Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."In moving the Second Reading of this Bill I feel that I am knocking at an open door. For 20 years there has been general agreement that as soon as possible pit ponies should be relieved of their harsh, disagreeable and painful job. During the last 20 years we have succeeded in getting improvements until there remains this final act to be taken. It is just over half a century ago that we took children away from this beastly job, and today we want to take the animals away from the pits. I know that conditions are difficult in the coal mines and that sufficient machinery is not there to replace these animals. All we are asking is that pending the introduction of machinery the lot of animals in the coal mines shall be made as easy as possible.
May I say, in the short time that is left, that the principles of this Bill are quite acceptable to the Government, but that there is no necessity for the Bill, because already we have the powers under the 1911 Act? I give an undertaking, however, that within the next two or three months we will introduce regulations to cover the proposals of this Bill—indeed, they are already being prepared. In these circumstances, I hope that the hon. and gallant Member will withdraw the Bill.
I accept that undertaking, and beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.Motion and Bill, by leave, withdrawn.