefore ask the House to give it a Second Reading with the knowledge that, with the consent of the House, it will be sent to a Select Committee where all details and explanations can be gone into.