Consequential Amendments

Part of Orders of the Day — Agricultural Tenancies Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 19th April 1995.

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Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East 5:53 pm, 19th April 1995

I am happy that the right hon. Gentleman has clarified his position.

I am coming to what I regard as the crunch point. We want to give the legislation an opportunity to work. That means in essence that people who let land after 1 September 1995 must have the prospect of their contract remaining. Despite the fact that I have not used the word "retrospective" in the context of the Bill, I accept the right hon. Gentleman's use of the word on this issue.

In that sense, I am happy to give an undertaking that a Labour Government will not legislate retrospectively, and any new tenancy created after 1 September 1995 will be honoured. If we can treat the tenancies as contracts, a contract for five years will last for five years if the legislation provides that it can continue by mutual agreement. The same will apply should the contract be for 10 years, 50 years or whatever. No Labour Government will legislate to break that contract or tenancy. I cannot be clearer than that.

We are saying to the industry—including the Country Landowners Association, the National Farmers Union, the Tenant Farmers Association and the young farmers organisations in Wales and England which supported the agreement that provided the basis for the legislation—that we will honour the position that they have adopted and that the Government have put into the legislation, and we will give it an opportunity to work.